Remarks in a Meeting of the Fifth Committee’s First Part of the Resumed Session

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
March 4, 2022


Mr. Chairman, this is my first time addressing this committee, so allow me to offer my respects to you and to the delegations represented here today.

The Fifth Committee will embark on work this month that is critical for the effective staffing, operations, and financing of the United Nations – an organization founded to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The past 10 days have been a vivid – and horrific – reminder of why our work matters. Because of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack, Ukraine has seen its territorial sovereignty violated, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, and more than a million Ukrainians have fled the country. For the UN Charter to have meaning, we must have a modern UN organization capable of addressing crises like what we’re seeing in Ukraine.

Mr. Chairman, in this first resumed session, Member States will consider several agenda items to strengthen the UN, the foremost of which is human resources management. Our priority is to reach consensus on a resolution that will enable the Secretariat to modernize and diversify its workforce. This includes reforms to the Secretary-General’s mobility framework, staff regulations and rules, the UN’s internship program, and ethics requirements for staff.

This committee has been unable to reach consensus on this resolution for several years, and thus has been unable to provide the Secretariat with critical guidance that will enable it to recruit and retain skilled personnel. Our failure to act on these long-overdue changes has a direct impact on the UN’s ability to advance key priorities such as the Secretary-General’s “Our Common Agenda.”

The United States looks forward to considering other items before the Fifth Committee this session. This includes the Secretary-General’s report on supply chain management, where we seek to reinforce fair and competitive procurement practices. We support measures to provide the Secretary-General with additional flexibility to manage the organization’s liquidity crisis, while maintaining necessary transparency and accountability. We also hope to strengthen the UN’s accountability system, particularly its response to sexual exploitation and abuse, and we look to ensure that the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic are mainstreamed as part of organizational resilience and a flexible workplace.

The changes that will be discussed in this session are long-overdue, and we look forward to working collaboratively to bring about these reforms.

Thank you very much.