Statement at the 2nd Resumed Part of the 73rd UN General Assembly Agenda Item 150: Cross-Cutting Issues

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 6, 2019


Thank you, Madam Chair.

I would like to thank Mr. David Kanja, Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of Internal Oversight Services, Ms. Aruna Thanabalasingam, Director, Administrative Law Division, Office of Human Resources, and Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chair of the ACABQ, for introducing their respective reports.

My delegation welcomes the Secretary-General’s efforts to implement his zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse. Despite the progress achieved in recent years, this scourge persists across the UN system. As has often been said, one incident of sexual exploitation and abuse is one too many, and we strongly condemn those who abuse their power by exploiting the people they have been sent to assist and protect.

Madam Chair, as we have often noted, SEA is not just a problem in UN peacekeeping. We appreciate the Secretary-General’s efforts to address this scourge wherever it occurs, UN system-wide. This includes his prioritization of the work of the Special Coordinator and the Victims’ Rights Advocate, and the creation of a High Level Steering Group. However, there is still much work to do to achieve accountability and end this pervasive problem. My delegation also looks forward to hearing how the integration of the Conduct and Discipline Service into the Administrative Law Division, as part of the Secretary-General’s management reform, has improved consistency of this function and strengthened service to the global Secretariat.

Although we note the decrease in allegations of SEA in UN peacekeeping, my delegation remains concerned about the persistent under-reporting. We appreciate the detailed information on the efforts by UN agencies, funds, and programs and the humanitarian community to adopt best practices, including those developed for UN peacekeeping contained in the Secretary-General’s annual report. We also strongly support the work of the Special Coordinator and the Victims’ Rights Advocate, and in particular efforts made towards a mapping exercise to address service gaps for victims. We welcome the increased focus and transparency for allegations against implementing partners; especially given the rise in reported allegations this clearly remains an area of great risk to vulnerable populations. We urge all UN entities to step up their efforts to vet and monitor their implementing partners for this type of abuse.

My delegation also remains deeply concerned about the lack of criminal accountability for civilian staff system-wide who commit SEA and that many investigations remain pending for too long. We call on all Member States to swiftly and credibly address criminal allegations of SEA against their nationals, and to report on these steps to the Secretariat to demonstrate their commitment to accountability.

Madam Chair, my delegation would also like to express our deep appreciation for OIOS’s contributions to improving UN peacekeeping. OIOS’s audit, investigation and inspection and evaluation activities provide Member States and the Organization with valuable insights into critical issues ranging from audits of program implementation in UN departments and field missions, to investigations into serious misconduct and fraud, to evaluations on peacekeeping policy issues such as mission re-hatting and inspection of missions’ protection of civilians activities.

Madam Chair, we are ready to engage constructively to reach consensus on a cross-cutting resolution that supports the Secretary-General, and all relevant UN departments and entities, in providing oversight of peacekeeping operations and protecting vulnerable populations from sexual exploitation and abuse. Thank you.