Statement at the 2nd Resumed Part of the 73rd UN General Assembly

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


Thank you, Madam Chair.

My delegation has not raised this issue before in the Fifth Committee, but since the Palestinian representative decided to clarify their representation at the United Nations, I am compelled to offer our own clarification. As we stated in our explanation of vote when this issue was before the General Assembly in October, the United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state and notes that no such state has been admitted as a UN Member State. Therefore, we strongly opposed the Palestinian election as Chair of the G77. Again as we stated then, only UN Member States should be entitled to speak and act on behalf of major groups of states at the United Nations, such as the Group of 77 and China. It is entirely inappropriate for an observer to play the role of representing a group of states in the General Assembly or elsewhere in the United Nations system.

Madam Chair, moving to the issues before us in this second resumed session, my delegation would like to pay tribute to those uniformed and civilian women and men who serve the United Nations in its many operations around the world. We would like to honor those who have given their lives in the cause of peace.

Madam Chair,

We appreciate the work of the UN Controller, Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, and his team as well of Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chair of the ACABQ, in producing their respective reports for our consideration this session. I would further like to thank the Executive Secretary of this Committee, Ms. Sharon Van Buerle, and her dedicated team along with all of the staff who make our negotiations possible.

I would like to make a few observations about the issues that we will consider during this session. We are carefully examining the Secretary-General’s 2019/2020 budget request in the amount of $6.6 billion, noting the proposed six-month budgets for two peacekeeping operations, UNAMID and MINUJUSTH. We appreciate the Secretary-General’s strategic reviews and their important role in shaping the budget requests for these two operations as well as the reconfiguration of MONUSCO. We would encourage the Secretary-General to apply the same strategic approach to all missions. To that end, we look forward to discussing how integrated planning and resource prioritization can better inform the proposals before us.

Madam Chair, the resources for peacekeeping operations are closely linked with the policies that advance the effectiveness and efficiency of those operations. For the last two sessions, this Committee has been unable to reach consensus on a cross-cutting policy resolution. Given recent high-level initiatives in this regard, including the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, the high-level declaration endorsed by 151 member states, the report on “Improving the Security of UN Peacekeepers,” and the ongoing development of the integrated performance policy framework, this Committee has before it a critical opportunity to support and provide strategic direction for these key peacekeeping reform initiatives via a cross-cutting resolution. We also look forward to a discussion of the Secretary-General’s work to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, and to address any obstacles to adequate prevention, victim support, and swift accountability for perpetrators.

Madam Chair, this is the first peacekeeping session of the Fifth Committee since the Assembly endorsed the UN reform agenda, and in particular the important decisions taken within the management and peace and security pillars. My delegation therefore views 2019 as a year of full and proper implementation of the agenda as we work towards benefits realization. With the breakdown of the previous existing silos in the UN’s peace and security architecture, member states should directly benefit from the improved coordination between the Secretariat’s political and operational work in assessing and addressing threats to international peace and security. To that end, this Committee should receive responsible resource and related policy requests reflecting this new reality through a clear linkage of how resources will be optimized to promote effective and sustainable political solutions to better deliver on mandates. Similarly, we expect that management reform implementation and the strong emphasis of this pillar on aligning responsibility with accountability in the field will yield resource proposals that reflect both the realities on the ground and showcase efforts underway to make more efficient use of peacekeeping resources. Implementation of management reform should also manifest itself through the envisaged benefits of improved service delivery to clients, greater efficiencies, and improved support to troop- and police-contributing countries. We look forward to discussing how the impact of these reforms are reflected in the reports before us.

Madam Chair, with a view to making the Organization more effective, nimble, accountable, transparent and efficient, my delegation will also carefully consider the Secretary-General’s proposals on improving the UN financial situation in addressing both the liquidity and broader and long-standing structural challenges that constrain budget management.

Thank you.In closing, my delegation stands ready to engage constructively with all colleagues on the critical resource and policy issues before us this session. We will work collaboratively to ensure that we as a Committee provide the important strategic guidance and direction to the women and men who serve UN peacekeeping in advancing the cause of peace.