Statement at the 74th UN General Assembly Agenda Item 135 and 136: Proposed Program Plan and Budget 2020

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 8, 2019


Thank you Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General for presenting his 2020 budget proposal, and to the officials that are here today. It is a major accomplishment within your reform portfolio, one that we have long advocated and one that should provide more predictability to the resources needed.

I would also like to assure the Secretary-General that we take the concerns regarding the financial situation seriously and will continue to do our part to ensure our payments are received according to our fiscal year timing and availability of funds.

My delegation applauds the changes made to the format of the budget that focuses on results and ownership by senior managers. We support the continued need to innovate and improve such important planning documents. The new format also provides some additional clarity, such as the variance by object of expenditure, and standardized, aggregated deliverables. While the performance metrics are a welcome break from the indicators of achievement, we encourage further effort to turn the performance metrics into a tool for proper accountability. We look forward to discussing ways to improve the performance metrics, beginning with including additional years of actual performance data.

The change to an annual budget is also an opportunity to step back and reassess the requirements needed to fulfill mandates, particularly given the realignment and creation of four new departments as part of the SG’s reform. We believe all Departments and Offices need to look further to identify and eliminate duplication. A focus of our budget review will be to shine a light on needed efficiencies in all parts of the budget. We will not limit or ringfence our review for efficiencies.

Additional requirements and the practice of recosting are other areas of concern for my delegation. We anticipate more than $200 million to be added to the 2020 proposed budget. Some of these are new mandated activities, and we will review these proposals to ensure that they are efficiently budgeted. However, many of the so-called “add-ons” are foreseen and recurring requirements. There is no better example of this than ongoing construction projects. Other examples include costs that recur every year in amounts that may fluctuate. However, estimates can and should be included in the budget so they can be properly analyzed in the context of the entire budget and subsequent budget level. Eventually, we expect the fluctuations to shrink within an annual budget, and the practice of recosting to be eliminated.

My delegation looks forward to engaging constructively to approve a budget level that reflects the Secretary-General’s reforms, maintains fiscal discipline, and ensures the organization has the resources it needs to perform its mission in key priority areas.

Thank you very much.