Statement at the Opening of the 77th UN General Assembly Fifth Committee Main Session

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
October 3, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We congratulate you on your election, and we look forward to working with you throughout this session. We also extend our appreciation to the Permanent Representative from Albania, the Chairman of the ACABQ, and the UN Controller for their contributions to the Fifth Committee.

This session, we will consider the $3.4 billion proposed budget, which will fund the basic operations of the United Nations, as well as special political missions, construction projects, and several add-ons – including the establishment of a Youth Office and activities to mitigate global food insecurity. The work we will do these next few months is critical to the functioning of the United Nations. But let us not pretend that this will be business as usual. Every aspect of the work of the United Nations has been negatively impacted by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. And this organization will not function as it should until this war ends.

I would like to address several proposals that will be considered this session:

First, the Secretary-General has proposed shifting a number of expenditures to the regular budget that are currently paid for by extrabudgetary resources. In general, we believe that such proposals should be kept to a minimum and approved only where they are well justified.

Second, we are concerned with some ACABQ recommendations that expressly subvert the will of the General Assembly. For example, the ACABQ has rejected the inclusion of predictable Human Rights Council mandates in the program budget. With respect to UNRWA, ACABQ has contradicted General Assembly resolution 3331B which states that only international staff salaries should be financed by the regular budget.

Pursuant to the General Assembly’s rules, the ACABQ’s role is to provide “expert examination of the program budget,” not to work against the clearly stated will of the General Assembly. We look forward to the ACABQ Chair making himself available for questions, both in writing and in person, so that we can better understand the rationale for ACABQ’s recommendations.

Third, the U.S. is concerned about the continuing application of two different post adjustment multipliers to organizations that are part of the same common system. We look forward to engaging in good faith on proposals to safeguard the integrity of the UN common system.

Finally, let me address some procedural issues with how the Fifth Committee operates.

This session, we will review a key element of the Secretary-General’s management reforms: the trial implementation of an annual budget. Virtually every country in the world uses an annual budget because it allows organizations to respond more quickly to the needs on the ground. That has certainly been the case with the UN, and while we are open to improving the budget process, we cannot revert to a biennial budget.

With regard to the work of the Committee for Program and Coordination, it is unfortunate that five program plans did not receive conclusions and recommendations. We believe that improving CPC working methods requires the political will of its members, not further alterations to the Committee’s program of work.

The U.S. is committed to working with all delegations in a constructive manner, and we look forward to completing the work of this committee on schedule. Thank you.