Trump calls for a better, more efficient U.N.

António Guterres and President Trump next to each other (© AP Images)
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and President Trump at the United Nations on September 18. (© AP Images)

President Trump challenged the United Nations to adopt extensive reforms so the international organization “regains the trust of the people around the world.”

Trump urged reform of the global body at an event to support U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’ reform agenda. “We pledge to be partners in your work,” the president told Guterres, “and I am confident that if we work together and champion truly bold reforms, the United Nations will emerge as a stronger, more effective, more just, and greater force for peace and harmony in the world.”

The secretary-general himself criticized the organization’s bureaucracy, noting: “Someone out to undermine the U.N. could not have come up with a better way to do it than by imposing some of the rules we have created ourselves.”

Trump encouraged Guterres to “fully use his authority to cut through the bureaucracy, reform outdated systems, and make firm decisions to advance the U.N.’s core mission.”

Guterres’s proposed reforms aim to fix problems including:

  • Mismanagement, fraud and procurement corruption in peacekeeping missions.
  • Ill-defined and inefficient peacekeeping missions that lack measurable benchmarks for success.
  • Ballooning costs and an inequitable distribution of the peacekeeping budget among member states.

“To honor the people of our nations, we must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden, and that’s militarily or financially,” Trump said.

Five people sitting side by side clapping (© Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
(From left) António Guterres, President Trump, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster at the U.N. reform event. (© Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Experts have proposed reforms to protect the independence of the U.N.’s internal oversight mechanism and of “whistleblowers” who uncover corruption. Further reforms would wind down some peacekeeping operations that are not meeting goals or refocus them on manageable benchmarks. Excessive costs would be addressed by a thorough review of ongoing peacekeeping missions and of the amount each nation pays into the U.N.

Trump said the citizens of member nations “deserve to see the value in the United Nations, and it is our job to show it to them.”

So far, 129 member states have signed on to the reform package. U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged all 193 members of the U.N. to support it, saying that “we are always stronger when we speak with one voice.”

Graphic labeled 'Ready to fix the U.N.,' with scrolling list of countries