FACT SHEET: Showcasing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations during President Biden’s Second Year
FACT SHEET: Showcasing U.S. Leadership at the United Nations during President Biden’s Second Year
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) showcased American multilateral leadership at the United Nations, around the world, and domestically throughout the year. From holding Russia accountable for its war of aggression against Ukraine, to leading global efforts to combat food insecurity, to passing a landmark UN Security Council resolution ensuring humanitarian aid flows unimpeded by UN sanctions regimes, the U.S. Mission has been advancing U.S. interests and delivering on the Biden Administration’s policy goals.
USUN has championed U.S. priorities on human rights while pushing back against anti-Israel bias at the UN. We defended the UN Charter in the face of Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and pushed for the UN Security Council to hold the DPRK accountable for its repeated provocations in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We launched new initiatives to increase the number of American citizens working at the UN and led reform efforts to ensure the UN is fit for purpose in the 21st Century. Through Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s international and domestic travel, the Mission has advanced Biden Administration initiatives to bolster democracy, engage youth, and recruit a more diverse work force that better represents the American people.
In 2022, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations has:
Held Russia Accountable for its Unprovoked Invasion of Ukraine
USUN and our partners have kept the threat to international peace and security caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at the fore of the UN Security Council’s agenda, convening more than 40 Council meetings to hold Russia accountable for its violations of the UN Charter and international humanitarian and human rights law. USUN has harnessed the Security Council’s role as a vital public forum to shine a spotlight on Russia’s atrocities, rebut Russian disinformation in real time, and demonstrate Russia’s increasing international isolation.
USUN led efforts at the UN Security Council to establish an Emergency Special Session on Ukraine in the UN General Assembly. It then rallied the UN General Assembly to adopt resolutions in March with 141 votes condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demanding Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. In October, USUN worked with partners and allies to garner 143 General Assembly votes to reject Russia’s illegal attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory and upheld Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In April, following credible evidence of mass atrocities and human rights violations committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, USUN led a successful effort to suspend Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council. USUN also worked with partners to successfully challenge Russia’s candidacies in four ECOSOC subsidiary bodies: the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (C-NGO), the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII), and the executive boards of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield traveled in November to Ukraine to express U.S. solidarity and support to President Zelenskyy, humanitarian workers, agricultural experts, victims of Russia’s atrocities, and Ukrainian officials working to collect evidence of war crimes. She saw first-hand the impact of Putin’s war on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and civilian population and briefed the UN Security Council upon her return to New York.
The United States worked closely with Ukraine and like-minded partners to draft a UN General Assembly resolution recommending the creation of a register of damages and highlighting the need for a mechanism to provide reparations for damages, harm, and injury caused by Russia’s wrongful acts.
USUN and likeminded partners called for investigations into violations of UN Security Council resolutions resulting from Russia’s procurement of weapons and materiel from Iran and the DPRK.
Brought Global Food Insecurity to the Forefront
During its presidency of the UN Security Council in May, USUN convened an Open Debate on Global Food Insecurity and held a ministerial meeting at the UN resulting in a Roadmap for Global Food Security – Call to Action which more than 100 nations have joined. The United States also co-chaired a head-of-state level Global Food Security Summit on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly High-Level Week in September in which leaders committed to several important actions to bring renewed energy and coordination to building more resilient agriculture and food systems.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield highlighted U.S. efforts to bolster global food security during her travel to Ghana in August, where she announced $22.5 million in food security development assistance for African nations and outlined a “Vision for Peace and Progress on Food Security in Africa.” Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also traveled to several cities to discuss how to tackle global food insecurity, including hosting events at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Urban Growers Collective in Chicago, the Museum of the African Diaspora’s Black Food Summit in San Francisco, and with World Central Kitchen in Bucharest, Romania and in New York City. She also co-hosted an event with UNICEF focused on child wasting that engaged chefs from New York.
USUN hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in June and Ambassador Jim O’Brien, head of the Department of State’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, in July for a series of conversations with UN officials, Member States, and the media on U.S. efforts to mitigate the impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine on global food security.
Supported Key Humanitarian Programs to Aid Those Most in Need Around the World
USUN co-led with Ireland a historic initiative at the UN Security Council to adopt an unprecedented and long-sought resolution exempting humanitarian aid from all UN sanction regimes.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border in June in support of the renewal of the Syria cross-border mechanism for humanitarian aid and announced more than $1.5 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance for Syrians this year. USUN was able to secure the successful extension of the mandate in July 2022.
During her travel to Africa in August, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield announced $127 million in humanitarian assistance to address the needs of refugees, asylum seekers, stateless people, and forcibly displaced and persecuted people across Africa.
At the High-level Pledging Event on Supporting the Humanitarian Response in Afghanistan in March, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield announced $204 million in U.S. funding for humanitarian operations.
During her trip to Ukraine in November, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield announced $25 million for winterization support in Ukraine. She also announced $50 million in aid to help the Government of Moldova and its people cope with the impacts of Russia’s war. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also traveled to Moldova and Romania in April to meet with Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian organizations supporting them.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield co-hosted with the Canadians a Haiti Basket Fund event during UNGA High-Level Week and announced $3 million in security assistance for Haiti. USUN also led efforts in the UN Security Council to establish, by a unanimous vote, the first new UN sanctions regime since 2017 for violent gang members and their sponsors in Haiti. The sanctions were welcomed by the Haitian people and were part of a broader effort to help humanitarian aid get to the most vulnerable communities.
Championed Human Rights
In light of Iran’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, particularly women and girls, USUN led the effort to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the first time a country has been removed from that body. USUN also co-hosted with Albania a UN Security Council Arria-Formula meeting focused on the protests in Iran and the government’s acts of repression and violence.
USUN successfully advocated for the release of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on Xinjiang. USUN also co-hosted an event highlighting China’s genocide and human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
Working closely with the United Kingdom, USUN secured adoption of a UN Security Council resolution condemning last year’s military coup in Burma and the regime’s egregious human rights violations and urging the release of arbitrarily detained prisoners.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield became an International Gender Champion and continued to advocate for the advancement of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in the Security Council.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield made it a priority to visit Afghan refugees during her domestic travel. In October, the United States joined 26 other UN Member States in the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan in releasing a joint statement reaffirming the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan and condemning the Taliban’s ongoing restriction of these rights.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield participated in the UN LGBTI Core Group high-level UNGA event alongside Secretary Blinken and Special Envoy Stern.
In June, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield co-hosted with Albania an Arria-formula meeting of the Security Council on arbitrarily detained and missing persons in Syria, calling for enhanced international efforts to secure the release of individuals held by the Assad regime and other actors.
Spearheaded UN Reform Efforts
During her visit to the Bay Area in September, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield delivered a keynote speech on the future of the United Nations. In the Ambassador’s remarks, delivered at the Fairmont Hotel, where the UN Charter was first drafted and negotiated, she laid out the United States’ core tenets moving forward as a member of the UN and its promise to work toward meaningful UN Security Council reform.
Echoing President Biden’s announcement during the 77th UN General Assembly High-Level Week, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield delivered remarks at the annual UN General Assembly debate on Security Council reform pledging U.S. support for the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, including new permanent seats for countries from Africa and Latin America.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and USUN leadership have begun wide-ranging consultations with intergovernmental negotiation chairs, regional blocs, groups of concerned Member States, individual Member States, and civil society to ensure all stakeholders are heard and involved in the process of Security Council reform.
In April, the United States co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution, spearheaded by a core group of Member States led by Liechtenstein and Mexico, regarding the responsible use of the veto. This innovative measure automatically convenes a meeting of the General Assembly after a veto has been cast in the Security Council – a significant step toward the accountability, transparency, and responsibility of all P5 members who wield veto power.
USUN’s reform efforts include its broader work on budget and management issues. During negotiations on the UN’s peacekeeping budget, USUN successfully advanced initiatives to improve the UN’s financial situation, promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Secretariat, and address systemic issues, such as unacceptable living conditions for troops, sexual exploitation and abuse, and mission performance measurement. Following press reports about fraud and mismanagement at the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), USUN led efforts to improve oversight of UN funds and programs and strengthen audit and ethics offices.
Supported U.S. Candidates for Key UN Positions, Recruited a Diverse Work Force, and Championed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Principles
USUN led and supported several high-level campaigns for UN elected positions, including the critically important election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin as Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a key UN organization that coordinates global telecommunications networks, and the election of U.S. candidates to the Human Rights Committee and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
In October, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield announced a $500,000 scholarship program which will support American students from underserved communities to pursue internships at the United Nations. This inaugural scholarship program was supported by Schmidt Futures and the Eleanor Crook Foundation and will be administered by the UN Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA).
Recognizing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as a hallmark of the Biden Administration and essential to truly advancing U.S. foreign policy, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield intentionally prioritized and delivered outreach campaigns to engage young Americans, especially from underrepresented communities and universities, to urge them to consider careers in diplomacy or public service. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield participated in dozens of briefings and meetings with students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, local high schools, and Model UN groups on U.S. foreign policy priorities, the UN, and multilateral organizations. Additionally, USUN amplified the work of and collaborated with the UNA-USA Youth Observer to build a network of public servants that advance democratic values and the relevance of the UN in addressing global challenges.
As co-chair of the UN Accessibility Steering Committee, USUN has improved physical and digital accessibility at the UN for persons with disabilities, including the opening of a long-overdue UN gate that can be used by wheelchair users without assistance. In addition, USUN has elevated the concerns of UN staff who face employment barriers due to their disabilities.
Promoted a Free, Open, Inclusive, and Secure Digital Future
During the U.S. presidency of the UN Security Council in May, USUN hosted a signature event focused on the responsible use of digital technologies. This topic is new and has historically rarely been discussed in the Council and gave members an opportunity to address both the opportunities – and challenges – the Security Council faces to harness the power of digital technologies to advance global peace and security, which Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield further explored in an op-ed for The Economist.
During Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s visit to the Bay Area in September, she hosted a discussion with leaders of U.S.-based companies, including Alphabet, AirBnB, Meta, Microsoft, and Visa, at Stanford University. The roundtable highlighted opportunities for tech companies to play constructive roles in addressing global security issues, including through collaboration with the United Nations.
Advocated for Full Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions
As of December, the DPRK has launched an unprecedented eight intercontinental ballistic missiles and over 60 ballistic missiles – a marked two and a half times more than its previous annual record. Yet, the UN Security Council has remained silent due to the inaction of two members – Russia and China. USUN, during numerous meetings of the Council, has consistently pushed for Council unity in condemning the DPRK’s reckless and dangerous behavior. USUN has led its allies and partners in delivering over 10 joint statements in 2022 echoing these calls.
The Mission has brought to the attention of the 2231 Committee on Iran sanctions and the 1718 Committee on DPRK sanctions information regarding violations of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions resulting from the transfer of arms and materiel from Iran and the DPRK to Russia and Kremlin-backed entities used to pursue Russia’s illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine.
Stood Up for Israel at the UN
Standing side-by-side with the Israeli Mission to the UN, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and the U.S. Mission defended Israel against unfair attacks in the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and other UN bodies.
The U.S. co-sponsored a resolution drafted by Israel condemning Holocaust denial which was adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly. The UN had not adopted a resolution focused on this topic in fifteen years.
The Ambassador and Mission leadership participated in several public events with the Israeli mission and New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, and regularly met with U.S. Jewish leaders for briefings, formal remarks, and small group discussions to keep them informed of developments at the UN.