65th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs | Agenda Item 4: Strategic Management, Budget and Administrative Questions
As delivered by Ambassador Laura S. H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, March 15, 2022
Thank you chair for steering this body through the procedural intricacies of today’s session with skill and grace. We are fortunate to be in your hands. Excellencies, distinguished delegates as one of the strongest supporters and major donors, the United States places great value on UNODC’s programming. UNODC’s approach to developing regional, country, and global thematic programs fosters the political will necessary for assistance that makes a real difference in countless lives.
The United States is deeply concerned about the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The devastating consequences have included UNODC’s reduced ability to provide capacity building services and direct disruptions to UNODC’s staff and programs. This has left at-risk populations such as those living with HIV/AIDS or those who use drugs even more vulnerable and precarious.
More broadly, it is essential that UNODC’s work prioritizes, complements, and supports the three UN drug conventions, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Convention Against Corruption. We recognize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its relevant goals and targets may align with these agreements but underscore it should not supersede them.
We recognize the challenges associated with the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and commend UNODC for its continued program delivery. And we note with appreciation UNODC efforts to implement its 2021 to 2025 corporate strategy. The strategy’s emphasis on learning, evaluation and accountability is particularly welcome, and we support UNODC’s continued efforts to increase transparency in its operations and budget process. Uncertainty over the recovery time frame from the pandemic continues to require leaders to find innovative, cross-cutting strategies and to make smart spending decisions to maintain high standards for program implementation and performance. UNODC has demonstrated its competence in achieving these goals. At the same time, the United States continues to have concerns about core budget issues, such as transparency in the decision making at headquarters on the use of program support costs. We encourage a broader distribution of those funds, including to reinforce UNODC’s field presence.
The United States supports FINGOV as an important tool for providing transparency and fostering greater communication between the Secretariat and Member States on budgetary and management issues, while maintaining decision-making responsibilities within the Commissions. We appreciate the decision to extend FINGOV’s mandate indefinitely and welcome the opportunity we will have at this session of the Commission to endorse responsible FINGOV officers.
Finally, the United States supports UNODC’s efforts to develop comprehensive diversity, recruitment, and workforce planning strategies to enhance gender balance and geographical representation. The paramount focus on selecting candidates should always be based on merit and competence, as enshrined in Article 101 of the UN Charter.
Thank you, Chair.