Strategic Management, Budgetary, and Administrative Questions
Remarks at the Reconvened CND and Regular and Reconvened CCPCJ | CND Agenda Item 4 and CCPCJ Agenda Item 3
As delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, December 3, 2020
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As one of its strongest supporters and major donors, the United States places great value in UNODC’s provision of vital technical assistance programs that counter the menaces of illicit drugs, crime, corruption, and terrorism.
UNODC’s integrated approach to developing regional, country, and global thematic programs fosters the political will necessary for assistance to make a true impact.
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 stress it should not supersede them.
The United States welcomes Executive Director Ghada Waly’s Strategic Vision for UNODC, which grounds the organization’s work in its core mandates and champions communication and collaboration with a variety of partners.
We welcome in particular the strategy’s emphasis on productive engagement with civil society, which has an appropriate and vital role to play not only in informing UNODC’s priorities, but also in implementing activities to support them.
The consultative process of this strategy’s development is testament to the Executive Director’s commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability. We welcome and support continued efforts to increase transparency in the organization’s operations, particularly in the budget process.
The United States also welcomes UNODC’s new Partnership Policy, which offers opportunities for simplified and more frequent engagement with governments, other international organizations and UN entities, and civil society. We encourage UNODC to continue to seek these partnerships where feasible.
We recognize the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and commend UNODC for its continued program delivery.
Uncertainty over the recovery from the pandemic will require leaders to find innovative cost-cutting strategies and make smart spending decisions to maintain high program implementation and performance.
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.
We would also like UNODC’s budget development process to be closely tied to the Secretary-General’s reform efforts. This includes implementing a budget cycle on an annual, rather than biennial, basis.
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 with the Commissions. We welcome the opportunity to consider how we might improve its effectiveness and efficiency in its next mandate.
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 be based on merit and competence, as enshrined in Article 101 of the UN Charter.