U.S. Statement as Prepared for Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd Robinson – Agenda Item 4 – Strategic Management, Budget, and Administration Questions
Vienna, Austria, March 14, 2023
As the UN’s leading entity charged with drug related matters, the CND cannot function effectively without the full backing of UNODC and its unparalleled global programming.
This global programming is essential as we continue to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which, as UNODC notes in its 2022-2023 consolidated budget report, has deeply impacted our ability to protect the health and welfare of humankind. This programming is also critical in the face of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine and its devastating humanitarian consequences. UNODC’s programming will remain essential as the CND confronts the biggest drug threat of the next decade: synthetic drugs.
UNODC’s synthetic drug-related programming has been the tip of the spear in our collective efforts to outpace criminals working in this lethal trade. Synthetic drug threats present significant global health and security threats that require global responses. UNODC’s national, regional, and global thematic programs are driving impact by building the essential capacity and political will needed to advance positive change.
The United States is very proud to be one of UNODC’s strongest supporters for this programming. In 2022, we provided over $7 million in technical assistance funding to mobilize an international response to combat synthetic drugs threats, including by countering the illicitmanufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs at points of origin, transit, and destination.
The UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs, as well as targeted capacity building at the national, regional, and international levels, continue to be critical tools to advance this international action.
While UNODC implements this important programming, we urge it to uphold its 2021-2025 Corporate Strategy, which emphasizes learning, evaluation, and accountability. We support UNODC’s continued efforts to increase transparency in its operations and budget process; a strong checks and balances system is critical to effectively administer UNODC’s funding.
We also welcome UNODC’s efforts to ensure its staff maximize their time in the field to make effective use of resources. Appropriate transparency about field operations activity is necessary, and FINGOV offers Member States an invaluable venue for fostering greater communication with the Secretariat on budgetary and management issues.
Finally, the United States supports UNODC’s efforts to develop comprehensive diversity, recruitment, and workforce planning strategies to promote inclusivity, enhance gender balance and geographical representation. The paramount focus on selecting candidates should be based on merit and competence, as enshrined in the UN Charter.
Next year, the CND will undertake its 2024 midterm review, which will chart a clear path to 2029 focused on strengthening international cooperation in addressing and countering the world drug problem.
The CND must come together in the face of challenges to drive forward global action against the world drug problem and confront directly the shared public health and security threat of synthetic drugs. UNODC is an indispensable partner in this action, and we look forward to continuing to work together on innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing global drug problems.