U.S. National Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, December 8, 2022
Thank you, Chair. My statement addresses all four subjects under consideration for this agenda item. As one of UNODC’s strongest supporters and major donors, the United States places great value on UNODC’s programming. UNODC’s approach to developing country, regional, and global programs is agile and responsive to the most pressing security challenges of the day. And those challenges are many. Despite great progress, we still face unprecedented challenges that can only be accomplished together. The United States is struggling with an overdose epidemic that now claims more than 100,000 American lives per year. Synthetic drugs like fentanyl have ravaged American communities and are rapidly spreading across the globe.
In this regard, we welcome UNODC’s continued commitment to supporting a comprehensive and holistic approach to making the world safer from drugs, crime, corruption, and terrorism, as demonstrated by Executive Director Waly’s report on UNODC’s consolidated budget for the 2022-2023 biennium. We support the budget as presented in that report. We applaud efforts to mainstream commitments to gender equality, human rights, child protection, and youth empowerment. For the United States inequity is a national security challenge with global consequences. The systematic exclusion of individuals from historically marginalized and vulnerable groups from full participation in economic, social, and civic life impedes equity globally, while fueling corruption, economic migration, distrust, and authoritarianism.
Unfortunately, as we convene again, Russia’s unlawful, unprovoked, and premeditated war against the Ukrainian people and civilian infrastructure continues to have devastating and destabilizing consequences. Russia’s crimes against Ukraine create an enabling environment for transnational organized crime to flourish and undermine the work of this body.
Chair, we recognize the challenges associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and commend UNODC for its continued program delivery and commitment to mainstreaming lessons learned from the pandemic.
We also reiterate our longstanding support for the role of civil society organizations in the work of the UNODC, and their participation in our work. The United States reconfirms support for FINGOV as an important tool for providing transparency and fostering greater communication between the Secretariat and Member States on budgetary and management issues and thanks the United Kingdom and Ambassador Kitsell for their efforts to further develop FINGOV as a forum for sharing information.
Lastly, the United States supports UNODC’s work to develop comprehensive diversity, recruitment, and workforce planning strategies to promote gender balance and geographical representation. The paramount focus on selecting candidates should continue to be based on merit and competence, as enshrined in Article 101 of the UN Charter. And, as they conclude their role as our skilled and gracious leaders in this forum, let me offer my gratitude to Ambassador Hikihara and Ambassador D’Hoop, and wish Ambassador D’Hoop well in his future endeavors.
Thank you Chairs.