Statement of Andrew J. Schofer, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Agenda Item 3
Vienna, Austria; March 13, 2017
The United States welcomes the Report of the Executive Director on the activities of UNODC in 2016, which provides an excellent overview of the programmatic activities of UNODC over the last year. We particularly appreciate the efforts UNODC has made and continues to make with regard to the UNGASS operational recommendations.
The United States continues to believe that UNODC plays a unique and valuable role in implementing important technical assistance programs to counter the menace of illicit drugs. UNODC’s sustained involvement, both from headquarters and the field offices, as well as its integrated approach to developing regional, country and global thematic programs, foster the political will necessary for the practical assistance to make a true impact.
The United States is and remains a strong supporter of UNODC programs. In 2016, the United States provided approximately $77 million U.S. Dollars to UNODC for a wide range of technical assistance and other activities. Even as we provide significant extrabudgetary funding, however, we remain vigilant concerning calls for new or expanded UNODC activities to be funded from extrabudgetary funding, especially in those cases where it is unlikely that States Parties will contribute the necessary funds.
As reaffirmed in the UNGASS outcome document, UNODC plays an important coordinating role in ensuring effective anti-drug programs in the UN system. That coordination is needed now, more than ever, as we integrate law enforcement, public health, alternative development, and other responses in support of drug control objectives. With this in mind, we have introduced a resolution at this session of the CND to help clarify and encourage coordination within the UN system on drug control matters, in line with the UNGASS outcome document.
At the same time, we remain concerned that obstacles preventing the full implementation of Umoja continue to negatively affect the delivery of UNODC programming, particularly in the field. This is a disadvantage to an organization that is known for its high quality, field-based technical assistance programs. We understand that Umoja will improve transparency and verifiability in project accounting over the medium-to-long term and therefore we continue support to full implementation. To facilitate this goal, we will continue to express our concerns about Umoja’s current implementation, challenges, including training for affected staff, impacts on the timeliness of program delivery, and system functionality, particularly with regard to replacing ProFi with the Umoja Dashboard for the same purpose of tracking donor funding and project implementation.
The United States is a strong supporter of a culture of monitoring and evaluation. We encourage UNODC to continue to conduct evaluations at the program and project level that adhere to rigorous norms and standards in consultation with the Independent Evaluation Unit. This work includes developing strong performance indicators to ensure that program performance is properly measured and collecting quality data that feeds into evaluation.
With regard to staff composition, in terms of both gender balance and geographical representation, the United States supports efforts to develop comprehensive diversity, recruitment, and workforce planning strategies, while recognizing the paramount focus on selecting candidates should be based on merit and competence, as enshrined in Article 101 of the UN Charter.
In this context, we are proud to support the upcoming launch of a Vienna chapter of International Gender Champions, including the establishment of baselines for Gender Champions commitments on gender parity and gender considerations in programming. We also support UNODC’s continuing efforts towards gender mainstreaming in its programs, consistent with the 2013 Guidance Note for UNODC Staff entitled “Gender Mainstreaming in the Work of UNDOC.”
In closing, let me reiterate the deep and abiding importance the United States attaches to UNODC. The organization remains a critical source of anti-drug expertise and delivery of effective technical assistance worldwide.