Plenary Item 4. Strategic management, budgetary and administrative questions (continued)

(a) Work of the standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

CND Chair: Let me clarify what is the vote. The vote is to decide that we don’t take action on the designation of the EEG representative to FINGOV. Only the 53 members of the Commission can vote, and only those present in the room. A majority will prevail. Members abstaining will be considered as not voting. The quorum is 27 members in the room – which is the case. We ask you to indicate your votes by raising country signs.

Vote:

Members in favour of the Russian proposal: China, Iran, Russian Federation, South Africa, Kazakhstan

Members against: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United State, Uruguay

Abstaining: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey

CND Chair: There is a clear majority against and the motion is therefore rejected.

Pakistan: We abstained from the vote due to the quick turnaround.

Russia: In accordance with Rule 60 the Russian Federation would like to make a statement in explanation of vote. We’d like to note that the Russian motion to postpone the discussions stemmed from a desire to preserve the Vienna spirit and was in no way preventing elections to the FINGOV bureau. We want to bureau to represent the interest of all countries. We note that the current session of CND was politicised from the very beginning, as recognised by the Lithuanian delegation who recognised that their decision to stand for election stems from the political situation in Ukraine. We were against taking our proposal to this vote. As a result of this lack of unanimity, we voted in favour of postponing discussions on this matter, to time a balanced and sensible decision.

CND Chair: Let me note that Rule 60 does not provide for an explanation of vote. Also rules should not be invoked lightly.

The motion being rejected, we turn back to the proceedings we were following before. The plenary is to endorse the 4 nominations brought forward by the CND bureau. That is so decided. Thank you.

In accordance with Rule 66 of the Rules of Procedure the Commission will hold a secret ballot election on Thursday 17 March at 2pm in our plenary session, to elect a candidate for the outstanding position. You will be required to be in the room in person

(b) Directives on policy and budgetary issues for the drug programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

(c) Working methods of the Commission

(d) Staff composition of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other related matters.

Chair: Also for consideration is a note by the Secretariat on the work of FINGOV contained in document A/CN77/2022/3/C7 and 15/2022/3 I will invite one of the vice chairs of the working group, Ambassador Solano Ortiz to inform the Commission on the latest developments of the work in the group.

Vice Chair, FINGOV: the working group held meetings on 18 October and November 26, 2021. The working group also held informal consultations on the 4th, 16th, 21 and 24th of November on the draft resolution containing the Report of the Executive Director for the consolidated budget for the biennium. In the period under consideration, conducted in rounds of informal consultations to review the functioning of the working group in the period beyond 2021 – On 8th November immediately after the suspension of the 26th informal meeting, and in the framework of a standalone meeting. As a result of these consultations, two documents were submitted to the reconvened 64th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the reconvened third session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in December 21.This year, the dialogue with the executive director was held on February 4th. The new format of the dialogue facilitated an interactive exchange between the Executive Director and member states on strategic matters related to the governance and financial situation with the office. I believe that the dialogues represent a unique opportunity for delegations to engage in an open discussion with the executive director on important aspects of the office. And it’s crucial that we continue conducting this dialogue in the future. On 7 and 8 February, the working group held its first regular meeting which thanks to the new format resulted in two days of very interesting and lively discussions, as demonstrated by active engagement of member states arranged q&a sessions. Let me share a few words on the new former – In light with the ECOSOC decision all items under consideration during the two days were grouped into two parts, one operational part and one pragmatic part. Under the pragmatic part, the working group received comprehensive updates for the working undertaking by delving into thematic areas, crime prevention and criminal justice, harm prevention and countering terrorism bill. The presentations on the programmatic part also incorporated important elements related to evaluation or research activities in the relevant areas, providing thoroughly comprehensive update on the issue for the thematic field. Under the operational part, the working group erupted the provisional program of war for the period from February to December 22. Discussions also resolved around implementation or the you know, the strategic financial and governance impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the work of the office.

Chair: Commission also has before it a note by the Secretariat on the proposed program, plan and budget for 2023, Document A/C/7/2022/12/E/C and 15/2022/12

UNODC: The UNODC strategy 2021-2025 and the annual program plan and budget provide a robust strategic framework to delineate UNODC´s mission, enhance accountability and transparency and improve efficiency to better serve our member states. In this fast changing times, the implementation of the commitment in the UNODC strategy is on track with concrete achievements and milestones presented to member states at FINGOV earlier this year. The second year of the pandemic continue to affect program delivery, although improvements could be seen overall. In 2021, program delivery reached $297.3 million, an increase of $36.5 million compared to 2020. The increase in program delivery resulted in higher income earned in 2021, in the amount of $29.9 million – thanks to the temporary cost saving measures introduced in 2020. Program support costs expenditures stood at $23.2 million. The general purpose fund income reached $5 million, a mere 1.2% of the total income of UNODC in the framework of the UNODC strategy for 2021 to 2025. And the review of its funding model, UNODC introduces a pilot for direct cost recovery of selected support services. UNODC will continue to review organizational processes and structures and to develop income growth strategies through the UNODC fundraising plan. The UN obviously continues to promote gender parity and geographical diversity amongst the staff, as well as further strengthening female representation at the P5 level and in UNODC field offices. Ensuring the workforces mental health and wellbeing also continues to be of major importance and focus of attention, particularly with regard to upholding the organization’s zero tolerance policy with respect to discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority and promoting an enabling working environment.

Chair: Open floor for interventions.

Japan: UNODC has demonstrated its ability to respond accurately to significant setbacks such as pandemic and the collapse of the Afghan government, through its strong network of field offices around the world, and dedicated staff at headquarter. Despite financial challenges. my delegation is pleased to announce that Japan has committed to assist in the office with approximately $11 million contribution this year for activities on the ground, including responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. As we have stressed many times, it is crucial that the transparency and accountability, are guaranteed throughout the entire phase of the office´s, operational activities in order to enable, flexible, and timely responses.

China: my delegation notes with appreciation that UNODC in 2021 rolled out a new toolkit on synthetic drugs with a Chinese website, offering cross cutting services to assist the states in conducting evidence based synthetic drug prevention, treatment, and yield the synthetic drug strategy 2021 to 2025 providing valuable guidance to states on strengthening relevant work. At the same time and given the scale of the grim situation with regard to illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse in Southeast Asia, The Golden Triangle in particular, was addressed. UNODC continued to produce the effective role and provide more support to the region in terms of technical human and financial resources and policy. China supports the UN to offshore funding for UNODC from the regular budget and expects the office to improve geographical representation in recruiting international staff and further enhance the transparency of human resources and financial management. We commend UNODC for organizing the preparation and publication of annual World drug reports in this regard was a test of strengthening or strengthen the quality control a cultural approach to and responsible handling of sources and characterization of data will provide information sharing and consultation with member states in order to avoid the bias and misunderstanding and ensure an objective reflection of the latest developments and trends in the global drug situation.

Pakistan: Under the policy guidance of this Commission, the drug program of the UNODC is contributing effectively in addressing and countering the world drug problem through its various endeavors in the areas of drug supply reduction, demand reduction, regional and international cooperation and other related matters. The Government of Pakistan and UNODC country office of Pakistan have recently jointly formulated and signed a country program fee to address the relevant challenges being faced by Pakistan. this year in view of the prevalent challenges, we would recommend this commission for allocation of appropriate resources for countering the world drug problem. greater focus on strengthening the capabilities of train shows and transit countries in accordance with the level of threat. They are confronting and proportionate to their contribution to the cost. The sponsoring and accelerating research and development for effective drug detection scanners and related gadgets international assistance to be in accordance with the needs and requirement of the country’s organizations being supported, encouraging that movement of the staff in UNODC and INCB on wide geographical basis as well as from developing unrepresented and underrepresented countries allocating more resources to UNODC to promote youth related initiative

Kenya: Strategic Vision is commendable considering the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic. In the face of this encounter, UNODC has ensured that attainment of its objectives, secure necessary budgetary resources expanded its outreach and technical assistance programs for the 2021-25 period as well as the strategic vision for Africa 2030, that prioritizes the achievement of the sustainable development goals as well as the champion against the the international drug problem, transnational organized crime, illicit financial flows and the fight against corruption. Kenya is open for cooperation and collaboration with the member states to support think of as a tool to improve governance and the financial situation of UNODC. Kenya has also received technical support from the UNODC through its during an office towards countering the world drug problem. Lastly, Kenya is glad to see the leadership from the Global South and wishes to thank member states for recognizing the unique and constructive contributions. In conclusion, we appeal to see more diversity within the framework of UNODC at all levels were a lens to enhance to graphical and greater inclusion on the question of the composition of the current FINGOV.

Burkina Faso: This group has shown itself to be relevant as a framework for dialogue between member states and the UNODC on issues relating to governance of the office chair over the past few years the UNODC has made significant efforts when it comes to providing technical assistance to states as well as in carrying out concrete activities on the ground. My delegation would like to welcome the UNODC strategy for 2021-2025 and the strategic vision for Africa 2030 as well as processes underway in other regions the implementation of ambitious approaches contained within these visions should be carried out in line with state’s national priorities and policies regarding the global drugs problem, the fight against organized crime, corruption, terrorism, and also the improvement of criminal justice. Regarding staffing, my delegation recognizes that UNODC has made efforts to ensure balanced gender representation. However, gaps between different regions remain significant. And this is why we would like to make a call to improve recruitment policies by taking appropriate measures to achieve equitable and balanced geographical representation within delegation.

United States: 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. The United States is deeply concerned about the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The devastating consequences have included UNODC has reduced ability to provide capacity building services and direct disruptions to UNODC staff and programs. This has left at risk populations, such as those living with HIV/AIDS or 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 that it should not supersede them. We note with appreciation UNODC`s efforts to implement its 2021 to 2025 corporate strategy. The strategies 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 cost cutting strategies and to make smart spending decisions to maintain high standards for program implementation and performance where 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 Commission.

Russia: Russia is one of the 10 top donors to the office and every year provides extra budgetary contributions to the consolidated budget that June of 2 million US dollars. These funds are used in priority for preventing drug abuse among young people, preparing and training Counter Narcotics Officers and and supporting our partner countries in Central Asia. We’re also assisting the INCB in ensuring the implementation of the three drug control conventions ensuring the availability of medicine. We highly appreciate the efforts of the leadership of the office in terms of promoting and improving their independence and getting away from a situation where they are depending overly on the actual budget contributions for the INCB. We are grateful to the INCB for and the NADC for continuing to inform member states about the impact of COVID-19 on the programmatic activities and the comments regarding the the reforms UN system – we hope to see will pay attention to all key thrusts of the strategy for bearing in mind the needs of recipient countries. The Russian Federation supports the activities of the informal open ended Working Group on administrative and budgetary matters under the UNODC called fingov. We consider this group as an important format for supporting regular dialogue between member states and for monitoring budget execution. We need the Secretary to ensure the continuity of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies during the pandemic. Russia focuses on the importance of the principle of multilingualism in the work with the Commission. Therefore it is important that all the meetings and meeting documents can be interpreted and translated into all UN official languages, including Russian. We not with concern, the fact that there have been some temporary problems in terms of the interpretation of meetings, some meetings were not interpreted into UN official languages. We hope that these matters will be covered in the budget. Furthermore, we hope that all staffing matters will be considered in keeping with article 101 of the UN Charter. We’d like to note here the importance of geographical distribution of staff members from all regions of the world. Thank you.

Jamaica: Jamaica supports efficient and targeted implementation of strategy and welcomes into priority focus on adressing the world’s drug problem by promoting integrated cross sectoral solutions through enhanced multilateral cooperation and partnerships. The cross cutting commitment leads to human rights gender equality, and youth empowerment are also critically important. We also support the recent launch of the UNODC´s strategic vision for Latin America and the Caribbean to complement the strategy and support member states in the region in confronting the evolving challenges in accordance with UNODC mandates in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We commend the efforts of the UNODC towards achieving greater gender balance and geographical representation of the staff. Despite this, the law gender parity at certain staff levels as well as representation from unrepresented and underrepresented member seats remain of concern. We therefore encourage the UN ODC to ramp up its efforts to achieve gender parity and geographical diversity. Including through the recruitment of suitable and qualified candidates from the Caribbean sub region. we note with concern that despite the efforts of the UNODC to increase funding, and partnerships, the financial situation remains vulnerable to make calls on major development partners to provide sustainable predictable and flexible funding to assist the office with the effective implementation of its mandates and programs, as well as fulfill other key operational functions. decisive action is required as the low levels of unmarked funding continues to undermine implementation

South Africa: My delegation commensd the use of digital platforms as they have enabled participation of delegations not based in Vienna. This has allowed for the activity and establishment of multi dimensional views on dealing with the drug problem. My delegation supports the Working Group on improving governance and financial situation of the UNODC. The working group provides a platform of all delegation and constructively engage with issues related to governance and financial situation of UNODC. The engagement between member states in the Secretariat through the working group provide us developing countries not only the seat at the table, but also the right to raise our issues and recommendations. My delegation is concerned about the decrease of funds in support of efforts aimed at mobilizing more sufficient, adequate, sustained and predictable funding for the UNODC that enable the Secretariat to provide desperately needed technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries upon their request. While we acknowledge progress in graphical representation, and gender balance in the UNODC, South Africa reiterates called for in leveling geographic representation and gender balance in recruitment of staff for goal of equitable geographical representation.

Dejusticia: I am speaking to you on behalf of Elementa, the Center for Drug and Security Studies of the Universidad de los Andes, the International Drug Policy Consortium, and Dejusticia.

In relation to item 4b, we will refer to the recent presentation of the Strategic Vision for Latin America and the Caribbean 2022-2025. The strategy prioritizes four areas, which in general terms focus on organized crime and criminal justice issues. Due to the importance of the technical support that UNODC provides to countries for the development of drug policies, we present some comments on its implementation.

We express our concern that this strategy does not fully reflect the important links between drug policy, the Sustainable Development Goals and the fulfillment of human rights. There are serious omissions in the document in relation to sustainable rural development and the right to health for people who use drugs. These gaps ultimately point to a glaring absence: the role of the UNODC in promoting the UN Common Position on drug policy in the region. We recall that the Common Position underlines that “the international drug treaties, international human rights treaties and other relevant instruments, and the 2030 Agenda are complementary and mutually reinforcing.”

The regional strategy does not translate this comprehensive vision. Instead, it focuses almost exclusively on issues of security, criminal justice, and crime. And does so in a way that obscures the pressing need of addressing the underlying causes of illicit conduct and behavior, which often relate to poverty, inequality, and lack of opportunities.

In addition to these gaps, the vision for the region omits two major challenges that deserve attention:

  1. The promotion of context based strategies and policies to guarantee the highest possible level of health for people who use drugs. Including through the decriminalization of personal use and harm reduction strategies (especially for smokeable cocaine products and including substance analysis and supervised consumption rooms). These are all urgently needed, which is why we call on the UNODC to, according to its mandate, provide technical guidance on their development in the region.
  2. The promotion of better and effective alternative development policies, based on local contexts, and in compliance with human rights standards. Experience shows that comprehensive rural development can reduce the reliance on the illicit  coca economy. In countries like Colombia, the UNODC is key to supporting the State’s efforts to reduce the use of coercive tools, such as aerial spraying and forced manual eradication, which have been linked to serious human rights violations.

Finally, related to this point we would like to underscore a recent decision by Colombia’s Constitutional Court  that puts an end to aerial spraying with glyphosate in the country. This strategy, which carries dramatic social, health and environmental costs, was halted in response to a request for legal review by peasant and social organizations demanding their right to participation, right to health, and right to a healthy environment. The decision is a reminder of the crucial role that must be given to directly-affected populations in the design and coordination of drug policy, and we hope that the following months will allow us to continue deepening the implementation of concerted substitution strategies, which lead to better results, and above all, to peacebuilding.

CND Chair: I will suspend now this agenda item and we will resume it on Thursday at 4pm, to conduct the elections to the representative of the EEG group, for which there are two candidates.

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