Item 4. Strategic management, budgetary and administrative questions

(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 remember that at the Reconvened CND64 we all agreed to extend the mandate of FINGOV and to ammed its working methods. This makes for a new era for FINGOC, as its mandate now doesn’t have any term limit. Paragraph e of the corresponding ECOSOC decision reads as follows: ‘The Working Group will be led by a bureau comprising one chair and vice-chairs representing the regional groups. Positions will rotate annually according to regional representation.’ UK Ambassador was nominated to the position of chair of FINGOV, and ambassador of Kenya was nominated to first vice-chair. The chair of the Eastern European Group submitted a nomination for the chair of the Russian delegation. These nominations were put forward by the extended bureau. Last Friday, the chair of EEG submitted by note verbal another nomination from the group – namely the representative of Lativa. On the 15 March, the joint bureaus of CND and CCPCJ after joint consideration have agreed to put forward the two candidates put forward the two candidates for decision. Our commission will need to conduct an election. In order to give time for countries to consult capitals we will have the elections on Thursday 2pm time, and CoW will be postpone during that moment.

We invite the Commission to elect all the other representatives right now.

Russia: Good governance of UNODC is an important part of the mandate of this Commission. We support the work of FINGOV, which has been working effectively since 2011. To our deep regret the extremely politicised atmosphere created by some delegations has created a space where we cannot make neutral decision. We regret that another candidate from the EEG has emerged, while no objections had been received to our candidacy. This very short deadline has prevented us from reaching a consensus.  Having this election will not strengthen FINGOV, but undermine it. Following rule 48 of the Rules of Procedure, Russia would like to make a proposal for the postponement of any decisions on the make-up of the bureau to the next session. This will make us time to make a balanced, reasonable and impartial decision.

Latvia: Our candidacy responds to an extraordinary situation that did not exist when the appointment of the Russian candidate. Of course Russia’s determination to follow the Rules of Procedure should give us some hope. But before the Rules of Procedure come the UN Charter. Latvia reaffirms its faith in the dignity and worth of the human. We ask for CND’s support for Latvia’s candidacy for FINGOV.

Canada: Could you clarify if the nomination of Latvia is against the rules of procedure?

CND Chair: We will reply to both of your questions, also the question from Russia on Rule 48. I can however read to you Rule 48:  No discussions on such motions can be admitted. This is of course a nuclear option, which means that we are expected to vote on whether we are to adjourn the session immediately. Oh did you mean to Rule 49? Rule 49 means that a representative can seek the adjournment of the item of CND at any moment.

Russia: We would like to clarify that we were referring to Rule 49 of the Rules of Procedure for ECOSOC. Our proposal is that the discussion will postponed by consensus to the Reconvened session.

Malta: We propose that the decision on the Russian proposal is done on Thursday not today, so that we can consult capitals.

CND Chair: I will adjourn our debate at the moment and ask us to reconvene later on. I will however answer the question asked by Canada. Members of the Bureau will be nominated by the Extended Bureau and endorsed at the Plenary sessions. So that might make it impossible to have the decision during the Reconvened session. But we need legal advice. I am however ready to put Russia’s decision to the vote. I muss however point out that this morning the two bureaus who are the decision-making bodies for these organs have come to a proposal, so we cannot simply ignore a decision taken this morning to propose nominations of candidates.

Russia: Russia was not consulted on the decision of the extended bureau. We have a question for the CND Secretariat. Is it expected that plenary sessions will be held during the Reconvened session.

Secretary: The question is whether in the Reconvened there are plenary meetings of CND. Is that the question? Yes. There are plenary meetings during the Reconvened of the CND in December.

Ukraine: Small remarks on the wording of the Russian representative. With the Note Verbale, Ukraine informed the Eastern European Group’s Chair that there is no consensus on the candidate. We have not objected to the nomination of the Russian Federation. WE simply did not support this candidate.

United Kingdom: If we postpone until December, the whole cycle of FINGOV meetings is missed and the EEG has no representation as planned, so it’s better and desirable to make the decision now and then.

Chair: It is our view that we need time for consultations. I’ll adjourn the meeting and reconvene it at 14.00 this afternoon and we can proceed to a vote under Rule 49 as to whether we adjourn the debate on item 4a. That vote will be by a show of hands. We’ll take due account of representatives online. Actually, no, the vote has to be in person. I’m adjourning the meeting now. An in-person vote will have to take place under Rule 49, which is entered by the Russian Federation, to adjourn the debate of item 4a to the December Reconvened Session.

Brazil: Clarification – The discussion is just on the vacancy discussed, is it right?

Chair: No. Before that decision, one Member State invoked Rule 49. Before we can proceed with what I had been explaining on item 4a. To adjourn the debate meant to be had to the next session in December. That is the vote that we will carry in person in this room at 14:00.

Russian Federation: We propose that we take up the proposal from the United States and that we adjourn voting on this matter until Thursday and that today we continue discussing the remainder of Item 4.

Sweden: I am a little bit confused. Please, allow me to get some clarity. The proposal of the Russian Federation is that we postpone the decision on the whole composition of the bureau of FINGOV until December. Can you explain to me and others what would be consisting the bureau of FINGOV until December. How will the meetings be conducted? Sweden attaches great importance to the work of FINGOV. We don’t want to postpone until then.

Chair: Russian Federation – You ask for a motion on Rule 49. You have also asked that we don’t stick to the wording of Rule 49 (which demands immediate vote) but rather vote on Thursday. Clarify your position. Is it Rule 49 to vote at 14:00. Or addressing Item 4a on Thursday afternoon, which is not consistent with Rule 49.

Russian Federation: Two questions were brought to us, from Sweden and yourself. First, on the functioning of FINGOV in the absence of one of the members of the Bureau (EEG) – We recall at the beginning of this year, FINGOV held one meeting in the absence of the elected members of the Bureau. Moreover, the Bureau is a newly established body and for a long time FINGOV operated without a Bureau. Any concerns that the absence of a Bureau will impair FINGOV is from our standpoint unsubstantiated and unfounded. With respect to voting, initially the Russian delegation proposed on the basis of Rule 49 that we decide the matter of adjourning this point by consensus; because it was not possible, it transpired that this would require a vote. That is our proposal, to postpone the vote on the adjournment from today to Thursday. If there are any further issues, we stand ready to respond.

Chair: As to your first point – FINGOV had a meeting but the Bureau was constituted pending formal decision by this Commission. The Russian Federation itself had proposed a name to fill the EEG seat; a spontaneous proposal. But to now present that proposal as a formal decision is not in conformity with the rules. We have not decided on the Bureau of FINGOV. We’re about to do it here. That is the whole essence of the ECOSOC decision. That it is this Commission who decides. We will not play on words here. If you use the word endorsed as meaning this was a final decision, then that is not the right interpretation of the Rules of Procedure, because that could mean that a Member State could decide for the Commission. It’s not correct to present the composition of FINGOV as it is now as final composition. The Plenary decides otherwise, that composition would change. The best you can present is that, pending a decision of the Commission during its plenary session, there was a provisional Bureau, which worked with the goodwill of everybody. This is in conformity with the Rules of Procedure. As to Rule 49, having consulted briefly with the Secretariat, we are held by the rules. And you cannot say ‘I invoke Rule 49 but in doing so, interpret it, don’t put it to vote immediately but do it on Thursday’. No. Either invoke it, and vote immediately. Or let’s interpret it liberally and move it to Thursday. I have great respect for the adherence to procedure that your country always shows. This should apply here. Let’s not interpret the rules liberally. Literally it says: ‘A representative may move the adjournment of the debate on the item of discussion. Permission to speak on the motion given to two representatives favouring and two of adjourning. The vote should be put immediately. I’ll ask the floor for a representative who favours adjournment, as proposed by the Russian Federation. And two opposing. And then we will vote. I don’t see anyone proposing the adjournment. Anyone in the room or online? With this, I think we have given full extent of the possibility of Rule 49 allowing us. So I will come back to the proposal I just made. We adjourn now because it’s 12:00. I see Guatemala.

Guatemala: Thank you for guiding our work. I’m sorry you’re having the same experience as I did last year at CCPCJ. Given that Guatemala is not a member of CND for this period, I’m simply taking the floor not to respond to the request by the Russian Federation but to appeal to CND members the repercussions of the decision they want to make . This is the CCPCJ situation last year. Unprecedented precedent. All found ourselves facing a difficulty in providing a legal interpretation of the rule. We had to contact the OLA on how to proceed. It was the first time in the history of CCPCJ that this appeared. Appeal to responsibility to proceed cautiously and proceed with care to avoid hindering. We have talked at length about the infamous ‘spirit of Vienna’. That decision needs to be taken by the Plenary of the CCPCJ also. And may be gavelled at the joint session of CND and CCPCJ. It would not seem fair or correct for a regional group to lack timely representation of a significant body of FINGOV. Last year it was the 3rd Vice Chair of CCPCJ. Now it’s FINGOV. All Member States must be represented. Why did we establish a Bureau of five regions then? Let’s refrain from decisions that will have a lasting negative impact on our work.

Chair: we have a similar situation with the Bureau of CND. We found a solution there, with the 2nd Vice Chair. I want to close this matter. I’m grateful for Guatemala’s point. We have a request on Rule 49. We have to follow the Rules. If the CND does not accept this motion, we go back to agenda 4.a. At 14:00 after making the decision on Rule 49. I propose that the session this afternoon considers Rule 49. I hope this is clear. I understand the confusion. 

Chile: We support what was said by the Guatemalan representatives. We are concerned that a decision might be taken and delegations (…). 

Chair: The rules are clear. One member state has exercised their right under Rule 49. That is a motion. A decision must be taken on that motion. Rule 49 says this should be put to the vote immediately. Therefore we need to decide, at 14:00 on this motion. The motion is that discussion of agenda point 4a be adjourned to a later session. That is the decision before us at 14:00. The CND has 53 member states. Those states will vote and the majority quorum is 27. The vote is Members present and voting. 53 of which are present and voting. The majority is 27. Based on who is present we will see the outcome of that vote. And then come back to a normal agenda item.

Russian Federation: Given the circumstances, we would call your attention to the fact that this meeting of the CND is conducted in a hybrid format. IN this regard, the Russian delegation is not able to participate in this meeting and has to present at this meeting in a hybrid format. Because our representation in Vienna is quite small and not able to vote and in this regard we believe that under the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID pandemic, we need some time to prepare for a vote. To this regard, we request to adjourn, postpone the voting on this item until Thursday, since we need time to prepare for the vote.

Chair: I see my colleague in the chair of the Russian Federation. You are in the room. Unless you are saying that the person in Russia’s seat isn’t representing them. That argument is not valid. I’m confused. You invoke Rule 49. You are allowed. You have read it before invoking it. Like I have three times. It says ‘put to the vote immediately’. It is not respectful to play and say you need to do it on Thursday. I’m willing to concede your right under Rule 49 but not to play with the Rules of this CND. I recognise a representative of the Russian Federation in the room, the person is sitting in the room. And you’ve put a motion. Russia is allowed by the Chair to put forward that rule. I adjourned this meeting. At 14:00, your motion will be voted. On whether we adjourn or not the consideration of Item 4.a. That is the motion under Rule 49 and will be voted at 14:00. Thank you.

Netherlands: Just to seek clarification on the effect of Rule 49. When you said that the motion would be adopted, we’d have to postpone it to a later sesion. Given the fact that the Reconvened would be part of the 65th Session of CND, would that mean that having the appointment of FINGOV Vice Chair would take place in the next session? 66th Session?

Chair: I have not heard during this discussion any mention including by the Russian Federation of the 66th session. By inference, the Chair starts from the assumption that the move to adjourn, which we will vote at 14:00, concerns the 65th Session. If I interpret correctly, Rule 49 move implies we cannot decide now and we would adjourn to a later moment of this session.

Venezuela: We note that there is no consensus in the room. This is a situation that has arisen within the EEG. My question is: Could the group decide itself and the rest of the Bureau is not affected by this decision. This is a viable solution rather than pressing ahead with a motion that we are not fully prepared for and for which there is no consensus.

Chair: It is a valid point addressed by the joint Bureaus this morning. They said EEG would not be able to achieve consensus. You cannot ask a regional group to wait indefinitely when there’s a point in the agenda. Agenda 4a is with us. We have to decide. That’s why the joint bureaus met this morning. And why we asked the EEG to offer a solution. The Group said now. Which is why I put to the commission that there will be a choice between two candidates.

Venezuela: We understand but express our position for your consideration here and by the Plenary, not as CND members. This isn’t something that arises exclusively from CND. My regional group encountered an equally difficult situation. We were able to find a solution. 

Chair: If EEG wants to take the floor, they’re welcome.

Iran: First, it is regrettable that the spirit of Vienna has been broken recently in the CCPCJ and here. The CND and other bodies are consensus based. I’d support the Venezuela proposal in the spirit of Vienna and refer this to the EEG.

Chair: EEG representative? I suggest that Venezuela and IRan to make the point to the EEG Chair.

Lithuania: There is no consensus in the Group. There will be no consensus. We have considered the matter. We endorse the position of putting this for a vote as quickly as possible.

Chair: What is on the agenda now is the motion under Rule 49. The CND is to express itself and vote under Rule 49. On the basis of the vote, we will see how or if we address Agenda 4a. Under this point we can come to some consideration on how regional groups function. It is obvious that the Chair, if the motion is rejected, will continue to address agenda 4.a as expressed this morning. We start at 14:00 with an in-person vote on Rule 49 – motion on whether we adjourn the consideration of Item 4a at a later date. Based on that vote, we resume the agenda. Thank you.

(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.

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