Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

UNODC and the UN Development and Security Agenda:

Delivering on Priorities

Address to the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly

New York , 6 October 2010

 

 

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

UNODC is dedicated to promoting justice, security and health for all. The global challenges that we address-drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism-are an integral part of the United Nations development and security agenda.

 

In the coming months and years, I will build on the policy advances that UNODC has achieved, and maintain the centrality of human rights, the rule of law and public health in our work.

 

In my first weeks in office, I have been engaging in extensive consultations, including at the MDG Summit in New York last month, where I met with some 40 senior officials from Member States and the UN. I was pleased to see that UNODC enjoys a very high reputation among Member States and international organizations.

 

At the same time, I have been hearing concerns about the threat that organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, human trafficking and corruption pose to development and security. These concerns were raised at the MDG Summit, but I've also been hearing them from government and UN officials, civil society, and the private sector.

 

Development needs security to succeed. It needs solid, functioning institutions grounded in the rule of law.  What do I mean by the rule of law?  I see it as a social contract between a state and its citizens. One in which no one is above the law, and everyone is entitled to access to justice and basic human rights. The rule of law is what holds states together, ensuring security and stability.

 

At the core of all UNODC's mandates is a commitment to human rights and the rule of law. We advocate a preventive approach to protecting individuals, families and communities from organized crime and corruption; from drug dealers, narcotics addiction and HIV; from being trafficked or smuggled; and from terrorism and other forms of violence.  And we support the construction of effective, transparent and accountable systems of criminal justice.

 

Three indivisible pillars of our work-research; implementation of the conventions; and operations in the field-are critical to our role assisting Member States in formulating and implementing policies.

 

UNODC promotes security and development by focusing on five thematic areas:

1. putting a stop to organized crime and trafficking in illicit drugs, weapons and human beings;

2. building up criminal justice systems and preventing crime;

3. tackling corruption;

4. preventing drug use and the spread of HIV among vulnerable groups;

5. preventing terrorism.

 

 

 

All of these issues are connected, so we cannot address them in isolation. They are also transnational. And they are too big for countries to confront on their own.

 

Consider organized crime, including corruption. Organized crime thrives on instability, especially in fragile states, and states engaged in or emerging from conflict.  Corruption undermines institutions.

 

In June, UNODC released the first comprehensive global threat assessment of transnational organized crime. This report shows that organized crime has gone global and is now one of the world's foremost economic and armed powers.

 

Organized crime and corrupt institutions can be challenged only if countries display a collective will to confront them; we must redouble collective efforts to ensure the efficient implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption.

 

Next month the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime convenes in Vienna. I am confident that the Convention will emerge stronger and vested with a renewed commitment from all its Parties. It is time to achieve concrete results to ensure the effective implementation of this powerful instrument.

 

We can already see this happening with human trafficking.

 

The United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 July 2010, and it is an impressive achievement. It demonstrates the political commitment of all Member States to end human trafficking through the adoption of a coordinated, comprehensive and consistent call for action. The plan also recognizes the human rights-based approach in its implementation, which UNODC welcomes.

 

One of the plan's most important elements is the establishment of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking, which we hope to launch next month. The Trust Fund will provide humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of human trafficking through governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

 

In December, UN.GIFT (the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) and the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement will host an international forum in Luxor to mobilize support for enforcement of the Protocol at the highest levels around the world.

 

In all of these anti-human trafficking efforts, the focus is on people-on women, men and children. Victims of trafficking should not be treated as criminals, even if they have been forced to engage in criminal acts.

 

UNODC likewise considers universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for drug users to be a human right. That's why we launched a joint program with the World Health Organization to provide humane and accessible science-based treatment and care to people with drug dependence and drug-related diseases (particularly HIV) in low- and middle-income countries. The goal of this programme is to rehabilitate drug users and reintegrate them into their communities.  Illicit drug use and drug dependence should be considered a health issue, not a crime. The real criminals are the drug traffickers.

 

We take a similar approach to HIV, which drug use is helping to spread in many parts of the world. HIV is a public health issue. We promote a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, treatment and care that integrates prevention of drug use and treatment of drug dependence.

 

But how does drug use tie in to global security?  Demand for illicit drugs-cocaine, heroin, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants-drives the international drug trade.  Drug traffickers take advantage of instability, poverty, lawlessness and corruption to operate their businesses.

 

Just look at Afghanistan. Transnational criminal groups smuggle drugs derived from Afghan poppies through neighbouring countries and on to Russia, Europe and other regions. As underscored by the 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey, the link between opium poppy cultivation and insecurity in Afghanistan remains strong. And as we all know, insecurity in Afghanistan impacts the wider region and beyond.

 

It is in the interest of the entire international community to help and support Afghanistan. Thus we must help Afghanistan to spread the rule of law and security throughout the country.

 

But we must also not forget the consumer side of opium's deadly equation. Unless we reduce demand for opium and heroin, our interventions against supply will not be effective. As long as demand drives this market, there will always be another farmer to replace one we convince to stop growing poppies, and another trafficker to replace one we catch.

 

Finally a word about preventing terrorism.  UNODC's global programme has assisted 168 countries to improve their legal regime for countering terrorism, organized 98 sub-regional or regional thematic workshops to strengthen international cooperation and provided more than 10,000 criminal justice officials with substantive training on specialized counterterrorism areas.  We have re-engineered our business model to make it more closely linked to the regional programme framework.  But the demands from Member States for this type of assistance only continue to grow at a pace that outstrips available resources.

 

*     *     *

 

The global challenges that UNODC addresses-drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism-are all crucial concerns. Indeed, they are among the eight priorities identified in the Secretary-General's strategic framework for 2010-2011.

 

Yet the General Assembly allocates less than 1 percent of the UN regular budget to UNODC. If the threats to development and security that we are tackling are so urgent, then surely UNODC requires a larger share of the UN regular budget.

 

Meanwhile, demand for our work continues to grow. We have countries in Central Asia, West Africa, Central America and other regions asking UNODC to help them. Yet the more demand for our services grows, the more precarious our core operations become.

 

If UNODC is to remain viable in the long run, we need a funding model that is sustainable, predictable and stable, combining additional regular budget resources with voluntary contributions that will strengthen our institutional capacity to deliver, manage and monitor UNODC's technical assistance programmes.

 

Last year, for the first time in UNODC history, the General Assembly expressed concern about our financial situation when it adopted the overall budget of the United Nations Secretariat for 2010-2011. We appreciate the Resolution of the Fifth Committee to look at ways to ensure that UNODC has a sound funding base so that it will be able to fulfil its mandates.

 

I intend to work closely with Member States to further improve our financial base, as well as our governance structure. Last month in New York, I discussed these issues extensively with my colleagues in UN management, as well as with some heads of delegation.

 

I fully realize that attracting more resources will require continued excellence and concrete and sustainable results. In this respect, I will build on the reforms that have been implemented in recent years, notably the integrated programmatic approach to delivering capacity-developing assistance in alignment with thematic and geographical priorities. I also intend to ensure that our work provides good value for money, including through a robust independent evaluation mechanism.

 

A number of positive steps have already been taken-including a major cost-cutting effort in 2009-and that there has been some progress in broadening the donor base. But we must keep looking for new opportunities for cost-efficiency and new sources of funding.  Our motto should be: "spend less, achieve more."

 

Because of the urgency of our situation, I intend to spend most of my time and energy in Vienna. Of course my duties will require me to undertake some travels, but I will limit my trips to high-priority purposes. I need to be in Vienna to steer our ship and keep it on course.

 

I ask you for your support in this effort.