Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

Remarks at the Reconvened 53 rd Session

of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Vienna , 2 December 2010

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you today. I just returned last night from my first field mission to West and Central Asia. The chief focus of my mission was the threat to security and development posed by drugs originating in Afghanistan.

Because the illicit drug trade is so tightly entwined with security in Afghanistan, a comprehensive strategy is needed. The international community shares responsibility for confronting this enormous challenge to international security.

In Islamabad, I attended a very productive ministerial meeting of the Triangular Initiative, which fosters intelligence sharing and joint counter-narcotics operations among Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. UNODC has played a key role in establishing and supporting this successful initiative, and I am pleased to report that the three partners have agreed to expand their counter-narcotics cooperation to make it more practical and more results-oriented.

In Kabul, I met with President Karzai, other senior Afghan officials, the leadership of UNAMA, NATO/ISAF, and ambassadors from Afghanistan's key international partners. I underscored UNODC's commitment to continue to support the Afghan Government in confronting in a comprehensive way drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and other challenges.

In Kazakhstan, I visited the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), and in Tajikistan, I had the opportunity to meet with President Rahmon and the heads of the Drug Control Agency and Ministry of Interior. I also travelled to the Tajik-Afghan border to see control efforts to prevent drug smuggling, and I crossed this border to meet with General Daud and officials of Afghanistan's Konduz Province.

I also met with people whose lives have been directly affected by the illicit drug trade, including patients in a drug treatment centre in Kabul, and inmates in an Afghan women's prison and their children. Drugs are ruining lives in Afghanistan as well as in neighbouring countries. Drug users are affected by a disease-addiction-and instead of punishment, what they need is treatment, care and social integration. Like all people, they deserve to be treated humanely. Our work-the work of UNODC-helps these victims of the illicit drug trade too.

Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Central Asian States and the broader international community need to develop and implement effective, integrated strategies to counter drug trafficking. UNODC is deeply involved in fostering an integrated regional and international approach to tackling the problem of Afghan opium.

But Afghanistan is not the only focal point of the global drug problem. Drug trafficking and organized crime are major threats to national and regional security all over the world. Fragile States, and States engaged in or emerging from conflict, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by organized criminals and drug traffickers. Organized crime and trafficking fuel corruption, which infiltrates business and politics and hinders development. What is even more dangerous, in some cases they fuel terrorism.

As the global threat from drugs and organized crime continues to grow, so too does demand for UNODC services, particularly in capacity building and technical assistance. We have countries in West Africa, Central America, Central Asia and other regions asking for our help.

As a result of this increased demand, we have experienced huge growth in our field operations in terms of funding and geographic spread. But this expansion poses a major risk. The more demand for UNODC services grows, the more precarious our core operations become.

We need a solid system to manage growth to be strategic and cost-effective. If UNODC is to remain viable in the long run, we need a funding model that is sustainable, predictable and stable: one that combines additional regular budget resources with voluntary contributions to strengthen our institutional capacity to deliver, manage and monitor our technical assistance programmes.

Our situation is critical. Since 2003, our general purpose funds have declined from roughly $18 million to $9 million. Voluntary contributions to general purpose funds have continued to fall in 2010.  Our projections indicate that UNODC will receive even less general purpose funding in 2011, and there is a real possibility that we might have a deficit of up to $2.3 million.

In terms of special purpose funds and programme funding, our estimates show that in 2010 we are back on path of steady growth after the negative impact of the global financial crisis last year. However, we are operating within a barely sustainable budget structure. Going forward, UNODC will have to pursue a more comprehensive system of full programme cost recovery for its services.

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. The Fifth Committee has underlined the need to ensure that UNODC has a sound funding base so that it will be able to fulfil its mandates.

We know that in the context of the global economic and financial crisis, budgets are tight everywhere, and the Secretary-General has given precise instructions for a zero-growth budget for the next biennium. However, we expect that the budget outline under consideration by the Fifth Committee will include a small increase in our Regular Budget allocation. That could be helpful, but with the serious decline in recent years in our general purpose funding, this increase may not be enough to meet our core resource requirements.

To attract more resources requires continued excellence and concrete and sustainable results. I am working closely with UNODC staff to increase efficiencies without compromising the quality of our services. A number of positive steps have already been taken-including a major cost-cutting effort in 2009-and there has been some progress in broadening the donor base. On the other side, we are enhancing the activities of the Independent Evaluation Unit. But we must keep looking for new opportunities for cost-efficiency and new sources of funding.

I know that the governing bodies support our efforts. The establishment of the Standing Intergovernmental Working Group on Governance and Finance one and a half years ago testifies to your commitment. I would like to thank the FinGov co-chairs for the meetings they have organized, and I know that some of the sessions have been quite productive, particularly those discussing thematic and regional programmes. Now I am calling on the governing bodies to take urgent steps to enhance the governance and financing of UNODC as this is becoming an acute problem. Other bodies, such as the Joint Inspection Unit, and UN auditors are looking into this as well.

I know that the thematic debate at the 54 th session will be replaced by three roundtable sessions, and I expect that this new approach will produce a lively and purposeful exchange of views.  I am also confident that the Commission will approve the revised annual report questionnaire (ARQ), which will enable the monitoring of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.  I would like to thank the expert group on data collection for their excellent work in finalizing the revised questionnaire.

I would like to thank Ambassador Ali Asghar SOLTANIEH of the Islamic Republic of Iran for his engagement and leadership of the Commission over the past year. I would also like to thank the other members of the Bureau and the chairs of the Regional Groups.

I am ready to work closely with the incoming Chairperson of the CND, members of the Bureau and the extended Bureau. I welcome the support and engagement of the governing bodies, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the months and years ahead.

Thank you very much.