Speech at the Town hall Meeting with Staff
Friends and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the final town hall meeting of the year.
Friends and Colleagues,
This year has been especially sad: we lost our colleagues and friends in Bolivia and South Africa; but particularly in Nigeria where, on 26th August, a bomb killed 12 UN staff members and a total of 24 people.
The events of that day sharpened our awareness of the dangers faced by the UN in the field. It was another painful reminder that we are a soft target for those willing to kill and to terrorise people.
But we must also learn serious lessons from these events and to do everything to ensure staff safety and preparedness both in the field and here, in Vienna.
Within the UN Security Accountability Framework we are building a collective response designed to improve the safety and security of UN operations, personnel and premises.
I hope that you, like me, will find a moment for quiet reflection during this festive period to remember those of our colleagues who died this year, as well as their families and friends.
I would also like to offer a warm and special thanks to the Security Services of UNOV. Many of you-far more than was needed-offered to immediately travel to Abuja, in the aftermath of the bomb attack, to provide security.
This spontaneous reaction to an emergency is not only representative of the courageous officers in the Security Services, it is a symbol of the unselfish dedication of all those staff who work for UNOV/UNODC.
Friends and Colleagues,
We managed to overcome the financial crisis of 2009, but it still lingers and we must acknowledge that the UN is not immune from its impact.
To meet this challenge, we are creating a transparent budget and focusing on generating greater job security for staff.
The strengthening of our reserve funds has given us the necessary breathing room to face any future shortfalls in our income.
In terms of the Regular Budget, I am hopeful that we will be able to make cost savings. However, we are well aware that Member States in the General Assembly, under the pressure of their own budgetary restrictions, are calling for further reductions in the UN Regular Budget.
Therefore, decisions by the GA in the coming days may impact upon the regular budget. My commitment to all of you is to keep you fully informed of these developments.
We stand ready to undertake the work entrusted to us by Member States; however, I want to assure you that I will continue to ask for the necessary resources to implement our mandates.
We need funds to provide stability, as well as continuity in terms of staff. I acknowledge the need for all of you to feel you have a career with UNOV/UNODC.
In addition, I am in regular meetings with staff union representatives on policies to reduce the impact of some financial measures on staff.
Concrete steps to improve and strengthen management have also been taken. I am pleased that we are moving ahead with the implementation of the JIU recommendations.
The Independent Evaluation Unit is playing an increasingly important role and will allow us to couple effectiveness, with accountability and transparency. The development of the culture of evaluation is highly appreciated by Member States.
A dedicated "Change Management Coordination Team" was established to review UNODC's work and to streamline the organization. This team will liaise closely with staff representatives.
Our senior management continue to change.
Of the three most recent appointments made at the D1 level; two of these, the new Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch and the Chief of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch, are women.
It is a sign of my commitment to gender balance.
It is also my firm conviction that you deserve working arrangements designed to achieve a healthy balance between work and home life.
Many of our colleagues have recently been converted to permanent appointments, and there has been a system-wide standardization of compensation and allowances, as well as benefits for staff in non-family duty stations.
Such changes have benefited a large number of UNOV/UNODC staff and is a recognition by Member States and the Organization of the vital role played by all staff at the United Nations.
Although our funds are stable, in this current financial climate, we cannot take anything for granted. We must focus on how we are doing things and how we can continue to achieve more for less.
I acknowledge staff concerns about this issue, but let me reassure you that, wherever possible, I am committed to streamlining processes not positions.
Indeed, this does not mean individuals are expected to do more with less, it means that a streamlining of UNOV/UNODC will allow us to do more with less stress.
In effect, achieving more with less, means attempting to maintain staff numbers while emphasizing the need for all of us to rethink the way we work. We must be more creative and ensure that we streamline our working habits.
I say this because you-our staff-represent the future of this organization and we cannot afford to "short-change" our future.
This includes all staff of UNOV: those working for the peaceful use of outer space, enhancing the advocacy of the United Nations or providing excellent conference services for our Member States, to name only a few.
From support for improvement of conditions in accordance with human rights norms in Kenyan or Kyrgyz prisons, to building alternative development projects in Columbia or Laos.
From illegal logging in Indonesia to uniting businesses with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
From illicit crop monitoring in Myanmar to the destruction of firearms in Guatemala.
UNODC is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people on almost every continent. But, how do we make this difference in Mexico, in Libya, in Somalia, in Afghanistan.
Our integrated programme approach is of fundamental importance. It is critical to deliver results and clearly demonstrate the impact and value of our work in the field.
But our integrated approach is not just about regions, or themes, it is also about people - the victims of transnational organised crime.
Most importantly, in everything we do, we must place the victims of drugs, crime and terrorism at the heart of our work. They deserve nothing less from us.
For far too long, we have said too little about our role in upholding universal human rights.
This must change.
We need to speak up and say that, through our Conventions on drugs and crime and the standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, we are promoting the rule of law that is the foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Using these principles as a solid foundation, we intend to ensure that human rights standards are integrated into all our programmes.
In practical terms, I have decided to establish an advisory group comprised of UNODC senior managers to help us uphold the rights of people to dignity, health, justice, security and sound development.
As you see, our mandate is broad and multifaceted. To achieve our goals, we need the dedication, commitment and hard work of UNOV/UNODC staff members.
In our work, we are not simply grades, or steps or positions, or field or headquarters, we are a team, a family bound by our shared belief in this organization's mandate to make the world safer from drugs, crime and terrorism.
Indeed, it is our desire for a better world--our passion for change-that drives us forward in everything we do.
In recognition of your commitment and dedication to UNOV/UNODC's global activities, I offer everyone my personal thanks for all your hard work and efforts this year.
I wish all of you seasonal greetings and I very much look forward to working with you once again next year.