Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

Address to all UNODC and UNOV Staff

Vienna, 13 September 2010


Dear Colleagues,


It is a privilege and an honour to meet you all on my first day at work in Vienna.

I was pleased to know that colleagues in UNODC's field operations have joined us as well. I greet you all warmly, particularly our staff in the field, as I know that many of you are working under challenging and difficult conditions.

At the outset I would like to pay tribute to you all and, in particular my predecessor Mr. Costa, for all your achievements over the last years. Indeed, throughout the consultations I have had so far with Member States, with the Secretary General and his Senior Management team I come here with a strong sense of pride for your work. Clearly, in recent years there has been a significant progress in expanding the UNODC range of action. Today, Vienna and our field network are recognized as a key pillar in the United Nations family, dealing with a vast array of issues related to security and development.

Vienna is a major hub in bringing forward the reforms launched by the Secretary General in adapting the United Nations to the global challenges of this century: from climate change to universal access to health, energy, food and water security; increased international and regional cooperation and coordination of space related activities for development and welfare; the protection of individuals from being trafficked, abused, and enslaved; the protection of citizens from unfair criminal justice systems; the protection of communities from misuse of power; the protection of youth from drug addiction and HIV/AIDS.


Thanks to the support from our host country and the City of Vienna, this Office has also evolved into a widely recognized venue for major conferences and events, for technological advances and for our commitments to "green" the Vienna International Center. I know that our offices have been honoured each year the UN21 Award, recognizing your projects and innovative potential. I am committed to ensure that effective application of IT and "greening" will remain our priorities.

Building on the achievements and reforms you have accomplished, I intend to launch over the next few weeks a process of intensive consultations with you, with our Member States and partner institutions:

(i) With you, as I will rely on you to provide me with your expert advice in mapping out the new road we will take over the next years;

(ii) With Member States, as our stakeholders, with our governing bodies and treaty-based organs, to listen carefully to their views, their concerns and suggestions and to define a common ground on which we shall base our strategy;

(iii) With our partners, both within the UN family and outside, in particular regional organizations, the private sector, the civil society which play a vital role in bringing their knowledge, expertise and resources in support of the implementation of our mandates.


This process will help us all in charting our course of action over the next years. The information I have had so far in my preliminary meetings have helped me to formulate a number of initial thoughts regarding the future positioning of our Office and its key priorities.

1. Enhancing further the political profile in line with the international instruments to deal with such global challenges as illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and terrorism. The three pillars of our work in these areas (research, treaty compliance and technical assistance) are central to assisting Member States in the formulation and implementation of policies. The core of our mandates is also geared towards the various components of an effective, transparent and accountable system of criminal justice. In practical terms I am thinking, for instance, of a solid review mechanism under the Convention against Corruption, some similar modalities for the Transnational Organized Crime Convention, the complementary functions of INCB and UNODC or advancing our agenda to give public health and human rights the pride of place they deserve in drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice. Our action on the ground, as part of the UN Country Team, must evolve into the provision of sound policy advisory services and robust technical assistance. Clearly, we will need to work together and establish, within our overall mandates, a set of priorities for the next years.

2. Another major task for me will be to work closely with Member States and other partners in improving further the governance and financial base of the Offices. In this regard, I welcome the decision taken last year by the two Commissions (the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice) to establish an open ended working group on governance and finance. I will consult extensively with Member States, the Commissions and the Working Group to ensure that progress is being made in these areas. I also know that notwithstanding the expansion of our activities, our base -in terms of core and support functions here and in the field operations- is quite vulnerable. In these days of austerity budgets worldwide, we need to think creatively and find new avenues for increased resources, but also for savings. I will consult with managers in UNOV and UNODC on measures to manage more efficiently our limited resources while maintaining high rate of programme and service delivery. Our motto should be: "spend less, achieve more".

3. Framing the priorities for the future and attracting more resources will also demand that we excel in two aspects of our work:

(i)  We need to show concrete results of the assistance we deliver. In this respect, I very much welcome the reforms carried out over the last couple of years, including the integrated programmatic approach along thematic and geographical priorities. These are important tools for the delivery of technical assistance which should be used increasingly to enhance further the performance of the Office in achieving concrete results.

(ii) We need to ensure that the United Nations in Vienna and our work in the field get the recognition it deserves in capitals, in the General Assembly, the Security Council, ECOSOC, the governing and treaty based bodies. To enhance further the visibility of Vienna, we will need to set up targeted communications and advocacy.

4. Finally, while of course my duties will require me to undertake some travels, I intend to spend most of my time and energy here with you, and further improve staff-management relations in a one-team-spirit. In my own compact with the Secretary-General, I intend to give, with the help of the managers in UNOV and UNODC, a great deal of priority to the management of our main capital: the staff members. I know that many of you, through your Staff Council, have expressed concerns regarding contractual status and job security. These are important issues to be addressed. Furthermore, I will be, in consultation with managers and the staff council, setting various parameters to enhance further our overall performance, applying key principles adopted by the UN in terms of transparency of action, accountability, mobility, training, geographical distribution and gender balance and safety and security of staff. These are, for me, fundamental principles that will set the tone of my management style.


In conclusion, I really look forward to working with you all. I am truly committed to making a difference in the lives of the people we serve, to promoting further the efficiency and the end result of our work as well as its recognition and to secure a transparent management-staff structure and culture. For all this, I will need your support, but also trust and dedication.

Thank you for your attention.


Related Information

New UNODC Executive Director sets out immediate priorities

New UN drugs and crime chief to focus on public health and rights-based approach - Press Release