Vienna, 1 February 2011
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome, and thank you for coming today. In the new year I intend to continue an active and meaningful dialogue with you, Member States, on the whole range of the UNODC and UNOV agendas.
The first topic for today's meeting is human trafficking. Combating this terrible crime has long been one of UNODC's top priorities. I am pleased that I am able to introduce to you today the members of the Board of Trustees of the new United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which is administered by UNODC.
Later, I would also like to briefly discuss with you the upcoming 54 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, one of our main governing bodies.
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Allow me to remind you that the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which was launched last November, has the mandate to support grassroots organizations that help individuals affected by this brutal and despicable crime. Victims of human trafficking, especially women and children, need physical and psychological rehabilitation. As acknowledged by the General Assembly, victims also require humanitarian, legal and financial aid. With your support, the Trust Fund can offer tangible assistance to victims to help them recover and rebuild their lives.
Now, it is my great pleasure to welcome the new board members of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking, appointed by the Secretary-General. These impressive individuals are all leading experts and dedicated advocates for trafficked persons. They were nominated by Member States and represent all major geographic regions. They are:
Ms. Virginia Murillo Herrera has served since 1994 as Executive President of the NGO "DNI Costa Rica"- Defense of Girls and Boys International. She has also coordinated the Central American Program for Juvenile Justice. Ms. Murillo Herrera has led advocacy campaigns to defend the rights of children and prevent child labor and child exploitation.
Ms. Klara Skrivankova has served as Trafficking Programme Coordinator for Anti-Slavery International since 2005. Previously she worked for the Czech branch of La Strada, the leading European network of anti-trafficking organizations. She is a member of the European Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings.
Dr. Aleya Hammad is former Executive Director/Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Women's Leadership Council of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). In 2009, UNODC appointed her a Goodwill Ambassador on business community action to combat human trafficking.
Dr. Saisuree Chutikul has served since 1999 as Chair of the National Subcommittee on Combating Trafficking in Children and Women of Thailand's Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. She is also a member of the National Commission on Women's Affairs and Family, and the National Commission on Children and Youth. She formulated a national Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate governmental and nongovernmental efforts to stop human trafficking, and a number of regional MOUs to foster cooperation in this area.
Mr. Nick Kinsella was a police officer for over 30 years, holding senior positions in the National Criminal Intelligence Service and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, including serving as CEO of the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, which he founded in 2006. In 2007, he also founded a UK-based fund to support victims of human trafficking.
I am very pleased to welcome these five champions of the rights of trafficking victims and I would like to invite each of them to make a short statement.
[ Following statements by board members:]
In the coming days, the board members will be working together with our staff to shape the Trust Fund's priorities and develop criteria for its first round of assistance under the Small Grants Facility. UNODC will manage the Fund and support the board in the grantmaking process. We will draw on our successful experience managing similar initiatives, including the UN.GIFT small grants programme and the UN Counter-Piracy Trust Fund. In carrying out our responsibilities, we will also consult with ICAT (the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons) and NGO partners. UNODC will ensure that the Trust Fund is focused squarely on the needs of victims, that its administration is transparent and accountable, and that overhead costs are kept very low. I will involve the Independent Evaluation Unit to ensure this.
I would like to point out that the Trust Fund has several key comparative advantages for Member States-as well as for businesses, philanthropies and individuals-that want to engage on the issue and help human trafficking victims get a fresh start in life. By pooling its contributions, the Trust Fund can leverage its resources and do much more. The projects it supports will be vetted by high-level experts, ensuring that its grants will have a real and lasting impact on the lives of individuals. And the Trust Fund will award its grants to NGOs and CSOs that aid victims directly.
The Trust Fund has already received pledges from eight Member States as well as the private sector totaling $915,000 dollars. That is a great start. But so far we have only actually received contributions in the bank account totaling $90,000 dollars. We hope these pledges will soon be honored so that we can begin the urgent work of the Trust Fund.
I also encourage all Member States, including emerging donors and States that have not in the past been able to contribute to UNODC, to help support the Trust Fund. No donation is too small. We will be grateful for any donation. Victims of human trafficking all over the world need your support and solidarity.
I should also remind you that on March 1, the standing open-ended working group on governance and finance (FinGov) will discuss the thematic programme on transnational organized crime, which includes a major component on human trafficking. From this thematic programme, Member States will be able to discuss follow-up to the Global Plan of Action and the new strategic phase for the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). I hope this discussion will be useful and productive.
And now the floor is open to you for your comments.
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Now I would like to turn to the 54 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which will take place in Vienna in March.
At the reconvened 53 rd session in December, the Commission elected a new Chair, Ambassador Veronika Kuchynová Smigolová of the Czech Republic. I congratulate her and look forward to working with her.
For the first time, at the 54 th session, the Commission will reverse its agenda and address as its first order of business the operational issues relating to the governance of the UN drug programme, to be followed by the agenda of normative issues. The operational segment will include a thorough review of FinGov, the standing open-ended working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC. We hear talk about a "governance deficit" at UNODC and we must all work together to address that issue. For that reason, I urge all delegations to participate actively in the operational segment, and I hope that FinGov will make recommendations to the Commission on concrete steps that can be taken to address the urgent financial and governance challenges that UNODC faces.
The Commission will also consider the extension of FinGov's mandate, which will otherwise come to an end with the closure of regular sessions of the two Commissions. I know that this discussion has already begun, and will continue at the FinGov meeting soon. I ask you all to engage constructively in this effort.
UNODC, in our role as Secretariat to the Commission, stands ready to provide support, assistance and advice to Member States to facilitate the Commission's operational and normative work. I have studied the documentation going forward to the 54 th session. In the future I will strive to enhance even further the quality of the reports that UNODC submits to the Commission. I would like to take this opportunity also to ask that Member States take a closer look at the resolutions to be adopted by the Commission with a view to rationalizing and streamlining requests for reports. Of course we are ready to make as many reports as you request, but streamlining your requests would enable UNODC to provide you with more focused reports that are more action-oriented.
The Commission's 2009 Political Declaration mentions that the Commission should conduct a high-level review of the implementation of the Action Plan at its 57 th session in 2014. Although that is still three years away, it is really a blink of an eye, so Member States may wish to begin considering preparations for this review process and the proposed high-level meetings of ECOSOC and the General Assembly.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The United Nations has made it abundantly clear that illicit drugs, and the crime and corruption so often associated with them, are major threats to security, stability, public health and development around the globe. The demands placed on UNODC to address these threats are correspondingly high. Yet the resources allocated for our work remain disproportionately low. At the Commission's 54 th session, I am counting on Member States to address this paradoxical situation.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. And now, I would be happy to listen to your comments.