Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honour to join you virtually for the 29th regular session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, ahead of the reconvened sessions of the CCPCJ and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
It has been an extraordinary year filled with unprecedented challenges.
I thank Ambassador Marcondes for chairing this unusual session of the CCPCJ, postponed from its regular time in May.
I am also grateful to Ambassador Khan for steering the CND, and for flying from Kabul to Vienna to conclude the 63rd session.
My thanks as well to Ambassador Hikihara for his leadership in the negotiations on the Kyoto Declaration as we work towards holding the rescheduled 14th Crime Congress in March.
2021 will be a very important year for the CCPCJ, which serves as the preparatory body to the Crime Congress, and as the body that will follow up on the outcomes of the Congress.
I am also looking forward to addressing the substantive items that will be taken up at the 30th session, notably the thematic discussion on effective measures to prevent and counter migrant smuggling, while protecting the rights of smuggled migrants, particularly women and children.
The delays and postponements of this year have by no means lessened the work involved for the Commissions and Bureaux. I congratulate and commend all of you for your perseverance in the face of considerable obstacles.
The Vienna Commissions led the way in adapting to remote and hybrid work, and in using online interpretation in the six official UN languages.
I am proud of the support UNODC has been able to provide its governing bodies throughout this challenging period, which has helped to facilitate important negotiations in the face of numerous restrictions. I commend my SGB colleagues for their hard work and dedication.
Thanks to UNOV/UNODC staff in Vienna and in the field, we have maintained business continuity and adapted our delivery, even as the pandemic held back implementation and put us under additional pressure.
We have learned from these experiences, and I hope we will be able to apply these lessons to our future endeavours, to take advantage of innovation and new technologies, and to continue facilitating inclusive participation in the work of the Commissions.
UNODC’s intergovernmental support has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as by the Secretariat-wide Regular Budget crisis. Our Office needs more sustainable funding to continue to meet needs and expectations.
UNODC relies on our Member States for the necessary resources to do this. The Commissions, including through the preparatory work conducted in FINGOV, have an important role in finding solutions.
Last month, I presented the UNODC strategy to FINGOV, outlining our vision, and responding to your request contained in the 2019 CND/CCPCJ resolution.
This was one of the first tasks I took up when I arrived in February, and we continued this work throughout the COVID crisis, including through two lockdowns in Vienna.
I thank the delegations for providing written comments, which supported our Office in fine-tuning the text. Now we look to the strategy’s launch and effective operationalization, and we are counting on your engagement and support.
I believe that we have laid solid groundwork for a more agile, more effective and more efficient UNODC to support Member States in the COVID recovery and beyond.
The global pandemic has compounded the existing “inequality pandemic”, and has further heightened the need for the unique, integrated support that UNODC provides, to help break vicious cycles of poverty, corruption, crime, drugs, violence, and terrorism, to promote peace and security, human rights and development for all.
2020 has been a heart-breaking, challenging year. 2021 will challenge us further, and we will rise to the occasion, to deliver for the people who rely on us, to recover better and achieve the SDGs.
I thank you for your support for UNODC and I wish you a successful meeting. Thank you.