Excelentísimo Señor Presidente Hernández,
Señora Alice Shackelfold, Coordinadora Residente de las Naciones Unidas,
Colegas del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas,
Honorables Embajadores y Embajadoras,
Damas y Caballeros,
Me gustaría expresar mi más profundo agradecimiento por esta oportunidad de fortalecer nuestra cooperación estratégica entre el Gobierno de Honduras y UNODC.
¡Un gran inicio para este nuevo año!
I am grateful that we are taking forward our partnership even as the country continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic and two devastating hurricanes.
Together, we will strengthen the fight against corruption and organized crime, and promote justice and the rule of law, towards a resilient and thriving Honduras.
I am especially pleased to see that we are advancing implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2019 through the development of a solid Action Plan with priority areas for joint operational interventions, including, of course, the forthcoming opening of a UNODC Programme Office in the country.
Our partnership can serve as a good practice and help to strengthen synergies with the work that UNODC is already carrying out through its field office network in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Corruption and crime have a negative impact on the rule of law, security and governance, impairing access to services and opportunities, hampering development and contributing to instability.
The fight against corruption and transnational organized crime is at the core of UNODC’s mandate and we are strongly committed to supporting Honduras in its efforts to build effective, accountable and transparent institutions.
The past year has been a challenging one for the region, and especially for Central America.
In this context, we are happy to report that UNODC was able to provide support and strengthen technical cooperation, including to enhance access to justice for indigenous peoples in Panama through the construction of court houses in remote areas; protect people in prison settings in El Salvador during the pandemic; and promote alternative development in Guatemala.
Jointly with the UN Development Coordination Office, the Resident Coordinator System, and the UN Country Teams, we are fully engaged in helping to accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including to fight corruption as a regional UN-wide priority.
UNODC is currently developing a Strategic Vision for Latin America and the Caribbean, which will translate the new UNODC Strategy into a regional context, while taking into particular consideration the SDGs as well as priorities in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis.
Its development will be inclusive, involving consultations with all Member States in the region, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
We hope we can count on your support and feedback in this process, as fostering strategic partnerships, like the one between Honduras and UNODC, will be a key component of UNODC’s vision for this priority region.
I would like to once again express my gratitude and appreciation to you and your Government for the strong political and financial commitment to the UNODC programme in Honduras, which will focus, as a first agreed step, on the fight against corruption and the strengthening of transparency.
I also look forward to advancing this important endeavour in an inclusive manner, involving all stakeholders and with the participation of civil society.
In June, the UN General Assembly will hold its first-ever special session against corruption, which will give us the opportunity to integrate anti-corruption principles in national, local and sectoral development work, and address challenges posed by large-scale transnational corruption cases and criminal networks.
The work we will be jointly carrying out under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding will be an important contribution to global anti-corruption action.
It is in this context, that I would like to take this opportunity to invite Member States to support the joint efforts between the Government of Honduras and UNODC.
International cooperation is needed more than ever to support sound, evidence-based, and whole-of-society interventions ensuring that Member States build forward from the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.
Allow me to conclude by thanking the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean, as well as colleagues in Vienna, especially the Permanent Mission, for their dedication and for contributing to this success.
¡Les deseo a todas y todos un próspero y feliz año dos mil veintiuno con paz y seguridad!