On the 2018 Unified Budget

OSCE flag outside the Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna, Austria (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

Statement on the Decision on the 2018 Unified Budget

As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Michele Siders
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
February 15, 2018

The United States wishes to make an interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1 (A) 6 of the Rules of Procedure.

The United States joins others in commending the efforts of the Italian Chairmanship during difficult budget discussions this year. Without such leadership, today’s decision on the 2018 Unified Budget would not have been made possible.

Mr. Chair, we have joined consensus on the 2018 Unified Budget because we believe in the OSCE and that it must have a budget to move forward with its critical programs and activities. However, this budget is far from ideal and falls short in several critical areas.

We are disappointed that the budget does not sufficiently meet the resource needs of the OSCE’s independent institutions: the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), and the Representative for Freedom of the Media (RFoM). These institutions have been underfunded for many years, hampering implementation of the mandates that the participating States have given them: to assist participating States in meeting their OSCE commitments under the Helsinki Final Act and subsequent instruments. As responsible stewards of the OSCE’s financial resources, we must ensure that these Institutions receive adequate funding.

We regret that a small number of participating States has blocked the upgrade of the Senior Gender Adviser. The United States will continue to promote gender equality in all OSCE activities, and to encourage practical measures to improve access and visibility of this important post.

For yet another year, we are disappointed that the Border Management Staff College, one of Central Asia’s only forums for regional border security and cooperation with neighboring Afghanistan, was excluded from the unified budget.

The OSCE region has many growing security challenges. We call on all participating States to take a renewed look at the unique role of this Organization to meet security threats head on and to ensure that it has the resources necessary, when necessary, to carry out its vital mandates.

The United States requests that this statement be appended to the adopted decision and recorded in the journal of the day.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.