On the Decision on the 2016 Unified Budget: Statement to the PC

The United States wishes to make an interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A) 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The United States commends the efforts of the German Chairmanship, particularly those of Mr. Erik Tintrup and Ms. Ilona Salaba, during challenging budget discussions this year. Without such leadership, today’s decision on the 2016 Unified Budget would not have been possible.

We have joined consensus on the 2016 Unified Budget because we believe in the OSCE and that the OSCE must have a budget to move forward with its critical programs and activities. The budget we adopt today is far from ideal, however, as, we believe it falls short in several vital areas.

We are disappointed that the budget does not sufficiently meet the resource needs of the OSCE’s three 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 their ability to implement their mandates to assist participating States to meet 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. For those who have withheld the needed support for the institutions, we expect that they have ceded their right to criticize them.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis continues to place tremendous pressure on the resources of the Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU). We regret that the budget does not provide for the additional funding requested to allow the PCU to better support the Government of Ukraine’s transition towards a democratic, secure, and prosperous future for the country and its people.

Again this year, we regret that the Border Management Staff College, the region’s only forum for regional border security and cooperation, was excluded from the unified budget.

We continue to be concerned about rising Staff Standard and other operational costs which, if not adequately addressed, may one day bankrupt this Organization. We call on the Secretariat to seek further efficiencies in the coming year and to focus its resources on programmatic activities. We strongly support the establishment of a working group on horizontal issues and urge its members to work diligently on cost containment.

As the events of the past year have so clearly shown us, the OSCE region is still a very dangerous place. 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 is well resourced 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. Chairman.

Delivered by Michele Siders, Director of the Office of Resource Management, to the Permanent Council, Vienna