Statement on the Decision on the 2013 Unified Budget Proposal

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
To the Permanent Council, Vienna
February 7, 2013

Mr. Chairman,

The United States would like to make the following interpretive 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 sincerely thanks Ukraine, in particular Ukraine’s ACMF chairperson Ms. Victoria Kuvshynnykova, for its hard work and leadership on the budget this year.  Without your dedication, we would not have this agreement today.

Again this year, the United States has joined consensus on the 2013 Unified Budget not because we are happy with the budget we have just passed, but because we believe that the organization needs a sound budgetary footing to move ahead with programs and activities.

We are, in fact, disappointed that participating States have not been able to find consensus and provide funding for a number of important activities that would help the OSCE maintain its relevance as a regional organization that addresses challenges of the 21st Century and promotes the comprehensive security of its participating States.  The Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe is engaged in meaningful work with border and customs officials from across the OSCE.  I regret to say that we are concerned for its future given that no funding is provided for its operations in this Unified Budget.  In addition, we find no logic in limiting the OSCE’s ability to address the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by blocking funding for UNSCR 1540 work in this budget.  We recognize that the vast majority of participating States understood the importance of and supported the funding for these two programs.

We agree fully with the reductions in funding for field missions in Southeastern Europe, where the security situation has improved significantly over the years of OSCE engagement in that region.  On the other hand, we continue to believe that the growing challenges in Central Asia warrant greater budgetary increases in that part of the OSCE space.  We regret that participating States could not find consensus on larger increases there, and we will continue to seek adjustments to the budget in future years to better reflect current realities and challenges to security.

In 2013, we hope to see movement toward resolution of the protracted conflicts, a long-standing priority for the OSCE.   The United States supported additional funding and personnel, for example for the Mission in Moldova, to help achieve progress.

The budgets of the Institutions, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, and the Representative for Freedom of the Media, were subject to undue scrutiny and micro-management this year during the budget negotiations.  They operate according to the mandates participating States have approved, and should be given the latitude and resources needed to fulfill their mandates to the best of their abilities.  We could not agree to cuts in their budgets, and, in fact, we believe this budget still falls short of their needs for 2013.

Finally, we will continue to place emphasis on strong project assessment and evaluation to demonstrate the impact of OSCE activities.  We encourage the Secretariat to share more of its internal evaluations as well, to help us make the case for funding to support OSCE priorities.

The United States requests that this statement be recorded in the journal of the day.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.