Statement on the Decision on the 2015 Unified Budget: Statement to the PC

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

The United States commends the Serbian ACMF Chairperson Ms. Marina Milanovic-Ilic for her leadership of the budget discussions this year.

We have joined consensus today on the 2015 Unified Budget because we believe the Organization must have a budget to move ahead with important programs and activities to meet its mandates.  We believe this budget falls short, however, of adequately addressing the many demands facing the Organization in the coming year.

We are particularly 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, in particular ODIHR, have been underfunded for years, hampering their ability to implement their mandates to assist participating States to meet their OSCE commitments under the Helsinki Final Act and subsequent agreements.  As responsible stewards of the OSCE’s financial resources, we must ensure that these Institutions receive adequate funding.

Events in and around Ukraine this year have placed tremendous pressure on the resources of the Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU).  We regret that the budget does not provide for additional funding to the PCU above the level proposed in the 2015 budget to allow it to better support the Government of Ukraine’s transition towards a democratic, secure, and prosperous future for the country and its people.

We remain concerned with the disproportionate level of the budget that is devoted to field missions in Southeast Europe, and we urge those missions to continue to find cost efficiencies.  We would like to see additional funding for field missions in Central Asia to address the security and governance risks and challenges in that region.  Again this year, we are disappointed that the Border Management Staff College, the region’s only forum for regional border security and cooperation, was excluded from the unified budget.

We regret the exclusion from the budget of the UNSCR 1540 programmatic work, which is so critical for the Organization to address the threats of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to meet its commitments under the decisions of the Forum for Security Cooperation.

We welcome that this budget begins to correct the shortfall introduced last year by funding two additional positions in the Office of the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings.

We continue to call on the Secretariat to seek further efficiencies and greater cost containment, particularly related to Staff Standard Costs, and to focus the Secretariat’s resources on programmatic activities.

The OSCE today is very different from the OSCE of a year ago, as demonstrated by the Organization’s response to the crisis in European security that has manifested itself in and around Ukraine.  We call on participating States to take a renewed look at the unique role of the Organization and to ensure that it is well resourced to carry out its mandate across all three dimensions of comprehensive security.

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

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel Baer to the Special Permanent Council, Vienna