I would like to congratulate you for the efforts you have made in fulfilling your responsibilities through many intersessional and extended bureau meetings. Your wise guidance has contributed positively in fulfilling our objectives.
I also take this opportunity to commend the Secretariat for its work in assisting you in the preparation of our meetings and for making documents available in a timely manner as recommended and would also like to thank the Executive Director for his introductory statement.
The Group notes with concern the decrease in the proposed budget 2002-2003 in comparison with the last biennium, especially as the scourge of narcotic drugs and related criminal activities is increasing. This will deprive the international community from keeping the momentum initiated by the 20th UNGASS Political Declaration and thus compromising the fulfilment of the objectives set for 2003 and 2008.
The Group also regrets the fact that the General Purpose Fund still represents a very small percentage of the proposed Budget and that it is mainly used in financing the support budget which impedes the action flexibility of the Programme. Therefore, we call on the donors to make substantial financial commitments, particulary to the General Purpose Fund to allow for more ambitious programmes and invite those who suspended their contributions to renew their disbursements in the light of the undeniable improvements in the management of the Programme.
We take note of the Preliminary Report of the Executive Director on the progress made in the implementation of the resolution 44/16 on the strengthening of UNDCP and the Role of the Commission. We congratulate him for the quick reaction towards the implementation of the recommendations, as promised, which is illustrated by the setting up of the Programme and Budget Committee, as early as in March 2001, a result based budgeting and the complete review of hierarchical links in UNDCP. We are looking forward to receiving a more comprehensive report covering the remaining tasks on or before the forty-fifth session. We will carefully examine the improvements to be made in the implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the projects. We are expecting particularly that the Programme and Financial Management Integrated System become fully operational by March 2002 as promised. We are also waiting to be informed about the new strategy for resource mobilization, focused particularly on foundations, private sectors and other sources.
The Group appreciates the initiation of a system of joint informal meetings between donors and recipients. However, there is a need to make these meetings more meaningful through the provision of timely briefings prior to the meetings. The Group urges the Executive Director to make further efforts to use this mechanism for the purpose of the planning and formulation of projects and the widening of the donor base.
Regarding the Thematic Debate for the next session of the Commission, the Group expresses its satisfaction for the selection of the subject "Alternative Development and the Eradication of Illicit Crops", which is of paramount importance to us as developing countries. The Group is holding internal consultations in order to come up with a common proposal regarding the sub-themes.
Additionally, to make the debate more fruitful we should select well-known experts and apply equitable geographical representation. We should also ensure having interactive discussions through short and well targeted presentations.
Finally, Mr Chairman, the Group of 77 and China will continue to provide its active support to achieve the goals of the Commission and will work with all members and the Secretariat to that end.
Also I would like to take this opportunity to convey to the Executive Director the appreciation of the Group for his untiring efforts and dedication during his tenure in controlling the international drug problem. We would like to wish him every success in his future endeavours.