Please see below a non-exhaustive selection of news items to reflect the richness of contacts and joint activities happening between the EU and UNODC.


10 December 2019: UNODC calls for shift in paradigm: From women as victims, to women as powerful agents of change

Originally published by  UNODC Vienna.

Image © UNODCOn the occasion of the 2019 campaign '16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence' and International Human Rights Day, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under the framework of the  Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, organized a special event jointly with the European Commission.

Hosted by Franco Roberti, MEP, on 10 December, it featured an all-female panel addressing trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation within the context of conflict and post-conflict situations.

Conflict and post-conflict situations provide fertile ground for widespread human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Among the most prevalent forms of human trafficking in the context of armed conflict are trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and slavery, and the abduction of women and girls for forced marriages. During the event, keynote speakers argued that in view of the heavily gendered nature of trafficking in persons, especially in conflict and post-conflict settings, gender considerations cannot be dissociated from a truly effective approach to combat human trafficking, be it at a national or regional level.

Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, reiterated the need to stop the culture of impunity related to trafficking in human beings, while Suzan Aref, Founder and Director of Women Empowerment Organization in Iraq and Coordinator of Iraq's Cross Sector Task Force on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, explained that, "challenges related to trafficking of women in Iraq are a lack of specialized trainings, enforcement mechanisms and suitable shelters for victims, and better coordination with NGOs". She concluded by saying, "we need better awareness, medical care and return support for victims."

Giving a stronger role to women is a promotion of gender equality which, as a result, strongly contributes to better and more peaceful societies that are less prone to the threats posed by trafficking in persons and exploitation in all its forms. Shifting the paradigm from women as victims, to women as powerful agents of change, be it at the institutional or civil society level thus became another central theme of the event.

In her video address, Hosna Jalil, Deputy Minister of the Interior in Afghanistan, outlined the concerted efforts undertaken by the Government of Afghanistan to strengthen female representation in law enforcement agencies at national and local level. She explained how projects such as GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East are essential to build the capacity of agencies tasked with addressing human trafficking.

Throughout the event, it became clear that to effectively address, prevent and respond to human trafficking, especially in times of conflict, governments and civil society must understand the dynamics created by conflict, leaving no one behind. Elizabeth Collett, IOM Special Adviser to the Director General, outlined the key work IOM does on strengthening trafficking in persons identification and assistance mechanism in complex settings.

Drawing on personal experience, Aimée Comrie, UNODC, Project Coordinator, GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East spoke about the difficulty to identify the perpetrator in conflict situations, where the governing structure may be unstable or entirely collapsed, and rule of law may be absent. However, she went on to say that, despite the challenges, "we can, and we are doing better when addressing trafficking in persons in conflict situations."

Speaking about UNODC's work, especially the work undertaken under GLO.ACT, she explained that what we can work on is improving the quality of investigations and prosecutions, diversifying the evidence base beyond victim testimony and to look at forensic, financial and leadership analysis.  Ms. Comrie also announced that UNODC, under the framework of GLO.ACT, will be creating a Women's Network which will foster and promote the participation of women in the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons.


The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and UNODC being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in four countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Iraq and Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This project is funded by the European Union.

Further Information:


21 November 2019: UNODC Briefing on Environmental Crime

Biodiversity loss is one of the most serious environmental threats alongside climate change, and protecting biodiversity is one the highest priorities on the EU development cooperation agenda with South East Asia. The ASEAN-EU Plan of Action for 2018-2022 sets to promote the inter-regional cooperation in addressing illicit trafficking of wildlife and timber, including by strengthening the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). UNODC and CITES have been leading the EU-ASIA programme since 2015 to address wildlife and timber trafficking in South Asia and South East Asia and have recently started deeper collaboration with China. Given the EU-ASEAN commitment to continue strengthening trade relations, political and security cooperation while protecting biodiversity and addressing illicit trafficking, there is a need for a multilateral comprehensive approach to translate this commitment into actionable solutions over long-term.

To discuss this challenge and solutions, UNODC organized a Briefing for Senior EU Representatives on Environmental Crime (Wildlife and Timber Trafficking, Marine Protected Wildlife) in South East Asia and China. Jorge Rios, Chief of the UNODC Global Wildlife and Forest Crime Programme, hosted the meeting and Giovanni Broussard in charge of UNODC work on environmental crime in Asia, led the main discussion on the trends, challenges and the results of its work in the region over the past five years with EU support (strengthened laws, increase in proactive- led investigations, containing poaching crises). Philippe Mayaux, Team Leader on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the at the DG DEVCO unit on Environment and Natural resources, shared the European Commission's perspective on the challenge and mentioned that the post-2020 biodiversity strategy will address the trafficking dimension as well. Mr. Chan Aye, First Secretary and Political Officer at the Mission of Myanmar to the EU, provided the ASEAN and Myanmar's perspective on wildlife and timber trafficking, pledging for continued partnership and support.

The participants recognized that the worrying environmental crime trends in Asia continue and it is important to increase partnership and collaboration with China as well as Asia-Africa enforcement collaboration. Only strong regional collaboration can effectively target the criminal networks, and UNODC needs to continue supporting the region in strengthening prosecutions and tackling illicit financial flows.

More information on UNODC wildlife and forest crime activities  here.  


19 November 2019: UNODC co-organizes Security Council Open Arria Formula meeting on Challenges to Radicalization in Prisons

Image © UNODCUNODC together with Belgium and Indonesia co-organized the first ever Security Council Open Arria-formula meeting on "Challenges of Radicalization in Prisons" on 12 November in New York.

The meeting provided Member States with a platform to address issues related to the management of detainees convicted for terrorist offences, as well as violent extremist prisoners, the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons as well as rehabilitation and reintegration of detainees within society. Member States also discussed lessons learned, best practices and persisting challenges in dealing with prison radicalization and the prevention of violent extremism conducive to terrorism in a prison setting.

Throughout the meeting, panelists and speakers said that standalone intervention programmes are less likely to be successful in the absence of broader efforts to ensure effective management of all prisoners. Participants agreed that efforts should include implementing appropriate security measures, intelligence systems and control systems, as well as cooperation with other law-enforcement and criminal-justice agencies, specialized staff, faith professionals, therapists, mentors, and families.   

UNODC stated that "poor conditions, overcrowding, under-staffing, insufficient prison staff training and a lack of programming all heavily undermine the capacity of prison and correctional administrations to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners. Worse yet, these deficiencies may provide powerful entry points for radicalization efforts - facilitated by a general sense of despair and frustration amongst the general prison population".

UNODC provided a series of detailed recommendations for Council consideration and action, and highlighted the continued relevance of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) in our efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism in prisons. UNODC also noted that the Nelson Mandela Rules, for which UNODC acts as custodian, provide the universally recognized blueprint for good prison management and the treatment of all prisoners, including violent extremists or those vulnerable to radicalization.

This marks the third Arria Formula co-organized by UNODC this year, including one on transnational organized crime in the Caribbean on 7 July and one on trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation in conflict situations on 25 October.

An Arria Formula meeting is an informal arrangement that allows the Security Council greater flexibility to be briefed about international peace and security issues. It has been used frequently and assumed growing importance. The meeting is called for the purpose of a briefing given by one or more persons, considered as expert in a matter of concern to the Council. The formula is named for Ambassador Diego Arria of Venezuela who devised it in March 1992. The first ever Arria Formula co-organized by UNODC was held in July 2007 (on trafficking in persons) with the work of UNODC increasingly featured in the Security Council in ensuing years.

Further Information:


12 November 2019: 14 th EU-UNODC Senior Officials Meeting in Vienna

Image © UNODCThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the delegations of European Union met for the 14 th annual senior officials meeting in Vienna. This year, the discussion combined the operational exchange meeting with the senior-level dialogue to cover a broad thematic engagement including gender-based violence, prevention of terrorism and violent extremism, wildlife crime, corruption, rule of law and development and security in all regions.

The UNODC chair, Director of Division of Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, Mr.  Jean-Luc Lemahieu, noted the long-standing cooperation between EU and appreciated the EU's commitment to multilateralism and support to Sustainable Development Goals, through which the EU-UNODC partnership has grown into a strategic-level. The Deputy Managing Director of EEAS, Mr. Marc Giacomini led the EU delegation. He remarked that the EU and UNODC share several key priority areas and expressed satisfaction for the successful implementation of UNODC programmes, as evidenced by the increased funding (approximately EUR 29M in 2019 and additional EUR 48M in the pipeline for 2019/2020). The Permanent Representative of EU Delegation to the UN in Vienna, Mr. Stephan Klement, also joined his support for such consultative process in view of the 40 th year of  EU-UN cooperation.  

Substantive discussions in the morning session focused on smuggling of migrants, trafficking in human beings, wildlife and environmental crimes and transnational organized crime. Sharing the primary objective of ending the impunity of traffickers and migrant smugglers through interregional cooperation, UNODC stressed that its activities also focus on protecting the victims affected by these crimes. The Anti-trafficking Coordinator of the DG Home noted that there existed robust policy framework and legal instruments (UNTOC and its protocols). Emphasizing the importance of using clear and consistent terminologies among stakeholders, In particular, EU participants (DG-DEVCO and DG-Home) commended the achievements of EU-UNODC cooperation (i.e. GLO.ACT, Spotlight Initiative) and encouraged UNODC's continuous work delivering practical results. Wildlife and environmental crime was also highlighted with the briefing from UNODC on the increased threats in posed by such crimes in Latin America, North and East Africa and Southeast Asia. Participants discussed with interest the findings of UNODC Wildlife Crime Report and proposal to reflect criminal justice aspects of biodiversity in the future policy discussions such as EU Green Deal and Crime Congress. UNODC also provided an update on the ongoing preparation of the 14 th Crime Congress to be held in Kyoto, April 2020.

Afternoon sessions covered thematic discussion on counter-terrorism, maritime crime, corruption and cross-cutting issues such as gender violence, urban safety and governance and data collection and analysis. On terrorism, EU emphasized that priority areas were countering financing of terrorism and prevention of radicalization. EU also mentioned that it is raising efforts in Western Balkans, MENA as well as Sri Lanka for capacity building programmes jointly with UNODC. In response, UNODC underlined the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters and highlighted a successful technical assistance work in Tunisia. UNODC also explained that anti-corruption is an area gaining more attention in the UN-system and that the SG has tasked UNODC to co-lead the UN Task Team on corruption in light of the upcoming Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC in December and UNGASS 2021on anti-corruption. Participants shared the importance of continuing and expansion of the EU-funded maritime security programme (MASE) from East, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean to MENA and Asia region.  

During the working lunch dedicated to countering the world drug problem, it was agreed that now is the time to focus on implementing the policy recommendations provided by UNGASS outcome document and 2019 Ministerial Declaration. UNODC reiterated its support to member states in countering problems in both demand and supply side and invited EU's active role as exemplified by submitting a Conference Room paper on alternative development during the last CND. 

For the next year, UNODC and EU agreed to focus on the priority areas (1) violence against women and gender-based crimes; (2) wildlife crime; (3) improved visibility and joint advocacy plan; and (4) upcoming key events where UNODC-EU cooperation will be needed. 

EU delegations also met with the Executive Director, Yury Fedotov who thanked EU's strong support for the UNODC activities and partnership.



22 - 24 October 2019: Law enforcement officials and prosecutors from Bolivia and Belgium meet for the second CRIMJUST Investigative Drug Case Forum

Originally published by  UNODC Vienna

Image © UNODCLaw enforcement investigators and prosecutors from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and from the Kingdom of Belgium met in Antwerp, Belgium, to strengthen cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of transnational drug trafficking cases involving both countries. Representatives from EUROPOL and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC) were also present, and together with the UNODC, sharing best practices to enhance international police and judicial collaboration as well as providing strategic guidance to the discussions. 

Authorities from Belgium and Bolivia inaugurated the forum thanking CRIMJUST for facilitating the meeting. CRIMJUST Coordinator, Glen Prichard, acknowledged the generosity and commitment of Belgium to host the forum. He then highlighted UNODC´s commitment to supporting drug investigations beyond interdiction activities by promoting intelligence sharing and judicial cooperation between relevant national authorities and in turn optimizing criminal justice outcomes and ensuring intelligence is fed into future targeting of drug trafficking groups. The representative of the European Commission, Ms. Oona Van Landuyt reinforced the European Union's commitment to strengthening cooperation along drug trafficking routes of what is now referred to as the Global Illicit Flows Programme, recognizing how traditional drug trafficking routes are now used for the movement of a broad range of illicit commodities.

During the two-day event, law enforcement officials outlined current trends and methodologies, as well as emerging developments of cocaine trafficking in their respective countries and regions. These insights then led to an insightful discussion on future targeting opportunities based on this intelligence. Moreover, prosecutors and investigators devised follow-up actions in relation to recent cocaine seizures.

Meanwhile, prosecutors provided an overview of the legal framework and tools available to prosecute drug trafficking crimes in their respective countries. Participants further discussed existing international cooperation mechanisms, notably pertaining to obtaining of evidence and intelligence sharing. The need to utilize both formal and informal communication channels to ensure information is shared in a secure and timely manner was highlighted as inherent to the success and facilitation of joint operations.

Image © UNODCAdditionally, the delegation of Bolivia toured Antwerp Seaport on 24 October 2019 observing profiling, screening and inspection arrangements, as well as discussing with officials on the ground best practices and lessons learned to detect and investigate suspicious cargo. Antwerp has emerged as the chief point of entry for cocaine arriving from Latin America in recent years, with 50 metric tons seized in 2018, more than any other port in Europe in that year.

This Investigative Drug Case Forum is the second of a series of seven forums in 2019 and early 2020, which is part of CRIMJUST´s strategic shift from primarily focusing on enhancing national capacities to prioritizing the strengthening cross-border criminal justice cooperation along drug trafficking routes. Based on the success of the first two forums, CRIMJUST plans to work with countries it has been supporting to develop further similar trans-regional forums based on post seizure investigations of actual cocaine seizures.

CRIMJUST is funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Cocaine Route Programme" and by the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). It seeks to enhance law enforcement and judicial counter-narcotic strategies beyond interdiction activities and to foster transnational responses targeting each stage of the drug supply chain.

For more information, please visit:

-   European Union "Cocaine Route Programme"

-   Transparency International 


22 October 2019: UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Associated with Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups highlighted at the COTER Meeting, European Council

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) participated in the meeting organised by the Working Party on Terrorism (COTER) of the European Council and presented the  UNODC Roadmap on the Treatment of Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups,

In the past years, children have been increasingly recruited and exploited by terrorist and violent extremist groups. The recruitment of children by these groups is a serious form of violence against children with long-lasting consequences for their well-being and society as a whole.

The international community has repeatedly raised concerns about the situation of children affected by terrorism, including those affected by the "foreign terrorist fighters" (FTF) phenomenon. While, according to international law, children involved with these groups should be considered and treated primarily as victims, in certain cases they might represent a threat to society. Therefore, States all over the world have been facing a number of challenges in relation to protecting society from terrorism while, at the same time, ensuring that the rights of children associated with these groups are respected, protected and fulfilled.

The COTER meeting was attended by delegates and national experts from European countries and the European Union, and was chaired by Ambassador Päivi Kairamo who represented the Finish Presidency. It was an opportunity to raise the pressing challenges faced by many countries and to discuss strategies and measures aimed at preventing child involvement with terrorist and violent extremist groups and  promoting the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of children associated with these groups.

Ambassador Päivi Kairamo highlighted that the phenomenon of child involvement with terrorist groups is a priority for the European Council and welcomed the efforts of UNODC in providing guidance to States in this area through the existing  UNODC Training Package on the Treatment of Children Associated with Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups, and the UNODC Roadmap. The training package draws upon UNODC's unique specialized expertise in both counter-terrorism and violence against children.

During the meeting, delegates from various European Countries, emphasized the necessity of adopting a comprehensive approach to dealing with the problem and choosing evidence-based interventions. They also highlighted the need to address concerted and multidisciplinary efforts, to investing more on prevention of child involvement with these groups, to identifying lessons learned and to pay particular attention to the special needs of children affected by the FTF phenomenon.

UNODC was represented by Ms. Yatta Dakowah, UNODC Representative in Brussels, and Ms. Alexandra Martins, Coordinator of the UNODC Global Programme to End Violence against Children.

Ms. Martins asserted that "if we aim to be effective, we must overcome the false dichotomy between security interests and child rights. The two objectives of preserving public safety and protecting child rights are complementary and should be pursued concomitantly with a view to building long-lasting peace." She referred to the comprehensive guidance provided by UNODC and also to an important policy decision issued in April 2019 by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, namely the  "Key Principles for the Protection, Repatriation, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Women and Children with Links to UN Listed Terrorist Groups," which guides the UN system on how to provide  practical assistance to Member States on this issue. The Key Principles reiterate that all policies and actions affecting children should be firmly based on the principle of the "best interests of the child" as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that children must be seen first and foremost as victims, according to international law.

The meeting was a first step in enhancing the partnership between UNODC and the European Council towards protecting children from terrorism and supporting Member States to overcome the challenges associated with this phenomenon.

Further information:


22 October 2019: Tunisia joins global UNODC programme to prevent violent extremism in prisons

Tunisia joins the global programme on "Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons", in addition to Kazakhstan and Uganda. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT) in coordination with the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED). This global initiative aims to support beneficiary countries to strengthen capacity of prison services to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners and to respond to the challenge of potential radicalization to violence in various prison settings. The threat of violent extremism in prisons is of increasing concern to the international community and one which presents many technical challenges to Member States to effectively address. Tunisia's agreement to be designated as a beneficiary country of this joint initiative followed consultations with a broad range of Tunisian officials and stakeholders, including civil society.

"In line with the commitment of Tunisian authorities to develop multilateral cooperation, the Ministry of Justice co-organized two workshops intended to build national capacities in the field of prisoner classification and dynamic security", mentioned Hichem Al Ouni, Head of International Cooperation for the DGPR, representative of the Ministry of Justice of Tunisia. He welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with the United Nations and the European Union and benefit from the technical assistance and expertise on addressing prison reform issues in general and violent extremism in prisons in particular. The workshops brought together about fifty participants from the prison service and other criminal justice institutions of Tunisia and provided a fertile ground for open discussions and deep exploration of subject matter. Experience of different countries, including Tunisia, Austria, Canada, Pakistan, the USA, and others enhanced participants' knowledge on key concepts of prisoner classification and dynamic security. UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, Mrs. Cristina Albertin welcomed the adoption of the national project "TAWASSOL" and emphasized the importance of close collaboration.

These workshops were the first activities underlining the synergetic implementation of both the global and national initiatives. Further technical assistance activities planned for next year will support Tunisia to implement key aspects of its national policy to prevent and counter violent extremism in Tunisia. 

Global programme on the management of violent extremist prisoners as well as Tawassol project are funded by the European Union, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


18 October 2019: On occasion of the EU Anti Trafficking Day, UNODC and the EU strengthen Cooperation to Dismantle Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking Criminal Networks

Image © UNODCUNODC and the EU launched the Morocco country package of the regional EU funded project " Dismantling Criminal Networks Operating in North Africa and Involved in Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking ." The launch was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, State Ministry in charge of human rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Public Prosecutor Office, the National Commission to coordinate measures to combat and prevent trafficking in persons, and representatives of all national departments and institutors involved in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the EU, Embassies, UN agencies, NGOs, partners, and members of the international community. The launch coincides with the EU Anti-Trafficking Day to shed light on the issue and increase the exchange of information, knowledge and best practices amongst the different actors involved. "It is timely that a new partnership project takes off today to address the critical issues on dismantling criminal networks involved in human trafficking and smuggling of migrants bringing together a variety of operational knowledge, expertise and tools." Ms. Cristina Albertin, UNODC regional representative commented at the launch event. Ambassador Claudia Wiedey, EU ambassador to Morocco, highlighted the importance of "safeguarding and protecting the lives of those in distress". She explained: "the traffickers remain persistent in exploiting those who are trafficked not only by asking for extra fees but also by threatening them even after they make it to the new countries." 

This new project will support Morocco in:   

  1. Improving the detection and interception capacities of front-line officers and agencies;
  2. Strengthening the capacities of first responders to identify and investigate cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while protecting trafficking victims and vulnerable migrants;
  3. Building the skills and knowledge of law enforcement agencies that will allow for the effective and rapid dismantling of criminal networks;
  4. Strengthening the skills of criminal justice practitioners in cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, with an emphasis on regional and international cooperation.

The specificities and differences of the phenomena will be taken in to account, to ensure value added and results. 

The official launch was followed by an operational training with the participation of law enforcement officers from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).

Dismantling the criminal networks operating in North Africa and involved in migrant smuggling and human Trafficking" is a three-year (2019-2022) €15 million regional joint initiative by the EU and the UNODC under the framework of the North Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The project consists of a regional intervention covering Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to support the effective dismantling of criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while at the same time upholding   the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable groups. 

This project is funded by the European Union.

Stories from UNODC's Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa  here and on   


8-9 October 2019: UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme celebrates 15 years of making global trade safer from crime

Image © UNODCThe Container Control Programme (CCP), which counters the cross-border movement of illicit goods and is jointly implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), today celebrates its 15 th anniversary at the Port of Antwerp.  

Every year, more than 750 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) are recorded in the global containerized trade supply chain, accounting for around 90 per cent of the world's cargo. The vast majority of containers carry licit goods; however, some are used to smuggle drugs, weapons, and other illicit goods. As a response, the CCP assists governments in building the capacities of national agencies at the border to detect illicit goods in sea, land and air cargo consignments. It thereby helps to strengthen international supply chain security and contributes to facilitate legitimate trade.

Since its inception in 2004, CCP units across the globe have seized a wide range of prohibited goods, including over 300 metric tons of cocaine, over 71 metric tons of cannabis, around 6,500kg of heroin, over 1600kg of psychotropic and new psychotropic substances, and over 1720 metric tons of precursors for drugs and explosives. These units also seized over 170 shipments relating to fisheries, forest, wildlife and other environmental crime and more than 100 strategic trade and dual-use shipments.

Speaking about the Programme's achievements, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of UNODC's Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, said: " The CCP's capacity to adapt to emerging security challenges is a key reason for its continuous success and relevance fifteen years after its creation ."

Ana Hinojosa, WCO's Director of Compliance and Facilitation, attributes the success of the CCP to " its comprehensive and staged training concept which builds expertise over a longer period of time from basic knowledge to advanced and complex subjects such as dual-use technology and protection of endangered species ".

To coincide with celebrations to mark CCP's 15 th anniversary, the CCP Women's Network launched a new gender equality campaign, CCP Champions for Change. This campaign will establish a network of women and men affiliated with the CCP who commit to the ideals of gender equality and the betterment of women's working conditions. 

Expanding the network against illicit trafficking:   

What began as a modest project, established in four seaports and primarily focused on drug trafficking, became a far-reaching programme on a global scale. As of today, the CCP has established more than 100 operational inter-agency Units in over 50 countries and has expanded its focus to include airports, dry ports, land border crossings and rail terminals.

Responding to constantly evolving crime threats, the Programme has expanded into new thematic areas, including environmental crime, trafficking in cultural property, dual use and strategic goods, CBRNe materials, weapons and their means of delivery, firearms and more advanced weapon systems, chemical precursors to drugs and explosives, as well as the exploitation of the air cargo supply chain. In addition, it supports fair revenue collection by the detection of a large number of non- or falsely declared commercial goods, such as cigarettes.

Working with Customs and other law enforcement authorities, the Programme ensures implementation of UN instruments, including UN Security Council resolutions, at the frontline level.

The CCP facilitates cooperation among national law enforcement authorities and private sector entities such as port operators and shipping lines. It provides for a standardized training methodology, which includes basic training, advanced specialized training, regular mentoring of the officers and onsite visits. CCP units are trained to identify high-risk containers using a combination of up-to-date profiling techniques, human intelligence and traditional hands-on methods.

In addition, the CCP has been continuously promoting gender equality in all its activities. In 2015, the CCP Women's Network initiative was launched to promote women's roles in the Programme and foster an inclusive dialogue. As a result, women's participation in CCP units has grown steadily, and today they represent 16 per cent of the total number of officers. The recently announced campaign 'CCP Champions for Change' is one example of the continuous commitment of the Programme to advancing gender equality.

The donors of the Programme are Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, DCAF/Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The CCP's training activities also benefit from in-kind contributions, including those from Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

In 2019 the Programme won the prestigious Bureau International des Containers  (BIC) Award 2018.

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26-27 September 2019: Discussions on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants

Originally published by  GLO.ACT.

UNODC and IOM - the two implementing agencies for GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East - participated in the 1st  EU-UNODC project steering committee meeting held in Brussels, Belgium. Participating in the steering committee were European Commission (EC) representatives from DG DEVCO, DG HOME, EU Country Delegations as well as UNODC  and IOM staff.

The  1st  EU-UNODC project steering committee provided the two project implementing agencies with the opportunity to update EU colleagues on the progress made in terms of the project's inception phase and activities already being implemented in  several of target countries. More specifically,  GLO.ACT 's  national project officers used the opportunity to introduce themselves to the EU colleagues and provided country updates which included updates on project implementation, issues and challenges  as well as outlining the work that has gone into developing national theories of change, workplans and a look at what lies ahead.

The meeting provided all participants, in particular colleagues from the EU in Brussels as well as EU Country Delegations, with the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the current status quo of the project in each country and about synergies with other programmes or projects being implemented in the region. 

Attending the project steering committee meeting also enabled UNODC HQ to meet with H.E. ​Ambassador Nazifullah Salarzai, Afghanistan's designated Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the EU and NATO in Brussels. During the meeting Aimée Comrie, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator spoke about the recent  successful launch of the project in the country and the co-signing of a declaration of cooperation in the framework of GLO.ACT,  and outlined what lies ahead in terms of project implementation. The GLO.ACT team also met with Maryam Al-Sheik and Maha Alhaidar at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq to introduce the work to be implemented under the framework of GLO.ACT in Iraq. Following the steering committee meeting, UNODC HQ staff also met with colleagues from the UNODC Office in Brussels, which is a liaison office to the European Union and its institutions. The meeting with the UNODC Brussels team ensured that GLO.ACT priorities and up-coming events requiring the support of the liaison office were discussed and planned. The liaison office continues to provide invaluable support to GLO.ACT's project management team. 

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan), while consultations with the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangladesh) are underway. The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms.   

"This project is funded by the European Union."      

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11-12 September 2019: EU - ICCWC discussions on EU-funded programme "law enforcement and combating wildlife and forest crime"

Image © UNODCOn 12 September a Steering Committee meeting of the EU-funded programme "Law enforcement and combating wildlife and forest crime" was held in Brussels. The EU, represented by Directorate Generals DEVCO and Environment, and the members of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) - CITES, UNODC, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and the World Bank- met together to discuss the programme progress, its strategic direction and impact on reducing wildlife and forest crime. In their strategic alliance, ICCWC partners have identified core priorities for targeted support that must be acted upon now to halt the magnitude of wildlife and forest crime. The EU grant focuses on law enforcement and criminal justice system capacity building and coordinated support to the countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America most impacted by the crime. This grant is a part of a larger EU Global Programme, which also supports civil society organisations, local communities and rangers. The EU Global Programme plays a central role in contributing to the implementation of 2016 EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking and SDG target 15.7 on ending poaching. The programme is a manifestation of a joint global action united under a common objective of ending wildlife and forest crime. The Steering Committee meeting was preceded by the ICCWC Senior Experts Group meeting held on September 11 th.

Further information on the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)  here


10 September 2019: UNODC briefed the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs on the findings of the World Drug Report 2019 

Image © UNODCThe Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU invited UNODC to brief the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs on the findings of the World Drug Report 2019 and on the process for innovating the global information system on drugs. In the briefing, Angela Me, the Chief of UNODC's Research and Trend Analysis Branch, emphasized that drug markets have never been so dynamic and complex and more than ever targeted and evidence-based public health responses are in need. 

As the chair of the UN Task Team, appointed by the UN Secretary General to ensure coherence and coordination across the UN system in drug related matters, Angela Me, who represented UNODC, also briefed the Council together with UNAIDS and OHCHR on the UN joint position and on the findings of a UN paper where agencies collectively reported what lessons learnt can be drawn from the scientific evidence on what works and what doesn't work on drug policy.

Further information:

  • The World Drug Report 2019  here
  • The Annual Report Questionnaire  here
  • The Commission on Narcotic Drugs  here


10 September 2019: Uganda, UN and EU launch joint initiative to counter violent extremism in prisons

Uganda took an important step in addressing violent extremism in prisons by launching a four-year initiative under the programme "Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons." This initiative is supported by the United Nations, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Union and the Government of the Netherlands.

Globally, there is growing concern that prisons can serve as incubators for radicalization to terrorism and terrorist recruitment, in the context of the growing number of violent extremist prisoners, including foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). However, prisons may also provide an opportunity for prisoners to disengage from violence, potentially serving as a catalyst for positive change.

This initiative launched in Uganda will serve to address these challenges as part of the larger joint global programme on "Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons" led by UNODC and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT) in close coordination with the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED). The programme is funded by the European Union, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Government of the Netherlands for a total amount of EUR 5,800,000.

The joint programme will be delivered in Kazakhstan, Tunisia and Uganda, and aims to strengthen the capacity of prison services to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners and to respond to the challenge of potential radicalization to violence in prison. The programme will address these issues as part of broader prison reform efforts and in full compliance with international human rights standards, including the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and from a gender perspective.

Uganda's selection as a beneficiary under the programme follows a scoping mission to the country in June 2019 by a team of United Nations officials. During the mission, the team consulted with a broad range of Ugandan officials and members of civil society who consistently reaffirmed the importance of addressing the growing threat of radicalization to terrorism in prisons.

The Ugandan Prison Service will serve as the main project partner along with other relevant actors in the criminal justice system, as well as civil society organizations, to effectively tackle the challenges of violent extremism in prisons in a comprehensive manner.  

Ugandan Commissioner General of Prisons Dr. Johnson Omuhunde Rwashote Byabashaija noted that "Uganda thanks the United Nations, the European Union, and the Government of the Netherlands for its support. Addressing the issue of violent extremism in prisons is a complex one. We know that countries world-wide have struggled to address this challenge and we look forward to learning from their experiences and lessons learned to make our prisons more resilient against the threat of violent extremism and terrorism."

"A good prison system constitutes a fundamental basis for the effective management of all prisoners, including violent extremist prisoners," stated Anna Merrifield, Chargée d'Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Uganda. She mentioned that "the EU Strategy for Combating Radicalization and Recruitment to Terrorism calls for a balanced approach between security-related measures and efforts to tackle those factors that may create an environment conducive to radicalization and recruitment to terrorism. The EU strategy also establishes full respect for human rights as one of the foundations for the EU's work in this field".

Amado Philip de Andres, Representative, UNODC Regional Office on Eastern Africa, commended "Uganda for its willingness to tackle the complex challenge of the spread of violent extremism in prisons. UNODC and our UN implementing partners, UNOCT and UNCTED, continue to be grateful for our long-standing partnership with the Government of Uganda. We note the important progress that Uganda has made in addressing terrorism and violent extremism in the country and are pleased that this project will complement and expand those efforts." 

Further Information:


30 July 2019: World day against Human Trafficking in Belgium 

Image © UNRICOn World day against Human Trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Samilia Foundation co-hosted a theatre performance "LAL BATTI EXPRESS" showcasing the lives of young women from Mumbai's infamous red-light area. The actresses aged 13 - 23, who are survivors of trafficking and daughters of sex workers, are beneficiaries of Kranti, an Indian NGO which empowers girls from Mumbai's red-light areas to become "agents of social change" and happiness.

At the start of the event, Ms Sophie Jekeler, the President of the Samilia Foundation, welcomed the audience and expressed that "today, victims of human trafficking and those who fight it are being honoured around the world!". She also informed the audience that Belgium was one of the first countries in the world to pass a law against human trafficking, and that the Belgian legislation has served as the basis for the main European directives in this crime.

Ms Yatta Dakowah, the Representative of the UNODC Liaison Office in Brussels, commended Ms Robin Chaurasiya, one of the founders of the shelter, for her work in empowering and educating young girls, and for enriching the lives of the underprivileged and unfortunate by helping them recognize their full potential. She extended her deepest gratitude to the women and the girls of the Kranti shelter for their courage and testimony, a call for everyone to take action. Ms Dakowah also recalled the strong engagement of the Kingdom of Belgium in the fight against human trafficking, and the importance to build strong partnerships.

Following the performance, Ms Robin Chaurasiya lead a question and answers session with the Kranti girls and the audience.  They described some of horrendous situations the girls and women had been subjected too. Many of them were pushed into prostitution or domestic servitude at a young age, facing severe exploitation daily. They shared their healing journey through education, meditation and sisterhood at Kranti focusing on their 5Cs of Communication, creative thinking, critical analysis, community leadership and compassion. Kranti uses theatre not just as a form of expression but as a form of therapy and healing for the girls to evolve from their traumatic experiences strong and powerful. Ms Chaurasiya reminded the audience that for her "revolutionaries" it is World day against human trafficking every day.

The event was also attended by the Belgian UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Ozark Henry who had the opportunity to interact with the actresses and thanked them for sharing their heart-breaking and heart-warming stories and for their messages of love and compassion. He was moved to an impromptu performance dedicating his song 'this one's for you' to the girls.

The event was held in Saint Gilles, at the family friendly 'Tricoterie', a cultural forum that hosts concerts and theatrical plays.


The Cities of Brussels and Bruges illuminated their town halls in blue in solidarity of the victims of human trafficking. In Brussels, the UNODC team, the Samilia team, the Kranti girls and Ozark Henry gathered at the beautiful Grand-Place to help shine a light on the many hidden victims who need our collective help. In Bruges Mr Jean-Luc Lemahieu, the UNODC Director for Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, joined key counterparts from the Ministry of Justice and UNODC partners, for a press call and photo opportunity. Mr Jean-Luc Lemahieu was interviewed by 'Focus en WTV', a local TV channel, in West Flanders and stated that "It is time for everybody to step up, help build a better tomorrow for victims and call governments to action. And that together we must end human trafficking even before 2030".


24 July 2019: Minister Reynders and the "Red Panthers" support the Blue Heart Campaign

Image © UNRICOn 24th July 2019, the Red Panthers - Belgium's national women's field hockey team, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and of Defence, Didier Reynders marked the forthcoming World Day against Trafficking in Persons by joining the United Nations (UN) Blue Heart Campaign to inspire action in sport against human trafficking.

The captain of the Red Panthers, Barbara Nelen, commented "The Belgian Red Panthers are proud to be joining the Blue Heart campaign, to help educate our fans about the crime of human trafficking and to highlight the fact that every one of us can do our part to bring the suffering of trafficking victims to light." 

Minister Reynders, welcomed the initiative of the Red Panthers, saying "Our country wished to actively join the Blue Heart Awareness Campaign, not only to mobilize against this exploitation that primarily affects women and young girls but also to show its strong commitment to respecting the values of democracy. Today, I join the Red Panthers in expressing our support and that of Belgium and on this occasion, I invite everyone to wear a blue heart, symbol of the despair of all the victims of this modern form of slavery".

The Representative of the UNODC Brussels Liaison Office, Yatta Dakowah, emphasized the importance of sports teams getting involved in the Blue Heart. "The crime of human trafficking happens everywhere, and the sports world is not immune. UNODC is at the forefront of international efforts to address corruption and crime in sport, in all its forms, and is happy to partner with the Red Panthers."

Since 2018 the Kingdom of Belgium has become the largest donor to the United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking (€ 2 million) which offers direct and efficient assistance to the victims and survivors of human trafficking. Belgium joined the Blue Heart Campaign during the 28th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that took place on 20th May in Vienna and is co-facilitator of the UN Action Plan Against Human Trafficking and is continuously engaged on the issue as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, focusing more particularly on eradication of forced labour and sexual exploitation, the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and the elimination of their exploitation. 


8 July 2019: Corruption in sport

Image © UNODCFighting corruption in sport is one the priorities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. With this in mind, UNODC was invited to present to the Working Party on Sport to give an overview of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport, as well as some of the activities and actions designed to help governments and sports organizations implement it. The aim of the meeting was to introduce the topic of corruption in sport and facilitate drafting of council conclusions on the issue. Presentations were also made by DG EAC, DG JUST, Council of Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany and UEFA.

Resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport was adopted by the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) at its seventh session, held in Vienna from 6 to 10 November 2017. It represents a significant milestone in addressing corruption in sport, not least the fact that it was supported by the 183 States parties to the UNCAC. It sets out key areas that Governments wish to address namely, competition manipulation, illegal betting, money laundering, cooperation between sport and criminal justice authorities, bribery, conflicts of interest, governance of sport organizations and reporting mechanisms.

With a view to helping sport organizations and governments effectively implement the resolution, UNODC has developed a Global Progamme on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption and Crime. Effective partnerships with key stakeholders have been developed, namely the International Olympic Committee, Interpol, Asian Football Confederation, Europol, FIFA, International Olympic Committee, International Cricket Council, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar, the Tennis Integrity Unit, UEFA, and World Rugby, among many others. UNODC is also a founding partner of the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport ( and will co-Chair a Task Force 4 on enhancing cooperation between criminal justice authorities and sports organizations. Since June 2018, technical assistance and awareness raising has also been directly provided, in cooperation with the IOC and INTERPOL, to Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria and Qatar. 

Many tools and resources have been developed to enhance then capacity of sport and government to address corruption in sport and which can be found  here


27-28 June 2019: UN-EU partnership seminar at the United Nations Office in Vienna

Image © UNODCThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organised at the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) a 1.5 days seminar focusing on the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) which governs UN-EU partnership. The seminar was conducted by Ms Anna Hysbergue, Programme Analyst at the United Nations Development Programme Office in Brussels, who has long experience with the FAFA contractual framework and who supports the UN-EU coordination efforts in Brussels in this regard.

The seminar was designed to give UN staff a good understanding of the most relevant rules and procedures considered essential to promote smooth cooperation with the EU. The seminar was attended by various staff from the UN Vienna based agencies (UNODC, UNICRI, UNOOSA, UNIDO and the IAEA). 

The FAFA Seminar was followed by a  clinic on UNODC-EU specific cooperation with a special focus on the latest political and policy developments and the future programming phase for the period 2021-2027, and also touched upon contract management and project implementation issues.


24-25.06.2019: UNODC-EU discussions on security threats in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Mr Julien Garsany, UNODC Deputy Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, concluded his two-round mission to Brussels. During his missions, he held discussions with various European Commission Directorates (DG DEVCO, DG HOME, DG ECHO), the EEAS, the Council of the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Secretariat. The meetings aimed at presenting the latest trends and developments in Southeast Asia and the Pacific pertaining to transnational organized crime, corruption, terrorism and violent extremism, as well as drug production, trafficking and consumption. Cooperation with ASEAN was also discussed. The key message conveyed was that the situation in Southeast Asia showed no sign of improvement and that organized crime groups were becoming more powerful than ever. Methamphetamine in the region was flagged with particular concern. However, the situation presents opportunities for cooperation to preserve the excellent and dynamic economic development of the region and its stability.

UNODC will launch the 2019 Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment (TOCTA) for Southeast Asia on 19 July in Bangkok. More to follow on the website of the UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific  here


18-19.06.2019: European Development Days 2019 : Tackling global inequalities with no one left behind 

Image © UNODCThe thirteenth edition of the European Development Days (EDDs), convened by the European Commission, took place on 18-19 June 2019 in Brussels. EDD 2019 aimed to bring together the European Union's commitment to address inequalities with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The two day event hosted over 8,000 participants from 140 countries worldwide, representing 1,200 development organisations, including Heads of State or Government, leading experts, key influencers and young leaders convened this year to debate successes and failures in addressing inequalities in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

The UN stand at the EDDs Global Village 2019 hosted exceptional speakers from across the world, including United Nations VIPs, European Commission Commissioners and Directors, MEPs, high-level experts, grassroots activists and many more key players in addressing inequalities. Among the several high-level participants, Her Majesty Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians, visited the UN Stand and contributed fruitfully to the discussions with keynote speech on the urgency of real change to implement the 2030 Agenda. 

Image © UNODCEDD 2019 provided a unique opportunity for the UNODC Brussels team to present - in support of the upcoming World Day Against Trafficking in Persons  observed on July 30 - the Blue Heart campaign against human trafficking to the many visitors and to encourage them to show solidarity with the victims by wearing the Blue Heart. UNODC is most grateful to Mr Stefano Manservisi, the Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and Mr Christian Leffler, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), for their important support. 

Follow the Blue Heart on     for more information  


11.06.2019:  UNODC at the EU Council Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) 

Image © UNODCThe Chief of the Secretariat to the Governing Bodies of UNODC, Jo Dedeyne-Amann, attended the meeting of the EU Council Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) held on 11 June 2019 in Brussels. The HDG is responsible for leading and managing the Council's work on drugs and performs both legislative and general policy work in the areas of drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction.

Accordingly, she briefed national delegations and EU counterparts on current and next developments of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which is the central UN policy-making body on drug-related matters and which held its 62 nd session  in Vienna in March 2019. The CND meets every year to discuss the global state of drug control and to adopt resolutions to guide the way forward. Ms Dedeyne-Amann reported about the Ministerial Segment convened at the occasion of the CND 62 nd session and on the related Ministerial Declaration which focused on strengthening actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments made over the past decade to address and counter the world drug problem.

Information on a proposed multi-year workplan, initiated by the Chair, to advance implementation of the commitments made in the period leading up to 2024 (at which time a mid-term review was scheduled), which would be considered at the upcoming 24 June CND intersessional meeting,  stimulated a fruitful debate among national delegates. References were made, both during the presentation and the discussion, to the consideration during the 24 June CND Intersessional meeting of questions that had been addressed to the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to its recommendations on the international scheduling of cannabis and cannabis related substances.

Further information: 

  • The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on  
  • The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) on  


27.05.2019: Launch of Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) Project Success Stories in Brussels

Image © UNODCThe Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism Project (PACT), with the financial support of the European Union, is being jointly implemented by the UNODC Country Office and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) of Pakistan. The objectives of the project are centred on policy enhancement, increased capacity of the law enforcement agencies (LEAs), and improved provincial and inter-provincial coordination on Counter-Terrorism (CT). 

NACTA has collaborated in the design and implementation of the PACT Project's objectives, to ensure that all efforts fall in line with the aims outlined under the initiative. The Project also contributes directly towards  SDG 16 through its interventions aimed at enhancing the capacities of police, prosecution and judiciary; while promoting information sharing between Federal and Provincial authorities to effectively overcome the challenges posed by terrorism. 

The launch of PACT's  Success Stories was co-organized with the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels. The delegation from Pakistan was led by Mr Mubarak Zeb, Director General NACTA, and included the participation of Ms Humaira Mufti, Joint Secretary Ministry of Interior; Mr Noman Bhatti, Counsellor, Embassy of Pakistan; and Mr Ikram Ullah, Home Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The event was also attended by Ms Hilde Hardeman, Director and Head of the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI); and Mr Danillo Campisi, OiC UNODC Pakistan. 

In her opening remarks Ms Hardeman welcomed the delegation, and expressed her appreciation for the extended cooperation of all the stakeholders in countering terrorism. She stressed the need for dedicated efforts and commitment from the respective countries facing the threat of terrorism to devise collaborative mechanisms for the effective implementation of initiatives like PACT. 

Mr Mubarak Zeb conveyed his thanks to the European Union for extending the financial support, and to UNODC for providing the technical assistance, to complement the efforts of Pakistan in overcoming the challenges posed by terrorism. He acknowledged the project's flexibility in prioritizing assistance on Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) for investigators, prosecutors, and judges; in addition to developing the first-ever tailor-made Training Manual on terrorism financing investigation based on international best practices. He added that the PACT project had contributed as well to promoting gender mainstreaming by encouraging women officers to actively participate in workshops and trainings, which was unprecedented given the barriers they often faced due to cultural and traditional norms. 

Following these opening remarks, the PACT Success Stories were formally launched by Mr Ikram Ullah, who presented the Project's major achievements in various thematic areas. He highlighted the project's commencement with a three-month Case Analysis Exercise (CAE) in collaboration with all the stakeholders, to thoroughly evaluate the counter terrorism process in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Following the CAE, the scope of PACT was further defined around the lines of training needs, process improvement, legislative needs, and needs related to external factors. The project's achievements have included the Case Management and Monitoring System (CMMS) established for the KP Prosecution Department, the training of over 1000 officials including investigators and prosecutors on CT related modules developed under PACT, Witness Protection Policy Guidelines developed for KP, enhanced international cooperation between Pakistani LEAs and INTERPOL, and assistance to Pakistan in organizing regional and international conferences.

The briefing concluded with a question and answer session in which attendees raised queries, and received responses from the experts, on the challenges faced, the future scope of the project, and the extent of its impact.

Further information on UNODC's Pakistan's Action to Counter Terrorism (PACT) Project  here and on   


15-16.04.2019: UNODC participation at the EU Cyber Forum

As technology plays a growing role in our lives and we've become more reliant on it in our daily routines, growing concern arises regarding security and the borderless nature of cyberspace. Technology can be used to facilitate and enhance many constructive activities, however, there is growing concern over misuse and abuse by criminals, terrorists and state actors alike. UNODC, through its Intergovernmental Expert Group and Global Programme on Cybercrime, are a key element of the response to these challenges. Our Capacity building work with national and regional jurisdictions helps countries investigate cyber-related offences, which in turn, builds confidence, results in better traceability / attribution and overall more security in cyberspace. Cybercrime and its ever-evolving nature pose tremendous risks to cybersecurity as well as to the economic and social wellbeing of nations. Therefore, there is a need for preventative measures to be set in place - which may include: enforcement of legislation within well-established rule of law conditions and standards, cybersecurity, strategic investment in capacity building across the criminal justice system, and more efficient international cooperation.

Since 2013, UNODC leads the United Nations response to cybercrime. Specifically, UNODC draws upon its specialized criminal justice expertise to provide technical assistance, capacity building, prevention and awareness raising, international cooperation, data collection, research and analysis on cybercrime, cybersecurity and wider cyber diplomacy. Its objective is to foster international cooperation and promote consensus based on a multi-stakeholder approach. 

UNODC attended the EU Cyber Forum on 15-16 April 2019 in Brussels to partake in discussions related to cyber-related policy issues. Considering UNODC's global role and expertise, it is important to include the United Nations in this and future cyber discussions as not only a core part of the international cyber community but also a lead player in promoting confidence, stability and dialogue. The EU Cyber Forum explained the lack of international consensus on norms that should be applied internationally to cyberspace and how there is an extant need for inclusive discussions regarding how existing international law applies in practice, how to enforce the rules and norms of state behavior in cyberspace and ways to move forward. This opportunity has allowed UNODC to better understand the European Union as well as other stakeholders and dialogue partners, stance and approach on the matter, engage in discussion with experts and country representatives, gain insights from other stakeholders, and opportunity for UNODC to identify needs, challenges, capacity, current trends and commitment each country has towards countering cybercrime1. UNODC's participation also allowed participants of the EU Cyber Forum to learn more about UNODC. With this information, UNODC can better support the work of the entire UN system, including messaging for the Secretary-General, and as an apolitical and objective associate of both the GGE and OEWG processes in the General Assembly. 

The United Nations' role is to promote peace, stability and sustainable development. UNODC has the System-wide lead for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development, Provide Access to Justice for All and Build Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions at All Levels. This includes the reduction of all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children, promotion of rule of law at national and international levels, to ensure equal access to justice for all, and reduce illicit financial and arms flow, and combat all forms of organized crime - all of which can occur in, or be facilitated through, cyberspace.

UNODC's cyber mandates come from, amongst others, General Assembly resolution 65/230 and Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice resolutions 22/7 and 22/8. Capacity building and technical assistance include, but aren't limited to, legislative support to Member States the adoption and implementation of frameworks for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law enforcement cooperation, and training. UNODC has implemented many projects across regions that can add value to the discussions brought forward in platforms like the EU Cyber Forum.

Despite geopolitical challenges, Member States continue to agree that Capacity Building is a core, increasing requirement in countering cybercrime - including training criminal justice actors including judges, prosecutors and investigators for digital forensics and child sexual exploitation and abuse casework. With UNODC's current work and approach, its field-based expertise, recommendations and knowledge can be shared to inform stakeholders of what works, what needs improvement, what challenges lie ahead, what future cyber trends may look like and what strategies and resources can be utilized to combat the matter. The UNODC Regional Office of Southeast Asia and Pacific conducts, for example, research (i.e. Study on the Effects of New Information Technologies on the Abuse and Exploitation of Children), threat assessments, strengthens partnerships with law enforcement agencies, mentors (e.g. cryptocurrency investigations), organizes meetings and conferences (e.g. national roundtable discussion), implements capacity building training (i.e. National Capacity Building on Cyber Threat Intelligence, Handling of Digital Forensics, Training-of-Trainings Workshop, etc.) and advises Vienna HQ on local, & regional policy matters.

Further information on UNODC's Global Programme on Cybercrime  here


11.04.2019: ICAT Policy Exchange with the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

Image © UNODCOn 11 April 2019, members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons' Working Group gathered in Brussels for a policy exchange with Dr. Myria Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss common strategies and joint approaches to combat trafficking in persons. The ICAT Permanent Coordinator (UNODC) and 2019 Co-chairs (OSCE and UN Women) were present, along with other members of the ICAT Working Group (IOM, ICMPD, CoE, ILO, UNHCR and UNICEF).

Dr. Vassiliadou presented the Second Progress Report in the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings in the EU, highlighting its key recommendations and stressing the importance of multilateral exchange, coherence and coordination of efforts in the fight against trafficking in persons. Dr Vassiliadou recognised the centrality of ICAT within the UN system from an institutional and multilateral perspective. She noted that ICAT's mandates are a fantastic toolbox for facilitating a cooperative approach anchored in respecting and promoting international legal standards.

ICAT members welcomed the Report and recognised many synergies between the recommendations contained in the Report and the priorities of ICAT, including planned policy papers for 2019. UNODC expressed appreciation for the Report's encouragement to Member States to allocate sufficient resources for victim support services and to fight trafficking as a serious form of organised crime, as well as the importance of adopting a child-sensitive approach. UNODC echoed Dr. Vassiliadou's call to ground anti-trafficking responses in international legal frameworks.

ICAT and the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator reiterated their commitment to continuing their close exchange of information. UNODC has a close working relationship with the EU, including in partnering with the EU through the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), an EU-funded project that has been implemented in 13 countries over the past 4 years in collaboration with UNICEF and IOM. UNODC and the EU are also partnering on GLO.ACT II, or GLO.ACT Asia, which will be implemented over the coming four years in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

As the Permanent Coordinator and Secretariat of ICAT, UNODC is actively engaged in promoting close partnerships between ICAT entities, as well as with Member States and other stakeholders.

Please follow the ICAT news on     for more information 


05.04.2019: Belgium announces EUR 2 million contribution to United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, managed by UNODC

Originally published by  UNODC Vienna.

Image © UNODCThe Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations in Vienna, Ghislain d'Hoop, today met with the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, to announce a two-million Euro contribution to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking. 

"I am extremely grateful to Belgium for this generous contribution" said Mr. Fedotov. "It will go a long way in helping UNODC ensure, through the Voluntary Trust Fund, that thousands of victims of human trafficking around the world, and especially women and children, can become survivors. I sincerely hope that the example of Belgium will be followed by other donors," he added.

Mr. d'Hoop stressed that "Belgium is pleased to give its contribution to such a dynamic program, that is supporting action where it is the most needed, by providing relief for the most vulnerable."

Belgium's contribution will enable the Trust Fund to support the work of its NGO partners and increase the provision of essential services and assistance to victims globally.

Every year, criminal organizations traffic thousands of children, women and men robbing them of their rights and dignity. Trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most frequently detected forms of this heinous crime, but victims are also subjected to forced marriage, begging, organ removal, and other forms of exploitation. 

Managed by UNODC, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, Especially Women and Children, provides humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of these crimes.  The Trust Fund awards grants to specialized NGOs around the globe that work to ensure that victims of human trafficking are identified, treated humanely, protected, and provided with the physical, psychological and social support necessary for their recovery and reintegration.

At the meeting, Mr. Fedotov also announced the results of the Trust Fund's third grant cycle for its Grants Programme. 25 specialized NGOs and grassroots organizations that provide critical assistance and protection to trafficking survivors globally have been selected in 23 countries. Priority of the call for proposals focused on projects providing direct assistance to victims coming out of a context of armed conflict and those identified amongst large movements of refugees and migration flows.


Since its inception in 2010, the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women & Children has received US$ 6.7 million in contributions from 30 Member States, 33 private sector organizations and scores of individual donors. The Trust Fund provided grants to 59 NGO projects that offer essential assistance to trafficking survivors in over 40 countries.

Further Information:


04-05.04.2019: Discussions on prevention, treatment and care of blood borne diseases among people who use drugs and people in prison settings

Ms Fariba Soltani, Senior HIV/AIDS Expert, came to Brussels for EU-UNODC meetings to present UNODC's work on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for people who use drugs and for people in prisons.

A co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNODC is the convening agency for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs and people in prisons. The UNODC global HIV programme supports countries to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for people who use drugs and for people in prisons.

UNODC's HIV work is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals in particular SDG 3 and its target 3.3 to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, which has also been stressed in the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs Outcome Document. Towards this end, UNODC has been leading the drive to implement HIV services which are gender responsive (SDG 5), advocating equal access to HIV services for people who use drugs and people in prisons that are human rights and public health based (SDG 10), promoting elimination of all forms of discrimination against people who use drugs and people in prisons (SDG 16), while teaming up with governments and communities to achieve major reductions in new HIV infections and HIV related deaths among the key populations (SDG 17).          

In its HIV work, UNODC partners with drug control and law enforcement agencies, prison authorities and the justice and health sectors and civil society and community-based organizations. To ensure the most efficient use of resources, UNODC's HIV, Hepatitis B & C and TB work among people who use drugs and in prisons focuses on high impact interventions in high priority countries. 

In this context, meetings were held to discuss EU and UNODC priorities and foreseen opportunities for future collaboration to address HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs and people in prisons. The meetings focused on high priority countries in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa regions.  

UNODC supports countries to promote health and well-being for all, ensuring that people who use drugs and people in prisons have access to evidence-informed, human rights-based, and gender responsive interventions and are not left behind.

Further information on UNODCs HIV Global programme  here and on 


04-05.04.2019:   Discussions on UNODC strategic partnership and Security Sector Reform   in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine)

Ms Aisser Al-Hafedh, from the UNODC Section for Europe, West & Central Asia, came to Brussels for meetings with the EU counterparts to exchange on the UNODC work in Eastern Europe and future perspectives; as well as to present the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives undertaken by UNODC in its capacity as member of the Inter-agency task force on SSR, as well as, under the framework of  UNODC Strategic Partnership and Programmatic Actions in Eastern Europe (2017-2020) and the Joint UNODC-OSCE Action Plan for 2018-2019.

In this context, the outcome of a recent regional workshop, co-organized by UNODC and OSCE, hosted by Belarus in November 2018, on "the role of a well governed and accountable security sector in addressing transnational threats," focusing on Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova was discussed. The discussions highlighted that transnational crimes, such as trafficking in persons and illicit drugs, cybercrime, corruption and terrorism among others, have a negative impact on public safety and security, and are persistent threats to the effective realization of the SDGs in Eastern Europe, in particular Goal 16, which calls for peaceful and safe societies.

The objective of the discussions was to promote UNODC's work and expertise on Security Sector Reform, and to exchange on strategic and operational partnerships, and to explore EU-UNODC regional cooperation to improve good governance and human security, as a pre-requisite and an enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms Al-Hafedh also met with NATO counterparts from the Russian and Ukraine Relation Section to present the UNODC Strategic Actions in Eastern Europe and to discuss the ongoing NATO-UNODC project to deliver high-quality, professional law enforcement training to mid-level counter-drug officers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the five Central Asian countries supporting their counter narcotic efforts and addressing the threat of trafficking in opiates within and through their territories. Discussions focused also on the coordination, impact and sustainability of the delivery of the law enforcement training projects provided to the sub-region and their visibility through the recent establishment of the UNODC Database on Law Enforcement Training for Europe, West and Central Asia.    


28.03.2019: UNODC presented the CCP at the Council's  Customs Cooperation Working Party

Image © UNODCMr Ketil Ottersen, UNODC's Senior Coordinator of the Container Control Programme (CCP), was invited by the Romanian Presidency of the Council, to attend an expert meeting hosted by the Council's Customs Cooperation Working Party (CCWP). The CCWP handles work regarding operational cooperation among national customs administrations with a view to increasing their enforcement capabilities. It focuses on seeking results in terms of seizures, identification of new threats and disruption of criminal gangs. The CCWP is composed of experts from each member state and is chaired by the delegate of the country holding the rotating six-month presidency of the Council.

Mr Ottersen presented the work of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, launched in 2004, and developed in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), to assist governments to establish and maintain effective container controls at seaports, dry ports, land borders, railways and airports that serve not only to prevent trafficking in drugs and other illicit goods, but also to facilitate legitimate trade and protect border revenue. He explained that CCP activities strengthen the security of the international cargo supply chain by building and improving national capacities, and that CCP assists Member States to equip, train and mentor customs and other law enforcement officials to improve the selection of high-risk cargo shipments. At present, the CCP is operational in over 50 Member States. More than 85 Port Control Units and Air Cargo Control Units have been established. 

Mr Ottersen also gave a brief overview on results since its establishment: CCP Units have seized over 265 tons of cocaine, 6,000 kg of heroin, 71 tons of cannabis, 1,710 tons of precursors for drugs and explosives, 805 kg of psychotropic substances, 325 tons of tramadol, 1,054 kg of new psychoactive substances and 1.2 billion cigarettes. There have also been seizures of 90 shipments of strategic and dual use goods, 152 cases of environmental crime, 820 cases of IPR goods and 3 instances relating to fisheries crime (between 2016-2018). More details are available on the UNODC - WCO container control Programme  here. 

This expert meeting provided an opportunity to share information, knowledge and best practices, and to enhance intra-agency cooperation through joint actions, operations and initiatives. 

In October 2019, the Container Control Programme will celebrate its 15th Anniversary. More to follow... 

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26.03.2019: Kazakhstan, the United Nations and the European Union Jointly Addressing Violent Extremism in Prisons

Many countries are currently facing a threat from violent extremism. It has evolved and taken on new forms and capabilities. Trends, means and patterns of radicalization to violence equally continue to broaden. In light of the risk that prisons constitute potential locations for the radicalization to violence of prisoners, Kazakhstan strengthens international co-operation and increases efforts to address the manifestation of radicalization to violence and violent extremism in prison settings. Prison authorities emphasize that prisons also provide an opportunity for prisoners to disengage from violence and could even prove a catalyst for positive change.

It is in this context that European Union, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Netherlands provided strategic political and financial assistance to the United Nations entities, including United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNOCT to further enhance, in close consultation with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), the provision and delivery of technical assistance to Member States to implement this to prevent the progression to violent extremism in prisons.

The official launch of the global programme "Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons (2018-2021)" was launched in Astana in December 2018. The programme's overall budget is 9,1 million USD. This initiative is co-financed by the European Union (USD 4,7 Mio.), the Government of the Netherlands (USD 1,4 Mio.) and the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (USD 3,0 Mio) and implemented in three beneficiary countries: Kazakhstan, Tunis and Uganda.

Today, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan and UNODC signed a Country Work Plan for the implementation of the global initiative for the period from 2019 to 2021. It was developed in partnership with key state counterparts, civil society and implementing partners and includes four components - safety and security, prisoners' risks and needs assessment, prison-based rehabilitation programs as well as post release support and alternatives to imprisonment in suitable cases.

Mr. Janat Suleimanov, First Deputy of the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan noted that "the Ministry of Interior pays particular attention to the development and implementation of effective measures to eliminate the spread of extremism within prisons. Thus, since April 2017, the theological rehabilitation service has been functioning in the penitentiary system. This service is responsible for implementation of disengagement interventions, including faith-based programmes. He also informed that "Prison system jointly with other state bodies, conducts professional training off staff, develops methodological guidelines and various training materials on theological rehabilitation of prisoners."

During the event, Mr. Norimasa Shimomura, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan, emphasized the need to closely embed any interventions targeting violent extremist prisoners in broader prison reform efforts and underlined that "A good prison system constitutes a fundamental basis for the effective management of all prisoners, including violent extremist prisoners. All challenges posed by violent extremist prisoners must be addressed in full compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and other relevant international standards and norms, including from a gender and age perspective".

"The European Union is a reliable partner to Kazakhstan in support of rule of law, judicial reform and modernization of the penitentiary system. Just during the last 5 years we have committed and made significant contributions to this end amounting to more than EUR 12 million to bilateral projects in the justice sector in Kazakhstan in addition to regional projects covering Central Asia addressing justice and security issues amounting to more than EUR 70 million. The EU welcomes concrete steps taken by the Government of Kazakhstan to improve criminal legislation, enhance the capacity of criminal justice institutions and promote the use of non-custodial sanctions and alternatives to imprisonment. This is more important, since - despite efforts to tackle the issue and certain results - inhuman treatment still remains a serious problem in prisons and pre-trial detention centers of many countries, a situation which also risks undermining any effective actions against the spreading of violent extremism in these facilities. It is therefore important to recall that full respect of human rights is an integral part of this process" said Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson, Head of the European Union's Delegation to Kazakhstan.

"Any efforts in prisons to address violent extremism must not lead to undermining fundamental human rights to which all persons, including violent extremist prisoners, are entitled, including the freedom of thought, religion or belief, and the absolute prohibition of torture", stressed Dirk Jan Kop, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Astana.

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, National Security Service, Prison Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as international organizations took part in the event.

UNODC supports the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons in compliance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The key document for implementation of the Global Programme is  UNODC Handbook on the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons, which constitutes the first technical guidance tool to address the work with this category of prisoners at the United Nations level.

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1 8.03.2019: Unity in Diversity: Iraqi Officials Study Visit organized by UNODC and the city hall of Mechelen

Image © UNODCDiversity, inclusion, tolerance, and integration are core values of the UN system, yet it remains challenging to translate them into direct action within the context of addressing terrorism and violent extremism. A possible way to address such challenges is learning from previous successful experiences.

From 18 th to 20 th March 2019, the UNODC MENA Regional Representative, Ms. Cristina Albertin and the UNODC Regional Advisor on Terrorism Prevention, Ali Younes, accompanied an Iraqi delegation to a study visit organised by UNODC and the city hall of Mechelen, Belgium, to enhance their capacities to address crisis situations, counter terrorism, and to prevent violent extremism. 

With a population made up of 138 different nationalities speaking 69 diverse languages, Mechelen was chosen as the location of the study visit as it exemplifies direct successful efforts of using diversity to enrich the community and to address possible threats of terrorism and violent extremism through active multicultural integration under the slogan of "living together."

While Belgium had 565 Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Mechelen is one of the key communities and towns that did not have any of its citizens recruited. Such results are due to the initiative and efforts taken by the town's population under the leadership of its current Mayor, Bart Somers, who received the World Mayor Prize by the City Mayors Foundation in 2016 for his efforts to show "Europe that people from many different countries and cultures can come together and be proud citizens. Bart Somers believes that all people in Mechelen are unique and different. They have different dreams, do different jobs, lead different lives. But Mechelen is their home, their city," as it was clarified in the prize citation. Mayor Somers attended the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) to share the municipality's experience. 

The three-day programme started with a field visit to the different departments of the Mechelen Local Police on 18 th March and continued with interesting presentations. "We are like a football team. We can play together and respect the laws," building "bridges between the community and the police" as "we need the confidence of the people," to be able to leave "no person behind" by establishing "networks of social organisations," police officers had commented showcasing the community-based police approach towards the town's citizens. 

The presentations and discussions included examples of integration and social inclusion actions, notes on education and diversity, illustrations of social employment actions, and references to positive identity and institutional support. The different elements and policies presented, clarified how various angles are assimilated to produce the Mayor's and town's inclusive policies.  

During the following day the delegation visited the Coordination Unit for Threat Assessment (CUTA), where was explained the role of the Centre in assessing the terrorist threat in Belgium, its structure and how it collaborates with local authorities. Subsequently, the Flemish Organization for Cities, which provides network and support for local governments on different topics (among others, on radicalization and countering/preventing violent extremism), addressed the participants with insights on the Flemish Platform on Radicalization and the socio-preventive projects in the field of violent extremism prevention.

On 20 th March, visitors had the chance to meet the Mechelen Mayor Mr. Somers to debate on the Mechelen project "Police and Human Rights" for security cooperation. When speaking on the role of the police to promote security cooperation through integration and diversity, Mayor Somers also added that "police need to be a mirror of society where 25% or 30% of the people in uniform are people from a foreign background. This is important for two reasons, it strengthens the information gathering process about what is really happening in society and secondly, it creates bigger trust between the people, the city, and the police." "The approach to fighting crime in Mechelen is seen primarily as a social policy, where the society must be engaged, and secondly, we never use our police to criminalise groups in society."

Finally, at the Kazerna Dossin, the General Manager of the military barrack, Mr. Christopher Bush, presented the Holocaust Memorial to the delegation.

By the end of the visit, a set of recommendations was formulated to identify ways to replicate the Mechelen experience in selected municipalities in Iraq. 

  • Further information on UNODC's Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa  here.  



11.03.2019: UNODC Container Control Programme wins prestigious industry award

Image © UNODCThe Container Control Programme (CCP), developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) has won the prestigious Bureau International des Containers (BIC) Award 2018. The CCP helps strengthen international supply chain security by building the capacities of national border agencies to detect the use of sea, land and air cargo for illicit purposes. It develops cooperation among national law enforcement authorities and private sector entities such as port operators and shipping lines.

The BIC Award is given annually to an individual or organization for noteworthy contributions to the advancement of safety, security, standardization or sustainability in the fields of containerization and intermodal transportation. Each year, BIC's Board of Directors select a single candidate from a pool of industry nominees. The BIC award 2018 was presented to UNODC and WCO on the opening day of the annual Enforcement Committee meeting on 11 March 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The Secretary General of BIC, Douglas Owen, and the BIC Chairman of the Board, Giordano Bruno Guerrini, presented the award. Mr. Guerrini said that "The Container Control Programme has been selected for its successes in improving security and mitigating smuggling in container transportation. The BIC believes that the capacity-building efforts of the CCP, and its important work in promoting advanced risk-assessment around the world, are to be applauded and encouraged." UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted that "As traffickers exploit our increasingly interlinked economies, using techniques and networks which grow more sophisticated with each passing year, we must also evolve to match this globalized threat, adapting our approaches to become stronger, more effective, more sustainable and more cooperative, sharing the latest information and best practices." He also noted that "The UNODC -WCO Container Control Programme continues to keep pace with these rapid developments and the support it provides to secure the global supply chain is needed more than ever. We are extremely proud to see the programme receive the recognition it deserves with the BIC award."

The efforts of the CCP have resulted in seizures of a wide range of prohibited goods, such as weapons, proceeds of fisheries, forest, wildlife and other environmental crime, prohibited drugs, strategic goods, falsified or unlicensed medicines, precursors for drugs and weapons, cigarettes and goods which are counterfeit or otherwise violate intellectual property law.

At present, the CCP is operational in 50 countries and has initiated activities in ten more. More than 85 operational Port Control Units (PCUs) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCUs) have been established since the programme's inception in 2004.

Further information:


22.02.2019: UNODC joined a debate on how the EU and national anti-migrant policies affect humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and migrants

On 22 February, in the framework of the IdeasLab organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Ms Morgane Nicot, Crime prevention and criminal Justice expert of the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, participated in one of the Right &Security Session entitled "Heroes or Criminals? A Crackdown on civil Society Assistance to Asylum Seekers" focused on how the EU and national anti-migrant policies affect humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and migrants. Three other speakers, Simona Ragazzi (Italian Judge), Gabriela Sanchez (EUI researcher) and Marie Debieuvre (DG HOME), contributed to the discussion, moderated by Roberto Cortinovis (CEPS) under the ReSOMAN Project (Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum, funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme).

The debate developed around the humanitarian clause of the EU facilitation directive and the Search & Rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Civil Society Organisations reaffirmed the importance of the principle of solidarity and the freedom of assembly while other participants highlighted the need to strengthen national capacity and improve international cooperation to prosecute smugglers. Ms Nicot noted that smuggling is a transnational phenomenon which goes beyond national borders, including the EU, and underlined the necessity to address the involvement of organised criminal groups in migrant smuggling. She recalled the international framework and in particular the financial or other material benefit requirement for all offences under the  Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants  which implementation should per se exclude humanitarian action from its scope. 


20.02.2019: UNODC supporting efforts to safeguard sport from corruption and crime

"…reporting systems are not conceived exclusively for reporting in itself, but also as vehicle for changing approaches to prevention, governance and information sharing". On 20 February 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) contributed to an event aimed at fostering cooperation between law enforcement agencies and sport bodies to address corruption and crime in sport. 

In particular, the meeting aimed at raising awareness about ways to detect the various forms of corruption and crime that affect and undermine the integrity of sport, namely match-fixing, illegal betting, involvement of organized crime, safeguarding major sports event from corruption.  

Given UNODC's leading role in the UN system in helping to address these issues, the importance of such awareness raising events was underlined by Ms. Yatta Dakowah, Representative, Chief of the UNODC Liaison Office, who highlighted UNODC's effort in capacity building and training for many countries and sports organizations as well as the organizing of the first international conference of its kind in Vienna on 5 and 6 June, entitled "Safeguarding Sport from Corruption", involving over 60 Governments and international organization.

The meeting was strongly attended and included Members of the European Parliament, Chair and Vice-Chair of European Parliament's Sport Intergroup, Mr. Santiago Fisas Ayxelà and Ms. Tiziana Beghin, representatives from the Italian Government Office for Sport, Unioncamere Europa, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office, national police representatives, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG), the European Platform for Sport Innovation (EPSI), academia, the private sector and other stakeholders to discuss cooperation between law enforcement agencies and sport bodies to prevent match-fixing and other crimes in sport.

Ms. Dakowah also informed participants that UNODC in partnership with International Olympic Committee is currently developing a Handbook on Reporting Mechanisms in Sport. The guidance in the document is intended to be a practical tool for use primarily by sports organizations, but also by government officials.

UNODC is mandated to work in the area of sports integrity as a result of the adoption of  resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport, adopted by 186 States parties at the Seventh Conference of States parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was held in Vienna in November 2017. The resolution was co-sponsored by the European Union.

Further information:


12 February 2019: EU and UNODC discussions against trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants

Image © UNODCMr Ilias Chatzis, Chief of the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, and Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, briefed the European Commission and the EEAS counterparts on UNODC's work on trafficking in persons (TIP) and on smuggling of migrants (SOM). The meeting was conveyed by Ms Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, to discuss EU and UNODC priorities and foreseen opportunities for future collaboration to fight this horrendous crime. 

Mr Chatzis updated the EU Officials on UNODC's involvement in the latest normative and policy works (such as the Report of the Secretary-General on trafficking in persons in armed conflict pursuant to Security Council resolution 2388, the  thematic paper on countering trafficking in persons in conflict situations and the  Issue Paper on the International Legal Definition of Trafficking in Persons). He explained UNODC's work within the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). ICAT has grown rapidly over the past year and now consist of 23 agencies. In 2018 it produced issue briefs on trafficking in children and the role of SDGs in combatting trafficking in persons.

Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, had the opportunity to present the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Person. Globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more traffickers; sexual exploitation continues to be the main purpose for trafficking and women are the most detected victims. Ms Kangaspunta informed the EU Officials on the intention to create a UNODC Real-Time Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants to monitor migrant smuggling from Africa to Europe. The pilot phase will consist of data collection through three surveys and five field studies in West and North Africa and in Europe.

Ms Eurídice Márquez, Officer in Charge of  GLO.ACT the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, highlighted GLO.ACT's holistic approach working with the 13 partner countries in the prevention and fight against TIP and SOM. Ms. Márquez shared key good practices and lessons learned during the last 3,5 years of project implementation such as on bringing new legislative amendments, development of national action plans and strategies, as well as on improving regional and international cooperation. Mr Panagiotis Papadimitriou, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Expert, briefed  the EU officials about UNODC's technical cooperation provided to partner countries in implementing the Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Protocols.

During the meeting, the EU colleagues reiterated their strong commitment to the UN Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling Protocols and recalled the EU's priorities to end the culture of impunity, disrupt the business model of the traffickers and improve victim access to their rights.

Further information: 


12 February 2019: Belgium and UNODC sign two-million-euro funding agreement to strengthen fight against corruption and wildlife crime in Africa

Image © Belgian MoFA Originally published by  UNODC Vienna.

Belgium and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have signed a new funding agreement worth two million euros to combat corruption and wildlife crime in Africa. The funds will boost UNODC's efforts in this area and allow for increased support to African Member States.

Criminals are known to net vast sums of money from wildlife and forest crime. These large amounts of criminally acquired funds are in turn used to support corruption, which consequently erodes the integrity of the government and facilitates distortions of economic activities that are not sustainable.

To prevent and fight wildlife and forest crime, sophisticated criminal networks need to be dismantled. Every link in the criminal chain has to be tackled, from the sourcing, transport and delivery of illegally harvested wildlife and forest products to the laundering of proceeds from these crimes.

John Brandolino, UNODC Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs, highlighted that "the crimes of wildlife trafficking and corruption are bad enough but together they are devastating, adversely effecting societies and development on a number of fronts".

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs and Minister of Defense Didier Reynders said that "Belgium is very proud to contribute two million euros to support UNODC's Programme in the Central African region, with a focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Virunga Park), Uganda, Chad and Cameroon."

Mr. Reynders emphasized that "this pledge is fully in line with our strong commitment to combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, which requires a global approach and international cooperation between source countries and importing countries." He also highlighted that "wildlife is an irreplaceable part of our planet's living natural resources. It must be protected for this generation and for those of tomorrow."

Combatting wildlife and forest crimes and the corruption which facilitates them, the Deputy Prime Minister said, "also benefits the development of local communities. By cutting  an important source of funding for criminal networks and armed groups, it is also crucial for regional governance and security."

Within UNODC, the Global Programmes for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime; and on Corruption have built a strong joint programme to address all the links in the criminal justice chain- from crime scene to courtroom- with a special emphasis on combating corruption and dismantling criminal networks.

UNODC's joint programme of technical assistance has been focusing on future proofing of wildlife management authorities in source countries against corruption, and on building capacity to conduct financial investigations linked to wildlife crimes.

The new Belgian contribution of two million euros will complement activities that are currently underway and will allow UNODC to expand the geographic scope of its work. UNODC will work with wildlife management authorities to identify corruption risks, develop mitigation strategies and establish Corruption Prevention Committees with mentorship support. In addition, the Belgian contribution will support efforts to build global knowledge and visibility on the subject as well as to support parallel financial investigations linked to wildlife and forest crime.  

Further information: 


12 February 2019: UNODC participates in the consultations on the EU Enlargement Package

UNODC took part in the EU Enlargement consultations, organized by the European Commission in the framework of Neighbourghood and Enlargement Negotiations on the topics of rule of law, justice, corruption, organized crime, migration and other topics with specific focus on the Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaires. These oral consultations, along with the written contributions of the active international partners in the region, including UNODC, will feed into the annual reports prepared by the Commission for each of the Western Balkans jurisdictions and Turkey. 

UNODC has pointed out, among other aspects, the active cooperation with the counterparts in the region in areas of countering illicit trafficking, including drug trafficking (and drug demand reduction), trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, firearms control, corruption, terrorism, money laundering and illicit financial flows, organized crime, as well as other related fields. 

Further information on UNODC's South Eastern Europe website  here


0 7 February 2019: UNODC presents the first comprehensive National Drug Use Survey conducted in Nigeria to the EC 

Image © UNODCMs Angela Me, the Chief of UNODC's Research and Trend Analysis Branch, visited Brussels on 7 February 2019 to address the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs at the Council of the EU under the Romanian Presidency. On the occasion, Ms Me seized the opportunity to meet with DG DEVCO counterparts in order to present the first comprehensive National Drug Use Survey conducted in Nigeria. The report funded by the EU under the 10 th EDF as part of the UNODC implemented project, "Response to Drugs and Related Organised Crime in Nigeria", was presented for the first time in Abuja on 29 January 2019.

The Survey provides the first ever large-scale robust data on the extent and patterns of drug use in Nigeria at the national level and by geo-political zones and states as well. It welcomes the opportunity to strengthen drug demand reduction strategies with a focus on evidence-based drug use prevention, treatment in the new edition of the National Drug Control Master Plan for the period 2020 to 2024, currently being formulated in Nigeria.

Based on data collected from 38,850 respondents in the household survey and 9,344 high risk drug users across all states of the country, data suggests that the prevalence of past year drug use in Nigeria is more than twice the global average of 5.6% and the number of drug users is estimated at 14.3 million people aged between 15 and 64 years. The report also shows that there is a gap in meeting the needs for treatment and care for people with drug use disorders. With close to 3 million Nigerians living with some level of drug dependence, the extremely limited availability of drug counselling and treatment services exacerbates this health crisis.

Further information:    

National Drug Use Survey Executive Summary 
National Drug Use Survey   


31 January 2019: Belgium and UNODC discuss the Container Control Program

Image © UNODCThe Container Control Program, also known as CCP, is implemented by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Program aims to establish container profiling units in major ports around the world to identify high risk containers and facilitate legal trade. The program has set up units in 16 countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean and will start-up in the first quarter of 2019 eleven (11) new units in Colombia and two (2) new units in Bolivia. Both are important cocaine producing countries. The units are mostly composed of National Police and Customs officers, as well as other specialized agencies depending on the country.

Through 2018, this region has seized over 51 tons of cocaine. Of the 51 tons of cocaine seized, around 40 tons were destined to European countries, for the most part the port of Antwerp in Belgium, the ports in Spain and the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Other destined European countries were Sweden, Germany, Italy, Albania, France and the United Kingdom.

Belgium supports the CCP by providing seconded experts such as Mr. Bob Van den Berghe, Belgium Police officer in charge of the UNODC CCP Regional office in Panama and Belgium Trainers Experts to WCO. 

On 31 January, Mr. Van den Berghe visited Belgium to hold meetings with the law enforcement Belgian authorities, the Ambassadors, Consuls and Heads of mission in Northern America, Latin America and the Caribbean during ' the Diplomatic days 2019 meeting'  in Brussels, and with the Belgian Deputy prime minister and minister of Finance and minister of Development Cooperation, Mr. De Croo, the Administrator General of Customs, Mr. Vanderwaeren, and the Mayor of the city of Antwerp, Mr. De Wever.

The regional coordinator entertained some interesting discussions with national authorities, who reiterated their interest in collaborating with the CCP. Those meetings were meant to look for the build-up of synergies between the Belgian Authorities and the CCP. Having the same interest in deterring illicit trade practices and facilitating trade, both parties should achieve a mutual understanding to continue, coordinate and weave their actions in the fight against criminal networks.

The CCP is also part of a large joint Norwegian supported Law Enforcement Assistance Program with INTERPOL and the NGO Rhipto, to address deforestation and timber trafficking in South East Asia and Latin America. Fighting illegal logging and deforestation and trade will not only benefit biodiversity and the global climate, but also help national and regional stability and development by making business more difficult for those involved in forest crimes and associated criminal activities. There is increased acknowledgement of the link between forest crimes and other types of crime such as corruption, drug trafficking, finances crime, human trafficking and cybercrime. The UNODC WCO Container Control Programme encouraged the Belgian Authorities to establish a close cooperation with the timber trade and business community operating in the port of Antwerp and, additionally, develop a closer cooperation and information exchange mechanisms with foreign law enforcement officials including the other countries in the project.

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Read our 2018 stories  here.