UNODC Participates in Ministerial Regional Conference on Maritime Security in Western Indian Ocean Region

Mauritius,  28 April 2018 - Nations within the Western Indian Ocean Region share a common desire to combat trafficking in persons, drug trafficking, illicit financial flows and terrorism within the region. The battle against these aforementioned areas of concern requires strong institutional frameworks, regional cooperation and specialised expertise. Accordingly, between the 26 th and 29 th of April, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Mauritius Mr. Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, hosted a three-day Ministerial Regional Conference on Maritime Security in Mauritius in order to encourage and permit key parties and organizations to share valuable information from their specialised areas of expertise related to transnational crime. The purpose of the conference was to provide various influential actors with a platform to share valuable information on the current state of the region and the ongoing activities of the key regional organizations.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was represented at the conference by Dr. Amado Phillip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa as well as Ms. Toral Vadgama, Programme Officer, Global Maritime Crime Programme and Dr. Shanaka Jayasekara Programme Officer, Global Maritime Crime Programme. This highly experienced team provided overviews of the UNODC's vital work with regards to human trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism within the region. 

A sub-group meeting of the Southern Route Partnership (SRP) also took place on the margins of the IOC ministerial meeting. Heads/deputy heads of drug enforcement agency from Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and Tanzania attended where each head of drug enforcement agency provided an update on the initiatives taken to counter maritime drug trafficking and discussed future initiatives.

Countries within the Western Indian Ocean Region have been adversely affected by transnational organized crime and terrorism in a contemporary climate which facilitates the unchallenging movement of goods, people and finances across international borders. The cross-border nature of these crimes poses unique challenges to domestic regimes and requires strong cooperation on the part of States and International Organizations. This conference provides various influential actors with a unique opportunity to build relationships and enhance cooperation. As a function of this theme of cooperation, UNODC and IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to symbolize and outline their cooperation with regards to the fight against transnational crime in the region, moving forward.

UNODC continues to spearhead some of the most important work in transnational crime in the Western Indian Ocean Region, existing at the forefront of research, action and cooperation.