Partners Meet to Define Priorities of the Region

Responding to recent political changes and deep transformation witnessed by the region, including, but not limited to, the outcry to fight corruption, recover stolen assets and reform institutions, UNODC, jointly with the League of Arab States, organized a two-day meeting with countries of the region to redefine priorities under the Regional Programme on Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform for the Arab States (2011-2015).

The Regional Programme was elaborated through extensive consultations with national counterparts. It was based upon the fifteen years presence of UNODC in the region, during which a number of the challenges posed by illicit trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, corruption, criminal justice, crime prevention, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS were addressed.

Fifty four representatives of Ministries of Interior, Health, Justice and Foreign Affairs from the Arab countries covered by the Regional Programme met today in the Headquarters of the League of Arab States, Cairo, for the first time since the launch of the Regional Programme on 8 December 2010.  The purpose of the meeting is to establish the Steering and Follow up Committee of the Regional Programme whose main task is to oversee the implementation, follow up and evaluation of the Regional Programme and facilitate effective cooperation between UNODC, the League of Arab States and the Member States concerned, and to endorse its Terms of Reference.

Welcoming the participants in the meeting, Ambassador Abdallah Al Kaylani, Minister Plenipotentiary in the Department of Legal Affairs at the League of Arab States, reiterated the support of the League to the Regional Programme and called on the Member States to benefit from its sub-programmes.  "Taking solid steps towards the ideal implementation of the Regional Programme, identifying and supporting positive aspects, and defining difficulties with the purpose of overcoming them is the main objective of this meeting", he stated.

Reaffirming UNODC determination and readiness to respond to new and emerging challenges in the region, Mr. Masood Karimipour, UNODC Regional Representative, called "on all Member States to place human rights at the centre of drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice." Mr. Karimipour concluded his speech with emphasis on the need to identify "new regional and national priorities and emerging challenges" and addressing them "within the Regional Programme," in the context of "the role the Committee could play to facilitate this process."

Discussions on the emerging and new priorities of the region, implementation and impact of the Regional Programme during 2011, and its funding will continue for today and tomorrow.

Statement of the Regional Representative