UNODC and LAS fourth Steering and Follow-up Committee Meeting for the Regional Programme for the Arab States (2016-2021) 

Cairo, Egypt

On the 13 and 14 of November 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the League of Arab States (LAS) held the fourth Steering and Follow-up Committee Meeting for the Regional Programme for the Arab States to Prevent and Combat Crime, Terrorism and Health Threats, and to Strengthen Criminal Justice Systems in Line with International Human Rights Standards (2016-2021). The Committee meeting was held at the headquarters of LAS, Cairo, Egypt.

The purpose of the meeting was to oversee the implementation of the Regional Programme and facilitate effective cooperation between UNODC, LAS and the Member States concerned. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, and Health from all countries part of the regional programme, as well as representatives from LAS and UNODC.

"The meeting comes at a crucial moment as the whole world is heavily occupied with the subject of terrorism and organized crime. These crimes are global phenomena that take many different forms, with their devastating consequences and effects exceeding national borders," had commented during the meeting.

Participants discussed progress made, challenges faced, threats anticipated, priorities and opportunities defined, and guidance provided for future activities. This year some more in -depth information was provided on key initiatives carried out during the last year such as combatting organized crime, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in addition to key priorities for the coming year including expanding UNODC'S work in the region by focusing on health and crime prevention especially among youth. In her part, Deputy Regional Representative, Mirna Bouhabib, gave examples of UNODC's work in the region by focusing on Lebanon's successful rehabilitation of youth associated with extremist groups.

Ms. Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, expressed  that "Many challenges continue to lie ahead of us but we firmly believe positive change is possible if we continue to work together addressing ongoing and emerging challenges together working on strong and effective legal, institutional and policy frameworks, constant capacity building measures and solid partnerships."

The Regional Programme for the Arab (2016-2021) is the second Regional Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the Middle East and North Africa region. It functions as the overarching framework for cooperation between the League of Arab States (LAS), the 18 participating States and UNODC.

The overall objective of the Regional Programme is to support Arab States' efforts to bring peace and stability to the region and is structured on five sub-programmes reflecting the priorities identified by Member States: 

  1. combating organized crime;
  2. countering terrorism;
  3. combating corruption and financial crimes;
  4. strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice;
  5. prevention and treatment of drug use and care of drug use disorders, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

In addition, UNODC integrates four essential cross-cutting themes into all its work, namely the strengthening of data collection and research; the promotion of regional and international cooperation; the fostering of partnerships with civil society; and the mainstreaming of human rights and gender perspectives. The Regional Programme is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the UN member states.

For further information: 

The Regional Programme to Prevent and Combat Crime, Terrorism and Health Threats and Strengthen Criminal Justice Systems in Line with International Human Rights Standards (2016-2021)

Regional Programme on Drugs and Crime Prevention and Criminal justice Reform in the Arab countries (2011 - 2015)