UNODC Chief launches the UNODC Regional Programme in support of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy during New York mission
7 April 2014, New York- UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, today launched the UNODC Regional Programme in support of the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) Crime and Security Strategy at an event held at the UN headquarters in New York.
In his speech, Mr. Fedotov highlighted that, "The nexus between transnational organized criminal activities such as cocaine trafficking and illegal guns; gangs; cyber-crime; financial crime and corruption has been identified in the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy as an immediate and significant threat." Mr. Fedotov also echoed the concerns of regional Member States, noting that the Caribbean's geographical position provided the underpinning for some of the region's challenges due to its location "between major drug-producing countries in the south and major consumer markets in the north." For this reason, the Caribbean "remained extremely vulnerable to the threats posed by illicit trafficking and organized crime."
According to UNODC's World Drug Report 2013, cocaine retains its position as the illicit drug of chief concern in the Caribbean. The prevalence rate for cocaine in the Caribbean is 0.7 per cent compared to a rate of 0.6 per cent in Central America. Youth violence also remains a challenge. Young people under the age of 30 represent 60 per cent of the region's population and are both the main perpetrators and victims of crime. Illegal firearms are also responsible for over 70 per cent of homicides in the region.
Drafted through the close collaboration of UNODC and key regional institutions such as the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Regional Programme consists of five sub-programmes which have been carefully aligned to support the achievement of the Strategic Goals presented in the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy. The sub-programmes include: (i) Countering transnational organized crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism; (ii) Countering Corruption and Money Laundering; (iii) Preventing Crime and Reforming Criminal Justice; (iv) Drug Use, Prevention and Treatment and HIV/AIDS and (v) Research, Trend Analysis and Forensics. The initial budget of the Regional Programme is US$11.7 million for 2014-2016.
During the launch, the Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS, Mr. Francis Forbes stated that "CARICOM IMPACS looks forward to this most meaningful and important collaboration with the UNODC and the support of the CARICOM region, the international community and very importantly, the development and donor communities. We are confident that with the commitment of both organizations this partnership will succeed and perhaps create a new model to be emulated elsewhere in the future".
These sentiments were reaffirmed by the Hon. Adriel Brathwaite, Q.C. M.P. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs of Barbados, who reiterated Barbados' commitment to supporting the re-establishment of a UNODC presence in the region and the success of the Regional Programme. In his address, the Honourable Attorney General, also called on the donor community to support the implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme, which would in turn contribute substantially to the realization of the Strategic Goals outlined in the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy 2013.
In an effort to streamline the implementation of UNODC initiatives while avoiding duplication and increasing alignment with the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy. UNODC and IMPACS also drafted a Joint Work Plan which highlights those specific areas of the Regional Programme in which UNODC and IMPACS will collaborate directly. During the launch, reaffirming their commitment to collaboration, UNODC and IMPACS signed a Memorandum of Understanding which establishes the legal framework for cooperation between UNODC and IMPACS in the implementation of the Joint Work Plan.
The launch was also attended by representatives of Member States, H.E. Noel Sinclair, Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the 68th General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Henry Leonard Mac-Donald, CARICOM Chair and Permanent Representative of Suriname to the UN, and H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, EU Representative to the United Nations.