About UNODC ROPAN
In September 2009, with the objective of providing greater service to regional Member States, the UNODC made the decision to lend support to the Regional Office in Mexico (regional headquarters at that time), by establishing a Regional Programme Office in Panama (RPOPAN) in June 2010. This office later evolved to become the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN) and became functional as such in March 2012. UNODC ROPAN covers 24 countries in Central America and the Caribbean and is operational in three (3) of the official United Nations languages (English, French, and Spanish).
UNODC is mandated to provide Member States with technical assistance in the fight against serious and organized crime. Specifically, UNODC ROPAN pays close attention to the specific and unique needs of Central America, as well as those of the Caribbean, so as to deliver coherent and effective technical assistance in addressing the challenges posed by this scourge.
All work carried out by UNODC is dependent on the donor community and is guided by a range of international treaties, conventions and norms. In particular:
- The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols
- The United Nations Convention Against Corruption
- United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988
- Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971
- Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol
UNODC ROPAN has incorporated the basic principles of UNODC to elaborate strategies and programmes at the national, regional and inter-regional levels. These strategies and programmes are designed to support Governments in the different areas covered by the UNODC mandate, while also lending significant technical support to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. UNODC ROPAN implements a wide range of projects which cover the areas of Criminal Justice, Airport Security and Container Control, Drug Demand Reduction, Human Trafficking, Organized Crime, Research and Trend Analysis for Law Enforcement, Citizen's Security and Anti-Corruption. New initiatives focusing on the Financing of Terrorism, Firearms Trafficking, Smuggling of Migrants and Cyber-crime are also on the horizon.
Programmes centred in the above areas of focus are implemented based on three main substantive pillars of work:
1. Field based technical assistance projects which are designed to enhance the capacity of the various Member States in counteracting the flow of illicit drugs and the manifestations of crime and terrorism.
2. Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues while expanding the evidence base for policy and operational decisions.
3. Normative work designed to assist Member States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty based and governing bodies.
On a national level, UNODC ROPAN serves as a regional centre for the implementation of activities set out by the Governments of Member States. Integrated programmes for security and justice aim to strengthen State structures in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, corruption, money-laundering and organized crime and reinforce national security. UNODC ROPAN collaborates closely with various Government institutions and these institutions play a key role in the efficient and effective elaboration and implementation of the various programmes executed under the stewardship of UNODC ROPAN.
From a regional perspective, UNODC ROPAN cooperates closely with regional Member States, as well as organizations in Central America and the Caribbean, such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and its Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the Central American Integration System (SICA in Spanish), and continues to support and provide assistance in the elaboration of regional security and justice policies in each region, as well as various initiatives to counteract serious and transnational organized crime.
At the inter-regional level, UNODC ROPAN acts to promote and facilitate further cooperation of not only Central America and the Caribbean but also of these regions with the rest of the hemisphere, as well as regions all over the world, through the implementation of global programmes.