South Asia: Promoting the rule of law and countering drugs and crime in South Asia - the UNODC Regional Programme for South Asia (2013-2015)
On 29 May 2013, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for South Asia, based in New Delhi, India launched its Regional Programme for South Asia (2013-2015).
The Regional Programme was developed under a consultative process with the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which started with an Expert Group Meeting in June 2012. It sets out UNODC's strategic priorities in its mandated work areas for the next three years and comprises five sub-programmes:
(i) Countering Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit trafficking, including Drug Trafficking
(ii) Countering Corruption
(iii) Terrorism Prevention
(iv) Promoting efficient, fair and humane criminal justice systems
(v) Drug use prevention and treatment and HIV and AIDS prevention and care
During its implementation period, the Regional Programme will address three inter-linked areas of concern: (i) generation of data and strategic analysis, (ii) adoption of legislation and policies in line with relevant UN Conventions and international standards and (iii) capacity-building and training of public officials and practitioners by bringing to the region global knowledge products and best international practices.
At the launch event, Representatives from the six South Asian Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka expressed their appreciation for the Regional Programme and welcomed the timely initiative. Referring to the common challenges and vulnerabilities in the region, they highlighted the need for a stronger knowledge base across countries and for increased regional cooperation and partnerships to deal with the emerging trends in organized crime. Government Representatives called for continuous support in drug law enforcement as well as in drug use and HIV prevention and treatment, an area in which UNODC has traditionally helped build capacities. Suggestions included the establishment of a regional data bank as well as a Delhi-based committee in which Representatives of all six countries could regularly discuss the progress of the implementation of the Regional Programme and latest regional trends in drugs and crime. The need for increased funding to the region and this new Regional Programme was also highlighted.
In addition to Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the launch event was attended by Representatives from diplomatic missions, community partners and the United Nations system.