Presentation by Gary Lewis
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UNODC launches first Implementation Update on its pilot Regional Programme for East Asia and the Pacific

Vienna (Austria), 31 May 2010
- In order to better respond to Member States' demand for support to strengthen security, justice and human development, UNODC is moving towards a strategy that integrates thematic and regional/country programmes. These programmes are increasingly being used to achieve the goals identified in the strategy for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the period 2008-2011.

During the most recent session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, UNODC launched the first Implementation Update of the pilot Regional Programme for East Asia and the Pacific.

The launch took place on 20 May at a side event co-chaired by Thailand's Ambassador, Nongnuth Phetcharatana, and the Deputy Executive Director of UNODC, Francis Maertens. Harry MacDonald, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations (Vienna), and Katharina Kayser, Officer-in-Charge of the Independent Evaluation Unit of UNODC and Gary Lewis, UNODC Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific also took part in the panel discussion, which was attended by 44 Member States representatives and well as United Nations Staff.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Maertens said: "This is a trailblazing report … a milestone for the changes that we have been promoting UNODC-wide: moving from a fragmented and donor-driven project approach to a more strategic, regional and multi-year engagement which highlights UNODC's areas of expertise in addressing transnational threats and cross-border challenges."

The Implementation Update provides an overview of the wide range of activities undertaken, at both the national and regional levels, and the successes and challenges which UNODC still faces in providing an integrated response to crime, drugs, corruption and terrorism by promoting health, justice and security in the region.

Mr. Maertens added: "This report clearly demonstrates that the efforts to reform UNODC's approach to technical cooperation are paying dividends. The portfolio of the Regional Programme in East Asia and the Pacific has increased significantly since 2008, and a much broader range of stakeholders are actively engaged with us on priority setting and programme development."

Introducing the Implementation Update, Mr. Lewis noted that the strategy contained in the Regional Programme represented "the best framework for UNODC to support the countries of the region to attain their Millennium Development Goals".

"Fighting transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, corruption and terrorism increases our chances of reaching the Millennium Development Goals", Mr. Lewis said. "In fact, successfully achieving the MDGs is our best vaccine against these threats to human development. Beginning in 2009, our network of offices in the region has piloted an effort to first conceptualize and then implement a regional programme of technical cooperation in our mandate areas."

The Regional Programme identifies six main challenges to progress and outlines a result-oriented response linked to performance indicators. If effectively implemented, the regional programme will If effectively implemented, the Regional Programme will contribute to diminishing these threats in some way.

Specifically, the report contains information on what UNODC has achieved in 2009 and tries to make a reasonable connection between the activities which it supports and the desired human development results.

Mr. Lewis added: "Of course, for a Regional Programme which has just started, these are very early days. Real outcomes are not realistic to expect at this stage. Nevertheless, we believe we now have a sound planning and management framework through which we can better monitor our own performance. This will, in turn, allow us to better demonstrate to partner governments and donors how we are contributing to an improved situation on the ground where citizens of the region are leading safer, healthier lives."

The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice passed a resolution in which it said that it looked forward to the results of the implementation of the regional programmes for East Asia and the Pacific, South-Eastern Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Africa, which are the other Regional Programme priority areas for UNODC.