23-24 February 2017 - The first formal project extended meeting was held with participating countries of CRIMJUST, the Kick-off and Annual Meeting took place at UNODC Headquarters in Vienna .
With the aim to consolidate the logical framework, highlight challenges and set a baseline for future activities, CRIMJUST met with implementing partners and focal points from benefiting countries on 23-24 February to formally launch its programme. Representatives from the European Commission, EU Cocaine Route Programme (CRP), INTERPOL, Transparency International, Representatives from beneficiary and participating countries from West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, UNODC project pillar leaders and thematic experts gathered with the objective to enhance cooperation on the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking, to share experiences and foster transregional effective work.
Among the 37 participants, 11 countries were represented (Cabo Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican-Republic, Ecuador, Panama and Peru) along with the European Union, INTERPOL, Transparency International and UNODC.
The meeting was opened by the UNODC, Chief of Organized Crime & Illicit Trafficking Branch, Ms. Loide Lungameni; the European Union, Cocaine Route Programme Manager, Mr. Rui Costa; UNODC, Chief of Implementation Support Section, Mr. Tofik Murshudlu and UNODC, Regional Representative Central America and the Caribbean, Mr. Amado de Andres. They pointed out the necessary holistic approach in supporting Member States to address the challenges posed by drug trafficking, which undermines social stability and negatively impacts societies by dragging increases in violence, criminality and corruption.
CRIMJUST capacity to bring together branches and divisions in the UNODC field offices was acclaimed, as well as its global, regional and local potential impact on improving law enforcement, prosecutorial capacities and institutional integrity.
''CRIMJUST responds countries' real needs and the more the programme relevance increases, the more CRIMJUST
is responsible to deliver tangible results'' European Union, Cocaine Route Programme Manager, Mr. Rui Costa.
The first day focused on providing an overview of the three focus of the CRIMJUST programme (Capacity Building, Interregional Cooperation, Institutional Integrity) and mapping the current situation in the respective countries regarding organized crime and cocaine trafficking in particular. Leading experts of the UNODC, INTERPOL and Transparency International gave detailed information regarding specific outcomes in the pillars of the project followed by closing deliberations and recommendations.
On the second day UNODC, INTERPOL and Transparency International presented an overview of implemented activities (trainings, events) conducted under the realm of CRIMJUST. Speakers were encouraged to share the main outlines of their national strategies and success stories to facilitate exchange of good practices and identification of gaps, emerging threats and challenges. Joint assessment of future concrete activities and complementary initiatives were conducted to tailor support towards the countries' needs and requests and improve institutional response to organized crime and cocaine trafficking. The work plan for 2017 was presented and discussed, with an overall focus on maintaining Country Focal Points and Permanent Missions updated on CRIMJUST programme activities; organizing annual meetings in respective regions and/or institutions; advocating for political and high level institutional support to ensure CRIMJUST sustainability and efficiency; stimulating synergies with other projects/programmes targeting the same thematic/geographic scope and ensuring programme visibility and outreach.
CRIMJUST was recognized as a key element and point of synergy to tackle organized crime and drug trafficking. Advocating for political and high level institutional support, stimulating synergies with other programmes/projects on the same thematic and ensuring the programme visibility are essentials to CRIMJUST outreach and legitimacy.
CRIMJUST was designed to pursue the achievements made by the projects funded by the European Union - Cocaine Route Programme which addresses the challenge of a fragmented law enforcement approach along the trafficking route by promoting regional and trans-regional cooperation. The programme also seeks to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies and judicial bodies addressing cocaine trafficking and related criminal activity . The programme consists of 8 projects (AIRCOP, AMERIPOL-EU, AML-WA, GAFILAT-EU, PRELAC, SEACOP, WAPIS) designed to promote the interception of drugs, support anti-money laundering activities and improve the exchange of information, analysis and intelligence.
Under the framework of the CRIMJUST project funded by EU Cocaine Route Programme, UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and TI) aim to assist Member States to enhance their capacity and integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster cooperation at the interregional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime.
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