Pope Benedict XVI and head of UNODC cover social and health challenges

Copyright - Photo Service: L'Osservatore Romano08 June 2011 - The top United Nations official in the area of prevention of crime and drug abuse, Mr. Yury Fedotov, today met with Pope Benedict XVI as part of a visit to the Vatican to discuss some of the core issues currently affecting communities across the globe. Focusing on drug prevention, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, crime eradication, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the audience with the head of the Catholic Church was aimed at elaborating and expanding on synergies with the Church.

Commenting on the growing partnership that UNODC enjoys with religious organizations and noting their importance as partners in promoting drug- and crime-free societies, Mr. Fedotov stated: "With over a billion followers, the Catholic Church - as with all religions - has a special link to people across the globe and is in a unique position to spread key messages in helping prevent drug use and crime. UNODC looks forward to expanding our relationship with all religions as we work together in addressing social and health challenges of drugs and crime in every part of the world."

Over the past two days, the Executive Director also met with senior Vatican leaders Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to elaborate on those key topics. Mr. Fedotov also engaged the Church in addressing additional areas including the importance of inter-faith dialogue in a bid to look at the root causes of terrorism across the world.

Following his audience with Pope Benedict XVI, the Executive Director noted the need to further the links between the efforts of the Catholic Church and UNODC in reaching out to the world's most vulnerable, whose lives are adversely affected by criminals every day, particularly in the developing regions of Africa and South America.

Working with faith-based organizations is an important aspect of the frontline work of UNODC and a key component of the Office's pursuit of an inclusive, community-driven approach towards tackling global social ills. Partnerships with organizations across the religious spectrum are essential in working to improve prison conditions, address HIV and AIDS, reduce poverty, end human trafficking and promote a corruption-free world.

Related information:

UNODC and civil society