Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the launch of the UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia 2014-2017
Bangkok, 14 November 2013
Your Royal Highness,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The launch today of the UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia takes place during an important period for the region.
Transport, communications and financial systems are increasingly interconnected here in Southeast Asia.
Major partners including ASEAN, UN ESCAP and the ADB are helping to bring states closer together through lowering trade and visa barriers, integrating transportation networks and financing major infrastructure investments.
The region is growing and states in Southeast Asia should be proud of what they have achieved.
At the same time, criminals are also taking advantage of these achievements for their own nefarious ends.
The recent UNODC Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment for East Asia and the Pacific conservatively estimated the value of transnational organized crime flows at $90 billion per year.
Countries in the region are confronted with an array of threats and challenges, including how to prevent and counter flows of illicit money and drugs, address drug-related public health concerns, and stop the trafficking of people as well as goods such as timber and wildlife.
In the more fragile states, illicit trafficking and organized crime undermine security, jeopardize social and economic development, fuel corruption and compromise the rule of law.
It is clear that no one institution or agency can respond to these diverse threats, and that no one state can face these challenges alone. We all know that cooperation is essential.
UNODC is the lead UN entity for helping countries to address drugs and organized crime, and to promote justice and the rule of law.
Our Office serves as the guardian of the international conventions on drug control, transnational organized crime.
UNODC supports states to implement these commitments, while promoting best practices and international standards such as the Bangkok Rules [for the treatment of women prisoners and non-custodial measures for women offenders].
UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia will serve as a comprehensive platform for such cooperation and for UNODC assistance in the fight against drugs and crime.
UNODC has been supporting States in Southeast Asia for 25 years to address drug challenges like opium production, drug trafficking, border control and drug use, and over the past decade to counter crimes including human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and more recently environmental crime.
We have also assisted States to develop necessary capacities to enhance law enforcement, criminal justice, anti-corruption and terrorism prevention efforts.
With the new Regional Programme for Southeast Asia we have put forward what we believe is a visionary programme that will provide targeted and integrated, meaningful assistance in crime and drug control, addressing the areas and parts of the region where needs are greatest.
The programme will further enhance the responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of our support.
It is the result of extensive consultations with all stakeholders and a situation analysis taking into account the regional development context and key partners in the region.
Particular attention has been given to transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking; anti-corruption; terrorism prevention; criminal justice; and finally, drugs and health, as well as alternative development.
The Regional Programme has an indicative budget of approximately $12.8 million the first year, rising to some $16.6 million in the fourth year.
Last year during my mission to Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia, I had the opportunity to hear first-hand about the needs and priorities of the region.
I believe you will see that these are reflected in the strategic direction of the programme.
The Regional Programme will be further strengthened through synergies with country-level, regional and inter-regional initiatives, for example with South Asia and the Pacific.
Like all UNODC programmes, the Regional Programme for Southeast Asia promotes an integrated approach, including with UN region-wide efforts, which is also key to mainstreaming drug and crime control in the development agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are working from a solid foundation of long experience and strong cooperation with States and partners here in Southeast Asia.
UNODC will continue to build on our achievements while making sure we are responsive and addressing current crime and drug challenges, and supporting the rule of law.
We look forward to working with and assisting states further through the Regional Programme.
Thank you again for coming, and I reiterate our sincere thanks to HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, and the Minister of Justice, H.E. Chaikasem Nitisiri. The partnership with Thailand is greatly appreciated.