Direcotr General/ Executive Director
Remarks of the Executive Director UNODC at the Launch of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe
23 May 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for attending this meeting.
I am very pleased to provide the opening remarks at the launch of the Regional Programme Framework for South Eastern Europe 2012 to 2015.
Based on UNODC's estimates some 60 tons of heroin, with a market value of US$13 billion, was moved through South Eastern Europe and Central Europe in 2009.
The origin of much of this opium is Afghanistan, the source of around 83 per cent of the world's heroin.
Tens of thousands of people lose their lives every year worldwide due to the opium that flows from Afghanistan.
And, the destructive power of drugs is not limited to lost lives and the misery of their families and loved ones.
The cultivation and production of opium creates criminality and corruption, as well as undermining stability and sustainable development in Afghanistan, the whole region and beyond.
It is no longer a problem, it is a threat that no country, or even region, is powerful enough to confront on its own.
To assist, we need to create inter-regional and inter-agency approaches that build momentum, among partners including Member States and UN agencies, while also providing decisive action on the ground.
The Regional Programme Framework for South Eastern Europe represents a new generation of programmes developed specifically to meet these strategic needs and to create joint responses along the trafficking routes.
Building on the lessons learnt from the previous Regional Programme and the priorities of countries, it focuses on three sub-programme areas:
- Illicit Drug trafficking and Organized Crime.
- Enhancement of Integrity and Justice.
- Prevention, Treatment and Care.
Overall, these sub-programmes offer a multidisciplinary approach that builds into an effective and efficient programme with a volume of around US$15 million.
A programme that seeks to reduce drug supply, while also working on drug demand by promoting health and prevention measures.
A programme that recognizes the multifaceted nature of drugs and crime by incorporating work on anti-corruption, justice and money laundering to interrupt the criminal networks at every level of their activities.
Most importantly, the Regional Programme acknowledges that drugs and transnational organized crime cannot be contained locally and kept within borders.
Instead, we need global solutions based on interconnectivity among partners, projects and regions.
This is why the Regional Programme addresses the challenges of the Southern Corridor for Afghan heroin.
Through our integrated approach, the Regional Programme will become the bridge between Member States in South East Europe and the countries of West and Central Asia.
It will connect with the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries to share information and conduct joint operations against drug trafficking.
UNODC has helped develop a number of initiatives under the umbrella of its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.
Using this experience, yet acknowledging the differences of the Balkan region, we will work with similar initiatives in South Eastern Europe to ensure that there is full cooperation and collaboration.
Let me also acknowledge that South Eastern Europe has already achieved much in combating illicit trafficking and organized crime.
However, UNODC's added value is that it has the ability to generate political commitment among nations, while supplying the technical assistance and capacity building at the tactical level.
This approach is reinforced by our guardianship of the drugs, crime and anti-corruption conventions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Regional Programme Framework for South Eastern Europe is helping UNODC connect nations, partnerships, initiatives and projects along the route of the Southern Corridor.
It will help us develop creative and innovative initiatives that promote active information sharing and joint operations across regions. Activities that contribute to the region's overall counter-narcotics work.
The principle of shared responsibility calls for us to do everything possible to support and assist countries facing the challenges of drugs and crime.
The Programme also offers the international community a meaningful platform for the delivery of not just UNODC's activities, but the work of others. It carries forward the spirit of the Paris Pact Agreements.
I am proud to launch the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and I encourage everyone present to think of ways in which they can contribute to its implementation.