United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Round Table for Africa: Stregthening the Rule of Law in Africa

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Crime and drugs as impediments to ART logo security and development in Africa: strengthening the rule of law

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC), in coordination with the African Union and interested Member States, is pleased to present information on the preparations for a round table for Africa, which is a special event among interested Member States, relevant agencies and institutes providing technical assistance to Africa as well as those promoting South-South cooperation. The round table is scheduled for 5 and 6 September 2005 in Abuja, Nigeria.

In a number of African countries, drugs, crime and corruption are undermining development efforts. These obstacles must be eliminated if the benefits of sustainable development are to be unleashed. The round table will create a space for senior officials from the criminal justice system to meet with Heads of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and representatives of the international development partners, in order to take stock of rule of law concerns across the continent. This get together of the major stakeholders will be a first step in a process geared to strengthening partnerships. The partners are expected to assess progress to date in the fight against uncivil behaviours and determine a priority programme of action for Africa over a five year period. Partners will be encouraged to examine how resources can be provided and to advise on the mechanisms, that would be needed to ensure the effective use of such resources. The aim is to ensure that the process of strengthening rule of law capacities throughout Africa can continue well beyond the round table.

In order for partners to begin consultations with a common understanding of the issues, UNODC introduced a study Crime and Development in Africa which analyses the constraints crime obstacles impose on development in african countries. The findings of this study will be shared with all participants at the round table. Additionally, in consultations with a group of African experts a draft priority programme of action has been drawn and is being circulated to experts in criminal justice at the national and regional level for their inputs. A revised draft of the programme of action will be considered at the round table.

Since this event will be held over two days, a compact agenda aims to facilitate consultations that focuses on the best use of time. In the following pages the tentative programme, planning and organisation, background and rationale for the round table, are described.