EU and UNODC senior officials underscore continued importance of international cooperation to tackle organised crime and drug challenges

15 February 2022

On 15 February 2022, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held their 16th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) to exchange on common priorities for the challenges posed by drugs and crime to peace and security, human rights and development around the globe.
Amid continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that have exacerbated vulnerabilities and societal inequalities, prosperity and stability continue to be threatened by organised crime, terrorism and corruption. Illicit drug cultivation, production and trafficking have seen unprecedented growth, while drug use is rising, notably in developing countries.
Over 60 EU and UNODC participants joined the SOM to discuss these challenges and to identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, illicit flows, environmental and maritime crime, digitalisation, drugs, corruption, counterterrorism, and youth engagement.
Organised in parallel to the EU-Africa Week, the SOM also provided an opportunity to take stock of the results and follow-up from the EU-UNODC Africa Dialogue, held in December 2021. Moreover, the meeting allowed a first exchange on the UNODC Strategic Vision for Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in Colombia earlier this month.
<em>UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu and EEAS Managing Director Belen Martinez Carbonell</em>
UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu and EEAS Managing Director Belen Martinez Carbonell
“There is a clear alignment of the EU interests with the priorities of UNODC and the good cooperation between the two organizations spanning a broad spectrum of areas” highlighted EEAS Managing Director Belen Martinez Carbonell.
“Both partners will continue to team up to strengthen the support to multilateralism and fight against crime, in alignment with EU and UN Strategies, and common commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals,” UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu added.
The SOM demonstrated the strength and longstanding nature of UNODC and EU cooperation across UNODC’s mandate areas. Tackling organised crime, drugs, and terrorism continue to be priorities for the EU, and better collaboration on the ground and at senior level are paramount to better address these global challenges.
Hosted by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the 16th Senior Officials Meeting was co-chaired by EEAS Managing Director for Human Rights, Global Agenda and Multilateral Relations, Ms. Belen Martinez Carbonell, and UNODC Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu in a hybrid format in Brussels. The annual high-level event brings together the EEAS, European Commission services, including DG Migration and Home Affairs, DG International Partnerships, DG Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, the Foreign Policy Instrument Service, DG Environment, and DG Justice, as well as the EU Delegation to the International Organisations in Vienna, with UNODC officials from Headquarters and the field.