EU-UNODC brochure

News

Please see below a non-exhaustive selection of news items to reflect the richness of contacts and joint activities happening between the EU and UNODC.

 

11.04.2019: ICAT Policy Exchange with the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

Image © UNODCOn 11 April 2019, members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons’ Working Group gathered in Brussels for a policy exchange with Dr. Myria Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss common strategies and joint approaches to combat trafficking in persons. The ICAT Permanent Coordinator (UNODC) and 2019 Co-chairs (OSCE and UN Women) were present, along with other members of the ICAT Working Group (IOM, ICMPD, CoE, ILO, UNHCR and UNICEF).

Dr. Vassiliadou presented the Second Progress Report in the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings in the EU, highlighting its key recommendations and stressing the importance of multilateral exchange, coherence and coordination of efforts in the fight against trafficking in persons. Dr Vassiliadou recognised the centrality of ICAT within the UN system from an institutional and multilateral perspective. She noted that ICAT’s mandates are a fantastic toolbox for facilitating a cooperative approach anchored in respecting and promoting international legal standards.

ICAT members welcomed the Report and recognised many synergies between the recommendations contained in the Report and the priorities of ICAT, including planned policy papers for 2019. UNODC expressed appreciation for the Report’s encouragement to Member States to allocate sufficient resources for victim support services and to fight trafficking as a serious form of organised crime, as well as the importance of adopting a child-sensitive approach. UNODC echoed Dr. Vassiliadou’s call to ground anti-trafficking responses in international legal frameworks.

ICAT and the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator reiterated their commitment to continuing their close exchange of information. UNODC has a close working relationship with the EU, including in partnering with the EU through the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), an EU-funded project that has been implemented in 13 countries over the past 4 years in collaboration with UNICEF and IOM. UNODC and the EU are also partnering on GLO.ACT II, or GLO.ACT Asia, which will be implemented over the coming four years in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

As the Permanent Coordinator and Secretariat of ICAT, UNODC is actively engaged in promoting close partnerships between ICAT entities, as well as with Member States and other stakeholders.

Please follow the ICAT news on    for more information

 

05.04.2019: Belgium announces EUR 2 million contribution to United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, managed by UNODC

Originally published by UNODC Vienna.

Image © UNODCThe Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations in Vienna, Ghislain d'Hoop, today met with the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, to announce a two-million Euro contribution to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking. 

"I am extremely grateful to Belgium for this generous contribution" said Mr. Fedotov. "It will go a long way in helping UNODC ensure, through the Voluntary Trust Fund, that thousands of victims of human trafficking around the world, and especially women and children, can become survivors. I sincerely hope that the example of Belgium will be followed by other donors," he added.

Mr. d'Hoop stressed that "Belgium is pleased to give its contribution to such a dynamic program, that is supporting action where it is the most needed, by providing relief for the most vulnerable."

Belgium's contribution will enable the Trust Fund to support the work of its NGO partners and increase the provision of essential services and assistance to victims globally.

Every year, criminal organizations traffic thousands of children, women and men robbing them of their rights and dignity. Trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most frequently detected forms of this heinous crime, but victims are also subjected to forced marriage, begging, organ removal, and other forms of exploitation. 

Managed by UNODC, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, Especially Women and Children, provides humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of these crimes.  The Trust Fund awards grants to specialized NGOs around the globe that work to ensure that victims of human trafficking are identified, treated humanely, protected, and provided with the physical, psychological and social support necessary for their recovery and reintegration.

At the meeting, Mr. Fedotov also announced the results of the Trust Fund's third grant cycle for its Grants Programme. 25 specialized NGOs and grassroots organizations that provide critical assistance and protection to trafficking survivors globally have been selected in 23 countries. Priority of the call for proposals focused on projects providing direct assistance to victims coming out of a context of armed conflict and those identified amongst large movements of refugees and migration flows.

***

Since its inception in 2010, the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women & Children has received US$ 6.7 million in contributions from 30 Member States, 33 private sector organizations and scores of individual donors. The Trust Fund provided grants to 59 NGO projects that offer essential assistance to trafficking survivors in over 40 countries.

Further Information:

 

04-05.04.2019: Discussions on prevention, treatment and care of blood borne diseases among people who use drugs and people in prison settings

Ms Fariba Soltani, Senior HIV/AIDS Expert, came to Brussels for EU-UNODC meetings to present UNODC’s work on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for people who use drugs and for people in prisons.

A co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNODC is the convening agency for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs and people in prisons. The UNODC global HIV programme supports countries to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for people who use drugs and for people in prisons.

UNODC’s HIV work is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals in particular SDG 3 and its target 3.3 to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, which has also been stressed in the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs Outcome Document. Towards this end, UNODC has been leading the drive to implement HIV services which are gender responsive (SDG 5), advocating equal access to HIV services for people who use drugs and people in prisons that are human rights and public health based (SDG 10), promoting elimination of all forms of discrimination against people who use drugs and people in prisons (SDG 16), while teaming up with governments and communities to achieve major reductions in new HIV infections and HIV related deaths among the key populations (SDG 17).          

In its HIV work, UNODC partners with drug control and law enforcement agencies, prison authorities and the justice and health sectors and civil society and community-based organizations. To ensure the most efficient use of resources, UNODC’s HIV, Hepatitis B & C and TB work among people who use drugs and in prisons focuses on high impact interventions in high priority countries. 

In this context, meetings were held to discuss EU and UNODC priorities and foreseen opportunities for future collaboration to address HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs and people in prisons. The meetings focused on high priority countries in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa regions.  

UNODC supports countries to promote health and well-being for all, ensuring that people who use drugs and people in prisons have access to evidence-informed, human rights-based, and gender responsive interventions and are not left behind.

Further information on UNODCs HIV Global programme here and on 

 

04-05.04.2019: Discussions on UNODC strategic partnership and Security Sector Reform in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine)

Ms Aisser Al-Hafedh, from the UNODC Section for Europe, West & Central Asia, came to Brussels for meetings with the EU counterparts to exchange on the UNODC work in Eastern Europe and future perspectives; as well as to present the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives undertaken by UNODC in its capacity as member of the Inter-agency task force on SSR, as well as, under the framework of UNODC Strategic Partnership and Programmatic Actions in Eastern Europe (2017-2020) and the Joint UNODC-OSCE Action Plan for 2018-2019.

In this context, the outcome of a recent regional workshop, co-organized by UNODC and OSCE, hosted by Belarus in November 2018, on “the role of a well governed and accountable security sector in addressing transnational threats,” focusing on Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova was discussed. The discussions highlighted that transnational crimes, such as trafficking in persons and illicit drugs, cybercrime, corruption and terrorism among others, have a negative impact on public safety and security, and are persistent threats to the effective realization of the SDGs in Eastern Europe, in particular Goal 16, which calls for peaceful and safe societies.

The objective of the discussions was to promote UNODC’s work and expertise on Security Sector Reform, and to exchange on strategic and operational partnerships, and to explore EU-UNODC regional cooperation to improve good governance and human security, as a pre-requisite and an enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms Al-Hafedh also met with NATO counterparts from the Russian and Ukraine Relation Section to present the UNODC Strategic Actions in Eastern Europe and to discuss the ongoing NATO-UNODC project to deliver high-quality, professional law enforcement training to mid-level counter-drug officers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the five Central Asian countries supporting their counter narcotic efforts and addressing the threat of trafficking in opiates within and through their territories. Discussions focused also on the coordination, impact and sustainability of the delivery of the law enforcement training projects provided to the sub-region and their visibility through the recent establishment of the UNODC Database on Law Enforcement Training for Europe, West and Central Asia.    

 

28.03.2019: UNODC presented the CCP at the Council’s Customs Cooperation Working Party

Image © UNODCMr Ketil Ottersen, UNODC’s Senior Coordinator of the Container Control Programme (CCP), was invited by the Romanian Presidency of the Council, to attend an expert meeting hosted by the Council’s Customs Cooperation Working Party (CCWP). The CCWP handles work regarding operational cooperation among national customs administrations with a view to increasing their enforcement capabilities. It focuses on seeking results in terms of seizures, identification of new threats and disruption of criminal gangs. The CCWP is composed of experts from each member state and is chaired by the delegate of the country holding the rotating six-month presidency of the Council.

Mr Ottersen presented the work of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, launched in 2004, and developed in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO), to assist governments to establish and maintain effective container controls at seaports, dry ports, land borders, railways and airports that serve not only to prevent trafficking in drugs and other illicit goods, but also to facilitate legitimate trade and protect border revenue. He explained that CCP activities strengthen the security of the international cargo supply chain by building and improving national capacities, and that CCP assists Member States to equip, train and mentor customs and other law enforcement officials to improve the selection of high-risk cargo shipments. At present, the CCP is operational in over 50 Member States. More than 85 Port Control Units and Air Cargo Control Units have been established. 

Mr Ottersen also gave a brief overview on results since its establishment: CCP Units have seized over 265 tons of cocaine, 6,000 kg of heroin, 71 tons of cannabis, 1,710 tons of precursors for drugs and explosives, 805 kg of psychotropic substances, 325 tons of tramadol, 1,054 kg of new psychoactive substances and 1.2 billion cigarettes. There have also been seizures of 90 shipments of strategic and dual use goods, 152 cases of environmental crime, 820 cases of IPR goods and 3 instances relating to fisheries crime (between 2016-2018). More details are available on the UNODC – WCO container control Programme here. 

This expert meeting provided an opportunity to share information, knowledge and best practices, and to enhance intra-agency cooperation through joint actions, operations and initiatives. 

In October 2019, the Container Control Programme will celebrate its 15th Anniversary. More to follow... 

Please follow the CCP    for more information

 

18.03.2019: Unity in Diversity: Iraqi Officials Study Visit organized by UNODC and the city hall of Mechelen

Image © UNODCDiversity, inclusion, tolerance, and integration are core values of the UN system, yet it remains challenging to translate them into direct action within the context of addressing terrorism and violent extremism. A possible way to address such challenges is learning from previous successful experiences.

From 18th to 20th March 2019, the UNODC MENA Regional Representative, Ms. Cristina Albertin and the UNODC Regional Advisor on Terrorism Prevention, Ali Younes, accompanied an Iraqi delegation to a study visit organised by UNODC and the city hall of Mechelen, Belgium, to enhance their capacities to address crisis situations, counter terrorism, and to prevent violent extremism. 

With a population made up of 138 different nationalities speaking 69 diverse languages, Mechelen was chosen as the location of the study visit as it exemplifies direct successful efforts of using diversity to enrich the community and to address possible threats of terrorism and violent extremism through active multicultural integration under the slogan of “living together.”

While Belgium had 565 Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Mechelen is one of the key communities and towns that did not have any of its citizens recruited. Such results are due to the initiative and efforts taken by the town’s population under the leadership of its current Mayor, Bart Somers, who received the World Mayor Prize by the City Mayors Foundation in 2016 for his efforts to show “Europe that people from many different countries and cultures can come together and be proud citizens. Bart Somers believes that all people in Mechelen are unique and different. They have different dreams, do different jobs, lead different lives. But Mechelen is their home, their city,” as it was clarified in the prize citation. Mayor Somers attended the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) to share the municipality’s experience. 

The three-day programme started with a field visit to the different departments of the Mechelen Local Police on 18th March and continued with interesting presentations. “We are like a football team. We can play together and respect the laws,” building “bridges between the community and the police” as “we need the confidence of the people,” to be able to leave “no person behind” by establishing “networks of social organisations,” police officers had commented showcasing the community-based police approach towards the town’s citizens. 

The presentations and discussions included examples of integration and social inclusion actions, notes on education and diversity, illustrations of social employment actions, and references to positive identity and institutional support. The different elements and policies presented, clarified how various angles are assimilated to produce the Mayor’s and town’s inclusive policies.  

During the following day the delegation visited the Coordination Unit for Threat Assessment (CUTA), where was explained the role of the Centre in assessing the terrorist threat in Belgium, its structure and how it collaborates with local authorities. Subsequently, the Flemish Organization for Cities, which provides network and support for local governments on different topics (among others, on radicalization and countering/preventing violent extremism), addressed the participants with insights on the Flemish Platform on Radicalization and the socio-preventive projects in the field of violent extremism prevention.

On 20th March, visitors had the chance to meet the Mechelen Mayor Mr. Somers to debate on the Mechelen project “Police and Human Rights” for security cooperation. When speaking on the role of the police to promote security cooperation through integration and diversity, Mayor Somers also added that “police need to be a mirror of society where 25% or 30% of the people in uniform are people from a foreign background. This is important for two reasons, it strengthens the information gathering process about what is really happening in society and secondly, it creates bigger trust between the people, the city, and the police.” “The approach to fighting crime in Mechelen is seen primarily as a social policy, where the society must be engaged, and secondly, we never use our police to criminalise groups in society.”

Finally, at the Kazerna Dossin, the General Manager of the military barrack, Mr. Christopher Bush, presented the Holocaust Memorial to the delegation.

By the end of the visit, a set of recommendations was formulated to identify ways to replicate the Mechelen experience in selected municipalities in Iraq. 

  • Further information on UNODC's Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa here.  

 

 

11.03.2019: UNODC Container Control Programme wins prestigious industry award

Image © UNODCThe Container Control Programme (CCP), developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) has won the prestigious Bureau International des Containers (BIC) Award 2018. The CCP helps strengthen international supply chain security by building the capacities of national border agencies to detect the use of sea, land and air cargo for illicit purposes. It develops cooperation among national law enforcement authorities and private sector entities such as port operators and shipping lines.

The BIC Award is given annually to an individual or organization for noteworthy contributions to the advancement of safety, security, standardization or sustainability in the fields of containerization and intermodal transportation. Each year, BIC’s Board of Directors select a single candidate from a pool of industry nominees. The BIC award 2018 was presented to UNODC and WCO on the opening day of the annual Enforcement Committee meeting on 11 March 2019 at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. The Secretary General of BIC, Douglas Owen, and the BIC Chairman of the Board, Giordano Bruno Guerrini, presented the award. Mr. Guerrini said that “The Container Control Programme has been selected for its successes in improving security and mitigating smuggling in container transportation. The BIC believes that the capacity-building efforts of the CCP, and its important work in promoting advanced risk-assessment around the world, are to be applauded and encouraged.” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted that “As traffickers exploit our increasingly interlinked economies, using techniques and networks which grow more sophisticated with each passing year, we must also evolve to match this globalized threat, adapting our approaches to become stronger, more effective, more sustainable and more cooperative, sharing the latest information and best practices.” He also noted that “The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme continues to keep pace with these rapid developments and the support it provides to secure the global supply chain is needed more than ever. We are extremely proud to see the programme receive the recognition it deserves with the BIC award.”

The efforts of the CCP have resulted in seizures of a wide range of prohibited goods, such as weapons, proceeds of fisheries, forest, wildlife and other environmental crime, prohibited drugs, strategic goods, falsified or unlicensed medicines, precursors for drugs and weapons, cigarettes and goods which are counterfeit or otherwise violate intellectual property law.

At present, the CCP is operational in 50 countries and has initiated activities in ten more. More than 85 operational Port Control Units (PCUs) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCUs) have been established since the programme’s inception in 2004.

Further information:

 

22.02.2019: UNODC joined a debate on how the EU and national anti-migrant policies affect humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and migrants

On 22 February, in the framework of the IdeasLab organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Ms Morgane Nicot, Crime prevention and criminal Justice expert of the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, participated in one of the Right &Security Session entitled “Heroes or Criminals? A Crackdown on civil Society Assistance to Asylum Seekers” focused on how the EU and national anti-migrant policies affect humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and migrants. Three other speakers, Simona Ragazzi (Italian Judge), Gabriela Sanchez (EUI researcher) and Marie Debieuvre (DG HOME), contributed to the discussion, moderated by Roberto Cortinovis (CEPS) under the ReSOMAN Project (Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme).

The debate developed around the humanitarian clause of the EU facilitation directive and the Search & Rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Civil Society Organisations reaffirmed the importance of the principle of solidarity and the freedom of assembly while other participants highlighted the need to strengthen national capacity and improve international cooperation to prosecute smugglers. Ms Nicot noted that smuggling is a transnational phenomenon which goes beyond national borders, including the EU, and underlined the necessity to address the involvement of organised criminal groups in migrant smuggling. She recalled the international framework and in particular the financial or other material benefit requirement for all offences under the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants  which implementation should per se exclude humanitarian action from its scope. 

 

20.02.2019: UNODC supporting efforts to safeguard sport from corruption and crime

“…reporting systems are not conceived exclusively for reporting in itself, but also as vehicle for changing approaches to prevention, governance and information sharing”. On 20 February 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) contributed to an event aimed at fostering cooperation between law enforcement agencies and sport bodies to address corruption and crime in sport. 

In particular, the meeting aimed at raising awareness about ways to detect the various forms of corruption and crime that affect and undermine the integrity of sport, namely match-fixing, illegal betting, involvement of organized crime, safeguarding major sports event from corruption.  

Given UNODC’s leading role in the UN system in helping to address these issues, the importance of such awareness raising events was underlined by Ms. Yatta Dakowah, Representative, Chief of the UNODC Liaison Office, who highlighted UNODC’s effort in capacity building and training for many countries and sports organizations as well as the organizing of the first international conference of its kind in Vienna on 5 and 6 June, entitled “Safeguarding Sport from Corruption”, involving over 60 Governments and international organization.

The meeting was strongly attended and included Members of the European Parliament, Chair and Vice-Chair of European Parliament's Sport Intergroup, Mr. Santiago Fisas Ayxelà and Ms. Tiziana Beghin, representatives from the Italian Government Office for Sport, Unioncamere Europa, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office, national police representatives, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG), the European Platform for Sport Innovation (EPSI), academia, the private sector and other stakeholders to discuss cooperation between law enforcement agencies and sport bodies to prevent match-fixing and other crimes in sport.

Ms. Dakowah also informed participants that UNODC in partnership with International Olympic Committee is currently developing a Handbook on Reporting Mechanisms in Sport. The guidance in the document is intended to be a practical tool for use primarily by sports organizations, but also by government officials.

UNODC is mandated to work in the area of sports integrity as a result of the adoption of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport, adopted by 186 States parties at the Seventh Conference of States parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was held in Vienna in November 2017. The resolution was co-sponsored by the European Union.

Further information:

 

12 February 2019: EU and UNODC discussions against trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants

Image © UNODCMr Ilias Chatzis, Chief of the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, and Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, briefed the European Commission and the EEAS counterparts on UNODC's work on trafficking in persons (TIP) and on smuggling of migrants (SOM). The meeting was conveyed by Ms Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator, to discuss EU and UNODC priorities and foreseen opportunities for future collaboration to fight this horrendous crime. 

Mr Chatzis updated the EU Officials on UNODC's involvement in the latest normative and policy works (such as the Report of the Secretary-General on trafficking in persons in armed conflict pursuant to Security Council resolution 2388, the thematic paper on countering trafficking in persons in conflict situations and the Issue Paper on the International Legal Definition of Trafficking in Persons). He explained UNODC's work within the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). ICAT has grown rapidly over the past year and now consist of 23 agencies. In 2018 it produced issue briefs on trafficking in children and the role of SDGs in combatting trafficking in persons.

Ms Kristiina Kangaspunta, Chief of UNODC's Crime Research Section, had the opportunity to present the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Person. Globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and convicting more traffickers; sexual exploitation continues to be the main purpose for trafficking and women are the most detected victims. Ms Kangaspunta informed the EU Officials on the intention to create a UNODC Real-Time Observatory on Smuggling of Migrants to monitor migrant smuggling from Africa to Europe. The pilot phase will consist of data collection through three surveys and five field studies in West and North Africa and in Europe.

Ms Eurídice Márquez, Officer in Charge of GLO.ACT the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, highlighted GLO.ACT’s holistic approach working with the 13 partner countries in the prevention and fight against TIP and SOM. Ms. Márquez shared key good practices and lessons learned during the last 3,5 years of project implementation such as on bringing new legislative amendments, development of national action plans and strategies, as well as on improving regional and international cooperation. Mr Panagiotis Papadimitriou, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Expert, briefed  the EU officials about UNODC’s technical cooperation provided to partner countries in implementing the Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Protocols.

During the meeting, the EU colleagues reiterated their strong commitment to the UN Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling Protocols and recalled the EU's priorities to end the culture of impunity, disrupt the business model of the traffickers and improve victim access to their rights.

Further information: 

 

12 February 2019: Belgium and UNODC sign two-million-euro funding agreement to strengthen fight against corruption and wildlife crime in Africa

Image © Belgian MoFAOriginally published by UNODC Vienna.

Belgium and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have signed a new funding agreement worth two million euros to combat corruption and wildlife crime in Africa. The funds will boost UNODC's efforts in this area and allow for increased support to African Member States.

Criminals are known to net vast sums of money from wildlife and forest crime. These large amounts of criminally acquired funds are in turn used to support corruption, which consequently erodes the integrity of the government and facilitates distortions of economic activities that are not sustainable.

To prevent and fight wildlife and forest crime, sophisticated criminal networks need to be dismantled. Every link in the criminal chain has to be tackled, from the sourcing, transport and delivery of illegally harvested wildlife and forest products to the laundering of proceeds from these crimes.

John Brandolino, UNODC Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs, highlighted that "the crimes of wildlife trafficking and corruption are bad enough but together they are devastating, adversely effecting societies and development on a number of fronts".

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs and Minister of Defense Didier Reynders said that "Belgium is very proud to contribute two million euros to support UNODC's Programme in the Central African region, with a focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Virunga Park), Uganda, Chad and Cameroon."

Mr. Reynders emphasized that "this pledge is fully in line with our strong commitment to combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, which requires a global approach and international cooperation between source countries and importing countries." He also highlighted that "wildlife is an irreplaceable part of our planet's living natural resources. It must be protected for this generation and for those of tomorrow."

Combatting wildlife and forest crimes and the corruption which facilitates them, the Deputy Prime Minister said, "also benefits the development of local communities. By cutting  an important source of funding for criminal networks and armed groups, it is also crucial for regional governance and security."

Within UNODC, the Global Programmes for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime; and on Corruption have built a strong joint programme to address all the links in the criminal justice chain- from crime scene to courtroom- with a special emphasis on combating corruption and dismantling criminal networks.

UNODC's joint programme of technical assistance has been focusing on future proofing of wildlife management authorities in source countries against corruption, and on building capacity to conduct financial investigations linked to wildlife crimes.

The new Belgian contribution of two million euros will complement activities that are currently underway and will allow UNODC to expand the geographic scope of its work. UNODC will work with wildlife management authorities to identify corruption risks, develop mitigation strategies and establish Corruption Prevention Committees with mentorship support. In addition, the Belgian contribution will support efforts to build global knowledge and visibility on the subject as well as to support parallel financial investigations linked to wildlife and forest crime.  

Further information: 

 

12 February 2019: UNODC participates in the consultations on the EU Enlargement Package

UNODC took part in the EU Enlargement consultations, organized by the European Commission in the framework of Neighbourghood and Enlargement Negotiations on the topics of rule of law, justice, corruption, organized crime, migration and other topics with specific focus on the Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaires. These oral consultations, along with the written contributions of the active international partners in the region, including UNODC, will feed into the annual reports prepared by the Commission for each of the Western Balkans jurisdictions and Turkey. 

UNODC has pointed out, among other aspects, the active cooperation with the counterparts in the region in areas of countering illicit trafficking, including drug trafficking (and drug demand reduction), trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, firearms control, corruption, terrorism, money laundering and illicit financial flows, organized crime, as well as other related fields. 

Further information on UNODC's South Eastern Europe website here

 

07 February 2019: UNODC presents the first comprehensive National Drug Use Survey conducted in Nigeria to the EC 

Image © UNODCMs Angela Me, the Chief of UNODC’s Research and Trend Analysis Branch, visited Brussels on 7 February 2019 to address the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs at the Council of the EU under the Romanian Presidency. On the occasion, Ms Me seized the opportunity to meet with DG DEVCO counterparts in order to present the first comprehensive National Drug Use Survey conducted in Nigeria. The report funded by the EU under the 10th EDF as part of the UNODC implemented project, “Response to Drugs and Related Organised Crime in Nigeria”, was presented for the first time in Abuja on 29 January 2019.

The Survey provides the first ever large-scale robust data on the extent and patterns of drug use in Nigeria at the national level and by geo-political zones and states as well. It welcomes the opportunity to strengthen drug demand reduction strategies with a focus on evidence-based drug use prevention, treatment in the new edition of the National Drug Control Master Plan for the period 2020 to 2024, currently being formulated in Nigeria.

Based on data collected from 38,850 respondents in the household survey and 9,344 high risk drug users across all states of the country, data suggests that the prevalence of past year drug use in Nigeria is more than twice the global average of 5.6% and the number of drug users is estimated at 14.3 million people aged between 15 and 64 years. The report also shows that there is a gap in meeting the needs for treatment and care for people with drug use disorders. With close to 3 million Nigerians living with some level of drug dependence, the extremely limited availability of drug counselling and treatment services exacerbates this health crisis.

Further information:    

National Drug Use Survey Executive Summary 
National Drug Use Survey 

 

31 January 2019: Belgium and UNODC discuss the Container Control Program

Image © UNODCThe Container Control Program, also known as CCP, is implemented by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Program aims to establish container profiling units in major ports around the world to identify high risk containers and facilitate legal trade. The program has set up units in 16 countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean and will start-up in the first quarter of 2019 eleven (11) new units in Colombia and two (2) new units in Bolivia. Both are important cocaine producing countries. The units are mostly composed of National Police and Customs officers, as well as other specialized agencies depending on the country.

Through 2018, this region has seized over 51 tons of cocaine. Of the 51 tons of cocaine seized, around 40 tons were destined to European countries, for the most part the port of Antwerp in Belgium, the ports in Spain and the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Other destined European countries were Sweden, Germany, Italy, Albania, France and the United Kingdom.

Belgium supports the CCP by providing seconded experts such as Mr. Bob Van den Berghe, Belgium Police officer in charge of the UNODC CCP Regional office in Panama and Belgium Trainers Experts to WCO. 

On 31 January, Mr. Van den Berghe visited Belgium to hold meetings with the law enforcement Belgian authorities, the Ambassadors, Consuls and Heads of mission in Northern America, Latin America and the Caribbean during ‘ the Diplomatic days 2019 meeting’  in Brussels, and with the Belgian Deputy prime minister and minister of Finance and minister of Development Cooperation, Mr. De Croo, the Administrator General of Customs, Mr. Vanderwaeren, and the Mayor of the city of Antwerp, Mr. De Wever.

The regional coordinator entertained some interesting discussions with national authorities, who reiterated their interest in collaborating with the CCP. Those meetings were meant to look for the build-up of synergies between the Belgian Authorities and the CCP. Having the same interest in deterring illicit trade practices and facilitating trade, both parties should achieve a mutual understanding to continue, coordinate and weave their actions in the fight against criminal networks.

The CCP is also part of a large joint Norwegian supported Law Enforcement Assistance Program with INTERPOL and the NGO Rhipto, to address deforestation and timber trafficking in South East Asia and Latin America. Fighting illegal logging and deforestation and trade will not only benefit biodiversity and the global climate, but also help national and regional stability and development by making business more difficult for those involved in forest crimes and associated criminal activities. There is increased acknowledgement of the link between forest crimes and other types of crime such as corruption, drug trafficking, finances crime, human trafficking and cybercrime. The UNODC WCO Container Control Programme encouraged the Belgian Authorities to establish a close cooperation with the timber trade and business community operating in the port of Antwerp and, additionally, develop a closer cooperation and information exchange mechanisms with foreign law enforcement officials including the other countries in the project.

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