Special Newsletter from UNODC South  Asia 

October 2021

Building Back from COVID-19:
Strengthening Security, Peace, Justice and Health
India: Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs welcomes UNODC’s efforts to counter drugs and organised crime in South Asia 
UNODC's South Asia Representative Mr. Sergey Kapinos called on the Minister of State for External Affairs (Government of India), Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi in New Delhi for an extensive discussion focused on joint efforts to advance rule of law and security, with an aim to develop a bilateral partnership framework of cooperation. The wide-ranging discussion focused on: regional and global threats to development and stability, trafficking of cultural artefacts, cybercrime, drugs, maritime security, terrorism, youth engagement on peace and SDGs, gender-based violence and human trafficking, among others. In the meeting, the Minister shared her strategic vision for South Asia and lent support to UNODC’s efforts in fostering peace and regional cooperation. The Minister also welcomed UNODC’s interventions in building law enforcement capacities against organised crime, youth engagement through the Lockdown Learners series, countering trafficking of cultural artefacts and strengthening family skills. UNODC stands ready to expand the strategic partnership with the Government of India on addressing the drug problem and countering organized crime. UNODC’s South Asia Deputy Representative Dr. Suruchi Pant and Communications Officer Mr. Samarth Pathak also participated in the meeting.
Bangladesh: Strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement and public awareness to counter Trafficking in Persons 

In October, a series of consultations aimed at enhancing responses to counter trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants were convened in Bangladesh under UNODC’s GLO.ACT Bangladesh framework, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). On 7 October, experts from the criminal justice system, police officials, investigation officers and prosecutors joined a workshop to strengthen investigations and prosecutions. Discussions were centered on evidence collection and the legal framework, using case studies and intensive group dialogues. A consultation was hosted for the establishment of a Women’s Network of Gender Champions, with a focus on female victims of trafficking and the relevant legislations to protect human rights. UNODC also convened a consultation to strengthen national responses to the smuggling of migrants by Land, Sea and Air. The event was addressed by the current and former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh.

(Under the aegis of UNODC's
GLO.ACT Bangladesh Project
India: Building capacities of law enforcement agencies to enhance coordination in countering drugs and crime
A three-day training workshop was held for officials of the Indian Coast Guard, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and IFC-IOR on preventing drug trafficking and commercial crimes on open source and social media platforms. Deputy Director General (Operations and Coastal Security) of the Indian Coast Guard and UNODC South Asia Representative opened the workshop with their special remarks. The hands-on training with law enforcement agencies aimed at building capacities to effectively counter crime via darknet and cryptocurrency. The discussions focused on cultural theft, wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering and cybercrime, among other issues. On 28 October, as part of the larger regional programme on preventing drug trafficking, the UNODC South Asia Representative Mr. Sergey Kapinos, Deputy Representative Dr. Suruchi Pant and Drug Law Enforcement expert Mr. Jayant Misra called on the Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Government of India with a focus on enhancing coordination and capacity building.

(Supported by the Government of India)
Maldives: Strengthening regional cooperation on criminal and financial investigations to counter corruption and money laundering

UNODC convened a regional workshop in Male to strengthen international cooperation in criminal and financial investigations of corruption crimes and links with money laundering. The workshop brought together criminal justice and law enforcement experts from the Anti-Corruption Commissions of Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.  The aim of the workshop was to provide specialized skills and tools to investigators and prosecutors from relevant anti-corruption law enforcement authorities for conducting more effective criminal and financial investigations of corruption crimes. The workshop was designed to provide practical skills and tools to enhance regional cooperation, to facilitate the operations within the regional network and to further the application of international principles in criminal and financial investigations, the use and exchange of relevant intelligence, including financial documents and identification of suspicious transactions and other relevant evidence. 
(Supported by the Government of Japan)
On 08 October, a team of experts from the European Union and UNODC visited the Maafushi prison in the Maldives, to observe the implementation of support delivered to the Maldives Correctional Service on countering and preventing violent extremism and strengthening prison reform and rehabilitation. UNODC South Asia’s Programme Coordinator in the Maldives Ms. Thoiba Saeedh also met with the Deputy Head of the Counter Violent Extremism unit from the Commonwealth Secretariat on 14 October to discuss ongoing efforts in the Maldives.
(Supported by the European Union)
India: Promoting a culture of lawfulness and peace among youth with education
Since April 2020, UNODC’s Lockdown Learners series in India has catalysed youth-led action on peace, Global Goals and crime prevention through activity-based learning. In October, over 11 interactive dialogues with students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds were conducted on themes such as misinformation, discrimination, gender inequality, cybercrime and corruption, using stories and videos. The series also provided a platform of action to young people in co-creating a range of initiatives, including community outreach via Whatsapp and audio notes on COVID-19 vaccination and awareness and music and art for social change. UNODC’s South Asia Communications Officer Mr. Samarth Pathak also addressed the opening plenary and moderated key sessions at the “1st Global Youth Forum for a Culture of Lawfulness”, organized by the Ministry of Justice, Japan and supported by UNODC on 09-10 October, as a follow up to the 14th UN Crime Congress.
Bhutan: Engaging young people to prevent Trafficking in Persons 
In collaboration with the Department of Law and Order, Government of Bhutan, UNODC conducted a sensitisation session on countering trafficking in persons for over 255 students and educators from the Pelkhil Higher Secondary School in Thimphu.. The event aimed at raising awareness among students on trafficking in persons and exploring ways to  address the problem. The discussions focused on demystifying trafficking in persons with examples and good practices in protecting and assisting victims. 
(Supported by US Department of State)
UNODC Global Strategy (2021-2025)
UNODC’s mission is to contribute to global peace and security, human rights and development by making the world safer from drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. Our new Global Strategy (2021-2025) will equip UNODC to deliver effectively, efficiently and with accountability, elevating our support to Member States to build just, inclusive and resilient societies that leave no one behind.  Our interventions will pay special attention to human rights, protection of children, gender equality, empowerment of women and youth.
Join the UNODC Network in South Asia
Our Partners
Our activities in South Asia are possible
due to the generous support of:

  • British High Commission, Sri Lanka
  • European Union
  • Germany
  • India
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Qatar
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
Government Partners:
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
Call for Partnerships:
Impacting Lives with Innovation
Building Back Better from COVID-19: Leaving No One Behind
In response to COVID-19, and its impact on vulnerable groups and emerging risks to security and peace, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia has developed a wide range of projects and initiatives on the following thematic areas:

-- Addressing Gender-based Violence
-- Strengthening Law Enforcement Responses
-- Countering Corruption
-- Youth Engagement through Education
-- Promoting Family Skills
-- Addressing the Needs of Drug Users, those with HIV/AIDS and Hep-C and those in prison settings
-- Strengthening Responses to COVID-19 in Prisons
-- Countering Cybercrime and Promoting Online Safety
-- Responding to the Needs of Human Trafficking Survivors, Refugees, Migrants and the Homeless 

Active support from partners is requested to enable the implementation of these programs and to scale-up efforts to promote security, justice and health among vulnerable groups in South Asia. Our partnerships aim at building national and regional alliances on our mandates, which are closely linked to national, regional and global priorities as well as the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Let's join hands to enable and aid large-scale and impactful initiatives that help people lead safer and healthier lives .  Your support can make all the difference!

To know more, please contact:

Mr. Samarth Pathak
Communications Officer
UNODC Regional Office for South Asia
Cellphone: +91-9811347927
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assists Member States in their efforts to combat illicit drugs and international crime. Over the past two decades, the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) has been working with governments and civil society in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, providing specialized assistance to address challenges pertaining to drugs, organised crime, security, justice and health. The commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, human rights and the rule of law is at the core of our mandate.
Contact Us

C-97 (Ground Floor), Defence Colony, New Delhi-110024, India
Email: samarth.pathak@un.org

Website: www.unodc.org/southasia/
Facebook: @unodc.rosa
Twitter: @unodc_rosa

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