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.
As part of the Education for Justice Initiative, UNODC participated in the first ever UN Model United Nations Summit organised at the UN Headquarters in New York in April, to promote the SDGs, peace, and the rule of law through youth-driven programs in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Government officials and civil society experts from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra joined hands with UNODC to strengthen responses aimed at protecting and assisting trafficking survivors, at the first India Consultation on "Countering Trafficking in Persons" held in Bhopal in February.
Preventing Drug Use and Crime: Supporting Youth Action
At the National Youth Leadership Summit held in Dhaka in March, UNODC urged the youth to be socially engaged in countering the threats of crime, drugs and terrorism in South Asia. Organised by the Youth Club of Bangladesh, the program brought together over 200 students from across the country.
Anti-Drugs Awareness: Joining hands with Youth Influencers
UNODC was invited by the Art of Living Foundation to join hands for a pan-India awareness campaign against drug abuse launched from Chandigarh, Punjab in February. The campaign, “Drug Free India” was led by Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, and supported by the Prime Minister, political leaders, academic institutions, celebrities and public influencers. The program reached out to nearly 5 million people (online) and 15000 colleges across India.
A series of workshops on 'Preventing Violent Extremism in Prisons and Prison Incident Preparedness and Management' were organized in four districts of Bangladesh--Rangpur, Sylhet, Barisal and Cox's Bazar-between January and March. The Prisoner Database Management System (PDMS) prototype was also showcased at the Bangladesh Prisons headquarters. PDMS is expected to be completed and installed in two pilot prisons in Bangladesh by May-June 2019.
UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos was granted an audience by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck of Bhutan in Thimphu in March. In the meeting, Her Majesty extended support to UNODC's efforts to address the problems of trafficking in persons, gender-based violence, drug use, and crime prevention and justice in the country.
Countering Trafficking in Persons: Developing Standard Operating Procedures
In partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, an expert group meeting was convened in Gelephu to finalise ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ for key interlocutors to counter Trafficking in Persons in Bhutan. The SOPs are envisaged as a easy-to-refer document for practical usage by relevant stakeholders.
UNODC experts called on the Honorable Governor of Sikkim, Shri Ganga Prasad, at the Raj Bhawan in Gangtok in March. The meeting was aimed at strengthening engagement with the Government of Sikkim on youth-specific programs to address drug use in India's Northeast region.
Combating Drug Trafficking: Strengthening International Linkages
UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos participated in the 36th annual International Drug Enforcement Conference held in Baku, Azerbaijan in April. Attended by nearly 500 participants from over 150 countries, the Conference was co-hosted by the State Customs Committee, Republic of Azerbaijan and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In the discussions, Kapinos called for stronger regional and international cooperation to counter drug trafficking, and highlighted UNODC's proposed South Asia Regional Intelligence and Coordination Centre (SARICC) as an important mechanism.
In partnership with the Office of the Attorney General, Nepal, a two-day consultation and two day “drafting session” on Victim Identification guidelines and National Referral Mechanisms was convened in Kathmandu in April. Victim identification is crucial to timely protect and rescue victims from the exploitation. The development of this Guideline, is therefore, important for officers of all parties to protect legitimate rights of victims and to bring perpetrators to justice. The victim identification guidelines have been drafted on existing international standards, and leverage the experience and expertise of UNODC.
In an official visit to Bangladesh in April, UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos called on H.E. Asaduzzaman Khan, Minister of Home Affairs and Brigadier General A K M Mustafa Kamal Pasha, Inspector General (Prisons). The meetings were focused on strengthening cooperation on efforts to counter organised crime and foster criminal justice reforms.
At the invitation of the Royal Government of Bhutan, UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos attended the 14th Round Table Meeting in Thimphu in March. Themed 'Enhancing Happiness and Sustainable Development through Partnerships', this was the first meeting of the Royal Government with development partners for the 12th Five Year Plan.
Government and civil society experts from Sri Lanka participated in UNODC's first-ever multi-stakeholder consultation to counter trafficking in persons in Colombo in March. The consultation was aimed towards developing evidence-based national strategies and responses to facilitate better identification of victims and effective investigations.
At the second multi-stakeholder consultation held in Lucknow in April, experts from five Indian states--Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand-- highlighted the need for better data collection systems and information sharing mechanisms to effectively counter trafficking in persons.
Preventing Money Laundering: Building Capacities
A series of trainings on countering money laundering in South Asia were held in the Maldives and Sri Lanka in March for law enforcement and customs officials. Discussions at the workshops highlighted the key differences between anti-money laundering efforts and combating the financing of terrorism.
Combating Trafficking in Persons: Uniting Stakeholders
UNODC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, convened a multi-stakeholder consultation on countering trafficking in persons at Guwahati, Assam in May. Experts from governments, law enforcement agencies and civil society from ten Indian states expressed concern over the use of tech-based platforms by human traffickers in rural areas. The need to strengthen existing institutions, develop an inter-state standard operating procedures for the law enforcement officials as well as creating awareness around the issue was emphasized in the dialogue.
Preventing Money Laundering: Building Capacities
A two-day training on countering cross-border trafficking in persons was convened in Lucknow in May for the officials of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the police. Officials were sensitized on the Standard Operating Procedures developed by UNODC for first responders to counter cross-border trafficking in persons. During the training, participants shared their experiences and challenges in addressing trafficking-related cases at the India-Nepal Border. Participants extended support to positive efforts made by UNODC to provide intensive training and expertise to first responders.
Addressing the Drugs Problem: Fostering Regional Multi-Stakeholder Cooperation
A Regional Consultation on addressing the drugs problem in South Asia was convened in New Delhi in April. Representatives from regional bodies, law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers and civil society organisations from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal participated in the discussions. Participants reflected on the regional trends in drug trafficking and substance use, and called for effective regional platforms to strengthen evidence-based interventions and exchange of information and data.
Addressing Drug Use and Crime: Balancing Health and Human Rights
UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos called for a multi-stakeholder response centred on health and human rights to address the drugs problem, at the 7th FINGODAP (Federation of Indian NGOs for Drug Use Prevention) Conference held in New Delhi in March.
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Response: Fostering Collective Approaches
"Multisectoral partnerships play a critical role in national HIV response," Dr. Suruchi Pant, Deputy Representative of UNODC South Asia asserted at the National Consultation with Police Training Academies in the context of drug and health, held in January in New Delhi.
Anti-Trafficking Awareness: Engaging with Changemakers
In partnership with RENEW, a Bhutan-based civil society organisation, an awareness camp on trafficking in persons was held for elected local government leaders, administration officers and village health workers in Haa district of Bhutan in March. The discussions enabled the participants to recognize the signs and identify possible victims, while at the same time educating others and developing networks to prevent such crimes from taking place.
Preventing Violent Extremism: Focus on Rehabilitation
A cross-regional event on “Preventing Violent Extremism through Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist and Terrorist Offenders" was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in February, with support from the Government of Japan. The event brought together beneficiary countries in South and Southeast Asia to discuss criminal justice approaches at national and regional level, and share good practices to effectively counter the threat of violent extremism.
Last year, under the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), a port needs assessment was conducted at the Kathmandu Airport in Nepal. The outcome of the assessment and the subsequent implementation of the CCP–Air Cargo Control Unit was shared and discussed with the Department of Customs, Government of Nepal in April. UNODC also engaged with the officials at the Birgunj port control unit to discuss their training requirements.
Engaging the Youth and Educators: Promoting SDGs through schools
As part of the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, over 100 students and educators from the Shiv Nadar School Gurugram were sensitised on the role of youth in promoting the SDGs, peace and the rule of law in April. The dialogue coincided with the ECOSOC Youth Forum.
Preventing Drug Use and Violence: Strengthening Family Responses
At a regional workshop on substance use among children in northeast India in March, participants were briefed on UNODC’s family skills programme and the need for life skills training through sports to prevent crime, violence and drug use.
India and ASEAN: Promoting Youth Engagement on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
UNODC participated in the 2nd ASEAN India Youth Summit organised by the India Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in February in Guwahati. The Summit was attended by 300 youth delegates from 10 ASEAN countries and India, who held extensive discussions on regional development and security-related issues. In the discussions, UNODC called for stronger collaboration between ASEAN and Indian youth leaders to co-create solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Addressing HIV/AIDS, TB and Hepatitis in Prisons: Fostering Joint UN Responses
Under the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF), UNODC is working towards strengthening evidence-based interventions and programming for HIV comprehensive package of services in prison settings. At a state-level multi-stakeholder consultation organised in Ahmedabad in February, participants reflected on the existing practices in the prisons in Gujarat, Delhi and Punjab and devised a roadmap for the future to improve access and deliver health services more effectively.
Eminent representatives from India’s law enforcement agencies, health institutions and civil society joined UNODC South Asia Representative Sergey Kapinos and International Narcotics Control Board Member Jagjit Pavadia to officially release the 2018 INCB Annual Report in New Delhi in March.
The UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake urged the youth to "reclaim their space" by asserting their voices nationally and globally to strengthen efforts aimed at fostering peace, the rule of law and human rights, in an exclusive conversation with UNODC South Asia.
On International Women's Day, we saluted the dedication of all our exceptional and phenomenal women colleagues, who not only shine at the workplace but also inspire us to be better, everyday, With an exceptional team of phenomenal women colleagues at our helm, we are committed to promote gender equality and make the region safer and healthier for all.
Remembering the Fallen
UNODC South Asia joined the UN family in mourning the passing of colleagues and all those who perished in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 in March. As a tribute, the UN flag was flown at half-mast in India and across the world, as we prayed for the victims and extended our deepest condolences to their friends and families.
The aforementioned activities
were made possible
through the generous support of:
Department of Revenue, Government of India
Government of Japan
Government of Qatar
United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
US State Department
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We seek your active and generous assistance as a partner and friend of UNODC to help improve lives in South Asia. Our partnerships aim at building national and regional alliances on our mandates--crime prevention, security, justice and health--which are closely linked to global priorities as well as the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. We also invite Corporate Partners to enable and aid large-scale and impactful UNODC initiatives under their Corporate Social Responsibility mandates. Your support can make all the difference!
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Mr. Samarth Pathak
UNODC Regional Office for South Asia
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cellphone: +91-9811347927
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