Executive Director committed to putting health, human rights and crime control at the centre of the work of the United Nations

23 May 2011 - During a visit to Switzerland this week, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov forged closer cooperation with the heads of organizations active in many of the major fields of work of the United Nations, including health; labour; human rights; humanitarian action and disaster relief; saving endangered species; and development. He also met officials of the Government of Switzerland, a major UNODC donor.

Geneva is the second largest United Nations duty station after United Nations Headquarters in New York and is acknowledged as the humanitarian capital of the world. Two thirds of the activities of the United Nations system take place in Geneva and much of the work of UNODC relates to those mandates. Mr. Fedotov therefore visited intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies, programmes, funds, offices, research institutes and related organizations with a view to bringing added value to their work and drawing upon their wide expertise.

Specifically, the Executive Director sought to draw attention to the importance of the fight against drugs and organized crime given that those phenomena impede development. By mainstreaming those issues in every sphere of activity, development agencies and peacekeeping operations could improve their chances of achieving long-term success and fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.

UNODC places human rights at the centre of drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice. Drug dependence is a health disorder, and drug abusers need treatment. The Office advocates a comprehensive package of measures to reduce vulnerability, treat drug addiction and prevent the spread of infections associated with drug abuse, such as HIV.

It helps to build fair and effective criminal justice systems, inter alia, by assisting States in reforming their national criminal justice systems, with particular emphasis on vulnerable groups such as women and children. The Office has developed projects in the areas of juvenile justice, penal reform and victim support. In order to reduce poverty, UNODC works with communities to provide farmers with legitimate and sustainable livelihoods so as to encourage them not to cultivate illicit crops.

UNODC fights human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery that traps women and children in particular in sexual exploitation and inhumane labour conditions.

Recently, the Office has  been exploring crime prevention and criminal justice responses to illicit trafficking in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

Lastly, UNODC promotes the rule of law by tackling corruption through the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which provides for strong measures to boost integrity within both the public and the private sector.

"In the spirit of 'One UN', let us cooperate to fight the illicit drugs and crime that undermine our work. Together, we can create safer and healthier societies", said Mr. Fedotov.

Mr. Fedotov visited the following offices:

- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

- International Organization for Migration

- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

- United Nations Office at Geneva

- Federal Office of Public Health of Switzerland

- Federal Office of Police of Switzerland

- Federal Office of Justice of Switzerland

- Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland

- International Labour Organization

- Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

- International Committee of the Red Cross

- World Health Organization

- International Telecommunication Union

- Inter-Parliamentary Union

- International Olympic Committee

- World Wide Fund for Nature

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