Latin America and the Caribbean discuss drug trafficking in HONLEA XXI

07 October, 2011 - More than 140 delegates from 30 countries and five UN agencies met in the Twenty-first Meeting of Heads of Agencies involved in combating illicit drug trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean (HONLEA for its acronym in English), which ended on Friday October 7 at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

The opening meeting took place on Monday 03, and was attended by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alicia Barcena, the Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Bo Mathiasen, and the Minister of Interior and Public Safety of Chile, Rodrigo Hinzpeter.

"Drugs and crime are particularly important issues for Latin America and the Caribbean because they affect development," said Bárcena at the beginning of the meeting.

"In the last 10 years, the dynamics of organized crime does not focus only on one illegal activity but involves various crimes, like drug trafficking, arms trafficking, corruption, money laundering, human trafficking and migrant smuggling", said Mathiasen.

Among the main topics discussed at the meeting are partnering with the chemical industry to strengthen the fight against illicit drug trafficking and the establishment of effective controls in border regions.

For his part, Minister Hinzpeter said that "countries have a moral duty to act together" in this area, detailing one of the Chilean government's priorities is to implement the Northern Border Plan to prevent the admission of illegal substances at border crossing points in the North of the country.

Another issue discussed during the meeting was the Chilean proposal to implement an international system of information exchange on chemical analysis of seized illicit drugs, in order to identify the precursor chemicals they contain and promote an effective and targeted control.

Source: ECLAC

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