Press Release: Signature of the Regional Framework for Arab States (2023 – 2028) and Launch of the Arab Plan for Prevention and Reduction of the Dangers of Drugs to Arab Society: Towards Effective Handling of the Issue from a Social Perspective

26 March 2023 – Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt

In continuation of the strong cooperation between the League of Arab States (LAS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the “Regional Framework for the Arab States (2023 – 2028)” was signed and the “Arab Plan for Prevention and Reduction of the Dangers of Drugs to Arab Society: Towards Effective Handling of the Issue from a Social Perspective” was launched today Sunday the 26th of March at the LAS Headquarters. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of LAS and H.E Ms. Ghada Waly, UNODC Executive Director co-signed the aforementioned Regional Framework (2023 – 2028).

The signature of the Framework and the launch of the Plan included the participation of H. E. Ms. Nivine El Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Permanent Member of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, H. E. Maryam Bint Nasser Al-Misned, Minister of Social Development the State of Qatar and Chair of the 42nd session of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, and with the presence of the Permanent Member States’ Ambassadors at LAS, a number of Ambassadors of different countries, in addition to Heads and Representatives of United Nations bodies and agencies.

The Regional Framework for the Arab States 2023-2028 acts as the overarching strategic framework for cooperation between UNODC and LAS. It frames how UNODC will strengthen, prioritize, customize, and deliver support to the Arab region in effective response to some of the most pressing challenges faced by these countries and in connection with UNODC’s mandates and specialties.

The Regional Framework articulates six focus areas for guiding UNODC-implemented programming at the regional and national levels and they are: a balanced approach to drug control, strengthening the response to organized crime, combating trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, action against corruption and financial crime, preventing and countering terrorism and violence, and strengthening crime/violence prevention and criminal justice.

Furthermore, the Regional Framework applies six key accelerators across all programmatic interventions to speed up progress and maximize efforts towards fast-tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and they are: partnerships, women and girls, innovation, science, and forensics, human rights, youth and children, and inclusive and people-centered programming. The programme will also support UNODC’s partnership expansion with Member States in the region to include current vital Ministries and Institutions relevant to youth, solidarity, education, culture, human rights, countering corruption; in addition to previous partnerships with the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Health.

The event also saw the launch of the Arab Plan for Prevention and Reduction of the Dangers of Drugs to Arab Society: Towards Effective Handling of the Issue from a Social Perspective. This important plan represents a regional social framework for combating drugs in the Arab States by highlighting the social dimension of drug demand reduction in the context of its negative impact on social development in specific and sustainable development in general. This is also at the heart of efforts to achieve the Arab Declaration adopted by LAS in 2016 to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda 2023. The present document provides an indicative vision for guiding Arab action towards a comprehensive and integrated response based on scientific evidence and consistent with Arab specificity of this phenomenon. The Plan aims to build national strategies and action plans that meet national requirements and includes a number of initiatives, projects and activities that achieve their objectives in complementarity with Arab efforts to combat the supply of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through comprehensive actions that include proactiveness and social resolution.

The Arab Plan’s dimensions showcase the methods of how to address this phenomenon from a social perspective and in line with Arab countries’ regulations and conditions in order to implement effective interventions including related multidimensional social and development consequences and to strengthen Arab efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The important dimensions of the Plan include community prevention, rehabilitation and social integration, addressing drug-related harm and its consequences, as well as the dimensions and themes in support of the Plan's areas of action, namely international cooperation, scientific research and innovation, coordination mechanisms, governance, implementation, measurement and impact assessment.

To read the Regional Framework for the Arab States 2023 - 2028