South Asia: UNODC scales up policy engagement with South Asian Member States

New Delhi, India/10 February 2023: UNODC is expanding cooperation with countries of South Asia, giving a new policy angle to the next chapter of cooperation with the region.

As part of this process and to ensure national ownership of UNODC’s work with governments in the region, UNODC is developing a new Regional Programme for South Asia (2023-2027). This framework for UNODC’s engagement with the region will follow the structure of the UNODC Strategy: 2021-2025, built around five thematic areas:

(i) Addressing and Countering the Drug Problem,

(ii) Preventing and Countering Transnational Organized Crime

(iii) Preventing and Countering Corruption and Economic Crime

(iv) Preventing and Countering Terrorism, and

(v) Crime Prevention/ Criminal Justice

The Regional Programme will be governed by its Steering Committee, the first meeting of which took place on 1 February 2023. On this date, UNODC convened with members of the Steering Committee to introduce its terms of reference, outline its role in the future development and implementation of the Regional Programme, as well as establish dialogue with Steering Committee members. The governing body will review annual work plans of UNODC for the region, successes and challenges in the UNODC’s operations in the region, provide guidance and advice, and facilitate contacts with national governments, among other functions.

The members of the Steering Committee, on behalf of their governments, have expressed full support of UNODC’s course of action and welcomed the establishment of the Steering Committee, which will further strengthen two-way communication between relevant national authorities and UNODC at national and regional level. The work of the Steering Committee is seen to be feeding into the already existing solid dialogues happening in capitals across the region.

To reinforce its communication efforts, on 7 February, UNODC held a briefing to the Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Vienna on the Office’s work in South Asia. During the course of the meeting with the Permanent Missions, who are among key UNODC’s interlocutors, the Regional Office for South Asia presented the outcomes of work in the region in the last three months since the appointment of the new UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia, Mr. Marco Teixeira.

UNODC has also updated the Permanent Missions on the development of the Regional Programme and the above-mentioned Steering Committee meeting, and has given an analysis of the latest trends related to drugs and crime in the region. The counterparts have expressed appreciation for the broadening of the discussion and welcomed the sharing of information by UNODC.

UNODC Regional Office for South Asia in cooperation with the Regional Section for South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific will continue to maintain policy dialogue with national counterparts in South Asia, as well as other relevant counterparts.