South Asia: Member States highlight regional trends and priorities to strengthen UNODC's new Regional Programme for South Asia (2023-2027)

New Delhi, India/17 May 2023: Officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka gathered in New Delhi for the second Steering Committee Meeting of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Asia (2023-2027). The meeting witnessed substantive discussions aimed at bolstering regional responses to combat drugs, crime, corruption, and terrorism in the South Asian region. With a focus on promoting peace, security, health, and the rule of law, the participants engaged in enriching deliberations that explored the latest trends, emerging threats, new opportunities, and key priorities.

The new UNODC Regional Programme for South Asia (2023-2027) provides a strategic roadmap for focused national and regional cooperation in building capacities and promoting effective policies to promote justice and health and to prevent and counter drugs, organized crime, corruption, and terrorism in the six countries of South Asia. Acknowledging the importance of inclusive approaches, partnership, cooperation, communication, and ownership, the participants identified these as essential elements of comprehensive and evidence-based regional responses.

Representing their respective governments, the members of the Steering Committee expressed their support for the UNODC's course of action and warmly welcomed the new roadmap for cooperation. The Steering Committee, established on 1 February 2023, serves as the governing body for the Regional Programme. Its responsibilities include reviewing UNODC's annual work plans for the region, assessing successes and challenges in the organization's operations, providing guidance and advice, and facilitating communication with national governments. This collaborative approach ensures that the Regional Programme's implementation remains closely aligned with the goals and aspirations of the member countries.

Recommendations stemming from the meeting underscored the importance of people-centered approaches, such as gender mainstreaming and youth empowerment, the exchange of best practices, the expansion of partnerships to include more stakeholders and beneficiaries and increased south- south cooperation.

With a renewed commitment to inclusive and evidence-based approaches, the South Asian countries are poised to strengthen regional responses and work together towards a safer and more secure future.

This activity contributed to SDG 3, SDG 16 and SDG 17: