United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established in 1997 as part of the UN reform combining the previous United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Center for International Crime Prevention. The mandate of the Office is enshrined in the United Nations (UN) conventions like the three UN conventions on drugs, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols on Trafficking in Persons, on Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and on Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the universal instruments against terrorism. With the help of these instruments, UNODC helps Member States address illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

UNODC in South Asia

The Regional UNODC Office for South Asia works in six countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It was established in 1987 and is based in New Delhi, India.

South Asia's development context

South Asia Regional Snapshot
Total population: 1.5 billion
Population growth: 1.5%
Life expectancy at birth: 65 years
Female youth literacy: 74%
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 2.6 million
Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15-49): 0.25 (2008)
2008 Gross National Income (GNI) per capita: US$ 986

  According to the Human Development Report 2009, the human development index (HDI) has been on a steady rise for countries in South Asia. With a gross national income (GNI) per capita at US$ 986 in 2008, South Asia is home to 43.4 percent of the world's poor living on less than US$ 1.25 a day. Since 1990 the region has experienced rapid economic growth, averaging 5.4 percent a year. The region has reduced its US$ 1.25 a day poverty rate by about 12 percent and increased its literacy rate especially among the girls in rural areas.

The unevenness of this development and the economic slowdown have added to the existing human security challenges. Statistics pertaining to illiteracy, gender discrimination, government accountability and crime trends, indicate that citizens have limited access to the means to securing everyday livelihoods.

UNODC assists States in developing strategies to address crime, drugs and corruption, with particular emphasis on assisting vulnerable groups. Within South Asia, individual countries cannot grow in isolation from each other, and regional multilateral cooperation is required.

What UNODC does in South Asia

At present the technical cooperation programme focuses on:
Drug use prevention, treatment and care
Prevention of HIV and AIDS
Prevention of drug use and HIV in prisons
Prevention of human trafficking
Prevention of smuggling of migrants
Anti corruption
Law enforcement, drug and precursor control

Learn more about UNODC's work in South Asia:

Click here to read the Regional Programme for South Asia (2013 - 2015)

Click here to read the UNODC ROSA Brochure