Making the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region Safer from Crime and Drugs

The Regional Programme 2013-2020 - Making the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region Safer from Crime and Drugs - was jointly developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and SADC. It covers the 15 Member States of SADC: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Regional Programme (RP) aims to support the Member States in responding to challenges related to organised crime, security, effectiveness and integrity of criminal justice systems, as well as drug abuse and HIV/AIDS through strengthening capacities at the national level and promoting regional cooperation, in line with the priorities and needs of the countries concerned. In particular, the RP aims to contribute to crime prevention measures in the region in the context of supporting a sustainable socio-economic development , which could serve as a basis for such efforts in other regions facing similar developmental challenges.

Based on a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as the official framework for cooperation between UNODC and SADC, the development process combined two Regional Expert Group Meetings to identify the key concerns and priorities to be addressed under the RP. The resulting regional approach and programmatic framework was endorsed by the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) in July 2012. In August 2012, the Heads of State and Government of the SADC Member States, at their 32 nd Summit Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, were informed and took note of the MCO's endorsement.

Three interdependent substantive pillars form the framework for the RP's areas of intervention:

I.     Pillar I: Countering Illicit Trafficking and Organised Crime

Pillar I aims to strengthen regional border control and management capacities, support counter-narcotics efforts with specific focus on precursor chemicals, support countries to address urban and emerging crimes, as well as strengthen anti money-laundering (AML) and forensic capacities in the region.

II.    Pillar II: Criminal Justice and Integrity

Pillar II aims to support the countries' efforts against corruption and to strengthen the criminal justice institutions in the region by improving the effectiveness of investigation, prosecution, access to justice, fair trial and execution of penal sanctions, and by securing the protection of vulnerable groups.

III.   Pillar III: Improving Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Care, and HIV Prevention, Treatment  and Care for People Who Use Drugs, including Injecting Drug Users and in Prison Settings

Pillar III will support the countries to reduce the demand for drugs, prevent drug-related HIV infections, as well as HIV/AIDS in prison settings, and promote treatment to reduce health-related and social consequences.

In line with UNODC's Medium Term Strategy and its biennial Strategic Framework, each of the pillars refers to a set of thematic sub-programmes, which represent UNODC's overall strategic approach.

In addition, the Regional Programme, which aims for a holistic approach to strengthen national capacities and promote regional cooperation, identifies three cross-cutting programme areas for enhancing capabilities under each of the three pillars:

- Data Collection and Analysis
- Legislative Assistance
- Capacity Building

An integrated approach to implementation in these areas, cutting across the substantive pillars, seeks to: ensure a comprehensive approach in addressing regional challenges relevant to UNODC's mandate; enable SADC and UNODC to better link up various actors in the criminal justice, law enforcement, drug prevention and related health areas; and promote cost-effective implementation of programme activities.

Figure 1 - The relation between the substantive pillars and the cross-cutting programme areas


Figure 2 - Overview of the substantive pillars and the cross-cutting programme areas, at the outcome level


On-going projects already form an integral part of the Regional Programme. The indicative total budget needed for the implementation of all outcome activities of the PR during its initial four-year period in the 15 SADC counties is estimated at USD 66,175,000

Contribution to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

A fundamental objective of the RP is to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs. The Agenda draws together the strands of peace, the rule of law, human rights, development and equality into a comprehensive and forward-looking framework. Reducing conflict, crime, violence and discrimination, and ensuring inclusion and good governance, are key elements of people's well-being and essential for securing sustainable development. This new global agenda assigns to the United Nations system a key role based on a culture of shared responsibilities, collective action and benchmarking for progress.

Almost all of UNODC's mandates reflect universal aspirations embedded within the SDGs, and UNODC has the technical expertise and experience in capacity-building in the region to support Member States in reaching these goals, including:

  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages;
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
  • Goal 8: Promote Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All;
  • Goal 11: Make Cities Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable;
  • Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;
  • Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Goal 16 is of particular importance to UNODC as it ensures that the rule of law, peace and security are included in the new global agenda. UNODC will contribute to ensuring that all global norms and standards (i.e. UNTOC, UNCAC, drug conventions, UN standards and norms on criminal justice and crime prevention, as well as the legal instruments against terrorism) are effectively reflected in national and regional agendas.

Equally, UNODC's work on drugs and health is inextricably linked to multiple targets of Goal 3. The Office has an existing mandate which includes supporting a balanced public health oriented approach to the drug problem by working to end discrimination against, and promote interventions for, people who use drugs. In addition, it focuses on strengthening the access to comprehensive, evidence-based, and gender responsive services for prevention of drug use and treatment of substance use disorders, including as an alternative to imprisonment. UNODC is also mandated to provide HIV prevention, treatment and care among people who use drugs and in prisons.

In the context of SDGs, the RP will mainstream crime and drug control into the development agenda, strengthen policy dialogue with national and regional stakeholders to promote the rule of law to combat transnational organized crime, improve the dialogue and cooperation with civil society, and support "knowledge networks" across the region.

Contribution to other global and regional responses

In line with the SDGs, major topics under the RP will also include the fight against trafficking of persons and the elimination of all forms of violence against all women and girls, including trafficking, sexual exploitation and other types of exploitation.

Additionally, the RP is in line with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, in which Aspirations 3 and 5 target an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law and a peaceful and secure Africa. These shared goals all contribute to a shared objective of prosperity.

A Regional Programme Steering Committee (RPSC), representing the countries in the region, has been set up. It held its first meeting on 6 December 2012. Through its meetings, the RPSC fulfils its oversight and coordinating responsibilities, ensuring the Regional Programme's continued coherence with national and regional priorities. Within this framework, UNODC is responsible for the overall management of the programme through ROSAF, based in Pretoria, South Africa.