Transparency International joins UNODC as implementing partner for CRIMJUST Project

5 June 2016 - In order to address integrity and accountability challenges in effectively combatting organized crime within the law enforcement and justice sectors, Transparency International and  UNODC signed a Project Cooperation Agreement for CRIMJUST project.

Africa continues to be one of the world's major transit areas of cocaine trafficking from Latin America and the Caribbean to Europe. As anti-drug efforts have curtailed the use of traditional cocaine routes, West Africa has principally become a hotspot for transnational organized crime.  As reported by the World Drug Report, 2016- the rise of drug trafficking and organized crime is undermining institutions, public health and development efforts. Mostly, a high level of drug trafficking can jeopardise the ability of the criminal justice system to function properly.

As part of its continued support to counter illicit drug trafficking, CRIMJUST, an initiative funded by the European Union, implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with INTERPOL and Transparency International, aims at strengthening criminal investigation and criminal justice cooperation along the cocaine route in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.

Acknowledging global partnerships are key to addressing the shared challenges posed by transnational organized crime. UNODC and Transparency International signed a Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in the framework of the CRIMJUST project to support member states and civil society to tackle organized crime and drug trafficking, including through measures that strengthen internal integrity and help to mitigate the risk of corruption within criminal justice institutions.

Ms. Candice Welsch, UNODC Chief of the Corruption and Economic Crime Section, highlights that "the Conference of the States parties adopted at its last session in St. Petersburg, resolution 6/6 which called upon States parties to strengthen integrity across the entire criminal justice system. The CRIMJUST project and collaboration with Transparency International is a new way of joining forces across regions as well as across organisations and units to support States in their fight against organised crime and corruption". 

In addition, Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, UNODC Chief of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Section, recalls that "addressing transnational organized crime should entail a holistic approach that creates synergies and aligns actions between different stakeholders. The involvement of civil societies and Transparency International in CRIMJUST materializes a more comprehensive approach to address Cocaine Trafficking and related transnational organized crime in the beneficiary countries".

For Transparency international (TI) combating corruption and impunity are key elements to defeat drug trafficking. Within the Cooperation Agreement, a key focus of TI is on working with Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) in the beneficiary and associate countries to assess and promote accountability and integrity conditions relating to the delivery of security, law enforcement and access to justice free from the abuse of power. Due to a lack of experience, capacities, and space to channel anti-corruption initiatives, the contribution of TI is essential. The described purpose aims to enhance and strengthen the CSOs to support the government accountability and integrity efforts within the law enforcement and criminal justice entities for more effective investigations, prosecutions and international cooperation.The commitment of Transparency International is reflected by Zoe Reiter, Regional Programme Manager statement:  "We look forward to this exciting new partnership with  UNODC and Interpol - and expect this  first-of-a-kind project to demonstrate to key government stakeholders across the globe how transparency and accountability to citizens will only make criminal justice sectors more effective at fighting organized crime and the corrupt."   

In brief, the cooperation agreement represents a key strategic framework under which UNODC provides joint efforts in strengthening integrity and accountability to mitigate the risk of corruption in law enforcement and justice institutions. This will actively contribute to a regional response to address organized crime in general, and drug trafficking in particular, and assist in achieving the Global Goals of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, principally in regard to global partnership, good governance, and rule of law (Goal 16 and 17). 

For more information:

European Union "Cocaine Route Programme"

- Transparency International