UNODC Executive Director voices support for Millennium Development Goals

MDG logo 20 September - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged world leaders to keep their promise to help the world's most vulnerable people. At the United Nations Summit in New York on progress towards the eight internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Mr. Ban called for efforts to be stepped up by the target date of 2015.

For billions of people in poor countries, food, education and health are basic rights, which UNODC supports in many ways.

Corruption, the rule of law and human rights: cross-cutting issues

Corruption is a major impediment to development and efforts to address it contribute to achievement of all the MDGs. Throughout the developing world, billions of dollars urgently needed for health care, clean water and infrastructure are siphoned away through bribes.

"Development needs security to succeed. It needs solid, functioning institutions, grounded in the rule of law and untainted by corruption", said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov in his remarks concerning global partnership for development, the eighth Goal. UNODC promotes the rule of law by tackling corruption through the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which provides for strong measures to boost integrity within both the public and the private sector.

"Development is undermined in conditions of instability. This is especially true in fragile States and States engaged in or emerging from conflict. These are States where the rule of law is absent, where corruption is rampant, where illicit drugs and HIV threaten public health, where crime and violence are rife and people live in fear.  In such conditions, institutions lack sufficient capacity to handle development aid effectively", said Mr. Fedotov.

UNODC places human rights at the centre of drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice. It helps to build fair and effective criminal justice systems and assists States in reforming their criminal justice systems, with particular emphasis on vulnerable groups, such as women and children.

The Office has developed projects in the areas of juvenile justice, penal reform and victim support. It has also developed legislative and technical assistance to States in the area of criminal justice reform, based on United Nations standards and norms.

Reducing poverty: promoting MDG 1

Millions of poor farmers around the world depend on the cultivation of illicit crops, such as opium poppy and coca bush, for their income. The Secretary-General has said that one of the keys to success is investment in infrastructure, small farmers, social services and above all in support for women and girls. The link between poverty and drug cultivation needs to be broken. UNODC works with communities to provide legitimate and sustainable livelihoods to farmers so as to encourage them not to cultivate illicit crops.

Action to combat human trafficking and promote health: advancing MDGs 3, 4 and 6

UNODC fights human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery that traps women and children in particular in sexual exploitation and inhumane labour conditions. UNODC works to improve access to education in order to increase women's opportunities and limit their vulnerability to the false promises of traffickers.

The Trafficking in Persons Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime obliges States to criminalize such trafficking, and many States have adopted national legislation incorporating the Protocol's provisions.

Health is the cornerstone of the Office's drug policy. Drug dependence is a health disorder, and drug abusers need treatment. UNODC believes that people should not be executed for drug-related crimes and seeks to reduce demand for drugs while treating addiction. The Office advocates a comprehensive package of measures to reduce vulnerability, treat drug addiction and prevent the spread of diseases associated with drug abuse, such as HIV and hepatitis.

For Mr Fedotov's full speech click here

Related information:

Millennium Development Goals

UNODC action against corruption

UNODC and alternative development

Drug abuse prevention, treatment and care

Human trafficking and migrant smuggling