Host country reinforces support for UNODC

Photo: UNODC25 May 2011 - At their first meeting on Monday 23 May, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, newly appointed Minister of the Interior of Austria, and Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, discussed ways to address global threats more effectively.

Congratulating the Minister on her appointment, Mr. Fedotov expressed his gratitude to Austria for its continuing political and financial support to his Office. "In recent years there has been significant progress in expanding the Office's range of activities", said Mr. Fedotov.  "Today, Vienna is a key pillar in the United Nations family, with a vast array of issues related to security and development.". Vienna hosts the third largest United Nations duty station after New York and Geneva and one of the agencies headquartered at the United Nations Office at Vienna is UNODC.

Mr. Fedotov thanked the Ministry of the Interior for playing a leading role in establishing the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), which now has the status of international organization, near Vienna. The Executive Director said that the establishment of the Academy was a milestone in the efforts of the international community to fight corruption, which enjoyed the full support of the Secretary-General.

The Minister emphasized her strong support for the goal of UNODC to make the Internet safe for children. That issue was one of the areas of focus of the twentieth session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in Vienna in April, at which special attention was devoted to discussion of the misuse of technology in the abuse and exploitation of children.

In 2012, a ministerial conference of the Central Asia Border Security Initiative, a consortium of European Union member States, will be held in Vienna. Mr. Fedotov informed Ms. Mikl-Leitner about the important regional strategy of UNODC in Central Asia. Recent initiatives include the "Pass-through agreement" on joint anti-trafficking activities at the northern border of Afghanistan, an EU-funded joint programme of the United Nations Development Programme and UNODC. Partnership with the EU will be further enhanced through the regional programme for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, which covers Afghanistan, the Central Asian countries, Iran and Pakistan.

Finally, turning to the Balkans, where the Austrian criminal justice bureau is active, Mr. Fedotov stated his intention to visit the region. Last week, UNODC released a report on corruption in the Balkans based on a survey on bribery in the public sector bribery.