16 February 2018 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is advancing real-time, integrated cooperation to address justice and security challenges in South Eastern Europe, said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today.
"We are operating in complex times, with new threats arising as we deal with continuing security challenges. I am proud to say that the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe is responding to them in a solid manner," he said.
Speaking at the opening of the Ninth Steering Committee Meeting on the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the UNODC Chief highlighted work to address challenges posed by drugs, as well as smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and returning foreign terrorist fighters.
A 2015 UNODC study found that the estimated value of illicit opiates trafficked along the Balkan route was US$28 billion annually.
Mr. Fedotov said UNODC had taken a number of comprehensive steps in South Eastern Europe including enhancing the region's UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Programme, intercepting illicit financial flows, and preventing and treating drug use.
He also emphasized UNODC initiatives to strengthen real-time cooperation between law enforcement authorities, including through its Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach, and the One UNODC Concerted Approach to Europe, West and Central Asia.
Thanks to its innovative, flexible framework, UNODC's Regional Programme is helping countries fulfil obligations with respect to UN Conventions and the decisions of UN organs, as well as their own national priorities, including to meet European Union requirements, he noted.
The Regional Programme, in 2017, joined the newly established Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative, a political platform designed to promote effectiveness in countering terrorism, fighting serious and organized crime, and strengthening border control.
Participants at the Ninth Steering Committee included ambassadors, donors and partners, as well as UN Resident Coordinators of countries in the region.