The Chairs of umbrella partner NGOs celebrate with UNODC on its 20th anniversary

14 September 2017 - Today, the three heads of UNODC's civil society networks were in attendance when the UNODC celebrated its 20 th anniversary at the Vienna International Centre. The event highlighted UNODC's achievements in the past 20 years in combating drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism, and focused on the current challenges the Organization and the international community are facing, as well as the opportunities for the future.

The occasion represented a historic moment as it was the first time the chairs of their respective civil society networks were all present together, Michael Platzer and Karen Judd Smith of the Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Esbjörn Hörnberg of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, and Juanita Olaya of the UNCAC Coalition.

Speeches were given by UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres (video message), UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, the Austrian Minister of Health and Women's Affairs, Dr. Pamela Rendi-Wagner, the Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Ms. Bente Angell-Hansen, the Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, the Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, Mr. Marcel Peško, and President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Mr. Viroj Sumyai.

Mr. Yury Fedotov reflected on the evolving nature of the drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism challenges UNODC has provided technical assistance to Member States throughout its existence. He remarked on the organisation's greater recognition of complexity in making progress, which has led to a more comprehensive, integrated and multi-faceted approach. Part of that evolution has been the inclusion of civil society in helping Member States with the technical knowledge and necessary tools to fight drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. 

In her statement, Ambassador Angell-Hansen stressed that today's increasing multifaceted challenges require all actors to adapt policies to meet these challenges together - Member States, UNODC, other international organizations, as well as academia and civil society. 

Esbjörn Hörnberg said "Congratulations to UNODC for the 20 years anniversary and cooperation with civil society. From us, you can have the first information about the situation on the ground, and we really appreciate the working conditions you have put in place here in Vienna to give civil society the possibility to be included in all kinds of activities together with the Member States."

Karen Judd Smith, "As we celebrate these first 20 years, we now look towards tomorrow, toward times when we will face what is for us today, unthinkable. We will have to think and act in new and previously unthinkable ways. So whether we are aircraft carrier size or small agile civil society, Member State or private sector operators, we will need to become bold partners as the tides of change challenges us all. Thank you for all you do and happy birthday!"

UNODC works with thousands of civil society organizations at local, national, regional and global levels. The cooperation has helped UNODC to support Member States in tackling the world drug problem, address crime and corruption challenges, and fight against terrorism. Closer partnership with the three umbrella organizations will continue to be crucial in achieving greater success in UNODC mandates.