Vienna/Abidjan, 10 November 2023 - The UNODC Global Programme on Implementing the Organized Crime Convention held three back-to-back workshops to support the development of National Strategies against Organized Crime in Ghana, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in October and November 2023. Carried out within the framework of the UNODC project Regional Hub on Transnational Organized Crime for West and Central Africa based in Abidjan – Cote d’Ivoire with the generous support of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom, these events brought together a total of around 80 officials from the respective Ministries, including the Ministries of Justice and the Interior, specialized agencies such as the Narcotics Control Commission of Ghana, and relevant institutions, including Customs, Police and Gendarmerie of the three countries.
These initiatives aimed at providing a platform for national officials to discuss and brainstorm on the main enablers of, threats and key challenges presented by organized crime in their respective national contexts, in line with the “Four Ps” approach (Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Promote) of the UNODC Organized Crime Strategy Toolkit for Developing High-Impact Strategies, generously funded by the United Kingdom.
In Ghana, the three-day workshop (23-25 October) taking place in Accra was opened by Ms. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior. “This workshop will afford us all the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the consequences of organized crime, build relevant responses, come up with answers, and develop more effective strategies to combat organized crime which undermines the peace and security of our people," highlighted Ms. Anno-Kumi.
"There is no copy and paste, because this process is only driven by what you are all doing here this week," Mr. Charles Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana, emphasized on that topic.
This was the first meeting of the national Working Group, coordinated by focal points from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General Department, and the Ghana Police Service. It enabled participants to gain an overview of the organized crime-related national context, assess current responses and discuss the structure, main objectives and sub-objectives of the future National Strategy to be established, in line with the “Four Ps” approach.
In Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, a first meeting of the Working Group already took place in May 2023 and enabled a group of experts coming from different relevant agencies and institutions to undertake the assessment of the existing responses to organized crime at the national level and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. The processes are being coordinated by the Comité Interministériel de Lutte contre la Drogue (CILD) in Senegal and the Comité Interministériel de Lutte Anti-Drogue (CILAD) in Côte d’Ivoire.
The meetings on 30-31 October in Saly and on 2-3 November in Assinie, gave the opportunity to delve deeper into current organized crime trends in the respective countries, as well as to start working on the two National Strategies in a coordinated way between all the actors involved, with the active support of national UNODC consultants. While the workshop in Senegal focused on the revision of the rapid assessment of the national organized crime context and response undertaken by UNODC, participants in the meeting in Côte d’Ivoire developed problem trees and solution trees on specific organized crime categories, contributing to UNODC’s gathering of information on the national situation.
During an interview recorded in the margins of the workshop in Assinie, Mr. Assoumo, Chief of Abidjan’s Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force, underlined how fruitful the cooperation with UNODC has been for his institution and expressed his optimism for the development and implementation of a robust National Strategy against Organized Crime with UNODC’s support.
During these two weeks, participants to the three workshops gained better understanding of UNODC’s methodology to develop high-impact National Strategies against Organized Crime, debated on relevant national issues and responses and shared their knowledge and the best practices identified in relation to the development of comprehensive and inclusive organized crime strategies.
Thanks to the Federal Republic of Germany’s generous financial support to UNODC’s Regional Hub on Transnational Organized Crime for West and Central Africa based in Abidjan – Cote d’Ivoire, UNODC will continue to assist the development and further on the implementation of National Strategies against Organized Crime in Ghana, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in the upcoming months, by facilitating meetings of the respective Working Groups, in which actors from civil society organizations and the private sector will be progressively included.