10 December 2007, Addis Ababa - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today saluted the African Union for its adoption of a Plan of Action on drug control and crime prevention 2007-2012. Francis Maertens, UNODC Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, taking part in the African Union's Conference of Ministers for drug control and crime prevention in Addis Ababa, described the plan as "a truly strategic and operational framework". He also praised the decision to create a follow-up mechanism to monitor and evaluate the Plan's implementation: "this should ensure that good intentions are turned into action", said Mr. Maertens.
In June 2005 UNODC issued a study on Crime and Development in Africa that showed how poverty, income inequality, rapid urbanization, youth unemployment, and weak criminal justice make African countries vulnerable to crime. To reduce this vulnerability, UNODC worked with African countries to formulate a Programme of Action for Africa 2006-2010 which was endorsed by African leaders at a meeting in Abuja in September 2005. "We are pleased to see that the priorities of the Programme endorsed in Abuja are reflected in the African Union's Plan of Action - we are all pulling in the same direction", said Mr. Maertens.
UNODC has a growing portfolio of activities in Africa. It is helping states like Guinea Bissau to tackle the threat posed by drug trafficking. It is working with a number of African countries, particularly Nigeria, to strengthen anti-corruption measures and recover stolen assets. It is helping states reduce the vulnerability of their people, particularly women and children, to human trafficking. It has issued a study on the smuggling of migrants from Africa to Europe. And it is promoting prison reform, including to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS to people in prison settings.
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