Cairo/Vienna. 8 December 2010 (UNODC) - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States Mr. Amre Moussa today in Cairo officially launched a five-year Regional Programme on Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform for the Arab States for the period 2011-2015. The programme will have three pillars, namely: countering illicit trafficking, organized crime and terrorism; promoting integrity and building justice; and drug prevention and health.
Countries in the Arab region grapple with common problems of transnational organized crime, such as increased incidences of illicit trafficking in drugs and persons; smuggling of migrants and arms; terrorism; and acts of money-laundering. These problems are becoming more and more prominent in the region, and have the potential to escalate considerably, if counter measures are not strengthened.
"This is a major step forward for Member States of the Arab region", said Mr. Fedotov at the launch of the programme. "I commend those that have ratified the international conventions dealing with crime and drug matters, such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its additional protocols on trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants and firearms. While UNODC fully recognizes the efforts made by the governments of the region, I urge them to integrate and mainstream drug control and crime prevention into national and regional development plans."
Mr. Amre Moussa, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, said, "we strongly welcome the joint programme that reinforces our cooperation and provides a practical mechanism to make a real difference on the ground".
The programme aims to create a new momentum in promoting the rule of law and sustainable development in the region, outlining the national and regional support that UNODC can provide to such efforts by Member States of the League of Arab States covered under the programme, namely Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamirihiya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the Palestinian Authority.
Emphasizing that the regional programme is designed to promote partner countries' ownership and to be aligned to national policies, Mr. Fedotov urged Member States to contribute generously to the programme.
Mr. Fedotov thanked the League of Arab States for their constructive partnership in the development of the regional programme, and welcomed their support to help raise funds for the programme, which so far has US$ 35million pledged. He also expressed appreciation for the Arab Initiative to Combat Human Trafficking, and added that UNODC looks to strengthen partnership with relevant departments of the League and its specialized councils, particularly the council of Arab Ministers of Interior and the Council of Arab Ministers of Justice.
To effectively support the regional programme office in Cairo, UNODC has scaled up operations in by establishing two sub-regional offices in Tripoli, Libya for the Maghreb region, and in Abu Dhabi, UAE for the Arab Gulf Countries. Currently, UNODC also has programme offices in Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Sudan and Palestine.
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