VIENNA/ABU DHABI, 14 February - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov has opened the UNODC Sub-Regional Office for the Gulf States. The Office, which was set up in partnership with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior, will strengthen the intra-regional response to the threats of drugs, crime and terrorism.
Mr. Fedotov commended the expanding relationship between the United Arab Emirates and UNODC: "The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed al Nahyan has been fundamental in setting up this partnership and in supporting the regional approach to addressing drugs and crime threats." Other high-level discussions on 14 February included a meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of National Anti-Terrorism Committee Abdul Rahim Yusuf Al-Awadi.
Accompanied by Dr. Hamad Abdullah Al-Ghaferi, Director General of the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), Mr. Fedotov visited the Centre, which is collaborating with UNODC for universal access to evidence-based drug dependence treatment services in the context of a joint programme with the World Health Organization (WHO) on drug dependence treatment and care. The NRC and UNODC are also involved in building the NRC laboratory capacity and the Centre is thus becoming a regional hub for efforts against drug addiction.
At a press conference on the expanded partnership with the NRC, Mr. Fedotov said: "We are already beginning to see the fruits of regional cooperation that our Office will continue to foster. At the national level, here in Abu Dhabi the National Rehabilitation Centre is providing greater access to drug dependence treatment, care and support for those who need it. This Centre could serve as a model for the entire region."
On 15 February, the UNODC Executive Director will join with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in launching the new regional sub-office.
On 16 February, Mr. Fedotov will discuss assistance to the Institute for Citizenship, Residence and Ports, which aims to build capacity amongst competent authorities dealing with all forms of illicit trafficking at national ports and borders. It will become the region's centre of excellence and computer-based training to tackle organized crime.
In recent years several critical initiatives have been developed between UNODC, the United Arab Emirates and its neighbours in the Gulf. These include:
• The first grant by the United Arab Emirates for the establishment of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). Since its creation in March 2007 through money provided by Abu Dhabi, UN.GIFT has been instrumental in raising awareness about human trafficking amongst Governments, individuals and the private sector.
• The hosting of the Gulf Criminal Information Centre by Qatar. UNODC is providing technical assistance to build the capacity of Gulf countries to tackle organized crime in the region in a coordinated, intelligence-driven manner.
For more information please contact:
In Abu Dhabi: Hatem Aly,UNODC Representative, Subregional Office for the Gulf States,Tel: (+971-56) 123-5951
In Vienna: Preeta Bannerjee, Public Information Officer, UNODC, Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5764 ,Email: firstname.lastname@example.org