15 March 2004
VIENNA, 15 March (UN Information Service) -- In a shift from its previous policy of providing support to geographical priorities, the Swedish Government has decided to target its financial support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to thematic priorities in the campaign against illicit drugs. The new strategy was unveiled today during the 47th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs currently taking place in Vienna. It is aimed at further strengthening the Swedish commitment to the United Nations drug control efforts, which is one of the priority areas for Swedish development assistance in 2004.
"Drug abuse and the production of drugs are serious threats to development in many of the worlds poor countries. Through the United Nations, Sweden can contribute to the fight against drugs, primarily by working preventively, but also by impeding drug production and smuggling", says Carin Jämtin, Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation.
Two-thirds of Swedens annual contribution to UNODC will be earmarked for demand reduction projects, policy support and advocacy. The remaining funds will be available for general UNODC drug control work. The Swedish contribution to UNODC for 2004 amounts to approximately US$ 7,400,000. Swedens new strategy is based on its restrictive drug policy and on an evaluation made by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in 2002.
The strategy proposal was finalized in mid-2003 and was approved by the Swedish Government in February 2004. The text of the strategy document makes reference to the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), a predecessor of UNODC. It sets out guidelines for Sweden, in relation to the UNODC drug programme. Sweden is also contributing to the UNODC for crime-related projects, mainly in trafficking in human beings.
* *** *