In order to bring criminals to justice, police and prosecutors need evidence. Guilt or innocence can be proven through physical traces discovered and examined by forensic experts - like fingerprints, hair sample or DNA.

Drugs also have their own signature. Their composition can reveal where they came from, what they are made up of, and their potency. This is vital for understanding drug trends, in bringing evidence from the crime scene to the court room and addressing health threats.

In too many parts of the world, police lack the capacity to detect drugs, and to analyse suspicious substances. Yet the tools required are very basic: even just a small kit can enable on-the-spot testing.

That is why UNODC provides scientific and forensic services to Member States. From its laboratory in Vienna, UNODC provides guidance to Member States through best practice manuals, training and testing, thus contributing to the worldwide availability of quality forensic services. Its quality assurance programme raises the standard of forensic laboratories around the world, and its field test kits enable even the most remote outposts to detect illegal drugs and precursors.

UNODC also carries out research on drug trends, for example of the synthetic drug market, to support Member States in addressing new challenges.

I invite Member States to take full advantage of the resources available at UNODC to enhance crime scene investigations, and to gather the evidence needed to bring criminals to justice or exonerate the innocent.