Director General/Executive Director
Cairo, 9 May 2016
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us here today.
First, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Nabil El Araby, and the Representatives of the Arab States on the launch of our second Regional Programme, and to express our appreciation for hosting this important event.
The second Regional Programme for the Arab States for 2016-2021, developed in full consultation with the Arab League Secretariat and the Arab States, signifies another milestone in our partnership.
It is the result of our excellent continuing cooperation, and it exemplifies the strong ownership of Member States and the spirit of shared responsibility.
The new Regional Programme is expected to guide UNODC's technical cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa region in the coming six years, further strengthening national, regional and global efforts to combat transnational organized crime, drugs and terrorism.
The first Regional Programme for 2011-2015 started at a time when tremendous political, social and economic transformations were affecting the region.
By addressing the priorities of Member States in a strategic and integrated manner, and thanks to the political commitment and strong support of the Arab League and its Member States, we were able to achieve tangible progress.
This includes efforts to address illicit trafficking, organized crime, terrorism, integrity and justice, as well as drug prevention and health.
Our work under the new Regional Programme is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals set forth in the 2030 Agenda, linking justice, the rule of law and peace to sustainable development.
The principles and goals of the Doha Declaration in support of effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems, as endorsed at last year's Crime Congress, are also reflected in the new Regional Programme.
Another cornerstone is the outcome document of the recent UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, which reaffirmed the framework for cooperation provided by the three international drug control conventions and highlighted the need for comprehensive, balanced and integrated rights-based approaches to drug control.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Arab States have recognized the nature of the challenges they face, including terrorism, transnational organized crime, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, drugs and cultural property, corruption, and violence against women and children.
The new Regional Programme captures the interlinkages between threats and addresses the growing nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime.
Data collection and research, promotion of regional and international cooperation, fostering of partnerships with civil society and mainstreaming of human rights and gender are also cross cutting themes in UNODC's response.
I encourage the Arab States to further strengthen regional cooperation, and to make use of UNODC's technical expertise, tools and services.
I also call upon our partners and potential donors to extend their support to the new programme, and join us in helping to meet the aspirations and objectives of the region.