Signing of the Partnership Declaration between UNODC, Cabo Verde and the Netherlands on countering transnational organized crime

The Netherlands supported this activity

The strategic location of Cabo Verde off the coast of West Africa, in combination with its long coastline weakening effective control of national and international waters, places Cabo Verde on one of the cocaine routes from South America to Europe. Besides, over the last decade, the importance of West Africa as a smuggling route for cocaine from South America to Europe has kept increasing.

In order to fight against drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, Cabo Verde and the Netherlands signed a Partnership Declaration under UNODC's auspices,  on 9 June 2017.

This initiative, which is part of the tripartite technical cooperation between Cabo Verde, the Netherlands, and UNODC on countering organized crime, started in 2012. This initiative was developed and implemented through a three-year Working Programme (2012-2014) which consists of capacity-building activities in the fields of forensics, criminal investigation management and community policing.

In 2015, stakeholders responded positively to the work plan and made a consensual recommendation for its continuity. In this regard, a second 2017-2019 Working Programme was developed aiming at consolidating the gains achieved, of which the political and institutional engagement and validation will be ensured through the Partnership Declaration that was signed on 9 June in Praia.

During his mission in Praia, the UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, Mr. Pierre Lapaque,also managed to meet a number of high government authorities, including the Minister of Justice and Labor, the Minister of Health and Social Security, the Attorney General, and the National Director of the Judicial Police, to renew UNODC's commitment on assisting the country in countering drugs and organized crime.

From left to right: HE Mr Theo Peters, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Senegal, HE Ms. Janine Lélis, Minister of Justice and Labor of Cabo Verde, HE Mr Júlio Morais, National Director of Foreign Policy, and Mr Pierre Lapaque, Regional Representative of UNODC in West and Central Africa

The meetings served to assess the evolution of the challenges faced by the country in tackling drug trafficking and organized crime, as well as the achievements and priority needs, since the Representative's last mission to Cabo Verde a year ago. Currently, UNODC is assisting the government in implementing a comprehensive legal reform in criminal matters, notably, through the revision of important laws, including the Drug Law, the Law on Criminal Policy and the Criminal Investigation Law.

In addition, major investments have been made to reinforce the prisons security by strengthening the capacities of penitentiary staff on prison management. A security audit was also undertaken in the main prison of Cabo Verde. In relation to drug demand reduction, the new Coordinating Commission on Alcohol and Drugs (CCAD) was placed under the Ministry of Health. Thus, during a meeting with Mr. Pierre Lapaque, the Minister of Health requested UNODC's technical assistance to tackle health issues in prison settings.

UNODC is working on the priority projects to respond to the main challenges identified by Cabo Verde in the drug demand reduction and transnational organized crime areas.

For more information:

UNODC supports the XXIII anniversary of the Judicial Police of Cape Verde

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa