GUINEA BISSAU

I. Political Context

Guinea‐Bissau is a small West African state with a population of 1.4 million. Its territory includes parts of the African mainland as well as a group of approximately 88 islands - the Bijagos Islands, most of which are uninhabited. Guinea-Bissau's lack of capacity to control its porous land, maritime and air borders and offshore territory, weak state structures, political instability, and widespread impunity expose the country as a safe haven for organized crime networks.

Over the past years, Guinea‐Bissau has been on top of the international agenda due to its highly unstable political situation and the observed increase in cocaine trafficking. Encouraging progress has recently been made by national authorities in breaking the political and institutional deadlock that has persisted in Guinea-Bissau, which has seen seven prime ministers appointed between August 2015 and December 2019. Accordingly, minimum political conditions have been established for UNODC to re-engage in assisting the Government of Guinea Bissau in its efforts to prevent and counter drug trafficking and organized crime.

In February 2018, the UN Security Council issued resolution 2404 (2018), which called upon international partners to support the field presence of UNODC in Guinea-Bissau and increase assistance to national authorities in fighting drug trafficking, organized crime (DTOC), money laundering and emerging threats. In June 2018, further to that resolution, the President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau asked UNODC to provide technical assistance to the Government of Guinea-Bissau in enhancing its national response to tackle DTOC threats through a comprehensive and integrated approach to strengthen the whole chain of the criminal justice system in addressing: i) drug trafficking; ii) organized crime; iii) corruption and iv) money laundering.

Urgent support of the international community is needed, considering the impact these crimes have in the development and stability of the country, as well as on the credibility and accountability of the institutions in Guinea-Bissau. The UN Secretary-General, in resolution 2458 (2019), stressed that the consolidation of peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau can only result from a consensual, inclusive and nationally owned process, priority reforms in the security and justice sectors, and the fight against impunity and drug trafficking. In view of the global nature of illicit drug trafficking flows and Guinea-Bissau's key role in this regard, these efforts will have a positive impact beyond the immediate region.

II. UNODC Technical Assistance

Since 2011, UNODC, through its Programme Office in Guinea-Bissau, is supporting law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges in Guinea-Bissau in enhancing their response to drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, trafficking in persons, border control, illicit trafficking, money laundering and counter-terrorism. UNODC cooperates closely with the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office for Guinea‐Bissau (UNIOBGIS).

The Government of Guinea-Bissau has shown renewed commitment to engage in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime, for instance with the establishment of the AIRCOP Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force in April 2018 (JAITF); the launch of a High-level National Dialogue on DTOC in November 2018; and the successful conduct of two operations which resulted in the two largest ever cocaine seizures in the country, 789 kg and 1947 kg, on 9 March 2019 and 2 September 2019, respectively.

Past and current interventions of UNODC in Guinea-Bissau include:

• WACI - West Africa Coast Initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership between DPA/UNOWAS, DPKO/UNPOL/UNIOGBIS and INTERPOL implemented in Guinea-Bissau since 2011 ;

• AIRCOP - Airport Communication Project (UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL) present in Guinea-Bissau since 2016 ;

• CRIMJUST - Strengthening Criminal Investigation and criminal justice cooperation along drug trafficking routes (UNODC-INTERPOL-Transparency International) to enhance law enforcement and judicial capacities and institutional integrity, as well as to strengthen international cooperation on post-seizure investigations and implemented in Guinea-Bissau since 2016 ;

• UNODC Regional Programme for West and Central Africa 2016-2020 to implement the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Action Plan to address illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa ;

• UN Global Focal Point - Joint Programme for Police, Justice and Corrections (JPPJC) in Guinea-Bissau signed by UNODC, UNIOGBIS and UNDP in 2017 ;

• Participation in the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP), network, established in May 2013, with the support of UNODC ;

UNODC's projects in Guinea-Bissau aim to strengthen implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to which Guinea-Bissau has been a State party since 2007, as well as the UN Drug Control Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988. UNODC's assistance also aims to enhance the country's compliance with international standards against money laundering and terrorism financing as a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).

UNODC's work in Guinea-Bissau contributes to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 16: "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels" through several targets:

- Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all;

- Target 16.4: By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime;

- Target 16.A: Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.