EU-UNODC brochure

News

Please see below a non-exhaustive selection of news items to reflect the richness of contacts and joint activities happening between the EU and UNODC.

 

30 August - 5 September: UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme conducts Work Study Visit to European Benchmarking Ports 

Image © UNODCAmid threats posed by transnational organized crime, UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO), through the Container Control Programme (CCP), seek to improve the capacity of customs and law enforcement officials in Latin America and the Caribbean, among others, to detect and disrupt the flow of illicitly trafficked goods, while facilitating legitimate trade and raising state revenues. CCP offers capacity building trainings in countries seeking to improve risk management, supply chain security and trade facilitation in sea, land and airports in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods. This includes assistance through regular follow-ups and onsite visits combined with mentoring of Port Control Units (PCUs). Further, steering committee meetings and discussions with key stakeholders are held on a regular basis.

In this context, from August 30th to September 5th 2018, the CCP facilitated a study visit to the Ports of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and Antwerp, in Belgium for the PCUs operating in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Participants from the PCUs in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, had the opportunity to observe the work of European law enforcement colleagues combatting illegal trafficking in the above-mentioned ports. During the study tour, the participants visited the Training Centre in Rotterdam and worked together with the Belgium Customs Agency and the Counter Drug Unit in Antwerp.  The Latin-American representatives observed the methodology for risk analysis management, scanners, image analysis and security measures in place. Based on a teamwork approach this activity was an opportunity for all law enforcement involved to share best practices, exchange feedback and strength cooperation among officers from different countries and backgrounds. 

In 2018, the joint customs and police PCUs in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region have made significant seizures of drugs, precursor chemicals, merchandise breaching Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and protected wildlife. From January to September 2018, the PCUs achieved 174 cases in total, including the following results: 34,802.255 kg of cocaine seized in 82 cases and 465.32kg of marihuana seized in 2 cases; 2 cases of firearms trafficking; 7 cases of smuggling; 3 cases of trafficking of chemical precursors; 58 containers seized with goods infringing IPR; 17 cases of non-declared goods; 1 case of tax evasion; and 2 alerts of contraband.

CCP operates in 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Surinam.  

Through CCP, UNODC and WCO assist Governments to create sustainable enforcement structures in selected seaports in order to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. The United States, Germany, Canada and the European Union are among the programme’s donors.

- Follow the Container Control Programme on   

 

31 July 2018: Exchanges on trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa

Image © UNODCMr Amado de Andres, the Regional Representative of the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA), and Mr Johan Kruger, Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes at the ROEA, came to Brussels to participate in the Steering Committee Meeting of the Better Migration Management Programme, a regional multi-partner project funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented by a partnership of European and international organisations with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as lead agency. The partners comprise British Council, CIVIPOL, Expertise France, Italian Department of Public Security, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and UNODC.

The BMM programme aims at improving migration management in Eastern Africa, and in particular at addressing the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within, and from the Horn of Africa. For UNODC, this includes assisting countries to draft policy and legislation to criminalize trafficking and smuggling in line with international treaty obligations, to ensure effective criminal justice capacity building, and to promote international cooperation in criminal matters. One of the key priorities of the BMM programme overall is to protect and support victims of trafficking and to promote the rights of migrants and to better protect them from violence, abuse and exploitation, especially by organized crime syndicates.

Messrs de Andres and Kruger also seized the occasion to meet with the EEAS counterparts of the Counter-Terrorism division to brief on UNODC’s key projects and strategy in Eastern Africa and to discuss future cooperation.

Further information:

  • The Better Migration Management Programme here
  • Latest news from our Regional Office for Eastern Africa here

 

30 July 2018: UNODC marks world day against human trafficking, urges to better protect children and young people

Originally published by UNODC headquarters here

Blue Heart logo © UNODCTrafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Almost every country in the world is affected by this scourge, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the United Nations (UN) is calling on the international community to urgently step up responses to the trafficking of children and young people, who make up one-third of all victims worldwide. 

"Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. 

Releasing a statement ahead of the Day, UNODC's Executive Director Yury Fedotov painted a bleak picture: "Humanitarian crises and armed conflict have left children and young people at greater risk of being trafficked. The perils are compounded further still when children and young people are on the move, often separated from their families." He also expressed concern about the misuse of the internet and new technologies by human traffickers to broaden their reach and to exploit and abuse young people.

"All of us have a responsibility to prevent and stop human trafficking, and protect the health, well-being and potential of all children, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," Mr. Fedotov continued, underlining that the Office helps governments implement effective anti-trafficking responses, raise awareness through the Blue Heart Campaign, and serves as Coordinator of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) to harmonize and reinforce responses.

A major step forward in tackling trafficking in children and young people is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which came into force more than a decade ago. This international instrument represents the best and most effective means to protect children and young people by ending impunity for traffickers, and ensuring that criminal justice responses safeguard the interests of children at every stage.

Finally, UNODC welcomes the coordination and cooperation efforts undertaken within ICAT that led to the publication of an Issue Brief containing key policy recommendations, launched today in New York.For its part, UNODC contributes to building cross-border cooperation and law enforcement capacities in order to keep children and young people safe. The Office is also helping to ensure that child victims become survivors through the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking. Adopting a victim-centred approach, the Fund supports around 3,000 individuals every year through its non-governmental organization partners.

Further information: 

  • Follow UNODC's Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section on    
  • Follow the Blue Heart Campaign on 
  • Interview with Nadia Murad, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, and Myria Vassiliadou, the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator - video here
  • What is Human Trafficking - video here

 

11 July 2018: New EU-UNODC project on Wildlife and forest crime in Central Africa 

Image © UNODC - Jorge Rios and Ludovic D'HooreMr Jorge Rios, the Chief of UNODC’s Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime (GPWLFC) met with DG DEVCO counterparts from the Geographical and Regional Cooperation for Central Africa unit, to discuss the EU-UNODC project for combating wildlife and forest crime in Central Africa and to introduce the new Project Coordinator, who will be based in Libreville, Gabon.

The EU funded Central Africa programme is a four-year programme that will be implemented by UNODC’s GPWLFC. The programme aims to strengthen the national and regional capacities of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and the judiciary; enhance cooperation among the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) member states to combat wildlife crime and illicit trafficking in natural resources, and to increase national capacity to address corruption and money laundering that facilitate wildlife crime and illicit trafficking in natural resources. The programme also addresses for the first-time minerals trafficking in selected areas in Central Africa to improve the understanding of the current situation in the region and identify priority issues.

--> More information on the UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime here

 

5 July 2018: Presentation of the 2018 World Drug Report

Image © UNODCThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has launched its World Drug Report 2018. The Report provides a global overview of the supply and demand of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as their impact on health. It highlights the different drug use patterns and vulnerabilities of particular age and gender groups, and highlights the shift in the global drug market. The findings of this year's World Drug Report show that drug markets are expanding, with production of opium and manufacture of cocaine at the highest levels ever recorded, presenting multiple challenges on multiple fronts. 

Ms Angela Me, the UNODC Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch, was invited by the Austrian EU Presidency to present the newly launched World Drug Report to EU Member States at the Horizontal Working Party of Drugs of the Council. The presentation was well received and the Member States expressed appreciation for UNODC’s sustained efforts in providing quality evidence to inform drug policies. The presentation was followed by a lively interactive discussion during which the Member states and the European Commission commented on the need to reflect on the unprecedented level and complexity of the drug problem and reiterated the importance to implement UNGASS as a new approach to the drug problem.

The 2018 World Drug Report and further content is available here

 

2-3 July 2018: Exchanges on Migrant Smuggling

Image © UNODCMr. Felipe De La Torre, UNODC Programme Management Officer working at the Liaison and Partnership Office in Mexico, came to Brussels to meet with various EU counterparts to present the Office’s work on Migrant Smuggling in the region.

Mexico and Central America constitute one of the most dynamic regions in the world in terms of mobility. Thousands of migrants cross the geographical corridors heading to the United States and Canada. These migration flows generate numerous opportunities for transnational criminal networks who offer their expensive services by land, air and sea, using Mexican and Central American border control points, airports and harbours to facilitate irregular crossings. As vulnerable persons set out on perilous journeys, criminals are ready and waiting to exploit their need for assistance and their dreams for a better life.

The modus operandi of migrant smugglers is diverse, but usually they run complex inter-connected schemes where the whole journey to the destination country is arranged with the involvement of travel agents, local transportation companies, migration officials, airline staff, money transfer companies and other brokers who make this one of the most profitable markets for the criminal rings.

To understand the challenges posed by migrant smuggling and identify better strategies to prevent and combat it with a comprehensive human rights approach, UNODC implemented a regional initiative, financed by the European Union, to assist Central American States and Mexico “to better manage South-South migratory flows and provide protection to migrants from human rights violations related to organised crime”. Description of the project here.

Within the framework of this project, the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Mexico developed the #DeadlyBusiness campaign, a regional awareness campaign on smuggling of migrants. The campaign aims to sensitize the migrants of the risks of using smugglers to cross borders irregularly. Migrant smuggling is a deadly business linked with violence and other serious crimes. Thousands of people lose their lives annually because of the indifferent or even deliberate actions of migrant smugglers.

--> More information on the #deadlybusiness campaign here.

 

19-20 June 2018: Exchanges on migration

The challenges faced in relation to migration, border management and security have increased these past years due to irregular border crossings into the European Union. The need for effective management on migration and internal security has never been higher. Ms Silke Albert, a Crime Prevention Expert from UNODC’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, came to Brussels to attend the European Migration, Border & Security Round-table organised by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, focussing on the refugee crisis, the common visa policy, terrorism and organized crime. The roundtable was an opportunity to engage with high-level policymakers, operational agencies and institutions to share ideas and best practices for delivering operational cooperation.

Ms Albert was also invited to attend the ACP - EU Dialogue on Migration and Development to discuss and exchange views on trafficking in human beings with emphasis on women and children in the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) regions, more particularly on how to step up the fight against organised criminal networks. Ms Albert introduced some of UNODC's technical cooperation work relevant to the region as well as specialised tools  developed by UNODC with the help of practitioners from different countries and regions. Specific reference was made to UNODC's Case Digest - Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases.  

More information on UNODC's work on human trafficking here.  

  

15 June 2018: Presentation of the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants to the EU

Image © UNRICEvery year, thousands of migrants and refugees, desperately seeking to escape violence, conflict and dire economic straits, die on perilous journeys by land, sea or air, often at the hands of criminal smugglers. At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, according to the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants. The crime occurred in all regions of the world and generated an income for smugglers of up to US$7 billion, the equivalent to what the United States or the European Union countries spent on global humanitarian aid in 2016.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Director of Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, and Fabrizio Sarrica, Team Leader of the Research on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Crime Research Section, were invited to present the core findings of the newly launched Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants today in Brussels to the EU Member States at the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) within the Council to the European Union and to EU counterparts during a meeting hosted by the European External Action Service joined by various Directorate-Generals of the European Commission. 

This research represents a start towards developing a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the crime of migrant smuggling and its terrible toll. Based on an extensive review of existing data and literature, the study presents a detailed account of the nature and scale of migrant smuggling. It focuses on major smuggling routes connecting origin, transit, and destination points; the modus operandi of smugglers; the risks the journeys pose for migrants and refugees; and the profile of smugglers and the vulnerable groups on which they prey. This study offers insight into the complexity of the smuggling phenomenon, while also showing how much more information is needed. A smuggling specific data collection system can strengthen the evidence base, and help the international community to come to grips with migrant smuggling. 

  • Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants here
  • Launch of the first Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants in New York here
  • Interview with Jean-Luc Lemahieu by UNRIC here

 

 

11-12 June 2018: Exchanges on the Container Control Programme  

Image  © UNODCMr. Van den Berghe, the Regional Coordinator from the Container Control Program (CCP) for Latin America and the Caribbean (in Panama), and the reporting CCP officer from UNODC Headquarters, Ms Ricarda Amberg, came to Brussels for meetings with different EU institutions to give an update on the CCP implementation. 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme (CCP) focuses on maritime and port border management by improving the ability of customs officers and government agents to enforce the law and detect the illicit trade of goods. The Programme aims to fortify the structures and processes which allow for the application of sustainable laws for States and selected ports, so as to minimize the exploitation of maritime containers for the illicit trafficking of drugs, and other transnational organized crime activities. To this end, the CCP works with Customs, the Police, Maritime Institutions and the private sector amongst others to establish container profiling inter-agency port units (PCUs) at selected container terminals in seaports or dry ports. The units are located in a secure environment, preferably inside the ports, and staffed by front line personnel from different relevant law enforcement agencies. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the CCP has established PCUs in 14 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Surinam. Besides, two more countries, Bolivia and Colombia, will be included in the near future. Those PCUs receive continuous training and mentoring.

The main purpose of these activities is to collaborate in the fight against illicit trade and trafficking of drugs and counterfeit goods, among others, and coordinate efforts. The activities aim to share and improve the best practices to halt the trafficking and reduce the economic loss and national security threat it presents. During the first six months of the year the CCP in LAC region has detected 25 containers of counterfeit goods and has seized over 17 thousand kilograms of cocaine. These results demonstrate the efficiency and sustainability of CCP, a Programme that aims to minimize the exploitation of international trade through shipping containers.

Follow the Container Control Programme on  

 

 

25 May 2018: EU-UN dialogue on countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism

Image  © UNODCMr Mauro Miedico, Chief a.i. of UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch was invited to represent UNODC at the first high-level UN-EU Leadership Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism convened by UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Vladimir Voronkov and Mr. Pedro Serrano, the Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy at the European External Action Service (EEAS).  Among other EU high-ranking officials were Sir Julian King, the European Commissioner for Security Union, Mr. Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and Mr. Jürgen Stock the Secretary-General of INTERPOL.

The dialogue aimed at strengthening multilateral coordination efforts in counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism, and global governance. The focus of the discussions was centered on EU-UN cooperation in areas of common concern such as addressing the challenges of returning/relocating foreign terrorist fighters, as well as capacity building needs of the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin region, and Central Asia, South and South-East Asia. Further, the EU and UN discussed possible implications of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact for the EU-UN Cooperation in counter-terrorism. The Compact has been recently signed by entities of the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force for greater cooperation and collaboration in supporting UN Member States in their implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Mr. Miedico interventions focused both on the capacity building programmes of UNODC, particularly in the Asia region, as well as on the importance of the UN Global Counter terrorism Compact as a framework to ensure more cohesion and to translate priorities into concrete action in the field.

 

23-24 May 2018: FAFA training at Nairobi 

Originally published by the Regional Office for Eastern Africa here.

Image  © UNODCThe European Union remains, and continues to grow into an essential supporting partner to the agendas of United Nations Organisations. Sharing the same fundamental values of the United Nations, the European Commission exists as the largest financial contributor to the United Nations, in the context of both the regular budget and the funding of development assistance programmes, projects and peacekeeping operations. Against this backdrop, UNODC, in conjunction with the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), hosted and participated in a two-day training seminar on the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement between the European Community and the United Nations (FAFA) with a particular focus on the Pillar Assessed Grant or Delegation Agreement (PAGoDA). 

The training was hosted by Mr. Amado Philip de Andrés, the UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, and was conducted by Mr. Pierre Harzé, Deputy Director, United Nations/United Nations Development Programme Brussels Office, and Ms. Anna Hysbergue, Programme Analyst, UN/UNDP Brussels Office, who both have long experience with the FAFA and lead the UN-EU coordination efforts in Brussels in this regard. The seminar was designed to give UN staff from various UN Organisations and Agencies a good understanding of the most relevant rules and procedures considered essential to promote smooth cooperation with the EU and to minimize serious risks of non-compliance and reputation damage. It provided an open forum for UN staff to share their experiences in order to catalyse a greater understanding of financial dealings with the European Community. 

Following the FAFA Seminar, Ms. Yatta Dakowah, the Representative of the UNODC Brussels Liaison Office to the EU, led a two-hour "questions and answers" clinic on EU-UNODC cooperation in Africa, in order to support the Project Managers in the implementation of EU-UNODC projects.

 

24 May 2018: Euro-African dialogue on migration and development

UNODC attended in Brussels the 1st plenary meeting in preparation of the Senior Officials Meeting on the state of play of the implementation of the Joint Valletta Action Plan (JVAP), to be held in Addis Ababa on 14-15 November 2018. The meeting was co-chaired by Her Excellency Amira Elfadil, Africa Union Commission Commissioner for Social Affairs and EEAS Deputy Secretary General Christian Leffler. UNODC was represented by Mr. Panagiotis Papadimitriou, from the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section at UNODC in Vienna. The meeting informed the participants on the objectives of the upcoming Senior Officials Meeting, and on the preparatory steps taken by the Rabat Process and the Khartoum Process towards the Senior Officials Meeting. A second plenary preparatory meeting will be held in October 2018. The event was opened by UNODC's Ms. Charity Kagwe, Head of the Anti-Corruption Pillar, who articulated UNODC's gratitude to all the participants and, in particular, the expert speakers hosting the Seminar and closed by Regional Representative Amado Philip de Andrés. This highly technical training was conducted by senior financial experts from the European Union, who walked the audience through the complex nuances of bilateral and multilateral financial agreements between United Nations Organisations and the European Union, providing particular insight into the current and projected trends in this area, and the key procedures and requirements necessary to create and maintain reliable, enforceable and successful contracts with the European Union. 

 

22 May 2018: International Conference for The Gambia

© EU - High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, and the President of The Gambia Adam BarrowMr Pierre Lapaque, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, attended the International Conference for The Gambia, which took place on 22 May 2018 in Brussels. The International Conference, co-hosted by the European Union and the Government of The Gambia, was chaired by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, and the President of The Gambia Adam Barrow.  The conference focused on expressing and confirming support to The Gambia in its historical and pivotal democratic transition, which calls for reforms of various sectors of the state’s institutions. It also aimed at raising financial support from the international community for the implementation of The Gambia’s National Development Plan (NDP).

During the first session, the President of The Gambia presented the three-year National Development Plan and its reform agenda to the high-level representatives attending the conference, namely European Member States, the international community and international organisations, including UNODC. After Mr Barrow’s presentation, the participants addressed remarks and demonstrated strong support; numerous pledges were announced for the total amount of €1.45 billion on a duration of five years in support to The Gambia’s National Development Plan. Discussions and exchanges during the second session “thematic seminar on political and economic reforms in The Gambia” revolved around two panels namely; one on “democratic transition – improving the quality of institutions” and a second one on “building the social contract – promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and productivity”. It was an opportunity for the speakers and the attendees of both sessions to enhance the central importance of the rule of law, democratic standards, justice, respect for human rights, development in democratic transition and in democratic governments, to greatly improve governance defined by strong and effective institutions. 

Mr Lapaque reaffirmed UNODC’s strong support to The Gambia and expressed its continued and increased assistance, especially in strengthening the country’s criminal justice system, as it will assist The Gambia in continuing its democratic transition, building on strong democratic institutions, the respect of human rights and the rule of law, and sustainable and shared economic growth.

 

16 - 17 May 2018: EU - UNODC trans-regional responses to drug trafficking and organised crime

CRIMJUST and AIRCOP project coordinators - © UNODCThe Cocaine Route Programme (CRP) Steering Committee, organized on a semi-annual basis was held on 16 may 2018 to coordinate and systematize the next steps of the projects involved. The project coordinators of the Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support Project (CORMS), Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP), Seaport Cooperation Programme (SEACOP) and Strengthening criminal investigation and criminal justice cooperation along the cocaine route in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa (CRIMJUST), including the CRP Programme Manager and partners gathered to overview and discuss the implemented activities and the overall outcome of the CRP.

During the first session, the representatives of the projects presented the implemented activities, as well as, reviewed the coordination arrangements to align efforts and potential joint activities. A round table of discussion mapped the drug trafficking flows and the tools available to support evidence based decision making process. A comprehensive/ quantitative analysis of the main trends regarding transnational organized crime and drug trafficking along the cocaine route was presented by the Joint Research Centre, UNODC and NCA. In addition, tools such as, Law Enforcement and Justice Institutions Accountability Assessment Tool, ENACT Vulnerability Assessment Tool were introduced. 

Overall, the meeting resulted in a number of recommendations to guide further implementation of the CRP and promoted the cooperation with other relevant projects and activities. 

Following the Steering Committee Meeting, a lunchtime EuropeAid Infopoint Conference was organised to present the combined efforts of the Cocaine Route Programme (CRP) and the EU Action Against Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime (EU-ACT) as a concerted response of the EU and its partners to threats posed by drug trafficking and organised crime, while promoting regional and trans-regional cooperation. The Project Coordinators of CRIMJUST and AIRCOP presented the activities and the project achievements. 

* The Cocaine Route Programme is funded by the European Commission via the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace

For more information, please visit the following websites:  

 

14 May 2018: Discussions on Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East

Misses Cristina Albertin (UNODC Representative Middle East and North Africa), Nadia Murad and Yatta Dakowah (UNODC Representative Brussels) - Image  © UNODCMs Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, was invited to attend the 3rd International Conference at Ministerial Level on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East. The one-day conference was hosted by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, Didier Reynders, and H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Lebanese Republic, Gebran Bassil. 

Three years after the first Conference in Paris and one year after the one in Madrid, this third Conference provided the opportunity to reconvene the international community in order to keep the minds focused on the fate of victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East, to identify the measures still needed to ensure a continued, safe, dignified and sustainable return of displaced communities, and to discuss new or additional measures to ensure, now and in the longer term, the preservation of the ethnic and confessional diversity of the Middle-East.      

The Conference was an opportunity to evaluate actions taken by the United Nations and the UN Agencies such as UNODC and look into further improvements of their implementation. In this regard, Ms Albertin addressed the Conference on accountability and reconciliation in our collective efforts to reach the SDG 16 on Peace, justice and strong institutions in the complex context of violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East. The Representative stated that in order to achieve SDG 16, the international community needs to look seriously at global level, but especially in conflict, post-conflict and fragile societies into the real capacity of criminal justice systems with a view to ensure that they can and do deliver on what they have been created for: bring perpetrators to justice and provide victims of crimes, including of organized crimes, of violence and terrorism with protection and justice thus being accountable to victims and the public in the delivery of justice. She explained that UNODC's work targets both the criminal justice response to perpetrators and the response to victims with a focus to ensuring access to justice, for marginalized and vulnerable persons, or groups with specific needs.  

In her speech, Ms Albertin conveyed that "The battle for justice for the victims is daunting and uphill. Criminal justice systems in the region already face many challenges in discharging justice given the evolving and more complex crimes and acts of terrorism. They often lack human and financial resources, equipment, facilities and specialized training not only in investigations, but also in applying victim-centred approaches. Criminal justice institutions in the region, especially in the conflict countries require our urgent attention, our solid resources and comprehensive support to be able to deliver justice to all the victims of violence and terrorism, enable reconciliation and to honour our commitment on SDG 16 for strong institutions grounded in the rule-of law and human rights for a stable and peaceful future of the people in the Middle East".

Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Reynders and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad - Image © Belgian MoFAThe Conference also gave a voice to representatives of minorities and allowed them to express their needs, what they saw as durable solutions and their views on what has been done so far for their protection. Ms Nadia Murad, the UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of the Survivors of Human Trafficking and tireless advocate of the Yezidi cause, gave a strong testimony on the current situation of Yezidis and other minorities in Iraq.

- Read Cristina Albertin’s speech here
- More on UNODC's work in the Middle East and North Africa here

 

 

3 May 2018: Maritime Crime 

Mr Alan Cole, the Head of UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme, met with counterparts from the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation as well as the European External Action Service to discuss cooperation. The EU and UNODC have been working together on Maritime Security since 2009 and continue together to deliver effective support to member states in East Africa, West Africa and the Horn of Africa. 

UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme - 2017 ReportMaritime crime poses a serious threat to the safety of seafarers, international trade and regional stability. As over 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, the economic effects of maritime crime can be crippling. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances. These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences. More here

 

Follow the latest news of the Global Maritime Crime programme on 

 

 

24 April 2018: Exchanges on Smuggling of Migrants

Mr Panagiotis Papadimitriou, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer working at the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, participated in an open debate on the "Many Faces of Migrant Smuggling: From a Crime to a Humanitarian Act". This event, co-organised by the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the European University Institute and The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), aimed to foster a dialogue on anti-migrant smuggling policy and research. Mr Papadimitriou discussed the objectives of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, focusing on the need to address migrant smuggling as a form of organized crime in order to target high level organizers of migrant smuggling operation, as well as the need to ensure full protection of the rights of smuggled migrants. 

Mr. Papadimitriou’s participation in today’s event reinforces the partnership between UNODC and academia in bridging the gap between policy and research on migrant smuggling issues. Strong cooperation among researchers and UNODC is needed to give policy-makers a more comprehensive picture of the complex and diverse manifestations of migrant smuggling, as well as to inform evidence-based policy making.

More on UNODC's work on Smuggling of Migrants here

 

10-11 April 2018: EU-UNODC exchanges on corruption in sport  

There now exists widespread recognition that more needs to be done to stop sport from being exploited for illicit and often illegal gain, such as through match-fixing, illegal gambling and other nefarious activities. Indeed, an international call for action to address corruption in sport was articulated with the adoption of resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport, by the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption at its seventh session, held in Vienna from 6 to 10 November 2017. The resolution, tabled by Italy, was co-sponsored by the European Union.

Building on this momentum, UNODC’s global coordinator on sport corruption issues, Mr. Ronan O'Laoire, was invited to take part on a panel of experts organized by Ms Emma McClarkin MEP and Mr. Damian Collins, MP, and held at the European Parliament, to discuss the pressing issue of match-fixing and identify ways to address it.

The panel included the following experts: Vincent Ven, Acting Head, Integrity Department, FIFA; Nick Raudenski, Integrity Officer, UEFA; Sergio D’Orsi, Specialist, European Serious and Organised Crime Centre, Europol and; Ramon Vega, Former Professional Footballer. 

Highlighting what UNODC is currently undertaking in the area of match-fixing, in strong cooperation with the European Commission, and other European partners, the importance of building on the current tide of political will was underlined, in order to proactively engage with governments and interested partners such as the Asian Football Confederation, FIFA, International Olympic Committee, UEFA and World Rugby, amongst others, to tackle match-fixing in sport and promote its integrity.

More information here

 

22 March 2018: Briefing politicians on countering cybercrime and cyber-enabled drug trafficking

Image  © UNODCAt the request of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, UNODC’s Brussels Representative Ms. Yatta Dakowah, along with Cybercrime & Money Laundering Chief Mr. Neil Walsh and Law Enforcement Chief Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, briefed the European Parliament on cybercrime and cyber-enabled drug trafficking. With over 100 attendees from 79 countries, UNODC explained concepts such as darknet opioid markets, online evidence-gathering, State-based cyber-attacks and financial disruption. Working from the premise of “crime as a business”, political colleagues discussed seizing proceeds of crime, countering cybercrime in partnership and the core role of politicians.

UNODC provides a number of niche capabilities including:

  • Capacity-building for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges delivered by locally-based expert mentors
  • Policy analysis and advice
  • Preventive diplomacy advice to politicians and policy-makers

 

For more information: 

  • Read how cybercrime and money-laundering undermine sustainable development here
  • Follow Neil Walsh  
  • Follow Tofik Murshudlu 

  

5-6 March 2018: Judicial Ethics Training

Image  © UNODCUNODC, in partnership with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the Judicial College of England and Wales, organized the first “Train the Trainers” workshop in Brussels on judicial ethics for trainers from Jamaica, Mozambique, Brazil, Solomon Islands, Micronesia, Uganda and Mauritius. The workshop was organized as part of the development of the Judicial Ethics Training Tools under the Judicial Integrity Pillar of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, and it aimed to train the first group of trainers who will then initiate the implementation of the tools in their jurisdictions.

The Judicial Ethics Training Tools, consisting of a basic e-learning course and a teachers’ training manual for more intensive in-classroom course, will seek to provide newly appointed and serving members of the judiciary with a solid understanding of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the implementation of Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Tools are planned to be finalized in the coming months. 

The workshop focused on the use of the teacher’s training manual, in particular on how to combine this tool with the e-learning course and how to effectively use facilitation skills. Part of the workshop was dedicated to assisting trainers on how to adapt the manual to national contexts and existing domestic judicial ethics regulation. The workshop was very fruitful. Participants provided positive feedback and shared their concrete plans to use the acquired knowledge in developing and designing national and regional workshops for judiciaries in the second half of 2018.

  • Read more about UNODC's work in strengthening judicial integrity here
  • Follow the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration on    

 

28 February 2018: Ciné-ONU screening of 'The Last Animals' to mark the World Wildlife Day 

UNODC Brussels screened ‘The Last Animals’ to celebrate the World Wildlife Day. The film was shown in partnership with UN Environment and UNRIC at the Cinéma Galeries in Brussels.

Caroline Petit and Kate Brooks - Image © UNODC'The Last Animals' is a hard-hitting film that documents the heroic efforts of conservationists, scientists, zoologists and park rangers who constantly place their lives on the line to protect elephants and rhinos on the verge of extinction caused by human activities. The film shows us how the northern white rhino becomes extinct in front of our eyes – from seven to three in the course of filming, with very little chance of reproduction. Rhino horn has, for centuries, been believed to hold medicinal properties. This is the main reason that these valuable horns sell for such high prices on the black market. The film also gives a frightening preview of what will happen to the African elephants if we don’t stop the mass slaughter of elephants.

The Last Animals is a wakeup call: it reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime to protect the planet's wild fauna and flora. The message of the filmmaker Kate brooks is simple: "without action to protect those with whom we share the planet, humans will become the last animals to live on it".

The screening was followed by a vigorous Q&A session. The guest speakers included: Kate Brooks, the filmmaker; Chantal Marijnissen, the Head of DG DEVCO's Environment and Natural Resources unit and Thierry Lucas from UNEP. The discussion was moderated by Caroline Petit, UNRIC's Deputy Head of Agency. More on the discussion here

  • Learn how we - as individuals - can help to protect wildlife and their habitats here
  • Learn about the UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime here

 

23 February 2018: Exchanges on UNODC's Container Control Programme 

Mr. Van den Berghe, the Regional Coordinator from the Container Control Program (CCP) for Latin America and the Caribbean (in Panama), came to Brussels for a meeting with the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give an update on the CCP implementation (sea and air) and with the members of the Belgian Federal Police in Antwerp to discuss cooperation and coordinated actions.  

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Program and national Authorities from the CCP countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region work closely together to combat transnational organized crime. Together they are improving the capacity of customs and other relevant law enforcement officers to not only detect and disrupt the flow of illicitly trafficked goods, but also to facilitate legitimate trade and raise state revenues. The CCP integrates activities including theoretical and practical training, ongoing maintenance, advanced specialized training and assistance through follow-up and onsite visits combined with mentoring to the Port Control Units. Regular steering committee meetings are also held, along with regional meetings of key stakeholders. The CCP provides in coordination with national authorities the required equipment for the Units to effectively undertake their duties. The Programme is operational in the following 14 countries in the LAC region: Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Paraguay, Suriname, Guyana , Jamaica, Cuba , El Salvador , Honduras , Peru, Argentina and Brazil. 25 operational Port Control Units have been established in the region. In the very near future the Programme might be expanding to 4 additional countries in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica. More here

  • Follow the Container Control Programme on  

 

22 - 23 February 2018: UNODC @ High-Level Conference on the Sahel and the Conference on Human Rights and Strengthening Trust between the G5 Sahel Joint Force and local communities

UNODC’s Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, Mr Pierre Lapaque, and Coordinator of the UNODC Sahel Programme, Mr Erik van der Veen, were in Brussels for the High-Level Conference on the Sahel and the Conference on Human Rights and Strengthening Trust between the G5 Sahel Joint Force and local communities. Presenting on UNODC proposed assistance for the police component of the Joint Force, Mr Lapaque stressed the unique opportunity the Force presents to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel. He underlined that the rule of law needs to be at the centre of the Force’s operations to ensure the support of local communities and, ultimately, the Force’s success in improving the region’s security

The UNODC Sahel Programme supports the development of accessible, efficient and accountable criminal justice systems to combat illicit trafficking drug trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and corruption in the region. Since its launch in 2014, UNODC has implemented more than 400 activities reaching 10,000 direct beneficiaries in the region. The Programme has organized comprehensive workshops and trainings on the fight on transnational organized crime, terrorism, corruption and provided support for the implementation of judicial response mechanisms according to international rules and standards, which have led to significant results by the Programme’s counterparts. More here

  •  Follow the Regional Office for West and Central Africa on  

 

19 - 21 February 2018: Exchanges on migration management in the Horn of Africa region 

Picture © UNODC - the Messrs de Andrès, Weiss and KrugerRegional Representative for Eastern Africa, Amado de Andrés, and Head of Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism Programmes for Eastern Africa, Johan Kruger, recently visited Brussels from Nairobi from 19-21 February to represent UNODC at the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme steering committee meeting, and to discuss new Eastern Africa programmes with GIZ and the European Commission. They were accompanied by Benedikt Hofmann, Programme Officer at the Division for Operations’ Regional Section for Africa and the Middle East at UNODC headquarters in Vienna. 

UNODC is a key implementing partner of the BMM programme responsible for assisting Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda to ratify or accede to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, to incorporate those obligations into national legislation and to strengthen criminal justice capacity to counter these crimes as required by the Convention and its Protocols. The BMM programme’s overall objective is to improve migration management in the Horn of Africa region, and in particular to curb the trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn. The BMM programme is financed by the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (Horn of Africa Window). More here

In addition, the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021), launched in Nairobi in August 2016, presents various new opportunities to donors and implementing partners in Eastern Africa. Hence, apart from attending the BMM steering committee meeting, UNODC also held bilateral meetings with GIZ, the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation as well as the European External Action Service to discuss new and ongoing programmes and priorities for UNODC and countries in Eastern Africa.

 

19 - 20 February 2018: EU-UNODC exchanges on digital evidence in prosecution of terrorist acts 

Ms Rigacci Hay and Ms Megre - from UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna - were invited to attend the joint DG DEVCO and DG NEAR Conference “Enhancing a coordinated implementation of EU-funded Counter Terrorism projects in the MENA Region – Digital Evidence in Counter Terrorism Strategies”. The Conference focused on the use of digital evidence in prosecution of terrorist acts and included practitioners in communication. It provided an opportunity for networking and to reflect on ongoing and planned counter-terrorism project activities and work in the MENA region. Our colleagues also took the opportunity to meet with our various EU counterparts to explore areas of partnerships and cooperation in addressing counter-terrorism.  

 

19 February 2018: Exchanges on transnational organized crime at sea

Ms Julie Hoy-Carrasco, a Programme Development Officer from UNODC's Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), came to Brussels to discuss with EU counterparts a programme to address maritime crimes threats around the Bab Al-Mandeb Straight. 

The GMCP assists states to strengthen their capacity to combat maritime crime from West Africa, to the Horn of Africa, across the Indian Ocean and to the Pacific. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances. These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences. 

 

6 February 2018: 5 th EU-UNODC GLO.ACT project steering committee meeting

Story originally published by GLO.ACT 

On 6 February 2018, UNODC, IOM and UNICEF - the three implementing agencies for GLO.ACT - participated in the 5 th EU-UNODC project steering committee meeting held in Brussels. Participating in the steering committee were European Commission (EC) representatives from DG DEVCO, DG Home, the EEAS, EU Country Delegations, as well as UNODC, IOM and UNICEF staff. The 5 th EU-UNODC project steering committee provided the three project implementing agencies with the opportunity to update EU colleagues on the progress made in terms of project implementation and the impact the project is starting to have across all 13 GLO.ACT target countries. The GLO.ACT team provided country updates, explained the type of activities that have been delivered in line with the six project objectives, outlined the outputs and, in some cases, the outcomes these activities have achieved, as well as provided a quick glance at what lies ahead. Highlights included key updates on Egypt, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Pakistan - focus countries that generated a lot of interest and discussion during the committee meeting. EC colleagues took the opportunity to find out more about the status quo of Egypt's smuggling of migrants legislation, while other colleagues were particularly interested to find out more about Morocco's trafficking in persons (TIP) Law 27-14 and about a recent conference on TIP organized under the framework of GLO.ACT in Pakistan. There were updates also on assistance to victims of trafficking, with IOM speaking about a recently opened outreach and accommodation center providing services to vulnerable migrants in Bamako, Mali. UNICEF took the opportunity to also speak about an up-coming conference on restorative justice in Belarus in March 2018.  Having just hosted the recent GLO.ACT field staff meeting in Bogotá, the National Project Officer for Colombia and the EU Delegation took the opportunity to provide some feedback on the meeting and spoke about Colombia being a best practice example in terms of coordination between local and national government stakeholders in the fight against TIP and the smuggling of migrants (SOM). During the meeting, EC colleagues also asked some questions about the Venezuelan migrant crisis and how GLO.ACT implementing partners are responding to it. This enabled colleagues from UNODC to speak about how GLO.ACT supports the work of the Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU) in Brazil. The project steering committee meeting concluded after all country presentations were delivered, and a brief discussion on next steps was held with the project implementing agencies. Attending the project steering committee meeting also provided the opportunity for UNODC HQ staff to meet with colleagues from the UNODC Office in Brussels, which is a liaison office to the European Union and its institutions. 

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms. More here

  • Follow GLO.ACT on  

 

31 January 2018: UNODC presented the first UN publication on: “Children Recruited and Exploited by terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: the Role of the Justice System.

UNODC took part in the seminar “Child returnees: managing the return of European children from jihadist conflict zones” organized by the ALDE group at European Parliament. The seminar addressed key questions about the future of child returnees in Europe, tackling both security related challenges and reintegration issues. UNODC presented its contribution to the subject by introducing the first United Nations publication on: “Children Recruited and Exploited by terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: the Role of the Justice System.” The UNODC Handbook analyses the implications of States’ responsibility to protect all children below 18 years of age, but also includes tailored strategies and measures to take into account the impact of violence of children as well as risks to public safety, and tailor policies and programmes accordingly. 

In the course of the past week, UNODC Justice Section and Terrorism Prevention Branch jointly met with multiple European stakeholders in Brussels, to present the new UNODC Handbook, as well as the broader work carried out in the framework of the project on Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups. Such work, which builds on the combined mandates of UNODC in counter-terrorism and justice for children, is implemented in the framework of the Global Programme on Violence against Children. Its objective is to support national justice systems in fulfilling their duel role to ending impunity and ensuring accountability, while at the same time promoting and fulfilling children’s rights. UNODC met with EU Commission officials (DG HOME; DEVCO; DG NEAR), as well as with representatives of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Commission on the Rights of the Child, and the Counter-Terrorism Department of OCAM, who recognized this issue as apriority within and beyond European countries.

  • Further information here
  • Live stream of the seminar organized by the ALDE Group at the EP

 

30 January 2018: EU-UNODC exchanges on corruption in sport 

IMAGE © DG EAC Mr Ronan O'Laoire, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC Vienna, was invited by the EU's DG for Education and Culture (DG EAC) to attend the Erasmus+ Sport Info Day in Brussels. Significant risks of corruption and criminality have accompanied the dramatic evolution of sports over the last decade, resulting in activities designed to exploit sport for illicit and often illegal gain. As these threats have been identified and publicised, there is growing recognition that more efforts need to be undertaken and resources devoted to tackle them effectively. While many national initiatives are underway, there is also a realisation that many of the most profitable illicit and illegal activities involve a strong international dimension. The EU recognized the need to comprehensively address these risks when the international level co-sponsored resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport, by the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption at its seventh session, held in Vienna in November 2017. UNODC is now actively working with the EU to find ways to implement the resolution. 

 

25 - 26 January 2018: Consultations with EU Member States on monitoring firearms flows to and from Europe

On 25 January in Brussels, UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme presented to EU member states its updated data collection and analysis methodology on the monitoring of illicit firearms trafficking flows. The meeting, organized by the EU Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home), was part of a series of regional workshops aimed at improving the evidenced based understating of global firearms flows. The meeting gathered more than thirty firearms experts from EU member states as well as representatives of EUROPOL, FRONTEX and the statistical office of the European Union EUROSTAT, and focused on the need to set up a permanent data collection system on global firearms trafficking routes. During the meeting, UNODC presented its updated methodology on data collection on illicit firearms trafficking as well as preliminary result of a pilot study it launched towards the end of 2017 to fine tune it. National experts were able to provide their feedback of the different data collection questionnaires and made relevant proposals to streamline information, particularly taking into account the need to standardise the systematic registration of firearms seizures, as well as the need to monitor and attain Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.4  which aims at “significantly reducing arms flows and combating all forms of organized crime”. Various experts also made particular emphasis on the need of developing an evidence-based intelligence picture that can contribute to the fight against illicit firearms trafficking to and from the EU. This was the third meeting of its kind organized by UNODC, it follows similar workshops with African and Latin American countries that altogether have gathered more than 60 Member States. These meetings are part of a EU funded project aimed at improving the monitoring of trafficking flows globally. 

On 26 January, UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme took part in the second meeting of EU and South East Europe Firearms Experts in Brussels, where it addressed its priorities for the fight on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. Apart from its data collection initiatives, the Global Firearms Programme has recently increased its initiatives in the sub region through a series of capacity building activities as well as bringing together practitioners to ensure the appropriate criminal justice response to firearms trafficking.  

The UNODC team also held various meetings with different EU bodies in order to explore ways of strengthening cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking flows and its links to organized crime and terrorism.  

  • The latest news on UNODC's Global Firearms Programme here
  • Follow the Global Firearms Programme on  

 

 

 

Read our past stories here.