PRESS RELEASE

EU, UNODC sign agreement to combat wildlife crime and trafficking of natural resources in Central Africa

Libreville, 11 December - The European Union (EU) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have signed an agreement worth € 6.1 million to address wildlife and forest crime, and the illicit trafficking of natural resources in the Central African region. This signature seals the first partnership of its kind between the EU and UNODC in the region.

The four-year programme will be implemented by UNODC's Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime in close collaboration with its Regional Office for West and Central Africa. The programme primarily aims to strengthen the national and regional capacities of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and the judiciary in the 10 countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

The programme seeks to strengthen cooperation among Member States to combat wildlife, forest crime and illicit trafficking in natural resources, and to significantly increase the national capacity of beneficiary countries to address corruption and money laundering that facilitate such crimes. For the first time, the programme addresses illicit minerals trafficking in selected areas in Central Africa.

Closely aligned with the EU's 2016 'Action Plan to Combat Wildlife Trafficking', the programme supports the implementation of the bloc's 2014-2020 Regional Indicative Program for Central Africa, which was adopted in June 2015 and focuses on improving the management of natural resources in ECCAS Member States.

UNODC will collaborate with the ECCAS Secretariat and its Member States, national institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations, including TRAFFIC, the Eagle network, the ASPINALL Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in the implementation of activities.

About the EU: The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The EU is committed to sharing its achievements and values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.

About UNODC: UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. The Office was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Centre for International Crime Prevention. UNODC has its headquarters in Vienna and field offices in all regions of the world, in addition to a liaison office in New York.

About ECCAS: Established in 1983, the Economic Community of Central African States promotes regional economic co-operation with a view to achieving collective autonomy, raising living standards of populations and maintaining economic stability through harmonious cooperation.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Asma Sainkoudje  
Regional Coordinator, Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime
UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa
asma.sainkoudje[at]un.org
Tel: (+221) 33859-9675

European Union: http://eeas.europa.eu/gabon

ECCAS: www.ceeac-eccas.org

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