Press Releases

    14 May 2002


    VIENNA, 14 May (UN Information Service) -- A plan of action against drug abuse has been adopted at the first ever Organization of African Unity (OAU) Ministerial Meeting on Drug Control in Africa in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. The Plan of Action for Drug Control (2002-2006) sets priorities for action and assigns clear responsibilities to OAU member states, regional and international organizations and civil society for their implementation.

    Until recently, drug control in Africa has received little attention and the full dimensions of drug trafficking, abuse and related problems still need to be assessed. Increasing drug abuse in several countries could become another contributor to HIV/AIDS in Africa. International trafficking of all kinds of drugs is spreading across Africa to more and more countries and is connected with growth in other organized crime, money laundering and corruption. The evolving drug scenario, coupled with rapid urbanization, loss of traditional family and cultural ties for young people, unemployment, growing poverty and about one third of the African population still affected by armed conflicts and post-conflict situations, poses a severe threat to the renewed development process and human security in Africa.

    Ministers from more than 40 African countries and delegates from several regional African communities, international organizations and NGOs joined forces with the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and stressed the need for stronger drug control action which prevents drug trafficking and abuse in the context of African development. The Action Plan is based on the principle of integrating and mainstreaming drug control into African development initiatives and to create the much needed synergies with larger development programmes, such as those addressing HIV/AIDS, poverty alleviation or post-conflict rehabilitation in African countries.

    The plan contains commitments to take action in seven priority areas ranging from measures in drug control institution-building, policy and legal development, increased information, research, analysis and networking on drug control problems in Africa, to technical improvements in drug abuse prevention, rehabilitation and law enforcement measures. It also contains a time-frame and target dates for implementation and introduces the concept of open and participatory monitoring and review mechanisms, so as to enable all parties to assess progress and achievements of drug control action in Africa.

    UNDCP has supported the OAU in the preparation and conduct of the Ministerial Meeting through financial assistance and has presented technical background papers, proposed strategic directions and defined action priorities, which now form part of the new OAU Action Plan. In order to support the implementation of the plan, UNDCP has almost tripled its programme portfolio for Africa. Current interventions address the following areas:

    1. joint drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention activities by African experts and institutions,
    2. creation of technologies and lasting African capacities for information-gathering, analysis, and training on key drug-related issues, and
    3. provision of adequate frameworks, structures and logistics for a better control of improved trade infrastructures and international financial transactions in Africa.

    As African parties start to implement their parts of the OAU Action Plan, UNDCP hopes to be able to mobilize additional resources for a further expansion of its African Programme.

    For further information:

    Ms. Dagmar Thomas,
    Programme Officer, OB/Africa,
    UNDCP Vienna: 01-26060/4237