17 April 2003

UN Intensifies Support for African Union's Drug Control Effort

VIENNA, 16 April (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has just opened an Office in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), which will be operational from next July. This new office will operate in the framework of a regional project (worth US$ 1,000,000), aimed at assisting the African Union in the implementation of its new Drug Control Action Plan for Africa for the years 2002-2006, adopted at the ministerial meeting on Drug Control in Africa in Cote d'Ivoire in May 2002. This plan commits African Union Member States and African regional organizations to take concrete actions in identified drug control priority sectors and to integrate these measures into development, as well as social and health programmes.

The current project is an expansion of the previous cooperation between UNDCP and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which started a few years ago and resulted in the creation of a Drug Control and Crime Prevention Unit within the African Union Secretariat. Under this project, this unit will receive expertise, advisory services and financial support for the launch of Africa-wide drug control information and publicity campaigns.

A UNODC liaison and advocacy capacity with Governments, UN Agencies and development partners will be established in Africa that aims at the integration of drug control elements into main broad regional development initiatives, such as the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa (IPAA) and other UN System programmes in Africa.

* *** *