7 November 2003

Leading United Nations Agencies Renew Partnership

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and United Nations Office for Project Services Sign Memorandum of Understanding

VIENNA, 7 November (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Nigel Fisher, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at codifying the already existing cooperative relationship between the two organisations.

"I am very pleased with  this memorandum that contains  clear working terms and conditions aimed  at enhancing efficiency in assisting governments in their fight against drugs and crime," said Mr. Costa.

Nigel Fisher's first official visit to UNODC headquarters took place during UNODC's week-long field representatives seminar which concluded today in Vienna. "UNOPS primary role is to help UNODC focus on its technical and substantial responsibilities by assuming many of the administrative and procurement burdens of project work," he said.

Since its inception in 1994,  UNOPS has implemented a significant share of UNODC's projects, especially in Latin America  (over US$ 32 million corresponding to 23 per cent of the total regional portfolio) and in West and Central Asia  (over US$ 25.5 million corresponding to 33.6 per cent of the total regional portfolio). Most of these projects provide alternative livelihoods to farmers  whose income depends on  illicit crop (opium poppy or coca leaves) production.

Significantly, the growing portfolio of criminal justice projects is implemented in its entirety  by UNOPS.

UNOPS is an arm of the United Nations that provides project-management services in every field where the United Nations has a mandate. Upon request, UNOPS manages development projects or provides specialised services, as needed. In the field of development, UNOPS is the largest service provider in the United Nations system, working on behalf of more than 30 United Nations departments and organizations.   In 2001, UNOPS delivered services valued at US$ 504 million for more than 2,600 projects around the world. It is the only entirely self-financing entity in the United Nations system: its income is derived from fees earned from services rendered.

The Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. It consists of the Drug Programme and the Crime Programme and has approximately 500 staff members worldwide, 21 Field Offices and a Liaison Office in New York. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from governments for 90 per cent of its budget amounting to US$ 200 million for the bi-annual budget for 2002/ 2003.

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