6 September 2005

African Programme of Action to Counter Crime, Insecurity and Corruption Endorsed at Abuja Meeting

VIENNA, 6 September (UN Information Service) -- A landmark Round Table of senior state officials and policy makers from African countries, hosted by the Government of Nigeria and organized in association with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), closed with participants achieving consensus on endorsing a comprehensive Programme of Action to tackle crime, insecurity and corruption on the continent.

In a message read on his behalf by the Minister of Justice of Nigeria, Chief Bayo Ojo San, at the opening of the meeting, Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo emphasized that "Crime and drugs constitute a threat to democratic governance, the rule of law and the free exercise of human rights in Africa".  In a video message to the Round Table, United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan emphasized that "Africa's problems -- poverty, diseases, environmental degradation -- make its people even more vulnerable to crime".

The five-year Programme of Action endorsed by the Round Table, the implementation of which will begin on 1 January 2006, contains a detailed set of priority areas and actions across a number of sectors, including rule of law and criminal justice reform, organized and violent crime, trafficking in human beings, money-laundering, terrorism and corruption.

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director UNODC, underscored the comprehensive nature of the Programme of Action, that will involve a wide range of actors across Africa, and that it is action-oriented and time bound, in his closing remarks to the meeting.

Mr. Costa urged African leaders and G8 nations to reaffirm the Programme's value at the World Summit 2005 to be held in New York, 14-16 September 2005.  It is also intended that the Programme of Action be presented to the next summit of the African Union.

Mr. Costa emphasized that while political commitment to the implementation of the Programme of Action was critical, the dedication of resources, both from African governments as well as from development and donor partners was critical to ensure its success.

The Round Table was attended by senior officials from 50 African countries, including 14 Ministers as well as representatives of donor countries, international financial institutions, development agencies and non-governmental organizations.


For further information, contact:
Stefano Polacco, Drug Control and Crime Prevention Officer, UNODC
Tel: ++43 1 26060 3290; Mobile:  ++43 6991 459 3290
Email: stefano.polacco@unodc.org