18 January 2005

UNODC and European Commission Agree Drugs,  Crime, Terrorism Inextricably Linked: Bilateral Solutions Needed to Combat New Threats

VIENNA, 18 January (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) joined the European Commission today in Brussels to announce a joint commitment to fight drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the Balkans, Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Andean region, and in Africa. The two organizations signed an exchange of letters signalling heightened coordination, cooperation and partnership; a move described by Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC, as “clear recognition of the links between drugs, organized crime, and terrorism, and our shared responsibility to combat this immediate, three-dimensional threat.”

Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa represented UNODC; the European Commission was represented by its Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, and its Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

UNODC and the European Commission rally in support of reprioritizing efforts to combat drugs, crime and terrorism suggests a new direction for the partner organizations, one focused on effective control policies as well as on prevention. According to Mr. Costa, “Organized crime continues to rely on billions of narco-dollars to fund a host of heinous enterprises -- from child trafficking to prostitution to arms smuggling, and wholesale efforts to sabotage legal institutions and democratic governments across the world via invasive, systemic corruption.”

Mr. Costa continued, “Without a doubt, the greatest single threat today to global development, democracy and peace is transnational organized crime and the drug trafficking monopoly that keeps this sinister enterprise rolling.”

The agreement between UNODC and the European Commission reflects a renewed determination to increase common efforts and provide joint financing for projects aimed at preventing and controlling drug addiction, production and trafficking -- problems both organizations agree must be viewed in the larger context of organized crime, especially in developing countries. 

The agreement aims to improve information and data sharing, and to facilitate a greater understanding of policy and operational developments on a global scale. Closer collaboration between UNODC and the European Commission will also offer both groups critical access to lessons learned, best practices, and new, team-based approaches. A first meeting to launch the dialogue now institutionalised between both organizations is expected early this year. 

For more information, contact:
Kathleen Millar
Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: (+43 1) 26060-5228
Mobile: (+43 ) 6991459 5629
email: unodcpress@unodc.org

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