3 March 2005

UNODC and UNIDO Join Forces to Fight Drug Trafficking and Improve Economic Development

VIENNA, 3 March (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director (UNODC), and Carlos Magariños, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve their abilities to fight drug trafficking and improve development in some of the poorest nations on earth.

Afghanistan, Colombia, Laos, Morocco, and Nigeria are all plagued with underdeveloped private sector enterprise, rampant drug trafficking, or both.  These nations will be the first to benefit from the new agreement.

“In failed states, or regions dominated by crime lords and drug traffickers, local people inevitably become willing or unwilling accomplices to criminal pursuits.  Farmers grow drug crops because they have no other choice.  Drug crops exhaust the land, and wreak havoc on the environment.  When we manage to push traffickers out and dismantle the criminal economy, one problem disappears but another takes its place: what do these people do now?  How do they make a living? How do we restore the health of the environment?  The private sector has to find new ways to guarantee sustainable development in these regions,” Costa said in an address before the signing.

Magariños added that “to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development, industrial development, drug control and crime prevention should complement each other. Ensuring economic growth is as important as enhancing human security. We will make the necessary human and financial resources available immediately to operationalize this agreement.”

UNIDO aims to improve economic development of small and medium sized business enterprises, to assist agricultural development in the private sector, and to eliminate corruption to improve industrial performance. For UNIDO, this cooperation agreement is a new one in the series of strategic partnerships in the UN Reform context, following those already concluded with WTO and UNDP.

The main focus of the UNODC will be improving disposal of seized narcotics, and ensuring that the methods of disposal adhere to UNODC sustainable livelihood policies. UNODC will also work to improve the efficiency criminal justice systems in developing countries. The organizations will work together to improve technical research and analysis and to better control the disposal of chemicals both locally and globally levels.  



Contact for further information:

Akira Uriu, UNIDO
Tel: +43-1-26026-3608
E-mail: a.uriu@unido.org

Kathleen Millar, UNODC
E-mail: kathleen.millar@unvienna.org