4 October 2005

UNODC Teams with Government of Cape Verde and European Commission to Combat Crime and Narco-Trafficking

As Europe Is Increasingly Threatened, UNODC Head Salutes EC Support

VIENNA, 4 October (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Cape Verde have agreed to roll out a joint drug and crime control initiative called the Cape Verde Integrated Crime and Narcotic Programme (CAVE INTECRIN). The project is budgeted at € 4,700,000 million; funds contributed by the European Commission (EC), and by some of its Member States.

For Cape Verde, the Programme represents a concrete response to increasing crime levels, as the country is under attack from traffickers of Colombian cocaine. The CAVE INTECRIN Programme also targets drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as money-laundering and organized crime. Generally, it invests in strengthening the rule of law. While the Programme addresses a range of uncivil behaviours, the emphasis on security and the rule of law represents a first step toward sustainable social and economic progress. The Government of Cape Verde is also focusing on the prevention and repression of high-profile crimes, especially trafficking in narcotics, as a prerequisite to attracting foreign investment.

"The Government of Cape Verde has taken a giant step towards combating drug trafficking and other crimes that impede economic development. The tourism industry in particular is threatened by violence and that has to come to an end, if Cape Verde is to continue to grow", says Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC. "The European Commission stands behind the CAVE INTECRIN Programme, thus signalling Europe's increasing concern for global security, and its support for UNODC. This is a win-win situation for everyone. The programme budget is substantial, the political commitment is there, and the players share a common and compelling goal -- getting rid of narco-trafficking, and guaranteeing security and justice for the citizens of Cape Verde."

As part of the war against illegal drugs, the European Commission promotes good governance, security and rule of law in partner countries as an integral part of long-term development and poverty reduction strategies. 

Welcoming the programme, the European Commission Director-General for Development, Stefano Manservisi, stated: "The issue of drugs is one of the important challenges of our time. A few years ago, the drug use phenomenon was still thought to be confined to the rich industrialised countries. But the use of illegal drugs is now recognised as a global problem that is gaining ground in the developing countries as well. I believe an integrated and carefully balanced drug control programme focusing on both the supply and the demand side is fundamentally the right one. The European Union- African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (EU-ACP) partnership provides opportunities to join efforts in this area and make substantial progress together towards reducing drug supply, and preventing drug abuse and crime."

The CAVE INTECRIN Programme represents an ongoing, two-year collaboration between the Government of Cape Verde and UNODC. The allocation by the Government of Cape Verde is part of a special European Commission contribution of € 12.5 million assigned to the archipelago in March 2005. Additional funding has been also provided by the Governments of Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

For UNODC, this initiative is compatible with the general effort to support African development, since it too seeks to break the link between poverty and crime. The poverty-crime cycle perpetuates underdevelopment, in that while foreign investors refuse to bring assets to Africa, domestic investors also engage in wide capital flight. "We need to break the poverty-underdevelopment vicious circle, by bringing resources to Africa, in exchange for reforms and demonstrated efforts to fight corruption and trafficking," says Mr. Costa.

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For more information, contact:

Kathleen Millar, Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: (+43-1) 26060 5629
Email: kathleen.millar@unodc.org