11 December 2009 - Speech RSG on the Occasion of the UNODC – Government Guinea-Bissau Program Review

23 Mar 2010

11 December 2009 - Speech RSG on the Occasion of the UNODC – Government Guinea-Bissau Program Review

I am very grateful for the opportunity to address this group of distinguished national and international experts for judiciary, policing and internal security. Throughout 2009, the Government of Guinea-Bissau has made progress to strengthen security and justice in this country in order to achieve sustainable peace and economic prosperity. The United Nations family and the International Community have in various ways provided assistance to the People and the Government of Guinea-Bissau.


Programs related to support of Defense and Security Sector Reform have been and will be a top priority for all of us. The United Nations Security Council has decided to increase the support to Guinea-Bissau. From January onwards, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1876 will come into effect and as a result, the United Nations system in Guinea-Bissau will come even closer together through an integrated and significantly expanded office lead by a Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Clearly the People and the Government of Guinea-Bissau will benefit from such a major enhancement of capabilities. In support of the Government, the United Nations Security Council has entrusted UNIOGBIS with a comprehensive coordinative role on matters related to Defense and Security Sector Reform. With the continuous help and commitment of the Government and the International Community in this challenging process, I am fully convinced that the next year has the potential for a true break through. It is initiatives like the one we are participating in here today, lead by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime - UNODC -, that will pave the way forward for judiciary and law enforcement. It will enable the Ministry and its subordinated agencies and institutions to counter the still prevailing threat for peace and stability posed by narco-trafficking and organized crime to the whole of West Africa. Guinea-Bissau is not alone in this and in the context of the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to Fight Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking the West Africa Coast Initiative brings together a strategic partnership of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) UNODC, UNIOGBIS, INTERPOL and naturally the Governments of West African Countries.

Today we are reviewing programs aiming at strengthening justice, corrections and law enforcement to understand what has worked and what has not worked in accordance with the respective plans. From there, I propose to look out into the future. For me it is clear that especially the regional strategic partnerships need to be borne in mind when designing future undertakings in the field of justice, policing and internal security. Together with Sierra-Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau is amongst the first four countries in West Africa which will benefit from the operational implementation of the West Africa Coast Initiative. Equally important remains the issue of national context and a continuously holistic approach when it comes to Defense and Security Sector Reform in terms of processes, timing, contents and outcomes. The situation we are all facing is multi-dimensional and in deed very complex and as a result, evenly complex mechanisms of coordinating and organizing the reform process are required. UNIOGBIS has the mandate and the capabilities to assist the Government of Guinea-Bissau in this demanding task and we are 100 % determined to deliver on our obligations.

We also remain confident to continue to enjoy the necessary support of the International Community and I would not want to miss the opportunity to thank all our partners for their tremendous support over the last months in which we have prepared ourselves for the start of UNIOGBIS from 01 January 2010. I want to wish the organizers from the Ministry of Justice and UNODC as well as all participants of this work shop the very best for their work and a productive outcome. In support of this, I have directed two policing and internal security experts of the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations Standing Police Capacity from New York to bring in their expertise into this exercise. I will remain highly interested in the outcome of the work shop and how the results fit into the larger context of the Defense and Security Sector Reform. Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation and sincere gratitude for having had the opportunity to speak to this audience. I wish everyone engaged in this important event all the best and good success - many thanks!