UN encourage partnerships at regional and global levels to combat drug trafficking

31 Oct 2011

UN encourage partnerships at regional and global levels to combat drug trafficking

27 October 2011 - Against the backdrop of West Africa as one of the major gateways for cocaine moving from South America into Europe, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today arrived in Guinea-Bissau, accompanied by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa Said Djinnit. During his visit, Mr. Fedotov discussed several drug-related security issues with President Malam Bacai Sanhá and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior.


Trafficking is a major threat to Guinea-Bissau's development and has led to a sharp increase of illicit drug use in the country. In 2009, an estimated 13 tons of the cocaine trafficked via West Africa were consumed or stored in the region leading to severe drug-related health concerns In a bid to tackle illicit drugs and organized crime UNODC has been working with Guinea-Bissau and regional authorities on several key areas.

Acknowledging the importance of multilateral cooperation, Mr. Fedotov encouraged enhanced partnerships at regional and global levels. "The issue of illicit drugs is not the problem of just one single country, but rather a joint predicament that the entire international community must deal with. As long as there are consumer countries across the world there will be producer countries, and vice-versa, and in the meantime transit states such as Guinea-Bissau pay the price."

While in the country Mr. Fedotov also visited Guinea-Bissau's Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) which is part of the West African Coast Initiative (WACI). This partnership between UNODC, the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and INTERPOL supports regional efforts in addressing drug use, trafficking and organized crime.

Founded last December, Guinea-Bissau's TCU is in the process of becoming fully operational, and joins Units in Liberia and Sierra Leone which are at varying stages of implementation. Mr. Fedotov encouraged authorities to continue their efforts and called on the international community to recognize the value of TCUs in breaking organized crime groups and their operations. On the importance of the Units, the Executive Director noted: "Organized crime is just that - organized. We can only respond to this by ensuring that our own efforts are also structured, well planned and cohesive."