UN top officials to address drug trafficking and organized crime in Guinea-Bissau

26 Oct 2011

UN top officials to address drug trafficking and organized crime in Guinea-Bissau

26 October 2011 - The Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) , Under Secretary General  Yury Fedotov accompanied by Mr. Said Djinit, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Head of the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA), will visit Guinea-Bissau on Thursday 27 October to boost the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa including in Guinea-Bissau.


In Bissau, the UN top-officials, together with the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Guinea-Bissau and Head of UNIOGBIS, Amb. Joseph Mutaboba, will meet with the country's leaders, including the President of Republic and the Prime Minister to ensure the organization continuous support to the country in tackling the scourge through WACI and relevant national plans. The UN Officials will also attend the opening session of the West Africa Coast Initiative Programme Advisory Committee (WACI PROCOM) first meeting.

In his report of June 2011 on Guinea-Bissau, the UN Secretary-General expressed his concern about drug trafficking activities in Guinea-Bissau as well as "(...) the country's very limited resources and means to curb this threat to peacebuilding and to combat the illegal trafficking (...)". Ban Ki-moon further encouraged "Guinea-Bissau's partners to step up assistance to monitor these illegal activities and to contribute to the strengthening of national capacities to address the scourge in an effective and coordinated manner, within the framework of the West Africa Coast Initiative".

The West Africa Coast Initiative was jointly launched in 2009 by UNODC, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) including its UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and INTERPOL as a response to the need to adopt a multi-stakeholders approach to support the ECOWAS regional action plan to address illicit trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse in West Africa. Capitalizing on the presence of UN Peace Operations, WACI has been initiated in four pilot countries also considered as priority i.e. Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), Liberia (UNMIL) and. Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI).
The first High-Level Policy Committee (WACI POLCOM), chaired by Said Djinnit, was held in Dakar on 20 June 2001 to define the political and strategic direction of the joint initiative. The first WACI PROCOM that will take place in Bissau will aim at securing the conceptual consistency and coordination of all stakeholders at programmatic level.

The United Nations has been working to strengthen the justice and security systems and rule of law structures in Guinea-Bissau, most notably by supporting capacity-building initiatives including the training of judges, prosecutors and police investigators specializing in cases related to drug trafficking and transnational crime. The UN has also been supporting the establishment of a Transnational Crime Unit, rehabilitation of justice and security infrastructures and provision of critical equipment, as well as support to legal review and the implementation of a Central Authority for International Judicial Cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.