Demand surging for services of UN anti-drugs, anti-crime agency
The world is turning increasingly to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for help in the fight against illegal drugs, corruption, terrorism and other crimes, with the latest figures indicating that demand for the Office’s specialist expertise is surging.
Total spending on the UNODC’s operational programmes jumped by 32 per cent to $91.7 million last year, and the Office’s Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said today he expected demand to keep rising, especially in the areas of tackling corruption, human trafficking and money laundering.
“The world is becoming a more dangerous place and States increasingly rely on the specialist expertise which UNODC can provide,” Mr. Costa said in a statement released from the Office’s headquarters in Vienna.
Spending on anti-narcotics initiatives, such as the training of drug enforcement officers, rose by 12 per cent to $69.1 million to last year, with marked increases noted in Western and Central Asia, as well as in South-East Asia and the Pacific region.
Expenditure on anti-crime measures soared by 186 per cent to $22.6 million, driven largely by rising demand for UNODC services in Afghanistan, West Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Central bankers and other financial officers have been given assistance to fight money laundering and programmes have been implemented, in countries ranging from Ghana to Pakistan, to improve the inspection of containers arriving at ports for illicit materials.
Voluntary contributions from Member States – which account for about 90 per cent of the UNODC annual budget – have also grown to meet the rising demand, with total contributions pledged last year increasing by 25 per cent to $150.7 million.