The United Nations anti-crime agency is supporting efforts to rebuild a safe and stable Guinea-Bissau by facilitating the construction of a training centre for the West African nation’s security forces.
Guinea-Bissau, which faced a brutal civil war during the late 1990s, has become the hub of a new cocaine trafficking route from South America via West Africa to supply the growing demand for illegal drugs in Europe, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“There is an urgent need to tackle organized crime – in the broader context of security sector reform – and to strengthen administration of justice and the rule of law,” the agency stated.
The UNODC Regional Office for Brazil and the Southern Cone has facilitated an agreement between Brazil and Guinea-Bissau to create a police academy, which will not only boost the latter’s forces but also support its Government to implement the National Plan to Fight Drugs and Crime.
Last November, a senior UN official warned the Security Council that while the prospects for political stability in Guinea-Bissau appear to be good, they are threatened by drug trafficking and organized crime.
“Although there seems to be a downward trend in the trafficking of cocaine through West Africa over the past few months, drug trafficking and organized crime remain a significant challenge for stability in Guinea-Bissau and the sub-region,” said Joseph Mutaboba, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s representative in the West African nation.
The Council had urged the Government to take the necessary actions to combat drug trafficking and organized crime, and to ensure that the security sector is effective, professional and accountable.
The new three-year project, with an investment of $3 million from the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation, will build the technical capacity of local police and help regulate the police force according to internationally recognized standards.
UNODC will work with the Brazilian Federal Police Department, which will coordinate activities for the new police academy, to be located in the capital, Bissau. The two groups have been working together since 2008 to train foreign security officials, including 158 officers from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and African Portuguese-speaking countries.
The new agreement, noted UNODC, is another example of successful South-South cooperation, through which developing countries help each other to find solutions to common challenges and share good practices.