United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 agency that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division in the United Nations Office at Vienna
United Nations Office at Vienna
The United Nations Office in Vienna is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is part of the Vienna International Centre, a cluster of several major international...

. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.

Organizational structure


The agency, employing about 500 staff members worldwide, is headquartered in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, with 21 field offices and two liaison offices in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 and New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. The agency is led by an Executive Director appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations....

. Presently, that position is filled by Yuri Fedotov
Yuri Fedotov
Yuri Viktorovich Fedotov is a high level diplomat of the Russian Federation. Currently he serves as the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at the rank of Under-Secretary-General after having been the ambassador to the United Kingdom.Fedotov graduated from the...

, the former Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Following his appointment in 2010, Fedotov succeeded Antonio Maria Costa
Antonio Maria Costa
Antonio Maria Costa was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, appointed, from May 2002 until August 2010, to the positions of Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna .-Background:An Italian native,...

 in this capacity, and also as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna
United Nations Office at Vienna
The United Nations Office in Vienna is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is part of the Vienna International Centre, a cluster of several major international...

. The long-term aims of the office are to better equip governments to handle drug-, crime-, terrorism-, and corruption-related issues, maximise knowledge on these issues among governmental institutions and agencies, and also to maximise awareness of said matters in public opinion, globally, nationally and at community level. Approximately 90% of the Office's funding comes from voluntary contributions, mainly from governments.

UNODC also incorporates the secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board
International Narcotics Control Board
The International Narcotics Control Board is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions...

 (INCB).

Aims and Functions of UNODC


UNODC was established to assist the UN in better addressing a coordinated, comprehensive response to the interrelated issues of illicit trafficking in and abuse of drug
Drug
A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. There is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings in drug control law, government regulations, medicine, and colloquial usage.In pharmacology, a...

s, crime prevention and criminal justice, international terrorism, and political corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

. These goals are pursued through three primary functions: research, guidance and support to governments in the adoption and implementation of various crime-, drug-, terrorism-, and corruption-related conventions, treaties and protocols, as well as technical/financial assistance to said governments to face their respective situations and challenges in these fields.

These are the main themes that UNODC deals with:
Alternative Development, Corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

, Criminal Justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

, Prison Reform and Crime Prevention
Crime prevention
Crime prevention is the attempt to reduce victimization and to deter crime and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice.-Studies:...

, Drug Prevention, -Treatment and Care, HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

 and AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, Human Trafficking
Human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

 and Migrant Smuggling, Money Laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

, Organized Crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

, Piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

, Terrorism Prevention.

The World Drug Report


The World Drug Report is a yearly publication that presents a comprehensive assessment of the international drug problem, with detailed information on the illicit drug situation. It provides estimates and information on trends in the production, trafficking and use of opium/heroin, coca/cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants. The Report, based on data and estimates collected or prepared by Governments, UNODC and other international institutions, attempts to identify trends in the evolution of global illicit drug markets.

Through the World Drug Report, UNODC aims to enhance Member States' understanding of global illicit drug trends and increase their awareness of the need for the more systematic collection and reporting of data relating to illicit drugs.

Treaties


United Nations Conventions and their related Protocols underpin all the operational work of UNODC.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto


The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is a United Nations-sponsored multilateral treaty against transnational organized crime, adopted in 2000...

 is a legally-binding instrument through which States parties commit to taking a series of measures against transnational organized crime. These include the creation of domestic offences to combat the problem, the adoption of new, sweeping frameworks for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law enforcement cooperation and technical assistance, and training.

United Nations Convention against Corruption



In its resolution 55/61, the General Assembly recognized that an effective international legal instrument against corruption, independent of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was desirable. The text of the Convention was negotiated during seven sessions held between 21 January 2002 and 1 October 2003. The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 31 October 2003.
In 2003, the United Nations adopted the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This entered into force in December 2005. As of 23 July 2009, 140 countries had signed and 136 countries (States Parties) had ratified the UNCAC [3] UNODC serves as the Secretariat for the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the UNCAC.

UNODC, as the custodian of UNCAC, is also one of the main initiators of the establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Academy
International Anti-Corruption Academy
The International Anti-Corruption Academy is an international organization , whose purpose is to address the current shortcomings in the fight against corruption...

 (IACA), whose main function is to, inter alia, facilitate more effective implementation of the UNCAC.

Drug-related treaties


There are three drug related treaties that guide UNODC's drug related programs. These are: The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol ; the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

These three major international drug control treaties are mutually supportive and complementary. An important purpose of the first two treaties is to codify internationally applicable control measures in order to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, and to prevent their diversion into illicit channels. They also include general provisions on trafficking and drug abuse.

“Do Drugs control your life”? – World Drug Campaign


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) started this international campaign to raise awareness about the major challenge that illicit drugs represent to society as a whole, and especially to the young. The goal of the campaign is to mobilize support and to inspire people to act against drug abuse and trafficking. The campaign encourages young people to put their health first and not to take drugs.

“Your No Counts” – International Anti-Corruption Campaign


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has teamed up with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to run this campaign as a focus on how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed upon MDGs, undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.

“Think AIDS” – World AIDS Campaign


Young people aged 15 to 24 account for an estimated 40 per cent of new adult (15+) HIV infections worldwide. In some parts of the world, and in some marginalized sub-groups, the most frequent modes of HIV transmission for these young people are unsafe injecting drug use and unsafe sexual activities.

Because young people are also often more likely to use drugs, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) targets this population with a campaign to raise awareness about drug use and its connection to the spread of HIV and AIDS. The slogan: "Think Before You Start ... Before You Shoot ... Before You Share" is used to provoke young people to consider the implications of using drugs, and particularly injecting drugs.

Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking


The Blue Heart Campaign seeks to encourage involvement and action to help stop trafficking in persons. The campaign also allows people to show solidarity with the victims of human trafficking by wearing the Blue Heart. The use of the blue UN colour demonstrates the commitment of the United Nations to combat this crime.

Criticism


In 2007, the five largest donors to UNODC's budget in descending order were: European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, UN and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 are proponents of a zero tolerance
Zero tolerance
Zero tolerance imposes automatic punishment for infractions of a stated rule, with the intention of eliminating undesirable conduct. Zero-tolerance policies forbid persons in positions of authority from exercising discretion or changing punishments to fit the circumstances subjectively; they are...

 drug policy. According to the Transnational Institute
Transnational Institute
Transnational Institute is an international think tank for progressive politics. It was established in 1973 in Amsterdam and serves as a network for scholars and activists...

 this explains why, until recently, UNODC did not promote harm reduction
Harm reduction
Harm reduction refers to a range of public health policies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with recreational drug use and other high risk activities...

 policies like needle exchange and Heroin-assisted treatment. (This despite the actions of United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 bodies (i.e. WHO
Who
Who may refer to:* Who , an English-language pronoun* who , a Unix command* Who?, one of the Five Ws in journalism- Art and entertainment :* Who? , a 1958 novel by Algis Budrys...

 and UNAIDS), who support these policies.) UNODC promotes other methods for drug use prevention, treatment and care that UNODC sees as "based on scientific evidence and on ethical standards".

See also

  • Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking
    Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking
    The Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking is an awareness raising initiative to fight human trafficking and its impact on society created by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime . The Blue Heart Campaign seeks to encourage involvement and inspire action to help stop this crime...

  • Convention on Psychotropic Substances
    Convention on Psychotropic Substances
    The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 is a United Nations treaty designed to control psychoactive drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and psychedelics signed at Vienna on February 21, 1971...

    , 1971
  • International Anti-Corruption Day
    International anti-corruption day
    International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually, on the 9th December, since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003.-Background:The Convention states, in part, that the UN is:...

  • International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
    International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
    The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. It has been held annually since 1988 on 26 June, a date chosen to commemorate Lin Zexu's dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, just...

  • International Narcotics Control Board
    International Narcotics Control Board
    The International Narcotics Control Board is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions...

     (INCB)
  • Not For Sale, official anthem
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
    Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
    The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research...

    , 1961
  • United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
    United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
    The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 is one of three major drug control treaties currently in force. It provides additional legal mechanisms for enforcing the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on...

    , 1988

External links