UNODC held the Second Steering Committee meeting of the Regional Programme
The UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016 - 2020) reached halfway since its validation in May 2016. In line with the first Steering Committee meeting held in November 2017 , the Second Steering Committee meeting was organized in Dakar, from 27 to 28 November 2018. The aim of this meeting was to present the main results achieved during the first period of implementation as well as to discuss the challenges faced towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. The Midterm Report of the Regional Programme was unveiled during the first day of the meeting.
The Steering Committee meeting brought together 45 experts (including 25 women) from the ECOWAS Commission together with representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Health and Justice of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania but also Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo to debate with UNODC and United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) experts on results achieved, successful initiatives and future priorities for the Regional Programme.
The meeting was indeed the opportunity to highlight Member States' results and contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on the following three:
oal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and built effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Mrs. Miwa Kato, UNODC Chief of Operations, was present and opened the ceremony, presenting UNODC continental approach, by stating that "These different trends strongly demonstrate that today, it is not possible to consider drugs and crime in a purely national or even regional way and that the links between the different forms of crime and the interregional element of the challenges cannot be ignored."
During the first day, Mr. Daniel Amankwaah, Principal Programme Officer of Law Enforcement for ECOWAS Commission, also presented the review of UNODC's support to the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan and the draft Political Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime.
The floor was then given to countries' representatives who alternatively made a short presentation on tangible results at the national level as well as efforts that still need to be made regarding the Regional Programme's five pillars. It was the opportunity to confirm the results identified by UNODC through the Midterm Report, to better understand national concerns and thus to readjust the implementation of the Programme and improve coordination among all stakeholders.
On the second day, discussions on the key priorities to 2020 have been fruitful. The suggested priorities macthed with the national priorities of the countries in the region, mainly, the fight against radicalization, capacity building in forensics, the fight against cybercrime, research and the inclusion of the SDGs in data collection (see page 54 of the Report for more details). During the last plenary session, further concrete recommendations were made to demonstrate the readiness of the countries in the region and UNODC to adapt to a changing environment and to provide an integrated and sustainable response to identified threats:• Integrate communities in the fight against organized crime, border management and the prevention of terrorism in order to restore the bonds of trust with the population;• Promote inter-agency and inter-state cooperation;• Emphasize the role of new partners in the fight against organized crime, corruption and terrorism. For example, community relays against drug abuse, religious leaders and women against violent extremism and radicalization;• Accelerate research and data collection efforts;• Build capacity for forensic science.
Following this regional meeting, representatives of the donors of the Regional Programme were convened during a Second Donor Roundtable in Dakar. Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and United States were represented. The Roundtable provided an opportunity for donors to engage on the substantive implementation and management arrangements of the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa. It also provided a framework to present the new threats and trends in the region and exchange views with the donor community.
UNODC would like to thank Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America for their common and constant efforts that allow UNODC to achieve results within the framework of the Regional Programme for West Africa.
The Regional Programme adopts a holistic approach to implementation by combining and synergizing elements of UNODC's global projects and programmes that work together to leverage commonalities and maximize impact, such as, for example, the AIRCOP Project, the WACI Initiative, the Global Maritime Crime Programme, the Sahel Programme and the ECOWAS Support project.