|Frost over the World - Opium in Afghanistan|
|The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)|
Good to be back in London. In this wonderful city I had my first real job -- as a chef, believe or not, in a McDonald's-type joint. Much later, namely when I was about three times older, I spent many years as Secretary-General of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Main focus of the visit was the launch of the UNODC Afghan Opium Survey 2008 together with FO Minister Bill Rummel. UNODC information about drugs in Afghanistan is considered the gold standard - a reputation I am proud of.
Launch of the report was overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. When I was preparing for a radio interview (that took place in a white min-van with a massive antenna), I could hear an interview taking place with Shashi Tharoor about the attacks in India.
While in London I learned a lot from an interchange about drug control with a couple of hundred students at the London School of Economics. If it were up to them, UNODC could be scrapped and so would the UN conventions: good debating training for drug control, in view of the tough BBC program next day (see below). Later in the evening, together with Cherie Blair, I took part in an event about human trafficking -- in a church - hosted by the NGO Stop the Traffik.
There were some interesting press encounters as well, like an appearance on the Al-Jazeera programme
with the living legend Sir David Frost (of BBC fame), and an appearance on the BBC programme HardTalk: they thought they could corner UNODC and ridicule us and what we stand for, in drug control. I believe it didn't work the way the BBC producer had imagined - and hoped.
Walter Kemp also introduced me to his buddy, equally famed writer, author Frederick Forsyth (famous forThe Day of the Jackal and The Dogs of War) whose next book will be about cocaine trafficking (I won't give away the plot, but the Office is key in this new novel, based on UNODC information, especially drug/crime/corruption inside information provided by Antonio Mazzitelli - whom author Forsyth specifically went to meet, in Dakar).
By the way, if you have not read it yet, I advise you to buy yourself a literary Christmas gift, namely the novel by Alain Lallemand, titled L'Heroine Afghane (Alain is a senior editor of the Belgian paper, Le Soir). The book title is obviously a play of words, and it is centred on information we have provided (here in Vienna, where Alain spent a few weeks last year, and in Kabul, where he travels frequently). Some of the main characters in the book are taken straight from the UNODC directory, about half a dozen of our staff, their names and roles in the Office just re-touched.
You know the profile of our Office is going up when crime fiction writers take an interest in what we do. By the way, another recognition just came from one of the world's foremost political analysts, Ahmed Rashid, author of the no. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Taliban. In Descent into Chaos (Viking, 2008), about the failure of nation building in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, Ahmed speaks very highly of UNODC - the only UN agency referred to in a positive way. "Only UNODC had the courage to call a spade a spade" says the author, with plenty of supportive evidence.
On behalf of all these authors I thank you for the good reputation you are giving to the United Nations.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 04 May 2014 17:12|
- (3) The Mammon Prize for Outstanding Greed
- My Corner
- Drug Trafficking into West Africa
- Raping the Planet
- Birds of prey on Congo
- (1) A novel about politics, finance & crime
- The world’s deadliest drug trade: facts and figures Afghanistan gets 5% the world’s heroin money and 100% the blame International Forum on “Drug Production in Afghanistan: A Challenge to the International Community”
|Aceh: Paradise Rediscovered|
Posted: 1 February 2013
Can you think of a region so poor that income is less than one dollar a day per person: that has gone through a war against the central government for 30 years (1975-2005); that in 2004 was submerged by a tidal wave (the tsunami) that killed 170,000 people out of a total population of 3 million (in other words 1 person out of every 20); that was later submerged by an avalanche of assistance personnel that pushed local prices beyond what locals could afford?
Well, let me help you.
The Aceh peninsula of Northern Indonesia, along the strategic Malacca Straits, is where I went on mission yesterday, with a delicate task: to determine the extent of drug production (cannabis cultivation); trafficking (hashish and methamphetamine); the associated crime and violence; the health impact (including the spread of HIV because of drug-injection); and, above what can be done to put an end to all this through development.
|Disrupt criminal markets, not just the mafias High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on transnational organized crime|
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the past quarter century, organized crime has gone global. It has reached macro-economic and armed dimensions to become a threat to the stability of nations. The report on The Globalization of Crime issued today by my office (the UN Office on Drugs and Crime) provides the first comprehensive assessment of global crime markets: drugs, arms, modern slaves, illicit resources, counterfeits, as well as maritime piracy and cyber-crime.
The threat is not just economic. The threat is strategic, as criminals today can influence elections, politicians and the military – in one word, they buy power.
Some governments are unable to resist, as they lack the resourcess. Some others would be able to contain the problem, but show a benign neglect -- and I have in mind some rich nations.