Virtuous trilogy vs. sinister nexus PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Speech to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly

New York, 7 October, 2009

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Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Around a decade ago, Member States had the foresight to strengthen the collective response to drugs, crime and terrorism.

  • In 1998, a special session of this Assembly focused on the threat posed by illicit drugs. A 10-year plan of action was launched with results that - as I'll show, turned out to be significant.
  • In 1999, Member States started the negotiations for a Convention against organized crime, eventually adopted by the General Assembly in November 2000 and signed in Palermo a month later.
  • In 1999, after the murderous attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, the Security Council created the 1267 Committee. Following 9/11 the Council moved quickly to strengthen the multilateral response tointernational terrorism through resolutions 1368 and 1373.

By any standard this represents an excellent crop of meetings, deliberations and resolutions.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:15
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Rewards for Unbridled Imagination PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Posted: 21 July 2008

The Secretary-General has encouraged staff not to be risk-averse, to be creative, and to push the boundaries in order to innovate. At UNODC, we take this message seriously. In fact, for the second year in a row UNODC staff have won more than a fifth of the UN21 awards that honour staff initiatives to improve the effectiveness of UN programmes and services. More than 20% of the awards from an Office with less than 2% of the UN's staff! Not bad.

UNODC winners this year were awarded for the National Drug Control System that ensures that medical products containing controlled drugs are available for patients who need them, but prevented from being diverted into illegal channels. An award was also given to staff in human resources who developed an on-line Clearance System for staff departing the Organization.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:11
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Drug Addiction: A is for Abstinence PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Posted: 17 July 2008

I have been arguing for some time, based on evidence from the World Drug Report, that the world drug problem is stabilizing. But containing the problem does not go far enough. If we are to reduce the number of people who are dependent on drugs, then more attention must be paid to drug prevention and treatment.

That means adopting a drug control policy that puts health first. After all, health is the first principle of drug control.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:11
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A study tour of Amsterdam PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Posted: 23 June 2008

According to economic science, the greater the availability of a commodity on the market, the more likely its consumption (via the price effect, but also thanks to psychological factors). Does this only apply to normal markets? My Office has examined whether there is a statistical relationship between availability of drugs and their use, and reached the same conclusion.

Not everybody accepts the argument.

Inevitably in public meetings I have been asked:  how do you explain the fact that cannabis consumption is not higher in the Netherlands than in neighboring countries, although in the Netherlands cannabis is available in coffee shops?  The issue has even evolved into a mini-cause celebre in some corners of the NGO and YouTube crowd.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:10
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Afghanistan: staff with brains and guts PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Posted: 3 June 2008

UNODC's crop surveys on coca, opium and cannabis are considered the gold standard for reliable data on the cultivation of illicit drugs. The same goes for our reports on monitoring verification of drug eradication.

It is sometimes forgotten that there are people behind these numbers - real heroes who are out in the field (on foot, camel, horse, motorcycle, and all terrain vehicle) talking to farmers, and measuring first hand how much coca or poppy is being grown. 

From Morocco to Burma, from Afghanistan to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia we have hundreds of specialists reporting, through UNODC, how the drug situation in evolving on the supply side. 

In Afghanistan, this year alone we have sent 131 eradication verifiers (selected and trained by our Office in Kabul) out to regions where cultivation activities are envisaged.   They measure, on a sample basis, the extent of the cultivation, the eradicated fields, collect info from GPS coordinates, draw maps, and take photographs.  With a couple of exceptions, all these people are Afghan nationals:  extraordinarily dedicated fellows who love their country and work hard at fighting the scourge of opium.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:10
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Greening the UN PDF Print E-mail
The shaping of policy at UNODC (2002-2010)

Posted: 5 May 2008

When the UN Secretary-General recently visited the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) he was impressed with the new "M" building (meeting facility) that has been generously given to the Vienna International Centre (VIC) by the host country. He was not only impressed by the modern look of the building, he praised its state-of-the-art environmentally friendly feat

 

ures - for example, sensors that adjust air temperature and flows depending on the number of people in the room, or the heating system that is based on steam produced from the city's incineration facility.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 11:10
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