International Drug Policy Friends, how to complete an unfinished architecture? Address to the Fourth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

Santa Monica, 15 March, 2010



Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is my pleasure to take part in this meeting and discuss the future of drug policy.  I hope you agree that my Office is well-qualified to contribute to this discussion.  We have been in vanguard of change:  through hard work and informative publications, we have helped make policy less dogmatic, gathered evidence to enrich decision-making, and provided assistance on the ground to reduce vulnerability. We have persistently opposed the sterile debate between those who dream of a world free of drugs, and those who aspire to a world of free drugs.


In so doing, we had to cope with important weaknesses and a few elements of strength – both inherent to the very nature of our multilateral institution (UNODC).  Liabilities have been (i) the low comparative specialization (of most staff), and (ii) the perennial search of minimum-common denominators (among member states).  An asset has been global advocacy power:  our megaphone speaks loud, if not always clear.


This has placed us in a different league from academia.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:27
The drug control architecture: yet, an unfinished masterwork 53rd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

Vienna, 8 March 2010



Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Two years ago, the UNODC Report to the 51st Session, nicknamed Fit for Purpose, assessed the performance of the international drug control system in the past half a century.  It also made recommendations on how to improve it, mending its un-intended consequences.  A year ago, I was glad to see that many of its points were reflected in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action you unanimously adopted at the 2009 high-level meeting.


I am proud that over the entire period, and growingly so, UNODC has assisted you make drug policy more responsive to the needs of those most seriously affected, along the whole chain of the drug industry -- from poor farmers that cultivate it, to desperate addicts who consume it, as well as those caught in the traffickers’ cross-fire. In the process, we have helped make the debate less dogmatic, gathered evidence to enrich policy, and provided assistance to reduce vulnerability. We have persistently struggled to quash the sterile debate between those who dream a world free of drugs, and those who aspire at a world of free drugs.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:26
Organized crime is a threat to security Case studies and policy options Security Council Meeting PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

New York, 24 February 2010


Mr. Chairman, Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I’m honoured to attend this meeting and thank the President for the invitation. Previous debates on violent theatres (Afghanistan, Congo, Central America, Somalia, West Africa) and on trans-national crimes (drug trafficking, piracy, natural resources smuggling) have shown how seriously the Council takes these threats to peace and security.   


A challenge of our time


The background is well known.  International mafias exploit the instability caused by conflicts.  They take advantage of a government’s inability to provide security and thrive in areas lost to insurgency.  This creates a vicious circle, illustrated in our report on Crime and Instability, case studies of transnational threats:  vulnerability attracts crime, crime in turn deepens vulnerability.  In a chain reaction, humanitarian crises follow, development is stalled and peace-keepers are deployed.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:25
Towards a General Theory of Organized Crime American Economic Association PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

Atlanta, 3 January 2010



Ladies and Gentlemen,


I take part in this meeting as an economist, but also as a senior UN official who needs your help.


Organized crime: a threat of macro-economic proportions


We face a growing threat from organized crime.

  • In the past quarter century, crime has become organized and transnational.
  • It has reached macro-economic dimensions.
  • It has been one of the biggest winners of globalization – taking advantage of open borders, open markets, the ease of travel and communication, and growing economic integration.
  • It has penetrated markets and governments.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:24
Stories of wolves, lambs and shepherds Hearts, minds and conciences confronted by justice and compassion PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Milan, 15 December 2009


Your Excellency Rettore Magnifico,

Illustrious Academics,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Let me introduce myself by explaining what makes our work at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (in Vienna) so different from that of other UN offices – and, maybe, different from your expectations.


My collegues at the UN do not know how lucky they are, dealing with humaninty’s global goods such as peace, security, development, health, education, employment and so on.


Not my case. I look at the dark side of humanity, and lead the public fight against global bads: drugs, crime, corruption, terrorism and modern slavery – the sort of things one does not discuss over dinner with neighbours. Not surprisingly, my New York colleagues gave me the unhonourable title of UN Under-Secretary General forSinister Affairs.  My business is indeed sinister – unless and until you understand it.  Then you will love it. 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:22
Cuori, menti e coscienze a confronto con giustizia e carità Storie di lupi, agnelli e pastori Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore PDF Print E-mail
UNODC Speeches (2002-2010)

Milano, 15 Dicembre 2009



Eccellenza Rettore Magnifico,

Illustri Accademici.

Signore e Signori.


Nel presentarmi, permettetemi di sottolineare cio’ che rende il nostro lavoro all’ufficio di Vienna diverso dal resto delle Nazioni Unite – e fors’anche inatteso rispetto alle vostre aspettative.


Mi riferisco, infatti, ai miei colleghi incaricati delle varie agenzie ONU.  Come sono diversi, e fortunati, loro che hanno a che fare con i beni globali dell’umanità  --  pace, sicurezza, sviluppo, sanita’, istruzione, lavoro e cosi’ via.


Non il caso mio.  Io tratto degli aspetti piu’ sinistri dell’umanità e dirigo la battaglia comune contro i mali globali che l’affliggono:  droga, crimine, corruzione, terrorismo e la schiavitu’ contemporanea --  non il genere di cose da trattare a cena con gli amici.  Non sorprendentemente, i miei colleghi di New York si dilettano a chiamarmi con il titolo, poco onorevole in verità,  di Segretario Generale aggiunto per gli Affari Sinistri.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 13:20
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