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Peace and Security in Africa: Briefing to the Security Council on drugs trafficking

Published Wednesday December 18 2013

The Security Council was briefed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, by the Executive Director of the Office of the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov and by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, on the scale and challenges of drugs trafficking in West Africa and in the Sahel region. After an exchange of views, the Council Members adopted a Presidential Statement ( S/PRST/2013/22), to express their growing concern about the serious threats posed by drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime to international peace and stability in West Africa and the Sahel and notably to call on the UNODC and the UN Department of Political Affairs to include, in their regular briefings to the Council, information on the work of the UN System Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking as Threats to Security and Stability.

In her statement, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas encouraged the United Nations Office for West Africa and the missions authorized by the Council in the countries of the region to strengthen their cooperation and coordination, as well as their analytical capacities concerning the political, economic and social impact of drug trafficking. She also underlined the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in advocating for the strengthening of the institutional capacities of the four countries it supports in West Africa — Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone — and in supporting the coordination of international efforts. Concerning the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI), Ambassador Lucas recommended a strengthening of the Transnational Crime Units (TCUs), all the while strengthening judicial and penal systems, in order to combat impunity, given that the best police measures are doomed to failure if the penal system breaks down at the level of justice or prisons. Where capacity is insufficient or where the cross-border nature of the crimes committed gives rise to difficulties, legal solutions could be explored at the regional level, notably with the Economic Community of West African States.

Link to the statement of Ambassador Lucas