FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mr. President, thank you for convening today's meeting on the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. I would also like to thank UNODC Executive Director Fedotov for his thorough briefing and welcome him back once more to the Council.
The 2011 World Drug Report, released yesterday, underscores the threat of illicit drug use and trafficking. The report states that 200,000 people die every year from using illicit drugs and that drug traffickers are working to circumvent traditional routes and expand illicit drug markets.
The consequences of illicit drug use and trafficking are far-reaching for global economic health, security, and development—it is a threat that transcends borders, and defeating it will take transnational efforts.
We believe we are already on the right track: over the last several years, we prioritized the important role of the United Nations in assisting states in implementing the three UN drug control conventions that form the backbone of our common approach.
International organizations such as UNODC make substantial contributions to the fight against transnational organized crime and drug trafficking. In 2010, the United States provided about $34 million to support UNODC activities, and we are committed to continuing our support in 2011. Such efforts act as a force multiplier and complement the work of bilateral programs.
On a bilateral and regional level, the United States has expanded cooperation with our neighbors in Mexico and Central America. This year we will deliver $500 million in equipment, training, and other expertise to support Mexico's strong law enforcement response to the threat posed by the drug cartels and other criminal groups. The United States is also committed to helping the nations of Central America combat drug trafficking, transnational gangs, organized crime and related violence through initiative such as the Central American Citizen Security Partnership.
The United States supports regional efforts, like UNODC's Paris Pact, to combat the Afghan opiate trade and its links to insurgency, instability, and organized crime.
The United States is also committed to partnering with West African nations to enhance citizen security and address the significant threat of increased drug trafficking. We will direct $35 million in assistance toward integrated and collaborative regional security and rule of law programs under our new West African Citizen Security Initiative.
We are trying to strengthen criminal justice systems and control and prevent diversion of drugs, while still ensuring their availability for medical and scientific purposes. This is a long-term process that requires a continued commitment to reduce transnational crime.
To this end, the United States commends UNODC's capacity-building efforts and its decade-long work to provide technical assistance to help states with the practical application of the provisions of the UN Convention against Transnational Crime. The United States is committed to continuing its support for efforts to develop a peer review mechanism that helps States Parties identify challenges and successes in implementing the Convention.
The United States also believes that these long-term anti-crime efforts must attack the corruption that makes this criminal activity possible. The United States is pleased to be one of the countries that will be reviewed during this first year of the UN Convention against Corruption peer review mechanism, which was launched in June 2010.
The collective action of concerned member states is critical to addressing the threats posed by transnational crime and drug trafficking. The United States looks forward to continued cooperation with other nations committed to this important effort.
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