UN and Japan sign agreement to combat illicit drugs and human trafficking

A human trafficking awareness billboard. Photo: IRIN/Mohamed Amin Jibril

3 June 2013 – The United Nations and the Government of Japan today agreed to enhance regional cooperation to fight the trade of illicit narcotics and human trafficking, as well as terrorism and cybercrime in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Joint Action Plan of Action between the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Japan was signed at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which concluded earlier today in Yokohama, Japan.

“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Government of Japan have a long and fruitful history of cooperation across the globe, in areas ranging from countering illicit narcotic drugs, combating terrorism and strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice. I welcome this new Joint Plan of Action, which will serve to strengthen our efforts still further,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.

“We know that insecurity and conflict fuel crime while drugs and crime fuel conflict and undermine security. Addressing these threats can contribute to building peace and promoting human security within and across regions,” he added.

While in Japan, Mr. Fedotov met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, together with other heads of international organizations, to discuss Japan’s support for UNODC’s work. He also addressed participants at TICAD V, including during a session on peacebuilding efforts and a symposium on human security in which he emphasized the agency’s integrated approach working with regional partners in West Africa and the Sahel.

The Sahel region – which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea – suffers from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, porous borders that present security challenges, as well as significant human rights problems.

As part of its efforts to assist development, humanitarian and security assistance in the Sahel region and to help tends of thousands of African find jobs, Japan today announced a $1 billion fund. The fund is part of a $32 billion contribution to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies, and promoting inclusive and resilient societies.

Participants at TICAD V today issued the Yokohama Declaration, which calls on African countries to unleash the continent's business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.

As part of the overall Action Plan, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.

“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.

UNDP co-organized TICAD V, along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).


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