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Development Account Projects

Collection and analysis of data and trends in drugs, crime and victimization

Background:

Data on the situation of drugs and crime in Africa is limited and not well organized. This makes it most difficult to assess with accuracy whether any given situation is improving or worsening. Therefore, a mechanism urgently needs to be developed for the collection and analysis of data on drug, crime and victimization trends in Africa.

The proposed project is linked to the ongoing efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to collect and analyse data on major drug and crime issues. Economic and Social Council resolution 2004/32 called for an increased effort to combat drugs and crime as impediments to growth in Africa, including in the context of the Millennium Development Goals and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. The project will rely on the expertise of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the collection and analysis of data on drugs and crime and the support and input of its field offices and the network of African experts and institutions.

The project will focus on four subregions (North Africa, West and Central Africa, East Africa and southern Africa) and will involve eight countries (two in each subregion), to be selected. It is expected that at the end of the project the Governments of the participating countries will benefit from improved knowledge about the collection and analysis of data on crime and drugs, to support socio-economic development policies and programmes. It will also help the international community and the regional institutions to improve knowledge about the situation of drugs and crime in Africa, so that they can provide more effective and targeted assistance to the continent. The project will be executed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in collaboration with ECA and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The project will also cooperate with the Safer Cities Programme of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

Objective:

To enhance the capacity of African countries to collect and analyse data on trends in drugs, crime and victimization.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased know-how of African Member States on cost-effective mechanisms for data collection and analysis
  • Improved knowledge of the drug and crime situation and victimization in Africa
  • Strengthened capacity of Member States to collect data and report to the United Nations on drug and crime issues

Implementation status:

The project enhanced the capacity of selected African countries to collect and analyze data and trends in drugs, crime and victimization. Specifically, the programme assisted beneficiary states in Africa to generate better data and information on drugs and crime, build up data collection, analysis and reporting at the national, regional and international level.

Although the challenges to regular high-quality data collection in countries in Africa remain substantial, increased awareness through surveys, trainings and workshop under the project resulted in a better coordination among involved institutions in each country. The project succeeded in improving the collection and reporting of administrative data as well as the collection and analysis of survey data. Capacity building and sustainability through staff training and implementation of standardized tools were key elements. The exchange of information among African experts was further fostered by designated project activities such as developing an internet based information hub. The main accomplishments were:

  • Technical capacity built on cost-effective data collection and analysis at national level in Cape Verde, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • Regional Internet based hub established for communication and information exchange
  • Improved national systems of criminal justice data collection in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria.

At the start of the project, very few countries in Africa were systematically reporting crime and criminal justice data to the The United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS) questionnaire. Only 7 out of 54 African countries (13%) responded to the 9th CTS in 2006. The project was successful in increasing the number of responses in the two subsequent waves in 2008 (10th CTS: 11 answers or 20%) and 2009 (11th CTS: 15 answers or 28%).