Close-Knit Regional Strategies Vital to Combating Drug Trafficking in Sahel, West Africa, Secretary-General Tells Security Council

18 December 2013
SC/11224

Close-Knit Regional Strategies Vital to Combating Drug Trafficking in Sahel, West Africa, Secretary-General Tells Security Council

18 December 2013
Security Council
SC/11224
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7090th Meeting (AM)

Close-Knit Regional Strategies Vital to Combating Drug Trafficking

 

in Sahel, West Africa, Secretary-General Tells Security Council

The Security Council today expressed 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 region.

Through a presidential statement adopted unanimously, the Council emphasized the need to enhance interregional cooperation and coordination in order to develop inclusive and effective strategies to combat transnational organized crime, including drug and arms trafficking, and activities of terrorist groups.

The text commended the initiatives and measures taken by the States of the region to tackle the threat of drug trafficking, in particular the extension of the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control and of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Action Plan to address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa (2008-2015), as well as the implementation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Programme for West Africa.

Also stressing the importance of good governance and the need to fight against corruption, money-laundering and illicit financial flows, the Council called upon States of the region to continue to assist one another, in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime, and to bring to justice those who finance, plan, support or commit such acts.

In his opening address, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the region was a transit corridor for $1.25 billion of cocaine, but increasingly it was also a destination for the drugs, with more than a million users of illicit narcotics.  He urged Member States to ratify and fully implement the conventions against organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption.

Highlighting the need for close-knit regional strategies, he said that the weak intergovernmental cooperation in West Africa and the Sahel stood in marked contrast to the tightly networked structures of transnational criminal groups.  Therefore, the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel was focusing on a coordinated approach in that area.

In the same vein, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said that cocaine trafficking through West Africa was providing criminals with an income that exceeded the national security budgets of many countries in the region.  Their profits were undermining legal economies, fuelling corruption, and allowing criminals to support terrorist activities.

UNODC, he added, had developed a regional programme, which provided a framework for technical assistance.  All its initiatives had been developed in close cooperation with regional Governments, as well as regional and international partners, including the United Nations Office for West Africa, the Department of Political Affairs, the World Customs Union and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

Also briefing the Council today, Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, noted that Mali had already experienced the tragic consequences of the threat that drug trafficking and organized crime posed to fragile State institutions.

Highlighting the efforts that were being mobilized against this double threat, he said that both the United Nations Office for West Africa and UNODC supported the efforts of ECOWAS in that regard.  The United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel would also focus on drug trafficking and organized crime.

The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on behalf of ECOWAS, said that the magnitude of the drug trafficking problem had prompted the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to adopt a Political Declaration and Regional Action Plan that would focus on, among other things, mobilizing political leadership, enhancing law enforcement, and improving data collection.

The African Union had also developed a plan of action for drug control, the representative of that body said, which included capacity-building for information gathering and addressed the health and socioeconomic impacts of drug trafficking.

A holistic approach was necessary to coordinate efforts around drug addiction, the corruption of agencies responsible for controlling ports and entry points, and the resulting instability and armed conflict.

Several Member States also spoke during the debate that followed and emphasized the need for worldwide cooperation to tackle a problem whose effects went far beyond national and regional borders.  The representative of Rwanda noted that combating drug trafficking was a global war, with Africa as its centre.  The countries of the Sahel and West Africa were transit points for drugs coming from South America and Asia, on their way to Europe and North America where most of the consumption took place.

Fernando Carrera, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, commenting on the similarities between North Africa and Central America, said that “the engine of the drug trade” was the same globally, be it in producing, consuming or transit countries — the enormous profits generated by the illicit trade.  Arms trafficking and illegal financial flows from the North to the South were undermining democratic institutions.  The international community must move from partial responses towards an integrated one.

Speakers also highlighted the need to address root causes.  While targeted sanctions were necessary, the Russian Federation’s delegate pointed out, limited measures alone would not solve the problem.  “Realistic and effective job-creation strategies” were crucial and the business community could provide effective assistance.  Resolving the employment and education problem would enable the region to prevent the marginalization and radicalization of its youth.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Morocco, Togo, Australia, China, Argentina, United States, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Pakistan and France.

The President of the Council thanked the outgoing members of the Security Council for their efforts and welcomed the new members.

The meeting began at 10:14 a.m. and concluded at 12:38 p.m.

Background

For its debate this morning on peace and security in Africa:  combating drug trafficking in the Sahel and in West Africa, the Security Council had before it a concept paper on the subject, contained in a letter from the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2013/728).

Briefings

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that around the world drug trafficking and organized crime were threatening security and jeopardized peace.  In several countries, organized criminal networks also fuelled the activities of terrorist and extremist groups.  The international community faced a particular challenge in West Africa and the Sahel, with latest estimates finding that $1.25 billion of cocaine was transiting through West Africa each year.

Noting that the region was no longer just a transit route for drug traffickers but a growing destination, with more than a million users of illicit drugs, he urged M ember States to ratify and fully implement the conventions against organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption, as well as the international instruments on terrorism.  In too many places, weak intergovernmental cooperation stood in marked contrast to the closely networked structures of transnational criminal groups.

A coordinated approach in that area, he emphasized, was an important part of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.  Further, the Organization’s law enforcement and health efforts should fully support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Drug Abuse in West Africa.

YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said illicit drug trafficking and transnational organized crime threatened peace, security and the rule of law.  The Sahel and West Africa were particularly vulnerable, due to complex and interdependent problems, linked to political instability, porous borders and the immensity of the region.  A recent evaluation by UNODC had confirmed an ongoing threat posed by cocaine trafficking from Latin America to Europe.  Nearly 33 tons had passed through West Africa in 2010, 18 tons of which had gone to Europe for a market value of $125 billion — giving criminals an income that exceeded the national security budgets of many countries in the region.

Indeed, criminals had adapted their modes of operation, he said, using sea lines, commercial flights and private planes.  Heroin also passed through West Africa to lucrative markets.  The UNODC report had shown that methamphetamine seized in East Asia had originated in West Africa.  Fraudulent medication, which threatened public health, was also a concern, as was trafficking in humans, firearms, and cigarettes, as well as piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.  Those challenges — and their profits — had had a nefarious impact on efforts for peace and security, undermining legal economies, fuelling corruption, and allowing criminals to support terrorist activities.  The local use of drugs had intensified.

Recalling that the Secretary-General had repeatedly called for more support for West Africa, while the Council had expressed its concern, he said UNODC had developed a regional programme, which provided a framework for technical assistance.  All its initiatives had been developed in close cooperation with regional Governments, as well as regional and international partners, including United Nations Office for West Africa, the Department of Political Affairs, the World Customs Union and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).  A regional donors’ conference had been held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, last October, at which appeals had been made for better control of land, sea and air borders, as well as judicial cooperation.  Noting that more financing was needed, he said today’s meeting provided an opportunity to evaluate priorities and determine strategies best to deal with the situation.  With that, he urged the Council to consider the shared responsibility to deal with drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, corruption, money-laundering and terrorism in the region.

SAID DJINNIT, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), said that drug trafficking and organized crime posed an enormous threat to the fragile State institutions in West Africa.  Mali had already experienced the tragic consequences of that.  When he took office, he noted, West Africa was one of the transit routes for cocaine coming from Latin America going to Europe.  But UNODC was also worried about drug consumption in West Africa, a forecast that had since come true, as the Secretary-General had noted in his briefing.

However, the mobilization against drug trafficking and organized crime had been increasing and both the United Nations Office for West Africa and UNODC supported the efforts of ECOWAS in this regard.  The United Nations integrated strategy for Sahel would also focus on drug trafficking and organized crime.  Commending the ECOWAS leadership for their commitment to fighting drug trafficking, he also expressed appreciation to the European Union and other bilateral partners.  His office would continue to work closely with UNODC and ECOWAS and bolster effective cooperation among the countries of West Africa and the Sahel and between those countries and international partners.

The Council then adopted presidential statement S/PRST/2013/22.

Statements

FERNANDO CARRERA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, commented on the similarities between North Africa and Central America, saying that the situation of transit countries had given rise to narco-trafficking groups and criminal violence.  “Undoubtedly, the engine of the drug trade is the same globally, be it in producing, consuming or transit countries”, he said, referring to the enormous profits generated by the illicit trade.  The corrosive power of financial flows had originated in consuming countries, as had arms trafficking, which then reached transit and producing countries.  Arms trafficking and illegal financial flows from the North to the South were undermining the foundations of democratic institutions.

Guatemala sought a new model to address the global drug problem, he said, which was based on regulation, public health and respect for human rights.  He urged moving from partial and inefficient responses towards an integrated response which provided better results.  With that in mind, the Declaration of Antigua Guatemala, adopted in June 2013 at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), marked a milestone by launching an intergovernmental debate on the drug problem in the Americas.  With that, he stressed that there was ample intraregional cooperation in West Africa and the Sahel, promoted especially by ECOWAS.  All could agree that combating illicit drug trafficking was a major challenge that must be decisively addressed.

MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said organized crime across West Africa and the Sahel was a multibillion-dollar business.  UNODC had reported that 18 tons of cocaine transited West Africa each year, and was on the rise, while his Government had estimated that between 13 and 15 per cent of Europe-bound cocaine transited West Africa.  In addition, there was an increase in heroin, originating in South-West Asia, including Iran and Turkey.  The United Kingdom had proposed a Council resolution that would remind States not to pay ransoms to kidnappers.  More broadly, his Government urged a regional and holistic approach to tackling organized crime, notably by addressing its enablers.  The challenges included widespread corruption.  Criminal groups also exploited instability and weak governance.  Strengthening State institutions would allow Governments to provide better services, work that must be matched by regional cooperation.  Such actions must focus on building good governance, strengthening regional ability to share information, building criminal justice capacity, and improving joint actions on borders.  With that, he called for redoubled efforts to combat organized crime in the region.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that since 2004, the reports of several bodies, but particularly the UNODC, had confirmed that drug trafficking in the Sahel and West Africa was a growing threat.  The statistics provided by Mr. Fedotov were alarming and left no doubt about the influence of drug cartels operating in Africa.  The Sahel region had become a transit route, as well as a destination.  Further, drug trafficking fed and was fed by other illicit trafficking such as arms and human trafficking, piracy and separatism.  Its effects went beyond the Sahel and West Africa to elsewhere on the continent.  Since 2009, Morocco had set up a framework of cooperation with 22 African States to combat the scourge.  It was vital to attack the underlying causes — poverty, illiteracy and lack of future prospects.  Africa must continue to enjoy the support and assistance of the international community in order to address its challenges.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said that not only was the region of Sahel and West Africa a corridor for the flow of heroin and cocaine, it had also become a centre for the production of synthetic narcotics.  Only the coordinated action of the international community with the United Nations in the leading role could effectively counter the threat.  His country fully supported targeted sanctions against Al-Qaida entities, but limited measures alone would not solve the problem.  Therefore, the Russian Federation hoped that the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel would be a significant stabilizing factor in the region.

The search for a viable solution, he added, must take into account realistic and effective job-creation strategies.  In that regard, the business community could provide effective assistance.  It was also crucial to pay attention to the marginalization and radicalization of youth.  Resolving the employment and education problem and substantive strengthening of national capacity would enable the region to fight drug trafficking.  The Russian Federation supported today’s presidential statement and was prepared for constructive dialogue with all United Nations Member States.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said West Africa and the Sahel, because of their location, had drawn the attention of international criminal networks.  No trade generated as much money as drug trafficking, which financed armed activism in those regions.  Traffickers’ interest in the regions could be explained by factors, such as poverty, as well as porous borders and informal networks.  Those factors had fostered the proliferation of criminal groups.  The extension of the ECOWAS regional action plan for the 2013-2018 period had shown States’ commitment to address drug trafficking, organized crime and drug consumption in West Africa.  Cooperation among regional States to identify, investigate and judge criminals was ongoing, despite their need for financing.  For its part, Togo had adopted various measures, which had led to the establishment of an office for drug trafficking and money-laundering, as well as a financial investigation unit.  He urged the international community to provide technical assistance to States in need, in order to combat crime and promote cooperation.  It must also assist in conflict prevention, governance and development.

PHILIPPA KING ( Australia), on border management, said Australia’s experience had shown the importance of regional cooperation and managing threats before they reached the border.  The Rabat Conference on Border Cooperation in the Sahel and Maghreb had identified the needs of many States for customs training and stronger networks to enable better coordination.  In addition, the establishment of transnational crime units, notably in Sierra Leone and Liberia, had strengthened the ability of law enforcement agencies to share criminal intelligence.  Such units could only succeed with the necessary investigative skills, supported by appropriate technology, as well as political support.  A State with a strong anti-money-laundering framework was better placed to tackle the financing of terrorism and drug trafficking.  Finally, it was vital to consider opportunities for improved United Nations synergies.  She urged considering whether serious crime support units, developed by the United Nations Police Division, could be effective elsewhere.

LIU JIEYI ( China) said that West Africa and the Sahel region — given the fragile security institutions and weak border controls — had become a key area for drug traffickers, threatening the social and economic development of the region.  The problem needed to be tackled at the root level and the primary responsibility for combating this lay with the respective Governments.  However, those Governments often faced bottlenecks in resources and capacity and the international community, fully respecting the ownership of those countries, must help them improve their law enforcement and develop strategies to address money-laundering.  International cooperation must be strengthened to crack down on drug consumption markets so that demand did not fuel supply.  In the long run, poverty and underdevelopment represented the root causes of the problem and the United Nations agencies in the Sahel must work with one another to implement the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE ( Rwanda), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the African Union, said that the disturbing growth in drug trafficking was weakening an already threatened security apparatus in the continent.  The countries in the region were transit points for drugs coming from South America and Asia, on their way to Europe and North America where most of the consumption took place.  Therefore, combating drug trafficking was a global war, with Africa, unfortunately, at the centre.  Vulnerable political environments with civil wars and military coups had destabilized the entire region leading to the proliferation of small arms and weapons and crime syndicates, operating in a location where it was difficult to fight the trafficking.

Guinea-Bissau, he added, was symptomatic of what could happen if nothing was done to eradicate drug trafficking and organized crime.  Efforts must be made to address underlying causes by initiating security sector reform and addressing youth unemployment.  Welcoming the work of intergovernmental groups to fight money-laundering, he called on the international community to support ECOWAS in its plan against drug trafficking.  The African Union had also adopted a plan on control of narcotics.  Synergy throughout the continent was key to winning the fight.

MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) underlined the importance of implementing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, saying there were many challenges in that region and in West Africa.  Both ranked among the lowest in terms of human development.  In some areas, there was indeed a causal link between transnational organized crime and the funding of armed groups.  However, it was not always possible to link transnational organized crime and international peace and security, in all instances.  Argentina supported the principle of shared responsibility among producer, consumer and transit countries.  Her country urged a balanced between combating trafficking and measures to prevent consumption and to assist drug addicts.  Underlining the main responsibility of States in that regard, she acknowledged the value of international cooperation.  It was vital to have solid State bodies and properly trained staff.  She urged cooperation so that States could strengthen their institutions, improve their justice systems and adhere to the rule of law.  Development should also be a focus, as low development provided fertile ground for criminal activities.  Finally, a comprehensive approach must bear in mind unique local and regional situations.

JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) said the Sahel and West Africa had alarmingly become a drug trafficking corridor.  Drug trafficking targeted those countries with porous borders and limited resources, and had fuelled violent unrest in the region over the last year.  Left unchecked, drug traffickers would link up with groups and — in worst-case scenarios — rebel groups and violent extremists.  In Guinea-Bissau drug trafficking had been both a cause and consequence of poor governance.  Illicit trafficking correlated with school dropout, decreased workforce capacity, and diminished human capital.  Governments must tackle those issues head-on and he welcomed the extension of the ECOWAS regional action plan, emphasizing the importance of regional solutions that crossed borders, cultures, languages and economic systems.  It was time to translate the policies adopted over the last year into action.  The United Nations had a crucial role to play, especially on the issue of borders.  For its part, the United States would soon launch new programmes in Mali and Chad.  It had helped Nigeria develop a training curriculum for law enforcement agencies.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said that, while the Secretary-General’s report outlined the progress to date, more should be done at national, regional and international levels to effectively address illicit drug trafficking and criminal activity in West Africa and the Sahel.  The need for urgent response was compounded by growing political, security and humanitarian vulnerabilities, such as weapons proliferation and growing links between criminal networks and terrorist and armed groups.  Commending regional leaders for having adopted measures to tackle those threats, he said it was also clear that West Africa and the Sahel could not overcome such treats in isolation.  It was critical that bilateral and multilateral actors contributed to regional and national efforts.  In addition, it was necessary for international and regional actors to tailor their initiatives to address the individual needs of States.  Further, serious attention should be given to appeals for capacity-building assistance.  More resources were also needed to sustain the fight against drugs and crime in West Africa and the Sahel.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said that the huge profits from drug trafficking not only weakened States, but enabled traffickers to benefit further by exploiting security loopholes.  Commending the efforts made by countries in the region, through ECOWAS and the Mano River Union, to combat drug trafficking, she noted that African civil society was also mobilizing against the threat.  The European Union and its member States had made a commitment to work alongside their partners in Africa and within the United Nations.  The UNODC was playing a central role, aided by the efforts of UNOWA.  The Peacebuilding Commission also had a role to play in institutional capacity-building in the countries it was helping in West Africa.  The best police system in the world would fail if the chain was interrupted by the judicial system.  Therefore, judicial solutions needed to be explored on a regional basis.  Countries of trafficking and consumption must work together, well aware that those categories were overlapping.

OH JOON ( Republic of Korea) said that West Africa was emerging as a major transit point, as well as hub of consumption and production.  No one country alone could tackle the problem and that was all the more true in the case of States with weakened security institutions.  Effective implementation of regional and international strategies depended on strengthening of national legal capacities.  Stressing the central role of regional organizations, he said that the action plans formulated by ECOWAS and the African Union would be crucial in the fight against drug trafficking.  Establishing early warning and prevention systems were necessary and they should be included in the mandate of peacekeeping operations.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said West Africa and the Sahel were particularly vulnerable to drug trafficking, consumption and production.  Drug consumption had increased and the region had become a major producer of synthetic drugs.  “In short, drug trafficking poses a direct threat to peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel”, he said, noting counter-measures must be based on a comprehensive approach that gave due weight to development.  National actions must be supported by regional and international cooperation.  Regional countries must strengthen judicial systems, security sectors and police institutions.  Steps must also be taken to fight impunity and corruption.  He urged harmonizing legal and judicial responses to drug trafficking. “Thankfully we are not starting from scratch”, he said, citing the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said drug trafficking posed a threat to the Sahel and West Africa.  Those regions had become a hub for cocaine, while cannabis and heroin were emerging.  Funds from drug use had fostered rebellions, as had been seen in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.  Regional States had requested support for various initiatives, and France had responded at the 6-7 December summit, where delegations stated they would curb drug trafficking and consumption on the two continents.  France supported security and safety for African borders and maritime areas, having called for a European Union strategy for maritime safety covering the Gulf of Guinea.  As for the Council, it must be better informed about the impacts of drug trafficking and organized crime.  He requested UNODC, the Department of Political Affairs and others to provide more information in that regard.

TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said work to solve the problems of drug trafficking and use in West Africa and the Sahel should be carried out against the backdrop of the current economic, political and social context.  The region was marked by widespread poverty, political instability — including civil wars — and the increasing spread of terrorist activities, especially in the vast Sahel and Sahara deserts.  Those threats to regional peace and security were partly born of, and sustained by, various conditions, he said, noting that the average life expectancy in the region was 48 years, while the adult literacy rate was 25 per cent.  Forty per cent — or 60 million people — were illiterate.

He said that the African Union had always stressed that tackling drug trafficking required holistic methods to coordinate efforts around addiction, the corruption of agencies responsible for controlling ports and entry points, and the resulting instability and armed conflict.  Drug traffickers had developed trade networks by infiltrating State law enforcement and security agencies.  Drug trafficking was detrimental to social cohesion, political stability and profitable economic activity.  In addressing such challenges, countries in West Africa and the Sahel were hindered by the magnitude of the porosity of land, maritime and air borders, as well as the impunity of corrupt officials.

In that context, he said the African Union was developing measures to support State efforts to address drug trafficking and related challenges in various regions, including West Africa and the Sahel.  The African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) outlined a strategy for tackling supply and demand by targeting the sources and destination of illicit drugs.  It also addressed the health and socioeconomic impacts of drug trafficking.  It was holistic, he said, and included capacity-building for information gathering.

YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, said that the major political challenges that took place in 2012 in Mali and Guinea-Bissau could affect the fight against drug trafficking as the former was a transit country for cocaine and cannabis resin and the latter was a hub for cocaine trafficking.  Therefore, the joint action from ECOWAS, the African Union and international partners was to be commended for bringing about some level of stability in those countries.

While much was known, he added, about the degree and nature of drug trafficking through and within West African countries, less known was the volume of use in the region and the consequences of the use and abuse of illicit drugs.  The lack of information on demand for drugs was of concern to the ECOWAS Commission and member States.  The magnitude of the problem and its consequences had prompted the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to adopt a Political Declaration and Regional Action Plan on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crimes in West Africa.  The Plan focused on various factors including mobilization of political leadership, effective law enforcement and valid reliable data.

Through the Plan, he continued, the ECOWAS Commission was able to build capacity, improve internal coordination, support the development of national strategies and improve overall understanding of the issues among various stakeholders.  However, progress had been slow due to the dynamic nature of drug policy discussions, inadequate resources and financial support, and delays in building consensus on the strategic approach.  With renewed political commitment and by extending the action plan for two years, ECOWAS was going to tackle new challenges and accelerate the implementation of the Regional Action Plan.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement (S/PRST/2013/22) reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council expresses 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 region as pointed out in the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.  It stresses that drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, particularly in the Sahel and West Africa, contribute to undermining the authority of States, their security and stability, governance, social and economic development and the rule of law.

“The Security Council expresses also deep concern over the increasing links, in some cases, between drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, including arms and human trafficking, in the region, and terrorism, as well as at the growing violence resulting from activities of criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking in the region.  It emphasizes the need to enhance interregional cooperation and coordination in order to develop inclusive and effective strategies to combat in a comprehensive and integrated manner transnational organized crime, including drug and arms trafficking, and activities of terrorist groups.

“The Security Council takes note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General S/2013/359 and welcomes his recommendations to combat Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking in West Africa and the Sahel, pursuant to its presidential statement 2012/2 and expresses concern that the region remains affected by the trafficking of cocaine, cannabis and heroin, the growing local consumption of drugs and the emerging production of synthetic drugs.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of countries of the region.

“The Security Council commends the initiatives and measures taken by the States of the Region to tackle the threat of drug trafficking, in particular the extension of the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2018) and of the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa (2008-2015), as well as the implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa, underlining that combating drug-trafficking is the primary responsibility of States.  It commends the enhanced cooperation between the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, as reflected in the Yaoundé declaration on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, adopted in June 2013, pursuant to the Security Council’s resolution 2039 (2012).  It also commends the initiatives to strengthen security and border control in the region of North Africa and the Sahel-Saharan region, with the adoption of the Action Plan on border security, during the first Regional Ministerial conference, held in Tripoli, in March 2012, and the creation of a regional training centre to enhance border security, during the second Regional Ministerial conference, held in Rabat, in November 2013, as well as other subregional initiatives supported by the United Nations.

“The Security Council calls on States that have not yet ratified or implemented the relevant international conventions, such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000 and the Protocols thereto and the United Nations Convention against corruption of 2003, to do so.

“The Security Council recalls the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem and reaffirms that responses to drug trafficking need to be addressed in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The Security Council stresses the importance of strengthening transregional and international cooperation on a basis of a common and shared responsibility to counter the world drug problem and related criminal activities, and underlines that it must be addressed in a comprehensive, balanced and multidisciplinary manner.

“The Security Council commends the decision of the States of the region to harmonize their national legal and institutional frameworks for maritime surveillance and to develop joint maritime operational procedures.  It commends further the establishment of regional and interregional centres of information exchange and coordination on the Atlantic front, in order to facilitate maritime interdictions.  The Council underlines the need to strengthen the transnational cooperation of law enforcement agencies, including through the inclusion of maritime security in Security Sector Reforms and through the adoption of bilateral and regional agreements to facilitate measures, in accordance with international law, against drug trafficking by sea and for the prosecution of suspects engaged in such trafficking, following maritime interdictions on the high seas.  It calls for the continued support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other relevant international and regional organizations.  In this regard, it welcomes the contribution by the European Union and Member States, and calls on further international support to ongoing regional and national efforts towards strengthening maritime security and surveillance against drug trafficking in the region.  The Security Council also encourages further support to the UNODC/World Customs Organization Container Control Programme to enhance law enforcement responses at sea and dry ports.

“While reaffirming that securing their borders is the sovereign prerogative of Member States, the Security Council calls on Member States of West Africa and the Sahel region to strengthen border management to effectively constrain the spread of transnational threats, such as drug trafficking.  To this aim, it encourages Member States and relevant organizations, as appropriate, to enhance cooperation and strategies to combat cross-border drug trafficking and to assist Member States of the region, as requested, to build the capacity to secure their borders against such illicit cross-border trafficking, including through the strengthening of national and regional systems to collect, analyse and disseminate criminal intelligence.  It encourages further activities building on the conclusions of the United Nations Conference on Border Control and Cooperation in the Sahel and the Maghreb organized in Rabat.  It commends the initiatives of the States of the Region to rehabilitate key border checkpoints and to undertake joint patrols.  It commends further the capacity-building activities undertaken by the European Union in Niger and Libya and calls for its continued support.

“The Security Council expresses concern with reports of the growing use of air transportation for drug trafficking and encourages support to the Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP) led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL, and encourages further measures to build drug-interdiction capacities.

“The Security Council calls upon States of the Region to continue to assist each other, to the maximum extent possible, in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime, and to bring to justice those who finance, plan, support or commit such acts, in accordance with international law.  It calls on relevant entities of the United Nations, including the Peacebuilding Commission and other relevant international and regional organizations to support the development and strengthening of the capacities of national and regional institutions, in particular of the law enforcement agencies, including towards the strengthening of the West Africa Coast Initiative, and the judicial systems of the countries of the region, to prevent, investigate, prosecute, judge and punish those responsible for drug trafficking related crimes and transnational criminal activities, as well as to provide mutual legal assistance.  It stresses further the importance of fighting corruption, promoting transparency and increasing accountability in order to effectively and efficiently combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the region.

“The Security Council stresses the importance of good governance and the need to fight against corruption, money-laundering and illicit financial flows, in particular through the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the comprehensive international standards embodied in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) revised Forty Recommendations on Combating Money-Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, including by adopting legislative and regulatory measures, to enable the competent domestic authorities to freeze or seize, confiscate and manage criminal assets, in order to combat drug trafficking in the region.  It also encourages the States of the Region to further their engagement within the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money-Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).

“The Security Council calls upon States to assist in countering the drug problem in the region within the framework of national, regional and international strategies, to take effective measures to emphasize and facilitate healthy, productive and fulfilling alternatives to the illicit consumption of drugs and to promote, develop, review or strengthen effective, comprehensive, integrated drug demand reduction programmes, based on scientific evidence, aimed at promoting health and social well-being among individuals, families and communities and reducing the adverse consequences of drug abuse for individuals and society as a whole.

“The Security Council recognizes the support provided by bilateral and multilateral actors, including the European Union, the African Union, the subregional organizations, including ECOWAS, as well as INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa, as well as the relevant United Nations entities, to efforts aimed at combating drug trafficking in the region.  The Council calls upon Member States, to increase international and regional cooperation, on the basis of a common and shared responsibility, as well as their cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotic Control Board, in order to counter the illicit production of, demand for and trafficking in drugs, and to identify emerging trends in drug trafficking.

“The Security Council encourages an enhanced collaboration between all relevant entities, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Office in West Africa and the United Nations Office for Central Africa, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the UN Police Division, and the UN Development Programme, in charge of establishing an effective and detailed coordination mechanism to prioritize activities and to ensure coordinated implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, including on its security aspects.  It encourages the inclusion of combating drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the work of all relevant United Nations entities across the region, in accordance with their respective mandates and actively maximizing synergies.

“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to consider these threats as a factor in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessments, planning and peacebuilding support and to consider including in his reports, analysis of the role played by these threats in situations on the Council’s agenda.  It acknowledges the need for UNODC to keep the Security Council informed of the threats of drug trafficking and related transnational crime on situations on the Council’s agenda, notably when examining the mandates of peacekeeping operations and political missions, and calls 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.”

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.