I am pleased to convey my warm greetings to this conference in support of the West Africa Coast Initiative to stem illicit trafficking and transnational crime in the region.
Drug trafficking and transnational organized crime threaten security, undermine respect for the rule of law and human rights, and jeopardize peace, stability and development.
In a growing number of countries, organized criminal networks also fuel the activities of terrorist and extremist groups. Corruption, porous borders and a lack of resources and cooperation only compound the problem.
Today, West Africa is not just a transit route for drug traffickers, it is also a growing destination. Rising consumption aggravates an already challenging public health environment and threatens socio-economic development.
The United Nations supports the efforts of ECOWAS and its Member States through the Regional Action Plan. I commend the WACI countries’ engagement and the international donor partners’ support. I urge you to continue building on your work in the spirit of shared responsibility.
Thank you for your commitment.