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    UNIS/CP/649
    7 June 2011

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Discusses Crime and Drug Prevention with High-Level Italian Officials

    VIENNA/ROME, 7 June (UN Information Service) - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov met with several senior Italian officials to discuss a range of drug- and crime-related matters, including migrant smuggling into Southern Europe on the back of the recent and ongoing events in North Africa.

    Mr. Fedotov's meetings with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, the Minister of Justice, Angelino Alfano, and the Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Interior, Alfredo Mantovano, covered a range of issues which the Executive Director noted were of critical importance to regional safety and security. Mr. Fedotov also held discussions on drug demand reduction and treatment and prevention of drug use with Senator Carlo Giovanardi and Giovanni Serpelloni, Director of the Department for Anti-Drug Policies in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

    Italy's commitment to countering international crime and its relationship with UNODC is a longstanding one. Italy has been one of the main donors to UNODC and contributed more than US$ 110 million over the last ten years. In December 2000 the Italian Government hosted the first High-level Political Conference of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime allowing Member States to sign this critical treaty and representing an historic milestone. A decade later the Convention - or Palermo Convention as it is widely called - is considered the world's foremost tool in tackling cross-border criminals.

    "The Palermo Convention and its Protocols are the most important legal tools in today's global fight against organized crime. They are the sole universal instruments that we have to counter transnational crime, the trafficking of persons, tackle smuggling of migrants and work against the movement of illicit firearms," said Mr. Fedotov.

    The meetings also covered the current developments in North Africa with the Executive Director noting that UNODC is working closely with the UN system in defining responses to the changes in the region and ensuring that issues concerning criminal justice and security sector reforms are addressed.

    The issue of transatlantic cocaine was also covered, following the May 2011 G8+ Ministerial Meeting which was convened to discuss this topic. Mr. Fedotov praised the endorsement of the G8 Plan of Action and Political Declaration which recognized the role played by the international drug control conventions and UNODC. The Executive Director also labelled the formation of an anti-cocaine trust fund which is to be financed by confiscated proceeds "progressive" and noted that "by using drug money to fight this scourge it sends a clear message to criminals that this will not be tolerated".

    Lastly, the issue of counter-piracy work and maritime security was discussed. Italy was recently appointed Chair of the ad hoc group on illicit financial flows linked to piracy which was established by the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), and has contributed to UNODC's Anti-Piracy Trust Fund in support of the Puntland prison construction project and building prosecutorial support in the area.

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    For more information please contact

    In Rome, Italy:

    Daniela Salvati
    Liaison Office, United Nations Interregional Crime and Research Institute (UNICRI)
    Telephone: (+39-06) 678-9907
    Mobile: (+39-339) 683-5836
    Email: salvati[at]unicri.it

    In Vienna, Austria:

    Alun Jones
    Chief of Communications and Advocacy
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5726
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5726
    Email: alun.jones[at]unodc.org