UN launches strategic vision for Africa

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched the Strategic Vision for Africa 2030.

It is to provide innovative ways to support member states and stakeholders over the next 10 years to strengthen crime prevention, enhance the effectiveness of criminal justice systems, counter organised crime and corruption, promote balanced drug control and improve the rule of law.

Speaking at the launch, Executive Director UNODC, Ghada Waly said that the ‘Strategic Vision represents a transformative approach to our work. It aims to adopt an integrated, -centred, and human-rights based approach to empower African societies against drugs and crime.’

“By building resilience and promoting the rule of law, we can help African countries live up to their aspirations for sustainable development,” said Ms. Waly.

The event featured 20 speakers including several African Ministers, UN Under-Secretaries-General, an African Union Commissioner, an African Development Regional Director, ambassadors, government officials and civil society organisations.

Mozambique’s Minister of Justice, Helena Mateus Kida, said: “UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 is an opportunity to put our continent at the forefront of the fight against crime, with a focus on the challenges and that emanate from the decade of action.”

On the issue of environmental crime, Nigeria’s Minister of Environment Sharon O. Ikeazor, stated that the multi-faceted approach underlined in the UNODC Africa Strategic Vision would make significant impact on moving Nigeria away from the negative indices related to wildlife and forest crime.

Representing the African Union, the AU Commissioner for Health, Affairs and Social Development, Amira Elfadil, recognized that UNODC and the African Union had developed umbilical ties through partnerships and projects and welcomed this new vision and revitalised approach to the African continent in addressing the impact of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.

According to UNODC, while it aims to adopt an integrated and -centred approach to empower African societies to thrive as they sustainable solutions to drug and crime challenges, it also recognises the challenges faced by the estimated 489 million people living below the poverty line. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rise in violence against women, girls and children in general, and has disproportionately affected smuggled migrants and refugees, children and youth, populations and people who use drugs.

It noted that access to healthcare for more than 400 million African is either non-existent or severely restricted, adding that with more than 95 per cent of medicine and medical products in Africa imported, crime and corruption targeting medical products and health systems is an emerging threat.

“Corruption and a lack of sufficient accountability and oversight mechanisms are threatening Africa’s sustainable development, human security and governance. Africans are denied more than US$ 50 billion per year in public and private money that is illegally earned, transferred or used, according to the Mbeki report on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). An estimated US$ 88.6 billion, equivalent to 3.7 per cent of Africa’s GDP, leaves the continent yearly.

“With less than 10 years remaining to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 sets out a way forward that will enable partnerships to leverage Africa’s strengths and resources to address these challenges. UNODC’s mandates, technical expertise and wide geographic reach offer a unique opportunity to support the Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 priorities for peace, security, rule of law, health, human rights, social cohesion and economic growth,” it added.