ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan (COPAK) on Friday hosted Government officials, Diplomatic Corps, Civil Society and Private Sector partners to celebrate achievements of UNODC’s Country Programme for Pakistan II (2016-2021) and to launch the Third Phase of the Country Programme (2022-2025).
The event was held here at a local hotel. The UNODC COPAK’s results under the previous Country Programme (CP-II) 2016-2021 include support at the policy level, with the development, enactment, and approval of Bills and Acts, and assistance at the technical and operational level, training more than 40,000 law enforcement personnel through face-to-face as well as eLearning courses, also providing equipment and infrastructure facilities to Government counterparts, says a press release of the UNODC.
In addition, the UNODC supported the creation of important digital platforms such as the Prison Management Information System in 65 Prisons of Sindh and Punjab, and Case Management Information System to facilitate communication between investigation and prosecution.
At the launch, Julien Harneis, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan also reiterated that “the work of UNODC directly support the efforts of Member States related to SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” and SDG 5 “Gender Equality” which is imperative for promoting rule of law, gender responsiveness to fighting crime, improve overall governance structures, and promote citizen-centric policies for sustainable growth”.
Mr Sabino Sikandar Jalal, Acting Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control, pointed out that “Given the complexity and international linkage of trafficking in illicit drugs, no country can win this war alone. Concerted efforts by the international community can help in addressing this menace more effectively”.
In a video message, the UNODC’s Executive Director Ms Ghada Waly expressed her gratitude to all the partners who have been supporting UNODC in Pakistan and shared that the Country Programme is “a tailored implementation vehicle of the UNODC Strategy 2021-2025 in Pakistan – proposing integrated, scalable, and sustainable solutions to address the multifaceted responses to all forms of crime, inclusive of gender-responsive programming for achieving rule of law while promoting human rights”.
In launching the new UNODC CP-III 2022-2025, Dr Jeremy Milsom, Country Representative of UNODC COPAK, unveiled four priority areas in Pakistan: Illicit Trafficking and Border Management – assistance to Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) on land/sea border management, counternarcotics and other forms of contraband smuggling, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and cybercrime.
Criminal Justice System and Legal Reforms – assistance to all agents of the rule of law chain, such as police and criminal justice institutions, on themes spanning from anti-corruption, gender-based violence, prison management, and money laundering.
Drug Demand Reduction and HIV/AIDS – Grassroot advocacy and community outreach, as well as policy-level support on drug addiction, drug treatment, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and opioid substitution. Preventive and Countering Terrorism – Legal support to criminal justice institutions on counterterrorism, victim protection/assistance, prevention of violent extremism, terrorism financing, and international cooperation.
In addition to the four country-level priorities, UNODC COPAK coordinates and integrates activities with its regional vehicle, UNODC’s Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, as well as with numerous Global Programmes.
The eLearning cross-cutting programme also provides Government partners with state-of-the-art eLearning modules in English, Urdu, and Pashto. Dr Milsom stressed that CP-III will be a much more innovative Country Programme, which will better integrate and synergize all thematic areas at national, regional, and global level.
While engaging with the audience, the Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC Pakistan, Shehzad Roy said, “I had been following UNODC’s work even before joining them as a Goodwill Ambassador, The Agency’s work is commendable; I am a strong advocate of all they do, and emphasize their mandate specially under SDG 16 – peace and security – which UNODC prioritizes and is so well known for” All this work which they are doing is interlinked to make Pakistan a more secure place”.
He thanked all the donors for their financial support which had made it possible to bring about change and make a difference”. The Country Programme launch was attended by senior government officials, representatives of private sector associations, representatives of development partners, diplomats, including the colleagues from UN agencies.