UNODC - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The fight against drugs in Afghanistan

The fight against drugs in Afghanistan, © picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb


UNODC - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna combines since 2002 the center for International Crime Prevention (CICP) and the Drug Control Program (UNDCP) of the United Nations. UNODC's mandate includes normative work in the field of drug control and crime prevention, information on all drugs and crime aspects and field-based technical cooperation projects. It aims at enhancing member states' capacities in combating illicit drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.

I. Drug Programme

International cooperation on drug policy in the framework of the United Nations is based on the three UN drug conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988.

The three UN drug conventions commit states to control the production and distribution of narcotic substances, ensure their availability for medical purposes, to fight drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, to establish the necessary administrative structures, and to inform the international bodies about their respective activities. The 2019 Ministerial Declaration contains many elements of German and European drugs policy: elements of prevention and medical treatment, respect for human rights in the fight against drug trafficking, international cooperation and the issue of alternative development in countries of production.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1946 as the central UN policy-making body on drug-related matters. During the Commission meetings, convened annually in March, policy guidance is defined for the practical work of UNODC in the area of drug control.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of the UN controls the trafficking and use of precursor chemicals, narcotic and psychotropic substances for medical purposes and monitors the compliance with the UN drug conventions.

Germany actively cooperates with UNODC and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and its Secretariat to enforce the three conventions. Activities are coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Health/the Federal Government Drug Commissioner.

UNODC coordinates all drug-related activities of the United Nations, supports states in complying with the drug conventions and is responsible for planning and execution of drug control programmes. UNODC also publishes information on all aspects of international drug problems, in particular the annual World Drug Report.

II. Crime Programme

The international community cooperates on issues of crime prevention and control already since 1955 in the meetings of the World Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held every five years.

The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is the main policy body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and control. It was set up as an expert commission of the Economic and Social Council in 1992. Meeting annually in May, the Commission defines policy guidance for the practical work of UNODC in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice.

The UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three additional protocols on trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and production/trafficking in firearms have provided an up-to-date, global legal basis for international cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice. The Convention - also known as the „Palermo Convention“ indicating the place where it was adopted - covers matters of legal assistance, extradition procedures and cooperation of law enforcement agencies. It entered into force on 29 September 2003, followed by the additional Protocol on trafficking in persons (25 December 2003), the Protocol on the smuggling of migrants (28 January 2004) and the Firearms protocol (3 July 2005). One of the first states to sign the Convention and its Protocols, Germany has ratified the Convention as well as the Protocols on trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants on 14 June 2006.

Negotiations on a UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) were completed in August 2003, and the Convention was submitted for signature in December 2003 in Merida, Mexico, Germany being one of the first state signatories. The Convention entered into force on 14 December 2005. Germany ratified this convention in November 2014.

The UNCAC convention has established a review mechanism in 2009. Every member state is evaluated by two peer states with support of the UNCAC secretariat on complying with the convention’s rules.

Future work will focus on the implementation of both conventions, including technical assistance for less-prepared countries.The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is developing projects to assist Member States in the implementation of the conventions. Activities cover advice on legislation, training for police and judicial officers as well as data collection and analysis, which include exchange of experience, best practices and information with national and international public institutions and experts.

The Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC, closely cooperating with the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the UN Security Council, is focusing on technical cooperation to promote the ratification and practical implementation of the nineteen UN terrorism conventions.

III. Technical Cooperation Projects

Within its Technical Cooperation framework UNODC organizes and coordinates projects on a worldwide scale. UNODC has around 20 field offices and around 70 project offices worldwide. Germany is one of the major donor countries and contributes both to the general purpose fund (with money from the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Health) and also to concrete projects with funds from different ministries. Over the past years, German funding has focused on alternative development projects and terrorism prevention in Africa, as well as police cooperation in Central Asia. Germany has contributed to UNODC's Container Control Programme in order to reduce trafficking in a wide range of illegal goods. Germany has also supported the publication of guidance material of UNODC for the implementation of the revised UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and co-chairs, together with South Africa, a group of friends of the Nelson Mandela Rules at the United Nations.

Contact UNODC:

UNODC in the World Wide Web:

Website UNODC

Internship at the Laboratory and Scientific Section of UNODC

The Laboratory and Scientific Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) offers internships with a broad scope of activities including the development of drug analysis procedures, the preparation of drugs and precursor field test kits, and support to national laboratories. Applicants for an internship should have a degree in chemisty, pharmacy or related sciences.

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UNODC Calendar of events

Updated meetings and events calendar of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (go to „Vienna Calendar of Meetings“):

NODC Calendar of Meetings

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