Peace Day 2009: “Peace depends on a strong bond between the Government and the people”
KABUL - As Peace Day 21 September approaches UNAMA is featuring articles from UN agencies on the work the UN is doing for peace in Afghanistan. 3: UNODC
The drug trade, corruption and unregulated borders are challenges to achieving peace in Afghanistan. They are mutually reinforcing challenges, contributing to political instability, creating opportunities for the insurgency, undermining good governance, complicating Afghanistan’s international relationships and attracting barriers to trade.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) works at the intersection of these challenges to peace. In counter-narcotics, we aim to reduce the number of people engaged in the drug trade, prevent and ameliorate its health consequences, shrink its relative weight in the Afghan economy, and curb its corrupting political influence.
This has required cooperation with communities and agencies from every corner of Afghanistan, building a broad front against the broad threat of a drug-fuelled economy and drug-fuelled violence.
UNODC provides specialist training, mentoring and equipment to enable the Government of Afghanistan to detect, intercept and prosecute drug-related crimes.
Recognising that the pursuit of peace requires the power of knowledge, we assist the Government in collecting and analysing information related to the drug trade from opium farming techniques to narco-insurgency.
We also advise on how to remedy the difficulties faced by communities cultivating opium as they attempt to find alternative sources of income.
Peace in Afghanistan depends on a strong bond between the Government and the people. Corruption cripples this bond. UNODC advises the Government on developing and implementing effective mechanisms that prevent, expose and punish corruption.
More broadly, we work with Parliament and the judiciary to improve the criminal justice system, aiming to build Afghans’ trust in the protective power of their Government.
In border control, UNODC and the Government seek the effective management of trade and migration, balancing the benefits of free flows with the costs of the drug trade, arms trafficking and insurgent infiltration.
Our approach encourages cooperation between border agencies and the people they police, with encouraging responses from communities which are keenly aware of the threats they face. We also facilitate interaction between Afghanistan and its neighbours, providing a platform for shared management of shared problems.
This last point of regional cooperation is perhaps the most important. The drug trade, insurgency, the movement of weapons – these are all transnational challenges to peace.
UNODC therefore devotes energy and its good offices to fostering the Government’s relationships with surrounding countries. Common understandings of threats, common approaches and common political will at the regional level are the keys to comprehensive solutions to the threats to peace in Afghanistan.
Through the years, UNODC’s partnerships with Afghanistan’s Government, its people and its neighbours have strengthened. The challenges of counter-narcotics, criminal justice, border control and international cooperation will continue in the years ahead – as will UNODC’s commitment to breaching these barriers to peace.
By Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Representative