United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Organization type Part of the
UN Secretariat
Abbreviation UNODC
management Ghada Waly since 2020 Egypt
Founded 1997
Headquarters Vienna Austria
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( english United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime , UNODC ) is a device for the fight against crime part of the UN Secretariat .

The Bureau for Drugs and Crime is a world leader in the fight against (as defined in the UN Convention against Narcotic Drugs ) illegal drugs and international crimes. It was founded in 1997 and has around 500 employees worldwide. The headquarters of the UNODC are located in the UN City in Vienna ; There is a liaison office in New York City and a further 21 branch offices worldwide. The UNODC is largely financed by voluntary contributions from individual states, which make up around 90 percent of the budget. For 2016, the spending was $ 242 million.

Work program

The 3 pillars of the UNODC work program are:

  • Research and analytical activities to improve knowledge and understanding of drug and crime matters and to broaden the basis for policy and operational decision-making;
  • pioneering work to States in the ratification of international treaties and in the development of national legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism support, and the provision of basic and support services for the contract-based and governing institutions;
  • Field-based technical cooperation projects to increase member states' capacity in the fight against banned drugs, crime and terrorism.


An important part of UNODC is the United Nations International Drug Control Program (Engl. United Nations International Drug Control Program , UNDCP ). This was founded in 1991. In October 2002 it was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which now also administers the funds of the UNDCP. The main concern of the UNODC is to educate the world about the dangers of drug abuse and to increase international activities against drug production, trafficking and drug-related crime.

Global Study on Homicide

In 2011, the UNODC published the Global Study on Homicide for the first time. The study has been updated several times since then, most recently in 2019.

On the one hand, it is about homicides or murder because it is the ultimate crime. On the other hand, homicides are also used as an approximation ( proxy ) for the general crime level in a national or long-term comparison.

The study illuminates the topic from many perspectives. The global level, world regions, states and sometimes regions within states are compared in terms of their crime level, mostly measured in terms of murder rates. The gender ratio of perpetrators and victims by region is also presented and discussed. This shows that both perpetrators and victims of murder are mainly young men, which varies significantly from region to region.

Not only the status quo is considered, but above all the developments, i.e. in which region there were improvements or deteriorations. A slight decrease in crime has been identified worldwide over the decades . From a more differentiated view, there was only one region with increasing crime and killing rates: the Caribbean countries. In North America, Asia, Australia and, above all, Europe, death rates have fallen significantly since at least the early 1990s.

The aim of the study is policy advice. Social framework conditions and political measures are named which increase or decrease the level of crime. This should help to achieve the UN goal 16 for sustainable development , which also includes a significant reduction in global average crime by the year 2030.

Action days

The " World No Drugs Day " officially International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held annually on 26 June. This day of action was set by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1987 and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was made responsible for “World Drugs Day”. In China, the day is often marked by the execution of convicted drug criminals.


A large part of the payments from which the UNODC is financed are made by countries that have restrictive drug policies, such as Sweden . Critics accuse the office of orienting its positions primarily towards these donors.

So the UNODC and its former (until 2010) director Antonio Maria Costa explicitly advocated a restrictive drug policy and unilaterally highlighted the successes in countries with such a policy in their own publications. B. Sweden's Successful Drug Policy: A Review of the Evidence . Critics (e.g. from the Transnational Institute ) counter this with the example of France and the USA , which despite restrictive drug policies in relation to the size of their population have the highest proportion of illicit drug users worldwide. Also criticized the UNODC stands for his rejection of evidence-based measures of harm reduction ( "harm reduction"), such as the establishment of injecting rooms. The office is thus in open contradiction with UN organizations such as the United Nations Joint Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

The UNODC has also come under fire for its close cooperation with the Iranian regime . It supports a joint project by Afghanistan , Pakistan and Iran, in the context of which Iran has increased the use of soldiers and anti-drug police officers on its eastern border in recent years. During such collaborations, Iran has executed hundreds of people every year for drug offenses in recent years. As a consequence, in 2013, for example, the Danish government decided , as requested by many human rights organizations , to stop its aid payments for the Iranian anti-drug program running through the UNODC.

In the meantime, international approaches that rely less on repression than on alternative development are gaining ground. The mostly poor smallholders should be encouraged to grow other products than opium or coca, for example.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Expenditure by Agency | United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .
  2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Study on Homicide 2013 (Vienna, 2013). Retrieved December 15, 2019 .
  3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Study on Homicide 2019 (Vienna, 2019), Executive Summary / Booklet 1. Retrieved on August 11, 2019 .
  4. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Study on Homicide, Executive Summary / Booklet 1. p. 7 , accessed on August 11, 2019 .
  5. Manuel Eisner: Modernity Strikes Back? A Historical Perspective on the Latest Increase in Interpersonal Violence (1960–1990). P. 294 , accessed on September 18, 2019 (English).
  6. Stephen Pinker : Enlightenment Now. The Case for Reason, Science Humanism, and Progress . Viking, New York 2018, ISBN 978-0-525-42757-5 , pp. 169, 175 .
  7. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Global Study on Homicide 2019 (Vienna, 2019), Executive Summary / Booklet 1. p. 8 , accessed on August 11, 2019 .
  8. Today is World Drugs Day. In: DiePresse.com . June 26, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  9. ^ The United Nations and Harm Reduction Overview and Links. In: tni.org. Transnational Institute , November 2005, archived from the original on June 7, 2011 ; Retrieved July 17, 2016 .
  10. Sweden's drug policy: A reality check. In: blogspot.com. Transform Drug Policy Foundation Blog, May 28, 2007, accessed July 17, 2016 .
  11. http://www.ungassondrugs.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=71&Itemid=102
  12. US Gag on Needle Exchange Harms UN AIDS Efforts. Human Rights Watch , March 2, 2005, accessed July 17, 2016 .
  13. Mike Trace, Ruth Runciman: Analysis: American strong-arm tactics. In: theguardian.com. The Guardian , March 3, 2005, accessed July 17, 2016 .
  14. UNODC (Ed.): World Drug Report . United Nations Publication, 2010, ISBN 978-92-1148256-0 (English, unodc.org [PDF]).
  15. Denmark / Iran: Denmark cuts funds for Iran's anti-drugs initiative against the death penalty eV In: initiative-gegen-die-todesstrafe.de. April 2, 2015, accessed June 21, 2015 .
  16. Alternative development rethought. (PDF) Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), accessed on 11 August 2016 .