United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Naval Response

No activity implemented or planned

No activity planned or implemented.

Industry Response

No activity implemented or planned

No activity planned or implemented.

Plight of Seafarers

Ongoing activity
  • The Hostage Relief Programme is dedicated to the safe return of hostages as well as serving as a base of support for both the hostage and their family after the incident. The program is funded by the Counter Piracy Trust Fund and is divided into five phases aimed at providing the hostage with support throughout the process.


Messaging and Advocacy

Activity implemented
  • During the 2013 42nd Ordinary Session of the Authority Heads of State and Government in Côte d’Ivoire, UNODC and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) jointly launched a Transnational Organised Crime Threat Assessment (TOCTA) on West Africa, which highlights the latest contraband flows, as well as emerging threats such as piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the growing insecurity in the Sahel. The full report can be found here.
  • In addition, UNODC and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA) jointly prepared the UN Secretary General Report on Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa and the Sahel. The report highlights the recent developments in the region, evaluates the progress made thus far and provides strategic advice on a coordinated response by all actors. (link)

Regional Capacity

Ongoing activity
  • Under its Maritime Crime Programme, UNODC expanded assistance relating to combating piracy and other forms of crime occurring at sea to other regions such as the Gulf of Guinea. UNODC’s activities included assistance to people held hostage by pirates and capacity-building for maritime law enforcement and related legislative assistance. (link)
  • Following the UN inter-agency mission to assess the scope of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea in November 2011, which was co-led by UNODC and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA), UNODC continued to support Benin to develop a national strategy to combat transnational organized crime, including piracy.
  • UNODC has also been working with other UN agencies to implement the recommendations of the assessment mission, as well as Security Council Resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012).
  • At the national level, UNODC continues to mobilize resources to support the implementation of National Integrated Programmes in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mauritania and Togo, as well as initiated the development of similar strategies for Liberia, Mauritania, Niger and Sierra Leone, in consultation with national actors. (link)
  • Responding to the need for a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach, UNODC, the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), DPA, the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and INTERPOL set up the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI). WACI is a joint programme that entails a comprehensive set of activities targeting capacity building, at both national and regional level, in the areas of law enforcement, forensics, border management, anti-money-laundering and the strengthening of criminal justice institutions, contributing to peacebuilding initiatives and security sector reforms. (link)

Rule of Law

Ongoing activity
  • UNODC’s Regional Programme for West Africa, adopted at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, seeks to establish legislative frameworks and enforcement capacities in West Africa. UNODC will engage with concerned countries in the design of adequate and effective counter-piracy initiatives where both legal and enforcement aspects are taken into account. Such activities would be complemented by others conducted within the UNODC framework of terrorism prevention, international cooperation in criminal matters, and law enforcement capacity building.
  • In order to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the criminal justice system, the UNODC states as a main objective to train and provide adequate equipment to forensic service providers in the region. In addition, the UNODC seeks to establish mechanisms to address emerging issues which cannot be dealt with by individual countries but require a regional response. Efforts will be made in areas such as crime scene investigation, document examination, fingerprint analysis and computer forensics.
  • A cornerstone of the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) is the establishment of a Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in each country. The national inter-agency unit gathers and analyzes information, and develops operational intelligence to support its lead investigative role in the most complex crime cases. TCUs are elite units, manned with staff seconded from national law enforcement agencies, trained and equipped to fight transnational organized crime. UNODC, the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)/Police Division and INTERPOL provide advisory and mentoring to selected and vetted national staff. (link)


Ongoing activity
  • UNODC coordinates its piracy-related activities with other UN agencies, as well as regional states and bodies.
  • UNODC convened a workshop on the “Legal Facilitation of Gulf of Guinea Maritime Law Enforcement” in Ghana from December 10-13, 2013, bringing together relevant experts from the maritime security sector. (link)