Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Drug trafficking in West and Central Africa


National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Drug trafficking in West and Central Africa, 19 December 2018, New York.

Thank you very much, Mr. President,

And thank you to UNODC Executive Director Fedotov for your briefing to the Council today.

Mr. President,

Transnational organized crime not only finances and fuels conflict but also reinforces corruption and undermines institutions, thereby destabilizing already fragile environments. Paying the price for this, is the citizens of the affected societies. Addressing root causes to conflicts and instability entails recognizing the severe impact of transnational organized crime. 

West Africa is a transit location for drug trafficking, which makes the region vulnerable to organized crime. Drug trafficking is closely linked with the instability in the region, in particular in the Sahel, where smuggling networks are used by terrorist groups as a source of financing.

Mr. President,

In this Council, we often see the devastating and potentially long-term effects of conflicts in the public institutions of a country. Conflicts contribute to eroded trust in societies and undermine democratic institutions and the rule of law. In these contexts, criminal interests can gain strong foothold.

This is one reason why it is crucial to include the broader rule of law and justice chain in our peacebuilding efforts. Building effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels is a fundamental cornerstone of stable and resilient societies, as also recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 16. Providing access to justice, as recently highlighted in the Security Council resolution on Police, Justice and Corrections, is equally important.

When designing and planning the UN’s work in conflict affected regions, the Council needs to ensure that the role organized crime plays in conflict dynamics is reflected. The connection between organized crime and conflict suggests that policing must be a strategic consideration in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. In a context where peacekeeping to a large degree is about introducing or strengthening the rule of law, the role of police is critical.

Throughout our tenure on the Council, we have continuously advocated for an increased focus on preventive efforts, in which UN policing plays an important role. The Council has also repeatedly and in numerous resolutions included mandates or references to combatting criminal flows and networks.

Mr. President,

To ensure a more coherent response to drugs and crime we need to foster cooperation and information exchange between the different authorities in Member States and with international and regional entities such as Interpol, Europol, UNODC and ECOWAS.

Regional cooperation is one of the most effective operational tools for preventing organized crime and insecurity. UNODC’s regional program in West Africa has - as we have heard today - also contributed significantly in enhancing the capacity of West African states to tackle narcotics smuggling.

Mr. President,

It is important that this Council continues to recognize the role that organized crime and drug smuggling plays in conflict. If we fail to consider these issues when designing our conflict response or efforts on peacebuilding and prevention, we will not be able to address root causes or conflict cycles appropriately. This is true for West Africa as well as for other regions plagued by conflict.

I thank you, Mr. President.


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis