United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
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The data world(s), ecosystem(s) or what could be described as the ‘dataverse’ is evolving rapidly, driven by the fast pace of technological advance, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, which brings an urgency to the need for protection, safe processing, sharing and use of data. Data types, volumes and uses are evolving and expanding quickly and at an accelerating pace. Data accessibility varies greatly – some data are global public goods (e.g. climate data) whereas other data are proprietary and privately owned by companies (e.g. IT platform data). Some data, intimately tied to individuals or population groups, are extremely sensitive (e.g. health or financial status) whereas other data relate to non-human activity (e.g. natural phenomena) and are more easily shared. Some data deal with emergency situations (e.g. disease prevalence or earthquake victims) while others describe routine, day-to-day life (e.g. shopping, commuting) activities. Given the importance of data for, inter alia, the modern digital economy, surveillance, artificial intelligence, it is sure to be a defining geopolitical issue in the coming years. Hence many people concerned with developments in the dataverse are arguing that some sort of new international data governance framework is needed. In recent years there has been a massive proliferation of data governance frameworks and data principles, not least, the FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship, the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, and the Health Data Principles, all indicating a recognition of the importance of this topic. There are also a growing number of measures to assess the adoption of these principles, including Global Data Barometer and Open Data Watch. Data governance is also an increasingly popular topic for academic research. This paper explores why an international data governance framework might be needed, what that might entail and what developments have been taking place to bring us closer to such a framework. While some countries and regions have begun tackling the challenge of regulating the collection and use of data, these efforts remain piecemeal and fragmented, and thus risks creating barriers to production, trade, innovation and cooperation.
In May 2020 the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) of the UN system endorsed the Systemwide Road Map for Innovating United Nations Data and Statistics (hereafter the Roadmap). This was a defining moment for the Committee of the Chief Statisticians of the UN system (CCS-UN) as it brought political endorsement and support for the strategic modernization of the UN statistical system. The Roadmap had been developed by the CCS-UN in recognition of a need to develop a coherent strategic plan in order to modernize UN statistics, improve coordination, and bring a more coherent ‘systems’ approach across 29 UN entities. The CCS-UN was of the view that while a clear statement of vision would not in itself lead to innovation or progress, without it a unified design would not be possible and any attempts at widespread reform and modernization could not be achieved. This paper presents an overview of the context and content of the first strategic plan and Roadmap for UN data and statistics.
People often refer to, and think of, the United Nations (UN) as a monolith, a single organization. But in fact, the UN is a complex amalgam of agencies, entities, funds and programmes, all with different (but often overlapping) mandates and governing bodies. Add to this, all of the other international and supra-national organisations (IOs) and the need for coordination becomes obvious. Many of these agencies undertake statistical activities and hence the need for the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA). The CCSA comprises the chief statisticians (or nearest equivalent) in each of the UN and IOs. In short, the CCSA aims to: promote interagency coordination and cooperation on statistical programmes and consistency in statistical practices and development; foster good practices in statistical activities of international organisations in accordance with the Principles Governing International Statistical Activities; and contribute actively to the development of a coordinated global statistical system producing and disseminating high-quality statistics.
In 2017, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) reported to the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) that ‘Chief statisticians of the United Nations system have developed and agreed on a generic quality assurance framework that addresses . . . the statistical work of regional and international agencies and is aimed at ensuring that appropriate quality assurance procedures are being followed’ [1]. Thus, ended an anomalous gap in the official statistics infrastructure, where the UN encouraged member states to put in place a national quality assurance framework to support their statistical systems, but did not have an equivalent framework in place to support the UN statistical system itself. The journey to develop what was eventually published as the United Nations Statistical Quality Assurance Framework (SQAF) began at the very first meeting of the newly convened Committee of Chief Statisticians of the United Nations System (CCS-UN) in Rome in September 2014. At that meeting, the first substantive order of business was to establish a task team to be-gin work on scoping and drafting a generic SQAF for the UN statistical system. Two and half years later, the SQAF was formally adopted at the 6th meeting of the CCS-UN in New York in Spring 2017.
Background: The Syrian conflict has resulted in significant displacement and increase in humanitarian needs within the last decade. Reports of increased prevalence of substance misuse and deliberate self-harm among internally-displaced Syrians are concerning, particularly given barriers to care for these conditions due to cultural stigma and legal repercussions for those reporting them. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of prevalence, risk factors and health services available for substance misuse and deliberate self-harm in Syria as well as share findings from a workshop with Syrian mental health stakeholders exploring current challenges with regards to these conditions. Methods: A scoping review was conducted using key search terms regarding substance misuse and suicide and/or self-harm inside Syria. These findings were supplemented by a discussion among 25 Syrian mental health stakeholders, including psychologists, psychiatrists, public health, and policy professionals to highlight key challenges and identify locally appropriate solutions. Results: Data regarding the prevalence of substance misuse and self-harm inside Syria among internally displaced populations varies greatly quality and accuracy. Substance misuse and deliberate self-harm, including suicide, are considered stigmatised and at times, criminalized, in Syria, leading to massive underreporting of prevalence, as well as underutilization of available treatment, which is also limited. The health system response in Syria, which has been compromised by a decade of conflict, is not prepared to cope with increasing rates of mental health disorders and particularly, substance misuse (i.e. Captagon) and instances of self-harm. Key suggestions from the workshop include the following: a) use of telepsychiatry and telepsychology interventions b) adaptation of WHO interventions c) multi-year investment and prioritisation of MHPSS programs and d) utilizing family skills interventions as a key tool in the prevention for substance abuse and self-harm, while embedding social and cultural sensitivities into interventions. Conclusions: Though current evidence gaps around substance misuse and deliberate self-harm in Syria remain, with the current socio-political climate in Syria, alongside significant shortfalls in funding for health, there is a present, urgent need to address these neglected MHPSS concerns. Emphasis must be placed on the needs of vulnerable populations including IDPs, war injured, children and teenagers.
Parents and caregivers play a key role in protecting children from the stresses of war. Their own experiences, changes they see in children in their care and the nature of the parenting they provide can have a profound effect on childrens' reactions. The adoption of a pyramid of resources from universally available psychoeducational materials to specialised forms of trauma‐informed interventions allows for screening and provision of appropriate levels of assistance. The importance of consideration of the family's context, the evidence base and the capacity of informal and professional networks to support caregiving is discussed. Resources available through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are provided to share experiences of building a pyramid of interlinked, evidence‐based, trauma‐informed interventions which have been developed in collaboration with families and practitioners experiencing life through the contexts of military conflict, displacement and resettlement.
The notion that indigenous people and local communities can effectively prevent conservation crime rests upon the assumption that they are informal guardians of natural resources. Although informal guardianship is a concept typically applied to “traditional” crimes, urban contexts, and the global North, it has great potential to be combined with formal guardianship (such as ranger patrols) to better protect wildlife, incentivize community participation in conservation, and address the limitations of formal enforcement in the global South. Proactive crime prevention is especially important for illegal snare hunting, a practice that has led to pernicious defaunation and which has proved difficult to control due to its broad scope. This paper uses interview data with community members in protected areas in Viet Nam where illegal snare hunting is commonplace to 1) analyze the conditions for informal guardianship in the study locations; 2) explore how community members can become more effective informal guardians; and 3) examine how formal and informal guardianship mechanisms can be linked to maximize deterrence and limit displacement of illegal snaring. Results indicate that conditions for informal guardianship exist but that respondent willingness to intervene depends upon the location, offender activity, and type of offender (outsider versus community member). While respondents generated numerous strategies for wildlife crime prevention, they also listed crime displacement mechanism offenders used to avoid detection. We discuss how informal guardianship can be integrated with formal guardianship into an overall model of situational crime prevention to protect wildlife and incentivize community-led deterrence of illegal snaring.
Objective: To determine whether participation in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization's (WHO) Stop Overdose Safely (S-O-S) take-home naloxone training project in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine resulted in naloxone use at witnessed opioid overdoses. Methods: An observational prospective cohort study was performed by recruiting participants in the implementation of the S-O-S project, which was developed as part of the broader S-O-S initiative. Training included instruction on overdose responses and naloxone use. Study participants were followed for 6 months after completing training. The primary study outcome was participants' naloxone use at witnessed overdoses, reported at follow-up. Findings: Between 400 and 417 S-O-S project participants were recruited in each country. Overall, 84% (1388/1646) of participants were interviewed at 6-month follow-up. The percentage who reported witnessing an overdose between baseline and follow-up was 20% (71/356) in Tajikistan, 33% (113/349) in Kyrgyzstan, 37% (125/342) in Ukraine and 50% (170/341) in Kazakhstan. The percentage who reported using naloxone at their most recently witnessed overdose was 82% (103/125) in Ukraine, 89% (152/170) in Kazakhstan, 89% (101/113) in Kyrgyzstan and 100% (71/71) in Tajikistan. Conclusion: Implementation of the UNODC-WHO S-O-S training project in four low- to middle-income countries resulted in the reported use of take-home naloxone at around 90% of witnessed opioid overdoses. The percentage varied between countries but was generally higher than found in previous studies. Take-home naloxone is particularly important in countries where emergency medical responses to opioid overdoses may be limited.
Para determinar la complejidad del sistema geoelectoral mexicano, la presente investigación analiza, a nivel municipal, los factores que influyen en los procesos de integración, mantenimiento y actualización del Registro Federal de Electores. El análisis parte de una definición heurística del concepto de complejidad electoral para construir un grupo de índices de complejidad electoral que permitirán cuantificar la complejidad de los municipios a partir de información procedente de diversos indicadores estadísticos.
Background The Stop Overdose Safely (S-O-S) initiative—developed in compliance with WHO guidelines—aims to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Under the umbrella of this initiative a multi-country project was implemented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, that involved overdose recognition and response training, including the provision of take-home naloxone (THN). More than 14,000 potential overdose witnesses were trained and more than 16,000 THN kits were distributed across the participating countries. This paper reports on the qualitative component of an evaluation aiming to understand the views and experiences of S-O-S project participants. Methods Data were drawn from focus group discussions with 257 project participants from across all four countries, including people who use and inject drugs, and others likely to witness an opioid overdose. Data were analysed thematically. Results Findings revealed how past experiences of trauma and loss related to overdose death were common, as was appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the S-O-S training. Participants described how they shared knowledge and skills with others. Empowerment and destigmatising narratives featured prominently, and highlighted how for people who use drugs, feeling valued and cared about—not only by families and friends, but by health care providers, and sometimes police—was a positive outcome of their participation. Nevertheless, findings also revealed how real experiences of fear regarding police intervention was a barrier to carrying naloxone and intervening when faced with an overdose situation. Conclusion Our analysis found that the S-O-S project produced positive outcomes that go well beyond saving lives. Despite identifying barriers to THN uptake, our findings support a growing body of evidence that broad access to THN as part of a continuum of care can enhance the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs and their communities, in low- to middle-income countries.
Background Children vaccination is a key intervention for their survival, especially among refugees. Yet, children vaccination registration is done manually in refugees camps and there is no possibility to send reminders to parents to come back on time. We aimed to boost the parental registration of children’s vaccination records on a Children Immunization app (CIMA) while also availing the parents with useful parenting skills under COVID-19-related stress. Methods We incorporated United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Parenting Skills under COVID-19 information material, through CIMA in Arabic and English languages. We recruited 1100 children in February–March 2021, through a community health promotion dissemination approach. A team of two nurses from the local population and two volunteers (one trained nurse and one trained social worker), from the camp, was formed. They promoted the CIMA app at two clinics and through households visits in Zaatari refugee camp. Qualitative data on impressions and observations of the interactions with the Zaatari camp community were also collected. Results A total of 1100 children, up to 15 months of age, eligible for vaccination were enrolled in CIMA, whereby the staff explained the content of the app in terms of vaccination schedule, health promotion materials for vaccination and parenting skills to their caregivers. During the household visits, the volunteers identified a total of 70 children that have incomplete history of vaccination records ( n = 42/70 girls, 60%). Also, opportunities and challenges for scaling the app were documented. Conclusion The scaling of CIMA as an innovative means of dissemination of risk and health information in challenging context such as refugee camps was feasible. In the context of vaccination needs for children, in refugee settings, such a need is more eminent, particularly in the context of COVID-19.
Retaliatory killings caused by human-wildlife conflict have a significant impact on the survival of leopards. This study explores the reasons for retaliatory killings of leopards by interviewing community members in a small village in South Africa that experienced high incidences of human–leopard conflict. The semi-structured interviews focused on the reasons why retaliatory leopard killings occurred and how to best mitigate the situational factors that triggered these killings. Respondents cited four main problems that fueled these killings: the government’s response to human–leopard conflict was slow and unwilling; this response involved inefficient methods; there were inadequate resources to respond to these killings; and there was a clear lack of laws or their application. Local stakeholders provided a range of innovative strategies to reduce human-leopard conflict and retaliatory killings. While all parties expressed different reasons why these solutions were or were not effective, their conclusions were often similar. The distrust that existed between the parties prevented them from recognizing or accepting their common ground. Based on existing human–wildlife conflict mitigation techniques and solutions identified by local stakeholders, this article explores how criminological techniques, including situational crime prevention, can help identify and frame effective interventions to reduce the number of illegal leopard killings driven by human-wildlife conflict.
The international drug conventions continue to provide a flexible framework for addressing the drug problem based on an approach of shared responsibility. Building on the underlying principle of safeguarding the health and welfare of humankind, these treaties have played a significant role in addressing current and emerging threats such as the phenomenon of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and the current opioids crisis, which affect the health both of the athlete and society at large. This chapter charts the evolution of the current international drug control system, the functions of the treaty bodies, the scheduling of substances under the treaties to prevent abuse and the role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in supporting countries to address the interrelated issues of drug and crime in an integrated manner. It illustrates the mutually reinforcing roles of the treaty bodies, UNODC and United Nations member states in progressing from the resolutions and decisions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, through the development of relevant tools, to finding solutions on the ground, all with the aim of protecting human health and welfare.
This review aims to elucidate environmental and genetic factors, as well as their epigenetic and neuroendocrine moderators, that may underlie the association between early childhood experiences and Substance Use Disorders (SUD), through the lens of parental attachment. Here we review those attachment-related studies that examined the monoaminergic systems, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal stress response system, the oxytoninergic system, and the endogenous opioid system from a genetic, epigenetic, and neuroendocrine perspective. Overall, the selected studies point to a moderating effect of insecure attachment between genetic vulnerability and SUD, reasonably through epigenetic modifications. Preliminary evidence suggests that vulnerability to SUDs is related with hypo-methylation (e.g. hyper-expression) of high-risk polymorphisms on the monoaminergic and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal system and hyper-methylation (e.g. hypo-expressions) of protective polymorphisms on the opioid and oxytocin system. These epigenetic modifications may induce a cascade of neuroendocrine changes contributing to the subclinical and behavioral manifestations that precede the clinical onset of SUD. Protective and supportive parenting could hence represent a key therapeutic target to prevent addiction and moderate insecure attachment.
Background Populations affected by humanitarian emergencies are vulnerable to substance (alcohol and other drug) use disorders, yet treatment and prevention services are scarce. Delivering substance use disorder treatment services in humanitarian settings is hampered by limited guidance around the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of substance use disorder treatment programs. This study aims to identify and prioritize key gaps and opportunities for addressing substance use disorder in humanitarian settings. Methods UNODC convened a consultation meeting (n = 110) in coordination with UNHCR and WHO and administered an online survey (n = 34) to, thirteen program administrators and policymakers, eleven service providers, nine researchers, and one person with lived experience to explore best practices and challenges to addressing substance use disorder in diverse populations and contexts. Participants presented best practices for addressing substance use disorder, identified and ranked challenges and opportunities for improving the delivery of substance use disorder treatment interventions, and provided recommendations for guidelines that would facilitate the delivery of substance use disorder treatment services in humanitarian emergencies. Results Participants agreed on key principles for delivering substance use disorder treatment in humanitarian settings that centered on community engagement and building trust, integrated service delivery models, reducing stigma, considering culture and context in service delivery, and an ethical ‘do no harm’ approach. Specific gaps in knowledge that precluded the delivery of appropriate substance use disorder treatment include limited knowledge of the burden and patterns of substance use in humanitarian settings, the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment services in humanitarian settings, and strategies for adapting and implementing interventions for a given population and humanitarian context. Participants emphasized the need to strengthen awareness and commitment related to the burden of substance use disorder treatment interventions among communities, practitioners, and policymakers in humanitarian settings. Conclusions Results from this consultation process highlight existing gaps in knowledge related to the epidemiology and treatment of substance use disorders in humanitarian emergencies. Epidemiological, intervention, and implementation research as well as operational guidance are needed to fill these gaps and improve access to substance use treatment services in humanitarian settings.
The scope, scale, and socio-environmental impacts of wildlife crime pose diverse risks to people, animals, and environments. With direct knowledge of the persistence and dynamics of wildlife crime, protected area rangers can be both an essential source of information on, and front-line authority for, preventing wildlife crime. Beyond patrol and crime scene data collected by rangers, solutions to wildlife crime could be better built off the knowledge and situational awareness of rangers, in particular rangers' relationships with local communities and their unique ability to engage them. Rangers are often embedded in the communities surrounding the conserved areas which they are charged with protecting, which presents both challenges and opportunities for their work on wildlife crime prevention. Cultural brokerage refers to the process by which intermediaries, like rangers, facilitate interactions between other relevant stakeholders that are separate yet proximate to one another, or that lack access to, or trust in, one another. Cultural brokers can function as gatekeepers, representatives, liaisons, coordinators, or iterant brokers; these forms vary by how information flows and how closely aligned the broker is to particular stakeholders. The objectives of this paper are to use the example of protected area rangers in Viet Nam to (a) characterize rangers' cultural brokerage of resources, information, and relationships and (b) discuss ranger-identified obstacles to the prevention of wildlife crime as an example of brokered knowledge. Using in-depth face-to-face interviews with rangers and other protected area staff ( N = 31, 71% rangers) in Pu Mat National Park, 2018, we found that rangers regularly shift between forms of cultural brokerage. We offer a typology of the diverse forms of cultural brokerage that characterize rangers' relationships with communities and other stakeholders. We then discuss ranger-identified obstacles to wildlife protection as an example of brokered knowledge. These results have implications for designing interventions to address wildlife crime that both improve community-ranger interactions and increase the efficiency of wildlife crime prevention.
The past decade has seen an increase in the development and availability of a broad category of drugs, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are challenging for public health authorities, therefore the two major drug monitoring bodies – the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – have implemented the EU Early Warning System (EWS) and Early Warning Advisory (EWA), respectively. While these monitoring systems are informative, it is difficult to keep up with the constant and rapid developmental rate of NPS. The EMCDDA has recognised the need for an alternative and technologically derived early warning system. The aim of this research is to determine whether Google Trends and drug discussion forum data can be used to complement early warning systems for NPS. Forty-eight substances were used in this study and classed into groups based on their chemical structure, following the UNODC classification system. Google Trends data (time range: 2004–2019) and drug forum data (time range: 2003–2018) were extracted for each substance and visual trend profiles were created for class groups as well as individual substances. Analysis was conducted to determine when a substance first appeared on Google Trends and a drug discussion forum as well as their trends over time. This date of first appearance was then compared to the date the substance was first reported to UNODC. Of the three data sources utilised, substances were most likely to appear on Google Trends first. Amongst the different classes of NPS, discernible trends (‘block’, ‘successive’, and ‘generational’ trends) were observed. These trends reflect the evolution of the manufacture of substances or generations of substances that has been observed in the literature. For example, in the synthetic cannabinoids’ category, a generational trend is observed that corresponds to the different generations of synthetic cannabinoids. When comparing Google Trends and Drugs-Forum directly, the order of appearance and duration of presence for substances aligns accurately for most classes. Google Trends showed the emergence, persistence, or transient nature of substances, which could direct the focus of law enforcement, health organisation and laboratory resources towards a limited number of substances. When one considers the reliance of individual information seeking on the Web as well as the prominence of NPS on the Web, it becomes clear that Google Trends and drug discussion forums could be used as a complement to current early warning systems.
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113 members
Justice Tettey
  • Laboratory and Scientific Section
Wadih Maalouf
  • Drug Prevention and health branch
Ross McEwing
  • Global Programme wildlife and forest crime
Steven Broad
  • Research and Trend Analysis Branch
Vienna, Austria