Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 34: The role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Terrorism Prevention Branch
Terrorism continues to pose a major threat to international peace, security and stability and risks undermining the core values of the United Nations. In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts can also destabilize legitimately-constituted governments and undermine economic and social development. Addressing this threat is that much more difficult given the complex and constantly evolving nature of terrorist activity. Its motivations, financing, methods of attack and choice of target are constantly changing. Terrorist acts often defy national borders; one act of terrorism can involve activities and actors from numerous countries. Given this complexity, strong coordination and cooperation within national governments and between states and organizations at the regional and international level is essential to address the underlying causes of terrorism, to share best practices and lessons learned and to assist with the investigation and prosecution of terrorist actors. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has a specific role to play in these efforts. UNODC is the UN Secretariat entity mandated to assist member states, as requested, with the prevention of drug trafficking, crime and terrorism by providing legal technical assistance and criminal justice capacity-building activities. It was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
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