Delegation of the European Union to Colombia

Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan On Illicit Drug Trafficking, Related Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa

07/01/2019 - 14:03
Regional overview

The overall objective is to contribute to a reduction of drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related organised crime in West Africa.

Expected results:

  • Strengthen the ECOWAS Commission Drug Unit advocacy, monitoring and coordination capacity; 
  • Harmonised information on drug abuse epidemiology and data collection is available;
  • Good practices on drug prevention and treatment are identified and disseminated;
  • Improved law enforcement against transnational organised crime related to drugs. 

Main activities:

  • Recruitment of 5 ECOWAS Drug Unit Staff;
  • Setting-up and implementing an effective policy advocacy scheme for the regional ECOWAS action plan against drugs;
  • Set-up and make operational an epidemiological network at national and sub-regional level;
  • Direct support (grants) and training to reinforce civil society organisations projects in drug prevention, treatment and care;
  • Provide country specific assistance to law enforcement agencies focusing on intelligence, investigation capacities and prosecution.  

Main accomplishments to date:

  • Due to protracted negotiations between EU and UNODC concerning the Contribution Agreement budget (Full Cost Centre/cost recovery issue) and the finalisation of the grant contract with ECOWAS and recruitment of planned staff for the Drug Unit, the project implementation started with delay (01/01/2015). At the second steering committee held in Abuja on 8.12.2016, UNODC announced that they will ask for an extension of the implementation period mid-2017. submitted 12/07/2018. The parallel request of ECOWAS on the EU Grant under the same Decision has made an amendment to the Financial Agreement necessary to extend its duration until November 2019. The Amendment is currently being processed by the EU delegation (30/07/2018) and annual reports expected in Q3, 2018. 


  • The Monitoring Missions Teams (MMTs), which comprise of ECOWAS Project staff, representatives of the UNODC and the Civil Society Organisations, have successfully completed their on-site-visits to all the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. During the visits, the MMTs assessed the level of implementation of the ECOWAS Drug Action Plan and performed countries' needs assessment; ECOWAS Project staff who led the missions are currently preparing and updating the individual country reports for validation at ECOWAS Experts and Ministerial Meeting scheduled for October 2018. Examples illustrating activities conducted by UNODC without reducing its accomplishments: National School Surveys, Data Collection ,  Launch of 1st University Degree in Addictology in WA (02/2018, Senegal); capacity building for 32 CSOs from WA on Drug Use Prevention and Care;  Mobile Training Unit set up in March 2018, Development of Regional Network of Forensic,; workshop on Legal Framework in several ECOWAS countries; advocacy Workshop for Ivoirian Parliamentarians and establishment of Parliamentarians Group Against Drug; etc. 


  • After 3 years of implementation and following recommendations from both an EU Result-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) exercise conducted in September 2017 and an independent Mid-Term evaluation (MTR), the UNODC-led project has adopted the following approach: regional dimension retained for interventions aiming to harmonise (data collection, addictology curriculum, etc.), foster networking and cooperation (forensics) but resolute decision to focus on the national level in a limited selection of Member States, e.g. assisting Benin and The Gambia to develop strategic plans/ National Drug Control Masterplans. This approach should ensure those few countries identified succeed in a number of areas (legal reform, etc.) and will eventually provide the sub-region with good practices and frameworks that other countries can draw upon.


  • Finally, in light with the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the ECOWAS Political Declaration on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crimes in West Africa, progress has been made towards the development of a new Political Declaration with an advanced draft background document completed with the support and facilitation of UNODC which is circulating to all relevant departments of the ECOWAS Commission in parallel with the drafting process of the new political declaration itself, initiated end of Q2, 2018.



Source of funds: 10th EDF (CRIS ref: 2013/022-263)

Total budget (EUR):  17.34M

Implementing period:  57 months (from March 2013)

Implementing agencies: UNODC + ECOWAS Commission (Direct grant award)

Geographical region: West Africa

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