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West African Coast initiative

West African Coast initiative

In July 2009 the UN launched the West African Crime Initiative with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in cooperation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the  Department of Peace Operations (DPO), the Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). The Joint Initiative responds to the growing recognition of the serious and far-reaching nature of the threat posed by organized crime to security and stability in West Africa.

In 2010 Ministers from Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone signed the West African Coast Initiative Freetown Commitment endorsing the practical implementation of this new, coordinated effort by international organizations and West African Governments to fight organized crime. The West African Coast Initiative, known by its acronym WACI, was developed in 2008 following the adoption of the Economic Commission of West African States' (ECOWAS) Regional Action Plan on Trans-national Organized Crime in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Freetown Commitment outlined the agreement by regional governments to ensure practical cooperation in all fields of law enforcement, including forensics, border management, money laundering and criminal justice.

To further strengthen this initiative a speacialized post of Transnational Organised Crime Expert was created with the Police Division's Strategic Policy and Development Section to co-ordinate the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' participation and as immediate response two officers from the Police Division's Standing Police Capacity were stationed in the UNODC office in Dakar, Senegal in May 2010.