United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Actor status: 
International organisations
Main organisation: 
United Nations
Contact person: 
Celso Coracini
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer (celso.coracini[at]unodc.org)
Postal address: 

Vienna International Centre
P.O. Box 500
1400 Vienna


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drug-related activities and international crime. Established in 1997,  UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

The three pillars of the UNODC work programme are: 
•Field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism,
•Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions and
•Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies.

UNODC helps Governments react to the instability and insecurity caused by crimes like the illicit smuggling of drugs, weapons, natural resources, counterfeit goods and human beings between countries and continents. It also addresses emerging forms of crime, such as cybercrime, trafficking in cultural property and environmental crime.

Trafficking in cultural property

Increased recognition of the transnational criminal elements involved in the trafficking in cultural property brings to the fore the role of UNODC in increasing the crime prevention and criminal justice responses to this type of offence. UNODC has been mandated to convene the meetings of the intergovernmental expert group on protection against trafficking in cultural property, an open-ended group that has had, among its mandates, the finalization, in 2014, of the International Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses with Respect to Trafficking in Cultural Property and Other Related Offences, as well as the ongoing discussions on the ways of making more effective the model treaty for the prevention of crimes that infringe on the cultural heritage of peoples in the form of movable property.

UNODC also works to harness the potential of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes to address serious crime relating to trafficking in cultural property when committed by organized criminal groups. Many of the provisions of the Convention are relevant to the transnational crime of trafficking in cultural property and, in turn, many of its provisions empower States parties to rally against transnational criminals to protect their common cultural heritage.  The international community has adopted various resolutions urging States parties to the Organized Crime Convention to establish trafficking in cultural property and related offences as serious crime, in order to use the Convention for broad cooperation in preventing and combating criminal offences against cultural property.