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IDB and U.N. agency sign agreement to cooperate in world efforts to resolve problems related to drugs

VIENNA, Austria - Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias and Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, have signed an agreement to establish closer cooperation in taking steps to resolve drug-related problems.

The IDB and the UNDCP agreed to undertake periodic consultations to promote cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean on reducing the illicit supply and demand for drugs on the basis of initiatives of individual countries.

In addition, the IDB agreed to undertake the following measures:

- Accord higher priority to supporting programs of its borrowing member countries and the UNDCP in areas relating to the demand and supply side of the drug problem, including lending programs related to education, health care, alterative development, social sector development and poverty alleviation.

- Joint implementation with the UNDCP of research and analytical projects and joint monitoring of field activities related to drug control.

- Encourage member states to pursue sound banking and financial practices, including enactment and implementation of legislation against money-laundering.

The UNDCP agreed to undertake the following:

- Provide relevant information to the IDB on drug abuse extent, impact, and trends at regional and global levels, as well as related money laundering issues, with a view to assisting Bank financing of programs that curb drug-related problems.

- Develop a strategy for enhancing awareness of the importance of cooperation between drug-related programs and other development programs in order to achieve an integrated approach to economic and human development.

- Seek further initiatives for strengthening cooperation with the IDB and other international financial institutions in countering the world drug problem.

The agreement with the UNDCP, signed on Jan. 27, reflects the IDB's stepped up activity in recent years to contribute to the world effort to curb drug abuse. Last year the IDB chaired the Consultative Group in Support of Drug Control in Peru that met in Brussels, Belgium. There more than 40 donor countries and international institutions pledged $277 million to Peru in donations and debt swaps for the period 1999-2003.

The Bank has also approved a lending program to support the eradication of drug crops in Colombia and the creation of alternative employment opportunities and social improvements, as well as a regional technical cooperation program with the Organization of American States to provide money laundering detection training to banking supervisory officials and banking sector employees.

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