GIS – 19 September, 2019: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Mauritius officialised, yesterday, cooperation ties by signing important instruments at the New Treasury Building, Prime Minister's Office, in Port Louis. These agreements will provide the necessary support and act as platform to enhance synergies and ensure coherence of programmes and actions among the various stakeholders involved.
Signatories were the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, and the UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, Dr Amado Philip de Andres. Both sides proceeded with the signature of a document pertaining to the setting up of a UNODC Project Office in Mauritius.
Two other instruments were also signed, namely: a Memorandum of Understanding between the Economic Development Board (EDB) and UNODC aimed at providing a framework for EDB to facilitate and assist investors, endorsed by the UNODC, to apply for and obtain permits and licences; and, an exchange of letters between the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the UNODC to revisit the framework on Self-Regulatory Organisations. Signatories were Mr Charles Cartier, EDB’s Chairman, and Mr Harvesh Seegoolam, FSC’s Chief Executive.
In his address, Minister Bodha spoke of his conviction that the signing of the agreements heralds a new age in history since through this initiative, UNODC and Mauritius aim at transcending the national framework by extending frontiers to jointly tackle scourges of terrorism, corruption, piracy, transnational organised crimes, maritime insecurity and money laundering.
According to him, the threats are evolving very rapidly and are indeed facilitated by the increased mobility of human beings, capital and instant communications. ‘While Mauritius has in place laws and regulatory systems to address many of those threats, it remains that our resources are limited, hence, the UNODC Project Office would be an important partner in mobilising the resources at both regional and international levels’, he emphasised.
Mauritius, Minister Bodha indicated, is also party to and, has acceded to important international Conventions and Treaties, which would facilitate collaboration with UNODC in addressing all sorts of transnational crimes. The Minister also thanked the UNODC for having chosen Mauritius as the destination to host the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies Africa meeting which is currently taking place (16-21 September 2019).
For his part, UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, Dr Amado Philip de Andres, spoke about the three main challenges which the UNODC has taken a mandate to tackle in the region and which will be valuable to Mauritius namely, human trafficking, transnational organised crime, and drug crimes. He further highlighted the need to focus on the solutions and not the problem and the importance of working jointly to tackle issues related to transnational crimes.
It is recalled that following the UNODC’s engagement and robust collaboration with the EDB, the FSC, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Bank of Mauritius, a new FinTech ecosystem is being developed in Mauritius with the technical expertise of the UNODC, in partnership with the Swiss private banking sector.
In this context, the UNODC is endorsing and supporting a first-in-the-world SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Certified FinTech platform with dual functionality – an EMI (Electronic Money Interface) and a STO (Security Token Offerings) Exchange licence called “Xange”.
Both the EDB and the FSC have thus concluded agreements with the UNODC to facilitate the processing of projects by foreign companies endorsed by the UNODC and also determine the technology to be singled out on SDG Coins – Global Crypto-currency used for promoting sustainable development covering aspects of hunger, poverty and education – (that is, either bitcoins or Blockchain technology amongst others).
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