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Giovanni Quaglia worked for the past 21 years in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). From June 1988 to June 2009 Giovanni Quaglia assumed increasing responsibilities by managing several Offices and Programmes worldwide. He has contributed to promoting social development and human security in his years as Representative in Bolivia (June 1988-June 1992), Brazil (July 1992- July 1996), Pakistan (August 1996-December 1997) with the mandate over Afghanistan and Iran as well, at Headquarters in Vienna Austria as Chief of Operations (January 1998 – July 2002), and concluded his career in Brazil after serving as UNODC Regional Representative for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (August 2002- 15 June 2009).
Before joining UNODC, Giovanni Quaglia served for 11 years in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as an expert in Mali-West Africa (November 1974-December 1979). After 1979 he served first as an expert and later on as a project manager in the Buner District of Swat, North West Frontier Province of Pakistan-NWFP (November 1980 – December 1986).
Giovanni Quaglia attended several United Nations courses to increase his leadership and management capacity. Additionally he concluded in June 2008 a Master on Business Management. Staff and counterparts recognize his strong sense of justice, concern with the maintenance of constant dialogue, and capacity to lead with professionalism dedicated to a better promotion of the humanitarian values.
The Buner alternative development project was successfully concluded in 1986 as the first opium poppy free area of Pakistan. The quality of life and income of the population increased substantially after six years of intervention achievable through investments provided by the United Nations Drug Control Fund (UNFDAC), the Pakistan Federal Narcotic Office and the NWFP Government through its line Agencies.
The Bolivia program, headed by Giovanni Quaglia between 1988 and 1992, became the largest alternative development initiative of the United Nations worldwide. The program improved the quality of life and promoted alternative livelihoods of the population in the region of Yungas and Chapare through contributing to the reduction of coca bush cultivation outside the areas limited to that cropping for traditional use specified by the government.
In Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran programmes, the main emphasis of UNODC was on border control. This action has significantly intercepted the trafficking of illicit drugs and selected alternative development initiatives. In the south of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban, the program´s objective was followed through the building up of engaged local communities committed in progressively reducing opium cultivation - directed specially to those communities of irrigated lands where other crops could be cultivated.
As Chief of Operations at Headquarters in Vienna Austria, Giovanni Quaglia coordinated technical cooperation worldwide and contributed to improve the balance between illicit drug-abuse prevention and control measures. Additionally, he increased the portfolio of the illicit drugs fund by 40 % - from US$ 55 million during the biennium 1996-1997 to US$ 90 million during the biennium 2001-2002. Moreover, crime related program started to increase later on with the coming into force of the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention (2003) and the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention (2005).
His service in Brazil, totaling 11 years in two different periods, contributed to the UNODC position as a key partner for the achievement of Brazilian national priorities.
The success worldwide of the Brazilian national AIDS program speaks for itself and UNODC has been an important partner since 1994, having concentrated 80% of its programmes for the support of the Ministry of Health National AIDS Program. UNODC has assisted in the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among the general population, focusing mainly in most vulnerable groups. The achievement of this goal in Brazil can be seen by the decrease from 26% to 9% between 1996 and 2009 of AIDS cases among Intravenous Drugs Users (IDU). While the world trend goes in the opposite direction, Brazil's good practices on how to reach vulnerable populations show that early interventions are definitely a good investment.
Furthermore, Brazil's Federal Government has made a considerable progress under the governance agenda through preventing and countering corruption by giving priority to transparency in Public administration. UNODC has been actively cooperating with the General Comptroller Office (CGU) of the Presidency of the Republic since 2005, in meeting objectives of the United Nation Anti-Corruption Convention. In 2008 Brazil was rated 8th worldwide for its transparency disclosing public expenditures through the Internet.
Likewise, the Federal Police of Brazil is a major partner of UNODC since 1992, concerned with chemical precursor control, capacity building and excellence in training through the Federal Police Academy. The success of the Federal Police in countering criminal groups and modern criminality is substantial hence reflecting in other countries, with the assistance of UNODC, through the expansion of training facilities in Latin American and in portuguese speaking African countries.
Other activities with the Ministry of Justice are related to enhancing prison reform and preventing and countering human trafficking and violence among youths achieved by the mutual effort of other United Nations Agencies like UNICEF, UN-Habitat, UNDP, UNFPA, ILO, UNIFEM and in the case of Uruguay with the Ministry of Interior, National Drug Board and One UN Program in addition to the participation of Universities and Non Governmental Organizations.