UNODC recognizes the need to promote strong partnerships with civil society organizations in dealing with the complex problems of drug abuse and crime which undermine the fabric of society. The active involvement of civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is essential to help UNODC carry out its global mandates.
News and events
NGO Participation at the 22nd Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
At its 22nd annual session (22-26 April, 2013), the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) welcomed 96 NGO representatives from 38 organizations around the world.
aaOld Style Ecomafia*
The Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice carried on the tradition of organizing an informal dialogue with UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov. The interactive exchange covered a wide range of topics, including, among others: NGO participation; the 13th Crime Congress (Doha, 2015), correctional services versus health services; the inclusion of access to justice in the post-2015 agenda; the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; femicide; death penalty for drug crimes; and offshore financial centres.
New Style Ecomafia – Waste as Raw Material
NGOs also met with the Chair of the 22nd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, H.E. Ambassador Xolisa Mfundiso Mabhongo. Given this year’s thematic debate, the meeting focused primarily on environmental crime. NGOs also had the opportunity to share some of their other concerns and make suggestions as to how civil society could contribute more to the work of UNODC.
A number of NGO statements were also made in the plenary, some of which can be accessed here: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CCPCJ/session/22.html.
The active participation of NGOs is also illustrated in the 18 side events organized in collaboration with UNODC and Member States. Among the topics covered were: wildlife and forest crime; natural resources exploitation and violence; femicide; violence against children in the justice system; the revision of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; and corruption.
* Legambiente was one of the organizers of a side event during the 22nd session of the Crime Commission on "Organized Crime and Crimes against the Environment: The Italian Contribution in the Case of Ecomafias". Legambiente uses the term "ecomafia" to indicate illegal activities of criminal organizations which damage the environment.Picture Credits: Antonio Pergolizzi, Legambiente (Italian NGO working against ecomafias)
NGO Participation at the 56th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
At its 56th annual session (11-15 March, 2013), the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) welcomed 164 NGO representatives from 56 organizations around the world.
Building on last year’s experience, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) organized the second Informal Civil Society Hearing on March 11, 2013. CSO representatives, UN experts, and representatives of Member States came together in an effort to explore ways in which CSOs can significantly contribute to the realization of the objectives included in the 2009 Plan of Action. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for CSOs to strengthen their contribution and start planning for the 2014 High-level Segment Review, as well as the 2016 UNGASS on drugs.
NGOs organized 13 side events in collaboration with UNODC and Member States. A summary of the presentations made during the side events is available here.
Moreover, NGO representatives participated in the three round-table discussions focusing on the progress made in the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.
Finally, the VNGOC organized an informal dialogue with UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, which provided a platform for a substantive and honest exchange between the Executive Director and CSOs.
Symposium on Femicide: A Global Issue that Demands Action!
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November), the Academic Council on the United Nations System and the Small Arms Survey organized a symposium on Femicide, which took place on 26 November 2012 at the United Nations in Vienna. The symposium gathered international experts and women’s rights activists on the question and definition of “femicide”; a crime that contrarily to the general decrease of homicides in the world, is steadily increasing.
Femicide comprises the killing of women and girls because of their gender. It can take the form of, inter alia the 1) murder of women as a result of intimate partner violence; 2) torture and misogynist slaying of women 3) killing of women and girls in the name of “honour”; 5) targeted killing of women and girls in the context of armed conflict; 5) dowry-related killings of women; 6) killing of women and girls because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; 7) killing of aboriginal and indigenous women and girls because of their gender; 8) female infanticide and gender-based sex selection foeticide; 9) genital mutilation related deaths; 10) accusations of witchcraft and 11) other gender-based murders connected with gangs, organized crime, drug dealers, human trafficking, and the proliferation of small arms.
These crimes are rarely investigated and prosecuted. The reason being the lack of data and subsequent analysis due to the fact that the great majority of these crimes takes place in the domestic context. The Small Arms Survey NGO evaluates to 66,000 the number of women and girls intentionally and violently killed every year.
The adoption of the term “femicide” by international and national criminal justice systems would enable to reinforce criminalization of this latter by differentiating it from other types of homicide, as it is already the case in Chile and Argentina. Experts testified that this change of legislation has impacted on the number of femicides which has begun to drop already, as far as Chile is concerned.
An important outcome of this symposium was the signature of the “Vienna Declaration on Femicide” by over 150 individuals, including a number of ambassadors and some 10 Member States.
Encouraging African CSOs anti-corruption work with the private sector
“Corruption ... slows economic development by discouraging foreign investment and inflating costs for local businesses”. During his opening remarks at the Signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the United Nations and the International Anti-Corruption Academy, the Executive Director of UNODC Mr. Fedotov underlined how corruption practices have devastating consequences on businesses and markets.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only globally binding legal instrument. Its implementation is currently under review and non state actors participation is encouraged.
Training for Small and Medium Enterprises, provided by Ghana Integrity Initiative, Fall 2012
To effectively contribute to the global effort in tackling corruption and its effects on the economic and social environments, UNODC has launched a second round of its small grants scheme for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Africa with the aim to encourage initiatives to involve the private sector, and in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to contribute to the UNCAC review mechanism.
Following the positive results from the first grants, achieved through awareness-raising initiatives among SMEs, monitoring programmes, and capacity-building projects, a call for a second round of small grants was launched and the call for proposal is now closed.
Participation of NGOs to sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
Sixty-three NGOs from all around the world participated to the 6th session of the COP/CTOC last 15-19 October 2012. Working on different subjects and among others on the prevention of crime, the assistance to victims, the access to justice, the preservation of the environment, the promotion of Human Rights or the research on small arms, they united under the umbrella of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to have a stronger voice on the debate.
The Conference was also the occasion for the civil society to organise side events as a way to share knowledge and experience, advocate for the rights of victims and compare best practices. In total, NGOs organised 7 side events.
Among other, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW), the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the Austrian NGO EXIT organised a side event entitled “Learning from Victims of Crime for a Better Criminal Justice Response”. The purpose of this event was to bring the voice of victims to the attention of policy makers. Two panellists, an Albanian lawyer and a young Afghan boy, were asylum seekers who expressed the enormous difficulties faced in their home countries and in their host countries and the hardship of the travel.
During the side event “the contribution of NGOs to counter trafficking operations”, civil society panellists looked at some of the ways in which NGOs are partnering with goverments in the implementation of the UNTOC. They explain how NGOs facilitate the access to justice, contribute to research and build capacity of victims and other organizations. NGO participate also law enforcement actions such as by reporting trafficking cases, providing evidence and assisting victims.
Finally, NGOs met with UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov during an Informal Dialogue. NGO expressed their expectation on the conference’s outcome and asked diverse questions on UNODC priorities and work with NGOs. Mr Fedotov reasserts UNODC willingness to partner with NGOs. The office is seeking for their feedback to its work but also put in place a small grant facility program and a trust fund to help victims of Human Trafficking to support the work of NGO and their beneficiaries. NGOs help UNODC reach out to victims and in so doing, bridge the gap between decisions taken at high levels and local communities, beneficiary of the assistance of UNODC.
One-day Training session for NGOs on 6 November in Brasilia
UNODC and the UNCAC Coalition have organized a one-day training session to strengthen civil society capacity on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism. The training took place on 6 November 2012 in Brasilia, Brazil, in connection with the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference.
The overall objective of this training was to develop participants' capacity to contribute constructively to the review mechanism of UNCAC. More specifically, the training sought to:
- Equip participants with the substantive expertise in UNCAC provisions;
- Inform participants about the methodology for country reviews and the use of the comprehensive self-assessment checklist.
Over 100 Civil Society Organizations trained on the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism
A third training to strengthen civil society's capacity on the UNCAC and its review mechanism, organized by UNODC and the UNCAC Coalition, took place from 9-12 October 2012 at the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Laxenburg, Austria.
bbbbb bbbb bbCSO Representatives attending the training at IACA
UNODC's partnership with the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) was key to allow this four day training to take place. In total, 34 Civil Society Organizations (CSO) from 27 countries across the world attended sessions and plenary discussions to enhance their knowledge and skills on the different entry points where CSOs can participate in the review process, and how they can make submissions to the Conference of State Parties and the Implementation Review Group.
Experts from UNODC and Transparency International provided participants with the requisite substantive expertise on UNCAC provisions, in order for them to contribute to the review alongside their governments. Through interactive exercises in small groups, CSO representatives also developed their capacity to prepare self-assessment and country reports. Above all, they realized the importance of sharing experiences, good practices and cooperating with all actors involved in the fight against corruption, beyond sectoral and national boundaries.
In addition, CSOs have been equipped on different approaches to implement a communication strategy on UNCAC and increase their outreach with the private sector. In the coming months, an opportunity to apply for small grants will be made available to CSOs with the aim of developing innovative ways to approach small and medium size businesses on anti-corruption activities.
Together with the previous training in Laxenburg in February 2011 and in Johannesburg in March 2012, over 100 NGOS have now been trained and equipped with the necessary tools to foster the implementation of the UNCAC and the review mechanism of their own country.
UNCAC Implementation Review Group (IRG) holds its first NGO Briefing Session
Following Resolution 4/6, adopted in Marrakesh at the 2011 Conference of States Parties (COSP), a Briefing Session with representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) was held on the sideline of the IRG. The objective of this session was to “further promote constructive dialogue with NGOs dealing with anti-corruption issues, and while recognizing the continuing deliberations to build confidence in the role of non-governmental organizations in the review process” and thereby promote debate.
This session included 38 NGO representatives from 26 countries who sat alongside state delegates and shared their experiences in working with their respective governments in the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) via the review mechanism. Many NGO representatives shared positive experiences of being included in the review process but also expressed their concern about areas where cooperation could be enhanced. Mr. Vincent Lazatin, Chair of the UNCAC Coalition opened up the floor for NGOs with the following statement.
This session offered the opportunity for a constructive, open and honest dialogue between governments and NGOs. An official summary of the Briefing can be accessed on the following link.
Wrapping up CCPCJ and calling for NGO participation in 6th CTOC
More than 40 NGOs participated in the 21st session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) that was held from 23-27 April 2012 in Vienna.
NGOs organized various side events in collaboration with UNODC and Member States that focused on victims of human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and terrorism. Other well-attended events focused on femicide, children of incarcerated parents, the death penalty, and the re-socialization of offenders.
NGOs had the opportunity to exchange views with Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha of Thailand and Mr. Yuri Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director, through two informal dialogue sessions.
During his opening speech to the Commission, Mr. Fedotov recognized the important role played by civil society and NGOs in the areas of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, and corruption, especially in their support for victims of crime.
What’s next? The 6th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC/COP) will take place from 15-19 October 2012 in Vienna. This intergovernmental Conference will discuss the implementation of the Convention and its three Protocols, namely the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms.
Successful Training for Civil Society Organizations on the UN Convention against Corruption and its Review Mechanism
Following the successful experience of the first training of its kind for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on UNCAC and its review mechanism, held on February 2011 in Laxenburg, Austria, a second CSO training, also organized by UNODC and the UNCAC Coalition, took place this time from 20-23 March 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
African and Asian CSO Representatives attending the training in South Africa
During the three and a half day training, 40 CSOs from some 30 countries across Africa and Asia attended daily interactive sessions organized by experts from Transparency International as well as from UNODC. Through different workshops, CSO representatives were able to improve their knowledge of the Convention and become more acquainted with helpful tools necessary not only to constructively work with their government in the review process, but also to reproduce the training at their national or regional level.
In addition to practical sessions with group exercises focused on better understanding the UNCAC review stage and the crucial role of advocacy in the fight against corruption, CSOs were for the first time introduced to how they can engage with the private sector. Presentations on the various topics discussed throughout the training can be found on the following link.
During his opening speech, the Regional Representative of UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa, Mr. Mandiaye Niang stated that:
“All too often we have seen people indulging in corruption and enjoying the proceeds of their crimes in safe havens. The UNCAC provides an effective response to make sure that the world becomes too small a place for those criminal to hide”.
For the following months, the UNODC Civil Society Team will continue to maintain close contact with participants that have undergone the South Africa training in order to help them contribute meaningfully to the implementation of the Convention. The next training scheduled for September 2012 will focus on the participation of CSOs coming from countries to be reviewed on the third and the fourth year of the first UNCAC review cycle.
Civil society engagement at the 55th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Keeping up the momentum following last year’s resolution 54/11 on the participatory role of civil society, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) held, for the first time, an informal Civil Society Hearing during the 55th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).
Q&A session at the NGO informal dialogue with the UNODC Executive Director
The purpose of a civil society hearing is to develop further the working relations between NGOs and the drug control bodies of the United Nations. This Hearing provided a space where civil society, UN Member States, and key international bodies could exchange views and discuss best practices in the area of drug policy.
The Hearing, chaired by Mr. Michel Perron, was opened by UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and the Chair of the CND, Ambassador Bujan Friere. Ambassador Bujan Friere emphasized that “NGOs play a substantial role” in the international efforts to reduce drug-related matters, and can “advise due to their experience.”
More than 200 civil society representatives participated in activities around the CND. In addition to their participation in roundtable discussions and side events, NGOs participated in three separate informal dialogues with Mr. Fedotov, Ambassador Bujan Friere, and Professor Hamid Ghodse, President of International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
In his closing remarks to the CND, Mr. Fedotov stated that “aside from the resolutions, another role of the CND is to promote engagement with civil society.” He expressed UNODC interest in “continued interaction with NGOs not only in the VIC conference rooms, but also in the most vulnerable countries and regions of the world,” and stressed that “NGOs have an ability to make a real difference in the lives of those affected by illicit drugs. We must work together to achieve this objective.”