30 May 2018 - UNODC and Transparency International (TI) joined hands in the effort to support the fight against organized crime and enhance institutional integrity.
Together the two organizations invited representatives from the European Union, CRIMJUST participating countries and other interested stakeholders to discuss the initiatives undertaken by the programme under the pillar of institutional integrity and accountability
The main purpose of the meeting was the official launch and presentation of the Criminal Justice Dashboard. Representative from TI Headquarters and three national chapters showcased the use of the assessment tool at country level in Ghana, Nigeria and Panama.
Zoe Reiter, Transparency International Regional Programme Manager, highlighted the importance of the partnership with UNODC and explained the objective of the Criminal Justice Dashboard, a tool to assess criminal justice institutions in regard to seven areas: internal and external oversight, protections, transparency, civil society participation, capacity and independence. She underlined how transparency and accountability to citizens would make criminal justice sectors more effective at fighting organized crime.
Reflecting the crucial role of civil society organizations (CSOs) the representatives from Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) - presented the results of their use of the dashboard and the recommendations they had generated.
At the opening of the event, John Brandolino, UNOD Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs, welcomed attendees to the joint Transparency International and UNODC initiative held under the framework of CRIMJUST, a project that has made significant progress and reached several milestones like the development and launch of the Criminal Justice Dashboard and Integrity Report. Both initiatives that are focused on strengthening integrity and accountability in a holistic way and contribute to the overall success of the project.
Acknowledging global partnerships are key to address the shared challenges posed by transnational organized crime, Candice Welsch, Chief of Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, provided an overview of UNODC's work in the area of Justice Sector Integrity and the crucial linkages of organized crime and corruption.
Following the launch, UNODC drew the attention of the participants to the initiatives that had been started under the CRIMJUST project to strengthen institutional integrity at the national level and to stimulate more regional and international dialogue and exchange of good practices. An Institutional Integrity Report (English, Spanish and Portuguese) had been produced in 2017 in consultation with the CRIMJUST participation countries, in form of a project document to provide a snapshot of the current situation, identify integrity priorities and guide reform initiatives. Since the development of the Institutional Integrity Report, UNODC had started to assist multiple CRIMJUST countries in their efforts to, inter alia, develop integrity training courses for law enforcement, amend legislation, and develop evidence based strategies to address institutional corruption or integrity risks.
UNODC pointed out that the dashboard was a complementary effort and important tool to bring in the views and experience of civil society and to leverage added support for action.
Corruption represents a major obstacle to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it hampers stability, rule of law and institutional integrity. UNODC in partnership with Transparency International have combined criminal justice and accountability with the active engagement of CSOs to create a complete picture of the drug trafficking and its effects, and thus provide a united effort to achieve the SDGs.
The meeting ended with a dialogue about the overall achievements of the programme and potential next steps to build on those achievements and tailor technical assistance according to the needs of the participating regions and countries.
Under the framework of the CRIMJUST project funded by European Union Cocaine Route Programme, UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and TI) aim to assist Member States to enhance their capacity and integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster cooperation at the interregional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime .
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