24 May 2017 - The 26th Commission on Crime and Criminal Justice offered the opportunity for UNODC to express the necessity of partnering with Civil Society to effectively fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. The side event ''Partnering with Civil Society in anti-corruption efforts to fight organized crime'' was held at UNODC in Vienna.
"Criminals rely on corruption to serve the successful outcomes of their illicit activities. Organized crime and corruption are a transitional phenomenon which needs a common response.''
Over 60 participants attended the side event where the UNODC, the CRIMJUST Programme, Transparency International and the UNODC Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN) shared their perspectives on advocating for integrity and accountability amongst law enforcement officials and the judiciary in charge of the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking.
Ms. Candice WELSCH, Chief, Implementation Support Section, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch opened the panel discussion stressing that organized crime (including drug trafficking) and corruption are two topics that are rarely seen in isolation, both topics are being more and more interconnected and associated with each other. Organized crime and drug trafficking tends to undermine social stability and negatively impact societies. The magnitude of the threat posed by organized crime implies that state actions and efforts should be supported by International Organizations like the UNODC, under its specific mandates, but also involving non state actors, that can bring additional layers of work and perspectives that can consolidate more holistic and integrated responses.
Ms. Zoe REITER, Senior Project Leader, Transparency International and Ms. Cristina RITTER, Regional Anti-Corruption Academy for Central America and the Caribbean (ARAC), ROPAN/UNODC, shared their experiences in implementing concrete actions to reduce corruption vulnerabilities and assess corruption risks. Mr. Marco TEIXEIRA, Programme Officer, CRIMJUST, underlined that corruption continues to be the bottleneck to achieving sustainable results in fighting organized crime and drug trafficking.
This side event allowed stakeholders and government officials to meet with Civil Society on the topic of corruption, a challenging but critical topic. For future activities, the participation of the Civil Society should be promoted and enhanced, in order to support measures of addressing key integrity and accountability challenges, but also to provide technical assistance aimed at strengthening law enforcement, judicial and prosecutorial integrity and capacity. Adopting a holistic approach is the way forward in effectively combating organized crime and drug trafficking.
Under the framework of the CRIMJUST project funded by EU 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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