Fighting transnational organized crime together: UNODC launches project on multi-stakeholder engagement in UNTOC review process

Fighting transnational organized crime together: UNODC launches project on multi-stakeholder engagement in the UNTOC review process14 October 2019 - Some 40 representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector from 18 countries gathered in Vienna last week for a two-day Needs Assessment Workshop on stakeholder engagement in the review process for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

The workshop, which was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Civil Society Team together with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, looked at current non-state actors' roles and challenges in addressing organized crime issues as related to the Convention. It also discussed ways to further engage them in the UNTOC review process going forward in line with Resolution 9/1 of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention.

The agenda included thematic presentations on UNTOC and its protocols by the substantive sections (Implementation Support, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, and Education for Justice) and featured interactive discussions and break-out group exercises.

In his opening remarks, John Brandolino, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs reminded participants that the preparatory phase of the UNTOC review process is "a crucial moment for you, members of civil society, academia and the private sector, to get more engaged with the UNTOC review process and seek ways for collaboration with your respective governments on promoting initiatives against organized crime."

Mark Shaw, Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, welcomed this collaborative project, and explained why bringing grassroots voices to intergovernmental fora like the UNTOC Review Mechanism process will help improve the international response to TOC.

At the same time, UNODC held a briefing to Member States' representatives on the efforts being carried out to prepare relevant stakeholders for their involvement in the UNTOC review process. Member States emphasized the importance of working closely with civil society at large, including in engaging them in constructive dialogues.

In her remarks at the briefing, Alicia Guadalupe Buenrostro Massieu, Ambassador of Mexico in Vienna affirmed that "NGOs play an important role in providing first-hand solutions to organized crime at the grassroot level, whereas academics have a role to play in educating the society and empowering them to stand up against organized crime."

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the UNODC Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs presented the newly launched UNODC project "Build the capacity of NGOs, academia and the private sector to engage in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), its review mechanism and related activities" and stressed the important role of Non-Governmental actors in supporting Member States in the UNTOC review process. The main objective of the project is to allow UNODC to prepare NGOs, private sector, and academia to support Member States in a successful implementation of UNTOC and to facilitate their broad and inclusive participation in the review process.

As a result of the workshop, several recommendations were made for the way forward, including:

  • Establishing a group of focal points around thematic issues from across the regions.
  • Identifying Non-Governmental alliances and create a knowledge hub for exchange of experiences and practices.
  • Creating tailor-made and context-specific capacity building trainings for Non-Governmental actors and law enforcement on UNTOC.

The recommendations will inform the design of a training toolkit which will be used in subsequent dedicated workshops taking place from 2020, as well as the development of a civil society guide on UNTOC. The workshop was made possible through financial support by the Unites States, Norway and Sweden.

Further Information:

UNODC Engagement with Civil Society on Drug and Crime Prevention

UNODC's work against Organized Crime

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)

COP Resolution 9/1