UNODC Executive Director Calls for Stronger International Cooperation, on 10th Session of the Conference of the Parties

© UNIS Vienna/Nikoleta Haffar

Vienna (Austria), 12 October 2020 — Under the premise of international cooperation as an investment in our common future, the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was inaugurated today.

The hybrid event gathered 117 registered delegations — including 874 delegates of Member States and 101 observers— who are committed to working as one in amplifying the impact of the Convention and its protocols, in order to protect the most vulnerable during these trying times.

In her address for the opening of the session, Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), underscored the importance of “leaving no one behind” in light of the global health and criminality crisis.

She remarked that, “Important work lies ahead this week, as we mark the Convention’s 20th anniversary by advancing the fight against transnational organized crime, strengthening prevention and enhancing protection of crime victims.”

Since the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) was opened for signature by Member States in Palermo, Italy twenty years ago, the multilateral treaty has achieved near-universal ratification, with 190 State parties. The Convention remains the only global legal instrument against transnational crime.

Its three Protocols serve to prevent and counter trafficking in persons —especially women and children—, smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing and tracking in firearms. The Protocols have achieved a similarly high level of acceptance, with 178 States parties to the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, 149 to the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol; and 119 to the Firearms Protocol.

“We are all gathered here, in person or virtually, because we believe in the power of the Convention and its Protocols to drive solutions to problems that no country can face alone, and to keep our societies safer and able to prosper,” Ms. Waly said.

The tenth session of the Conference of the Parties aims to address emerging threats that pose a danger to health and human life; such as the sale of falsified medical products amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberattacks, and victims’ increased vulnerability to exploitation and abuse due to lockdowns.

“We need to continue to rely on the Convention and its Protocols to actively counter organized crime’s attack on our post-COVID future and on the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ms. Waly urged.