Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director

Remarks at the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum plenary session

St. Petersburg, 18 May 2016

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

It is an honour to address the Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum.

The topic of this plenary session, trust in law as a mechanism for resolving global challenges, goes to the heart of what we seek to achieve at the United Nations.

One of the founding purposes of the UN, as stated in the Charter, is "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained".

This aim is evident in the everyday work of the United Nations at Vienna and, in particular, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The UN family in Vienna addresses issues ranging from international trade law and laws governing use of outer space, to promoting international legal frameworks to address the challenges of drugs, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption.

All UN entities in Vienna are pursuing a common objective, namely the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Notably, Goal 16 recognizes the rule of law, access to justice, and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions as crucial to achieving sustainable development.

So building trust in law is an essential part of what we do in Vienna.

UNODC is the lead UN entity to support Member States in addressing the challenges of drugs and crime.

The Office is the guardian of international legal instruments including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and the Convention against Corruption.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Minister of Justice, Mr. Alexander Konovalov, for his effective work as President of the Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, which was held here in Saint Petersburg last November.

This high-level forum marked a new phase in strengthening international cooperation to address global challenges of corruption and illicit money flows.

UNODC also supports countries to implement the international drug conventions and universal legal instruments against terrorism, as well as UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

This international legal framework enables global law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation, including mechanisms such as extradition, mutual legal assistance and confiscation of crime proceeds.

It promotes the sharing of standards, norms, guiding principles and best practices.

It provides a platform for partnerships, including with the private sector and civil society.

This is very important, because international meetings like the Saint Petersburg Forum play a key role - in raising awareness, contributing experience and fostering policy dialogue to support the inclusive, impartial and transparent development of international legal standards and, crucially, to implement those standards effectively in domestic legislation.

This framework is constantly being tested by persisting, evolving and emerging challenges, including the growing nexus of organized crime and terrorism; potentially lethal new drugs outside international control; the rise in cybercrime; and the increased vulnerability of migrants to criminal traffickers and smugglers in the continuing crisis.

What these threats have made clear is that we need the cooperation enabled by this international framework more than ever.

Through these agreed conventions and instruments, countries have the tools they need to cooperate to address common threats, and to act swiftly, flexibly and responsibly.

So as you can see, trust in law and the rule of law are fundamental to our mission, and are both the outcomes and enablers of much of what we seek to accomplish at the United Nations. 

Thank you.