Director General/Executive Director
Briefing to Member States on Challenges in the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking
I am pleased to brief Member States on the UN system-wide Task Force on Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking.
Due to their multifaceted nature, transnational crime and drug trafficking are capable of undermining security and hindering development.
Reductions in poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals are directly jeopardised by these challenges.
In many of the world's regions, they have evolved into major threats to stability, the rule of law, good governance, and human rights.
Let me provide you with a few figures to support these statements:
- Criminal proceeds of all illicit activities amount to around 3.6 per cent of global GDP, equivalent to US$2.1 trillion.
- Drug trafficking proceeds and other transnational organized crime activities are estimated to amount to 1.5% of global GDP or US$870 billion.
- The largest income for transnational organized crime comes from illicit drugs, which account for some 20% of all criminal proceeds. Gross profits out of cocaine sales alone were estimated at US$84 billion for the year 2009 .
- Each year, i llicit Afghan opiates kill some 100 thousand individuals around the world.
We, therefore, face a complex and shifting criminal web, whose strands touch almost every country and cross every region.
In recognition of these threats, in March 2011, the Secretary-General decided to establish the UN system-wide Task Force on Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking, co-chaired by UNODC and DPA.
For UN agencies, the Task Force is not a new governing body.
Its role is rather to ensure a coherent, effective and comprehensive coordination within the UN system and to implement mandates entrusted by our stakeholders, the Member States.
Our activities form part of the overall UN effort to strengthen the rule of law globally, and we work with the Rule of Law and Coordination and Resource Group and the Task Force on Security Sector Reform.
When working in the field, we no longer deliver alone, we deliver as one.
This approach has been reinforced by a joint letter from the heads of UNODC, UNDP and DPA calling for the field staff of the three organisations to collaborate in their respective regions.
Let me give you some other examples:
UNODC's and WCO global Container Control Programme currently operates in 13 countries in West Africa, Lain America, and West and Central Asia.
And it works. Since October 2009, the Panama units have seized more than 120 containers (110 with counterfeit goods worth millions of USD and 10 with drugs). In total, about 1.5 tons of cocaine was seized by the Panama operational units set-up by the programme.
In 2011, I also travelled to Guinea Bissau with the SRSG for West Africa, Said Djinnit, and SRSG for Guinea Bissau Mutaboba.
We held several high level discussions, and visited the Transnational Crime Unit established under the framework of the West Africa Coast Initiative--WACI.
WACI offers comprehensive programs in law enforcement, border management, anti-money laundering, as well as criminal justice reforms.
With our colleagues at DPA, UNOWA, DPKO and INTERPOL, we are working to turn WACI into successful interagency initiatives.
With DPKO we signed a Joint Action Plan to pull together our resources.
We plan to team up with UNIDO in alternative development programmes in Afghanistan.
But the success of the Task Force is also founded on our analysis and understanding of these crimes.
Together with DPA, UNODC undertook an Inter-Agency Mission to Benin and Nigeria, to evaluate at the ground level the threat of piracy, transitional organized crime and drug trafficking.
We are currently conducting regional risk assessments in West and East Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific.
A key component of the Task Force's work are the Regional Programmes that many of us operate: Just as transnational crime crosses borders, so do our Regional Programmes. That is essential to combat the criminals.
UNODC's own Regional Programmes such as the one for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, or West Africa, or Arab Countries, to name a few, are used as platforms for activities conducted in partnership, especially with UN agencies and Member States.
The Task Force also recognises that reducing supply is only half the story. There can be no real success without demand reduction, without prevention and treatment of drug addicts, as well as HIV/AIDS.
The Task Force opens new horizons for an enhanced coordination in this area among UNODC, WHO, UNDP, UNAIDS and other partners.
Public awareness of criminal threats is another vital ingredient. The Task Force is developing key messages to support this work.
We intend to continue to engage with Task Force partners in organising public events to address such criminal activities, as human trafficking, wildlife crime, cybercrime and many others.
In doing so, we are reflecting the view that the United Nations has a vital role to play in helping States to combat these global challenges, and ensuring that conventions form the foundation for our work.
Regarding, in particular, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, UNODC is currently working with Member States to negotiate the establishment of a meaningful mechanism to review its implementation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am confident that the Task Force will help the UN system strengthen the way we address transnational organized crime.
At the same time, a more strategic investment is required to support our work.
The Task Force was created in the spirit of One UN, but also out of the desire of Member States for efficiency and effectiveness.
If we are to continue to deliver forward momentum, we need your support.