Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the Twenty-First session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Your Royal Highness Madam Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Twenty-First Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
I am particulary pleased with the support of the two main UN bodies that helped shape this commission.
I welcome his Excellency Ambassador Milos Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council. On behalf of UNODC, I offer my sincere congratulations on your recent appointment as State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic.
I also welcome Dr. Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, Chef de Cabinet of the President of the General Assembly.
It was the General Assembly who, in 1992, made the request for the creation of this commission.
And, it was ECOSOC who-on that request-established the Commission's mandate on countering transnational crime.
The Commission's mandate remains as relevant now as it did twenty years ago.
As we move towards 2015, and taking stock of the Millennium Development Goals, there is a growing recognition that transnational threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking, violence and corruption are major impediments to their achievement.
Weak and fragile countries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of transnational organized crime.
These countries, some devastated by war, others making the complex journey towards democracy, are preyed upon by crime.
As a result, organized crime flourishes, successes in development are reversed, opportunities for social and economic advancement are lost.
Today, the rule of law, good governance, human rights, and economic development are all threatened by transnational organized crime.
Where crime thrives, the rule of law is weak.
This represents a serious challenge to the legitimacy of state institutions, as well as peace and security.
The UN recognizes that countering crime must form part of the development agenda as well as the programme of action for the rule of law, which is the foundation for human rights.
In past years, UNODC has consistently highlighted the connection between the rule of law and development, and has called on the international community to devote greater attention to the joint pursuit of justice, security and development.
UNODC addresses these issues through an integrated programme approach.
At its centre, is the development of integrated Regional Programmes. They provide the operational platforms for common initiatives by regional entities and partner countries.
In Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, we are encouraging and assisting initiatives that share information and conduct joint operations. These activities will shortly be strengthened by a new regional programme for South Eastern Europe.
UNODC is also building paradigms of cooperation such as the REFCO network of prosecutors in Central America. Through best practices and the exchange of information, this is strengthening the criminal justice chain.
Funding will soon allow us to extend the REFCO network to West Africa, and we are connecting the AIRCOP and container control programmes in Central America and the Caribbean and West Africa.
Our approach is also based on inter-agency cooperation. At its centre is the UN Task Force on Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking, created last year by the SG, and co-chaired by UNODC and DPA.
The Task Force is developing a strategic framework for effective and coherent action at the field level.
It is also developing advocacy initiatives aimed at highlighting the impact of illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption.
UNODC also recognizes the role played by civil society and NGOs, in these areas, especially in their support for the victims of crime.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If we are to ensure that the MDGs are achieved, the work of UNODC and its partners must be integrated into the strategies to deliver these goals.
This means developing programmes that address issues such as money laundering, corruption and trafficking in wildlife, people and arms.
These crimes impact every economy, in every country, but they are particularly devastating in weak and vulnerable countries.
Improving our anti-money laundering capacities, including through UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, will help break the economic strength of criminal networks who rely on the proceeds of illicit activities to generate other criminal activities.
If we succeed in stopping illicit money flows and money laundering, we would expect to see more meaningful results in addressing such crimes as maritime piracy.
Corruption is a serious impediment to the rule of law and sustainable development. It can be a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards failure.
It is estimated that up to US$40 billion is lost through corruption in developing countries.
Trafficking and smuggling increase in conditions where there is conflict, lack of security or a weak rule of law.
According to some estimates, at any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of human trafficking, a shameful crime of modern day slavery.
Every year, we are losing wildlife, the heritage of future generations, as it is smuggled out of countries by organized crime networks.
To act, we must also understand. This means appreciating the flows of crime by analyzing its every movement and tracking them across the globe.
UNODC is working on a number of transnational organized crime threat assessments in Central America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, West Africa and East Africa.
These reports, prepared in consultation with Member States, are helping to generate a global picture of how crime is developing in the early 21 st Century.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To implement our mandates and to fulfil your expectations, UNODC is realigning itself to ensure that the delivery of our activities is more efficient, and more effective.
UNODC is streamlining its work, while also building a strong independent evaluation culture that balances accountability and transparency.
UNODC's strength derives from its long experience of working with partners and nations on drugs, crime and terrorism.
However, the solid foundations for this work are provided by the UN Conventions on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, UN Convention Against Corruption, and the legal instruments against terrorism.
I welcome ongoing discussions among states regarding the establishment of a UNTOC review mechanism, along similar lines to the UNCAC review mechanism.
Together these instruments represent a key achievement in the struggle against organized crime.
As the custodian of these conventions, UNODC works to ensure they are used every day in the fight against organized crime.
I call on all Member States to become parties and to implement these conventions.
By doing so, we will ensure that we fight transnational threats in unity and in the spirit of cooperation.