UNODC has the mission of making the world safer from crime, drugs, and terrorism. To be effective and sustainable, responses to these threats must include strategies covering the following areas:
Crime prevention and criminal justice strategies must be gender-responsive and respect the rule of law, therefore incorporating human rights law and principles. Acting as the custodian of the UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, which promote human rights, UNODC assists Member States in reforming their criminal justice systems in order to be effective, fair and humane for the entire population.
Within UNODC, the overall responsibility to assist countries in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice lies within the Justice Section (Division for Operations at headquarters level). The Justice Section performs both normative and operational work. Its normative work relates to the revision of existing standards and norms, the development of new standards and norms, and the monitoring of their use and application. The operational work of the Justice Section includes activities such as providing technical assistance to Member States and developing tools to assist Members States in implementing the UN standards and norms. The Justice Section brochure is available for download in: English , French , Spanish , Arabic , Chinese , and Russian .
At field level, UNODC has been developing regional/country programmes covering all thematic areas included in its mandate, with strong crime prevention and criminal justice components based on needs and objectives identified in each region/country. For more information on UNODC's work on crime prevention and criminal justice at field level, please consult each field level entity's webpage on their crime prevention and criminal justice pillar through UNODC's field offices portal.
The work of UNODC in crime prevention and criminal justice reform is guided by the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice. The UN standards and norms are sets of non-binding rules, principles, and guidelines relating to different aspects of criminal justice, such as juvenile justice, violence against women, protecting the rights of children, and prison reform. Most of the UN standards and norms are resolutions adopted by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council.
The thematic programme provides for the strategic framework for UNODC's work, especially that of the Justice Section, on crime prevention and criminal justice reform. It presents UNODC's mandate to assist countries in developing new instruments, strategies, policies and programmes for crime prevention and criminal justice reform and presents the tools and services that UNODC can provide to States and non-State actors.
The Thematic Programme is implemented through a portfolio of UNODC projects around the world, most of which are part of UNODC regional and country programmes. It is also implemented through UNODC's global project on crime prevention and criminal justice.
The global project aims at strengthening States' capacity to improve crime prevention and criminal justice systems in line with UN standards and norms and other relevant international instruments through (1) assessments, advice and programme support to State policies and strategies; (2) tools development and training, also to support State policies and strategies; (3) standards and norms development or update. The project is implemented with a strong focus on partnerships with other UN agencies and international NGOs.
Apart from normative and operational work, UNODC also conducts research in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice. For further information, please follow the links below:
The UNDP/UNODC Global Study on Legal Aid 2015 English(pdf), English(doc), Spanish (doc), Russian (doc), Arabic(doc), Chinese (doc), French (doc). Kindly note that these documents were not translated by UN official translation services.