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Model United Nations topic
 

Organized crime

 

Organized crime is one of the most interesting forms of criminal behaviour. Amped by popular fictional portrayals in The Godfather, Sopranos and other books, television programmes and movies, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

Organized crime is worthy of close scrutiny and careful analysis, because there is something inherently more dangerous about crimes committed by groups of people, in terms of the organization and scope of the criminal activity and the potential for serious harm.

What is organized crime?

Organized crime is defined by the nature and motivation of the group that commits the act, rather than by the specific types of crimes committed. In other words, organized crime functions as a criminal enterprise that rationally works to profit from illicit activities that are often in great public demand, such as trafficking in drugs, firearms and even persons.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime provides a definition of an organized criminal group according to the following criteria: a structured group of three or more persons; that exists for a period of time; and acts in concert with the aim of committing at least one serious crime; to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit.

Organized crime and its impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

Organized crime affects the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in a number of direct ways:

  • It hampers the promotion of well-being for all and insurance of healthy lives (Goal 3) through increased narcotic drug usage as a consequence of drug trafficking as well as the production and trafficking of falsified medical products.
  • Criminal practices in the fishing industry are among the greatest threat to the conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment, and thus represent a significant obstacle to achieving Goal 14.
  • Criminal syndicates have become one of the greatest threats to the environment today, as wildlife and forest crime has escalated significantly. Tackling wildlife and forest crime is fundamental to effectively achieve Goal 15.
  • It increases violence, insecurity and harm to civilian populations. Its infiltration of states and political processes threatens the legitimacy of institutions and undermines the rule of law. In this way, organized crime practically inhibits the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development thus posing serious obstacles to the achievement of Goal 16.
 

Benefits of an organized crime-related simulation

An organized crime-related simulation would teach students about the elements and characteristics of organized crime in its various forms and manifestations. The simulation could reproduce the deliberations in the context of the Conference of the Parties to the Organized Crime Convention and/or its Working Groups. Students would have to use the appropriate rules and procedures while defending policy positions that will be previously distributed to them.

For example, discussion could focus on the following:

  • Organized crime and gender;
  • The nexus between organized crime and terrorism or organized crime and corruption;
  • The use of cyberspace in organized crime;
  • Emerging crimes such as wildlife crime, trafficking in cultural property or falsified medical products.
 

Suggested topics for a Model United Nations conference and related Sustainable Development Goals

 
    New and emerging forms of organized crime
    Assistance to victims and protection of witnesses of organized crime
    Organized crime and terrorism
    International cooperation in the fight against organized crime
    Trafficking in cultural property
  Wildlife and forestry crime
    Money-laundering and organized crime
 

Resources on organized crime

 

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