UNODC calls for greater international cooperation on asset recovery

Phuket (Thailand), 11 July 2012
- In our fast-paced globalizing world, more trade - easier and faster communication - increased mobility of people, money and services have all created prosperity and wealth.

But as we create more opportunities for economic growth by lowering or removing barriers, we also create space for the "dark side of globalization".

UNODC estimates that - worldwide - the total amount of criminal proceeds generated in 2009 (excluding those derived from tax evasion), is approximately $2.1 trillion. This is equivalent to 3.6 per cent of global GDP for that year.

Of that total, the proceeds of transnational organized crime-such as drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and arms smuggling- is approximately one third of this. As much as 70 per cent of those proceeds are likely to have been laundered through the international financial system.

However, UNODC estimates that less than 1 percent of estimated global illicit financial flows is currently being seized and frozen.

There are many threads that can be used to counteract this trend. One is regional cooperation on anti-money-laundering and asset forfeiture.

Cooperation is best achieved by networks. One of these networks is currently meeting in Phuket, Thailand. It is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's Task Force capacity-building workshop. The meeting is hosted by Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission. It is a practical workshop aimed at strengthening the capacities of the APEC economies to detect, deter, and recover proceeds of corruption and illicit trade through state-of-the-art financial investigation and international asset recovery tools.

UNODC is supporting this initiative with inputs to the plenary sessions. Here are two UNODC interventions at the meeting: