UNODC at the 4th Annual Conference of the Asian Criminological Society Meeting in Korea

Seoul (Republic of Korea), 29 August 2012
-The 4th Annual Conference of the Asian Criminological Society (ACS), held last week (20 - 22 August) in Seoul proved a timely opportunity to state some fundamental truths about the role of criminology in promoting both justice and development. Essentially, this message is that it is essential for societies to be built upon a strong culture of the rule of law if they are to attain security, justice, development and human rights. The role of the international community is to support individual states - through mutual encouragement - to proceed in this direction.

The ACS is a non-profit organization based in Macau, and has been holding annual conferences since 2009 to encourage research and cooperation amongst scholars and practitioners in criminology and criminal justice in Asia. This year's conference was co-hosted with the Korean Institute of Criminology, a member of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (UNPNI).

The theme for the conference was "Development and Security: Rethinking Crime and Criminal Policies in Asia." Among the many distinguished figures in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice in attendance was Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand who is also the Chairperson of the 21st Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

The UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific was present at the conference to raise awareness among participants on its work and the forthcoming TOCTA (Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment - due to be launched during the fourth quarter of 2012).

"This conference is designed to provide a forum for eminent scholars and practitioners from not only Asia but from across the globe to share, exchange and review each other's works and ideas on how criminal policies can lead to security and ultimately to development," said Emeritus Professor Dr. Il-Su Kim, President of KIC, at the opening ceremony.

Mr. Gary Lewis, the Regional Representative of UNODC East Asia and the Pacific, delivered a speech entitled "Responding to the human security threat from Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific," at the conference. His observations pointed to recent trends in the growth of transnational organized crime in East Asia and the Pacific and what the international community can do to respond.

"The governments of the world have realized the danger of TOC and they are fighting back, but we need to translate the political will into concrete results," said Mr. Gary Lewis. "In order to do that we need to know the problem, establish the normative framework, build our technical capacity, and lastly expand regional partnerships."

UNODC's TOCTA is an unprecedented effort to analyze and describe twelve key flows of TOC in the region in terms of their nature and scale.

The flows are as follows:

1. Migrant smuggling in SE Asia
2. Trafficking women from SE Asia to Thailand
3. Migrant Smuggling from East / SE Asia to US and EU
4. Migrant Smuggling through region to Australia and Canada
5. Heroin trafficking
6. Methamphetamine trafficking
7. Illegal Wildlife trade
8. Illegal Timber trade
9. Illegal trade in electronic waste
10. Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS)
11. Counterfeit consumer goods
12. Fraudulent essential medicines

Criminal Justice Researcher of the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Inshik Sim, introduced and promoted the Towards AsiaJust (TAJ) Programme to participants of the conference. "TOC requires a transnational response but the level of co-operation among national prosecution and law enforcement in our East Asia and the Pacific region requires improvement," said Mr. Inshik Sim. "TAJ is aimed at building a transnational organized justice to effectively counter TOC in the region."

The conference was an opportunity to highlight the strong partnership between the KIC and UNODC.

The next annual conference of ACS is scheduled for 2013 in Mumbai, India.