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Development of a new transnational organized crime threat assessment for East and Southeast Asia gets underway


Transnational Organized Crime Asia ASEAN_Jeremy Douglas Inshik Sim United Nations_UN_UNODC

Bangkok (Thailand), 27 March 2018
- Public security and law enforcement experts and analysts from countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States have come together with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok to discuss changes and developments in major transnational organized crime flows and illicit contraband markets in Southeast Asia and neighbouring regions. The regional expert meeting is the formal start of a process to develop a new transnational organized crime threat assessment (TOCTA) for the region to be announced in 2019.

Produced by UNODC, and used by the UN, countries and regional organisations, TOCTAs provide a baseline for understanding the mechanics of illicit trade, its size, and implications, as a basis for developing for evidence-based strategic and programmatic responses. UNODC produced the last TOCTA for East and Southeast Asia in 2013, examining major illicit flows related to the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, counterfeit goods, illicit drugs, wildlife, and timber. Findings from the 2013 assessment have served as a foundation for discussions by the ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), policy leaders and international and regional organizations, and have been helpful for setting priorities to address transnational criminal flows and their destabilising influence in the region.

Discussions about developing a new TOCTA have taken place at various regional conferences and meetings, including the most recent ASEAN SOMTC when countries requested UNODC carry out a new study on transnational crime. In his opening remarks of the meeting, Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the rationale for the new TOCTA; "Transnational crime is fluid and evolves and develops alongside legitimate trade and commerce, and both are expanding in Southeast Asia. Our strategic response needs to adapt to keep pace. At the same time, we can't lose sight of the fact that addressing these illicit flows will be crucial for the sustainable development of the region." Participants also acknowledged the importance of understanding recent changes in regional illicit flows. "As the complexity of transnational crime in the region has grown, so have the gaps in our knowledge of how organized crime operates. The new TOCTA is needed to ensure we can respond to emerging threats from criminal organisations," said Mr. Sieng Lapresse, Adviser to the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on Transnational Crime in the ASEAN framework.

The new TOCTA will be developed over the course of the coming year, during which data collection, verification, analysis and mapping will be conducted. "We will coordinate and consult extensively with ASEAN countries, key neighbouring states, UN partner agencies, other international organisations and academia, to ensure we are using the right data for the assessment," said Inshik Sim, Research Officer for UNODC. "The TOCTA will be a useful foundation for discussions at next year's ASEAN SOMTC in Myanmar".

Transnational Organized Crime Asia ASEAN_Inshik Sim United Nations_UN_UNODC

UNODC is a leader in promoting the rule of law and addressing non-traditional security threats, and delivers programmes that help countries to deal with challenges related to transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, corruption and terrorism. The Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific works with governments and partner organisations to develop and provide data and analysis, expertise, and assistance to public security, law enforcement and justice officials to implement solutions to transnational organized crime.

For more information on the Southeast Asia Regional Programme click here

For more information on the Transnational Organised Crime click here