|UNITED NATIONS OFFICE|
FOR DRUG CONTROL AND CRIME PREVENTION
Briefing to the Missions in New York
|New York, USA|
17 February 1999
Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to brief you on the progress of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. "Globalization" was the theme of the recently completed General Assembly. And at the end of the twentieth century, there are few problems more global than combatting organized crime and ending the abuse and production of illegal drugs.
When the Secretary-General speaks about "problems without passports", we should think about how to cooperate against drug lords moving hundreds of kilos of cocaine and heroin between continents and educating children about the dangers of drug abuse. We must find a way to take action against criminal groups who use the international financial system to launder illegal profits. We should figure out how to combat the brown envelopes of corruption, which siphon away money meant to rebuild economies. And we should design a strategy to stop the horrible human toll on women and children -- today trafficked across borders in record numbers for the pleasures and profits of heartless criminals.
The link between drugs and crime:
The Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention brings together two linked issues. There is a clear line which connects effective drug control policies and safer societies. One need go no further than the streets of New York City to see evidence of this. In 1990, at the height of America's inner city "crack wars", almost 2300 people were killed in Manhattan. A large proportion of these homicides were drug-related.
But today, due to education and prevention, crack abuse is on the wane. Americans spend more than a third less on drugs than a decade ago. The number of cocaine abusers in the U.S. has dropped from 6 million in 1985 to under two million last year. In 1998, the number of homicides in New York was reduced by 70 per cent in less than ten years. And nation-wide, drug related murders are down by 40 percent since 1992. Even though there are several factors that should be taken into account, reducing drug demand and effective law enforcement have played essential roles.
How do we translate the successes of places like New York City to the global scale? What lessons have we learned from Colombia's fight to destroy the Cali and Medellin cartels? Which are the best practices to draw from the Italian magistrates who gave their lives to fighting the Mafia?
In the area of crime prevention, the short answer is -- adopt a Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. We need a new instrument which spotlights today's globalized problems and draws upon the lessons learned from successful international law enforcement. The Convention should provide a framework for different legal systems to overcome the problems traditionally associated with mutual assistance. It should have two, over-arching goals -- to promote more effective domestic legislation against organized crime and to foster international cooperation to combat it. Convention protocols should include sections on: firearms control, smuggling and trafficking in women and children. Member States must have the tools to address money laundering, asset forfeiture and corruption.
The Centre for International Crime Prevention is making the Convention a priority item. Last month, an inter-governmental working committee made progress towards ensuring that the Convention focuses on crime groups which pose a major threat to economic stability, the safety of individuals and democratic systems.
In support of this work, the CICP is launching a programme on the mapping of organized crime groups. Later this year, the Centre will issue the first World Report on Organized Crime. The ODCCP is promoting specialized global programmes -- to counter money laundering, combat corruption, tackle the problem of trafficking in human beings and assist countries in complying with existing drug control treaties.
Organized crime uses corruption as one of its most effective tools. And the international economic consequences have become too glaring to ignore. Fighting graft in one country means better business for all countries. A recent IMF study showed that countries with extensive corruption have less of their GDP going into investment, and lower growth rates.
These same countries also invest less in education, which is the best development guarantee for future generations. And our Global Programme against Corruption will help Member States to build their own institutional capacity to prevent, detect and fight corruption.
Similarly, globalization has expanded the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings. Although data is scarce, the International Organization for Migration says that as many as four million illegal migrants are trafficked each year. Many of the victims are in search of a better life. Instead, they end up exploited and stripped of their basic rights. It is estimated that this trade generates between 5 to 7 billion dollars a year in criminal profits. The Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings will focus on the criminal aspects of this modern-day slave trade. It is our goal to provide the strategies to stop this problem.
Finally, criminal enterprises have always needed ways to launder their dirty profits. In the information age, there are no shortage of avenues. "Megabyte money" moves at the touch of a computer key. Some shell companies and off-shore banks are little more than voice mails. Bank mergers have devalued the benefit of "knowing your customer." Globalization is a money launderer's dream. The Global Programme against Money Laundering has hit the ground running, sharing expertise with developing financial law enforcement teams around the world. The Programme's research and analysis has been well received. The ODCCP study, "Financial Havens, Banking Secrecy and Money Laundering", has been praised by bankers, financial journalists and law enforcement officials as a concise analysis of the problem. For example, in a good year, an estimated 500 million dollars will be recovered through anti-money laundering measures. This adds up to about one-quarter of one percent of all laundered funds. Clearly, there is more we can do.
Drug Control: building on an important year:
Turning to the issue of drug control, 1998 was one of the most important years in the history of international drug control. Countries and regions broke crop reduction records. Traditional consumer nations continued to show declines in abuse and drug-related crime. The international community has come a long way. Today there is a belief that if countries can sustain their drug control commitments, a better 21st century can be achieved.
Last June's Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem was the opening bell for a new commitment. Governments dedicated themselves to a goal-oriented approach towards reducing the demand and supply of illegal drugs by 2008. UNDCP's focus since June has been on helping governments turn commitment into action. And I want to tell you about what we have been doing to follow-up the Special Session.
First, reducing demand remains a primary concern. However, when only about 10 per cent of the world's nations have sufficient knowledge about the extent of drug abuse within their borders, it's hard to design effective counter-measures. More accurate data on the numbers of people abusing drugs, the methods of use, and production and consumption figures is an essential part of our mission. This translates into a targeted response.
For example, we recently published a study of the growing drug abuse problem in sub-Saharan Africa, which will serve policy makers as a helpful analytical tool. Later this year, UNDCP will release the second edition of the World Drug Report which sets out relevant global data and trends. And next week, the International Narcotics Control Board's Annual Report will examine the misuse of emerging technologies, such as the World Wide Web, in spreading drug abuse.
Second, 1998 ended -- once and for all -- we hope -- the debate about whether committed governments -- working with the international community -- can reduce production. It can be done.
Since June, UNDCP has been developing business plans with the governments of the Andean region. The Bolivian Government eliminated eight thousand hectares of coca leaf production last year. Their previous reduction record was about two thousand hectares. This is a historical development. Through the use of the balanced approach -- which includes alternative development, law enforcement and demand reduction -- there is every indication that Bolivia will meet its goal of eliminating the coca bush by the year 2002.
And in Peru, the government's policy of close cooperation with other countries within the framework of "shared responsibility," has been a magnificent success. 1998 marked the third straight year that cultivation has dropped significantly -- Peru's land under coca production is down more than 50 percent since 1995. Colombia has also turned a corner. I have already met several times with President Andres Pastrana. I admire his dynamism and creativity and I know he is fully committed to addressing the narco-trafficking problem in his country.
But we must continue to help these governments. Let me give you a couple of examples of what we are doing after the Special Session. UNDCP has signed an agreement with the European Space Agency, allowing us to monitor illicit worldwide cultivation trends with satellite technology. The ownership of this data will belong to UNDCP and individual Governments.
Second, we have been working with international financial institutions to make sure long-term resources will be available. The Inter-American Development Bank has already pledged credits for Peru worth half a billion dollars for the construction of roads, schools and health centres, essential to make sure alternatives to coca production are self-sustaining. Under an agreement UNDCP signed with the IDB last month, the bank will give higher lending priority to programmes which address the illegal drug problem. And, in return, we will provide the bank with information concerning money laundering and regional drug abuse trends to help the bank target its lending.
Many other countries -- Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Iran -- have already made historic reductions. The results of Iran's twenty-year drug control effort have been remarkable. By the midddle of the 1980´s, the Iranians successfully eliminated all of the estimated 350 tons of illegal opium poppy harvested in the country less than a decade before. They built up their patrols, adding more than thirty thousand drug police officers, making smuggling across their borders more difficult. Due to this effort, over 200 tons of illegal drugs have been removed from the world market in the past twenty years, a substantial blow to Afghan traffickers. UNDCP has just signed an agreement to open an office in Tehran.
Ninety percent of the world's opium, from which heroin is derived -- comes from two Asian countries -- Myanmar and Afghanistan. In Myanmar, UNDCP continues to maintain a presence through an alternative development project in the Wa region. And we are fully engaged in the UN strategic framework for Afghanistan and the development of a common programme for the countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization.
The success of the Special Session has led to a trend reversal in our financial situation. This year UNDCP's budget is up 35 percent. However, there are no guarantees that funds will be available to meet future challenges. There is so much important work that needs to be done that the human and financial resources cannot keep up. We want to expand our work in precursors control, judicial cooperation and research into the abuse and production of amphetamine-type stimulants. How much we will be able to accomplish depends on your Government's political and financial commitment.
In conclusion, drug control and crime prevention are an integral part of promoting economic development and good governance. It is important that we continue to integrate our efforts into system-wide activities via such mechanisms as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. And ODCCP will soon become one of the sponsor organizations of UNAIDS.
Within my organization there is a feeling of positive momentum among the staff about what we can accomplish with your help. We have a renewed sense that together -- we can make a world of difference in the health of nations and the lives of people. Thank you. The floor is now open to questions.