UNODC and ITU join forces to make the Internet safer

Photo: UNODC19 May 2011 - Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, and Hamadan I. Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva to strengthen security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

As the leading specialized agency of the United Nations in such technologies, ITU helps countries to harness their potential to generate sustainable economic development, especially among the most vulnerable sections of society.

But the advent of the global digital age has also made life easier for criminals. As more people gain access to the Internet, more people are swindled. Worse, young people are particularly vulnerable in an online environment; online child abuse constitutes a grave international crime and demands concerted collaboration. "It is important that countries harmonize legal frameworks to prevent and combat cyberthreats, and facilitate international cooperation" said Mr. Fedotov.

Progress in international efforts to address transnational organized crime, including emerging issues such as cyberethics, cybersafety and cybersecurity, were the focus of the 2011 session the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is the governing body of UNODC on crime issues.  The Commission encouraged UNODC to work more closely on cybercrime, including online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Memorandum of Understanding covers areas for cooperation, such as capacity building and technical assistance for developing countries; training and joint workshops; dissemination of information; prevention and education materials; and knowledge and data analysis.

Among such activities, ITU participated actively in a recent expert group meeting on cybercrime and will work with UNODC to assist in the completion of a study on the subject. Also, ITU, UNODC and UNICEF are arranging a joint workshop entitled "Framework for International Cooperation on Child Online Protection" during the Internet Governance Forum which will take place in Kenya in September 2011.

"This is a good opportunity for two strong UN organizations to work together. The mandates of both organizations are complementary - that of the ITU being the security and protection of ICT, while UNODC focuses on countering the criminal uses of that technology" said Mr. Fedotov. "Working together would ensure extensive reach to almost all required stakeholders in countries and regions."

Related Information:

International Telecommunication Union

UNODC and organized crime