Organized crime and drug trafficking major threats to international peace and security, UNODC head tells Security Council

Photo: UNODC23 November 2011 - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today called for coordinated and concerted efforts to address the threat of transnational organized crime.

Addressing the Security Council in New York, Mr. Fedotov said that transnational organized crime and drug trafficking are undermining security in many regions and evolving into major threats to political and social stability, the rule of law, human rights and economic development.

Highlighting the particular threat to security posed by drugs, Mr. Fedotov noted: "The farm-gate value of opium production alone in Afghanistan is equivalent to around 10 per cent of the country's GDP. Opium, therefore, forms a significant part of the Afghan economy and provides funding to terrorism and the insurgency, while fuelling corruption. This situation cannot last forever. The time has come for a more result-oriented response to this challenge; a response which is based on concrete action and shared responsibility."

Mr. Fedotov said that, in recognition of that global challenge and as guardian of the United Nations conventions on corruption, drug control and transnational organized crime, UNODC is raising awareness and mobilizing multilateral action. Earlier this year, the Secretary-General invited UNODC to co-chair the United Nations system-wide task force on organized crime and drug trafficking.

"We are using our partnerships with a number of United Nations entities such as the World Health Organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs, UNAIDS and the World Bank, among others, to create a multidisciplinary response in such areas as piracy and drugs, illegal trade in small arms, corruption, illicit money flows, human trafficking and wildlife crime," he said.

Noting that the strength of UNODC lies in its ability to deliver operational results in the field, Mr. Fedotov added: "We have developed a series of regional programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These programmes support an integrated approach linking the local to the regional and to the global."

Mr. Fedotov also drew attention to the plight of drug abusers: "Continuing our efforts to reduce the supply of drugs, we must also focus on demand reduction and prevention of drug addiction. UNODC recognizes that drug abuse and drug dependence are health issues, including HIV and AIDS, that must be addressed in full compliance with the conventions on drug control and that form our profound commitment to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law."

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Fedotov urged Member States to help to build the capacities of fragile or weak States while assisting with the defences of neighbouring countries and the long-term development of criminal justice systems.

Related information:

Full Speech by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov at the Security Council, 23 November 2011

UNODC and organized crime

UNODC and drug trafficking