Transnational crime threatens Millennium Development Goals, Commission told

Photo: UNODC23 April 2012 - The twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice opened today with speakers acknowledging that transnational organized crime is one of the main challenges of the twenty-first century and a threat to sustainable development and the rule of law.

In a message from the President of the General Assembly, the Chef de Cabinet of the President of the General Assembly, Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, noted that drugs and crime are an impediment to the social and economic development of countries. "When combined, these crimes generate enormous profits every year: not in the millions, not in the billions, but in the trillions of dollars," he said.

These views were supported by the President of the Economic and Social Council, Miloš Koterec,  who also spoke about preventing violence against migrants, the theme of a special debate at the Commission.

During his speech to the commission, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, stated that, as the international community moved closer towards 2015 and took stock of the Millennium Development Goals, there was growing recognition that transnational threats were a major hindrance to achieving the Goals.

Weak and fragile countries were particularly vulnerable to the effects of transnational organized crime. Those countries, devastated by war or making the transition to democracy, were often preyed upon by criminals. "As a result, organized crime flourishes, successes in development are reversed, and opportunities for social and economic advancement are lost," said Mr. Fedotov.

To change this situation. Mr. Fedotov said that anti-crime activities had to be integrated into the sustainable development agenda, along with programmes of action for the rule of law, which formed the foundation for human rights.

He stressed that the strength of UNODC derived from its long experience of working with partners and nations on drugs, crime and terrorism. However, Mr. Fedotov also said that the solid foundation for the work of UNODC came from the United Nations conventions on drugs, crime and corruption. "I call on all Member States to become parties to and to implement those conventions," he said.

The twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, chaired by Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand, is being attended by around 800 people, representing 111 States and 38 non-governmental organizations. Its main theme is violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families, but State oversight in civilian private security services, countering maritime piracy, and the treatment of prisoners will also be discussed, among other issues.

Related information

Full speech by UNODC Executive Director

Twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Programme of events (pdf)

UNODC and organized crime