Salt Lake City (USA), 29 August 2019 - In Resolution 9/1 of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), Member States recognized that non-governmental actors play a crucial role in countering organized crime. They committed to promote fruitful engagement with relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations (CSOs), through constructive dialogues in the UNTOC implementation review process.
In an effort to prepare civil society for constructive contributions to the Review Mechanism, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) Civil Society Team organized, in the margins of the 68 th UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, a workshop titled combating transnational organized crime through UNTOC to ensure safer and sustainable cities. During the workshop, UNODC introduced participants to UNTOC, engaged them in its Review Mechanism and demonstrated how non-governmental actors can meaningfully contribute to its successful implementation.
In his opening remarks, Assistant Attorney General of Utah Daniel Strong stressed that "more education about human trafficking is needed to raise awareness of these types of crimes and how they affect communities." Utah's Attorney General Office oversees several initiatives to address human trafficking, including the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force which involves grass-root and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in education campaigns, support of anti-human trafficking legislation, victim recovery, and advocacy work.
The workshop featured two NGO speakers from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime and the Environmental Justice and Human Rights Organization (JADE) from Mexico. Ian Tennant presented the importance of civil society contribution to the UNTOC implementation and his organization's resilience fund for NGOs working on transnational organized crime. Diana Siller presented the extent of the problem and the work her NGO and partners do in the Northeast region of Mexico where they provide shelter, gather information, and conduct studies and produce reports on the issue of migrant smuggling.
The 68 th UN Civil Society Conference was organized by and for civil society with the support of the UN and the Government of Salt Lake City. Over 5,000 people registered to the conference. UNODC also participated in the thematic session on peaceful societies - recovering from conflict and nurturing peace highlighting the role of civil society in ensuring the implementation of the UNTOC and the UN Convention against corruption (UNCAC), and a workshop on international cooperation for the empowerment of local action for sustainable development and peace presenting how UNODC is contributing to peaceful societies through SDG 16.