A multistakeholder approach to combating organized crime highlighted at Kyoto Congress


Kyoto (Japan)9 March 2021  The Review Mechanism of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime provides for the engagement with non-governmental stakeholders in the review process. In the Kyoto Declaration which was adopted by the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on 7 March 2021, Member States committed to enhance multi-disciplinary efforts to prevent and combat crime through cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and other criminal justice institutions, and other governmental sectors, by engaging in and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships with the private sector, civil society, academia and the scientific community, and with other relevant stakeholders as appropriate.  

In this context, the UNODC Civil Society Unit organized during the Congress an ancillary meeting on Inclusive implementation of UNTOC Review Mechanism: the Role of UNODC in Enabling Civil Society, the Private Sector and Academics in Supporting Member States”.  

The event which was attended by 104 participants online highlighted the importance of non-governmental stakeholders’ engagement in preventing and combating organized crime as well as the UNTOC review process. It also presented the main achievement of UNODC’s Stakeholder Engagement for UNTOC project, also known as SE4U, which aims to bring together Member States, civil society, academics and the private sector to ensure a successful review process.  

The WhatsOn platform which is UNODC’s knowledge hub for non-governmental stakeholders working on countering organized was also launched during the event. WhatsOn will support the engagement of relevant non-governmental stakeholders in the UNTOC review process, complementing SHERLOC. 

In his opening remarks, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs noted that “we need to further strengthen engagement with non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders if we are to address common challenges effectively and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on time.”  

Ambassador Alessandro Cortese highlighted the Italian experience in involving civil society in efforts to prevent and combat organized crime, including through social reuse of confiscated assets, and stressed that “it is important to fully involve civil society, NGOs and academia in the newly launched UNTOC Review Mechanism.” 

Ethan Glick from the Permanent Mission of the United States said that “countries must invite a wide range of feedback when evaluating how impactful their efforts have been on addressing crime.  This is how progress is made.  And this is, at its core, the SE4U project, it’s interface with the UNTOC Review Mechanism, and why we must continue to lend this process our support.” 

Representatives from NGOs and academia – Ian Tennant from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime which is also an implementing partner to the SE4U project, Fatiha Serour from Africa Group for Justice & Accountability who is one of the 13 SE4U Focal Points (a group of enablers in all regions of the world who serve as resource people and help UNODC to coordinate its activities on the ground), and Ai Kihara-Hunt from Tokyo University – shared their experience with the SE4U project, and stressed the need to mitigate challenges NGOs face in the UNTOC processes.  

Some 5680 people registered for the Congress, over 830 of which are individual experts, 36NGO representatives from 150 NGOs, some of them as speakers in the plenary, committee and ancillary meetings. Of the 130 ancillary meetings, 50 were organized by or with NGOs. 

The SE4U project is made possible by the financial support of the Government of the United States’ Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.