Vienna, 26 May 2023. What are the key achievements of 20 years of implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)? How can UNTOC continue to represent an irreplaceable instrument to fight all forms of transnational organized crime in the present and in the future?
Marking twenty years since the entry into force of UNTOC, a CCPCJ side event focused on providing an answer to these questions by bringing together experts, policymakers and speakers from different geographical and institutional backgrounds to discuss how States parties can make use of the potential of UNTOC as a key instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime.
The event, organized by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the International Organizations in Vienna and co-sponsored by the Government of El Salvador and UNODC, saw the participation of more than 60 stakeholders including representatives from governments and international organizations, criminal justice practitioners and non-governmental stakeholders.
“We are proud to celebrate such a milestone in international cooperation against organized crime. Italy renews its commitment to scale up efforts to strengthen UNTOC implementation," emphasized Ambassador Alessandro Cortese, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN in Vienna, who moderated the side event.
The event focused on taking stock of the past and discussing the present and future of UNTOC, with experts and speakers offering testimonies and different perspectives on the process that led to the negotiation and adoption of the Convention, and on the progress made so far to promote its implementation. Forward-looking remarks during the discussion included specific references to the importance of technology and the role of the UNTOC Review Mechanism.
According to one of the panellists, Ambassador Julia Villatoro, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the UN in Vienna, technology is a key factor for achieving tangible results in promoting the implementation of the Convention. “In order to meaningfully engage in the UNTOC Review Mechanism, it is essential to harness the potential of technology fostering dialogue & mutual learning,” she emphasized.
It was further highlighted that national and regional strategies against transnational organized crime play a key role in developing efficient responses to organized crime. To maximize the impact of such strategies, it is vital to ensure that they are evidence-based, comprehensive, gender-sensitive and human rights-compliant, as another panellist, Ambassador Corinne Kitsell, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN in Vienna, underscored.
Tackling transnational organized crime requires a global response involving all States parties in a joint effort. In that respect, it was underlined that the UNTOC Review Mechanism could help unlock the full potential of the Convention and its Protocols.
As UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly mentioned in closing the event, “The Review Mechanism generates crucial data and observations that will help identify areas where targeted follow-up and reforms are needed to step up the fight against organized crime and enhance international cooperation.”
All speakers stressed the significance of UNTOC as a global tool to foster international cooperation to combat transnational organized crime. Entered into force in 2003, UNTOC represents one of the most adhered to international legal instruments with 191 States parties to date. The last State party to accede to UNTOC was Bhutan earlier this year.