Vienna, 8 June 2023. What are the areas in which civil society can contribute to the implementation of UNTOC and how can it support the mainstreaming of human rights and gender considerations in it? How can non-governmental organizations contribute to developing analysis and policies that support States parties in responding to transnational organized crime?
These and many other questions were discussed at the Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance convened on 31 May in Vienna following the conclusion of the 14th session of the Working Group of Government Experts on Technical Assistance.
59 non-governmental stakeholders, mostly Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) but also members of academia and the private sector, participated in the 2023 Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance held in a hybrid format together with representatives from governments, international and regional organizations.
During the Dialogue, participants had the opportunity to be briefed by the Secretariat on the status of the review process carried out within the framework of the UNTOC Review Mechanism as well as on the outcomes of the 14th meeting of the Working Group of Government Experts on Technical Assistance.
The panel discussions focused on the needs for technical assistance arising in the prevention of organized crime with a special emphasis on the development of strategies to combat organized crime and on the importance of data collection and analytical processes to support the mainstreaming of gender and human rights in the implementation of UNTOC.
According to Mr. Carlos Alberto Sánchez Del Águila, Co-Chair of the Working Group on Technical Assistance who also chaired the meeting, the Constructive Dialogue inspired both civil society and States to strengthen their cooperation in this context. “The Constructive Dialogue is a great opportunity to put together States parties and organized civil society to talk frankly and in a transparent and constructive manner, trying to find the best way to work jointly against transnational organized crime, building trust between each other,” he highlighted.
The contribution of civil society with its diverse perspectives, expertise and knowledge is essential for States to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) as well as to engage effectively in the UNTOC Review Mechanism.
During the Dialogue, the role of grassroots organizations in strengthening UNTOC implementation and in supporting the progress of the Review Mechanism was stressed, among others, by the panellists representing the Alliance of NGOS on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Slum Child Foundation.
Mr. Ian Tennant, from the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, pointed out that that the participation of grassroots organizations is fundamental. "Working at the grassroots level is key. We need to convince community actors that do the real work of the importance and relevance of multilateral processes,” he emphasized.
Mr. George Ochieng, executive director of the Slum Child Foundation, underlined that there should be a stronger cooperation between grassroots organizations and governments. “We need more engagement at grassroots level. We need to tighten the collaboration between civil society and States parties,” he highlighted.
Inputs and suggestions from non-governmental stakeholders allowed for discussions on innovative approaches to develop policies and analytical processes to strengthen UNTOC implementation integrating gender and human rights, and States’ engagement in the UNTOC Review Mechanism.
Ms. Francesca Rispoli from NGO Libera association highlighted the positive impact of policies that support the social reuse of confiscated property. “We need a set of solutions that could work. The social reuse of confiscated property is a vital initiative that brings back good to societies,” she emphasized.
Mr. Maurício Vieira, from the University for Peace in Costa Rica, emphasized that it is essential to create data to be examined with the aim of developing targeted policies. He highlighted that it is important to better “understand the geography of crime” and explore “the dynamics between gender and crime”.
Understanding the different aspects of organized crime and in particular, how gender shapes people’s different experiences of organized crime and their interactions with the criminal justice system, is critical for stronger implementation of UNTOC. On this topic, Ms. Flavia Romiti, UNODC, emphasized that "UNODC encourages the collection of gender-disaggregated data. Organized crime is a gendered phenomenon and we at UNODC are exploring all nuances of that to help shape more inclusive and effective policies and interventions against it.”
The summary of the discussions prepared by the Chair together with the written contributions from participants will be published online on the webpage of the 2023 Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance as they become available.
Three more Constructive Dialogues will take place in September and October this year: on International Cooperation, Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.