09 – 12 October 2023, Bangkok Thailand - The UNODC Global Programme on Implementing the Organized Crime Convention was in Bangkok to host a Regional Multi-stakeholder Meeting on Strategies against Organized Crime, as well as its first ever Regional Event on Gender and Human Rights Mainstreaming in Preventing and Combating Organized Crime. Organized in partnership with UNODC Regional Office on Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the event brought together policymakers, legislators, academia, international organizations and civil society from across the region with the purpose of discussing strategies against organized crime, as well as tools and best practices on mainstreaming gender equality and human rights considerations in the implementation of UNTOC.
The four-day workshop was opened by Mr. Mark Gooding, British Ambassador to Thailand, who in his opening remarks highlighted that the event is a “platform to share and learn through regional expertise and best practices”. The emphasis on cross-regional collaboration was evident from the beginning, with additional opening remarks provided by Mr. Benedikt Hofmann (Deputy UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific), Mr. Hahm Jeong-han (Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Korea) and Mr. Jumpon Phansumrit (Deputy Attorney General of the Government of Thailand).
The event included presentations from the Project Team on the relevance of Strategies in efforts to prevent and combat organized crime and the significance of mainstreaming gender and human rights in these efforts. A series of panel discussions were held with representatives from INTERPOL, ASEAN, the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, the British Embassy in Thailand, Google, the Mekong Studies Center and JU, S Juridico Social. While the expertise and examples shared spanned over a broad range of topics, all panellists agreed on one fundamental issue: transnational organized crime can only be effectively addressed through a whole of society approach that engages governmental and non-governmental actors, including local communities and the private sector.
We asked one of our workshop participants, Ms. Glenda Litong, Law Reform Specialist at the University of the Philippines about her motivation behind attending the workshops:
“Being able to bring together different perspectives and experiences, as well as the lessons learned derived from these, is a natural stimulus for me to join this workshop. Since I teach Criminal Law at University, I always endeavour to improve my content and the matter of cross-border crimes is a very relevant topic for my students”.
By the end of the four-day workshop, participants learned and shared best practices related to the development of comprehensive and inclusive organized crime strategies. In doing so, they relied on the ‘Four P’s Framework’ set out in the Organized Crime Strategy Toolkit, placed a strong emphasis on gender equality and human rights considerations, and discussed how to practically adopt a multi?stakeholder approach to the fight against organized crime. The considerations shared during the event will be used to produce a regional policy brief, aimed at promoting a shared understanding of organized crime priorities in the region and fostering joint efforts in combatting this problem. As concluded by one of the workshop participants: “we are stronger together”.
UNODC wishes to acknowledge the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada and South Korea for their generous support, as well as the Government of Thailand for hosting the event.