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Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Third Committee
6th Meeting (AM)
GA/SHC/3691
2 October 2002

Technical Assistance, Cooperation Needed to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, Third Committee Told as Debate Concludes on Drugs, Crime

As the Third Committee this morning concluded its consideration of matters related to crime and the world drug problem, a strong consensus emerged that such global security threats must be tackled comprehensively and with a lasting commitment that ensured much needed technical cooperation and assistance to combat transnational organized crime and to strengthen capacity-building and national institutions.

Speaking on behalf the Pacific Islands Forum, the representative of Fiji said his region was addressing transnational organized crime in its shared responsibility towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Pacific region was now developing mechanisms for improved coordination of training and technical assistance, together with the collection of information and analysis of the status of the drug situation and illegal people movements in the region.

He added that such regional activities served not only to strengthen regional efforts to combat crime, but also to maximize returns through pooling of resources. Still, further technical assistance and cooperation both for the Millennium Development Goals and for integral treatment of these issues would provide added value to regional activities.

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said both transnational organized crime and the illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs had devastating consequences for the Caribbean region. Trafficking in drugs and small arms represented a grave challenge to the social fabric of societies and attacked the region's most valuable resources -- its human capital and prospects for growth and development.

He said that many CARICOM States had become pawns in the dangerous game played by drug traffickers. Transit States sat at the nexus of supply and demand, and the spillover effects contributed to the rise of crime and levels of violence. Success in combating the drug trade required action on all fronts including the revisiting of underlying international economic relations, which affected the development prospect.

Highlighting the links between unfair international trading systems and drug-oriented problems, the representative of Ethiopia said the lack of markets for export commodities from poor countries directly affected the livelihood of farmers, forcing them to turn to narcotic cash crops. Action against the world drug problem was a shared responsibility calling for a fair international trading system and enhanced financial and technical assistance.

The representative of Colombia told the Committee that his country was following two strategies to eliminate illicit crops -- one promoting alternative development and the other intensifying eradication. The alternative development approach aimed to replace illicit crops by small farmers and indigenous communities as their means of subsistence. During the last four years, more than $130 million had been earmarked for alternative development programs.

The representative of Thailand, host country of the upcoming Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, said his Government had strengthened law enforcement and criminal justice structures against drug manufacturers and traffickers. He added that alternative development programmes had proved to be an effective tool in curbing the production of illicit drug crops. However, to ensure the sustainability of such programmes, the international community should provide help to increase market access for developing countries.

Also participating in today's general debate were the representatives of Venezuela, Russian Federation, China, Uganda, Philippines, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, Indonesia, Croatia, Mali, El Salvador, Iran, Morocco, Kuwait and Haiti.

The representative of Lebanon spoke in right of reply.

The Committee will reconvene tomorrow at 3 p.m. to begin its consideration of matters related to social development, including the world social situation, youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family.

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