Director General/Executive Director
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The Convention and its three protocols on human trafficking, migrant smuggling and firearms remain a landmark achievement in the global fight against organized crime.
They have enabled and enhanced collective action against trans-border criminal networks.
They have raised awareness of the great harm caused by transnational organized crime, and of the need to protect its many victims.
In the global debate that is taking place on the post-2015 development agenda, we have heard time and again that protection against crime and violence is one of the top priorities of people everywhere.
Next year, we have the 13th Crime Congress and the UN Summit on the post-2015 development agenda.
Our work under the Convention can clearly contribute to the objectives of these milestone events, and enable progress on sustainable development goals.
I therefore hope that States will take the opportunity to renew their commitment to implementing the Convention, and make full use of the possibilities it provides.
Inspired by the Convention and its Protocols, you have entrusted UNODC with a wide range of mandates, and we are trying to live up to your expectations.
We will soon launch the second Trafficking in Persons Report. On 30 July this year, we marked the first-ever World Day against human trafficking, with a social media "thunderclap" that reached more than 5.5 million people around the world.
As governments and people everywhere are approaching the challenges of human trafficking and migrant smuggling with greater urgency, UNODC is receiving more and more requests for technical assistance to address these crimes.
In 2013 and the first half of 2014, we trained more than 1,000 experts.
We have also developed a series of issue papers to illuminate key concepts related to trafficking in persons. One such paper will be launched at a side event on Wednesday.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Organized crime exploits our interconnected world and globalized economy, jeopardizing public security, health, our environment and our common cultural heritage.
I urge States to continue sharing national experiences on new and emerging forms of organized crime, including wildlife and forest crime, trafficking in cultural property and trafficking in fraudulent medicines.
In response, UNODC has launched regional and inter-regional initiatives promoting information sharing and coordination among law enforcement agencies.
We are continuously expanding the SHERLOC knowledge management portal. I urge States to continue contributing legislation and case law to the platform, to support the complex and challenging process of harmonizing national legislation with the Convention.
Organized crime erodes the rule of law and one important way of driving criminals out of their illicit business is by seriously targeting profits.
Anti-money laundering thus remains a key component of our mandate.
"Follow the money" was one of the groundbreaking insights of the late judge Giovanni Falcone.
There will be a side event this afternoon dedicated to the memory of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. I hope you will join us.
I would just like to say here that the Palermo Convention honours the legacy of these two heroes, as well as the many women and men in countries everywhere, who risk their lives on a daily basis to stop impunity, to protect people, to make the world more just.
But ladies and gentlemen,
It is not enough to simply honour this legacy.
The Convention represents an extraordinary achievement, but we must continue to nurture and take it forward.
To do this we must work together. The fight against organized crime cannot be won by any one government, nor by governments alone.
Civil society and the private sector play an important role, also in raising awareness and strengthening resilience to organized crime.
UNODC works with NGOs on the ground to implement practical elements of the Convention and its Protocols, in areas such as prevention, awareness raising and protection of victims.
At this conference we are seeking the guidance of the States on how to promote and review implementation of the Convention.
The lack of an effective review mechanism, in particular, prevents States from accurately assessing their technical assistance needs, which as a result cannot be systematically addressed by UNODC and other technical assistance providers, for the benefit of requesting States.
Knowledge and information gathering are at the core of the mandate of this Conference.
I hope there can be a meaningful discussion of these objectives, and that we will be able to welcome progress by the end of this Session, enabling the Conference to fulfil its mandate to improve the capacity of States Parties to combat transnational organized crime, in all its manifestations.
I wish you every success in your deliberations.