Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

Check Against Delivery

Closing speech of the UNODC Executive Director at the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

  Doha, 19 April 2015


President of the Congress, H.E Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani


Distinguished participants,


I am very pleased to address you at the closing of the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

The events of the last eight days have set the bar very high for the future, both in terms of substance and organization.

This congress has provided a solid platform for the international community to recognize the tangible links between the rule of law and sustainable development. We must build on those links, as we set our post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  

There has also been an enduring theme running through all of the debates, discussions, plenary sessions, workshops, and side events.

It was best described by the UN Secretary-General in his opening speech, "…c rime threatens peace and security, hinders development and violates human rights."

Powered by this overarching theme, I am also glad to say, ladies and gentlemen, that this crime congress has had many firsts:

For the first time in the 60-year history of the crime congress, the theme, agenda items, and workshop topics were approved by the General Assembly 3 years before the Congress was held.

 For the first time, the UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of ECOSOC attended a crime congress.

For the first time, more than 4 ,000 participants attended the crime congress from 149 countries. We have also witnessed unprecedentedly high levels of participation with a significant number of Ministers, key decision makers, academia, and civil society leaders attending the crime congress.

Nearly 200 high-level events and ancillary meetings were also held, covering a vast array of topics ranging from the rule of law, to smuggling of migrants, and from combatting wildlife crime to violence against women and children.

For the first time, a Youth Forum was held prior to the Congress. This initiative showed how crucial it is for governments to work with the younger generation, and listen attentively to its worries and aspirations.

The voices and views reflected in the Doha Youth Forum recommendations were an inspiration for the Congress. I am, therefore, glad to say, over these last eight days, we have all managed to respond in kind. 

 And, for the very first time, the outcome document of the Congress, the Doha Declaration, thanks to you Mr. President, was adopted by acclamation at the opening of the Congress.

I express my warm thanks to Ambassador Ahmed Hassan Malallah Al Hammadi and Ambassador Luis Alfonso De Alba for their hard work. Without their leadership, we would not have such a robust and forward looking declaration.

The Doha Declaration is an empowering political statement aimed at strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems. It is founded on fairness, justice and humanity, and driven by the need to be accessible and responsive to the rights of all individuals.

The Declaration stresses the commitment and political will of Member States on implementing comprehensive crime prevention and criminal justice policies and strategies, which promote the rule of law at the national and international levels.

None of this could have been achieved without the wisdom and farsightedness of the Qatari government. First, and foremost, I thank Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who has, from the beginning of this long journey, been certain and steadfast about the direction of the congress.

I, therefore, extend my warmest personal thanks and congratulations to the President of the Congress, Prime minister of Qatar, H.E. Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, for his generosity in hosting the congress, but also for the leadership and guidance he has shown throughout this long process.

Special recognition and thanks go to HE Major General Abdullah Yusuf Al-Maal and his colleagues in Doha, as well as Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al-Mansouri and his colleagues in Vienna for staying the course.  I offer warm thanks to all Qatari colleagues, including support staff, interns, and others who also worked so hard on behalf of this congress. We have all been impressed by the organization of the magnificent cultural events.

I congratulate civil society for coming here and adding their voices to the causes of strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice. Your participation in the discussion is essential.

I thank the Executive Secretary of the Congress, Dimitri Vlassis, as well as all UNODC/UNOV staff for their hard work and dedication. My special thanks to the UN Security staff and to their Qatari counterparts for maintaining our safety.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Crime Congress has come at a unique moment when the Rule of Law and Post-2015 Development Agenda are centre stage globally. 

The Doha Declaration highlights how the lack of effective social crime prevention policies and ineffective criminal justice systems allows crime, terrorism, and violence to hamper social and economic development.

We must all work together to stop crime. We cannot allow it to hinder the wider plans for sustainable development.

I would like to congratulate Japan on its offer to host the 14th Congress in 2020. I am sure that we can look forward to another enriching journey from Qatar to Japan.

The challenge we all face now is turning this declaration into action. I am encouraged by the determination of our hosts to make Doha the point of departure and look forward to working with them, and other partners, on translating the inspirational words of the declaration into concrete, tangible results.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In my speech at the High-Level Event, UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, I told the story of Skye, who was trafficked to India when she was thirteen. Who, after escaping back to Nepal, was able to file a successful legal case against her traffickers.

She now works for the non-profit organization that helped her become a survivor. 

The Doha Declaration was not passed because the UN and the international community have a desire for fine words and scintillating sentences, it was passed for people like Skye. 

As you take the journey back to your capitals and to your homes, I call on you, in the name of justice and fairness, and human rights, to turn this powerful document into the action that can help people like Skye everywhere.

There can be no more relevant example of what this congress stands for, and what we confront around the world, than the awful news today that 700 migrants are feared to have drowned off the coast of Lampedusa.

Such tragedies must serve to strengthen our determination to ensure that we implement the Doha Declaration on behalf of the victims of crime, including migrants, and that we track down the smugglers who feed off desperation.

I call on all countries, inter-governmental organizations, civil society to  work in the spirit of cooperation to end these senseless deaths.

Thank you and I wish you a safe journey.