Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


14th UN Crime Congress Special event: Promoting the Rule of Law and Justice: Innovative Implementation of the Doha Declaration Towards the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

   7 March 2021


Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us for this event on promoting the rule of law and justice to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The theme of the 14th UN Crime Congress in Kyoto, namely advancing the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice to achieve sustainable development, takes forward the work of the 13th Crime Congress in 2015, which focused on integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda to address social and economic challenges.

The outcome document of the 13th UN Crime Congress, the Doha Declaration, reflected the aspirations of Member States to promote a more comprehensive approach to the crime prevention and criminal justice problems, and encouraged a more nuanced understanding of the rule of law challenges faced by all countries and regions.

The 13th UN Congress provided a timely contribution to discussions on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and support to the landmark Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 16 on fair, inclusive institutions of justice and the rule of law.

Now the 14th UN Crime Congress and the Declaration adopted today have come as the world seeks to overcome, and build forward from, a global pandemic and get back on track to achieving the SDGs in the Decade of Action.

On the road from Doha to Kyoto, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime supported Member States to implement agreed recommendations and commitments and achieve progress between these two milestones, notably through the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.

The Global Programme represented a new and ambitious effort to promote concrete follow up to the Crime Congress and its Declaration through legislative, policy and operational assistance thereby transforming commitments into programmatic results.   

Launched in 2016 with the support of the State of Qatar, the Programme has delivered a diverse array of global projects and partnerships in its key priority areas of Judicial Integrity, Prisoner Rehabilitation, Youth Crime Prevention through Sports, and Education for Justice.

Through the development of tailored tools and resources, made available to millions of beneficiaries, the Global Programme has supported the work of educational, judicial, and penal institutions around the world.

Over the past five years, some 2.5 million people in over 190 Member States have been reached by various initiatives, while more than 100,000 people have directly benefited from the support provided through more than 775 capacity-building activities.

The Programme’s comprehensive, people-centred approach to interconnected rule of law challenges built on UNODC’s global expertise and extensive field presence to deliver assistance when and where needed, with a focus on national ownership, to foster inclusive, resilient communities, and promote access to justice with integrity and accountability.

With integrated initiatives linking social development with the rule of law, the Programme also broadened its scope beyond technical assistance for crime prevention and criminal justice practitioners, to encompass and engage new partners and stakeholders, most of all children and youth, who represent effective advocates for a culture of lawfulness and powerful agents for positive change.

The Global Programme has also worked and collaborated with diverse partners from the private sector, civil society and academia, including the Ban-Ki Moon Centre for Global Citizens, Facebook, Google, the International Association for Universities, the International Association of Women Judges, the Second Chance Foundation, FIFA, the UN Regional Commissions, UNESCO, UNFPA, and UNRWA.

This event will hear from some of these partners and beneficiaries of the Global Programme, and I thank those joining us for sharing their stories and perspectives.

Panellists will also discuss responses, developed during the global COVID-19 crisis, demonstrating how a continuum of action can be further maintained and strengthened through innovation and creativity.

I am especially grateful to the young leaders of tomorrow who are taking part. Empowering young people and engaging youth in the work of UNODC represent key change enablers of the new corporate strategy we just launched for 2021 to 2025, and I encourage you to consider us your allies and to make your voices heard.

I hope this discussion and the lessons learned inspire new ideas and partnerships, including to take forward implementation of the Kyoto Declaration, together with UNODC as a key ally in supporting Member States in the area of the rule of law and justice.

Going forward, UNODC remains strongly committed to advancing this partnership for the rule of law, as well as maintaining engagement in the areas where the Global Programme helped to break new ground and propose new solutions to strengthen judicial integrity, support criminal justice systems to promote prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration, and empower children and youth through education and sports. 

I once again thank our partners at this event. I wish you fruitful discussions and a productive week at the 14th UN Crime Congress. Thank you.