Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to address you at the closing of the 31st session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
I am also very pleased to note that the Commission has once again reached a successful conclusion.
In a complex global landscape, the CCPCJ remains a forum for timely resolutions and discussions on countering crime, promoting justice, and supporting victims.
This week, representative from 133 Member States came together in this plenary to follow up on collective commitments, and you adopted four important resolutions that represent progress in living up to those commitments.
You reaffirmed your dedication to putting the Kyoto Declaration into action, to comprehensively address the institutional, social, and economic dimensions of countering different forms of crime, while mainstreaming gender issues and empowering youth.
You highlighted the need to adopt effective policies to reduce reoffending, as we strive to promote safe and prosperous societies.
You agreed to further develop the international tools and frameworks at your disposal to combat illicit trafficking in wildlife.
We at UNODC are currently expanding our work to better protect our planet, its inhabitants, and its ecosystems from criminal exploitation, and we will be guided by the vision and mandates you have agreed.
And finally, you moved forward on your joint efforts and commitments to end the sexual exploitation of children online, including by engaging all stakeholders and working with the private sector.
The topics of cybercrime and the abuse of children online were also addressed in your thematic discussion, where you exchanged views on challenges and solutions, including to address electronic evidence.
As information and communication technologies continue to develop, and their use continues to expand, the topic of cybercrime is clearly an urgent concern for many Member States.
In less than two weeks, the negotiations on a new UN convention on the criminal misuse of ICTs will resume in Vienna.
UNODC will continue to support the process to elaborate the new convention, and I very much hope that the discussions and outcomes of this Commission session will feed into the work and the momentum of that process.
Throughout this week, I was also very pleased to see active engagement with our partners in civil society, who bring essential perspectives and contributions to prevent crime, and to promote justice and accountability.
Fifty-five NGOs registered to participate in this session of the CCPCJ, and I was very happy to speak with many of them in a productive informal dialogue on the margins of the session, and to see Member States engage with them and with all stakeholders.
In 80 registered side events, discussions spanned a very diverse range of topics of regional and global priority, from trafficking in persons and terrorism, to improving research, and ensuring access to justice for women.
In one of those events, I was very proud to advocate for better prevention through education, by launching UNODC’s new book to educate children on wildlife crimes, plastic pollution, and biodiversity loss.
Education is a topic that is very dear to my heart, and I believe that engaging minds, especially the minds of our young people, is at the core of sustainable solutions to the challenges we face.
UNODC is committed to being your partner in addressing risk factors and reaching all members of society, as well as in building the capacities and institutions needed to effectively counter criminal threats.
On a final, more personal note, I am very happy that the circumstances are finally allowing us to see more of each other in-person.
Shortly after I arrived in Vienna to assume the post of Executive Director, the pandemic began, and lockdowns were put in place around the world.
We innovated and persevered, using every tool and technology at our disposal to remain in touch and work together for the people who need us.
Even now, we remain cautious and put health and safety at the top of our list of priorities, holding this session of the CCPCJ in hybrid format and conducting most of our side events online.
But after making our full return to Office at the UN in Vienna, and after seeing more of you here talking to each other, I feel the richness of those conversations you can only have with people in the same offices and rooms.
Sharing space as we seek shared solutions to shared challenges provides a vital human element, an element that is dearly needed in times of mounting difficulties and conflict that we can only overcome together.
In closing, I would like to thank Ambassador Hikihara of Japan for his very able leadership of the Commission, as well as Ambassador Farhane of Morocco and Ambassador Faxas of the Dominican Republic for leading the Committee of the Whole to consensus.
And finally, I am grateful to all of you for participating in this session of the CCPCJ, and for your determination to stand for justice in challenging times.