Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director

Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, 16th plenary session

 10 March 2022

Distinguished Members of Parliament, 

Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am pleased to address the First Standing Committee on Political and Security-Related Cooperation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, at this 16th Plenary Session of the Assembly 

I would like to thank the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this conference, and the PAM for inviting me to speak today. 

Parliaments are the bridge between principle and policy, laying the legislative foundations for action by governments, and overseeing such action. 

The role of parliaments is needed now more than ever, as the world confronts a multitude of crises 

We face a humanitarian emergency and a possible security vacuum in Afghanistan, along with the growing influence and activities of Da’esh and Al Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel, Central and East Africa. 

Persisting and potential conflicts across Africa, Asia, and Europe undermine the rule of law and create fertile conditions for terrorism and crime.  

Thousands of foreign terrorist fighters continue to be present in parts of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, in some cases infiltrating camps that house people escaping desperate conditions and vulnerable to exploitation. 

Terrorist groups also continue to generate revenue through criminal activities such as extortion and kidnapping for ransom, and potentially other forms of organized crime, enabled by corruption and money-laundering.  

In this age of borderless crises, parliamentary cooperation is key 

The PAM is crucially positioned to foster such dialogue in the Mediterranean region, which lies at the intersection of many of these crises 

The Assembly is an important partner for us at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.  

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December that will allow us to expand our joint work in harmonizing national legislative frameworks with international legal instruments, raising awareness and providing our expertise on crime, corruption, drugs and terrorism to parliamentarians.   

We have already collaborated successfully, together with UNOCT, in producing the Model Legislative Provisions on Victims of Terrorism launched at the beginning of this month. 

UNODC is also actively engaged in the implementation of the Plan of Action of the Call for the Sahel that adopted last September during the First Global Parliamentary Summit on Countering Terrorism.   

Going forward, we will look to engage with important initiatives such as the upcoming PAM conference to review the implementation of the Palermo Convention, a convention that UNODC is mandated with supporting. 

Facing the threats of terrorism, lawlessness, and instability, now is the time to strengthen the role of parliaments and the harmony between them, in the Mediterranean and beyond, to ensure strong foundations for effective responses. 

Thank you.