Press Releases

    GA/SHC/3817
    10 October 2005

    Crime Is both Cause, Consequence of Poverty, Third Committee Told as It Begins Discussion of Crime Prevention, International Drug Control

    UN Office on Drugs and Crime Working to Promote "Global Alliance" to Eliminate Criminal Behaviour

    NEW YORK, 7 October (UN Headquarters) -- Crime was both the cause and consequence of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment, Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today as it began its debate on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.

    When armed militia controlled drug cultivation and production, crime syndicates traded guns for natural resources, and corrupt officials facilitated human trafficking, he said.  The final result could only be more poverty, greater instability and enormous suffering -- as had been the case in Central and South America, Western Asia, the Golden Triangle, and much of Africa.  Even certain regions in Europe were vulnerable to the crime and poverty trap, he said.

    The UNODC was taking its crime prevention and drug control policymaking to a new level, fostering a comprehensive strategy of collaboration not only within internal departments but also across United Nations agencies and national organizations.  The message he hoped to convey to Member States was that the UNODC was working not only to eliminate criminal behaviour but also to promote a global alliance towards that end.

    Highlighting the UNODC projects on drugs and crime in countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia, he said the quality of his Office's research efforts would benefit even more from a sharper focus on specific regions.  The UNODC was also interested in promoting a stronger partnership with United Nations peacekeeping operations -- an initiative meant to create links between peacekeeping and the reconstruction of the rule of law in post-conflict situations.

    He said, however, that the Office could not succeed unless its efforts were better aligned with the needs of assisted countries, as well as the visions of international lenders and donors.  The UNODC wanted to sit down with recipient countries, as well as with other potential donors, to work together to bring real benefits to communities where the criminal behaviour of a few was causing millions to suffer.  Resolutions were only helpful if they resulted in concrete action.

    Venezuela's representative, speaking on behalf of the Andean Community, agreed, stressed the need to share responsibility among producing countries and receiving countries, and to create alternative sources of income for drug producers such as crop substitution programmes.  Moreover, international drug control strategies should not be limited to controlling supply and demand, but must also factor in drug production, manufacturing, trafficking and sale, as well as chemical precursors, money-laundering and the illicit arms trade.  Technical assistance and financial assistance programmes by multilateral agencies must also be devised.

    The ties between illegal drug trafficking and organized crime were growing, and by attacking drug trafficking, the international community was also attacking the source of financing for terrorism, he continued.  The Andean Community had created and strengthened financial intelligence gathering.  Further, Andean countries had bolstered information-sharing among prosecution offices and set up national drug offices to reduce demand.  The Andean Community and the European Union had created an intraregional cooperation mechanism to fight drugs.

    Similarly, the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, pointed to various strategies to curb drug supply and demand throughout Europe, where it had reached historic highs, particularly among youth.  That included information-sharing, counter-narcotics cooperation through stepped up law enforcement and capacity-building in the countries concerned to treat, rehabilitate and socially reintegrate drug users.

    The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was moving full steam ahead in that regard.  Its 1998 Joint Declaration for a Drug-Free ASEAN aimed to wipe out drug use entirely in the region by 2015, said Malaysia's representative, speaking on behalf of the ASEAN.  The Association was also committed to eradicating drug production and trafficking by 2020.

    Terrorism was also a major challenge to the region's security and well-being, he said, expressing resolve to combat the types of terrorist attacks that had occurred in Bali, Indonesia on 1 October.  Ending terrorism required legislation and law enforcement, not just military action.  The Vientiane Action Programme adopted by ASEAN leaders in November 2004 called for institutionalized coordination mechanisms among the relevant ASEAN bodies to strengthen cooperation of non-traditional security and transnational crimes.  Further, ASEAN had shared intelligence with external partners to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation, and had strengthened financial and legal frameworks to cut terrorist resource bases and restrict their activities.

    Zambia's representative, speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said the Community was all too aware of the negative effects of crime and drug abuse and the resulting devastating socio-economic consequences.  Developing countries in Africa and elsewhere needed greater assistance to implement the international conventions and strategies aimed at effectively dealing with the challenges of crime prevention and criminal justice.  That included specialized training for magistrates, judges, prosecutors, customs officials and law enforcement personnel, and greater technical assistance from the donor community.  Furthermore, training, research, information dissemination and advisory services on drugs and crime issues were fundamental to effectively address the problem.

    The SADC supported the work of the African Institute for Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, which he said had the potential to assist Member States in implementing crime prevention programmes.  However, the Institute's financial difficulties were a cause of concern, and required greater support by the international community.

    The representatives of Pakistan, China, Egypt, Japan, Myanmar, Kuwait, Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Belarus (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States), Kenya, Russian Federation, Algeria, United States, Libya, Cuba, Thailand, Singapore, Morocco and Republic of Korea also made statements.

    A representative from the International Organization for Migration also spoke.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Monday, 10 October, to take up draft resolutions on social development, and to continue its debate on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.

    Background

    The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to begin its general discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.

    The Committee had before it the Secretary-General's report on strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance in preventing and combating terrorism (document A/60/164), which reviews progress of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in providing technical assistance in the context of the Secretary-General's global strategy against terrorism.

    The report states that the UNODC should step up its work in ratifying and implementing universal anti-terrorism instruments, including upholding the rule of law, building viable criminal justice systems and strengthening international cooperation against terrorism. The UNODC, in consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should also begin similar work on the recently adopted International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

    Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General's report on the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/60/172), which highlights the Congress' discussion on effective measures to combat transnational organized crime; international cooperation against terrorism, and links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of the UNODC; corruption:  threats and trends in the twenty-first century; economic and financial crimes:  challenges to sustainable development; and making standards work:  50 years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice.  It also highlights the outcome of related workshops on international law enforcement, criminal justice reform, strategies and best practices for crime prevention, and measures to combat terrorism, economic crime and computer-related crime.

    In addition, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General's report on the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/60/123), which contains proposals to strengthen the Institute's programmes and activities, and provides information on its management, substantive programmes, international partnerships and funding.

    The report also suggests strategies to ensure more stable, sustainable funding for the Institute; strengthen its focus on specific projects in areas where it has a technical and comparative advantage in the African region; maintain dialogue with Member States; expand partnerships with the private sector and non-governmental organizations; and serve as a regional focal point.

    Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General's report on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/60/131), which  highlights the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, as well as efforts to promote the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  It highlights the Programme's technical cooperation assistance to States to respond more effectively to the challenges posed by transnational crime, trafficking in human beings, corruption and terrorism.  The report also reviews major initiatives to implement crime prevention and criminal justice standards, and norms, research, information dissemination and resource mobilization.

    The report recommended that the Assembly urge Member States to ratify or accede to universal conventions and protocols against international terrorism, the Organized Crime Convention and its Protocols, and the Convention against Corruption.  It also suggested that Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, international financial institutions and the private sector step up their contributions to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund so that the Programme could respond to increasing demands for technical assistance and expand its impact and outreach, including at the field level.

    In addition, the Committee had the Secretary-General's report on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of origin (document A/60/157), which summarizes recent international initiatives and includes a brief analysis on the impact of corruption, including transfers of assets of illicit origin; economic growth; and sustainable development.

    The Committee had before it the Secretary-General's report on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/60/130), which provides an overview of international cooperation aimed at combating the problem.  The report concludes that while progress has been made to enhance international cooperation, more must be done to implement anti-drug legislation.  Procedural, logistical, technical and financial problems still hamper judicial cooperation, and the expertise and capacity needed to combat money-laundering is often lacking, among other things.

    Further to the report, the Assembly may wish to call on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs -- with the support of Member States and the UNODC -- to continue to monitor carefully the progress of States toward the fulfilment of their stated goals, with a view to assessing the achievement of the targets and goals made at the 199 General Assembly special session devoted to the issue.  The Assembly may also wish to reiterate its call to States to consider the outcome of the special session, and invite them to respond to the biennial reports questionnaire on their efforts to meet the targets and on the implementation of measures to enhance international cooperation, in order to enable the Secretariat to prepare accurate and comprehensive assessment reports.

    The Committee had before it a letter dated 13 July 2005 from the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/60/129), which transmits the text of the Declaration by the Heads of State of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Astana, 5 June 2005).

    Also before it was a letter dated 6 September 2005 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/60/336), which transmits the statement by the Heads of State of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.

    Statement by Executive Director of UNODC

    ANTONIO MARIA COSTA, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, said that some people argued that crime was the cause of poverty, and that the solution was therefore law enforcement.  Others claimed that poverty rendered people vulnerable to crime, and that underdevelopment problems should be tackled first, and crime afterwards.  He believed that both of those arguments were right and wrong at the same time, because each one only told half of the story.  Poverty and crime must be addressed, not separately, but together and at the same time.

    The UNODC saw crime as both the cause and consequence of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment.  Therefore, while the primary mandate of the Office was to fight crime, it also had to be ready to act as a catalyst and to motivate development institutions to work with the Office in synergistic ways.  A comprehensive, balanced approach was needed that let everyone work on different fronts with equal force and effectiveness.  When drug cultivation and production were run by armed militias, when crime syndicates traded guns for natural resources, when corrupted officials facilitated the transit of human cargo, the final result could only be more poverty, greater instability and enormous suffering.  That had clearly been seen in Central and South America, in Western Asia and in the Golden Triangle, and in many African countries.  Even certain regions in Europe were vulnerable to the crime and poverty trap, he said.

    Two years ago, UNODC had removed the false distinctions that were fracturing its policymaking, and started to address drug prevention and crime control issues in ways that cut across internal jurisdictions within the Office.  Today, it had taken that approach one step further, as it was also promoting initiatives that cut across the portfolios of many other United Nations agencies and national organizations.  He expressed hope that he would convince Member States that UNODC was a leader, not just in working to eliminate criminal behaviour, but also in promoting a global alliance toward that end.

    Issuing a call for action -- a reminder that Governments, institutions, and individuals needed to do more than just voice a political commitment to drug control and crime prevention -- he said that resolutions were only helpful if they triggered concrete initiatives.  He wanted to leave the room with Member States, as well as himself, convinced that UNODC, Member States and civil organizations did complement one another, and all were fighting on the front lines and taking deliberate aim at common threats.  The UNODC was working hard at turning the three United Nations drug conventions into domestic policies, and was also the custodian of five important, recent crime instruments:  The Convention against Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the Convention against Corruption.

    Highlighting UNODC projects on such problems as drugs and crime in countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia, he said UNODC intended to strengthen its work in accordance with the wishes expressed at the recent General Assembly Summit.  The UNODC believed that the quality of its research efforts would benefit even more from a sharper focus on specific regions, and intended to conduct over the next several months a study on crime and developing that focused on the Caribbean and Central America, as well as to release in the near future the first report on trafficking in persons.

    The UNODC was also interested in promoting a stronger partnership with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations -- an initiative meant to construct links between peacekeeping and the reconstruction of the rule of law in post-conflict situations.  The Office, however, could not succeed unless its efforts were better aligned with the needs of assisted countries, as well as the visions of international lenders and donors.  He added that UNODC wanted to sit down with recipient countries, as well as with the people in a position to fund those needs, so that, by working together, they could bring real benefits to communities where the criminal behaviour of a few people was causing suffering for millions.

    Discussion

    Responding to a representative's question on UNODC's strategy to curb drug trafficking and violence throughout the Caribbean and Central America, Mr. COSTA said that subject needed urgent and greater attention, and that his Office and the World Bank would conduct an analysis on development-based approaches to fight drugs and crime in that region.  In addition, the Office expected to finalize by spring, or summer the latest, a study on strengthening technical assistance, which would take into account drug-related gang violence.

    As to the multi-million dollar trade of drug trafficking through Middle Eastern countries, he said a UNODC report to be published this month would reveal a worrisome situation.  Opium flows in Afghanistan were moving away from southern regions and more toward the country's north-western provinces.  Afghan drug traffic through Pakistan dropped from 37 last year to 20 per cent this year and through South-East Asia from 24 per cent to 19 per cent over the same period.  Meanwhile, flows through Iran had risen from 41 per cent to 61 per cent, much of it transiting through Gulf Cooperation countries such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and on to Europe, its final destination.  Europeans consumed 75 per cent of Afghan opium exports.

    The UNODC was also earnestly looking into the problem of trafficking into Africa of Colombian cocaine and Afghan opium.  He noted that a copy of the 2006-2010 Programme of Action on crime and drugs as impediments to security and development, adopted in Abuja in September, was available.

    Concerning decreasing overall drug demand, he said the World Drug Report noted that cocaine abuse had declined in North America, particularly among young people age 18 to 24, but had increased in Europe.

    Regarding the criteria used to arrive at drug transit trade statistics, he said such criteria were very far-reaching, scientifically advanced and expensive.  For example, opium analysis in Afghanistan was based on data collected during the opium crop cultivation season, October through December, during which time UNODC visited thousands of farmers to get their crop output estimates.  During January and February, it took hundreds of satellite images of crops; during March through May, it worked on verifying whether satellite readings were accurate.  On average it had an 80 per cent accuracy rate for cultivation estimates.  Further, UNODC gathered trafficking data from national intelligence agencies.

    In response to a request for more information on policies and projects on drug transit countries in Latin America, he said UNODC would be interested in supporting a regional analysis similar to that undertaken on drugs trafficked out of Afghanistan and on the drug situation in Africa.  He proposed a Mexico City pact to monitor trafficking of Colombian drugs through Central America and the Caribbean.

    As to UNODC's presence in North Africa and how North African countries could help put an end to drug transit and stockpiling there, he said UNODC had six offices in Africa, including one in Cairo, which looked at Moroccan drug crop production and trafficking and its impact on HIV/AIDS and corruption.  Afghan heroin, he said, was passing through into Iran through Gulf Cooperation countries.  The UNODC had several initiatives in the region that had not been tapped due to a lack of resources, he said, adding that he was counting on the Saudi Government and other Governments in the region to contribute funds to such initiatives.

    Statements by Delegations

    ADAM THOMSON (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said several European Union Member States, candidates and countries joining through the Stabilization and Association Process had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on the Smuggling of Migrants and the Trafficking of Persons and the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms.  "The second Conference of the Parties of the TOC in October this year will provide an opportunity to promote and review the implementation of the Convention, The EU encourages participants to use the conference for a substantive review of progress so far."

    The smuggling of migrants and human trafficking for prostitution and labour exploitation were of growing concern, he said.  The European Union had set common standards to tackle such trafficking, and was developing an action plan to support law enforcement and victim protection measures.  Corruption was an obstacle to sustainable development and good governance.  Organized crime and terrorism depended largely on corrupt practices and networks, and undermined democracy and the rule of law.  A comprehensive approach tackling corruption's supply and demand was essential.  The European Union supported the entry into force later this year of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and its focus on prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery.

    Drugs and drug trafficking were major threats to Europe's security and health, and drug use, particularly among youth, was at historically high levels, he said.  The incidence of HIV/AIDS among drug users in industrialized and developing countries was of increasing concern.  The European Union was using various political instruments to curb drug supply and demand including the 2005-2012 Drug Strategy, which fostered international cooperation through research and information sharing, and the 2005-2008 Drugs Action Plan, which supported international counter-narcotics cooperation through stepped up law enforcement and capacity-building in the countries concerned for effective early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration.

    TENS C. KAPOMA (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said the Community maintained the view that crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as international drug control, were of great importance to its region.  The Community was all too aware of the negative effects of crime and drug abuse, and all the devastating socio-economic consequences they entailed.  Over the last few years, the international community had been engaged in developing the appropriate legal framework and tools to effectively deal with challenges of crime prevention and criminal justice in all their manifestations and locations.  He emphasized the need to strengthen international cooperation to assist developing countries in implementing conventions.

    While the primary responsibility for the implementation of international agreements rested with national Governments, international cooperation was required to complement national efforts in areas such as specialized training for magistrates, judges, prosecutors, custom officials and law enforcement personnel, so that specialized entities were established for coordinating the fight against organized crime.  He called upon the donor community and financial institutions to continue to make voluntary contributions for the provision of technical assistance to developing countries.

    Furthermore, training, research, information dissemination and the provision of advisory services on issues related to drugs and crime were fundamental if the scourge was to be meaningfully addressed.  The SADC supported the work of the African Institute for Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, which he said had the potential to assist Member States in the implementation of programmes of mutual concern in areas of crime prevention.  However, the Institute's financial difficulties were a cause of concern, and required greater support by the international community.  In the face of increasing emerging global challenges posed by all forms of crime and the interconnected nature of criminal activities, the value of international cooperation could not be overstated.  The international community needed to continue working together to combat the threats posed by transnational crime, and that called for effective law and judicial cooperation by all States.

    IMTIAZ HUSSAIN (Pakistan) said the Secretary-General's reports brought to the attention of Member States the magnitude of transnational organized crime, which included human trafficking, corruption, terrorism, money laundering, cyber crimes, treatment of prisoners, and juvenile and restorative justice.  The reports revealed interconnectivity between transnational organized crime and its grave implications on human security, political stability, development and rule of law.  The challenge for the international community was to promote cooperation to curb and control the growing diversity, flexibility, low visibility and longevity of the organized crime, and thus prevent opportunities for uncivil society.  While existing international conventions and protocols provided the necessary legal framework to effectively deal with various manifestations of organized crime, a lot more needed to be done.

    Apart from obligations under relevant treaties at the national level, Member States needed to strengthen partnerships against terrorism, drugs, organized crimes and corruption, he continued.  Further measures were also essential to address the needs of States in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.  Furthermore, States must also be aware that poverty is the ferment for crime, and preventive efforts must not lose sight of that enormous challenge, which adversely affected human society and human rights.

    He added that success in countering the world drug problem needed multi-pronged strategies and action both at national and international levels.  Concerned countries needed to develop programmes of action in the area of illicit crop eradication and alternative development.  Plans must monitor and prevent the negative implications of the drug problem on long-term, socio-economic development, as well as the creation of treatment and rehabilitation services, including for HIV/AIDS.  The international community should extend its support and cooperation to such national efforts, and transit countries should be integrated in such programmes and offered necessary assistance.

    XIE BOHUA ( China) said his Government attached great importance to the prevention of, and crack-down on transnational crimes, and had made great efforts in recent years to improve its domestic criminal justice system, enhance the effectiveness of its law enforcement, and strengthen international cooperation.  Since last year, in line with the requirements made by the special General Assembly session on drug control, the international community had continued to enhance drug control cooperation and had made much progress.  The poppy-cultivation area in the Golden Triangle had been shrinking steadily, and the growth rate of heroin-users had slowed down, but the drug situation remained grave.  Threats from traditional drugs, such as marijuana, were far from being eliminated, and new types of drugs were becoming rampant.  Drug-related crimes were closely interrelated to transnational crimes such as terrorism and money laundering.  More and more people were becoming infected with HIV/AIDS due to drug use, and the drug control activities of developing countries were seriously under-funded.

    Due to historical reasons, his Government was fully aware of the dangers of drugs, and had all along adhered to a comprehensive approach toward drug control, formulating an integrated and balanced national drug control strategy and mobilizing various Government agencies and society to participate in drug control.   China was drafting a drug control law and had made remarkable progress in recent years in drug enforcement and in reducing demand for drugs.  On an international level, he said that in order to have a drug-free world, the international community must implement international drug control conventions in a comprehensive and effective manner, as well as actively participate in the joint international operation on the control of precursor chemicals and prevent precursor chemicals from flowing into illegal channels.  Furthermore, the developed countries should honour their commitments, and increase financial and technical assistance to transit and source countries.

    HESHAM AFIFI ( Egypt) said recent conferences had had an important impact on developing the concept of criminal justice and the rule of law, as well as in the creation of an international consensus that supported liberty and common values.  Despite such progress, much remained to be done.  International efforts were required, and Member States needed to have an exchange of experiences and information, and to support the justice system in developing countries, particularly given the new challenges, such as economic crises, that they faced.  It was also important to have capacity-building to combat regional crime, and States needed to provide the financial and human resources necessary to ensure that the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime could operate at the necessary level.

    His Government gave particular attention to crime prevention in its national policy, and aimed to enhance peace throughout its society.  Within that framework, it had implemented many measures at international and national levels, to face up to the phenomenon of crime, and to rehabilitate criminals and ensure that they became productive and effective elements in society.  His Government was also working with children who had been accused of crimes, because it believed they were a specific group that required attention and should not be treated as juvenile delinquents.

    Furthermore, the terrorist attacks this year had demonstrated the close link between crime prevention and counteracting terrorism, which was the major challenge facing States today, he said.  It was necessary to have the willingness of the international community to combat terrorism wherever it appeared, and to increase coordination and cooperation.  His Government hoped that the Secretariat would submit proposals in regard for presentation to the General Assembly at the high-level meeting planned on counteracting terrorism.   Egypt was very optimistic regarding the Secretary-General's report on international cooperation in counteracting drugs throughout the world.  He added that it was necessary to have a global vision and to study the roots of problems in political, economic and social terms.

    MAKOTO HASHIZUME ( Japan) said crime in general and drug trafficking in particular had become increasingly global, complex and well-organized activities, and close international cooperation was indispensable.  While Japan strongly supported the work of the UNODC, which played a pivotal role in that field, it was impossible for the Office to implement its mandate thoroughly unless donor confidence improved.  To that end, it must create an accountable and transparent management system, including a strategic organizational plan with a clearly articulated work programme, as well as a concise and comprehensive annual financial activity report.

    Trafficking in persons was a grave violation of human rights and dignity, and international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination was essential.  The international community must also target drug demand reduction, and maintain an uncompromising attitude toward drug abuse.  Furthermore, Member States must take prompt measures to combat synthetic drugs, as well as gather and share information on drugs and precursors that were not controlled under international conventions, in order to develop and carry out prompt, effective countermeasures in an internationally coordinated manner.  He also proposed the concept of human security -- protecting and empowering people vis-à-vis critical and pervasive threats and situations so that they could live in dignity -- as the basis for approaching such global issues as crime and drugs.  Japan looked forward to further discussing the concept in the General Assembly, with a view to mainstreaming it within the United Nations system.

    U KYAW TINT SWE ( Myanmar) said it was encouraging that an overall downward trend in most of the producer countries continued for both illicit opium poppy cultivation and opium production.  Such positive results showed that national drug control strategies that took an integrated and balanced approach could be effective.  In his country, the drive to eradicate illicit poppy cultivation and the production of drugs was gaining increasing momentum.  Its success in the fight against illicit narcotic drugs was brought about by political will and concrete steps taken in prevention, strengthening legislation and enforcement.  The promotion of alternative development and cooperation at the bilateral, regional and international levels to eliminate illicit drug trafficking were also decisive factors.

    He said supply reduction and enforcement measures alone could not ensure success in eliminating the scourge of narcotic drugs, as demand reduction was a crucial factor that must not be ignored.  In his country, as part of an overall strategy to meet the challenge of narcotic drugs, the Government was undertaking measures consisting of treatment, rehabilitation programmes and educational campaigns for students and the general public.  The Government was also tackling the issue of trafficking in persons through a comprehensive framework comprising high-level commitment, national legislation, a national plan of action, and bilateral, regional and international cooperation.  His Government was confident that through national efforts and regional and international cooperation, attempts to combat trafficking would continue to bear fruit.

    NAWAF AL-ENEZI ( Kuwait) said his Government, aware of the impact that narcotic drugs had on the social and economic structure of communities, had become a State party to a number of international conventions related to narcotic drugs.  The fight against narcotic drugs in Kuwait started in 1960 with the promulgation of a law punishing individuals who were caught trafficking or using narcotic drugs.  That law had been amended since then in order to suit the evolution witnessed by drug-related crimes.  Highlighting the role played by Kuwait's private sector in financing a drug rehabilitation centre, as well as efforts by civil society institutions, such as launching media campaigns focusing on educating people in schools, universities and mosques, he said that data had shown a decrease in drug-related crimes and in the number of drug-related mortality cases.

    With respect to the fight against corruption and prevention of illicit financial transactions, his Government had issued a legislative decree on money laundering, which also established a financial intelligence unit within Kuwait Central Bank.  Turning to the international community, he said the final document issued by the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the outcome of the 2005 World Summit had recognized that drugs and crime constituted a serious menace to mankind, which should be dealt with on an international level.  An emphasis should be put on the importance of strengthening the UNODC and its capabilities to provide assistance to Member States in order to confront such challenges.

    ANGELLA BROWN (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said despite mounting difficulties to counter the challenges of the illegal drug trade, small arms trafficking and the spread of terrorism, the CARICOM countries were resolute in their efforts to create polices and action to counter such threats.  Several CARICOM members had signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption and others were considering doing so.  Most CARICOM countries had, through increased coordination and cooperation, put in place comprehensive drug control activities and drug demand reduction strategies involving law enforcement, the social sector and civil society.

    However, the region needed more resources and technical assistance to enact legislation to ensure implementation of anti-drug and narco-trafficking programmes and full compliance with its international obligations in drug prevention and drug crop substitution, she continued.  The CARICOM had formed bilateral and multilateral partnerships to mobilize resources aimed at forming a stable environment conducive to economic growth and sustainable development.  For example, the CARICOM-United Kingdom Cooperation Agreement aimed to strengthen border security and anti-drug law enforcement, through training and intelligence sharing, as well as to enhance maritime cooperation to help counter the illicit drug trade and other threat to the region's public administration and infrastructure.

    The CARICOM members had also set up an Implementation Agency for Crime and Security for research, evaluation, monitoring, project development and information dissemination, she said.  In addition, the Regional Task Force on Crime and Security was conducting a comprehensive review of the Justice Protection Programme.

    ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the Bangkok Declaration on Synergies and Responses:  Strategic Alliance Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted in April during the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was an important political instrument that would, in the next five years, serve as a global strategy on crime prevention and as a useful guideline to set up crime prevention standards.

    The CIS' 2005-2007 cooperation strategy and agreement reflected the objectives set forth in the Bangkok Declaration to coordinate crime prevention efforts and strategies to combat transnational crime, human trafficking, corruption, terrorism, money laundering and organized crime in the region.  The CIS also supported the entry into force of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, as well as the UNODC's role in facilitating its implementation.

    The CIS member States had taken part in many international crime prevention instruments, he continued, noting that this year more than half had signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  Further, they were carefully studying ways and hammering out legal measures to counteract terrorism, organized crime, illegal migration, human trafficking -- including body parts trafficking, money-laundering, terrorism financing, the small arms trade and other regional challenges and threats.  A cooperation agreement on tax fraud had already been signed by many CIS States earlier this year.

    WANJUKI MUCHEMI ( Kenya) said the Bangkok Declaration on Synergies and Responses:  Strategic Alliance Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted in April during the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice laid the foundation for future action by the international community to strengthen international coordination and cooperation to combat and prevent crime.  He urged countries that had not done so to become party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and the 13 universal treaties relating to terrorism, saying such action would facilitate global implementation and efforts to stem international crime.

    He urged Member States to step up financial support for the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund, saying it would give the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme greater flexibility to respond to growing requests for technical assistance from countries in need.  Kenya was party to 12 universal treaties relating to terrorism, and had ratified the United Nations conventions on corruption, transnational organized crime and narcotic drug trafficking.  Further, it was instituting sector-wide reforms to promote good governance, justice and human rights protection.  It had also finalized draft legislation on money-laundering to provide for the freezing of funds and other financial assets, as well as property confiscation of persons or groups involved in terrorism-related activities.

    VLADIMIR SALOV ( Russian Federation) said that globalization and technical progress had not only increased the geographic reach of criminals, but had allowed them to use more effective methods, which weakened the capacities of States.  His Government supported the conclusion of the Outcome Document of the World Summit regarding the need for collective measures to combat international crime, which was a challenge to the internationally agreed development goals.  It was only possible to counteract such challenges through an integrated strategy under the aegis of the United Nations, which should be linked with a further enhancement of the United Nation's capacity, particularly in the anti-criminal area.

    His Government supported the principle objectives set out in the Bangkok Declaration, and also welcomed the forthcoming entry into force of the Convention against Corruption.  Such action provided a good basis for establishing international standards to enhance efforts to combat organized crime, human trafficking and cyber crime, among others.  His Government also supported the efforts of the UNODC on crime prevention and criminal justice, because ending illicit drug trafficking and combating drug abuse continued to be a critical challenge of today's world.  States must also assist in the establishment of an anti-drug infrastructure in Afghanistan and strengthen the anti-drug security belt along its borders so as not to disrupt the Afghanistan settlement process.  Furthermore, a new threat was the increasing flow of synthetic drugs coming from Russia, and assistance was needed to counteract that.  He added that he was convinced that the Committee's work would make significant contributions in strengthening international anti-drug and anti-crime cooperation.

    The first speaker during the Committee's afternoon meeting, DOUNIAZED HENOUDA ( Algeria), said transnational and organized crime represented a direct threat to health and security.  The closeness of drug production centres to Algeria was particularly worrying for public authorities.  Human trafficking, illicit migration, and trafficking of weapons and chemical precursors were indeed of concern.  International cooperation was necessary to control the drug problem in producer countries and transit countries, she said, adding that Algeria supported the role of the Commission on Drugs.  Her country had a new law aimed at preventing the trafficking of illegal drugs and psychotropic substances.  Further, it had launched a campaign to generate awareness on drug prevention and treatment.  Strategies for dealing with the proliferation of HIV/AIDS related to drug abuse in Africa were essential, she added.

    The entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption represented major victories, she said.   Algeria had played a pioneering role in raising awareness of crime and had implemented collective action to deal with terrorism in the Arab region and Africa.  Her country was one of the first to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and intended to place relevant provisions of it into national law -- a draft law was poised for debate.   Algeria was also working on a draft law on organized crime.

    JONATHAN FARRAR (United States) said that over the past year, the United Nations and its Member States had justifiably focused on the international threats posed by organized crime and drug trafficking.  Political commitment required corresponding legal mechanisms to allow international cooperation to counter those threats.  The international legal instruments that Member States were ratifying were significant elements of a comprehensive global strategy to tackle crime, corruption and terrorism, but they were only part of the solution.  Member States must complement those conventions and protocols with technical assistance to States requiring additional assistance to implement the goals of the conventions.  For its part, his Government would continue to use all domestic tools available to combat corruption and deny safe haven to corrupt officials.

    His Government was also committed to combating narcotics production and trafficking domestically and internationally, and appreciated the very positive efforts of the UNODC in supporting its initiatives.  On the domestic level, his Government recently announced new initiatives to combat a serious drug problem in the United States, methamphetamine use, while on the international level, the United States supported more thorough and effective controls over the flow of precursor chemicals to prevent diversion.  The United States looked forward to working bilaterally with other nations that produced precursors, and medications containing precursors, to reduce the diversion of such products into the production of amphetamine-type stimulants.  He added that his Government was committed to supporting its international partners in their cooperative efforts to develop more effective counter-narcotics and criminal justice institutions, and looked forward to working with the UNODC and fellow States to pursue common objectives.

    MOHAMMED RADZI ABDUL RAHMAN (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), condemned the terrorist attacks on Bali, Indonesia on 1 October, expressed solidarity with Indonesia, and committed to further intensify cooperation to eradicate the threat of terror in the region.  Terrorism must be addressed with increased emphasis and as part of the large issue of transnational crime.  Combating terrorism required legislation and law enforcement, not just military action.  The Vientiane Action Programme adopted by the ASEAN leaders in November 2004 called for institutionalized coordination mechanisms among the relevant ASEAN bodies to strengthen cooperation in addressing non-traditional security issues and transnational crimes.  Further, the ASEAN had shared intelligence with external partners to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation and had strengthened financial and legal frameworks to cut terrorist resource bases and restrict their activities.

    The ASEAN was committed to combating drug abuse and wiping it out in the region by 2015, as called for in its Joint Declaration for a Drug-Free ASEAN adopted at the 1998 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, he said.  The ASEAN was committed to eradicating production, processing, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs in South-East Asia by 2020.  The ASEAN continued to work closely with the UNODC and other regional organizations, as well as with non-governmental organizations to combat drugs in the region.

    MAHMUD ABUSIF (Libya), expressing support for the Bangkok Declaration of the Eleventh Congress on Crime and Criminal Justice held earlier this year, said it was important to address all the issues and problems, and how to reach solutions at all levels.  His delegation appreciated the exchange of information and judicial cooperation provided by the Secretary-General's report on the African Institute on crime and the treatment of offenders.  He expressed hope that the Secretary-General and the relevant bodies of the United Nations supported the Institute with financial resources in order to undertake its tasks in the best way.  Fighting the crimes covered by the several conventions and protocols required giving technical support to developing countries in order to encourage them and facilitate their adherence to those conventions and their implementation.  His Government also condemned criminal acts in trade and called upon the international community to take a unified stance.

    His Government was in the process of issuing new legislation in line with the provisions of international conventions, including those on the suppression of terrorism.  Furthermore, the problem of drug abuse was a social stress that was consuming young people, as the Secretary-General had emphasized in his report.  The problem of drugs was still a major threat that represented a danger to public health and the safety of humanity, especially children and the young, and it did not recognize borders.

    Saying that there was a close relationship between the cultivation of drugs and the state of poverty in poor countries, he called upon the international community to help those countries get rid of the cultivation of drugs, saving millions of people from depending on that destructive resource.  Trafficking in drugs called for national, bilateral, regional and international cooperation in all aspects in order to reinforce the principle of shared responsibility, as well as to limit cultivation, production and marketing.  His country was committed to signing or ratifying all relevant conventions on the issues, he added.

    LUIS ALBERTO AMOROS NUNEZ ( Cuba) said the international community was not winning the war against crime, and had not allocated the necessary resources to make prevention prevail.  The most powerful international criminal organizations earned an estimated $1.5 billion annually.  Trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation was a $7 billion annual industry.  Money-laundering accounted for 2 per cent to 5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).  International trafficking of illegal drugs was a $400 billion annual industry, or 8 per cent of global trade.  An estimated 4.7 per cent of the world population over age 15 consumed those illegal drugs.  Such problems were solvable only if the principles of international cooperation were implemented.

    Cuba had had countless achievements in crime prevention, penal justice and drug control, he said.  Cuban law prevented and severely penalized money laundering, arms and illegal drug trafficking, and other forms of organized crime.  Cuban institutions were renowned for their lack of corruption and their good governance.  Further, Cuba participated actively in forums and multilateral instruments to combat drug trafficking and transnational crime, and had signed bilateral cooperation agreements with several Member States.  It has also increasingly expressed its willingness to cooperate bilaterally with the United States in the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism and human trafficking.  Concrete proposals in that regard had been rejected by the United States Government.

    Princess BAJRAKITIYABHA MAHIDOL ( Thailand) said crime was negatively affecting all, in one form or another, and that future development now depended greatly on the success of the fight against the borderless threats of criminal activities.  Her delegation believed that three fundamental actions were prerequisites for States to succeed in their fight against crime:  addressing the root causes of crime, strengthening international cooperation, and honouring international commitments.  Firstly, States must systematically address the root causes of crime, particularly poverty, human rights abuse and development disparities.  If left untreated, those problems would be a catalyst for violence and criminal activities.  As important as addressing the root causes was the need to strengthen international cooperation in combating crime in every dimension and at all levels, because no country could deal with crime, particularly transnational crime, alone.

    Inviting all States to take into consideration policy commitments set out in the Bangkok Declaration when formulating domestic legislations and policy directives, she said it was also necessary for States to exercise their best efforts to implement the principles contained in the Bangkok Declaration.  Her delegation also intended to table a draft resolution on the follow-up of the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and counted on the wide support of Member States in that regard.  Furthermore, addressing the root causes of transnational crime and strengthening international cooperation should also be supported by full compliance with the international commitments undertaken.  However, finding a balance between international commitments and the requirements of domestic constraints when formulating national crime prevention measures and strategies could be a tough challenge.  The international community stood to greatly benefit from assisting States in undertaking their international obligations, she added.

    FERMIN TORO JIMENEZ ( Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Andean Community, said international drug control strategies should be limited to controlling supply and demand.  They must also take into account drug production, manufacturing, trafficking and sale, as well as chemical precursors, money-laundering and the illicit arms trade.  Strategies must focus on drug-receiving countries, he said, stressing the need for shared responsibility in the fight against drugs.  Technical assistance and financial assistance programmes by multilateral agencies must also be devised.

    The UNODC had underscored the degree to which illegal drug trafficking was linked to organized crime, he continued.  The Secretary-General's report on the issue stated that ties between the drug trade and terrorism were increasing.  By attacking drug trafficking, the international community was also attacking the source of financing for terrorism.  In that regard, the Andean Community had created and strengthened financial intelligence gathering.  Further, Andean countries had bolstered the information sharing among prosecution offices and had set up national drug offices to reduce demand.

    The Andean Community and the European Union had created an intraregional cooperation mechanism to fight drugs.  The Andean strategy for alternative development was based on shared responsibility.  Such strategy helped drug producing farmers find effective alternatives to earn a living.  Such crop substitution programmes helped prevent them from returning to illegal crop production to sustain their livelihoods.  The UNODC reports had revealed that the Andean Community was the only region in the world in which drug harvest and production had declined.

    ALEXANDER LIM ( Singapore) said the nature of the drug threat transcended all national boundaries.  Aided by ever-improving modes of transportation and communication, drugs had become a multi-billion dollar industry with the traditional trappings of a thriving enterprise, and its pervasive nature also meant that no country could remain unscathed by its onslaught.  To fight that effectively, individual countries should not only possess adequate enforcement and legal systems, but it was also important to work together and share in the responsibility of confronting the menace.  In Singapore, while a tough enforcement and legal regime had been the foundation of the national anti-drug structure, the country had also recognized that preventive education was crucial in inoculating the general public, particularly the young, from falling prey to drug abuse.

    While the drug problem in his country had been brought under control, because of diligence both at the domestic and international level, work was by no means over.  The drug scourge evolved with time, and more varied and insidious forms of illicit drugs were encountered over the years.  The trend in the increase of synthetic drugs meant that despite the current success in combating the drug scourge, Singapore remained cognizant of the continued vulnerability of societies to the evolving drug threat.  As such, global strategies must not only be sustained, but they must also be refreshed and fine-tuned to stay relevant to emerging drug trends.  In that regard, his Government would remain steadfast in its support for United Nations efforts to fight the drug scourge, and would continue to participate actively in international efforts to stem the threat.

    ABDELFATTAH EL KADIRI ( Morocco) said Morocco was harmonizing its national legislation win line with the provisions set forth in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  He also gave priority to the Protocol on migrants and stressed the need for greater and urgent consideration of drug transit countries' responsibility in curbing organized crime.  Such action should be a shared responsibility among countries of origin, countries in transit and destination countries.  Any strategy that placed the burden solely on one of those countries was destined to fail.

    In 2004, Morocco organized, in cooperation with the UNODC, a training workshop on international cooperation in dealing with drugs, crime and international terrorism, he continued.  It had also signed and ratified most international conventions on terrorism, and was a committed and reasonable player in the fight against terrorism, supporting all United Nations effort in that regard.  After the May 2003 Casablanca terrorist attacks, Morocco had adopted a law against terrorism, which in addition to defining terrorism, safeguarded all guarantees provided under current legislation to protect human rights and freedoms.  It set up a counterterrorism body to support the smooth flow of information.  The absence of an international mechanism governing legal assistance was a weak link in the fight against terrorism, he said, adding that he supported the UNODC's efforts to analyse cooperation in that regard.

    SHIN DONG-IK (Republic of Korea) said that in order to tackle the problems created by terrorist threats and transnational organized crimes such as human trafficking, trafficking of human organs and narcotic drugs, Member States should be fully equipped with more efficient and effective law enforcement mechanisms and administration of justice at all levels.  In that context, his Government fully endorsed the comprehensive approach and the leading role of the United Nations in fighting those problems.  States must cooperate at the international, regional and national levels, with a common responsibility, under the aegis of the United Nations.  In order to implement the recommendations of the Bangkok Declaration, international instruments to combat transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism were essential.  The UNODC also needed to enhance its operational activities to assist developing countries, countries emerging from conflict and, in particular, least developed countries.

    Technical assistance activities and projects not only filled the legal vacuum in post-conflict contexts, but also encouraged countries to establish a basis for good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights.  Noting that the United Nations had already begun to review a set of comprehensive draft model codes for post-conflict criminal justice, his delegation hoped that the review would soon result in a fruitful outcome.  An effective, long-term strategy to combat drug-related threats -- which cut across borders and regions -- required that Member States came up with integrated and measurable approaches.  On the supply side, in addition to strengthening law enforcement, the international community should continue to provide economic and social assistance to drug-producing countries for alternative development.  International law enforcement authorities should also undertake a review of methods for strengthening international cooperation in criminal justice, mutual assistance and extradition to deal with new criminal developments, including cyber crime and money-laundering.  Furthermore, the United Nations should continue to exert its efforts to establish international norms and standards to keep pace with emerging criminal trends and address them more effectively.

    LUCA DALL'OGLIO, Observer of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said his organization supported the Secretary-General in his appeal that the demands for a stronger partnership against terrorism, drugs, organized crime and corruption needed to be translated into further measures to address the needs of States.  Highlighting an area of concern that merited greater attention than that presented in the report, he said that the issue of smuggling and the need to combat smuggling networks could be further addressed and strengthened in follow-up activities.  In the continuing follow-up to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, it was essential that strategies related to the smuggling protocol be given adequate and specific attention.

    Stressing that technological advances in migration management, including the advance of biometric technologies in the migration sector, were moving sharply ahead in the most developed countries, he said such advances also had the potential to serve a useful role in combating the kinds of abuses in the migration sector that benefited the smuggling and trafficking networks, and which could be of benefit to terrorist organizations.  Expressing concern that access to those technologies was uneven due to the cost and technical sophistication of the support needed to assess and plan around their use, he said his organization had intensified efforts to ensure that the States with fewer resources had additional means of technical and financial support to integrate those technologies into their national systems.  It was also important to take note that trafficking in persons should be tackled first and foremost from a human rights, rather than law enforcement, perspective, he added.

    * *** *