23 April 2007
UNODC Head Calls for More Effective Global Crime Control Regime
VIENNA, 23 April (UN Information Service) -- The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) urged UN Member States today to develop a coherent blueprint for crime control to save the world from the threat of organized crime.
Speaking to the 16th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said countries lacked sufficient information on organized crime activities such as money-laundering, corruption, identity-theft, counterfeiting, cyber-crime and environmental destruction.
"Despite the fact that transnational organized crime is one of the greatest threats to security, we operate in an information fog," Mr. Costa said. "We do not know the scope of the threats we face and we cannot gauge global crime trends."
He urged countries to track organized crime more effectively and provide information of the type already collated by UNODC on illicit drugs so that policy-makers have the data they need to generate an effective global response.
"These are threats that no state can fight alone," Mr. Costa added. "The building blocks of a global crime control regime are taking shape, but the overall architecture needs to be made coherent."
He noted that powerful international instruments such as the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime had still not achieved their full potential. "Its teeth are only starting to nibble on extradition, mutual legal assistance and cross-border judicial cooperation."
Developments on the United Nations Convention against Corruption were more encouraging, with many promising government-sponsored initiatives underway.
"I am pleased that implementation of the anti-corruption Convention is now recognized by multilateral development banks and international financial institutions as the unifying legal instrument to promote integrity in governance," Mr. Costa said.
Since the General Assembly has placed drug control, crime prevention and combating terrorism among the UN's priorities for 2008-09, UNODC is gearing up its capacity to deliver technical assistance to Member States.
"In crime control, we are aiming to position the Office at the intersection of security and development, with criminal justice as the lynchpin," the UNODC Executive Director said. "After all, there cannot be security without development and vice versa. For both to be sustainable, there must be justice and the rule of law."
Mr. Costa urged Member States to support UNODC's newly launched Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, known as UN.GIFT. "We are committed to making a real difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable to and affected by this crime."
The session of the Crime Commission takes place from 23 to 27 April in Vienna, Austria.
For the full text of Mr. Costa's remarks, click.
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