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New York, 16 May 2012


Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

We have reached the end of this thematic debate on Security in Central America as a Regional and Global Challenge.

I would like to thank the distinguished opening speakers, the panellists and all the participants for their timely and thought-provoking presentations.

Expertise shared today has provided us with helpful insight into the challenges that face not only Central America, the region, but also Africa and Europe.

I welcome the broad acceptance of, and support for, the Regional Security Strategy for Central America that SICA’s Heads of States adopted on 22 June 2011.

The Strategy will help build political momentum and develop initiatives necessary to bring together the region, to confront these challenges.

The Central American Integration System can lead in this over-arching strategy.

I would highlight the following four main messages from this morning’s discussions.

First: The need for an international response.

Transnational organized crime and drug trafficking in Central America have a vast impact on security not only in the region, but also in Europe and Africa.

Today’s speakers agreed that this increasingly global problem requires an international response that is closely aligned with existing regional and inter-regional cooperation initiatives.

I welcome the work of the UN Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking, chaired by UNODC and DPA, which the Secretatry-General established to help the United Nations deliver as one. 

I was also pleased to hear this morning’s proposal to explore with SICA possible cooperation areas in the implementation of the Security Strategy for Central America. 

But much more still needs to be done by all who are affected by security in the region.

Second: Responses should be based on an integrated approach.

Transnational organized crime in Central America undermines the institutions of democracy and distorts financial and economic activity. 

Our response should be integrated and carefully coordinated.

As we prepare our response, we must consult closely with our partners, particularly national and local leadership, to ensure that our assistance is applicable to the specific context in which we find ourselves.

We should also involve the private sector and local communities.

Our work must be founded on principles of sustainable development.

I take this opportunity to highlight the General Assembly’s upcoming debate on this topic.

On 26 June 2012 - the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - this year’s World Drug Report will be launched during a high-level discussion on the nexus between drugs, crime and development.

Third: The need for shared responsibility. 

Combating organized crime is very difficult where impunity is a living reality.

Transit countries bear a particular burden: they are neither part of the demand nor the supply chain, but they often suffer from drug-related violence on their territories. 

Member States have called for “shared but differentiated” responsibility among all affected countries to fight impunity. 

Fourth and finally: on the law. 

UN Member States have worked tirelessly over the past two decades on crime prevention resolutions, and to establish a legal framework to prevent and fight international crime, including corruption. 

I would encourage Member States that have not yet done so to become parties to relevant treaties, such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; its Protocols on the trafficking of persons, smuggling of migrants and trafficking of small arms; and the UN Convention against Corruption.

Member States can also strengthen national capacities and the rule of law.

They can work to harmonize their national laws and procedures with international law.

Member-States should, similarly, establish and implement anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws and regulations.

Excellences, Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Central America confronts severe security challenges.  Their effects are felt in the region and across continents. 

It is our shared responsibility to cooperate as we fight to improve the situation for all.

In doing so, let us take into account the important lessons of today’s very fruitful discussion.

I assure all Central American and regional Member States that they can continue to count on the General Assembly.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with you in this ongoing effort.

I thank you very much.