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Development Account Projects

Strengthening statistical capacity for crime prevention in Asia

Background:

Over the past decade much emphasis has been placed on issues of measurement of crime to support trend analysis. This goes parallel to the recognition by the international community that crime threats are global. The adoption of the UN conventions on Transnational Organized Crime (and relevant protocols) and Corruption has raised awareness in this respect and generated more interest for global crime data. The Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change identified transnational organized crime as one of the "six clusters of threats with which the world must be concerned now and in the decades ahead". Furthermore, the report of the Secretary General of 21 March 2005 "In larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all" called for improved information and communication technology to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In response to this, the UNODC Strategy for the period 2008-2011 states that "Effective policy must be based on accurate information. Policy and trend analysis is essential to measuring trends, highlighting problems, learning lessons and evaluating effectiveness. (…) Better data and improved national capacity to collect data are needed to support and enhance the international community's responses to crime and illicit drugs".

The United Nations have been requested by Member States to collect information on crime and criminal justice already since the '50s . A regular data collection (the United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems – UN-CTS) started in the '70s in pursuance to a request from the General Assembly (GA Res. 3021, XXVII, 1972) and today the UN-CTS collects annual police and judicial statistics from all member States. Unfortunately, good quality data remain scarce and mostly limited to the developed world. The UN-CTS receives responses from approximately 50% of the Member States. Coverage is especially poor for countries in Africa and Asia. For example, similar to previous years in the 12th round of the UN-CTS in 2010/2011, only four countries in South-East Asia and one country in South Asia, responded, and these were partly high and middle income countries (Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and India). Other countries often mention their need for training and technical assistance to build capacity in order to develop their own systems to adequately collect and collate relevant information. In this context, victimization surveys represent an important tool to collect statistical data on citizens' experience with crime and victimization are widely accepted as statistical instruments to understand crime problems and trends. They also represent a promising area for the development of international comparable indicators. However, very few countries in Asia have technical knowledge of and capacity to carry out victimization surveys.

To alleviate this situation, the project will work to build the capacity of selected target countries in Asia to carry out victimization surveys through training and assistance in the implementation of a full victimization survey. The target countries will be chosen considering the link with other-ongoing initiatives, the needs expressed by the countries, and the threat that armed violence in some local communities represents. UNODC intends to carry out the project in close collaboration with UNESCAP, the Regional Commission territorially competent for the proposed region. The central project coordination will be based at UNODC Headquarters in Vienna. Experts in the region will assist in implementing parts of the project. Furthermore, focal points will be identified among staff of the Statistical Division of UNESCAP to assist with project implementation and assure a proper involvement of the statistical system of the target countries.

The project is linked to Programme 13 (International drug control, crime and terrorism prevention and criminal justice) of the Strategic Framework for the period 2012-2013 (A/65/6/Rev.1). The objective of thematic Sub-programme 6 of the 2012-2013 Strategic Framework on Research and Trend Analysis is 'to ensure effective international community response to drugs, crime and terrorism based on sound understanding and knowledge of thematic and cross-thematic trends'. The 2012-2013 Strategic Framework builds upon the UNODC Strategy for the period 2008-2011 by emphasizing the full "ownership" by partner countries through alignment with regional and/ or national policies and priorities and through an integrated framework linking the normative and operational aspects of UNODC's work by providing know-how and expertise at the global, regional and national levels. Result area 2.1. (Threat and risk analysis) of the UNODC Strategy 2008-2011 lists two main expected results: 2.1.1. Enhanced knowledge of trends including emerging trends in drug and specific crime issues available to Member States and the international community; 2.1.2. Enhanced capacity of Member States and the international community to formulate strategic responses to address emerging trends in drugs and crime.

Objective:

To provide national statistical bodies with sustainable capacity to carry out victimization surveys.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased capacity of selected Asian countries to collect and analyse crime data.
  • Increased knowledge of crime trends in Asia.

Implementation status:

Project implementation commenced in 2011.