DEVELOPMENT CANNOT BE SUSTAINABLE IF SOCIETY TORN APART BY ‘UNCIVIL BEHAVIOURS’, HEAD OF UN DRUG, CRIME OFFICE TELLS THIRD COMMITTEE
DEVELOPMENT CANNOT BE SUSTAINABLE IF SOCIETY TORN APART BY ‘UNCIVIL BEHAVIOURS’, HEAD OF UN DRUG, CRIME OFFICE TELLS THIRD COMMITTEE
Fifty-seventh General Assembly
2nd Meeting (AM)
DEVELOPMENT CANNOT BE SUSTAINABLE IF SOCIETY TORN APART BY ‘UNCIVIL BEHAVIOURS’,
HEAD OF UN DRUG, CRIME OFFICE TELLS THIRD COMMITTEE
Current Session Opens With Debate
On Transnational Crime, Including Terrorism, Illicit Drugs
The Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) opened the 2002 substantive segment of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this morning with a warning to delegations that development could not be sustainable if society was torn apart by a range of "uncivil" behaviours.
Antonio Maria Costa, addressing the Committee for the first time since assuming his position last May, said drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism required an integrated approach, particularly after the tragic events of
11 September 2001 and the subsequent resolutions adopted by the Assembly and the Security Council.
Urging global actors to move away from what in the past had been opportunistic programmes and projects, he said it was time to support well-defined institutional priorities. The actions of the ODCCP, along with those of the United Nations system and the wider international community, must complement the global agenda, particularly the important aim of sustainable development for all laid down in the Millennium Declaration.
"Everyone needs to work together with a clear understanding of the social and economic dynamics of the issues", he continued. All efforts must lead to a strategic outlook for action, based on the ODCCP's competitive edge in the area of crime prevention and drug control, and involve all partners. Ultimately, the process must result in the delivery of solid operational activities. Following ongoing consultations with Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Office would soon have a management framework to guide its operations for the next three to five years.
He said the ODCCP would be repositioned to focus on five priorities: good governance, both internal and external; strategic clarity in setting the framework for operations; predictability of resources, staff motivation; and communication, within and outside the Office. The ODCCP was fully engaged in promoting the early entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. To achieve the goal of universal participation in
relevant multilateral treaties, he proposed that the ODCCP arrange a Treaty Event in 2003 in collaboration with the Office of Legal Affairs.
When the floor was opened for dialogue, several delegations from the South and Central Asian regions expressed various concerns, including the need for enhanced technical cooperation programmes for developing countries, particularly the least developing countries, concerning drug abuse; crop substitution and its effect on farmers; and the need to assist countries recovering from heavy drug production and trafficking in confronting drug abuse and addiction.
In the subsequent general debate, Member States took the floor to highlight several problems and issues related to crime prevention, criminal justice and drug control.
The representative of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, stressed the need to develop joint actions against the different aspects of the drug problem, based on the principle of shared responsibility, integral treatment of the issue and cooperation. He also reaffirmed the Group's conviction that it was absolutely necessary to support the sustainability of development opportunities -- particularly through greater market access for alternative products.
Growing drug production, trafficking in illicit drugs and drug consumption were global problems of concern to all States, said the representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union. The fight against the supply of narcotics and the use of illicit drugs required effective coordination between partners involved in alternative development, as well as prevention efforts and law enforcement programmes to address the world drug problem.
The representative of the United States said support for law enforcement institutions must be mainstreamed into overall foreign policy efforts. The United States would continue to provide assistance to develop, enhance and ensure implementation of anti-money laundering regimes that met the highest international standards.
Participating in the interactive dialogue were the representatives of Nepal, Algeria, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal and Afghanistan.
During the general debate on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control, the following Member States also addressed the Committee: China, Egypt, Cuba, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Tunisia.
The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. to continue its consideration of crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as international drug control.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) began its substantive session this morning, taking up issues concerning crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as matters related to the Action Plan for the implementation of the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction. It is also expected to hear introductory statements from and hold a dialogue with top officials from the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP).
To guide its discussions, the Committee will have before it a number of documents, including several reports of the Secretary-General on, respectively, strengthening the terrorism branch of the Secretariat, the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and on the prevention of corrupt practices and transfer of illicit funds.
The Committee will consider the Secretary-General's report on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/57/153), which highlights progress made concerning the promotion of the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. It also describes the status of negotiations concerning United Nations convention against corruption, and reviews technical cooperation activities related to global programmes against corruption, trafficking and transnational organized crime.
According to that report, the tragic events of 11 September had alarmed the international criminal justice community and influenced its perspectives on security In light of those and other developments, terrorism and organized crime (drug and firearm tracking, trafficking in persons), money laundering and corruption have emerged dramatically not only as universal concerns but as global challenges requiring global responses. A strong consensus has emerged that such global security threats must be tackled expeditiously, comprehensively and with a lasting commitment. In addition, international cooperation is generally regarded as essential to the success of any such action.
Against that backdrop, the report states that during the eleventh session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Vienna, from
16 to 25 April, consensus was expressed for the early entry into force of the Transnational Crime Convention and its protocols. The Commission recommended for adoption by the Assembly several draft resolutions, covering "international cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime" and "high-level political conference for the purpose of signing the Convention against Corruption", among other things.
On technical cooperation, the report states that in 2001, the Centre for International Crime Prevention supported projects with a total budget value of approximately $6 million. The Centre's 32 ongoing and planned projects covered global concerns such as trafficking in human beings and corruption. A more balanced approach is being pursued in all Centre’s activities and, in accordance with the overall objectives laid out in the medium-term plan for 2002-2005, main technical cooperation priorities include fostering international cooperation and the strengthening of national capacity to combat corruption; strengthening capacity-building and national institutions in other crime areas; and preventing terrorism.
Also before the Committee will be two reports on prevention of corrupt practices and transfer of funds of illicit origin (document A/57/158 and Add.1), which contain responses provided by countries and the United Nations system regarding measures to implement resolution 56/186 (2001) on the responsibility of governments to adopt national policies to prevent corruption and illicit funds transfers.
While recognizing the importance of national measures, the Assembly also called for strengthening international cooperation, including through the United Nations system, to support government efforts to prevent and address the transfer of illicit funds. The Assembly also called on the international community to support the efforts of all countries to strengthen institutional capacity and regulatory frameworks for preventing corruption, bribery, money laundering and the transfer of illicit funds.
The main report details the responses to a letter sent by the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention to Member States seeking information on progress in that regard. Substantive replies were received from Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Germany, Haiti, Republic of Korea, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Oman, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine. It also highlights international initiatives undertaken by the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Customs Organization.
Of those international efforts, the report concludes that, in view of the lack of regulation concerning the transfer of illicit funds and the inadequacy of legislation in many parts of the world, the elaboration of the new United Nations convention can make a significant contribution. The addendum to the main report contains responses from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Jordan, Monaco, Pakistan, Sweden, Tunisia, as well as updates provided by Turkey and Ukraine.
The Committee will also examine the Secretary-General’s report on Strengthening the Terrorism Branch of the Secretariat (document A/57/152), which describes briefly the substantive, organizational and programme context, including measures taken by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to ensure coordination of its contributions with the work of the Security Council’s Counter-terrorism Committee. The report also highlights the tasks to be performed by the Centre for International Crime Prevention in strengthening cooperation among Member States and in providing technical assistance to requesting countries in preventing and combating terrorism.
According to the report, the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States catapulted terrorism issues to the centre of international debate and action on peace and security. But prior to the attacks, the United Nations had long been seized of the issue. Extensive work had been carried out by the Assembly’s Legal Committee (Sixth), the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In that regard, the report provides a succinct review of the pertinent mandates of the Crime prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.
Further, the report makes proposals for a strengthened work programme of work for fulfilling effectively the expanded mandates. The focus is on providing assistance to Member States, upon request, for ratifying and implementing the
12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The main elements of that programme would be, among others, facilitation and/or provision of legislative assistance, identification and dissemination of best practices, identification and promotion of awareness of links between terrorism and related crimes and facilitation of capacity-building. It recommends that the expanded mandate requires increased allocation of resources for staff and non-staff costs.
Also before the Committee is a report on the Preparations for the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/57/154), which highlights the deliberations and of that session and summarizes the substantive and organizational aspects of the preparations for the holding of the session. According to the report, the Eleventh Congress will be held in 2005, following major reviews of the role, format and functions of the Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders during the last 10 years. The Assembly had reaffirmed the importance of the successive Congresses -- held since 1955 -- as major global events and worldwide forums, influencing national policies and mobilizing public opinion.
According to the report, the Congress has undergone numerous changes throughout the years. As a result of a 1998 review, to which governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations contributed, the Assembly decided that beginning in 2005, Congresses shall be held in accordance with a detailed series of guidelines. To that end, each meeting shall now include, among other things, a discussion of specific topics determined by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, a high-level segment, at least one session of pre-Congress consultations, and the adoption of a single declaration containing recommendations derived from respective deliberations. The report recommends that the Eleventh Congress should be a catalyst for action-oriented proposals dealing with present and future crime and justice challenges facing the international community.
Delegations will also consider a report on the implementation of the outcome of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly devoted to countering the world drug problem together (document A/57/127), which provides an overview of the outcome of the session -- held in New York from 8 to 10 June 1998 -- including the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction and Assembly resolution 56/124 (2001) on international cooperation against the world drug problem.
According to the report, the Declaration and the accompanying Action Plan provide the international community with a clear strategy, including objectives, targets and guidelines for activities. The year 2003 was set as a target date for the adoption of new or enhanced drug demand reduction strategies and programmes. The report also highlights measures to promote judicial cooperation, control of chemical precursors, as well as efforts to counter money laundering.
The Committee also has before it the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) (document A/57/135), which provides a description of the activities, achievements and difficulties faced by UNAFRI, and describes the role it plays in supporting African States to respond effectively to the incidences of crime at the national, transborder and transnational levels that have become major impediments to democratic, political and socio-economic development. The report notes that the Institute’s precarious financial situation persisted and negatively affected its operations.
According to the report, the ever-increasing incidences of both ordinary and other forms of crime have become major impediments to development in Africa. The perceived growth and seriousness of cross-border economic crimes and transnational criminality, including the proliferation of small arms with attendant civil disorder, illicit drug trafficking, highjacking and trafficking in humans, also reveal the widening reach of organized crime. Endemic corruption and mismanagement that weaken the ability of criminal justice structures aggravate such situations. It is vital for African countries to develop well-planned, responsible strategies to strengthen justice systems and make them effective, efficient and humane, based on the rule of law.
The report says that the Institute’s activities last year focused on deepening its impact and outreach, enhancing regular flows of information and involvement of all its stakeholders in its activities. The Institute’s Medium-term Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007 was developed, and the Implementation Plan and Agenda for Action were charted out. The Institute’s funded activities were implemented in a timely manner, but due to budgetary constraints, delivery capacity was very low. The report calls upon prospective donors and relevant agencies to make financial contributions to the Institute, and requests the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships to include the Institute among its beneficiaries.
The Committee also had before it a letter dated 10 April from Australia and Indonesia, transmitting the statement of the Ministerial Regional Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, held in Bali, Indonesia, 26-28 February (document A/57/127).
Statement by Executive Director
ANTONIO MARIA COSTA, Executive director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), who assumed his position last May, said the issues of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism required an integrated approach, particularly after the tragic events of 11 September 2001, and the subsequent important resolutions adopted by the Assembly and the Security Council. His Office's operations, along with the actions of the United Nations system and the wider international community must fit the global agenda, particularly the important aim of sustainable development for all, as laid down in the Millennium Declaration. The ODCCP would count on the Assembly's collective support -- guidance, resources and advocacy -- for the delivery of quality technical assistance.
Believing that development could not be sustainable when society was torn apart by a range of "uncivil" behaviours, he urged the international community to move away from what in the past had been opportunistic programmes and projects. It was time to support well-defined institutional priorities. His Office wanted to work with Member States to assess the nature and extent of drug and crime problems. Everyone needed to work together with a clear understanding of the social and economic dynamics of those issues. Such factual analysis must lead to a strategic outlook for action based on the Office's competitive edge , and involve all partners.
Ultimately, the process must result in the delivery of operational activities. He added that following ongoing consultations with Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Office would soon have a management framework to guide its operations for the next three to five years. The Office would be repositioned to focus on five priorities: good governance, both internal and external; strategic clarity in setting framework operations; predictability of resources; staff motivation; and communication, within and outside the Office. The paramount value of the Office's work -- its credibility within the wider international community and the United Nations system -- was in the area of good governance.
On crime prevention and criminal justice, he said his Office was fully engaged in promoting the early entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Twenty-four governments had ratified the Convention thus far, and he was confident the Convention would obtain the 40 ratifications necessary for its entry into force by early next year. To achieve the goal of universal participation in multilateral treaties dealing with transnational crime, he proposed that the ODCCP arrange a Treaty Event in 2003 in collaboration with the Office of Legal Affairs. He urged the Committee to comment on that suggestion.
The Crime Commission had chosen countering the traffic in human beings as the theme for its upcoming session. He welcomed that decision, as there was perhaps no more heinous global criminal activity. Indeed it was estimated that annually, up to 2 million people fell victim to that modern form of slavery. He said the ensuing debate would provide member States the opportunity to monitor the related protocol of the Convention, Turning next to corruption, he said that scourge was a major stumbling block to economic development and progress. Eradicating and controlling corruption was a necessary condition for establishing good governance, the rule of law and sustainable development.
All were acutely aware of the devastating effect of high corruption on developing and emerging economies, he continued. Many countries, some rich in natural resources and potentially capable of maintaining, or at least gaining prosperity, had been plundered by unscrupulous leaders. The ODCCP was making steady progress in the negotiation of a comprehensive convention against corruption. Such an instrument would offer significant added value to the fight, particularly by addressing the transfer of illicit funds and their recovery, an issue not currently addressed by any mechanism of legislation. He added that fighting corruption would also require the interaction of the private and public sectors, particularly in the area of corporate corruption.
On the fight against terrorism, he said it was necessary for the United Nations to support the efforts of Member States to reinforce and strengthen their relevant legislative frameworks. Progress was under way, and the Office had already prepared a draft programme against terrorism. He went on to say that at the centre of the crime-drugs-terrorism nexus were financial flows. The ODCCP was helping States strike back against drug traffickers, organized criminal groups and corrupt officials by targeting those illegally generated, transported and applied resources.
On international drug control, he said the Ministerial Segment of the Commission on Narcotics Control, to be held in Vienna in April 2003, would assess the progress achieved and the difficulties encountered by governments in meeting the Assembly's goals for 2008. He saw that high-level meeting as a landmark opportunity for stocktaking, refining existing strategies and breaking new ground in the common search for pragmatic approaches to counter the drug problem. He said the ODCCP had been a partner in the efforts of many countries, including Bolivia and Pakistan, to help reduce the cultivation of cannabis, coca and opium by 2008. He went on to say that today, the bulk of the opium and heroin production was firmly concentrated in two countries -- Myanmar and Afghanistan.
The ODCCP had concluded its first comprehensive opium poppy survey in Myanmar last August and had witnessed a significant drop from last year's production. In Afghanistan, however, the power vacuum in that aftermath of
11 September 2001 had enabled farmers to replant opium poppy crops. By the time the Interim Administration had been established and a new ban on such crops had been issued, most fields had already begun to sprout. The results of the ODCCP's most recent study on the country would be released in the coming days, and it would indicate that heavy economic dependence on opium production was concentrated only in five of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. Afghanistan could only address its drug and crime problems in an environment which included a clear priority given by the international community to eliminate illicit crops, provision of licit means of livelihood to farmers accompanied by effective law enforcement activities, efficient and effective crime control institutions and cross-border and regional cooperation.
Interactive Dialogue on Crime Prevention and Drug Control
Several representatives of States participated in a subsequent interactive dialogue on Crime Prevention and Drug Control issues.
The representative of Nepal asked the Executive Director of the ODCCP to elaborate on technical cooperation programmes to developing countries, particularly the least developing countries. How were those programmes progressing and being evaluated?
The representative of Algeria raised the issue of the anti-terrorist service of the Secretariat and questions dealing with the budget. He questioned why issues relating to terrorism had not been conveyed to the Fifth Committee where they in fact belonged.
The representative of Iran emphasized the importance of the activities undertaken by the ODCCP in his region. Drug abuse and drug smuggling had been major problems for the Interim Government in Afghanistan and the region as a whole. Despite intensive efforts, the region was facing rampant opium production and smuggling. He stressed that crop substitution must be undertaken in a manner which allowed farmers in Afghanistan to benefit from it.
Mr. COSTA explained that with increased attention given to terrorism, several committees were dealing with this issue in different ways. On technical cooperation, he said that so far there had not been an independent evaluation system to account for the success of those programmes. However, tools and instruments such as databases, the establishment of conventions and country profiles had helped to assess which situations required action.
Regarding the points raised by the representative of Iran, Mr. Costa said the Office had launched seven programmes in the region this year alone, involving both the supply and demand sides of drug abuse prevention. It was indeed essential to inform farmers of the illegal nature of illicit drug production. The Office was launching a social compact, involving favourable loans, to allow alternatives to drug production for farmers. He asked States to assist Afghanistan in breaking out of the cultivation of narcotics.
The representative of Pakistan thanked the Executive Director for highlighting the success of his country in its efforts to reduce poppy growth and cultivation. He added that continued success would require long-term and sustained attention to ensure that farmers did not return to growing such crops. He wondered if the Office had any plans under way to assist governments of those countries dealing with heavy drug production and trafficking in confronting drug abuse and addiction.
The representative of Senegal asked if there were any programmes under way to help address corruption in developing countries.
The representative of Afghanistan said everyone in the room knew the situation in his country -- the long-suffering people were slowly recovering from more than two decades of war and violence. He drew the Committee's attention to two presidential decrees aimed at dealing with the issue.
Responding to the second round of comments, Mr. Costa said that his Office would certainly remain engaged in national efforts, not only in Pakistan, but in other countries like Peru, Thailand and Ecuador, that had been able to reduce or even "zero" their poppy cultivation and growth. The ODCCP was aware that graduating out of illegal crop production meant graduating into legal activities
-- a long-term exercise. The Office needed to be able to stand by governments until the commercial validity of legal markets was established. He added that assistance should be provided for ongoing related health issues, such as HIV/AIDS. The international community should also have the vision and willingness to provide resources in an area that was delicate for some -- treatment.
He drew Senegal's attention to the Office's Global Programme against Corruption, which specifically addressed the issue of judicial responsibility. To the representative of Afghanistan, he said that indeed everyone realized that cultivation of illegal crops in that country had been ongoing for a quarter century. Reducing such crops would take a long time. What his Office was seeing today was the remnants of the past and it was time to build on reduction efforts and move forward.
HENRIK BRAMSEN HAHN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the terrorist attacks in the United States last year had indeed made the fight against all forms of international organized crime and terrorism an absolute priority. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its additional protocols remained the key international instruments in combating international organized crime. That Convention was the first legally binding United Nations instrument in the field of organized crime, and it marked a major stage in the international fight against it, particularly in reinforcing judicial cooperation measures. The European Union welcomed the efforts being carried out by the Centre for International Crime Prevention, both in promoting the Convention’s expeditious entry into force and in providing technical assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
The next step in the United Nations’ contribution to the global efforts to combat international crime would be the establishment of the United Nations convention against corruption, he said. The fight against corruption was essential to global economic and social development, and the responsibility for ensuring its successful outcome rested on the shoulders of all States. During the negotiations for the United Nations Convention against Corruption the European Union had advocated the adoption of an instrument which was both sufficiently focused in its criminal provisions so as to add specific value to the struggle against corruption, and also which contained measures to effectively prevent corruption from taking place.
Concerning international drug control, he said that growing illicit drug production, trafficking in illicit drugs and the drug consumption were global problems of concern to all States. Production of crops used for illicit drugs tended to flourish in countries that suffered most from conflict and poverty -- the linkage between all those elements must be recognized. All States needed to promote poverty reduction and help create economic opportunities and social well-being for all.
Both the supply of narcotics and the use of illicit drugs were worldwide issues for developed and developing countries alike, he said, stressing the need for effective coordination between partners involved in alternative development, preventive actions and law enforcement programmes to address the world drug problem. The European Union was also alarmed by the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, particularly among intravenous drug abusers. Enhanced cooperation was needed to identify and disseminate best practices on the prevention and care of HIV/AIDS associated with drug abuse.
XIE BOHUA (China) said the successful conclusion of the United Nations International Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols symbolized a landmark accomplishment of the United Nations. However, China believed the international community must conduct more exchanges and cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, especially in terms of providing more technical and financial support to the developing countries in capacity-building so that the Convention might enter into force at an early date and be effectively implemented. The Chinese Government was fully aware of the gravity of the problem of corruption and had placed the fight against corruption high on the national agenda.
A couple of days ago, New York had commemorated the one-year anniversary of the events of 11 September. The terrorist attacks of 11 September had shown that it was now imperative for the international community to carry out effective international cooperation in prevention and combating crime of all forms, including international terrorism. He stressed that the United Nations had all along been playing a leading role in this area. Given the new situation, the United Nations’ role must be further beefed up. China stood ready to work with the international community in making unremitting efforts for effectively preventing and combating crime and for safeguarding peace and tranquillity.
MAI TAHA MOHAMMED KHALIL (Egypt) said the tragic events of 11 September had highlighted the need to address the issue of terrorism. Indeed, the negative effects of globalization and the evolution of information technology had given rise to terrorism, which indeed had social, economic and developmental impact on all societies. Egypt hoped the necessary funds would be earmarked to strengthen the ODCCP and broaden its scope to provide legal and criminal justice assistance to combat terrorism. It would also be necessary to strengthen that agency to help address the root causes of terrorism. She also hoped the Crime prevention Centre would work more closely with the Security Council and Member States.
On drug trafficking, she said Egypt was pleased with international efforts to elaborate a plan to reduce narcotic production and demand. Still, Egypt was concerned with the increase in production of poppies in Afghanistan and elsewhere. It appeared that following the United States' intervention in the country, such production had increased significantly, and she urged the international community to ensure that that trend was reversed as soon as possible. She also urged the international community to work together to develop a global comprehensive vision to tackle drug trafficking networks. Indeed, it would not be possible to eradicate the drug problem by only focusing on production.
ANA TERESITA GONZALEZ FRAGA (Cuba) said globalization with its implications of accelerated growth in the interdependence of the world population, deepening the gap between rich and poor countries, also offered, as never before, opportunities to international criminals. She stressed that the $400 billion from illicit drug trafficking represented 8 per cent of world trade. Criminal groups had taken excellent advantage of the rapid evolution of new information technologies and the unprecedented growth in trade volume and transport development. The United Nations was the appropriate forum to widen and focus necessary cooperation among all States.
The fight against corruption was another challenge for the countries in the world today. The most recent corruption and fraud scandals in the finances of big corporations in developed countries showed the value of the fight against corruption. Cuba, despite its economic difficulties, had an exemplary record of fighting against corruption, which practically did not exist in the country. Cuba had effective domestic legislation which prevented money laundering and other organized crimes from taking place. While international efforts were made to punish international criminals linked to alien smuggling, a United States act in force since 1966 -- the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act -- was still encouraging illegal immigration to the United States through very risky means. Concerning the drug trade, she stressed that Cuba was neither a drug producer nor a market for drug dealers. Cuba had proposed negotiating a collaboration agreement with the Government of the United States for a joint fight against illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean, but the United States had rejected such a proposal, despite the fact that it would be of direct benefit to American society.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the drug problem was a global challenge that affected all States. During the sixteenth summit of the Rio Group last April, heads of State and government had renewed their commitment to the fight against that scourge, including synthetic drugs. The Group acknowledged the need to develop joint actions against the different aspects of the drug problem, based on the principle of shared responsibility, integral treatment of the issue and cooperation. The Group also reaffirmed its conviction that it was absolutely necessary to support the sustainability of development alternatives -- through greater market access for alternative products.
He said the heads of State and government attending the San Jose Summit had highlighted the need to address other criminal activities related to the drug problem -- which were capable of exacerbating it -- including the illicit arms trade, transnational crimes, money laundering and terrorism. The Rio Group had reaffirmed its support for the Inter-American Commission for Drug Control (CICA) and its multilateral mechanism for evaluation. It was also necessary to bolster already existing United Nations mechanisms.
The Group also stressed the importance of the five-year evaluation set -- to take place in 2003 -- of the Political Declaration adopted by the twentieth General Assembly special session. That would provide an opportunity to confer a new impetus to the international commitment against drugs. In that regard, he urged States that had not already done so to submit their replies to the second questionnaire of the Commission on Narcotics, with a view to providing the most up-to-date information to the Ministerial Segment of the Commission's forty-sixth session.
MASAHIRO TOMOSHIGE (Japan) said much remained to be done to combat terrorism. It was particularly important to conclude international conventions related to terrorism as soon as possible so as to deprive perpetrators of safe havens. In addition, the international community must take comprehensive measures to counter transnational organized crimes, narcotic drugs, money laundering, and trafficking in persons and small arms in a consolidated manner in the fight against terrorism. In this regard, the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the three related protocols was a matter of great urgency. Concerning trafficking in persons, he said it was a serious crime, and it must not be tolerated. Japan would make every effort to stop that crime, which involved source, transit and destination countries, and required comprehensive international and regional actions.
Regarding international drug control, he stressed the need to accelerate the implementation of the global strategy adopted at the special session on the world drug problems. International and regional cooperation was one of the most important priorities, and Japan, as a major donor, would contribute $3.04 million this year to the UNDCP. Japan had also made a significant contribution to the international fight against drugs in hosting the International Drug Control Summit in April. Parliamentarians, senior officials and experts from 35 countries and six international agencies had engaged in an open and informal exchange of views on international drug problems. The Summit had focused on international efforts to eradicate illicit poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and the problem of amphetamine-type stimulants and other synthetic drugs. Japan was determined to continue to promote international cooperation to realize a world free from the menace of crime and drugs.
STEVEN SCHRAGE (United States) said future generations would judge the United States Government not merely by the actions taken against those who had caused the horror of 11 September, but on the basis of whether this grim wake-up call had resulted in the creation of a world that denied evil any shadowy spaces in which to breed. The underlying work of the Committee was the most important legacy one could leave future generations. The shadows and gaps in jurisdiction and effective law enforcement where threats grew could occur in all nations around the globe. Those problems were critical to, and at the very heart of, efforts against terrorism. Targeted intelligence and operations might remove specific terrorist, drug trafficking, or organized crime groups, but the international community needed to address the environments that allowed them to thrive.
Support for law enforcement institutions must be mainstreamed into overall foreign policy efforts to achieve sustainable development, he said. Building institutional capacities in environments such as Afghanistan was a tough, long-term process that did not lend itself to quick results, particularly when such regions were in the midst of civil conflicts. It required long-term sustained commitment from both host governments and the international community. The United States had been at the forefront of such efforts and had offered a helping hand, providing tens of millions of dollars in law enforcement training and equipment to scores of governments all around the world. Money laundering was the lifeline for virtually all forms of transnational crime, he said, stressing that the United States would continue to provide assistance to develop, enhance and ensure implementation of anti-money laundering regimes that met the highest international standards.
ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said Mexico associated itself fully with the statement made by the Rio Group. The Government of Mexico was committed to the struggle against the world drug problem. There was already a Mexican initiative, supported by the world community, concerning the ministerial-level meetings that would take place in 2003 on the progress in complying with the goals of the Political Declaration. The commitment undertaken by States in 1998 needed to be strengthened, and follow-up was required.
International cooperation was also required in order to confront the production and smuggling of drugs, he said. Mexico believed that reduction of the demand for drugs was necessary in order to combat the production and smuggling of drugs. The existence of demand was the major problem causing the proliferation of drugs. Mexico believed that the UNDCP had done outstanding work in combating the world drug problem; however, further international cooperation was required concerning the production, consumption and smuggling of drugs throughout the world.
JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) reiterated Chile’s conviction that the solution to the global problem of the production and abuse of drugs required the fullest possible international cooperation in all areas. It was a common challenge, and the success in overcoming it would largely depend on the degree of political will and capacity of States to coordinate their efforts and cooperate with each other. Action was required both on the supply and demand side.
Concerning prevention, educational and public awareness campaigns must create greater awareness of the risks of improper drug use and must stress the link between the world drug problem and the financing of organized transnational crime, money laundering and terrorism. The distinctive feature of the world drug problem was its transnational character, he said. Its actors operated within a network of multifaceted and dynamic linkages that were frequently beyond the reach of the traditional monitoring mechanisms of the State or States acting together. A State, acting alone, suffered from a comparative disadvantage in any attempt to tackle the world drug problem.
Chile had repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to overcoming the world drug problem through strict respect for the general principles of international law enshrined in the United Nations Charter. However, the institutions of the State, whether acting alone or jointly with other States, appeared to lack some instruments, mechanisms, flexibility and the necessary speed to combat the problem. Imaginative measures were needed to overcome the drug problem on the transnational level. Chile believed that the most effective way of overcoming the world drug problem was through international cooperation at all levels.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia) said the questions on the Committee's agenda were critically important. Recent events had clearly demonstrated that organized crime, money laundering, corruption and terrorism were linked and posed worldwide dangers. To confront those dangers, it was important to pull together and develop a broad and comprehensive strategy. Tunisia also urged the international community to ensure further cooperation between the terrorism Branch of the ODCCP with the relevant bodies of the Security Council.
He said Tunisia had long called for a holistic strategy built on, among other principles, strengthening national and international juridical frameworks, and following up on progress made to develop an international convention to combat corruption. States also should have an appropriate legal framework to review criminal justice provisions and texts in order to harmonize legislation with emerging international legal regimes. Tunisia would also urge cooperation between and among States, particularly the development of a system of information exchange, as well as initiatives on extradition. Tunisia would urge the strengthening of the ODCCP at all levels and urge the international community to actively participate in the upcoming Eleventh Crime Congress.
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