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Twelfth United Nations Congress
on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Salvador, Brazil, 12-19 April 2010

18 April 2010 - Draft Salvador Declaration on Comprehensive Strategies for Global Challenges:
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Systems and Their Development in a Changing World (A/CONF.213/L.6/REV.2)
The United Nations continues to make progress in strengthening its engagement on the rule of law at the national and international levels. The focus is on bridging the divide between international commitments and the realization of their potential to improve the lives of all. This is an enduring endeavour. Thus, we must consistently remind Member States of their international obligations, promote ratification of international treaties and implementation of international norms and standards, and preserve in this regard effective multilateral engagement based on the rule of law. Report of the Secretary-General on strengthening and coordinating
United Nations rule of law activities

The Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, hosted by the Government of Brazil, took place in Salvador from 12-19 April 2010. United Nations Crime Prevention Congresses have been held every five years since 1955 in different parts of the world, dealing with a vast array of topics. They have made a considerable impact on the field of international crime prevention and criminal justice and influenced national policies and professional practices. As a global forum, the Congresses enable the exchange of information and best practices among States and professionals working in this field. Their overall goal is to promote more effective crime prevention policies and criminal justice measures all over the world.

The theme of the Twelfth Congress, “Comprehensive strategies for global challenges: crime prevention and criminal justice systems and their development in a changing world”, was decided by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Twelfth Crime Congress offered a unique opportunity to stimulate in-depth discussion and proposals for action along three principal avenues by:

  • Establishing firmly the criminal justice system as a central pillar in the rule of law architecture;
  • Highlighting the pivotal role of the criminal justice system in development;
  • Emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to criminal justice system reform to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice systems in dealing with crime;
  • Identifying emerging forms of crime that pose a threat to societies around the world and exploring ways to prevent and control them.

There were eight substantive items on the agenda covering the following issues:

  • children, youth and crime;
  • terrorism;
  • crime prevention;
  • smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons;
  • money-laundering;
  • cybercrime;
  • international cooperation in fighting crime;
  • and violence against migrants and their families.

The Congress was also the venue of five workshops on:

  • international criminal justice education for the rule of law;
  • survey of United Nations and other best practices in the treatment of prisoners in the criminal justice system;
  • practical approaches to preventing urban crime;
  • links between drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime: international coordinated response;
  • and strategies and best practices against overcrowding in correctional facilities.

A high-level segment was held during the last two days of the Congress, where Heads of State or Government and Ministers and other high-level government representatives addressed the main agenda items of the Congress. There were also numerous side meetings organized by non-governmental organizations, covering issues relating to crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law.

The Crime Congress, a global forum, brings together the largest and most diverse gathering of policymakers and practitioners in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as individual experts from academia, representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, specialized agencies and other United Nations entities, and the media.

The Congress adopted a single political declaration, which contains recommendations based on discussions at the various segments of the Congress including the high-level segment and the workshops. The declaration will be submitted to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its nineteenth session from 17-21 May 2010 for appropriate consideration and action.

The Congress also provided a platform for increased cooperation between governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on the whole spectrum of crime prevention and criminal justice issues, thus promoting more effective international action in this field.

In order to provide a regional perspective on the issues to be discussed at the Congress, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a series of regional preparatory meetings in 2009, held in San José, Costa Rica; Doha, Qatar; Bangkok, Thailand; and Nairobi, Kenya.

The idea was for participants to highlight their special concerns and share their “lessons learned”.

At the regional preparatory meetings, participants highlighted special problems and concerns, as well as successful experiences and promising approaches to addressing them.

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