Greater UN Effectiveness Depends on Deeper Cooperation with Regional Bodies, Secretary-General Tells Collective Security Treaty Organization

25 April 2011

Greater UN Effectiveness Depends on Deeper Cooperation with Regional Bodies, Secretary-General Tells Collective Security Treaty Organization

25 April 2011
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Greater UN Effectiveness Depends on Deeper Cooperation with Regional Bodies,

Secretary-General Tells Collective Security Treaty Organization


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), in Moscow on 22 April:

It is a great pleasure to be with you again.  Just over one year ago here in Moscow, I signed the joint declaration on cooperation between the United Nations and the CSTO.  Since then, we have been working to strengthen our ties and deepen our response to regional challenges.

To my mind, this is absolutely critical.  The challenges and threats we face are simply too complex and connected for any country or any one organization to go it alone.  A more effective United Nations depends on stronger and deeper cooperation with regional organizations.

That is what we have been striving to do together.  In Central Asia, for example, the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy has been working in close partnership with the CSTO to address the root causes of potential conflict and to develop shared solutions to shared problems.

The work of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy and the CSTO following developments in Kyrgyzstan last year were critical to reinforcing the security, political and economic environment in the country.  The Centre is also promoting measures against cross-border crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking; and to ensure conditions for peaceful sustainable development.

We look forward to deepening these ties and initiating new efforts with the CSTO.  In that spirit, allow me to touch on three areas for even greater collaboration:  first, drug trafficking and other forms of transnational crime; second, counter-terrorism efforts; third, peacekeeping.

First, drugs and crime, which threaten security, stability and development, especially in the world’s most vulnerable regions:  We are witnessing more and more instances of non-traditional conflicts and terrorist activities fuelled by drug trafficking and organized crime.  Annual global criminal proceeds may be as high as 1.5 per cent of global GDP, with drug trafficking generating an estimated $320 billion annually.

Given the huge amounts of money involved, criminals and drug traffickers have the power to undermine legitimate economies, corrupt law enforcement and even buy elections.  Corruption can shake the very foundations of society and, therefore, must be a priority in dealing with transnational crime.  To confront this enormous challenge, crime and drug control must be integrated into the global agenda for security, development and good governance.

At the same time, we must also reinforce our commitment to the principles of human rights, humanitarian law, the rule of law, shared responsibility and full accountability.  Let me outline four practical ways to advance our work in this area.

First, we should make the most of the tools at our disposal, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  These and other efforts can help us step up cooperation in investigations, prosecutions, combating money-laundering and going after criminal assets.

Second, we need to confront organized crime and drug trafficking at every stage, from points of origin to the markets they serve.  In this regard, crime prevention and criminal justice are not separate issues.  For example, human trafficking remains a low-risk, high-profit business, but it would be far less so if traffickers were routinely punished and assets seized.  And if the victims of trafficking were given the necessary protection and care, they would become our first allies in our efforts against trafficking and traffickers.

Third, we must do more to protect people from crime and drugs while helping victims and the vulnerable.  That means strengthening the institutional capacity and accountability and working with local administrations and grass-roots organizations.  It also means forging new partnerships with government, civil society, the private sector and the media.

Repressive measures, including the criminalization of drug use should be only one part of the approach.  Prevention, as well as treating the victims, in line with international norms, is equally important.  To state the obvious, national laws should conform with international obligations.

Here I think also about the potential of the CSTO Asylum Working Group and its cooperation with UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  We can work jointly in promoting the principles of international humanitarian law, respect for the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.  I would like to use this opportunity to commend the authorities of the Russian Federation for dismissing the former spokesperson of the Federal Migration Service following his racist remarks.

Fourth and finally, strengthened research and analysis will help us better understand the scope and nature of transnational crime and drug threats, and better target our responses.  I believe we can more closely coordinate our efforts in the region in all these areas, especially through the newly established Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre against drug trafficking.

The second area to further enhance our work together is in counter-terrorism.  The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy sets out comprehensive measures to tackle the threat of terrorism.  But the global strategy’s success depends on promotion and implementation at the national and regional levels.  One mechanism for implementation is the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.  This is a collection of 31 entities from inside and outside the United Nations family that promote system-wide coordination on counter-terrorism.

The United Nations Regional Centre for Central Asia has been working to support implementation of the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia, and so have you.  I welcome the ongoing participation of CSTO representatives, most recently at a regional meeting in Dushanbe last month.

We have convened a number of expert meetings, including on ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law.  Indeed, human rights and counter-terrorism are complementary and mutually-reinforcing goals, and all counter-terrorism measures must comply with the international human rights framework.  As the United Nations Security Council recognized last December, terrorism cannot be defeated by military force, law-enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone.

Another Central Asia counter-terrorism expert meeting is scheduled for July 2011.  It will focus on building States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism.  We look forward to CSTO’s participation.  This process is leading to a regional Action Plan on implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  We welcome and appreciate CSTO’s contribution to the formulation and implementation of the Action Plan.

We believe that our ongoing partnership holds much promise to further enhance collaboration between CSTO and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, as well as the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy on counter-terrorism issues and implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

In fact, I would say that it is essential.  The CSTO enjoys substantive expertise and knowledge, as well as the advantage of field presence, which are all assets for a comprehensive response to terrorism.  We will continue to count on the CSTO’s contribution.

Finally, I would like to add a word on peacekeeping.  Once again, partnerships are critical to our peacekeeping reform agenda and vital to the success of our missions.

Through the years, we have worked with a number of regional organizations and arrangements that plan, deploy and conduct military and/or civilian peacekeeping or crisis management operations:  ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and SADC (Southern African Development Community) in Africa; the OAS (Organization of American States) in Central America and the Caribbean; at the end of the cold war with the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) in Georgia; and with the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), EU (European Union) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the Balkans.

We welcome opportunities to expand cooperation with existing partners, and seek new opportunities for partnership arrangements with other regional organizations such as the CSTO that are working to advance the cause of international peace and security.  There are a number of areas of possible collaboration.  For example, through the provision of critical military assets, potential contributions of police officers, and the possible deployment of the Collective Operational Reaction Force to support peacekeeping operations.

We welcome and appreciate an ongoing dialogue to discuss all of these areas to further strengthen our collaboration and promote peace and security throughout the region and beyond.

Thank you for your commitment to our partnership.  I look forward to our ongoing work together.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.