4 October 2018
Seventy-third Session, 5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)

Illicit Drug Flows, Organized Crime Grow as Terrorism Spreads across Borders, Third Committee Delegates Stress amid Calls for Stronger Justice Systems

As terrorism becomes more intertwined with organized crime, human trafficking and corruption, no border of the world is untouched by the illicit drug trade, delegates told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today during their annual debate on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.

John Brandolino, Director, Division of Treaty Affairs of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said time and time again criminals exploit gaps in capacities and coordination.  He called for a restoration of trust and multilateral action.  Prevention is critical, whether stopping radicalization, reducing graft, strengthening young people’s resilience to drugs or prison reform.

UNODC’s work, through its Vienna headquarters and global field offices, helps Governments respond:  with strategies to tackle the opioid crisis, measures to address the related security and health challenges, and support for HIV and AIDS prevention for those who inject drugs, to name a few.  He drew attention to the Office’s severe lack of predictable resources, appealing for support “so we can respond to increasing demands for technical assistance, in the areas that you have identified.”

In the ensuing debate, Colombia’s representative echoed the call for better coordination, stressing that efforts to address the world’s drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing.  The international community must also adhere to the agreed principle of shared responsibility.

The world drug problem now includes new substances, said the United States representative, hampering efforts to respond.  Moreover, new technology is used to market drugs, and synthetics are shipped through global mail, making them highly profitable.  “Criminals must be stopped before they harm others,” she stressed.

Some delegates decried the spread of human trafficking and slavery, with Liechtenstein’s delegate calling it a “human rights scandal” touching every country through globalized products and services produced through servitude.  Disrupting financial flows is critical, he said, adding that his country had launched an initiative for a financial sector commission for that purpose.

Others stressed that crime prevention and criminal justice are critical to social stability and economic growth.  Jamaica’s representative, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said illegal drug trafficking and the trade in small arms and ammunition wreaked havoc in the region.  Indeed, said Angola’s delegate on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), drug trafficking and its attendant violence — especially against women and children — threatens that region’s economic development and security.  High levels of poverty, unemployment, inadequate justice systems and high HIV rates lie at the root of these challenges.  To be sure, prevention and mitigation efforts have led to a gradual improvement of the region’s crime burden.

On that point, Kenya’s delegate described his country’s heavy investment in criminal justice to staunch the threats of radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism, which persist alongside the proliferation of drugs and small weapons.  The Government also has revised its Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Mexico’s representative lamented that progress on drug control has not been linear.  He underscored the need to empower all stakeholders, including women and young people, stressing that effective regulation is critical, particularly given the rise of psychoactive substances.

In the Philippines, the new Government’s war on drugs has already killed 4,000 dealers in police operations, said that country’s delegate.  The international community has called those operations “genocide”, however, national policies are not about race or religion, nor are they political in nature.  “You are not born a dealer or baptized as one,” he said, stressing that Asia is home to significant methamphetamine trafficking.

Afghanistan’s delegate said his Government is conducting thousands of intercept operations, destroying production facilities, building security at transit points and mobilizing civil society.  Given that global demand and supply drive the drug trade, a multifaceted and unified international strategy is essential.

Also speaking today were representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the African Group), Singapore (on behalf of ASEAN), Russian Federation, Italy, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iraq, Guatemala, Viet Nam, Pakistan, Eritrea, Israel, Brazil, India, Mongolia, Peru, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Georgia, Qatar, Turkey, Thailand, Belarus, China, Myanmar, Mali, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahamas, Nigeria, Iran, Honduras, Senegal, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Spain, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Guinea, Cameroon and Libya, as well as the European Union and the Holy See.

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 5 October, to begin its debate on the advancement of women.


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian & Cultural) began its general discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.  Before it were the reports of the Secretary-General on:  “Implementation of the mandates of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, with particular reference to the technical cooperation activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime” (document A/73/131); “The United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders” (document A/73/133); “Follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice” (document A/73/134); “International cooperation against the world drug problem” (document A/73/135); and “Technical assistance in implementing the international conventions and protocols related to terrorism” (document A/73/136).  Delegates also had before them a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on its seventh session, held in Vienna from 6 to 10 November 2017 (document A/73/132).

Opening Remarks

JOHN BRANDOLINO, Director, Division of Treaty Affairs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the rule of law is being undermined:  Terrorism, fed by radicalization and violent extremism, is ever more interlinked with organized crime and the trafficking of people, drugs and arms, as well as corruption.  Technology is being misused by terrorists and organized criminal networks, including for sexual exploitation and abuse.  The threats are borderless.  As the Secretary-General said, there are solid foundations for international cooperation.  “We must restore trust and reinvigorate multilateral action,” he stressed, noting that agreed frameworks and cooperation, based on the principle of shared responsibility, are vital.  Time and again, criminals and terrorists exploit gaps in capacities and coordination, profiting from instability and weakened rule of law.

For its part, UNODC seeks to advance network-integrated responses, he said.  Its normative and operational support to Member States places prevention at the fore, aiming to mainstream human rights and gender.  Noting that prevention is essential to addressing challenges across mandates, he said all areas within UNODC through its headquarters in Vienna and field offices, prioritize partnerships with United Nations entities, business and civil society.  The Office is implementing a strategy to help Governments respond to the opioid crisis, working with Afghanistan in particular to strengthen regional and inter-regional responses to security. 

More broadly, as the terrorist threat continues to evolve, UNODC is tackling its links with organized crime.  Efforts centre on countering money laundering and terrorist financing, cybercrime, as well as trafficking in firearms, drugs and cultural heritage.  It continues to assist States in tackling human trafficking and migrant smuggling, including through support for the Global Compact on Migration, to be adopted in December.  However, UNODC continues to struggle with a severe lack of stable resources.  Unearmarked general purpose funds are predicted to account for less than 1 per cent of its total income for 2018-2019.  Its share of the total United Nations regular budget also amounts to less than 1 per cent.  “This precarious financial situation, in a time of ever-increasing resource constraints, has left core UNODC support to Member States vulnerable”, he said, appealing to them for support.


COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said crime prevention and the promotion of access to effective criminal justice are critical to fostering social stability and economic growth.  Noting that CARICOM States face daunting development challenges as a result of organized criminal activities, he said illegal drugs trafficking and the illegal trade in small arms and ammunition have wreaked havoc.  “The region must also remain vigilant to ensure that human trafficking and money laundering are combatted and prosecuted wherever they occur,” he stressed, adding that resources from those activities should be diverted to education, health care and infrastructure.  Expressing support for the 2013 CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy, he said Caribbean States are also pursuing collaborative border control systems, notably by expanding the Advance Passenger Information System and working in line with the CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its Maritime and Airspace Security Cooperation Agreement.  Additionally, he called for efforts to make deliberations ahead of the sixty-second Commission on Narcotic Drugs, taking place in Vienna, more accessible to States without resident representation.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said poverty is a driver of crime that is negatively impacting development in Africa.  There can be no sustainable development without security, he assured, adding that regional approaches to international criminal justice are being implemented on the continent.  Affirming the Group’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, he said porous borders and poor infrastructure exacerbate challenges posed by criminal activity.  Noting that the Group will introduce a draft resolution on crime prevention, he said Africa is deeply affected by terrorism.  Production, trafficking and illicit drug use is on the rise, he warned, adding that countries in the region are working with relevant international entities to develop counter-trafficking national programmes.  He called for strengthened international efforts to combat challenges posed by drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime.

JOPHIE TANG (Singapore) speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the bloc has implemented an action plan on transnational crime, focusing on human smuggling and illicit trafficking of wildlife.  ASEAN also has adopted a Convention Against the Trafficking in Persons as well as a counter‑terrorism strategy that centres on detection, enforcement and radicalization prevention.  Seeking to eliminate drugs and their abuse, it has promoted intra- and extra-regional cooperation to disrupt syndicate operations and curtail drug flows.  In order to fight cybercrime, ASEAN countries have enhanced their collaboration, as well as their legal and technical expertise, through a cyber capacity programme.

MARIA DE JESUS FERREIRA (Angola), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and associating herself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China as well as the African Group, said the region’s persistent crime burden is gradually improving thanks to prevention and mitigation strategies.  Drug trafficking is related to corruption and violence - especially against women and children - threatening the region’s economic development and security.  “Circumstances such as high levels of poverty, unemployment, inadequate justice systems and high HIV rates lie at the root of these challenges” he said, also citing high inequality both within and among States, and major challenges posed by the illicit wildlife trade.  The rise of severe threats from commercial poaching is fuelled by a growing demand in the illicit market, he said, noting that many States lack the resources needed to protect wildlife.  Welcoming initiatives under the UNODC’s Global Programme for Combating Wildlife Forest Crime, he outlined various crime prevention initiatives put in place by SADC member States, ranging from educational activities to treatment, rehabilitation and social integration for drug-dependent persons.

GARRETT O’BRIEN, European Union delegation, welcomed United Nations support for Government actions to combat transnational organized crime, including illicit trade in drugs, cyber-attacks and terrorism, as well as support for law enforcement cooperation between States and regional organizations.  In fighting such crimes, a delicate balance must be maintained between security and human rights, and he called on all States to comprehensively implement the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols for that purpose.  He also described the bloc’s measures to counter human trafficking and smuggling, through breaking the business model of both crimes, while protecting the lives of migrants.  Union sanctions against criminal networks in Libya were being complemented by those imposed by the Security Council.  Similarly, he said Union action on maritime security coincided with Council attention to the issue.  Calling for stepped up efforts against money laundering, making it more difficult to profit from crime, he reported on the Union’s improved legal framework.  Describing the Union’s legislation on new psychoactive substances as well, he noted improvements in its coordination tools to fight terrorism, and said efforts in that area would be guided by the United Nations Global Strategy, relevant Council resolutions and the Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism.

MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said that despite global agreement on the unacceptability of slavery in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and customary international law, slavery and human trafficking are still among the biggest human rights scandals of our times, implicating virtually every country through globalized products and services produced through servitude.  Disrupting financial flows associated with modern slavery is crucial, he argued, noting Liechtenstein’s initiative for a financial sector commission on the problem.  Turning to cybercrime, he affirmed that it threatens the right to privacy, while cautioning that investigative powers and criminalization must not be used to dismantle fundamental freedoms.  Regulations of cyberspace and the criminalization of cybercrime must be carefully calibrated to find a proper balance between security concerns and the respect for human rights.  Liechtenstein strongly supports regulation based on transparency, cooperation and rights, he said, such as the Budapest Convention on the issue.

LAZARUS OMBAI AMAYO (Kenya), associating himself with the African Group, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to implementing the three international drug control conventions.  Transnational organized criminal networks hinder Kenya’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Nonetheless, its national action plan incorporates robust international cooperation into efforts for illicit drug prevention, detection, investigation and neutralisation.  Kenya invested heavily in criminal justice to adequately respond to organized crime and security threats, he said, describing in that context the threats of radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism.  Other challenges are on the rise, notably illicit drugs, small and light weapons proliferation in the Horn region and inadequate border security.  In response, Kenya has revised its Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and established a cooperation mechanism with foreign national agencies, while the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act set up an advisory committee to eliminate trafficking in persons.

MAXIM V. MUSIKHIN (Russian Federation) advocated strengthened multilateralism in fighting crime, calling on the United Nations to play a central coordinating role in preventing it.  Measures — including the important task of preserving the intergovernmental mechanisms to fight transnational crime — should take a balanced approach.  Expressing support for enhanced legal foundations for international cooperation, he described the importance of creating a new legal instrument for tackling new types of crime:  asset recovery and cybercrime.   The Russian Federation will submit a draft resolution on the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for criminal purposes and looked forward to its adoption.  He expressed concern that some States sought to side-line drug policy or forget the law enforcement framework, urging that equal attention be given to all aspects of the global drug trade problem.

MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy) reiterated the many calls to reinforce cooperation in the fight against international crime, a challenge that every country faces.  Three aspects of this problem are particularly relevant for the Third Committee:  ties between organized crime and terrorism; the impact of transnational criminal networks on international peace and security; and the nexus between sustainable development and the fight against organized crime and terrorism.  More broadly, the Committee must also focus on:  countering human trafficking, defending the status and rights of women and minors, protecting cultural heritage, tackling corruption and addressing terrorist and criminal abuse of the Internet and social media.  He expressed support for Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) in building transparent societies.

ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba) said it would be difficult to resolve drug production and trafficking problems in the impoverished South without eliminating demand in the developed North.  The principle of common and shared responsibility is therefore more important today than ever, she stressed, warning that militarizing countries or legalizing drugs is no solution.  Cuba has a zero‑tolerance policy on drug production, consumption and trafficking, and fulfils all its international obligations to combat organized crime.  The practice of producing unilateral reports for qualification of other States is inadmissible and should be abolished, she added.

MOHAMMED KHASHAAN (Saudi Arabia) described a national four-point strategy to combat drugs, focused on prevention, local actions, treatment and regional cooperation.  Saudi Arabia also continued to take measures to implement treaties and conventions.  Specific areas where attention was needed included the fight against trafficking in human organs, and against identity crime.  It also has established a centre to fight intellectual and media extremism.  In the area of international cooperation, Saudi Arabia, having ratified many conventions, participates in information exchange and training programmes, he said, also underscoring the need to respect countries’ sovereign right to develop frameworks for combating drugs.

YORIKO SUZUKI (Japan), recalling that her country will host the fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto in 2020, advocated participation in the regional preparatory meetings.  This will foster synergy and cohesion across United Nations bodies ahead of the Congress, she said, stressing the need for coordinated responses to drug trafficking and cybercrime.  Corruption poses a serious threat to economic growth and sustainable development.  She urged continued efforts to combat this scourge through existing international frameworks, including the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Mr. AZIZ MOHAMED (Iraq) reaffirmed his country’s commitment to combating organized crime, including terrorism, stressing the importance of eliminating or otherwise containing terrorism.  He described several laws and regulations, such as Law 28 on trafficking in persons, a crime that undermines human dignity, and pointed to the establishment of an authority that fights corruption.  Describing Law 50 on medical assistance to drug addicts, and the importance of combating drugs cartels, he highlighted Iraq’s passage of an amnesty law in 2016 and its ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Commending efforts by the European Union and the United Nations to combat that problem, he cited the establishment of several law enforcement agencies that address trafficking in persons and work to rehabilitate victims, including those of crimes committed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).

OMAR CASTANEDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said globalization has created a way for organized crime to expand, requiring a global response.  His region is seriously affected by organized crime, which is a crime against humanity.  The lack of specific goals, coupled with loose borders, has made it easy to move people across borders.  It is critical to address the drug problem.  Guatemala provides a number of support measures, notably rehabilitation for drug users carried out from a human rights perspective that involves non-stigmatization.  Also, thanks to the national security forces, 471 million poppy plants have been eradicated, and 34,000 kilos of cocaine have been seized.  In two years, drugs that would have gone out to 30 million people around the world have been seized.

DANG SON TRUONG (Viet Nam), aligning himself with ASEAN, said his country has implemented preventive measures and drug control programmes with a comprehensive and inclusive approach.  Viet Nam commits to developing its national action plan to promote justice, reform criminal justice institutions and strengthen investigations and prosecutions of drug-related crimes, among others.  Steps taken include a national strategy on drug control and collaboration with ASEAN.

NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan), expressing concern over the expansion and diversification of global drug markets, said his country is particularly affected by high rates of illicit cultivation in neighbouring Afghanistan.  Noting that 2019 marks the 10-year deadline to meet global targets for significantly reducing illicit cultivation, production, manufacturing, trafficking, demand and drug-related social risks linked with narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, he said political will is the key to achieving those targets.  Underscoring the need to address the entire global drug chain, starting from cultivation, he called for well-balanced, comprehensive and integrated approaches to both demand and supply reduction, as well as political commitments and adequate resourcing.  Pakistan has been “poppy-free” since 2001, with strict national drug enforcement resulting in reduced domestic production.  Citing money-laundering and corruption as major challenges, he said Pakistan has joined the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism.

ZEBIB GEBREKIDAN (Eritrea) commending UNDODC assistance to Member States, drew attention to the intrinsic and mutually reinforcing link between crime prevention and development.  International cooperation in fighting organized crime is a must due to its cross-boundary, amorphous nature.  “Criminals are one step ahead of States”, she said, due to their resources, not their intelligence.  Urging that a review mechanism be created to ensure that the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime remains an effective tool, she said crime in Eritrea is below the global average, thanks in part to a crime prevention strategy focused on the protection of human rights.  Police are undergoing a structural transformation to consolidate the rule of law and narrow the gender gap in police agencies.  Eritrea is also affected by migrant smuggling and human trafficking, she said, posing challenges to human wellbeing and regional security.

TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR. (Philippines), recalling China’s historical relationship with drugs and the drug trade, noted that today Asia is home to significant methamphetamine trafficking.  While previous administrations “coddled” the problem, he stressed that the new Government — elected by a landslide — has already killed 4,000 dealers in police operations.  While there have been some tragic and inexcusable mistakes, they are no excuse to end the war on drugs.  More than 2,600 kilos of “crystal meth” have been seized and over 600,000 drug users have turned themselves in.  While the international community has called the war on drugs “genocide”, he stressed that the Philippines’ policies are not about race or religion, nor are they political in nature.  “You are not born a dealer or baptized as one,” he stressed.  Refuting calls for drug legalization, he said such a policy will only turn the Government into the biggest drug dealer of all.  It is the Government’s duty — under the responsibility to protect doctrine — to defend its population from abuses, including from those who seek to addict it to drugs.

NADAV YESOD (Israel) said efforts to address the world drug problem are crucial to achieving sustainable development.  A new authority has been created within Israel’s Ministry of Public Health, seeking to establish a continuum of services ensuring prevention, early identification, treatment and reintegration at the local level.  Israel is particularly concerned by drugs’ negative effects on youth, he said, citing an array of policies fostering drug‑free lifestyles, educational and vocational rehabilitation, as well as parental awareness.  Proportionality is a central aspect of the Israeli criminal justice system:  it provides for alternatives to incarceration, such as fines, treatment programmes and public service.

RICARDO DE SOUZA MONTEIRO (Brazil) said organized crime operates without regard for borders, affecting countries and regions.  The international community must speed its response.  To fight crime, its underlying causes must be addressed.  Eradicating poverty, improving health, empowering women and girls and promoting human rights are related concerns, he said, adding that all actions must respect the rule of law.  With the creation of the Ministry for Public Security, Brazil places public security at the centre of its agenda, alongside drug control and ending corruption.  He went on to say that drug control strategies should have a multidimensional character and place people at their centre, highlighting the need to recognize drug use as a public health issue.  Brazil continues to strengthen its efforts to combat drug trafficking and money laundering, notably through cooperation with its neighbours.

PAULOMI TRIPATHI (India) said that transnational organized crime and drug-related issues pose serious threats to sustainable development.  Reports point to supply-driven expansions of a range of drugs, she said, adding that opium production is on the rise.  Greater international cooperation is critical to respond to drug-related challenges.  She said India’s legislative framework includes prohibitions of bonded and child labour, and protections of women and children from sexual exploitation, while new legislation on trafficking in persons is being formalized.  Referring to terrorism as the gravest violation of human rights, she welcomed the creation of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and expressed strong support for greater international cooperation in criminal justice.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) expressed regret that progress in global drug control has not been linear and underscored the need to make changes, recalling the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016.  Young people and women must be empowered, he said, advocating a cross-cutting approach that incorporates human rights and gender issues, alongside strengthened cooperation and multilateralism to combat organized crime.  He voiced concern over the new challenge of psychoactive substances, highlighting the importance of effective regulation.  On money laundering and arms trafficking, he recommended an omnibus approach.  To realize the goals of the Special Session roadmap, coordination and dialogue among several United Nations agencies were needed, voicing concern that the international community could not stem the illicit flow of firearms.

FRANCISCO ALBERTO GONZALEZ (Colombia) said all efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and address the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing.  In such work, the international community must adhere to agreed principles, such as shared responsibility and multilateralism, and further, combat the structures enabling drug trafficking and associated crime.  He spotlighted Colombia’s eradication of 37,000 hectares of illicit crops and its national prevention programme, adding that institutions to combat corruption are being strengthened.  Colombia will submit to the Committee a resolution seeking to facilitate the recovery of assets and their return to their country of origin.  He added that fighting cybercrime requires free access to information technologies.

MORDICA M. SIMPSON (United States) said that more than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdose in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pointing out that the world drug problem now includes new substances, which makes it difficult to adjust the response.  She touched on the use of new technology to market drugs to clients, adding that synthetics are shipped through global mail, making them highly profitable.  It is important to global coordinate efforts and she thanked States that had signed the “Call to Action” initiative.  “Criminals must be stopped before they harm citizens”, she said, noting that since 2005, the United Nations has relied on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  On cybercrime, she cautioned against undermining the International Expert Group, and taking the long view on other issues, and said that most solutions will be found by doctors in emergency rooms dealing with victims.

SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia) described an “alarming” situation:  the global production of opium and cocaine has never been higher and 450,000 people die every year from drug-related health issues.  In the last three decades, there has been progress, but new challenges emerge, and the international community must stand together as this problem transcends borders.  Mongolia faces real challenges in protecting its young population from the effect of drugs trafficking, he said, adding the Government launched a national programme in 2017 to counter narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

AMADEO SOLARI (Peru) said corruption diverts 5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) to enrich the few, eroding the credibility of States and endangering both democratic governance and the rule of law.  Peru will promote decisive action to ensure all States renew their political commitment against corruption and explore new ways to combat it.  It is crucial to take comprehensive action.  Drawing attention to the international crime‑terrorism nexus, he said States must understand it better in order to address it effectively.  He highlighted that Peru eradicated 135,000 hectares of coca crops between 2012 and 2016.

IRINA MORENO GONZÁLEZ (Ecuador), renewing her country’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda, notably Goal 16, said transnational organized crime is a threat to security and hampers social, political and economic development.  Ecuador’s public policies are based on a socioeconomic approach:  addictions are seen as a public health problem.  Corruption limits the ability of States to eradicate poverty and create better living conditions, she added, stressing the need for all States to take individual and joint actions on these issues.  She called on the international community to continue its work on transparency.

BEKZHAN BAIZHANOV (Kazakhstan) said combating drug trafficking is linked to problems of peace, security and sustainable development.  A top priority in its domestic and foreign policies, the fight against drug trafficking is also included in the “Kazakhstan 2050” strategy.  The Government implements all United Nations anti-drug conventions and has adopted relevant legislation.  International efforts must be made more effective and streamlined in order to strengthen global and regional security, he said, pointing to the Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors as the only such entity in the region.

LESETLA ANDREAS TEFFO (South Africa), noting criminal networks use technology to further their activities, said the international community must share global efforts to defeat it with innovative, sophisticated approaches.  The World Drug Report 2017 illustrates the unprecedented magnitude and complexity of global drug markets, with drug‑related deaths rising and ongoing concentrated opioid epidemics.  However, he cited a new UNODC initiative to promote more effective crime prevention.  Turning to wildlife crime, he expressed dismay that 94 per cent of poaching in Africa in 2014 occurred in South Africa, urging that all obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora be implemented.  On cyberattacks, a “truly international instrument, under the auspices of the United Nations, on cybercrime” is needed, as is universal adoption and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, he said, citing a lack of progress in asset recovery to countries of origin.

EKA KIPIANI (Georgia), associating herself with the European Union, highlighted national efforts to prevent crime, protect human rights, establish a fair and independent judiciary, and ensure accountability.  Those include a third wave of judicial reforms, implemented in 2017, which aim to provide stronger guarantees for non‑interference with judicial decisions and increasing transparency.  Noting that the fight against trafficking in Georgia mobilizes both Government and non‑governmental actors, she outlined initiatives to address the challenges faced by street children, including the issuance of free identification documents to ensure access to State services.  Turning to the issue of human trafficking, she pointed out that the Georgian Anti‑Trafficking National Referral Mechanism has been identified as one of the best in the world, and the country ranks among those taking the most effective actions to end that practice.

NAZIFULLAH SALARZAI (Afghanistan) stressed the connection between terrorism and the illicit drug trade in his country, both of which continue to undermine its stability.  Some 3.2 million Afghans are addicted to narcotics.  The Government is committed to combating the problem, conducting thousands of intercept operations, destroying production facilities, building security at transit points and mobilizing civil society.  As much of the drug activity takes place in insecure provinces, it is another reason to prioritize bringing peace to the country, he said.  Efforts are being intensified to address unfavourable social conditions and rural drought that also contribute to the problem.  In addition, given that global demand and supply chains drive the drug trade, a comprehensive, multifaceted and unified international strategy is essential.  As such, Afghanistan has strengthened cooperation with regional organizations and international allies.  Thanking UNODC and all international partners, he affirmed that Afghanistan is ready to intensify efforts through the range of multilateral arrangements.

Mr. ALAJMI (Qatar) said his country is aware of the dangers of transnational crime.  In line with its plan to achieve the 2030 Agenda, Qatar integrated drug prevention into its strategies for development and professional training.  It is also making efforts to combat trafficking in people.  Qatar pioneered negotiations that led to the Doha Declaration, he recalled, stressing the importance of redoubling efforts to implement its recommendations.  He reaffirmed Qatar’s commitment to promoting criminal justice and strengthening the rule of law at all levels.

WONG KENG HOE (Singapore) said his country is vulnerable to international crime because it is an international transport and trade hub located along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.  This is why it implemented a National Cybersecurity Strategy in 2016 and enhances its operational capabilities to detect and deter cyberthreats.  Stressing that no country can fight cybercrime alone, he spotlighted Singapore’s role in facilitating international cooperation and coordination in cybersecurity.  One key initiative is the ASEAN‑Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence that will train response teams, strengthen research capabilities and foster information sharing.  Regarding the drug trade, his country chose harm prevention over harm reduction, he asserted, adding that Singapore seeks to be drug free rather than drug tolerant.

AYSE INANC-ORNEKOL (Turkey) said transnational organized crime must be addressed through a comprehensive, holistic approach.  She pointed to the immense costs of that scourge, citing the need for stronger international cooperation.  Turkey, a destination country of human trafficking, established a Coordination Commission on Human Trafficking.  Turkey is also a major refugee host country and she underlined the importance of respecting migrants’ rights, adding that trafficking victims are provided support.  She drew attention to Turkey’s fight against terrorist organizations, including the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization and the PKK/PYD/YPG, advocating collective action and highlighting the importance of extradition laws.  In tackling the global drug problem, the focus must be on combating domestic distribution, she said, describing Turkey’s drug policies and action plan put into force by the Ministry of Health.

BERNARDITO AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said it is deeply disheartening that new technologies have opened doors to the abuse and exploitation of children.  Girls account for a majority of victims, but boys are increasingly at risk as well.  Emphasizing the enormous harm that cybercrime does to children and adolescents, he called for raising awareness of the gravity of the problem, in addition to suitable legislation, overseeing technological developments, identifying victims and prosecuting perpetrators.  Turning to drug abuse and illicit trafficking, he stressed the role of the family.  Strengthening parenting skills and raising the collective awareness of family members about the evils of narcotics use are key to preventing drug abuse and related crime.  The drug problem is part of a “throwaway culture” that deprives people of their dignity and hope, he said, calling for implementation of social programs geared towards health, family support, education and human formation.

ATIPHA VADHANAPHONG (Thailand), associating herself with ASEAN, said her Government joins international efforts to deliver long‑term, inclusive and sustainable interventions to combat the world drug problem.  Thailand is targeting drug trafficking, she said, pointing to regional efforts to improve cross‑border cooperation and intelligence sharing.  Alternative development is a critical component of comprehensive drug control.  Turning to demand reduction, she said Thailand continues to implement a health‑based drug policy through nationwide access to treatment for drug users.  The Government also applies gender perspectives to services provided to people incarcerated for drug‑related offences, she said, underscoring the interrelation among drugs, corruption, illicit financial flows and organized crime.

LARYSA BELSKAYA (Belarus), emphasizing traffickers’ use of innovative technologies to carry out the entire sequence of their activities online, called for international cooperation to counteract cybertrafficking.  Today more than ever there is a need to strengthen collective action and adapt the international conventions on narcotics.  Belarus does not support the call to legalize drugs, she asserted, urging a common front to face a new generation of drug‑related challenges.

WANG ZHAOZUE (China) said encouraging progress has been made in the global fight against drugs, traditional organized crime and corruption, but grave challenges remain.  Underscoring China’s opposition to the legalization of illicit drugs, he said that, in combating the global drug problem, due consideration must be given to social order, public welfare and shared interests.  “It is essential to avoid undue emphasis on human rights at the cost of endeavours in other fields,” he said.  Countries are entitled to put in place their own drug policies, tailored to their national specificities and based on the three drug control conventions.  Abolition of the death penalty should not be linked with the drug problem.  Emphasizing China’s zero‑tolerance approach to corruption, he called on States that are parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption to remove political and legal hurdles that obstruct international cooperation in hunting down fugitives and recovering illicit assets.  Doing so will deny safe haven to corrupt officials and their illicit proceeds.  He also called for efforts to elaborate an international legal instrument within the United Nations framework.

YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar), associating himself with ASEAN, said drugs remain one of the most serious threats in the country.  Supply reduction and alternative development strategies focus on reducing cultivation, production and trafficking of illicit drugs.  At the same time, strategies to reduce drug demand and harm include intervention mechanisms.  Going forward, Myanmar will continue to strengthen regional and international cooperation.  Research in the field aims to gain a better understanding of the problem, he said, also noting that his Government believes that taking a humans-rights-based approach to the issue will promote healthy and safe environments for people in the country.

KANISSON COULIBALY (Mali), aligning himself with the Group of 77 as well as the Group of African States, said drugs trafficking is a source of financing for transnational organized crime and terrorist groups.  These issues are important to Mali and its neighbours in the Sahel.  Mali has therefore adopted legislative measures, including the creation of health, security and pharmaceutical bodies.  He pointed out that the cumulative effects of the fall of Libya in 2011 fostered the spread of terrorist acts and transnational crime in the region.  The Group of Five (G5) Sahel was a perfect response to this situation, which called for international cooperation.  However, security responses have their limits given the widespread unemployment among youth.  Thus, the G5 Sahel has implemented an investment plan to address the development issues that undergird instability in the region.

ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that his country’s National Dangerous Drugs Control Board takes a multi-pronged approach towards curbing drug use.  The approach includes strengthening customs and law enforcement, studying and developing a harmonized legislative approach to drug offenses, improving treatment and rehabilitation for users and launching education campaigns.  Sri Lanka’s principal policy framework on the issue was amended in 2016, reflecting strengthened measures against the production, smuggling, trafficking and use of illicit drugs and supporting regional and international initiatives on prevention.  The country’s geographic location makes it vulnerable to drug trafficking, with smugglers turning to it as a transit hub.  In response, Sri Lanka has tightened security procedures and regulations and also works closely with the UNODC Regional Office in South Asia.

FRANCISCO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic) said illicit drug trafficking is influencing institutions and bringing devastation to his country, with the youngest people largely affected.  Noting the Dominican Republic’s geographic location as a bridge between drug‑producing and drug‑consuming countries, he highlighted the passage of national laws to tackle asset laundering, stressing that joint efforts and information sharing will lead to greater progress.  He expressed regret that the “thousands of millions of dollars” invested every year had yielded no real effect.  To tackle poverty in a comprehensive and honest way, organized crime must be eradicated, expressing support for the drug‑control resolution.

AHMED SAHRAOUI (Algeria), associating himself with the African Group, advocated collective action in tackling the world drug problem.  He expressed deep concern that it threatens health and sustainable development as well as global and national security.  Algeria is committed to implementing the international drug‑control conventions, he said, stressing that the fight against drugs requires a holistic approach based on social and economic development and that Algeria is a drug transit country, especially for cannabis.  Regional and international cooperation is needed.  Algeria has worked to sensitize its citizens to the dangers of drugs through its National Strategy for Fighting against Drugs 2018‑2022.  He also cited significant efforts to combat human trafficking and update the legal system, notably through the imposition of heavy sanctions.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said the world drug problem impedes the development trajectories, efforts to build a healthy and productive society, and impacts children and youth in particular.  Citing Bangladesh’s large youth demographic, he said “our stakes are even higher”, and warned against allowing drugs to erode hard‑earned development gains.  The Government has strengthened its resolve, putting in place a zero‑tolerance policy for illegal drugs.  In addition to traditional narcotics, the country has seen huge quantities of Ya Ba pills —  containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine — entering from Myanmar and other South‑East Asian States.  Pledging to combat both those substances and their smugglers, he said Bangladesh has adopted a whole‑of‑society approach and is adapting its responses through awareness campaigns, treatment and rehabilitation, and assistance to victims.  It has also signed onto the United States‑led Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem.

SHEILA CAREY (Bahamas) said that as a small island developing State located on a transhipment route for illicit drugs, arms and organized crime, her country redirects human, technical and financial resources away from critical social and economic development to address those issues.  The Bahamas has prioritized crime prevention and reduction, engaging with local communities and youth, through heightened visibility patrols, forensic technologies and public awareness.  In addition, it leverages bilateral and regional partnerships, particularly with the United States and CARICOM.  Her Government is also addressing corruption through its Integrity Commission Bill (2017).

MUHAMMAD MUSTAPHA ABDALLAH (Nigeria), associating himself with the African Group, said his Government is combating corruption as a means to strengthen judicial institutions.  Nigeria’s legislation complies with Article 44 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, he said, adding that the African Union declared 2018 as the continent’s anti-corruption year.  For its part, Nigeria established an inter-ministerial committee to counter money laundering and illicit proceeds from crime and that the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit now enjoys greater independence.  Efforts are being redoubled to combat drug proliferation, trafficking and abuse, he noted, adding that Nigeria is witnessing increased abuse of cough syrups containing codeine.

MOHAMMAD HASSANI NEJAD PIRKOUHI (Iran) said countries such as his on the front line in countering the world’s illicit drug trafficking bear much of the burden caused by traffickers, who are typically armed and linked to transnational organized crime or terrorist networks.  The international community and relevant partners have yet to do their fair share in fighting this global menace.  Combating transnational organized crime requires a global response supported by the unreserved commitment of all States.  Of particular concern is trafficking in people, which requires a coordinated approach, including measures to prevent, prosecute and punish the traffickers as well as protect the victims.

IRMA ALEJANDRINA ROSA SUAZO (Honduras), stressing that drug trafficking must be addressed in a holistic manner, said it is important to promote and implement health‑care programmes with an unlimited respect for human rights.  Honduras has raised awareness of boys, girls and parents to prevent drug consumption.  It also created comprehensive care centres to treat addictions and a drug affairs body to reduce both supply and demand.

CHEIKH NIANG (Senegal) aligning himself with the African Group, said the Doha Declaration encourages promotion of the rule of law at the national and international levels.  Signatories must clearly demonstrate the political will to fight drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, as well as enhance international cooperation to that end.  A holistic and preventive approach is needed to address root causes, such as unemployment, lack of education, health and housing, as well as poverty and social exclusion.  Inclusive approaches that integrate minorities and vulnerable groups are also needed, as is better cooperation among criminal justice systems because impunity is the main obstacle hampering the fight against transnational crime.  Pointing out that Senegal is at once an origin, transit and destination country for human trafficking and migrant smuggling, he reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to implementing all the relevant international conventions.

MOHAMED AWADALLA SALLAM ADAM (Sudan), aligning himself with the African Group, described the national counterstrategy on narcotics and regulations for supervising medication, strengthening intelligence agencies and extraditing and prosecuting requests.  The Government has also carried out a police community programme, which has reduced crime.  Having ratified in 2010 the law on the trafficking of persons, Sudan also punished people involved in human trafficking.  It hosted the first conference on combating the trafficking of persons in the Horn of Africa, referring to bilateral conventions for border control with neighbours.  He stressed the importance of international efforts to combat organized crime, as well as information‑sharing and tracing capital flows.

LEONG WEI JIEA (Malaysia) said that given the serious challenge posed to all States by emerging forms of crime and the evolving illicit drug trade, it is fitting that crime prevention and drug control become the top international priority.  Nationally, Malaysia continuously strengthens legislation, law enforcement capacity and demand reduction.  It also frequently works with bilateral partners through information exchange and mutual legal assistance, and regionally, with ASEAN through a range of platforms.  At the international level, Malaysia is party to the three drug control conventions, as well as the organized transnational crime convention.  The Government looked forward to strengthening cooperation through the sharing of best practices, intelligence, other information and capacity‑building.

HANAA BOUCHIKHI (Morocco) said the national administration for border control combats transnational criminal activities.  He underlined the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, citing the response to 301 international search warrants.  The Maghreb and Atlantic coastal areas see increased organized crime, and movement among armed groups, which underscores the need for more support.  New psychotropic substances and new consumption patterns via the Internet also require greater international attention, he said, stressing that Morocco is also confronted by drug trafficking and that Africa is a central transit platform, notably for terrorists.  Recalling that the seizure of 2,508 tons of cocaine — described as “the seizure of the century” — led to the dismantling of a sophisticated network, he stressed the importance of vigilance and professionalism.

EMAD MORCOS MATTAR (Egypt), aligning himself with the African Group, said crime prevention and countering drug trafficking are necessary to ensure stable lives and rights of citizens.  He highlighted the emergence of new crimes, including the use of cyberspace for money‑laundering and terrorism- and corruption-related activities.  In that context, the international community must make the most of technological advances and use them to its benefits.  He stressed the need for more initiatives fostering capacity-building and asset recovery, adding that the United Nations can play a key role in that regard.

MAGDA LENA CRUZ (Spain) said crime prevention and criminal justice are major issues for her country, linked to the protection of freedoms, rights and the well‑being of citizens.  It is not possible to fight these crimes solo, due to their transnational nature.  Thus, Spain and Guatemala will present a resolution to address two crimes that have received little attention:  trafficking of people with the goal of removing organs and trafficking of organs.  Victims are often among the most disenfranchised.  From criminal, health‑care and human rights perspectives, this situation requires international action, she said, stressing that crime should be fought in strict accordance with the rule of law.

Mr. PRIAMBUDI (Indonesia), associating himself with ASEAN, said the National Narcotics Board has been working with the provincial government of Aceh to launch a Grand Design for an Alternative Development programme, which will replace narcotic crops and turn traditional marijuana planting into legitimate production of other crops.  Its implementation was inspired by recommendations from the ASEAN workplan, which Indonesia is circulating among its counterparts at the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Drugs.  Countering the drug problem requires international cooperation by law enforcement officials to deter criminal syndicates and traffickers.  Over the past six years, Indonesia has established seven Memorandums of Understanding with countries to prevent and combat illicit drug trafficking.  It is also constantly improving the expertise of its employees by sending law enforcement officers to trainings and workshops.  To succeed, drug control must reach a balance between prevention and eradication measures consistent with international treaties.

HABIB MIKAYILLI (Azerbaijan) said corruption is a driver of human trafficking, wildlife crime, illicit financial flows, terrorism and violent extremism.  Azerbaijan had made the fight against corruption a priority, enacting legislation, creating targeted agencies and carrying out reforms in accordance with the requirements of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  In addition, it participates in the required review process and has adopted four consecutive actions plans under that Convention.  It is also strengthening its efforts to combat money‑laundering and terrorist financing in conjunction with the Council of Europe.  To fight human trafficking, Azerbaijan is continually improving national legislation and building police capacity, and has signed more than 100 cooperation accords with States and international organizations.

IBRAHIMA KOMARA (Guinea), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said his country had ratified regional, subregional and international conventions on organized crime.  He also noted the negative impact of transnational organized crime on young lives.  Stressing that prevention suppression and treatment for drug use are at the heart of Guinea’s policies to combat organized crime, he underscored the importance of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) space in that regard.  Guinea reformed its justice system and suspended corrupt judges.  Calling on bilateral and multilateral partners, he outlined Guinea’s plans to establish itself as “an international dam” to stop the flow of drugs.  “The international community must continue strengthening their cooperation to rid the world of all forms of crime,” he said.

NELLY BANAKEN (Cameroon), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, described terrorism, drug trafficking and migrant trafficking as major threats to her country’s security and stability.  Referring to Boko Haram, she highlighted terrorism as most concerning and detailed Government efforts to strengthen the legal and political framework, notably by eliminating gaps, bolstering law enforcement and respecting human rights.  Despite the lack of a universally accepted definition of terrorism, supporting terrorism by word will be prosecuted, while respecting the freedom of expression.  “No country can face terrorism alone as it has no face,” she said, highlighting the importance of the Doha Declaration.  Combating terrorism must involve fighting drug trafficking, especially the consumption of psychotropic substances.

Mr. MOHAMED (Libya), endorsing the statement by the African Group, described the challenges of combating drug use, human trafficking and related crimes, alongside rising unemployment and social exclusion.  The global drug problem must be addressed through a multilateral approach, he said, noting that many countries require technical assistance.  Concerted efforts were needed to fight smuggling, he said, noting that Libya’s workplan is supported by the international community.  Stressing the importance of sanctions imposed by the Security Council on human smuggling and trafficking, he called on UNODC to redouble efforts to combat organized crime.  He also underlined the importance of funding for Libya in the context of honouring international obligations, stressing the need for cooperation with UNODC to benefit from technical and training capacities.

For information media. Not an official record.