Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for the deepening of ties between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to combat transnational crime, including the trafficking of drugs and human beings, as well as terrorism.
The two organizations should also work together to strengthen UN peacekeeping efforts in various parts of the world, Mr. Ban told a CSTO meeting in the Russian capital, Moscow. CSTO brings together Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“We are witnessing more and more instances of non-traditional conflicts and terrorist activities fuelled by drug trafficking and organized crime,” said Mr. Ban. “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,” he said.
The Secretary-General pointed out that 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.
“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,” Mr. Ban added.
He said existing tools, such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption can be used more extensively to enhance cooperation in investigations, prosecutions, preventing money laundering and seizing assets acquired with proceeds from crime.
Crime prevention and criminal justice are not separate issues, Mr. Ban noted, giving the example of human trafficking, which he said remained a low-risk, high-profit activity, but would be addressed 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,” said Mr. Ban.
On counter-terrorism measures, the Secretary-General said the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy sets out comprehensive measures to tackle the threat of terrorism, but its success depends on the promotion and implementation at the national and regional levels.
He pointed out that the UN Regional Centre for Central Asia (UNRCCA) has been working to support implementation of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia in collaboration with CSTO.
The Secretary-General welcomed opportunities to expand UN peacekeeping cooperation with existing partners, and encouraged other arrangements with more regional organizations, such as 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,” the Secretary-General added.