Fighting international crime is key to sustainable development, UN official says

22 April 2013

International crime undermines sustainable development, hinders access to education and discourages investment opportunities, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today, adding that disrupting the flow of illegal profits had become a crucial for successful crime fighting.

Speaking at the opening of the 22nd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov warned that uninterrupted criminal activities could ultimately affect the achievement of the 2015 anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in those countries which needed improvement the most.

“We know that weak and fragile states, especially those damaged by conflict, are more vulnerable to drugs and crime,” Mr. Fedotov said. “And we know that crime undermines sustainable development, hinders access to education and employment, and drives away foreign and domestic investors.”

He noted that an international consensus was steadily emerging for the rule of law to be integrated into the post-2015 MDG agenda in what would be a crucial move for promoting development.

“We must take advantage of this to ensure that our work in the area of rule of law and justice is properly aligned to sustainable social and economic development.”

Returning to the issue of international crime, the UN crime chief stated that UNODC was continuing to confront new and emerging crimes as well as existing ones that were taking on new, lucrative forms throughout the world.

In particular, Mr. Fedotov pointed to the growth of fraudulent medicines, terrorism, human trafficking and the illegal trade in wildlife, small arms and cultural artefacts.

“Interrupting the flow of crime proceeds is a necessity,” he continued. “We cannot allow the criminals and their networks to prosper from their crimes or to fund other illicit activities.”

Mr. Fedotov underscored the UNODC’s ongoing efforts in combating global criminal networks through its seven regional programmes, announcing the creation of three new programmes to be launched in the Caribbean, South Asia and Southern Africa.

“Regional programmes offer a delivery system for crime prevention and criminal justice activities to be mainstreamed into areas such as development, security, and governance,” he said.

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