CND Thematic Discussions // Session 3 – Increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption & other forms of organized crime

Chair: Excellencies, distinguished experts, esteemed colleagues, and delegates, Welcome to the third thematic meeting of the CND. Today, we will be addressing all 11 challenges identified in the 2019 ministerial declaration. Yesterday, we heard from our UNODC colleagues and had many interventions from the floor on the expanding and diversifying range of drug use and drug markets, as well as the record level of drug abuse and illicit cultivation, production, and trafficking. I am looking forward to another day of interesting debate this morning, where we will be discussing the increase in drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in persons, cybercrime, and money laundering, and in some cases, terrorism, including money laundering in connection with the financing of terrorism. Before we start the discussion, let me remind you of a few administrative points […] Our discussions will be split into a morning and afternoon session. Without further ado, let me introduce our UNODC colleagues here with me today who will provide introductory presentations on the topic of the links between drug trafficking and organized crime. A warm welcome to Mr. David Rothfuss from the Research and Analysis Branch of the UNODC as well as Mr. Antonio Luigi Mazzitelli, Coordinator of Global Programmes. First, I will give the floor to Mr. Rothfuss.

Research and Analysis Branch of the UNODC: It’s my pleasure to discuss some findings on corruption and the drug trade nexus this morning. Corruption is a significant concern outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically in target 16.5, which focuses on substantially reducing corruption and bribery in all their forms. There are two indicators related to this: one on the experience of bribery by individuals when in contact with public officials, collected through household surveys, and another for businesses, conducted through business surveys under the World Bank’s supervision. Many countries have data for these indicators, and I will present some key findings. These graphs are from our recently published SDG 16 report and another report from last year examining SDG 16 through a gender lens. Three important findings have emerged. Firstly, there are significant differences in the average prevalence of bribery between countries, grouped by income levels. Low-income countries have an average prevalence of 13.6%, while high-income countries have 8.9%. Secondly, when analyzing aggregated data from 18 countries across various regions of the world, we observe that, on average, men are targeted for inappropriate requests when in contact with public officials more than women, with an average difference of about five percentage points. This difference is partly explained by the sectors of government men interact with, as well as social and cultural norms. Lastly, our findings suggest a correlation between the prevalence of bribery experienced by individuals and businesses, indicating common patterns of corruption in countries. Although the prevalence of bribery experienced by individuals is higher, we are looking at the prevalence and not the amount involved. Different methods of collecting data on corruption exist, including corruption surveys. Several countries, including Nigeria, have conducted such surveys. For example, Nigeria conducted surveys in 2016 and 2019 and is currently collecting data this month. These surveys provide valuable insights into various forms of corruption, such as nepotism, offering additional information crucial for policymakers. Figure 67 illustrates reporting rates in Nigeria, showing the percentage of individuals reporting their experiences to official institutions. Reporting rates can vary over time and even within a single country, emphasizing the importance of regular data collection. Recent surveys in Europe reveal that, on average, only 10 to 12% of bribery cases are reported to official institutions, indicating that most cases of bribery go unreported. This underscores the need for accurate and consistent data to paint a comprehensive picture of the issue. Moving on to the nexus between drugs and crime, our findings from this year’s World Report reveal a complex web of actors involved in drug-related crimes, including corruption, money laundering, extortion, and environmental crimes in tri-border areas. These areas have become significant hotspots due to the convergence of these crimes. In addition to straining water resources, the cultivation of drugs, particularly in indigenous lands, can lead to property rights tensions, often resulting in violence and even assassinations. Data from Brazil in 2021 indicates higher rates of criminal violence in municipalities within the Amazon region. Homicide rates in northern Brazil, covering seven of the nine legal states, rose by 260% between 1980 and 2019, while other parts of southern Brazil saw significant declines. Municipalities reporting higher levels of deforestation also experienced elevated levels of violence and property crime. These findings underscore the interconnectedness of corruption, drug trade, and environmental issues, highlighting the need for comprehensive and coordinated efforts to address these challenges. Thank you for your attention. More information can be found on our research and publications page. Thank you very much.

UNODC, Global Programmes: Certainly, the data collected for our global reporting on cocaine production is concerning. Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the production of coca crops. The processes used to turn these crops into cocaine have become more sophisticated and refined, leading to higher cocaine production. UNODC has prepared a series of documents called “Cocaine Insights” where we analyze the spectrum of cocaine products, the trafficking networks, the production chain, and the roles of different actors involved. We have recently completed this series with the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the current situation. These documents reveal that the traditional model of cocaine production and distribution has evolved into a more dynamic and sophisticated business model. This new model involves various actors with specialized roles, spanning the entire supply chain from sourcing raw materials to production, storage, and global distribution. The changes are reflected in the trafficking patterns reported by our Member States. There has been a noticeable increase in the input of chemical substances intended to enhance and diversify production processes. Seizures related to these substances have also increased, with criminal organizations employing increasingly sophisticated methods and taking advantage of channels within legitimate international trade and logistics. The cocaine market has expanded, and consumption levels have risen. Unfortunately, criminal organizations have evolved their modus operandi, applying the tactics originally developed for illicit substance trafficking to a wide range of illegal goods. This behavior not only poses a significant challenge to law enforcement but also undermines the integrity of institutions. These criminal organizations exploit weak governance structures and undermine institutional integrity not only among officials responsible for control, oversight, and security but also within the criminal justice system. They employ a range of tactics, including bribery, threats, extortion, and erosion of institutional integrity. In some specific regions, these criminal organizations have even infiltrated government institutions or exploit their absence. Over time, criminal organizations have shifted from traditional corruption methods to employ more covert and threatening approaches. This erosion of public trust in government institutions hampers the state’s ability to maintain order and security. Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive strategy. Strengthening institutions, including the judicial and law enforcement sectors, to resist corruption and organized crime is crucial. This can be achieved by providing adequate training and resources. Moreover, strengthening international cooperation is essential. Promoting collaboration between countries to address cross-border drug trafficking and organized crime, including measures such as extradition and information and intelligence sharing, as well as cross-border evidence gathering, is vital. Additionally, it is important to establish effective witness protection and justice operator protection programs. Conducting education and awareness campaigns to inform the public about the risks associated with these activities can also play a significant role in tackling this issue.

Chair: Thank you for the presentations. I see no questions from the floor so now we move into the interactive discussion of today’s session.


UK: I extend my gratitude for the insightful presentations provided by UNODC. The illicit drug market is undeniably substantial, with estimates putting it at a staggering £9.4 billion annually in the UK. This market comprises various interconnected segments, primarily influenced by international factors and organized crime entities. Organized crime groups in the UK operate across different levels, ranging from large-scale importation to neighborhood dealing. These criminals often have intricate connections, spanning local, regional, national, and even international networks, engaging in drug trafficking, money laundering, and other organized crime activities. The surge in drug supply has given rise to concerning trends, notably the emergence of county lines operations. This model involves exploiting vulnerable children and young individuals, coercing them into transporting Class A drugs and money across the country. These victims, often trapped due to drug debts and threats against themselves and their families, find it immensely challenging to escape these dire situations. To counter this alarming scenario, the UK government has bolstered its efforts through the 2021 UK drug strategy. We have allocated substantial funding, amounting to £145 million over three years, to enhance our flagship county lines program. This initiative involves expanding the National County Lines Coordination Center, intensifying operations on rail networks, particularly by the British Transport Police, and implementing targeted activities in major exporting regions. Additionally, we are investing in technology, such as automatic number plate recognition for vehicles, and providing increased support to victims affected by these criminal activities. Furthermore, we are acutely aware of the narcotics’ role as a lucrative revenue stream for terrorist organizations hostile to the UK and its allies. Specifically, we have identified the production and smuggling as a growing trade, providing illicit funds to multiple entities, including Lebanese Hezbollah. Thank you.

Mexico: Regarding the analysis conducted, we have pinpointed four specific political commitments pertinent to our discussions. Notably, most of these commitments are ongoing, with one already fully implemented—the establishment of the virtual network outlined in Action 56 of the 2009 Plan of Action, as previously indicated by UNODC. We are also encouraged by the positive trend of commitments urging the ratification of UNODC tools. Particularly noteworthy is the increasing number of parties engaging with these instruments, rendering them almost universal. This reality should be accurately acknowledged. Our focus should shift to states that are yet to comply, notably regarding the Montevideo Convention and its protocols. A significant development that warrants future consideration by CND is the entry into force of the new convention on cybercrime. This will be crucial in adequately addressing the cyber dimensions not only of drug trafficking but also the production and consumption of new generations of drugs. Mexico and other states have taken proactive steps in addressing the nexus between drug trafficking, corruption, and various forms of crime. Initiatives like Resolution 65/2 for addressing linkages between drug trafficking and firearms trafficking, as well as collaborative efforts with Italy to address connections between corruption and organized crime—clearly encompassing drug trafficking—are commendable. However, it is disheartening to witness the inexplicable reluctance of some delegations to fully support these endeavors. This hesitancy was evident during the negotiations of Resolution 65/2, where a few delegations resisted sustainable meetings on these linkages. Similar reluctance was observed during the negotiations of the Kyoto Declaration for the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. In both instances, the argument was made that drugs shouldn’t be linked with crime. We are also observing attempts to downplay the role of corrupt officials enabling organized crime, including drug trafficking, concerning information sharing and data collection. In light of these concerns, we commend UNODC for initiating the reflection, as mentioned in this morning’s World Drug Report, on information about crime, particularly firearms-related crime. We advocate for a comprehensive report stemming from illicit production or trafficking of drugs and actions to prevent and counter these issues. It’s important to clarify that our intention is not to engage in name-calling but to comprehend the consequences of our actions. We must recognize the repercussions of policies, such as the so-called war on drugs, that may inadvertently cause more harm than the issues they intend to address. We must fulfill our obligation to our people by adopting policies and measures that do not inadvertently cause more harm than good.

EU: In alignment with the EU drug strategy and action plan, the EU and its member states are committed to a multidisciplinary, multi-agency integrated approach to effectively combat illicit drug supply and drug-related crime. I would like to emphasize the significant role played by EU agencies in this regard. Firstly, Europol, the European Union’s agency for law enforcement cooperation, actively supports member states in preventing and combating serious crimes, as we heard yesterday. Secondly, Eurojust contributes to enhancing judicial cooperation in the fight against serious crime. Thirdly, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which will soon be strengthened to become a fully fledged EU drugs agency, as highlighted by the representative of the NCDA yesterday, provides the EU and its member states with evidence-based data and analysis of the European drug situation. In the EU, organized crime groups are increasingly diversifying their criminal activities, using profits from one illegal activity to finance expansion into other criminal domains. Drug trafficking remains the largest criminal market in the European Union, with an estimated minimum retail value of 30 billion euros annually. Nearly half of all criminal activities in the EU are connected to drug trafficking, making it one of the most lucrative businesses for organized crime groups. Unfortunately, violence has become an integral part of the criminal activities of EU drug trafficking organizations, raising serious concerns. We also want to underscore our deep concern about Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable, and illegal military aggression against Ukraine, leading to a humanitarian crisis. This situation creates an environment conducive to criminal organizations operating unhindered, including drug trafficking. Moreover, there is a growing concern about potential links between the illicit trafficking of drugs and terrorism. The UN Security Unit strategy emphasizes the need to address the nexus between terrorism and organized crime, highlighting how organized crime may fund terrorism through various channels, such as supplying weapons and financing terrorist activities through drug distribution and infiltrating financial markets. Understanding the connections between drug trafficking, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling is crucial. Networks engaged in drug trafficking often exploit human trafficking to boost their profits, leading to extensive financial flows. Additionally, an increasing number of trafficking victims are coerced into forced criminal activities, including drug trafficking. Cross-border drug trafficking often intersects with migrant smuggling, as many routes used for migrants are also utilized for drug trafficking. Corruption remains a significant feature of numerous criminal activities in the EU, with 60% of criminal groups reported in the EU Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment for 2021 being involved in corruption. In conclusion, there is a pressing need to delve deeper into addressing public criminality and the links between drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime. Only through a comprehensive understanding of these connections can we effectively tackle the global drug situation. Thank you.

USA: Our delegation would like to draw attention to a valuable resource in addition to the tools presented by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Global Organized Crime Index of 2023, published by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, provides valuable insights into the growing links between drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime. The report highlights a global trend toward the online purchasing of synthetic drugs, demonstrating the correlation between cyber-enabled crime and drug trafficking. Notably, the report identifies the use of cryptocurrencies as the preferred method of payment for some transnational organized crime groups involved in the synthetic drug trade, particularly in substances like fentanyl and its precursor chemicals. Stemming the flow of synthetic drugs into the United States remains a top priority for us, and our law enforcement agencies are dedicated to this mission. We are proud to support data collection efforts, ensuring that international policies and information sharing are firmly rooted in evidence. For instance, we fund the UNODC’s International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes, offering a framework for producing statistics related to crime and criminal justice. We urge fellow member states to allocate similar resources to enhance this critical initiative. In particular, there is a need to deepen our understanding of the interconnectedness of various forms of organized crime. A comprehensive international approach to combating transnational organized crime relies on strong partnerships between governmental and non-governmental entities. The United States collaborates with member states to strengthen our collective capacity, promoting a holistic approach to tackling transnational organized crime. This involves engaging civil society organizations to enhance access to justice for survivors and working closely with government partners to bolster the capacity of criminal justice systems in investigating and prosecuting criminal actors. Furthermore, we emphasize that the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and, of course, the three drug conventions provide ample opportunities for international cooperation in addressing these interconnected threats. Thank you.

Syria: As I take the floor for the first time at these meetings, I’d like to congratulate you, Mr. Chair, on successfully presiding over our discussions. However, I feel compelled to address the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza and the Palestinian people, as well as against my own country. Israel’s brutal war aims to eliminate the Palestinian cause and commit genocide against the people. We call for an immediate halt to Israeli aggression and urge urgent humanitarian support for the people in Gaza, rejecting any attempts to displace them. It’s crucial to note that Israel’s war targets all Palestinians, not specific resistance actions. Moreover, Israel’s repeated provocations in the region, such as attacking Syrian airports, indicate a dangerous escalation. Regarding our drug policies, Syria actively participates in international discussions to implement drug-related obligations. Syria has suffered for over 12 years from a war that used all weapons, including drugs, to break our people’s will. Terrorist organizations resort to drugs for financing, making illicit drug trafficking a significant form of organized crime, especially in border areas. New types of narcotic substances previously unknown have emerged. Corruption and various forms of illicit financial flows have further fueled this criminal activity and attracted terrorists. Syria’s efforts to combat this issue are ongoing, with a firm approach against these crimes and the corruption that facilitates them. We have successfully thwarted several drug smuggling operations and dismantled transmission networks. Thank you, Mr. Chair and distinguished delegates.

Ecuador: The entrenchment of organized crime in drug markets began in 2000 when drug trafficking became part of the trade cycle, especially with the adoption of the dollar as our national currency, which facilitated money laundering. Major professional organized crime organizations in Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and China started to control drug trafficking routes, leading to the growth of organized crime groups. As mentioned yesterday, Ecuador does not cultivate coca or produce cocaine. However, due to the use of air and sea routes through vessels equipped for this purpose, our coastal area has become one of the riskiest places for transportation. Ecuador has become a transit country, resulting in an increase in related crimes such as extortion, human trafficking, illicit associations, and corruption, affecting our country’s security and environment. To address these challenges, Ecuador has worked on national anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism measures in line with international standards. Despite these efforts, the link between organized crime and drug trafficking remains predominant. For example, Los Choneros, a group of about 2,000 members, is one of the most violent in the country and engages in criminal activities related to drug trafficking, extortion, and other crimes. This group is an extension of the notorious Mexican cartel Jalisco New Generation. There are other groups like Los Lagartos, with approximately 2,500 members, engaged in violent conflicts with other organized crime groups, involved in activities such as drug trafficking, kidnapping, and more. Another group known as Los Causas, with around 1,000 members, is in constant confrontation with other groups and relies heavily on drug trafficking for funding. According to the National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorism financing, Ecuador is exposed to significant threats and vulnerabilities, affecting the level of risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. Drug trafficking crimes, especially transnational corruption, tax evasion, smuggling, and emerging threats like human trafficking and crimes against the environment, are among the significant threats identified. Illicit drug trafficking is considered the country’s primary threat to money laundering. Given Ecuador’s geographical location between the two biggest drug producers in the world, the relationship between drug trafficking, organized crime, and other forms of crime is increasingly present in our country, despite the efforts of member states.

Pakistan: Pakistan emphasizes the gravity of the interconnections between trafficking, corruption, and various forms of organized crime. The 2019 ministerial declaration correctly identified this challenge as a pivotal threat to global stability and prosperity. Criminals engaging in these activities exploit gaps in law enforcement and societal vulnerabilities, transcending borders. Collective efforts and recalibration of strategies are imperative to counter this multifaceted menace. Pakistan remains committed to global efforts against these threats. Our experience shows that transnational criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking often extend operations to other organized crime, including terrorism. This diversification aims to maximize illicit income. Challenges include evolving trafficking methods, corruption, stagnation in legal frameworks, and technology proliferation, hampering detection. International cooperation, especially information and evidence sharing, is crucial. Pakistan has strengthened legal frameworks, intensified international cooperation, and established an inter-agency Task Force on Narcotics Control. Capacity building and resource mobilization are essential. We advocate increased support, focusing on assistance, and empowering nations to tackle the nexus between trafficking, corruption, and organized crime. Pakistan is dedicated to addressing these links and hopes for stronger global collaboration to combat these pressing challenges.

Australia: Organized crime groups in Australia profit significantly from illicit drug production, distribution, and sales, financing other illicit activities. A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found a strong correlation between drug supply and enabling offenses like money laundering and corruption. The study analyzed data from 587 organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking. Notably, 50% were involved in money laundering, predominantly through the financial sector, including alternative remittance, gambling, and real estate. Corruption affected 22% of groups, primarily in the transport sector. The COVID-19 pandemic altered crime dynamics, leading traffickers to seek alternative routes and methods, including maritime routes and small crafts. International engagement and cooperation are vital. Australia collaborates globally, embedding police officers in targeting centers, enhancing intelligence sharing, and understanding key issues affecting global partners. We appreciate our partners’ support and cooperation. Thank you.

Colombia: Colombia emphasizes the connection between drug trafficking and enabling crimes such as trafficking in firearms, illegal mining, environmental crimes, and human trafficking. Organized crime in Colombia triggers a wide range of crimes in affected areas. Joint efforts in 2021, including the government of Colombia and UNODC, produced an atlas assessing organized crime and violence. The findings revealed close ties between illicit activities, coca crop production, and drug trafficking. The study highlighted significant arms trafficking in border areas, enabling illegal arms networks to transport various weapons, including small arms, across borders. Illegal mining, a significant issue, showed a direct link between drug trafficking and other crimes. Around 38% of territories with illegal mining were connected to drug trafficking. Environmental protection efforts are crucial, as drug trafficking contributes to various crimes in the Amazon, including land occupation, illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, and more. Drug trafficking acts as a catalyst for multiple criminal activities, including land grabbing, timber trafficking, and mining. Authorities have identified drug trafficking groups involved in wildlife and commodity trading to transfer value between illicit economies. The issue goes beyond drug trafficking, impacting biodiversity and fueling transnational organized crime. Colombia advocates for an integrated approach, urging countries to educate against wildlife purchases, halt contraband minerals, invest in origin countries of migration flows, and impose arms controls. Such efforts help fight drug trafficking and require substantial investment in affected populations. Colombia emphasizes the need for a broader perspective and increased investment to combat drug trafficking effectively.

Russia: Mr. Chair, I would like to address a comment made today linking my country to the creation of a climate conducive to drug trafficking. We emphasize that such accusations lack concrete evidence to substantiate such claims. The UNODC report on the key evidence regarding drug demand and supply in Ukraine, published last year, did not identify any facts supporting such allegations. It is crucial to highlight that the uncontrolled delivery of weapons on a massive scale to Ukraine by EU members and other Western countries, including the US, poses significant risks of diversion to criminal and terrorist groups. This situation creates serious challenges not only for Ukraine but also for European and other regions. Furthermore, a recent report by the EU agency on drugs, CDD, specifically addressing the links between drug markets and gun violence in the EU, did not mention this phenomenon regarding Ukraine. We believe that the connection between the supply of weapons to Ukraine and the situation with gun violence and drug trafficking in our region requires thorough research by UNODC, IMCD, OSCE, and other relevant organizations. Russia asserts that this data and information are crucial to adequately inform and support targeted law enforcement interventions.

Sudan: Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to address this assembly, and I appreciate your leadership in conducting these discussions. As the world celebrates the United Nations Day, I extend my congratulations to our colleagues from Qatar and to everyone present. It’s essential to acknowledge the diverse experiences represented here. Some of us have endured appalling human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, especially in the occupied Palestinian territories. These incidents remind us that we have a long way to go to uphold the principles and spirit of the international community. Today, more than ever, we need international cooperation to tackle the myriad of complex challenges facing humanity. The climate crisis, pandemics, drug-related issues, poverty, economic disparities within and between states, food insecurity, intolerance, hate speech, cybercrime, and various forms of organized crime cannot be effectively addressed by one country or a group of nations alone. Enhanced international cooperation, in line with the United Nations Charter and principles, is indispensable to confront the challenges of the 21st century. We must emphasize our commitment to international law and the UN Charter during this celebration. My country, too, is facing challenges in addressing the drug problem. This issue has severely impacted our state institutions and facilitated the proliferation of small arms and light weapons used by drug traffickers. Furthermore, the systematic destruction and looting of public and private properties since 2011 have severely affected our economy. This destruction also targeted the health system and rehabilitation centers that used to provide essential services to people with substance abuse issues. Consequently, this situation may create conditions conducive to an increase in drug demand, including synthetic drugs and cannabis. Additionally, this environment has provided opportunities for cooperation with human traffickers who traffic victims alongside drugs, exacerbating our challenges. In addressing the production, trafficking, distribution, and consumption of drugs, Sudan has observed increased links between drug trafficking and corruption, as well as other forms of organized crime. To address these issues effectively, we are seeking to enhance our cooperation with UNODC and other partners in the coming period. Collaboration at the international level is essential to devise comprehensive solutions and create a better future for all. Thank you.

Türkiye: Indeed, the distinguished Permanent Representative of Sudan has provided valuable insights. As we commemorate the UN International Day and the anniversary of the fourth chapter of the UN Charter, it is a significant occasion for all of us to reflect. This moment calls for our collective attention, especially when addressing one of humanity’s most pressing challenges: the fight against drugs. Working together under the principles of the UN Charter, we can achieve meaningful progress in this critical endeavor. Thank you for highlighting the importance of this day and the shared commitment to addressing global issues.

Ukraine: [request for the right to reply]

Chair: [procedural clarifications]

Morocco: As we gather here, it’s important to recognize the significance of the documents negotiated over the past decade, including the political declaration of 2009, the joint statement of 2014, and the most recent declaration of 2019. These documents serve as legal frameworks guiding our collective efforts to tackle the serious challenges arising from the growing connections between drug trafficking, corruption, financial crimes, and other illicit activities. It is worth recalling that our discussions today echo similar diplomatic conversations held in October 2021. These discussions emphasized the importance of addressing the evolving challenges within the framework of the multi-year plan. This plan, dedicated to addressing challenges identified in the stocktaking report, guides us in implementing the provisions and recommendations contained in the policy documents. We commend the global efforts made by state parties, regional organizations, and international bodies in addressing the increasing links between drug trafficking and various forms of organized crime, including cybercrime, money laundering, and corruption. To enhance our efforts, we propose the organization of a high-level joint experts meeting, facilitated within the framework of the UNODC, aimed at shedding light on this critical issue. By working synergistically with other international organizations and conferences, such as the Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, we can enrich our debate and create a unified strategy in the fight against drug-related crime. Morocco encourages all member states to implement operational measures effectively. This includes adopting an integrated, multidisciplinary approach involving reliable data collection, research, intelligence analysis, and collaboration. Leveraging existing sub-regional, regional, and international cooperation mechanisms is essential in combatting all forms of drug-related crime and dismantling organized crime groups. Additionally, we must recognize the nexus between instability and drug trafficking related to organized crime, particularly in regions like the Sahel. The Sahel region is becoming a main transit route for narcotic works, fueling significant economic gains for terrorist networks and rebel groups. This alarming situation requires our serious consideration and emphasizes the urgency of addressing the link between drug trafficking, crime, and stability. Morocco stands ready to contribute to our collective efforts in combating these challenges.

Strategic Partnerships Unit of the Transnational Threat Department at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): Organized crime remains a significant challenge for the international community’s security and hampers economic and social development in many regions worldwide, including in the UNODC. Today, I would like to focus on youth crime prevention, corruption, and counter-narcotics, highlighting key takeaways from the implementation of our current project on these topics, aiming to enhance social resilience against organized crime, corruption, and drug abuse. In 2021, the OSCE launched a comprehensive project addressing youth crime and drug use prevention through education and technology. This project aims to tackle threats posed by organized crime and corruption. It fosters a culture of lawfulness among youth through educational and social learning activities in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Implemented in cooperation between the Academy in Bishkek, innovative approaches have been employed in this project. The OSCE applies a comprehensive approach, placing the voices of young people at the center of discussions on security and youth crime prevention. Taking an early and long-term perspective is key to addressing youth crime prevention. Instead of mere responses, prevention stands as one of the main ways in which the OSCE collaborates with participating states to foster a culture of legality, integrity, and resilience among young people. Young individuals are made aware of the dangers of criminality, organized crime, and corruption through the development of educational programs and awareness-raising campaigns. Unfortunately, young people are often excluded from the policymaking process, and decisions are made for them. By actively engaging young people and providing them with a national platform that encourages dialogue and experimentation for change, we empower them to become agents of change. This approach enables them to shape a more progressive, prosperous, secure, and peaceful future for all. We are pleased to report a meaningful engagement of youth, with more than 1.5 million young individuals participating in OSCE campaigns on youth crime prevention and integrity. This project is implemented in collaboration with a wide range of national stakeholders and in close coordination with relevant international organizations, executive structures, and field operations. The project aims to leverage strategic partnerships and synergies. Thank you for your attention.

Algeria: Mr. Chair, thank you for granting me the opportunity to speak. We are deeply concerned about the profound links between illegal narcotics and organized crime, involving corruption, trafficking in firearms, and money laundering. Money plays a central role, with vast sums being laundered to finance terrorists. These funds enable narcotics traffickers to operate freely, purchasing illegal firearms to sustain their criminal activities. Corruption exacerbates the problem, with officials turning a blind eye, especially at border checkpoints and airports. Algeria has experienced significant trafficking, making it crucial to enhance control measures. To combat this, we are implementing stringent controls, especially over financial flows, within our banking system, adhering to the FATF Recommendation 14. We have established a specialized unit against corruption, imposing severe penalties on offenders. Terrorist groups rely on financing; hence, we must tighten our oversight on financial operations to cut off their funding sources and diminish their capacity for harm. Trafficking in persons is another grave concern. We have recently enacted laws to prevent and punish this heinous crime, offering specialized support to victims, including psychological and medical care. The misuse of ICTs for criminal purposes is alarming. We stress the importance of regulating cryptocurrencies and darknets to curb these activities. In conclusion, I affirm our commitment to upholding international trade policy commitments and the conventions on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. These agreements underpin our comprehensive efforts, and Algeria remains fully dedicated to their implementation.

Germany: I would like to begin by addressing the situation in Palestine. My delegation strongly condemns the killing of civilians, a clear violation of international humanitarian values. We call for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing conflict initiated by the Israeli occupation against Palestinians. The actions of the Israeli forces, which include deliberate cutoffs of electricity, water, food, and fuel, as well as denying Palestinians their livelihoods, constitute war crimes and acts of genocide. These actions are in direct violation of international humanitarian law, human rights, and humanitarian values. Instead of providing the necessary aid, Israel continues to impose a siege, disrupting the flow of essential materials. We urge the international community to fulfill its ethical responsibility by pressuring Israel to cease its policy of collective punishment, refrain from targeting innocent civilians, and protect civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and churches. We firmly reject any attempts to displace or relocate people to other areas. The Republic of [Your Country] reaffirms that a comprehensive peace framework, including the two-state solution and other peace initiatives, is the only way to address the ongoing escalation and violence. Turning to the issue at hand, my delegation appreciates the progress made in the fight against drugs and related issues. These achievements are a result of the strong capabilities of national authorities in addressing the drug problem. We emphasize the importance of member states’ commitment to complying with the provisions of the convention to ensure effective implementation. We also acknowledge the significant role played by the International Narcotics Control Board. In this context, we stress the need to enhance cooperation between member states in combating money laundering and corruption. Sharing information and preventing drug smuggling are vital to safeguarding our communities and youth.

France: Drug trafficking exemplifies the intertwined nature of organized crime threats, encompassing violence, money laundering, and more. Among these challenges, we wish to emphasize two crucial points: the connection between drug trafficking and corruption, and the link between trafficking and violence. Firstly, there exists a significant correlation between drug trafficking and corruption in several European countries, including France. Corruption pervades the logistics chain for narcotics transport, especially on maritime and air routes. Criminals strategically employ corruption to facilitate transportation, prevent inspections, and obtain vital trafficking information. Key points in the transport process, such as ports and airports, are particularly vulnerable to corruption, especially when dealing with the removal of contaminated containers from the country of production. Organized crime groups establish intricate networks of complicity, involving both private and public professionals, to facilitate cocaine trafficking. To combat this, France has implemented a container protection system since March 2020. This system employs a unique TCT token code, generated by a computer and shared with the client, which is mandatory to collect the container content. This approach has contributed significantly to cocaine seizures, directly impacting criminal organizations and reducing corrupt activities associated with contaminated cargo passage. Secondly, the escalation of violence is a major concern in combating drug-related crime. Criminal groups employ violence to establish or expand their territories and utilize it as retaliation against rival factions. Kidnappings, sequestrations, and attempted homicides involving firearms have become prevalent, particularly in urban centers such as Paris or Marseille. Easy access to firearms exacerbates the situation, and in 2023, a concerning trend emerged where 25% of firearms seized were directly linked to drug trafficking investigations. The normalization of firearm use has led to a worrying rise in collateral victims. In conclusion, addressing these intertwined challenges requires comprehensive efforts and international cooperation. Thank you.

NGO statements:

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