The human suffering and costs of societies due to organized crime are enormous. We note the innovative character of criminal networks. We experience their involvement in areas with profit, from narcotic drugs and human trafficking to illegal fishing, piracy, illegal logging, illegal trade in endangered spices, cultural properties and environmental waste and piracy.
To counter criminal networks, we need to be smarter and cooperate more effectively at the international level. Norway believes effective implementation of existing instruments is the best way forward. This should be supported by effective review of implementation mechanisms. We have such mechanisms for the UN drug conventions and the UN convention against corruption, but we do not have a mechanism for UN convention against transnational organized crime. We encourage you to support the work to develop principles for such a mechanism during the 5th session of the conference of parties to UNTOC.
Norway welcomes Yury Fedotov as the new leader of UNODC. His tasks are challenging. Norway would like to see a more focused UNODC, with a strategic focus and priorities well placed within the UN family and a balance between head quarter activities and the field. UNODC should strengthen its role as a guardian of human rights in the crime and drug area. Important principles such as transparency and application of the gender perspective should be strengthened both in its programs and its human resources policy. ED Fedotov should also develop and utilize the strength of UNODC; its staff, and strengthen a culture of evaluation.
We have no accurate estimate on proceeds of transnational organized crimes. UNODC has estimated the annual market value of cocaine and heroin only in Europe to 54 billion USD. And that is only one sort of crime in one part of the world. Lessons learned from Norway have been that measures to increase transparency and to identify illicit financial flows have contributed substantially in our fight against organized crime.
When it comes to organized crime, we need more knowledge about the global criminal groups and how they take advantage of the financial structures, to be able to have a discussion within the UN on an effective response. We have decided to support UNODC’s research activities in this area, which should also be based on member states’ experiences. We hope to take this forward with your input, knowledge and support.
We will like to draw your attention to illegal fishing which is an emerging form of crime that not only have a significant impact on the environment, but are also connected to other types of transnational organized crime. We have identified organized criminal groups as a main challenge in our fishery management.
For criminal groups, illegal fishing seems to be attractive because of relatively high profit and relatively low risk of ending up in jail compared to other types of crimes. Several studies and reports have pointed out such connections. Norway is committed to bring these facts on the table in future processes on transnational organized crime and to deal with this crime.
The challenges to the ongoing work of preventing and hindering the use of drugs and drugs-related crime lie throughout the chain of the drugs problem: cultivation and production, transport, smuggling and distribution in recipient countries, preventive measures to prevent new recruitment to abuse, treatment, harm reduction and rehabilitation and the implementation of punitive measures against the offenders behind drugs crime. Norway welcomes the CND resolution on prevention and encourages member states to follow up that resolution. Norway would like to congratulate UNODC as an important partner in organising the International AIDS conference in Vienna in July. The conference underlined the importance of implementing evidence based harm reduction measures in order to promote health and dignity of persons with a drug dependency problem, as well as protecting the society from drug-related HIV-infection, including in prison populations.
In the area of human trafficking, we have seen the advantages of global norms set by the UN Crime Convention, supplemented by a more operative regional framework within the Council of Europe. Under the Norwegian presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, human trafficking is one of three main priorities. More concretely, we would like to strengthen the focus on the labour market through improved cooperation between the police and the labour inspection authorities and to develop a more effective victim identification program together with our partners within the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
We can only make significant progress to fight transnational crime and narcotic drugs if we cooperate more effectively here in New York, in Vienna and at the regional level. I can ensure you Norway’s constructive participation in this work.