Third Committee Delegates Call for Robust Cooperation to Disrupt Global Drug Syndicates, Fight $1.5 Trillion Cybercrime Market as New Threats Emerge

The proliferation of new technology complicates the fight against transnational organized crime, especially illicit drug trafficking and cybercrime, delegates told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today during their annual debate on crime prevention, cybersecurity and international drug control.

Briefing delegates on these issues, John Brandolino, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the Office’s support directly addresses threats to peace and security, human rights and development.  As cybercrime enables many other crimes and illicit financial flows, sharpening responses to prevent the misuse of technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes, including money laundering, is a major priority.

For its part, UNDOC is helping Member States to disrupt these threats by providing scientific and forensic support, and strengthening their capacities to identify, secure and evaluate evidence, he said.  He further pointed to UNODC’s cooperation with the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism to combat the financing of terrorism.

In the ensuing debate, Singapore’s representative, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said synthetic drugs are now the most profitable illicit business in the region, with drug syndicates making $60 billion a year from the methamphetamine market alone.  In 2017, the bloc launched its plan to tackle illicit drug production and trafficking in the Golden Triangle, with ASEAN member States exchanging information through a narcotics cooperation centre and drug monitoring network.

The proliferation of new technology means that drug flows are characterized by rapid changes in trafficking routes and concealment methods, said Pakistan’s representative, one of the most affected transit States.  He expressed concern over the steady rise in poppy cultivation and production in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.  Afghanistan’s representative — stressing that between 2.9 and 3.5 million Afghans are affected by the drug epidemic — emphasized that 53 per cent of the farmland used for drug production is controlled by insurgent groups.  To resolve the inequities that fuel the narcotics trade, he described efforts to empower local communities with job skills and employment access, and projects that encourage farmers to cultivate crops such as aloe vera in place of poppies.

The representative of the Maldives meanwhile expressed concern over rising opioid use.  Faced with great challenges in securing its borders, the Maldives plans to strengthen surveillance and customs regulations.  “The Government is committed to ensuring that the long arm of the law will reach everyone engaged in transnational crime and illicit trade or distribution of drugs,” he assured.

Jamaica’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), likewise cited the challenges of porous borders, irregular migration, transhipment of drugs, flow of illegal firearms and emerging cyberspace threats, pointing to the added pressures of natural disasters on burdened security systems.  And the representative of the Philippines said the President was elected on a platform of addressing the drugs menace.  “There were missteps for sure,” he acknowledged. 

With regards to the environment, South Africa’s delegate stressed the importance of targeting the link between organized crime and rhino poaching, while many delegates, including from Guatemala, Turkey, Iraq, Colombia and the Bahamas, described the particular suffering caused by human trafficking, a phenomenon which the Holy See’s observer called “an open wound on the body of contemporary society”.

On the issue of cybercrime, Zambia’s representative, speaking for the African Group, said cybercrime generates around $1.5 trillion in revenue per year.  On that point, Liechtenstein’s delegate said trends towards a militarized cyberspace, artificial intelligence, pervasive data collection and cybercrime all represent real security risks.  States are increasingly employing new technologies that violate the right to privacy, including use of Big Data and health data, and arbitrary surveillance of citizens to an unprecedented extent.  Increased use of surveillance practices premised on countering terrorism and extremism has undermined the trust that societies place in the State and the rule of law.

Delegates offered differing views on the need for a new cybercrime convention, with some, including from Colombia and Portugal, calling it unnecessary while others, including from the Russian Federation and China, supporting the formulation of a truly international instrument. 

Also speaking today were representatives of Angola (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Japan, Iraq, Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, Algeria, Myanmar, Viet Nam, India, Syria, Peru, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Eritrea, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon, Qatar, Russian Federation, Italy, Georgia, United States, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Iran, Ecuador, Nigeria, Malaysia, Cuba, Sudan, Morocco, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Ukraine, Thailand, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Myanmar, as well as from the European Union.

The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 4 October, to begin its debate on the advancement of women.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural) held its general debate on crime prevention, countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes, and international drug control.  Before it were the following reports 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/74/125); Crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/74/126); Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/74/127); 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/74/128); Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes (document A/74/130); and International cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/74/129).

Briefing

JOHN BRANDOLINO, Director, Division of Treaty Affairs of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that UNODC’s support directly addresses threats to peace and security, human rights and development, and seeks to enable healthy lives and the enjoyment of rights.  Underscoring the importance of international cooperation, he recalled the fourteenth Congress to be held in Kyoto in 2020, which will focus on advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The United Nations Convention against Corruption remains the principal instrument supporting anti‑corruption action, he said, pointing also to the UNODC’s efforts to counter cybercrime through training for police, prosecutors and judges.  Cybercrime enables many other crimes and illicit financial flows, he stressed, noting that sharpening responses to counter the misuse of technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes, including money laundering, is a major priority.

For its part, UNDOC is helping Member States to disrupt these threats through integrated national, regional and interregional responses and operational coordination, he said, notably by providing scientific and forensic support, and strengthening capacities to identify, secure and evaluate evidence.  He further pointed to UNODC’s cooperation with the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism to combat the financing of terrorism, and its assistance to countries dealing with the challenges posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters.  In terms of prevention, UNODC supports Member States in increasing treatment as an alternative to imprisonment and punishment for people with drug use disorders, and in improving access to controlled medicines for pain relief.  As a co‑sponsoring organization of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), his Office facilitates the development of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for people who use drugs and for prisoners.  Prevention is at the core of UNODC support for rights‑compliant and gender‑sensitive criminal justice reforms, he added.  UNODC works to prevent children’s involvement in crime and violence, as well as to stop their recruitment and exploitation by terrorists.  It also assists Member States in reducing imprisonment through crime prevention and improved access to legal aid.

Statements

JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola), speaking for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), attached great importance to international law for crime and drug control.  Drug trafficking is related to corruption and violent crime that undermine economic development and stability in the region.  Among the root causes of these unlawful acts are poverty, weak justice systems and high unemployment, as well as social inequality both among and within countries.  Given the illicit wildlife trade among commercial poachers and the growing demand in this market, he urged the international community to help address this crime as a matter of priority.  Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, is also growing in the region.  This form of slavery requires robust and comprehensive legislation.  All SADC member States are fully committed to a legislative framework on such trafficking and are party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Illicit trafficking enables the spread of illicit contraband and generates large profits for the individuals and organizations involved, he said, emphasizing that the region’s rising drug problem hinders prosperity.

JO‑PHIE TANG (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the bloc’s huge geographic area makes its member countries vulnerable to terrorism, cybercrime, international economic crime, and illicit trafficking of drugs and persons.  ASEAN holds an annual ministerial meeting on transnational crime and implements a related action plan which covers 2016 to 2025.  Despite some success in reducing opium poppy cultivation, new challenges have emerged:  synthetic drugs are now the most profitable illicit business in the region, where drug syndicates make $60 billion a year from the methamphetamine market alone.  In 2017, the bloc launched its plan to tackle illicit drug production and trafficking in the Golden Triangle, with ASEAN member States exchanging information through a narcotics cooperation centre and drug monitoring network, and using a preventive drug education portal to reduce demand.  On terrorism, ASEAN adopted the 2018‑2025 action plan to prevent and counter radicalization and violent extremism, which will be implemented by efforts to encourage dialogue and conflict prevention, collaborate with religious leaders and organizations, and offer inclusive and equitable education for all.  To fight cybercrime, she reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to develop a peaceful, secure and resilient rules‑based cyberspace.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said cybercrime is estimated to generate $1.5 trillion in revenue per year, with women and children the major victims.  Given the prevalence of drug trafficking and abuse, more resources are needed for prevention, treatment, counselling and social reintegration programmes.  Encouraging all Member States to curb the “major societal flaw” of corruption, he said that in Africa, development financing is affected by narrow tax bases and dependence on volatile export commodities, with domestic revenues further undermined by tax evasion or such illicit financial flows as smuggling and trafficking in minerals, wildlife, drugs and people; the illegal funds from those activities, and organized crime.  He applauded the 2030 Agenda for emphasizing the fight against these offences.  With crime a male‑dominated activity globally, prevention methods should target men and boys and mitigate the conditions that increase vulnerability to criminal behavior.

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), cited the challenges of porous borders, irregular migration, transhipment of drugs, flow of illegal firearms and emerging cyberspace threats.  He also noted the added pressures of natural disasters and other devastating impacts of climate change on burdened security systems.  National and regional security architectures are crucial in combating violence, transnational crime and other threats, with multi-level strategies.  He said the region continues to experience high levels of gun-related crimes — with at least 75 per cent of violent crime, gang- and drug-related activities involving the use of illegal firearms — including a high homicide rate.  He commended UNODC for its 2019 World Drug Report, which shows combatting illicit drug trade is a complex challenge threatening youth in particular, and welcomed UNODC assurances to support Member States in implementing international drug control conventions.

CHRISTOPHE FORAX, European Union, pressed States to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, noting that the European Union’s ambitious legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings is aligned with its principles and standards.  Its action plan against migrant smuggling, covering 2015‑2020, is its first‑ever policy framework.  He called for stronger State cooperation against smugglers and the adoption of legislation in line with the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.  The bloc’s newly adopted legal framework against money laundering, meanwhile, has removed barriers to cross‑border judicial and police cooperation.  On drugs, he emphasized the need to implement the European Union’s joint commitments, underscoring its strong opposition to use of the death penalty, including for drug‑related crimes.  The European Union supports the use of alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug users.  On cybercrime, he said the changes recommended by the United Nations open-ended intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime must be implemented.  There is no consensus on a new international cybercrime treaty and he advocated cooperation on the basis of existing instruments.  On counter‑terrorism, he said the European Union has improved instruments and enhanced cooperation with partner countries. 

ZENG WEI XIONG (China), commending UNODC’s achievements, said his country is willing to provide more human resources and funding to the Office.  China will continue to follow the principle of shared responsibility and implement a drug control strategy, as well as respect the three relevant conventions.  China will always prioritize prevention and engage in international cooperation to address new challenges, he said, expressing concern over the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to reclassify cannabis.  China supports human rights in the field of drug control but not the abuse of drugs in the name of harm reduction, and as such, opposes the legalization of any such drugs.  China firmly supports the United Nations in anti-corruption governance.  In the past decade, the compliance review mechanism for the United Nations Convention against Corruption has been running smoothly.  China will abide by the review provisions and take on responsibility in its review work.

YORIKO SUZUKI (Japan) said that that good governance, a culture of lawfulness and the rule of law are essential elements of a prosperous society.  Member States must coordinate their drug policies to tackle illegal drugs.  Japan supports the joint commitment adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016.  Stressing that the use of social media in terrorist attacks is an urgent issue that must be addressed, he said that as Chair of the Group of 20 Osaka Summit in June, Japan led the official statement on preventing exploitation of the Internet for terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism.  Cybercrimes do not have territorial or temporal constraints.  As such, Japan has established capacity-building programmes to ensure that each country has adequate and appropriate countermeasures in place.  He added that Japan chaired the Group of 20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, which focused on integrity in infrastructure development and effective whistle-blower protection.

MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said trends towards a militarized cyberspace, artificial intelligence, pervasive data collection and cybercrime represent real security risks to States and their citizens.  They must be addressed across all three pillars of the United Nations.  Member States are obliged to ensure any interference in the right to privacy is consistent with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality.  Regulation of cyberspace and criminalization of cybercrime must therefore be carefully calibrated to balance security concerns with human rights.  She noted recent reports by the United Nations Special Rapporteur reveal some States are increasingly employing new technologies that violate the right to privacy, including use of Big Data and health data, and arbitrary surveillance of citizens to an unprecedented extent.  Increased use of surveillance practices by intelligence agencies premised on countering terrorism and extremism has undermined the trust that societies place in the State and the rule of law.  She called on Member States to protect privacy in line with international law.

MICHAEL BARUCH BAROR (Israel) affirmed his country’s commitment to combating the drug problem and explained the recent reform of its anti‑drug authority, now placed under Ministry of Public Security.  Its major focus is community, aiming to ensure a continuum of prevention, early identification, treatment and reintegration.  Prevention efforts directed to youth, as early as kindergarten, are conducted through initiatives promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports and cultural events in afterschool programmes, community centres and recreational facilities.  This is done with the involvement of parents and other significant adults, whose crucial role in prevention has been proven time and again.  Outreach is also essential for young people who often do not reach out for help.  Members of the community who encounter high‑risk behaviors — such as bartenders, waiters and taxi drivers — are recruited and trained to serve as gatekeepers.  In another programme, parents volunteer to walk around popular hangouts to meet and help young people.  Last year Israel decriminalized cannabis use for first‑time offenders, “a shifting of the emphasis from criminal enforcement to education, prevention and treatment”.

Ms. HASAN (Iraq) called organized crime a major threat to all society, as it undermines the achievement of sustainable development.  The link between transnational crime and terrorism became tangible in Iraq, a country that experienced terrorist attacks, during which thousands of innocent civilians were killed and many cities and towns destroyed.  Iraq has implemented measures to combat drugs and treat drug addicts, enabling them to find hope and seek treatment from specialists.  She expressed concern over human trafficking, a phenomenon affecting all countries, citing among Iraq’s efforts laws to combat trafficking in persons, and to protect witnesses, whistle‑blowers and victims.

Mr. AZIZ (Pakistan) said that the world drug problem persists even as its forms, manifestations, causes and consequences vary from one region to another.  According to the World Drug Report 2019, production and manufacturing of and trafficking in most drugs is on the rise, while their use has also grown in recent years.  The proliferation of new technology means that drug flows are characterized by rapid changes in trafficking routes and concealment methods.  He expressed concern over the steady rise in poppy cultivation and production in Pakistan’s neighbourhood.  Being one of the most affected transit States, these developments are cause for concern.  Pakistan is party to eight United Nations Conventions related to transnational organized crime and drugs.  Under Pakistan’s Anti‑Money Laundering Act 2010, an independent financial monitoring unit has been set up to coordinate with other countries in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mr. AHMED (Maldives) expressed concern over the rising use of opioids and pharmaceutical drugs, underscoring the need to raise awareness among youth on the dangers of drug use.  With over 1,000 islands, the Maldives faces a great challenge to control its borders and has therefore committed to increase surveillance and strengthen customs regulations.  The country’s police force is using modern information and communications technology to fight criminal activities.  With the aim of increasing the transparency and efficacy of the judicial system, the Maldives has put in place several legislative measures to combat trafficking in persons, money laundering and terrorism financing, in some cases giving police additional powers to investigate.  “The Government is committed to ensuring that the long arm of the law will reach everyone engaged in transnational crime and illicit trade or distribution of drugs,” he added.

ZUHAL SALIM (Afghanistan) said transnational issues demand multilateral approaches, a prerequisite to addressing the global drug problem, an epidemic affecting between 2.9 and 3.5 million Afghans.  A joint report by her Government and UNODC noted the total area used for drug cultivation and production decreased by 20 per cent in 2018.  However, about 53 per cent of farmland used for production is controlled by anti‑Government and insurgent groups.  To counter socioeconomic inequalities that fuel the narcotics industry, the Afghan National Peace and Development Framework includes efforts to empower local communities with job skills and employment access.  She said the prolonged 2018 drought severely affected agriculture and farmers’ livelihoods, while dry conditions favour opium‑producing poppy crops.  Afghanistan is developing canals to provide water, and the Alternate Poppy Cultivation project promotes aloe vera in lieu of poppy cultivation.

AYŞE INANÇ ÖRNEKOL (Turkey) condemned human trafficking as a clear violation of human rights and a serious offense to personal dignity and integrity with immense global costs.  As the country hosting the largest refugee population, Turkey attaches the utmost importance to protecting the rights and dignity of migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking.  These victims can benefit from Turkey’s support services, and Istanbul works closely with institutions like the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address their needs.  Expansion of the global threat of terrorism is also of grave concern, as terrorists are using new and more-sophisticated methods and tactics.  The international community must act with equal determination against all terrorist organizations and implement the principle of aut dedere aut judicare (meaning “either extradite or prosecute”).  Turkey stands ready to continue its fight against drug abuse and trafficking through a network of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, she assured.

NUNO VAULTIER MATHIAS (Portugal) clarified his country’s position on paragraph 274 of the Secretary‑General’s report on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.  The phrase “a new approach is needed” relates only to the inexistence of comprehensive international regulations allowing for the expeditious obtaining of digital evidence stored in other States.  The paragraph should be read in tandem with paragraph 275.  Portugal does not see the need for a new international instrument on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes, as the current treaties provide the necessary framework for cooperation on cybercrime.

FREDRIK HANSEN, observer for the Holy See, said that crime prevention and criminal justice must be based on respect for the rule of law and universal human rights. The rule of law must be advanced not only by law enforcement and the judiciary, but also by society at large.  Further, both international and domestic efforts to prevent and respond to criminal activity must recognize, respect and protect universal human rights.  Human trafficking is “an open wound on the body of contemporary society” and greater resources are needed to protect and assist victims, including an increase in the number of residential treatment facilities.  Expanding drug markets, production and links to criminal activity — even terrorism — combined with the low availability of controlled substances used for medical and scientific purposes, are evidence that both pillars of the drug-control regime face significant pressure.  He urged implementation of all commitments, goals and targets, guided by the principle of common and shared responsibility, stressing that Vatican City is opposed to legalizing drug use to fight drug addiction.

SERGIO ELA MIKO NCHAMA (Equatorial Guinea), associating himself with the African Group, expressed concern over the rise in crime and armed conflict and advocated greater cooperation among States to curb crime and prevent impunity.  Equatorial Guinea aims to prevent crime and strengthen its intuitions by making them more efficient.  The National Division for Codification under the Ministry of Justice was created to set in motion legislative reform to ensure that the legal order is aligned with the necessities of a modern and efficient justice system.  Cybersecurity infrastructure in Equatorial Guinea is young and he underscored the importance of access to technology for development.  While the country develops its cyber infrastructure, its telecommunications authority is acting as an autonomous body that sometimes provides oversight for cybersecurity.  Calling for unity in efforts to combat terrorism financing, he said Equatorial Guinea has ratified 11 of the 19 legal instruments on terrorism, including the International Convention to Combat the Financing of Terrorism.

DEANDRA CARTWRIGHT (Bahamas), aligning herself with CARICOM, said her country’s system for comprehensive treatment and social-integration programmes for people with problematic drug use considers human rights, age and gender in a non-discriminatory manner.  The Government also offers competence-based training in prevention and treatment, and participates in training offered by the International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals.  Further, Nassau engages in cross-border cooperation such as Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos — a three-nation, multiagency drug interdiction effort that intercepts the illicit flow of drugs and other illegal activities between these islands and the United States.  Additionally, the Bahamas works to quantify domestic human trafficking and has enacted laws to both criminalize cyber-criminal activity and safeguard the rights of citizens online.

ALEXANDER OPIMAKH (Belarus) said that fighting transnational organized crime and trafficking of persons are priorities for his country.  As such, consolidated joint efforts are needed to strengthen cooperation.  The transnational nature of crime, including cybercrime, requires international measures and he welcomed steps that have been taken to use new and emerging technologies in that regard.  He underscored the potential of information and communications technology in the fight against terrorism, adding that modern technology must be focused on children’s security.  He stressed the importance of universalizing related United Nations conventions and reiterated support for the international legal system to fight drugs, which should not be dismantled.  Belarus objects to the legalization of drugs, he clarified.

ARIEL RODELAS PENARANDA (Philippines), noting that the people of his country have had enough front‑page stories of heinous crimes committed by people high on drugs, said “President [Rodrigo Roa] Duterte was elected on a platform of addressing the drugs menace.”  Since the launch of the anti‑illegal drugs campaign, 435,731 “clients” have benefited from the recovery and wellness programmes.  “There were missteps for sure,” he acknowledged, adding that these are being addressed through accountability mechanisms.  While the scourge of illegal drugs should be addressed in conformity with the three international drug conventions, it is also crucial to note that these instruments allow for sufficient flexibility for State parties to design national policies according to their priorities, he said.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) said the fight against transnational organized crime, especially illicit drug trafficking, is above all a fight against poverty.  Drug trafficking, especially cannabis, the world’s most widely produced illicit drug, is a serious threat to the region’s security.  More than 52 tons were seized in Algeria in 2017, 79 per cent of it coming from the country’s western border.  He said this “phenomenal illegal traffic” is a health hazard for youth in particular, forcing authorities to mobilize considerable resources against it.  In addition, financial proceeds from that traffic fund terrorist groups and payment of ransoms, destabilizing security in the Sahel and West Africa.  Algeria has fought terrorism for a decade and “knows how urgent it is to eradicate this hydra”.  The international community must confront it through a global approach, particularly its financing.  Algeria is seriously concerned about cybercrime and the growing use of the Internet for terrorist recruitment, training and propaganda and States must cooperate more closely with developing countries, reducing the technological gap.  The Government fought for the creation of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation, headquartered in Algiers, to combat transnational organized crime, terrorism and drug and arms trafficking.

YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar), associating himself with ASEAN, said that his country is party to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the three United Nations drug conventions.  In implementing the Doha Declaration adopted at the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Myanmar drafted a national crime prevention strategy in January 2019, and action plans have been drawn up by various states and regions across the country.  Awareness raising, prevention measures, law enforcement, continuous monitoring and evaluation and capacity‑building are the primary tasks being undertaken to prevent crime.  Myanmar has partnered with UNODC to devise work plans in the areas of transnational crime and illicit trafficking syndicates, anti‑corruption, narcotic drugs and health, and sustainable livelihoods and development.

DINH NHO HUNG (Viet Nam) said amphetamine‑type stimulants and new psychoactive substances challenge global security, health and human welfare.  Drugs are also a breeding ground for terrorist financing and money laundering.  Located adjacent to the Golden Triangle, Viet Nam is deeply affected by the complex global and regional drug situation, he said.  The Government has developed a holistic, integrated and balanced approach of supply and demand regulation.  The country has taken steps to eradicate illicit cultivation and plants containing narcotics, with only about 10 hectares of crops remaining.  Viet Nam has also diversified treatment methods for people with drug addiction, providing them with access to education, vocational training and employment support.  It works closely with other ASEAN Member States on issues of drug prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and enforcement.

PAULOMI TRIPATHI (India) said international money laundering, corruption, arms dealing and drug trafficking threaten development, peace and security.  Terrorist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram use the same financing methods as criminal networks.  They are adept at reshaping their structures, making them harder to detect, and embrace new technologies such as drones, virtual currencies and encryption.  She called for a more sophisticated approach that includes timely sharing of information among law enforcement agencies and broader international cooperation on criminal justice.  While criminal justice is important in the fight against drug use, she advocated equal focus on demand and harm reduction.  India has approved an action plan focused on preventive education, awareness, capacity building, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation.  It has also adopted legal provisions to fight cybercrime and is training law enforcement to combat that phenomenon, she said, calling for stepped-up international cooperation.

TONG HAI LIM (Singapore) said cybercrime costs the world economy an estimated $600 billion every year, an amount that is predicted to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021.  The challenges that Singapore faces are common to other jurisdictions.  Singapore spearheaded the establishment of the ASEAN Capability Desk in the International Criminal Police Organization, enabling the region to combat cybercrime through a combination of intelligence development, investigative support and operational coordination.

FOONG WAI LUMN (Singapore) said that over the past decade, East and South-East Asia has seen an eight-fold increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized.  The region is now one of the largest markets for that drug, and the second-largest for opium and heroin.  “These are not mere numbers,” she stressed, adding that methamphetamine is now the most commonly abused drug in Singapore, followed by heroin.  Expressing concern that two-thirds of new drug users recorded in 2018 were under the age of 18, she said that the situation is nonetheless “under control” due to Singapore’s tough laws.  Today, drug users make up less than 0.1 per cent of the population.  Singapore is also committed to a harm prevention approach to the problem, due to “painful lessons” learned about the lingering social costs of drug addiction when opium use was legal.  Turning to prevention measures, she touched on anti-drug social media campaigns, toolkits for parents, campaigns involving religious and other communities, and a recent training programme with UNODC.  As for rehabilitation, Singapore provides counselling and aids former drug users in social reintegration.  The results have been promising, she said, with their recidivism rate declining to 24 per cent in recent years, from 70 per cent in the 1990s.

XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) called for adequate resources and a proactive approach to fighting transnational organized crime, targeting root causes through law enforcement, disrupting financing channels and capacity building.  In terms of prevention measures, he pointed to strategies that provide young people with skills and education relevant for legitimate employment.  He stressed the importance of targeting the link between organized crime and erosion of the environment and wildlife, particularly rhino poaching.  On cybercrime, he called for formulating a truly international instrument to fight the problem.  Illegal mining and illicit trafficking in precious metals are complex crimes which have links with human smuggling and trafficking, money laundering and illegal weapons.  In this regard, South Africa and Peru jointly tabled a resolution entitled “Combating Transnational Organised Crime and its links to Illicit Trafficking in Precious Metals and Illegal Mining including by enhancing the security of supply chains of precious metals”.

WAEL AL KHALIL (Syria) said his country is party to most anti‑crime conventions and seeks to bring its national legislation into line with these instruments.  It has enacted a series of legislative acts, for example to fight terrorism, kidnapping, cybercrime and banking secrecy, as well as narcotics and illegal migration.  It is also working with UNODC and he expressed hope that that Office will do more to identify the causes of these crimes and to help countries affected.  In the past eight years, numerous terrorist elements have entered into Syria, supported by regional and international players, and have trafficked in humans and organs, engaged in sexual exploitation, pillaged cultural heritage — including museums, churches and mosques — and smuggled goods abroad.  These crimes have multiplied, which is why many Syrians have been forced to leave the country, he said.

LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) underscored the critical importance of the fight against transnational crime, such as money laundering, cybercrime and illegal mining.  He reiterated Peru’s commitment to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (also known as the Merida Convention), among others.

Ms. BAKUTBEKKYZY (Kazakhstan), noting that 85 countries have signed the code of conduct to achieve a world free of terrorism, encouraged others to join the coalition.  Immediately after its independence, Kazakhstan ratified all major United Nations drug conventions.  Because of its location, many criminal groups use Central Asia as a market for drugs and as a transit zone for further diversion of drug products into Europe.  Noting that the Central Asian Regional and Information Coordination Centre in Almaty coordinates activities among law enforcement agencies, he said that next year, Kazakhstan will chair the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, with drug control among key such measures.

SAMSON SUNDAY ITEGBOJE (Nigeria), aligning himself with the “Group of 77” and the African Group, said the National Drug Use Survey reveals that in 2017, 14.3 million Nigerians used drugs irregularly, mostly cannabis and tramadol.  The country has thus far destroyed 3,666.64 hectares of cannabis farmland illegally cultivated in 2018.  The report also reveals the non‑medicinal use of prescription opioids, cough syrups and other substances was most prevalent among women and youth aged 20‑39.  Nigeria is thus strengthening its preventive drug education strategies for primary school children.  Expressing concern over the links between illicit drug trade and transnational organized crime, he said Nigeria plans to enact the Proceeds of Crime Act to address them.  Cooperation and collaboration are imperative and will enhance information sharing that may lead to the arrest, seizure and confiscation of drug offenders’ assets, as well as prevention, rehabilitation and integration of drug users into society.

OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the proliferation of new communications technology brings with it new threats that undermine security systems and the security of citizens.  Traditional criminal groups have been replaced by smaller networks.  Noting that organized crime affects all States, he called for a global response and stressed that Guatemala is particularly affected by human trafficking.  While there have been numerous international and national efforts to combat this crime, it is nonetheless relatively easy to move victims of various nationalities through the region.  Guatemala is implementing its fourth national action plan, with commitments spanning public information, technological information and accountability.  In the last three years, the Government has increased the budget for the justice system.

MOHAMMED ESSAM M. KHASHAAN (Saudi Arabia) said his country introduced a law to combat cybercrime two years ago, which protects individuals against crimes including blackmail and racial discrimination.  He touched on challenges, including weak cooperation by law enforcement and the use of fraudulent identities.  Although there are multiple laws that criminalize identity theft, criminals take advantage of loopholes.  Saudi Arabia greatly supports moving towards digitization and cuts down on the use of paper in Government agencies, he said.  However, he expressed concern that moving to digital currency would make it easier for terrorist networks to hide their transactions on the Internet.  The online world is part of the real world, he added, urging the international community to support all efforts to achieve the safe use of technology, and to enhance information security.

ZEBIB GEBREKIDAN (Eritrea) said that crime prevention and development are intrinsically linked and mutually reinforcing.  Progress on preventing crime and promoting the rule of law is as essential to sustainable development as it is to inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication and environmental protection.  In July 2019, Eritrea and UNODC signed a cooperation framework to assist filling the country’s capacity gaps in order to reduce crime, promote the rule of law, combat transnational organized crime and enhance the gender‑sensitivity and inclusivity of the justice sector and law enforcement agencies.  She expressed hope the project will enhance Eritrea’s national capacity, regional security and economic integration.

Mr. HERNANDEZ ELOTLAN, youth delegate from Mexico, said his country has paid a high price because of the global drug problem in terms of public health, criminal justice and the undermining of human rights.  Governments do not have a “monopoly on good ideas”, and suggestions from civil society and others should be considered.  The world must use recommendations based on existing hard data and solid evidence and implement measures to reduce not only the supply of illicit drugs, but also the demand.  The international community must adopt effective regulation combining both preventative and public‑health approaches.  Punitive multilateral measures are insufficient; illegal financial flows and arms trafficking must also be addressed.

Mr. RUGELES (Colombia) said corruption is a global issue, as this illegal activity — specifically, bribery — siphons 12 per cent off global gross domestic product (GDP).  Emphasizing international efforts to combat the bribery of civil servants, he urged Member States to increase their capacity to investigate and try these cases.  Colombia is also concerned about the smuggling of commercial goods, a phenomenon that has no specific definition within the United Nations.  This smuggling is largely perpetrated by transnational organized crime groups and increasingly linked to human trafficking and terrorist financing.  While Colombia believes a free, open and secure Internet is fundamental, a new convention on cybercrime is unnecessary; rather, Member States should focus on capacity‑building and cooperation based on existing treaties.

RICARDO DE SOUZA MONTEIRO (Brazil) said transnational criminal groups are constantly adapting and adjusting their strategies, using all means at their disposal to profit from the suffering of others.  The international community must find ways to improve its response.  Strategies for countering crime should have preventative policies as central elements, especially aimed at ending poverty, improving education and health, empowering women and girls and combating discrimination.  At the beginning of 2019, Brazil put in place an ambitious plan to reduce violent and criminal activities.  In addition, a draft bill recently presented by the Minister for Justice is expected to have a meaningful impact in addressing the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of the justice system.  The Minister also announced an ambitious national anti‑crime programme.

Ms. KAMAL (Egypt), aligning himself with the African Group, said the illegal trafficking of drugs and humans, particularly migrants, are among the major challenges facing the world today.  International cooperation is needed to dismantle terrorist networks.  She outlined Egypt’s efforts to control unregulated migration, notably through a national strategy, and to combat international terrorism, actions that hinge on a comprehensive approach that includes economic and political solutions, not just military ones.  On corruption, Egypt recently signed an agreement at the first African Anti-Corruption Forum, and has drawn up a strategic plan that covers education and technical support.  Moreover, Egypt is working on a secure electronic system to combat money laundering, she said, stressing that more international cooperation is required to weaken criminal gangs and combat transnational crime.

ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal) said the world must implement the 2030 Agenda to advance criminal justice and the rule of law.  Further, cooperation between national justice systems is essential, as impunity is a significant obstacle to tackling international crime.  Indeed, crossing borders often constitutes a “get out of jail free card”.  To prevent this, the international community must have a credible framework with which to prosecute perpetrators, and Senegal supports the development of a multilateral treaty facilitating national prosecutions of international crimes.  Additionally, Senegal has set up a national centre to combat drug addiction and fight cybercrime with domestic capacity‑building.  He urged all Member States to cooperate to find innovative responses to the serious problems raised by the increasingly complex links among all forms of organized crime.

Mr. GABCHE (Cameroon) pointed to reports indicating that the global drug problem affects 35 million people worldwide and that opiate use is on the rise.  For its part, the Government has established a national committee to combat drugs and national legislation to control narcotic drugs.  It also seeks to raise awareness, especially among young people, of the dangers of drug use.  Turning to transnational crime, he said these activities — especially terrorism and violent extremism — are a threat to stability and the rule of law.  Cameroon has been under attack by Boko Haram and secessionists, and he voiced concern over the connection between drugs and terrorism.  Because drug trafficking often provides support to terrorist networks, the world must combat both.

Ms. AL KUWARI (Qatar) recalled the Doha Declaration passed at the thirteenth Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015, and expressed hope for its expedited implementation among developing countries.  Qatar is working towards long‑term objectives, such as stopping people from entering a life of crime, she said, going on to outline programmes that benefited young people, prisoners and prison workers.  She called on UNODC to help countries strengthen national capacity.  Welcoming the 2020 Crime Congress in Kyoto, she noted that Qatar’s monarch is ready to host an international conference to discuss cybercrime from an international law perspective, under the aegis of the United Nations.

OLEG O. MIKHAYLOV (Russian Federation) expressed support for the Organization’s central role in combatting transnational organized crime.  This type of criminal activity is growing more sophisticated and globalized, harnessing scientific and technological innovation to threaten the security of entire regions.  Moscow supports international cooperation against corruption based on existing legal norms and the development of new legal measures to counter corruption in sport.  Any attempt to legalize drug use, including of cannabis, constitutes a gross violation of international law.  Further, he objected to States accusing other nations of pandering to the drug trade, urging respect for sovereignty.  GENNADY V. KUZMIN went on to call for cooperation in gathering data as evidence in foreign jurisdictions, noting that when cybercrime takes place in another territory, it complicates law enforcement efforts.  Stressing that cybercrime saps $1.5 trillion annually from the global economy — and that criminals use the dark web to traffic in drugs, weapons and criminal information — he said existing legal mechanisms are inadequate to deal with the challenges, as not all States participate in enforcing them.  Recalling Russian draft rules to combat cybercrime, agreed upon by countries at the United Nations last year, he stressed that it was important for States to move towards achieving a legally binding agreement.

STEFANO STEFANILE (Italy) said the illegal drug market is growing in terms of quantity and new substances, while thousands of people continue to experience the unbearable suffering of human trafficking.  In addition, illegal financial flows are funding criminal and terrorist activities.  He called for full implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, expressing steadfast support for Goal 16 (peace and justice), aiming for transparent societies and institutions along three connected tracks:  disseminating a culture of legality especially focused on youth, enhancing access to justice, and advancing protection of human rights for all.  Calling for action on the misuse of the Internet and social media by terrorist and criminal groups, he said Governments must find new ways to address the threat posed by virtual assets, reinvestment of criminal profits and terrorist financing.

EKA KIPIANI (Georgia), aligning herself with the European Union, said Georgia continues to enhance crime prevention tools like a pilot community-oriented policing project that will gradually be introduced throughout the country.  Georgia is particularly concerned with border management, she said, highlighting reforms that will improve the effectiveness, centralization and coordination of those efforts.  Stressing the importance of reinforcing a justice system that will prevent juvenile delinquency, she reported that the Juvenile Justice Code has in place various safeguards to protect children moving through the justice system.  She also highlighted a diversion and mediation programme aimed at giving people under 21 an alternative to criminal prosecution.

Ms. LARSON (United States) said States must find ways to reinforce, not duplicate, the work done by the United Nations open-ended intergovernmental expert group in Vienna.  On drugs, noting that thousands of Americans die every year from synthetic drug overdoses, which are cheaply and widely available, she called for a multilateral response to the issue.  She thanked the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs for three drug-control treaties, which give States a strong foundation to combat the problem, adding that there has been great progress in implementation.  On cybercrime, which she said, “knew no geographic boundaries”, the Budapest Convention provides a strong basis for international cooperation.  A new model law would undermine progress in implementing existing treaties, she stressed.  On corruption, “the tie that binds all these threads together”, she encouraged all States to implement a strong legal framework they built together.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) championed the implementation of existing United Nations conventions on drugs and stated that any measures to legalize drug use only promote their proliferation and illegal use.  Efforts to combat the global drug problem must respect the unique features and domestic legal system of each Member State.  Further, he urged the international community to exchange experiences and provide increased resources to transit countries.  Crime in Latin America has grown by 360 per cent in the last 20 years, but Nicaragua has reduced domestic crime by 33 per cent over the last seven years.  Its national police force prioritizes community wellbeing, while national policies combat terrorism and the trafficking of arms, drugs and persons.  Nicaragua stands as an anchor for regional security and stability, and functions as a “retaining wall” that prevents the spread of transnational organized crime in Central America.

Ms. MANUSINGHE (Sri Lanka) said crime prevention and justice are essential for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.  Sri Lanka has enhanced bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation to prevent and combat transnational organized crime and terrorism, he said advocating enhanced cooperation, including mutual legal assistance and extradition.  Citing the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka that took the lives of more than 250 people, she underscored the importance of addressing the causes of such violence and expressed support for the United Nations strategy on hate speech.  Sri Lanka’s location, straddling the east and west hemispheres, has made it increasingly vulnerable to drug trafficking, with smugglers using the country as a transhipment hub in Asia, she said, assuring that the Government is working closely with UNODC and other Member States to strengthen its response.

MOHAMMAD HASSANI NEJAD PIRKOUHI (Iran) said no State or group of States can effectively combat transnational organized crime in the absence of cooperation within the United Nations framework.  He expressed concern over the poor implementation of the Convention against Corruption’s chapter V, noting a lack of political will on the part of some Member States, making the return of assets a poorly fulfilled mission.  To execute a smart fight against drug traffickers, Iran has followed a multifaceted plan, and as a result, roughly 76 per cent of global opium seizures — and more than 30 per cent of global heroin seizures — were made in Iran.  A 30,000 strong force is deployed along its eastern borders to stop armed drug traffickers, he said, noting that 3,882 law enforcement officers had paid the “ultimate price” while more than 12,000 officers had been maimed.

The representative of Ecuador said the rule of law and development are mutually reinforcing, adding that crime prevention is vital for sustainable economic growth.  Stressing Ecuador’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 16 (peace and justice), he said international cooperation and building effective criminal justice systems are crucial endeavors.  Ecuador is committed to addressing the drug problem in a way that respects human rights and takes a cross-cutting approach to tackling addiction, notably among children and adolescents.  Ecuador also is committed to reducing corruption, which poses a huge obstacle to efficient resource use and efforts to end poverty.  However, all these issues must be tackled jointly by all States, he stressed, calling for strengthened national capacity and international cooperation.

SAMSON SUNDAY ITEGBOJE (Nigeria), associating himself with the African Group, said that an effective and fair criminal justice system is the cornerstone of the rule of law.  This is the legal philosophy underpinning the passage into law of Nigeria’s Administration of Criminal Justice Act, as well as ongoing justice reforms.  Nigeria is also taking steps to ensure adherence to such legal principles as equality before the law and fairness in the application of the law.  Human trafficking does not only constitute a serious threat but is also a sad reminder of the untold hardships caused by the slave trade, he said, which officially ended more than 200 years ago.  Nigeria supports every effort and legal instrument aimed at fighting this modern form of slavery.

MOHD HAFIZ OTHMAN (Malaysia), associating himself with ASEAN, said strong coordination and integration among security and law enforcement agencies, at the national or international levels, is needed.  Malaysia will continue supporting UNODC as it forges strong partnerships with other United Nations entities, international and regional organizations and civil society.  Transnational crime and the fight against terrorism, as well as extremism, must be tackled more comprehensively through stricter enforcement, implementation of legislative measures, and enhanced law enforcement capacity.  “We remain strongly convinced that the acts of terrorism will not end until the root causes are addressed adequately,” he said.  Committed to its regional and bilateral agreements and relevant international conventions, Malaysia will continue to improve policies, legislation and mechanisms to combat such crimes.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba) stated that her country has submitted reports on its national plan to prevent and eradicate human trafficking.  Expressing support for the development of an international framework to combat cybercrime and the democratization of Internet governance, she condemned the United States’ attempts to destroy multilateralism, militarize cyberspace and “short shrift” international law.  The drug problem, she continued, cannot be solved by military intervention, punitive measures or drug legalization.  Rather, Cuba defends the current global drug regime and supports the three international conventions on the issue.  Havana employs a zero-tolerance approach to the production, distribution and consumption of drugs, and objects to the publication of unilateral reports that seek to label other States.  She pledged that Cuba will continue to fight the drug trade and champion the peaceful use of information and communications technology.

NAWAL AHMED MUKHTAR AHMED (Sudan), associating herself with the African Group, said her country has enhanced the authority of its financial investigation unit and cooperates with international efforts on criminal extradition and the confiscation of illicit funds.  On human trafficking, Sudan has developed domestic law to keep pace with international developments and also works to combat the related issues of money laundering and terrorist financing.  Border controls are in place to prevent smuggling and the influx of organized crime and terrorist activity.  Khartoum hosted a regional workshop in 2015 to combat cybercrime, she said, and supports the establishment of specialized centres to combat terrorism.

HANAA BOUCHIKHI (Morocco) said her country has developed an integrated approach to combating cybercrime, as well as a legislative arsenal to prevent and fight international crime.  On cybercrime, she said that cyberterrorism, cyberjihad, online radicalization, cyberseduction and cyberintimidation have increased to an “alarming” extent.  She touched on measures to tackle it, including a national office dedicated to countering cybercrime, and a comprehensive strategy to tackle both supply and demand.  Morocco also has programmes to protect vulnerable people from drug use, especially the young.  Welcoming the work of UNODC, she underscored the importance of international cooperation to help build judicial and police capacity in combating cybercrime.

DEVITA ABRAHAM (Trinidad and Tobago), associating with CARICOM, said the geographic location of her country has rendered it vulnerable to the trafficking of illegal drugs, arms and ammunition, as well as terrorism, money laundering and cybercrime.  Expressing concern over gang activities, she said Trinidad and Tobago is aggressively pursuing a number of measures, such as legislative review and institutional reform, as well as capacity building geared towards crime prevention and improvement of its criminal justice system.  Voicing support for the International Criminal Court, she said that despite its detractors, the Court continues to be “a ray of hope” for the victims of crimes within its jurisdiction who are seeking justice.

MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana) said there is no doubt that tackling cybercrime requires cooperation and information-sharing among States, endorsing the call for the establishment of a mutual legal assistance treaty, which would remove barriers to information-sharing for speedy investigations and the subsequent trials of cybercrime.  About 10.32 million Ghanaians are active on the Internet and the number keeps growing by 2 per cent every year.  The Government has enacted two legislations to regulate cyberspace and introduced the cybersecurity bill, which is expected to pass into law by year-end.  The law would establish a cybersecurity authority and a cybersecurity fund, and address child online safety issues, including “sextortion” and blackmailing involving obscene content.  Ghana looks forward to the Crime Congress to be held in Kyoto, Japan next April, and is hopeful that the event’s outcome will ensure criminal justice, including through the use of artificial intelligence.

DARYNA HORBACHOVA (Ukraine), aligning herself with the European Union, said her Government supports global initiatives in cyberspace and recently established the Cyber Security Situation Centre within its Security Service, focused on developing a cybercrime detection and response system and computer criminology lab.  She said the issue of protecting critical infrastructure from malicious information and communications technology activities is more political than purely technical, thereby making mutual trust essential.  Ukraine faces a list of cyber threats under continuing Russian military aggression, she said, with cyber-attacks since 2014 among the major external attempts to undermine its sovereignty.  From 2014 to 2019, Ukraine has faced an unprecedented number of cyberattacks to its critical infrastructure.  “There should be no doubts that this is a result of Russian ‘hybrid warfare’” she stated.  More generally, she encouraged UNODC to enhance international cooperation, technical assistance and sharing of best practices.

THANCHANOK UTHAIWAN (Thailand), aligning herself with ASEAN, said the Government has promoted prison reform and access to justice over the past decade, including alternatives to imprisonment, as well as youth crime prevention and rehabilitation and social reintegration for offenders.  She hailed the tenth anniversary of the Bangkok Rules, which address the specific needs of women in legal proceedings, especially pretrial and imprisonment.  International cooperation is crucial to enhance States’ capacities to counter the use of information and communications technology for criminal purposes.  The World Drug Report 2019 outlined increasingly complicated global drug challenges, requiring integrated and balanced responses.  On the supply side, alternative development remains part of a comprehensive drug control strategy in Thailand, addressing root causes.  The Government is also bolstering information sharing and border management with neighbouring countries and the international community to counter regional illicit drug production and trafficking.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) said Member States must remain vigilant against money laundering, trafficking of drugs and arms, and acts of violent extremism.  Noting that the poor fall prey to human traffickers in Bangladesh, which is a State of origin, his country is implementing a better legal framework to combat the issue and has recently acceded to the Palermo Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children.  On drug trafficking, he described the significant socioeconomic problems Bangladesh faces as a country on the production and transit route.  It has updated its stringent laws, introducing harsh penalties for those convicted of trafficking, and it is engaging young people to prevent drug use.  Bangladesh has introduced anti-corruption measures, he said, and it is also deeply engaged with counter-terrorism efforts.  It also has formed a new digital security agency and a cyber-incidence team to respond to cyberattacks.

ALISHER BAKHTIYORZODA (Tajikistan) recognized the important treaty‑mandated role of the International Narcotics Control Board, which is responsible for monitoring and promoting State compliance with drug control conventions.  Tajikistan understands the global threat of illicit drug trafficking and has adopted a National Strategy to Combat Illicit Drug Trafficking for 2013‑2020, which aims to eliminate the causes of these illegal activities.  During the last year alone, 67 special operations against smugglers were carried out, he said, stressing that such measures have led to a decline of illicit drug trafficking and emphasizing the importance of strengthening State borders.

LIU YANG (China) said that cybercrime poses great challenges to national law enforcement and that consequently there is an urgent need to enhance international cooperation to combat this illicit activity.  Current international legislation on the matter is fragmented, however, and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime cannot meet the challenges posed by this type of crime.  He urged the development of a global framework with which to address cybercrime and confront the problems inherent in the proliferation of new technology.  Beijing supports a United Nations convention on this matter — open to all Member States — that will coordinate State law and practice, address legal gaps and differences and serve as the universally accepted legal basis for the global governance of cybercrime.

YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar) said that his country is developing domestic measures to address the global drug problem in the areas of prevention, law enforcement and treatment.  The Government has adopted a new drug-control policy in compliance with the three international drug conventions.  While poppy cultivation in Myanmar decreased in 2018, there has been an increase in psychotropics trafficked illegally into the country from neighbouring borders.  Domestic law enforcement has adapted, and seizures of these illicit substances have increased due to tactics like scanning incoming vehicles with X-ray technology.  Further, border areas are developing alternatives to poppy cultivation and producing coffee instead of opium with help from UNODC.  The drug problem threatens the 2030 Agenda and is global in scope, and the world must work to control the drug trade in countries of origin, transit and destination.

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