For information only - not an official document.
    2 October 2000
 Sustainable Elimination of Illicit Crops, Promotion of Alternative Crops Stressed 
As Third Committee Debates Drug-prevention Strategies

  NEW YORK, 29 September (UN Headquarters) -- Alleviating poverty without imposing the rule of law simply would not work, Pino Arlacchi told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this morning as it began deliberating the issues of crime and criminal justice and international drug control.  In his opening address, which was followed by a question-and-answer session with Committee members, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention stressed the need for sustained support of alternative crop programmes in illicit drug-producing areas.

 It was not by chance that the Office worked in some of the poorest areas of the world, he said.  The linkages between poverty and his area of work were not well understood.  Development strategies must include a strong drug control component.  Indeed, there could be no effective poverty reduction without reducing crime. It was more difficult to undermine sound development strategies than poor ones.

 Furthermore, illicit crops had to eliminated sustainably.  If support efforts could not be maintained, the illicit crops would return.  New sources of financing for sustainable crop substitutions were becoming available.  There were "soft loans", and the Bretton Woods institutions were becoming sensitive to the issue.

 The representative of Peru said alternative development programmes had to be constantly reinforced.  The only way to stop farmers from growing illegal coca leaves was to offer them an opportunity for sustainable productive activity.  Furthermore, the activity had to be sustainable both in terms of the marketplace and of natural resources.  To be viable, crop substitution products needed access to markets and an appreciable price.  The coca leaf was highly profitable.  The human factor must be an integral strategy. 

 Social injustice, greed, inequitable distribution of resources, poverty and unemployment drove organized crime, said the representative of Iran.  Strengthening international cooperation to fight those conditions would create a conducive environment for fighting organized crime.  It would also promote growth and sustainable development, while eradicating poverty and unemployment.  That process was the basis of the multidimensional and action-oriented strategy behind the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.

 The representative of France also pointed out that globalization provided the conditions for ever wider networks of criminal activity to emerge.  Speaking on behalf of the European Union, he called for the signing of the Convention and its Protocols in Palermo in December.  He also called for supporting the Convention with legislative responses.

 Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Pakistan, Guinea, Lebanon, Uganda, Colombia, United States, Swaziland (on behalf of Southern African Development Community), Austria, Cuba and Japan.  The representative of Pakistan, Guinea, Lebanon, Uganda and Colombia participated in the question-and-answer session with Mr. Arlacchi.

 The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 2 October, to continue its deliberations on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control. 

Committee Work Programme

 The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to take up two related questions, one of crime prevention and criminal justice, the other of international drug control.

 On issues related to crime, the Committee has before it the relevant section of the Economic and Social Council report for 2000 (document A/53/3, to be issued).  It also has before it the Secretary-General's report on the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) and his report on crime prevention and criminal justice.  Regarding drug control, the Committee has before it the Secretary-General's report on implementing the outcome of the General Assembly's twentieth special session on drugs (1999) and General Assembly resolution 53/115 related to drugs. 

 The Secretary-General's report on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/55/119) provides an overview of progress in implementing General Assembly resolution 54/131, entitled “Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity”.  The report notes that the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly will approve the Organization's medium-term plan for 2002-2005, which includes the programme on crime prevention.  Consideration should be given to the continued inclusion of crime among the issues designated as priorities for the plan period.

 The report further states that the elaboration of the plan provides an opportunity to set forth the process of establishing indicative priorities for the programme on crime prevention, particularly in light of the many existing mandates and the limited availability of resources. In that respect, attention must be given to the new mandates and resource implications for the programme that would emanate from the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice, the expected adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Transitional Organized Crime and the protocols thereto, as well as the elaboration of an international instrument against corruption.

 According to the report, progress has been made in reinforcing the reform measures in the work of the Organization for combating the uncivil elements of society and in achieving synergy of action in fighting crime and drug abuse.  The United Nations Programme on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, together with the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), continue to focus resources and activities on those areas where the Organization possesses comparative advantage, notably in facilitating and coordinating international cooperation to combat transnational forms of crime.

 The report also states that further progress has been made in strengthening the programme’s operational engagement, especially under the ambit of the global programmes against corruption, trafficking in human beings and transnational organized crimes.  In addition to dealing with new global priorities, the programme also continued to address traditional concerns and issues in crime and justice; foster the application of new information technologies in crime and justice matters; and support global policy formation.  Those and other measures have led to increased donor confidence in the programme, as evidenced by increased voluntary contributions to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund.   That, in turn, has allowed the programme to expand its operational activities and staff.

 On technical cooperation activities, the report notes that closer cooperation between the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) has resulted in a greater number of joint missions and the formulation of joint projects in Guatemala, Central Asia, South Africa and the Russian Federation.  The Centre’s technical cooperation activities have been focused on the implementation of the global programmes against corruption, trafficking in human beings and organized crime, initiated and implemented jointly with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).  As of 30 June, the total value of the Centre’s ongoing technical cooperation projects amounted to nearly  $5.4 million.

 According to the report, there were several basic requirements to sustain and build upon the progress made in the past few years.  These include action by intergovernmental bodies to focus the activities of the programme on a limited number of priority areas; continuing the effort to match the programme’s mandates and resources by limiting new mandates and increasing regular budget applications; and considerably increasing voluntary contributions for the activities of the programme.

 The report of the Secretary-General on the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/55/156) focuses on the activities, operations and funding of the Institute, and includes proposals for enhancing its capacity to implement programmes and activities designed to strengthen national mechanisms for crime prevention and streamline criminal justice administration in Africa. 

 According to the report, the Institute has constantly laboured under the constraints imposed by a shortage of capacity.  If the Institute is to become a viable mechanism in the service of African countries, its capacity will have to be strengthened by endowing it with the required resources.  African States and development agencies have yet to be convinced of the vital importance of ensuring sufficient investment in crime prevention.  The challenge, therefore, is to show all those involved in policy planning and execution how to blend innovative crime prevention strategies into development programmes.

 The report states that, with the grave situation of the Institute in mind, the Institute's Governing Board at its sixth session took a series of important decisions, the implementation of which will greatly enhance the capabilities of the Institute.  The decisions called for the following:  pursuing a coherent strategy to enlist the support of Member States and agencies; adopting innovative and attractive programmes to meet the needs of the private sector; highlighting the role of the Institute in mitigating the negative impact of crime on economic development; and intensifying cooperation with international agencies and the private sector to explore providing services in new fields.  Since there had been no rigorous evaluation of the Institute since its inception in 1990, the Director was requested to undertake a comprehensive evaluation.

 The widespread problem of crime, in both traditional and nontraditional forms and at both national and transnational levels, has been worsened by the rising level of civil disorder and insecurity fueled by the proliferation of illicit small arms in the region and by continuing corruption, says the report.  Such conditions have stifled social progress, paralysed the effective administration of criminal justice and taxed the capacity of individual countries to cope with the problem.  It is, therefore, imperative to adopt effective strategies for crime prevention in Africa, and to promote appropriate training and equipment for law enforcement agencies in African States.

 During the reporting period, the Institute operated on a very limited budget.  It did, however, continue to conduct substantive work and to administer its staff, funds and other resources, and the activities that received funding were implemented on time.  The primary concern was to make optimum use of the available resources to ensure that the services offered benefited the largest number of States.  In that context, the Institute has continued the implementation of three major activities launched in 1998, involving extradition and mutual legal assistance in Africa, firearms trafficking in Africa, and a study of the impact of crime on development in southern Africa. 

 The Committee also had before it the Secretary-General's report on follow-up on the implementation of the outcome of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly and on Assembly resolution 53/115 (document A/55/126) entitled "International cooperation against the world drug problem".  That special session had been devoted to cooperation in countering the world drug problem and was held in June 1998.

 According to the report, at its twentieth special session, the Assembly adopted a Political Declaration which established long-term plans and goals aimed at countering the world drug problem.  Among other things, Member States adopted an Action Plan against illicit manufacture and trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants.  They also undertook to make special efforts against the laundering of money derived from drug trafficking, and to promote cooperation among judicial and law enforcement authorities to deal with criminal organizations involved in drug-related activities.

 Further to the report, the Assembly, among other goals and targets for the year 2003, adopted a Declaration on the guiding principles of drug demand reduction.  Member States committed themselves to introducing into their national programmes action-oriented strategies to implement the Declaration.  They would work in close collaboration with public health, social welfare and law enforcement authorities to establish those new or enhanced drug demand reduction strategies.

 The report also highlighted the goals the Assembly set for 2008.  Those goals included the achievement of significant and measurable results in demand reduction, and the eradication of illicit drug crops through alternative development.  The Assembly stressed the importance of cooperation in alternative development, including the better integration of the most vulnerable sectors involved in the illicit drug market into legal and viable economic activities.  The Assembly also emphasized the need for eradication programmes and law enforcement measures to counter illicit cultivation, production, manufacture and trafficking, paying special attention to the protection of the environment.  In that regard, it strongly supported the work of the UNDCP in the field of alternative development.

 PINO ARLACCHI, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), opened the discussion on crime and drugs.   He said Afghanistan remained by far the largest producer of illicit opium in the world.  It was the source for most of the heroin reaching the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, as well as Central and Western Europe.  Despite modest efforts due to lack of funding, alternative development was working.  However, funding had now run out for even modest efforts.  The Office was therefore intensifying its work with Afghanistan's neighbours to create a barrier against Afghan opiates and help the countries protect themselves from the effects of drug trafficking.

 Those countries were providing excellent cooperation, he said.  Further, the Central Asian countries were concerned by the threat Afghan drugs posed.  Drugs and drug-related trafficking were financing arms and threatening security.  The Government of Tajikistan had created a new Drug Control Agency that had increased overall drug seizures by 70 per cent in one year.  The Six-plus-Two group involved with the issue had brought the problem to the Security Council's attention in the spring and had endorsed a regional action plan.  The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would co-host a conference in Tashkent during October on enhancing security and stability in central Asia.

 Rounding out the world drug scene, Mr. Arlacchi said Myanmar remained the world's second largest source of illicit opium.  While news from South America was more positive, it was clear that alternative development could eliminate economic dependence on poppy and coca crops.  Lack of funding, however, impeded a progress that otherwise could be robust.  With regard to demand reduction, the Office's work was concentrated in the two areas of East and Southern Africa, and West and Central Asia. 

 On crime control, Mr. Arlacchi said significant developments had occurred in the field of money laundering, where the amount of money involved in a single case last year had exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of one-third of United Nations Member States.  Attention was being focused on offshore banking jurisdictions.  Technical assistance would be provided to help them meet standards when the time came.  Further, work in the crime prevention field was rich in events.  The Declaration issued in May by the Tenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders was expected to be adopted during the current General Assembly session.

 Further, he said the Congress had stressed the need for a global convention against corruption.  It had also strongly endorsed the Office's three global programmes and had given a strong boost to the negotiation of the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.  Participation in the December signing of the Convention in Palermo, expected to be at the highest governmental level, would provide more resources for the Office's work.  Unfortunately, the great majority of funding for field projects was in the form of earmarked contributions, slowing reassignment to priority areas.

 Finally, recalling the Summit Declaration, Mr. Arlacchi said the first of the five fundamental values had been identified as freedom, which had been defined as the right to live without fear.  The Office worked against the forces that promoted violence, oppression and injustice -- the forces the Secretary-General had called "uncivil society".  The series of commitments in the Declaration to strengthen respect for the rule of law and to act against crime would reinforce the work of the United Nations in the field.  The linkages between poverty and the areas of the Office's work was one of the least understood aspects of that work.  It was not by chance that the Office worked in some of the poorest areas of the world.   Alleviating poverty without imposing the rule of law was not an option.  It simply wouldn't work. 

Question and Answers

 The representative of Colombia said that experiences in the Andean region could be helpful for tackling the drug problem in Afghanistan and Central and Western Europe.  It would be useful to look at the relationship between demand, processing and particularly money laundering as they related to criminal activity at all levels.  He also wondered whether changes in coca and opium production in the Andean region would undermine the efforts of the programme.

 The representative of Pakistan said that the three-pronged programme adopted by the twentieth special session of the General Assembly -- reduction of supply, reduction of demand and alternative development -– had been generally successful at the global level.  As regarded the drug problem in Afghanistan, while there had been reports that the pilot projects in alternative development had been somewhat successful, there still appeared to be difficulties monitoring and implementing those programmes fully.  What was hindering the progress of those efforts?  What was being done to combat money laundering and the transfer of money abroad from the illegal activities of corrupt governments?

 The representative of Guinea asked Mr. Arlacchi to elaborate on efforts to fight corruption in relation to drug trafficking.  He wondered if he could speak more specifically about the linkages between poverty reduction and drug control in Africa.

 In response to Colombia’s comments, Mr. Arlacchi said the structure of the coca production industry seemed to change in accordance with the success of countermeasures that had been put in place.  While it was true that changes in opium production and cultivation might hinder the programme’s effectiveness to some degree, there were only so many changes producers could make.  Drug producers could not move people or equipment at will. 

 In response to questions by Pakistan, Mr. Arlacchi said that the major obstacles to combating the drug problem in Afghanistan included; internalization of the country, commitment of all players in and outside Afghanistan to fully eliminate narcotics, and the high degree of distrust of the programme’s efforts, particularly by the Taliban.  Therefore, a second tier of strategies had been implemented.  The goals of those strategies included strengthening border control in order to reduce the flow of drugs to neighbouring countries.  Although border control could not be a long-term solution, thus far, there had been “rather impressive” results.  There had been a substantial decrease in drug trafficking and opium production. 

 On the issue of money laundering, he said that the heart of the Convention Against Corruption directly addressed that point with measures to combat the issue.  He said that the UNDC was also studying best practices and lessons learned from other countries dealing with the issue, so that further legal measures could be put into place.  Corruption, he said, must be tackled from a financial point of view; programmes must attack the places where corrupt persons deposited their money.  Bank secrecy and traditional practices were not as effective as they had been in the past at hiding money derived from criminal activity.  In that regard, discussions were under way with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to address the issue of corruption more directly and to ensure implementation of the Convention.

 Information on the upcoming conference in Palermo was currently being circulated to all Governments, Mr. Arlacchi said in response to a question by the representative of Guinea.  In fact, countries would shortly receive a letter from the Secretary-General encouraging broad participation.  Mr. Arlacchi also noted the generosity of the Government of Italy in providing support to all delegations attending the Conference from developing countries. 

 On the programme’s strategy in Africa and the link between drugs and crime and poverty reduction, he said that there was now much less resistance to the idea that development strategies must include a strong drug control component.  Indeed, there could be no effective poverty reduction without reducing crime.  It was much more difficult to undermine sound development strategies.  He said that while he was optimistic about the programmes, the next step would, of course, be the securing of resources.  In that regard, donor countries had recently evinced a change of attitude as they became more aware of the programme’s work.  He called for help from the international community to overcome this major obstacle to the work of the programme. 

 The representative of France then asked what kind of technical assistance the office could provide.  He also asked about resources and wondered what was meant when finances were said to be earmarked?

 The representative of Guinea asked about the link between drugs and armed conflicts.  Had UNDCP carried out studies?

 Mr. Arlacchi said the signing in Palermo of the three protocols to the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, relating to firearms and trafficking in humans, would be the strongest possible action against organized crime.  A United Nations Convention was a global document.  Regional agreements could not have that global effect.  The key was uniform application to prevent “ballooning” of the crimes to be controlled.  With money laundering, for example, if a Convention was applied in one part of the world and not another, dirty money would flow to the area where it could flourish.

 With regard to funding, Mr. Arlacchi said nearly 90 per cent of the Office's funding was earmarked for specific projects.  That practice was seriously impeding the Office's work.  He invited Member States to "de-earmark" the funds to help clear the Office's otherwise rapidly expanding workload.  That was critical, because when emergencies arose, the lag in ability to respond while raising or juggling funds was discouraging to Member States.

 The representative of Lebanon noted the linkage of poverty and illicit crimes.  Should the United Nations allocate funds to the UNDCP? he asked

 Mr. Arlacchi pointed out that it was not enough to eliminate illicit crops, but to do so sustainably.  If support efforts could not be maintained, the illicit crops would return.  In addition, there were other sources of financing for those more sustainable crop substitutions projects, such as soft loans and the Bretton Woods institutions, which were becoming more sensitive to the issue.

 The representative of Uganda asked what the Office's role would be in terms of the relationship between drugs and armed conflict.

 Mr. Arlacchi said he was calling on all institutes to cooperate with the Office at Vienna on all related issues, from poverty reduction through crime control.  The Office had four branches in Africa and was looking to expand.  The African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) would be involved in the expansion. 


 YVES DOUTRIAUX (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States,  said the synthetic drug situation was all the more alarming since the public was not aware of new forms being constantly developed.  The most widespread form of drug at present in Europe was a mixture of illicit drugs with licit substances such as alcohol.  Yet in dealing with the drug issue, the question of money laundering should not be ignored.  It made no sense to outlaw drugs, but allow the money laundering that fed it to flourish.

 He said trafficking controls had been set up with partners to fight psychotropic drugs.  Both supply and demand had decreased in the European Union as cooperation with such partners as Western Africa increased.  The international community should assist the continent in its fight against drugs and crime.  It must be recognized that globalization provided the conditions for wider networks of criminal activity to emerge.  International legal instruments were critical in today's environment.  Because of its universal character, the United Nations was in a unique position to implement such measures.  The broadest application and support should be given to those instruments, such as the three Protocols to the Convention on transnational crime which were about to be finalized.

 To ensure that the Convention and Protocols were signed, he called on all States to adopt the resolution on the item when it arose in the Assembly during November.  Because of its challenges, organized crime called for coherent universal countermeasures.  States should support the work of the Office and elaborate legislative responses to organized crime.

 ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that at a recent Summit of heads of State and government, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean nations had reiterated its conviction that in order to overcome the global drug problem, efforts should continue to be based on a comprehensive and balanced approach and the principle of shared responsibility.  The Group also believed that in order to give that effort a “global character”, a collective resolve was needed on the part of the international community to take action at the various stages of production, marketing and consumption of illicit drugs, as well as against the criminal offences associated with that phenomenon.  He also wished to emphasize the importance of the international trade in the chemical precursors used in the manufacture of illicit drugs.  Given the great impact which the illicit use of those substances had on the production of narcotic drugs, he hoped that the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and other United Nations agencies would continue to give that issue high priority.

 In his capacity as the representative of Colombia, he went on to highlight several aspects of the connection between drug problems and the effects of globalization.  As globalization had expanded world markets and increased the movement of people, goods and services, there was no doubt that it had also facilitated greater movement of narcotic drugs, small arms and illicit banking operations.  As drugs had become “globalized”, they had become more of a threat by employing the trading, financial, transportation and communication facilities of the day.  The effects of the globalization of the drug problem in Colombia were incalculable.  The country had been forced to combat corruption and armed aggression by drug traffickers.  Thousands of Colombians had lost their lives in the service of the State, working in security, journalism and the justice system.  Nevertheless, by the end of the 1990s, a remarkable change occurred in Colombia which could serve as a lesson for the rest of the world:  Colombian society changed its attitude toward the drug problem.  That change had ended the culture of “easy money” once enjoyed by drug traffickers.  Today, Colombia continued to combat criminal acts with renewed strength.

 On the issue of globalization and the trade in small arms, he said that it was important to note that the small-arms trade had proliferated in the midst of indifference from many of the manufacturing countries, regardless of the clear danger posed to developing countries affected by social conflicts and diverse political rivalries.  For many years, rebel groups in Colombia had gained strength as a result of illicit crops planted in its territory.  The violence that resulted had been devastating.  It should be clear that the combination of drug trafficking, small arms trade and globalization might be difficult for one country to overcome on its own.  Colombia, therefore, had been committed to the idea of taking joint action against drug trafficking and supported solidarity “practiced among neighbouring countries”. 

 LARRY CARP (United States) said he would scrap the start of his statement and comment on Plan Colombia, that country's comprehensive response to interrelated social, economic and security challenges.  He said the total estimated cost of Plan Colombia was over $7 billion.  Domestic drug abuse cost the United States an estimated 52,000 lives and $110 billion annually.  Ninety per cent of the cocaine in the United States was produced or trafficked through Colombia, as was two-thirds of the heroin seized.  The United States had an obvious interest in stemming drug traffic and seeing Plan Colombia succeed.  It had approved a substantial increase in assistance to Colombia for implementing the Plan.  Funds would also be advanced for neighbouring countries to consolidate counter-drug gains and to ensure that success in Colombia did not drive illicit drug trafficking and production elsewhere.

 The United States assistance package to Colombia would support human rights and judicial reform, he explained.  It would expand counter-narcotics operations into southern Colombia, as well as support alternative economic development and increased interdiction efforts.  In addition, it would assist the Colombian national police.  The Colombian police and armed forces would implement the counter-narcotics components of Plan Colombia.  No United States armed forces were planned to be used.  Furthermore, Colombia and the United States agreed that ending the country's civil conflict was central to solving Colombia's problems.  A peace agreement would stabilize the nation, speed economic recovery and help ensure protection of human rights. 

 CLIFFORD S. MAMBA (Swaziland), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that the international community still faced the challenge of strengthening cooperation against the production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs and the spread of transnational organized crime.  Therefore, efforts must be enhanced by national institutions, regional and international communities, working collectively to support goals aimed at strengthening the institutional capacity to prevent corruption, bribery, money laundering and the illegal transfer of funds -- as well as repatriating such funds to their countries of origin.  In addressing those issues, it also remained important to review the overall political, economic, social and legal environment.  That way, an international framework relevant to the causes of the problems could be developed, and proper consideration could be given to urgent and effective measures regarding the issues of crime prevention and international drug control.

 He went on to urge the Committee and the international community to support the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI).  The Institute, he said, remained an important mechanism for African countries to fight crime.  With the necessary resources, the Institute could carry out its very important work even more effectively.

 Turning to the twentieth special session of the General Assembly on countering the world drug problem, he said it was imperative to bear in mind that while Member States had shown commitment to implementing programmes to fight drugs, developing countries might encounter difficulties implementing them due to financial constraints.  For States to be able to implement the goals of the special session within the agreed time frame, cooperation at the international level was necessary in order to provide assistance to developing countries.  The UNDCP should also be available to provide guidance and assistance.  Since that programme operated largely on voluntary donations, he encouraged all Member States and organizations to contribute to its work.

 GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria) noted with great pleasure the final negotiations of the first comprehensive Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which took place earlier this year in Vienna.  In October, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of a Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime would meet again in order to conclude the three additional protocols against trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, and the illicit trade in firearms.  Those instruments shared equal importance and should be adopted by the Millennium Assembly and signed in Palermo as a “powerful package”.  He also hoped that the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) would continue to play its role as a repository of expertise in the fight against organized crime and in providing assistance to countries in the implementation of the Protocols.  He stressed the need for additional resources in the United Nations regular budget to enable the CICP to promote the speedy entry into force of the convention and its associated protocols. 

 He went on to say that in its Presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Austria was well placed to support the Central Asian States in their common efforts to deal effectively with the multiple challenges of the drug problem.  In that regard, an international conference on drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism was being prepared with the assistance of the ODCCP.  That conference was to be held in Tashkent, Uzbebkistan, from 19 to 20 October.  Finally, he drew the Committee’s attention to an ODCCP project aimed at tackling the problem of trafficking in persons and particularly focused on Eastern Europe.  He believed that project would be the perfect tool for implementing the convention against transnational crime.

 MANUEL PICASSO (Peru) said much progress had been made with regard to illicit drugs during the past decade of shared responsibility.  The integral strategy implemented during the 1998 special session on drugs had outlined commitments and time frames with regard to interdiction, alternative development, the environment and chemical precursors, in addition to judicial cooperation.  Peru had been working towards those goals primarily in the areas of interdiction, alternative development and prevention/rehabilitation. 

 He said that with regard to interdiction, the emphasis had been on attacking drug traffic routes and methods, including control of production and prevention of export.  However, the limitation on export had caused a lowering of the domestic price, which had increased consumption and had demanded intensified effort in the area of prevention/rehabilitation.  In the area of alternative development, once comprehensive programmes had been initiated, they required constant reinforcement.  The only way to withdraw farmers from growing illegal coca leaves was to offer them an opportunity for sustainable productive activity.  Further, the activity had to be sustainable both in terms of the marketplace and of natural resources.  Therefore,  products of crop substitution programmes had to have access to markets and they had to command appreciable prices to make the product viable.  With the coca leaf highly profitable, the human factor must be considered in any integral strategy. 

 LUIS ALBERTO AMOROS NUNEZ (Cuba) said globalization offered enhanced opportunities and profits to criminal groups.  International crime was also benefiting from technological progress and from the liberalization of markets.  Violence and criminal activity ruled many developing countries.  No country could solve those problems alone, not even if they had tremendous economic power.  Cooperation was needed.  The Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime was now finalized but the three protocols had not yet been completed.  That should not be done too quickly.  Negotiations should take into account the contributions of all. 

 The illicit trafficking of migrants was a major component of today's crime scene, he said.  North America had a law that abetted that crime.  Nationals of Cuba who wanted to emigrate put in an application and then were frustrated when the United States held them back, while admitting criminals from other countries and giving them residency overnight.  That law was a stimulus to the illegal immigration that was a crime and contributed to other crimes.  In Cuba, 85 per cent of those who emigrated did so illegally, as in the case months ago with Elian Gonzalez.  The law must be abolished.  All those who wished to migrate legally should be given a visa.

 ATSUKO NISHIMURA (Japan) said it was clear that the spread of globalization had also hastened the spread of major threats to human dignity, such as transnational organized crime and the world drug problem.  The international community must therefore place greater emphasis on a human-centred approach when establishing programmes to fight these new challenges of the twenty-first century. 

 She went on to say that the need for consolidated international action against transnational organized crime had been emphasized by the adoption of the Naples Political Declaration and the Global Action Plan Against Organized Transnational Crime in 1994.  Japan welcomed the continued attention being paid to the issue by the international community.  Her country had been making specific contributions to the advancement of all international instruments aimed at tackling the important issue.  Moreover, Japan had decided to hold the Asia-Pacific Law Enforcement Conference against Transnational Organized Crime in 2001.  Also, Japan had been playing an active role in discussing the field of high-tech crime, and had been actively promoting international efforts to tackle that growing problem.

 Finally, she said that regional cooperation was one of the most important issues addressed at the Assembly’s special session on countering the world drug problem.  In South-East Asia, drug problems, especially the use of amphetamine-type stimulants, were rapidly increasing.  Earnest efforts at regional cooperation were therefore required.  Based on its successful efforts at combating similar problems, Japan was committed to sharing its experience and promoting every attempt to remedy the situation.  Japan also supported the UNDCP’s efforts to boost regional cooperation, and supported a project aimed at strengthening border control in countries including China, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.

 MOSTAFA ALAEI (Iran) said that at dawn of a new millennium, globalization of crime presented a dangerous threat to the international community.  Transnational organized crime undermined and destabilized political, economic and social systems, and would soon become so rampant that no country would be able to combat the problem on its own.  Organized crime was driven by social injustice, greed, inequitable distribution of resources, poverty and unemployment.  Strengthening international cooperation was a vitally effective preventive measure in this regard.  Such cooperation would create a conducive environment for fighting organized crime, promoting growth and sustainable development and eradicating poverty and unemployment.  Those were all sentiments that had been expressed in the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice, he noted.  That process, coupled with other crime prevention elements, could establish a good multi-dimensional and action-oriented strategy to combat crime within the framework of the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

 He went on to say that a fair, responsible, ethical and efficient criminal justice system was an important component of the socio-economic development of every nation.  The effectiveness of the new mechanisms established in the Convention would be based on their universality.  Since the Convention was essentially a law enforcement tool, it was necessary to be vigilant in its implementation to ensure that integrity of domestic legal systems would not be compromised.  Therefore, the provisions in the Convention on the imperative of respecting territorial integrity and that of non-interference were fundamentally important. 

 The resources needed to combat transnational organized crime were not evenly distributed, he said.  That problem was compounded by the fact that fear of such crimes and the perceived benefits of combating them were not held on an equal footing.  The immediate challenge for the international community was to provide appropriate custom-made incentives to countries that were willing but unable, for budgetary or other reasons, to contribute to the fight against transnational crime.  There should also be appropriate disincentives for those who were reluctant to participate because of an interest in reaping the benefits of transnational criminality. 

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