I thank the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his briefing. The topics of drugs, crime and corruption are not at the heart of the Security Council’s mandate; those subjects are dealt with in a comprehensive way by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. In that respect, we welcome the General Assembly’s initiative in organizing for the next quarter, within the framework of the tenth anniversary of the Palermo Convention, a special high-level meeting devoted to organized transnational crime.
Nonetheless, the large-scale development of these cross-cutting problems, above all drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, is having a growing impact on States’ security and, beyond, on regional and international stability and security. The Council has observed this phenomenon as it relates to several items on its agenda, be it in West Africa, Haiti or Afghanistan. When the consequences of the activity of these criminal networks threaten international peace and stability, it is the responsibility of the Security Council to deal with them. Such threats can weaken or destabilize States, damaging their good governance and slowing their economic development. They compete with legal economic systems and promote corruption. They hamper the post-crisis reconstruction efforts of public institutions and development organizations led by national authorities and the international community.
Criminal networks not only benefit from weak or failed States; their activities also help to exacerbate political tensions, inter alia, by financing nongovernmental armed groups and insurgency movements. Moreover, the links between the various drug trafficking networks and international terrorism seem to be getting stronger. Due to their transnational character, these threats can destabilize entire regions; challenging them demands close international and regional cooperation with a view in particular to strengthening the capacity of weaker States through technical assistance.
Aware of the growing reach of organized crime, in 2000 the international community adopted the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. However, we can only observe that criminal networks have learned since then to adapt and to take advantage of changes that have occurred in our societies, be it in improved information and communications technologies or the opening up of financial markets. As a result, we call more than ever for the universalization of the Palermo Convention and its additional protocols, and we hope that the upcoming Conference of the Parties will be directed towards more effective implementation of its texts.
We welcome the important role played by UNODC, as well as the quality of its assistance to States and its projects throughout the world. We also encourage the Secretariat and its various components to step up their activities in the area of cross-cutting threats, especially through networking efforts with the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Development Programme — in close cooperation, of course, with UNODC.
In the Security Council, we are in favour of taking further into account these cross-cutting threats when we look at conflict analysis, prevention strategies, integrated missions and peacekeeping missions. In that regard, we attach the greatest importance to all the elements that the Secretariat may be able to convey in its various reports to the Council.
Lastly, we welcome regional initiatives on drug trafficking, including the Praia Regional Plan of Action adopted in October 2008 by the West African States, and that adopted in San Domingo in March 2009 by the Caribbean region. Since 2003, at the initiative first of France and then of Russia, the Paris Pact, renewed in Moscow, has made it possible to implement operational cooperation within the framework of the fight against heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan, and to raise genuine awareness of the problem posed by the diversion of chemical precursors. I support the proposals that have been submitted by the Russian Federation in that regard.
The briefing by the Executive Director of UNODC has given us a thorough picture of the threats we face. Drug-trafficking networks and organized crime have taken on a global dimension and are endangering international peace and security through their activities. We hope that the Council will remain engaged in this matter, which has direct consequences for our work, and that we can be given regular briefings by the Executive Director of UNODC so that we can keep the Council thoroughly informed on the evolution of these cross-cutting threats.