At the outset, I would like to thank the Gabonese presidency for having convened this debate and, more broadly, to use Mr. Fedotov’s expression, for highlighting the issue of drug trafficking and organized crime as a factor leading to emerging and continued conflict. It is important that the Security Council monitor closely developments related to this threat. I thank the Executive Director for his briefing, which has shed light on the impact of drug trafficking and transnational organized crime on international peace and security. The 2011 World Drug Report, which was presented yesterday, reminds us once again that this is a global threat.
Since the last meeting of the Council on this topic in February 2010 (S/PV.6277), a number of elements have compounded our fears. Our analysis of the impact of drug trafficking and organized crime on international peace and security has deepened, and credit for that, it must be stressed, is due to, inter alia, the work being carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report entitled The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment, which was published during the special high-level meeting of the General Assembly of June 2010 (see A/64/PV.96 and A/64/PV.97), showed precisely how drug trafficking and transnational organized crime threaten governance and the stability of States.
The income from drug trafficking is a form of revenue for armed groups which, as we all know, finances criminal networks that are involved with various types of illicit trafficking. Some of those criminal organizations have — as many speakers have noted — acquired operational capacities that often greatly surpass the law-enforcement capacities of the affected countries. The resulting corruption and violence undermine States’ authority, especially those that are most vulnerable.
Unfortunately, the facts have confirmed those analyses. The Security Council has again expressed its deep concern about the continued increase in drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in Guinea-Bissau. Concerning Afghanistan, we have once again called for strengthened international and regional cooperation to address the threat that heroin trafficking is posing to the international community as a whole. There is a further concrete example, which was seen in the conflict experienced by Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 and to which Mr. Fedotov referred. The conflict, which claimed hundreds of lives and resulted in thousands of internally displaced persons, had many causes. But it is clear that one of those causes was undoubtedly the clashes between various drugtrafficking networks. In this context, it is essential, as stated by the Council in its presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/4) of 24 February 2010, that we pay greater attention to cross-cutting threats, both in our assessment of threats and our response strategies. Here, France would like to pay tribute and to welcome the setting up by the Secretary-General of a working group on transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, chaired by the UNODC and the Department of Political Affairs. This is an instrument that appears highly relevant in connection with a comprehensive examination of policies on crosscutting threats, as part and parcel of United Nations action in that context.
The threat is all the greater because we are facing a changing and manifold threat. Criminal groups are able to adapt easily. They have boundless imagination and can always find new routes and new methods of trafficking. If we do not want drug trafficking and transnational organized crime to always be one step ahead of law enforcement agencies, we must strengthen cooperation between States at all possible levels. That is the goal of the initiative that France launched within the framework of its Group of Eight (G-8) presidency, convening a meeting in Paris on 10 May with the participation of 22 ministers from Europe, America and Africa responsible for combating drugs, to deal with the fight against trans-Atlantic cocaine trafficking. That ministerial meeting revealed a convergence of views on the analysis and the thinking on the means. The talks opened with the adoption of a plan of action that led us to hope to be able to act more consistently. I should like to refer to some elements of the plan.
First is to improve intelligence capacity by strengthening sharing and exchanges of information among States on criminal networks, which know no boundaries. The second element is to strengthen maritime cooperation to facilitate the interception of drug cargoes. The third element, which the Executive Director also underscored, is to further strengthen criminal justice mechanisms so that no one can exploit lawless areas as a rear base for criminal networks. The final element is to confiscate proceeds so as to deprive drug traffickers of the product of their crimes.
The issues of drug trafficking and transnational organized crime are dealt with by various UnitedNations bodies, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and, more recently, the Peacebuilding Commission. Each body has a role to play against a phenomenon that clearly affects the economy, society and health. But we should never underestimate the security aspect, and hence the role of the Security Council. We would like the Council to remain seized of the issue and for the Executive Director of UNODC to present regular briefings.
Before concluding, I would like more generally to express our gratitude to Mr. Fedotov for UNODC’s multifaceted work in very important areas, such as combating human trafficking, but also strengthening the national capacities of States that have to fight piracy. We appreciate that work and the dynamism of his team here in New York.