top of page

United Nations Urges Global Cooperation to Combat Transnational Organized Crime

By: ATN News

UNHQ: In a recent address to the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the pervasive and insidious nature of transnational organized crime, emphasizing its severe threats to peace, security, and sustainable development. Guterres underscored that this criminal activity, which operates across borders and in various forms, results in weakened governance, corruption, lawlessness, and significant human and economic costs.

Guterres pointed out the alarming scale of the issue in Africa, where losses due to tax evasion, money laundering, and illicit financial flows surpass official development assistance. He stressed that amidst a world in crisis, illicit economies thrive, exacerbating conflicts and posing a considerable challenge to global stability.

The Secretary-General drew attention to the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism, expressing concern over opportunistic alliances forming between criminal groups and designated terrorist organizations. From the Sahel to Somalia, the illicit trade in fuel, drugs, arms, and natural resources provides operational resources to armed groups, perpetuating insecurity and conflict.

Guterres urged enhanced multilateral cooperation, citing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime as a blueprint for collective action. He called on all Member States to fully implement the convention and collaborate in investigating and prosecuting organized criminal groups. Additionally, he highlighted ongoing efforts through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact and expressed hope for a new treaty on cybercrime to strengthen global cooperation.

Emphasizing the need to strengthen the rule of law, Guterres noted its foundational role in resolving conflicts peacefully. He urged a balanced approach, combining preventive and security measures, and emphasized the critical role of the United Nations Security Council in the collective fight against organized crime.

Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), echoed the concerns, describing organized crime as a complex phenomenon with diverse driving factors. Waly emphasized the need for strategic, coordinated, and collective action against the multibillion-dollar industry that fuels violence and exploitation globally.

Waly highlighted findings from the UNODC Global Study on Homicide, revealing that organized criminal groups are responsible for almost a quarter of all homicides worldwide. She emphasized the intertwining of criminal markets with crises and armed conflicts, citing examples from Haiti, the Sahel, and Myanmar.

The Executive Director emphasized the decentralization and increased complexity of organized crime, facilitated by digital markets and currencies. She called for strengthened institutions, resilient communities, and enhanced international cooperation to confront illicit markets worth trillions of dollars. Waly urged support for improved data collection, integration of measures against organized crime in peace and security interventions, and the inclusion of organized crime prevention in sustainable development cooperation frameworks.

Melani Cammett, a professor at Harvard University, provided a comprehensive analysis of transnational organized crime, highlighting its diverse markets and actors. Cammett emphasized the geographical spread of organized crime, with Europe experiencing a significant increase and Asia hosting the highest aggregate presence of criminal organizations. She noted the intertwining of criminal activities with weaker governance and conflict-affected areas, resulting in regions effectively governed by criminal organizations.

Cammett underscored the transformative impact of technology on organized crime, citing examples of advanced weaponry, electronic money-transferring systems, and the explosion of cybercrime. She emphasized the consequences of organized crime on global health, well-being, and political systems, particularly in Latin America, where rising violence has become apparent.

Addressing the gendered aspect of organized crime, Cammett highlighted its disproportionate impact on women and girls. She stressed the direct and indirect ramifications for democracy, with criminal gangs viewing political engagement as a threat. Cammett called for effective responses that encompass both supply-side and demand-side approaches.

Victoria Nyanjura, Founder and General Director of Women in Action for Women, brought a personal perspective to the discussion, sharing her experience as a survivor of sexual violence perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa. Nyanjura emphasized that sexual violence, a core element of organized crime, goes beyond individual trauma, creating a community burden. She called for addressing root causes, dismantling structures that protect perpetrators, and providing support for survivors.

Nyanjura highlighted the importance of education, awareness, and community commitment in eradicating sexual violence. She stressed the need for survivors to be heard, believed, and included in decision-making processes. Nyanjura called for collective action to dismantle organized crime networks and eliminate sexual violence from communities, emphasizing the role of both governments and private organizations in supporting survivors.

In conclusion, the United Nations and experts underscored the urgent need for global cooperation to combat transnational organized crime, recognizing its multifaceted impact on peace, security, and development. The call for enhanced international collaboration, strengthened institutions, and a comprehensive approach reflects the shared commitment to addressing the complex challenges posed by organized criminal activities worldwide.


bottom of page