Panel Discussions - Friday, October 22, 2010
A “One UN” Approach to Fighting Crime?
Organized crime is a threat to stability in almost every theatre where the United Nations is active in keeping or building the peace. It is also a threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
How well equipped is the UN to tackle this threat, and what can it do to reduce vulnerability to transnational organized crime?
This was the focus of a side event, co-hosted by IPI and Switzerland, on the margins of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) that took place in Vienna on October 22, 2010.
The panel discussion looked at the spiral of how organized crime increases vulnerability and how underdevelopment is a magnet for crime, which, in turn, increases instability. This creates an environment conducive to illicit activity, which deepens vulnerability. Breaking this cycle requires increased stability and development. What is being done, particularly in the UN, to break this cycle, and to reduce vulnerability to transnational organized crime?
The panelists were: Ambassador Thomas Greminger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the OSCE, United Nations and International Organizations in Vienna; Walter Kemp, IPI’s Director for Europe and Central Asia; Gwenneth Boniface, Transnational Crime Expert, UN Police Division, DPKO; Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Senior Researcher, Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development; and Mark Shaw, Office-in-Charge of the Integrated Program and Oversight Branch, Division for Operations, UNODC.
In two recent Presidential Statements (S/PRST/2009/32 of December 8, 2009 and S/PRST/2010/4 of February 24, 2010), the Security Council has invited the Secretary General to mainstream the issue of fighting organized crime into conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessments and planning and peacebuilding support.
The side event discussed what, concretely, is being done to follow up these calls, particularly in UN peace operations, the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Department for Political Affairs (DPA).
A good example is the “one UN” approach to fighting organized crime–particularly drug trafficking–in West Africa. Under the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI), UNODC, DPKO, DPA and Interpol work together with ECOWAS and countries of the region to strengthen counter-narcotics and crime-prevention capacity.
Panelists discussed what more needs to be done within the UN system to fight transnational organized crime, including more effective use of threat assessments, more TOC experts in peace operations, criminal justice mandates for all affected peace operations, and more effective sharing of intelligence. Reference was made to the IPI Blue Paper on TOC which includes a number of specific recommendations.
While criminal justice support is increasing–for example, from DPKO and UNODC–the point was made that these efforts can be undercut by lack of political will. The point was raised, how do you deal with interlocutors who are actually part of the problem? The importance of a comprehensive approach to criminal justice reform was stressed, as well as taking a regional approach because of the transnational nature of the problem.
Justice is not one of the Millennium Development Goals, but its absence undermines them all. Countries affected by fragility, conflict and armed violence are furthest away from achieving the MDGs.
The importance of development to reduce vulnerability to crime and conflict was stressed, particularly by the Ambassador of Switzerland and the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. The Declaration, thus far endorsed by 108 states, recognizes that armed violence is both a cause and consequence of underdevelopment and constitutes a major obstacle to the achievement of the MDGs. It promotes a comprehensive response to deal with this challenge.
The meeting was attended by around 60 people, and included a lively discussion from the floor.
The Global Observatory
Can Machines Learn to Predict a Violent Conflict?
Machine learning is poised to help with the basic operational challenge of developing early warning systems: processing and analyzing data.
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2013: The Multilateral Arena
Ten key issues that are likely to impact global affairs in international peace, security, and development.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
November 28, 2013
Energy and Security in the Arctic: A New “Frozen” Conflict?
Is the Arctic a “region of cooperation,” or will competition for its potentially rich energy resources lead to conflict in the high north? This was the main question addressed during an expert workshop held in The Hague on November 28th by the International Peace Institute together with the International Gas Union and the Clingendael International Energy Programme.
November 22, 2013
Can Technology Play a Role in Drafting a Constitution?
The effects that new technologies can have on constitutional processes was the topic of this November 22nd IPI roundtable discussion. Approximately five new constitutions are written around the world every year, and their legitimacy is increasingly influenced by a new level of public participation in their drafting, not merely by a plebiscite on the final text. As rapidly advancing technology changes the way that governments and citizens interact, what role are new technologies playing in constitutions?
November 19, 2013
Haqqani: Pakistanis Need Honest Debate About Their Country
"We Pakistanis need an honest debate inside our country about what is Pakistan's national interest. We never have it,” said Hussain Haqqani, a former Pakistani diplomat and journalist, who was at IPI on November 19th to give a presentation on his latest book, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding.