Welcome to the United Nations

Remarks by Mr. Alexandre Zouev, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) at the Fourth Intersessional Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

24 Jun 2019

Distinguished Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to address the Fourth Intersessional Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

I would like to start by congratulating the adoption in March 2019 of the Ministerial Declaration on strengthening actions to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments to address the world drug problem.

The Declaration emphasizes, among other things, the need for concerted and sustained action, both at the national and international level, including through inter-agency cooperation within the United Nations system and with other international partners.

UNODC has been an exclusive partner for my Office, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions of the Department of Peace Operations, in the area of Serious and Organized Crime and addressing transnational threat.

On a regular basis, UNODC shares good practices on serious and organized crime through proactive discussions and briefings, through its participation in the Serious and Organized Crime Focal Point Network led by UNPOL.

In the field, my Office and UNODC collaborates in many country and regional contexts, including Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau/West Africa region, Haiti and Mali/G5 Sahel region.

To take a recent example, through the Police Division, my Office has supported UNODC with a Serious and Organized Crime Expert on “Operation Open Roads”, a regional UNODC-ECOWAS joint exercise held at the end of 2018 with the participation of The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. The training tested and strengthened cross-border cooperation mechanisms on addressing illicit drug trafficking.  

There are additional plans to extend this joint exercise to other countries in the region. OROLSI will further continue supporting and providing expertise to Malian authorities, through its peacekeeping presence, MINUSMA.

Two years ago, our entities have signed the Strategic Partnership Framework Regarding Counterterrorism and the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE).

The partnership has been a vital tool to promote regular exchanges between OROLSI and UNODC on related policy development, capacity-building programme and project development, field assessments and training. This will continue to be a central area of focus, given the growing importance of these issues in peace operations contexts.

In particular, UNODC chairs the United Nations Counterterrorism Compact’s Working Group on Criminal Justice, Legal Responses and Countering the Financing of Terrorism; and, it also co-chairs the Resource Mobilization & Monitoring and Evaluation as well as the Border Management and Law Enforcement Working Groups. In this capacity, we would like to encourage UNODC to foster joint approaches and programmes in the field. OROLSI stands ready to contribute and collaborate.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Serious and organized crimes, including drug trafficking, is often both a product of and contributor to conflict in vulnerable states. When linked with state fragility, corruption and technology, they pose a sizeable threat to the recovery and development of conflict-affected states, making our mandate implementation ever more challenging.

As the nature of these threats and capacity gaps in host states evolves, so too will the needs for different skillsets.

One key to addressing organized crime is the ability to “follow the money” for example. However, expertise in financial crime, as well as areas such as forensics and cybercrime, is often at a premium even in the most advanced policing services. The future will likely bring increasing demand for these skills in peacekeeping activities related to capacity-building.

To respond effectively, it will be critical to seize on the comparative advantages of partners inside and outside the United Nations System, including the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of Counterterrorism, in addition to the African Union, European Union, INTERPOL and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

As a final word, I would like to bring to your attention an inter-agency mechanism which addresses rule of law and security issues, co-chaired by my Office and UNDP called the “Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law”. As a practical, field-focused and resource-efficient arrangement bringing together key UN rule of law actors, including UNHCR, OHCHR, UN Women and UNODC, the GFP has the potential to promote serious and organized crime-related joint programming and projects in conflict or post-conflict areas – in other words, where we, OROLSI, has the comparative advantage.   

I thank you for your kind attention and wish you a fruitful intersessional discussion.