Thank you, Madame President,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me to echo previous congratulations upon your election as President, as well as that of the other members of the bureau. Let me also thank the Secretariat for the preparations of this 8th Conference of the Parties
Transnational organized crime and corruption is a threat to peace, national and international security, development, and the rule of law. It undermines democratic governance and justice and violates human rights worldwide.
Norway recognizes transnational organized crime as an integral part of unconventional threats in a new and complex security landscape. The
blurred lines between organized crime and terrorism - and organized crime and politics - demonstrate this.
The Sustainable Development Goals are groundbreaking. They provide us with a roadmap for the future we want.
Peace, stability and security are vital in order to achieve the Development Goals. International organized crime, including human trafficking, armed violence, smuggling of migrants, drug trafficking, illicit trade in arms, natural resources and forest products is a driver of instability. It must
be effectively addressed if we are to achieve the Development Goals. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has a key role to play towards 2030.
Sustainable development goal 16 on "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions" is
at the core of UNODC’ mandate. But the SDGs are closely interlinked. By providing access to justice for all, UNODC is also contributing to achieving SDG 5 on gender equality.
Let me pay particular tribute to the important role civil society plays in addressing transnational organized crime and promoting the SDGs.
The Norwegian Government issued a white paper to address global security challenges last year.
The global security landscape has changed fundamentally in the past few years. Security challenges are more complex than in the past. The effects of non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, organized crime, piracy and cybercrime are becoming increasingly clear. Globalization has strengthened the links between the various global security challenges. We see that cybercrime, armed violence, piracy and terrorism are fueled by, and closely linked to transnational organized crime. ISIL, which is financing its campaign of terror through the illegal sale of natural resources and antiquities, has been spreading its extremist ideology through social media. Combatting terrorism and transnational organized crime is a priority of my government.
we witnessed from the Mediterranean Sea over the past years illustrate that criminal networks have no respect for the life of innocent people. We must do our utmost to combat these networks that are running the illegal refugee and migrant business. Coordination and cooperation among states and international organisations is essential if we are to succeed.
We need to discuss and define the role of crime prevention and criminal justice reform within broader rule of law efforts and the sustainable development goals. In doing so, we must seek to identify factors that contribute to the success of comprehensive approaches to crime prevention and criminal justice.
One such key factor is respect for the special role of women and promoting their full participation. Violence against and trafficking of women and girls constitute a grave violation of their human rights. Criminal justice systems are only legitimate when human rights and justice for all individuals are respected. We must address impunity more effectively through international cooperation, and by focusing on the key perpetrators, through – inter alia – witness protection. We owe this to the victims, to ensure justice and for preventive purposes.
Transnational organized crime has close links to money laundering, corruption and terrorism. This global phenomenon is of grave concern. Human suffering and costs to societies due to organized crime are enormous. Let me thank the UNODC for its important work, also when it comes to addressing illicit financial flows and countering terrorist financing.
We note the innovative, sophisticated, often brutal character of many criminal networks. We experience their involvement in all areas with a potential for profit and in all forms of transnational organized crime. Such areas are narcotic drugs, human trafficking, migrants smuggling, armed violence, cybercrime, illegal fisheries, piracy, illegal logging, and illegal trade in endangered species, timber and forest products, cultural properties and environmental waste.
In the decades ahead, the oceans will play a bigger role in the international economy to meet global needs in line with SDG 14. Today, only 17% of all animal protein consumed globally comes from the sea. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea strikes a delicate balance between competing interests and needs. Transnational organized fisheries crime is a complex form of crime that may involve a number of control agencies, and often several governments. This makes effective cooperation necessary, both nationally and internationally. This is especially important when securing evidences across jurisdictions in order to combat transnational fisheries crime. Also, in this area we need to improve our law enforcement cooperation. Norway compliments Indonesia on the successful meeting in Jogyakarta on this important topic last week.
It is a challenge to counter criminal networks and the globalization of their illegal activities. Norway believes that effective implementation of existing legal instruments is the best way forward. We have ratified and implemented the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols. We encourage member states that have not done so to follow suit.
Strengthened international cooperation in criminal matters is essential in order to prosecute and punish transnational organized crime more efficiently. Effective responses depend on a well-functioning international cooperation. The provisions on international cooperation in the convention (UNTOC) provide a legal basis for such cooperation. There is ample room for enhanced cooperation. We believe that the resolution on "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Central Authorities in Criminal Matters to Counter Transnational Organized Crime", is important in this respect.
The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols are the principal international instruments for combating transnational organized crime in all its forms and manifestations.
These instruments should be supported by an effective review mechanism, with a clear role for the Secretariat. Norway supports the establishment of such a mechanism, provided that it gives real added value and credibility. Such a mechanism should be transparent, inclusive, cost effective, expert based and not unduly burdensome upon the member states. We would like to thank Italy and France for preparing the draft resolution, as well as the ambassador of Jordan for his relentless efforts. It is our hope that we can reach an agreement on such a mechanism during this COP. We will do our best to contribute to a consensus in the days ahead.
Thank you for your attention.