When it first took up the issue of transnational organized crime, in April 2003, CEB recognized the need for strengthening collective action by the United Nations system in confronting the threats posed by transnational organized crime. Two basic considerations underlay this conclusion. First was that transnational organized crime, while not a new phenomenon, had grown in strength and severity over the last decade, benefiting from technological innovations and establishing new links with terrorism. Second was the impact that transnational crime had on the key areas of the system’s involvement: peace and security, social and economic development, the environment, human rights, democracy and good governance.

In 2004, CEB reviewed progress in the implementation of its previous conclusions on the subject and endorsed a package of measures aimed at building an effective system-wide response to curbing transnational crime.  Initial follow-up work has resulted in the identification of specific areas on which joint work should focus: links between ongoing conflicts and organized crime; interventions to counter trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants; efforts to stem trafficking in a variety of illicit commodities; and HIV/AIDS in prisons.

Other collaborative work, with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime serving as lead agency, is currently under way in the following areas:

  • Supporting the implementation of the relevant international legal instruments, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in firearms, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the 3 United Nations drug-control Conventions and the 12 international instruments on the prevention of terrorism;
  • Furthering information collection, analysis and reporting, allowing for system-wide knowledge-sharing on trends in transnational crime;
  • Developing a preventive approach within the United Nations system, including through awareness-raising and training measures for staff and peacekeepers;
  • Enhanced cooperation with law enforcement and other relevant international organizations;
  • Mainstreaming the issue of organized crime and related issues into United Nations development interventions at the country level;
  • Joint projects in the area of rule-of-law assistance and capacity-building;
  • Disseminating best practices, including through a knowledge network.