Keynote speech of Ambassador Kitano, in his capacity as Chair of the CCPCJ (Special Event to commemorate UNODC at 20)

Executive Director Mr. Fedotov, Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be given this valuable opportunity to speak and to deliver my most sincere congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in my capacity as Chair of the 26th session of the CCPCJ, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. I would also like to pay particular tribute to Mr. Fedotov, for his splendid work as Executive Director of the UNODC over the past 7 years and to the significant dedication of the staff of the UNODC. Allow me to express my part of appreciation to our host country and host city.

Looking back, the past two decades have been marked with increasing challenges and enhanced responses to them. During this period, globalization has expanded and has, on one hand, rendered a wealth of positive impacts. On the other hand, its negative aspects have caused us a myriad of challenges: such as an increase of severe and demoralizing crimes; terrorism, illicit trafficking of drugs, transnational organized crime, trafficking in persons, cybercrime, to name a few.  These are all issues under the purview of the UNODC.
Despite these challenges, we have been able to bring forth effective responses to them. One of our many achievements to date has been the adoption of the Transnational Organized Crime Convention and the Convention against Corruption. Additionally we have adopted several guidelines and resolutions to address our urgent needs.
 In this vein, I would like to commend the great work of the UNODC. The UNODC has played a pivotal role in gathering and analyzing comparable and reliable information which are indispensable to evidence-based policymaking. The UNODC also played an essential role in assisting of drafting the legal instruments, and in providing support to Member States in implementing them. These achievements would not have been possible without the monumental efforts made by the UNODC.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Looking ahead, I now would like to highlight some key examples that demonstrate how the UNODC’s work continues to be crucial.
First, responding to recent crime trends is vital to countering today’s challenges effectively. Terrorism has taken on new dimensions due to modern technology and its growing links to organized crime, posing an unprecedented threat to international security. Emerging crime such as cybercrime, trafficking in cultural property and wildlife crime have also come up on our agenda recently. In tackling this threat, UNODC’s specialized assistance and expertise are urgently needed.
Second, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals provide us with clear guidance for our work ahead. Our work is directly linked to fulfilling Goal 16, where the promotion of the rule of law functions as a fundamental element, but our work is also related to other goals including those on gender issues, education, access to decent employment opportunities, reduced inequalities and so on. In this respect, the SDGs require us to work comprehensively considering the complexity of the tasks we have ahead. The upcoming Crime Congress in 2020 which will take place in Kyoto, Japan, will also be focusing its discussions on how best to achieve the SDGs. The SDGs also serve as the backbone for cooperation with our equally important sister commission, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Taking all these aspects into account, we very much count on UNODC’s mandate, as part of the UN secretariat, to help us achieve the SDGs.
Third, capacity building and promoting international cooperation will continue to be one of the ultimate outputs of our work. The reason why we discuss crime prevention and criminal justice in multilateral settings, is that each Member State needs to build up its capacity and strengthen international cooperation to effectively combat crime, considering its increasing transnational nature.  Here, UNODC’s role in facilitating and realizing our commitments will be indispensable.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The most recent CCPCJ meeting was a good reminder of both challenges and commitments of our work with the attendance of 1,200 participants and nearly 100 side events. This well attended Commission illustrates, on one hand, the growing threats we face, but at the same time, the increased commitment of the international community to confront the magnitude of these challenges.
Going forward, I wish the global community will face less challenges in the areas I mentioned now. However, to the extent that the challenges remain to be these, I strongly wish that the UNODC continues to be relevant in helping us respond effectively to the changing realities.
Thank you.