OSCE Mediterranean Partnership discussion: Fight against transnational organized crime depends on multilateral co-operation

To maximize impact in the fight against transnational organized crime (TOC), it is essential to double-down prevention efforts and to leverage multilateral platforms and regional partnerships, participants said at yesterday’s OSCE Mediterranean Partnership of Co-operation Group meeting.

The meeting gathered over 150 representatives from OSCE and Partner countries, Algeria

Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

“We can only be successful in fight against transnational organized crime when we co-ordinate our actions and take advantage of experiences and good practices, “we” meaning the participating States with the Mediterranean Partners, “we” the OSCE with other international organizations and bodies,” said Ambassador Adam Hałaciński, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OSCE, who chaired today’s meeting.

Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said: “I strongly believe that we are now at a defining moment for our post-pandemic future. Weakened by the health emergency and the economic downturn, our world needs to mobilize against organized crime threats, if we are to build fairer societies, and emerge stronger from the crisis. To advance shared responses, we need to leverage our common framework: the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its protocols addressing human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and illicit firearms.”

One of the key issues explored was how the OSCE and its Mediterranean Partners could more concretely reflect implementing international provisions and conventions that facilitate transnational co-operation in their national strategies, such as the UNTOC and the Doha Declaration.

Alena Kupchyna, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats, noted that during the pandemic, organized crime groups had taken advantage of the economic recession to create new avenues of profit. “The fight against TOC can be effective only if we have a common and shared agenda and if we include a strong prevention component in all our endeavours.” said Kupchyna.

The OSCE is working on expanding support to participating States through, among other initiatives, a new OSCE-wide project on youth crime prevention and a new project on asset recovery with the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation.