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Overcoming together challenges in the fight against organized crime thanks to the Review Mechanism

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Vienna (Austria), 1 November 2021 – Two decades ago, the international community adopted the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), a landmark global achievement that underlined “the cross-border nature of the organized crime threat, and of the need for cross-border cooperation to bring criminal groups to justice and protect people” as stated by UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly.

Today, not only has the Convention reached almost universal adherence with 190 States parties, but the international community has been strengthening its collaboration by adopting the Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto.

The review process

Through a peer review process, States parties to the Convention and the Protocols will identify and substantiate specific needs for technical assistance, and further promote international cooperation. Furthermore, it has the unique characteristic of being carried out almost completely online.

Four thematic clusters will be reviewed and each country review process is expected to last eight consecutive years. The observations will highlight gaps and challenges, technical assistance needs and good practices. Similarly, they can also impact and provide relevant guidance for reforms, national legislation, policy decisions and capacity-building initiatives.

Where do we stand?

The mechanism was officially launched in October 2020 with a first group of 62 States starting their review process on the implementation of legal provisions on criminalization and jurisdiction.

Today, a second group of 63 States parties will start their own review of the implementation of the Convention and the Protocols thereto. “Focal points and governmental experts should not be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes, as we all learn as we go”, said Ms. Marta Larmane, focal point for Latvia.

For all focal points and governmental experts who are about to start with the reviews, Mr. Oliver Landwehr, focal point for the European Union, highlights from his personal experience the importance of being responsive and maintaining effective communication among the three focal points. He adds that, given the absence of an on-site visit, providing comprehensive, concise, and clear responses to the self-assessment questionnaires – the first step in each thematic review – is key to facilitate the work of the reviewing States parties.

UNODC’s role

While in the coming weeks States parties will nominate their focal points and governmental experts to participate in these new reviews, UNODC will continue offering its support and assistance through briefings on the Review Mechanism, regular trainings on the use of REVMOD, the software used for conducting the reviews, and of a set of different tools available on the UNTOC’s review mechanism website.

The first results of this peer-review process will be presented at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UNTOC in October 2022, in Vienna.

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