Strengthening the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime: Adapting to the Evolving Situation Asian Partners for Cooperation Conference
As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Courtney Austrian
to the OSCE Asian Partners for Cooperation Conference, Vienna
September 20, 2021
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The United States is very encouraged by the attention the issue of transnational organized crime is receiving at the OSCE. It is a challenge that has expanded dramatically in size, scope, and influence over the past two decades, and poses a significant threat to global security and public safety. We are pleased the Albanian Chairmanship and our hosts from the Kingdom of Thailand raised this topic today.
From the U.S. perspective, reducing the threat of transnational organized crime requires an integrated approach across governments, involving civil society, academia, and the private sector. This includes international cooperation on investigations and legal assistance. Criminal justice practitioners must have the ability to work across borders as successfully as criminals do, while fully respecting national laws and sovereign authorities. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols provide a strong baseline for this cooperation. Less formalized channels for cooperation across borders are also important, including direct engagement between our law enforcement practitioners through the use of liaison officers between governments.
In the United States, our government has adopted what it refers to as a “whole of government” approach to mitigating the threats of organized crime, including efforts to promote government transparency, reduce the ability of transnational criminal networks to spread corruption, and safeguard our economy from criminal exploitation. Because successfully combating transnational organized crime requires strategic and cooperative efforts between states, the United States was pleased that last year the OSCE Ministerial Council adopted a Declaration on Strengthening Cooperation in Countering Transnational Organized Crime in Tirana. We would like to build on last year’s work and adopt an OSCE Decision on Transnational Organized Crime this year in Stockholm, with emphasis on encouraging multi-stakeholder participation – including civil society – in the process. It is equally important to acknowledge the linkages between corruption and transnational organized crime, and we believe any OSCE Decision on this topic should address this key aspect of the issue. We hope other participating States join us in supporting this effort in December.
Thank you Mr. Chair!