Remarks at a Third Committee General Discussion on Drugs and Crime

Keri Sikich
Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 3, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chair, and for your leadership as chair of the Third Committee.

The United States would first like to reiterate our support for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which plays a leading role in developing global responses to the threats posed by transnational organized crime, corruption, and illicit drugs. We are a proud and active member of both the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as a strong supporter of UNODC’s technical assistance programming to address transnational crime around the world.

Cybercrime is a direct threat to our collective security, and addressing this threat is a priority for the United States. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime have been the longstanding bases for international cooperation to investigate and prosecute cybercrime. The United States looks forward to continuing negotiations on a path towards a fair and practical criminal justice instrument focused on international cooperation to combat cybercrime. It is critical that this instrument be based on consensus and protect human rights while also preserving an interoperable, secure, and reliable internet.

Global drug trafficking threats are ever more pressing, and the need to safeguard our future and advance international cooperation to confront the unprecedented global synthetic drug crisis is increasingly clear. In April 2022, the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy released the National Drug Control Strategy. Saving lives is at the core of this strategy, which calls for urgent action to bend the curve on overdose deaths in the immediate term while outlining steps to reduce drug use and associated harms over the longer term. Building on the U.S. government’s statement of drug policy priorities released in April of last year, the Strategy outlines areas of work that include: one, prevention and early intervention; two, harm reduction; three, substance use disorder treatment; four, building a recovery-ready nation; five, domestic supply reduction; six, international supply reduction; seven, criminal justice and public safety; and eight, data and research.

These efforts must also be complemented by effective international cooperation and law enforcement measures to reduce illicit manufacture and trafficking of drugs. This year at the

Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Member States made progress against threats posed by illicit synthetic drugs by unanimously voting to internationally control three precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of fentanyl and adopting a resolution on opportunities to address the threat posed by non-scheduled chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of synthetic drugs.

Corruption undermines good governance, threatens democratic values, and has a pernicious effect on fundamental components of a thriving society, including public service delivery, security, human rights, and economic development. Over the past year, the United States has taken significant action on the global fight against corruption. Last December, the U.S. government released the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption and launched the Summit for Democracy, both of which underscore combatting corruption as a national security interest and foreign policy priority. In July, the State Department appointed the first Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption, whose work will help to strengthen United States’ efforts with international partners to advance anti-corruption priorities and international commitments and standards.

The United States looks forward to continued partnership with the international community to advance shared anti-corruption priorities. In particular, we look forward to hosting the biennial International Anti-Corruption Conference with Transparency International in Washington, D.C., this December. Next year, the United States will host and assume the presidency of the UN Convention against Corruption Conference of the States Parties, or COSP.

The transnational criminal threats we face are grave, complex, and interrelated. We know all too well that preventing and combating transnational crime, corruption, and drug threats are tasks that require global action, not only from governments but also from stakeholders including civil society. The United States stands firm in its commitment to enhancing civil society engagement on transnational crime issues in UN bodies so as to protect a Member State’s access to civil society perspectives and expertise. Civil society organizations play an important role in helping governments combat transnational crime through their expertise, experience, and perspectives, as well as holding governments to account for their international obligations.

We look forward to working with Member States to negotiate this year’s drugs and crime resolutions and make progress on these critical global challenges.

Thank you, Chair.