Remarks at a UN Third Committee Meeting on Crime, Information and Communications Technologies, and Drugs

Kristen Larson
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 3, 2019


Thank you for the floor, Mr. Chair, and thank you for your leadership in this committee. We would like to note that our statement will address all three agenda items today.

We would first like to recognize the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which, guided by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), continues to play a leading role in developing global responses to transnational organized crime and illicit drugs. The United States is a proud and active member of both commissions, and we are also proud to continue supporting UNODC to carry out its mandates in these areas.

The United States also deeply values the ongoing work of the UN Intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime in Vienna, which the General Assembly created in 2010 as the lead UN forum for studying and addressing cybercrime. It is our responsibility in this committee to discuss ways to reinforce – not undermine or duplicate – the lead role of the Expert Group in this area.

In the United States, drugs, organized crime, and cybercrime touch our citizens’ lives more directly now than ever before. In 2018, 47,000 people in the United States died of an overdose from fentanyl or another opioid. Nearly everyone in the United States knows someone who knows someone who is affected by this crisis. Given their wide availability and cheap production costs, synthetic drugs like these represent a truly global challenge that demands a multilateral response.

It is in this spirit that we welcome the ministerial declaration adopted at the CND this year. Our work here today should also remain guided by the three drug control treaties, as well as the agreements on which we’ve reached consensus in the past decade.

With this foundation in place, it is time now to think about what each of us can do at home. We thank all 130 countries that joined us last year in signing the “Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem.” We have seen great progress worldwide in implementing that commitment. The United States took the Call to Action forward to a new level last week by calling on industry to join a Private Sector Call to Action.

Cybercrime is another threat that seems ever-more present in our lives. Since cybercrime knows no geographic boundaries, international cooperation is especially crucial. Luckily, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime already provide a strong basis for international cooperation to investigate and prosecute cybercrime. There is no need for a new global treaty or model law, and attempts to create documents such as these would undermine the progress we’ve made so far in applying the existing treaties and providing technical assistance to help every country use them effectively.

And we must not forget corruption, the tie that binds all of these threats together. We look forward to the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Abu Dhabi this December, which will also launch preparations for the 2021 UN General Assembly Special Session on Corruption. We encourage all Member States to approach the Special Session, and UN anticorruption policy in general, thinking about how best to implement our existing Convention, and implement the solid legal framework we have already built together.

In closing, the United States would like to recognize Japan for graciously hosting the next UN Crime Congress in Kyoto in 2020. This is no small undertaking, and we are grateful for Japan’s efforts to guide us towards a political declaration that is as powerful as it is concise.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.