Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr. President,

I want to begin by thanking President Noboa for chairing today’s meeting and the Ecuadorian Presidency for bringing this salient topic for discussion by the Security Council. I also thank Secretary-General Guterres for his remarks, as well as Executive Director Waly, Professor Cammett, and Ms. Nyanjura for their valuable briefings.

Mr. President,

Transnational organized crime has historically shaped the perfect conditions for conflict, both fueling and financing situations of insecurity across the globe.

It upends stability in all areas of life, disproportionately affecting women and girls, limiting ecological protections, and negatively affecting development. Overall, it remains a significant obstacle to achieving the New Agenda for Peace.

Novel efforts – such as regional or bilateral early warning mechanisms, like the one established between Ecuador and Colombia earlier this year, can help in combating transnational organized crime and addressing the risks against those most impacted.

The United Arab Emirates believes that the international community can build on these efforts and affect a consequential breakthrough in this pattern.

As such, we would like to share three recommendations today.

First, we must confront the illicit financial flows and proceeds of crime linked to transnational organized crime.

This is as much a challenge for stable economies as it is for those that are vulnerable to shocks. 

The proceeds of crime are used not only to prop-up criminal networks – up to 2.7% of global GDP is reportedly laundered by criminals – but also in the engagement of criminal activities. Bribery, for example, is estimated to cost up to 2 trillion dollars per year.

The challenge is one that the UAE is tackling head on through strong institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Unit. In recent years, we have increased the number of bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance treaties with Member States to 45, and this number will continue to grow.

Second, organized crime is multifaceted, and so too should be our approach, including by operating with a gender-responsive lens.

Women and girls have unique vulnerabilities to organized crime: they are trafficked at a higher rate than men, making up 65% of victims globally, and UNODC found that they suffer extreme violence at three times the rate compared with their male counterparts.

Yet women are not merely to be seen as victims. Ms. Nyanjura’s powerful testimony today speaks to the crucial role that women must have in education, as well as in preventing and countering these crimes. We must work to increase the representation of women at all levels, including management and command and control levels in criminal justice and law enforcement entities.

Their full, equal, and meaningful participation in addressing organized crime is not just critical for adopting survivor-centered approaches, but also to strengthen education programmes and engage communities.

Third, we must leverage new technologies, including artificial intelligence, in the pursuit of a world free of transnational organized crime.

We are increasingly witnessing the weaponization of emerging technologies for criminal purposes.

The use of cryptocurrencies alone by transnational criminal organisations grew by 80% between 2020 and 2021.

Yet, the disruptive capability of technological progress cuts both ways.

The UAE believes we ought to be optimistic realists when it comes to emerging technologies, not just for assessing the threats they pose, but to harness the opportunities they offer.  

AI can be utilized to track criminal activities online, and monitor and identify suspicious and illicit financial transactions. To that end, in August of this year, the UAE signed a private sector partnership to establish a global center for AI and cybertechnology in Dubai to fight cybercrime and secure the digital ecosystem.

The UNODC Drugs Monitoring Platform is another example. It is a new multi-source system that will collect, visualize, and share near real-time data on drug trafficking trends.

It is our hope that the proliferation of projects such as these are no longer the exception but swiftly become the rule in the fight against organised crime.

Mr. President,

From 2015 to 2021, organized crime was responsible for as many annual deaths as all armed conflicts combined. As the primary custodians of international peace and security, we must heed the warning of this shocking statistic.

It is essential that the international community meet its commitments under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to counter these crimes being committed on land, air, and sea, including by enhancing our international cooperation in criminal matters.

Only then will we succeed in building more crime-resilient, stable, and peaceful societies.

I thank you, Mr. President.