The 25th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ or UN Crime Commission) was held in Vienna from 23 – 27 May 2016 with some 1000 delegates from the governments, NGOs and academic community.
The Global Initiative participated in two side events:
Addressing Illegal Mining as a New Form of Transnational Organised Crime
Together with the governments of Peru and Switzerland and UNODC, the Global Initiative co-hosted a side event (27th May) on “Addressing Illegal Mining as a New Form of Transnational Organized Crime”.
As laid out in the Global Initiative’s report, “Organised Crime and Illegally Mined Gold in Latin America“, the discussion highlighted the nexus between organized crime and illegal gold mining funds insurgent groups, fuels conflict and violence, speeds environmental destruction, facilitates money laundering and corruption, forcibly displaces local populations and creates situations of labour exploitation, labour trafficking, and sex trafficking.
In order to combat illegal gold mining and the social and environment consequences that accompany it, governments, the private sector, and multi-stakeholder initiatives must take immediate coordinated actions. Latin America is unique in that a large percentage of gold mined in many countries is mined illegally. For example, about 28% of gold mined in Peru, 30% of gold mined in Bolivia, and 80% of gold mined in Colombia is produced illegally. Latin American countries with high rates of illegal gold mining and related social and environmental risks constitute some of the biggest suppliers of gold to key refineries in countries such as Switzerland and the United States, which refine gold for the biggest jewellery and electronics companies in the world, in addition to central and private banks.
The objective of the side event was to raise awareness about illegal mining as a new form of transnational organised crime through the experiences of Member States addressing this problem (adoption of legislation / preventive measures / interdiction of illegal activities) as well as trends and related crimes.
The main questions discussed during the side-event were the current weaknesses in the response to counter illegal gold mining and what are important steps to reduce illegal gold mining and related forms of human & labour rights violations and environmental destruction. Furthermore, the representatives from the governments of Peru and Switzerland elaborated on the important role of import and export countries in tackling illegal gold mining and related forms of organized crimes.
Countering Corruption for Social Peace: Interstate and Intercultural Challenges
The GI also participated in the side event (25th May) on “Countering Corruption for Social Peace: Interstate and Intercultural Challenges” with the Academic Council on the United Nations System and the Universal Peace Federation (photo attached). The side event dealt with cultural and educational challenges in promoting anti-corruption initiatives as well as with a linkage between organized crime and corruption as illustrated by the situation in the Western Balkans (the GI contribution).