During the pandemic, the dynamics of illicit markets have been evident, as we have analyzed in other publications of our COVID Crime Watch series. Cybercrime activities have expanded as lives move deeper online; criminal groups have enforced quarantine patrol and delivered groceries to communities affected by lockdown measures; and, in one theory, the illicit pangolin trade may have caused the viral transfer that has now become a global crisis.

Recognizing that this crisis is first and foremost a health and humanitarian emergency, it has exposed a number of governance failures and risks, including in public services, economic protection and rule of law. The UN is also faced with these challenges, which include the way crime and corruption feed off emergencies, hinder responses and impede prospects for an inclusive economic recovery.

This brief looks at the UN response to the crime and corruption aspects of the pandemic, and lays out several key crosscutting areas that will be critical for the institution to address as it leads a global effort to fight the pandemic and promote a recovery in line with Agenda 2030.

Covid-19 and crime: A response develops at the UN

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Summer Walker

Summer Walker is the Global Initiative’s New York Representative, as well as a Senior Analyst. In her role, she engages with the United Nations community and government missions to bring the research, analysis and innovative approaches of GI and its Network of Experts to multilateral policy debates. Ms. Walker focuses on global criminal justice agendas and produces relevant policy briefs and commentary pieces on issues ranging from drug policy to cybercrime. As a research consultant, she has worked in New York and Berlin for international NGOs, foundations, development agencies and research institutes. During 2015-2016, she directed a drug policy project at United Nations University in New York leading up to the 2016 UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem. Ms. Walker’s wider background is in human rights and development, and she explores the impacts of organized crime and associated responses in these areas. Ms. Walker holds an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University.

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