UNODC and the Global Programmes

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2006

16 Pages, Grade: 2




1. Definition
1.1 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
1.2 Organized Crime
1.3. International Security

2. Partners

3. Efforts in the fight against Transnational Organized Crime

4. The Global Programmes
4.1 The Global Programme against Organized Crime
4.2 The Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings
4.3 The Global Programme against Terrorism
4.4 The Global Programme against Money Laundering
4.5 The Global Programme against Corruption




Transnational Organized Crime is a relatively new problem that concerns the international community and its transnational relations.

In this context, international organizations have a very important role in the fight against this global problem. The most important actors are still the governments themselves as they control what needs to be done to conquer the problem. An international organization as the United Nations can only be as strong as the Member States in its organization. Since organized crime is an international problem all countries and organizations need to work together to get control back. Governments alone will not be able to combat the problem along as organized crime is having an impact all over the world. Therefore awareness needs to be raised so that everyone knows what impact organized crime is having on governments and peoples lives.

Whole societies and countries can be destroyed since organized crime results in heavy “side-affects” such as money-laundering, corruption, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.

With the Global Programmes the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which is the leading body in this fight, it tries to contain organized crime.

I picked this topic as it is very interesting for me to see what possibilities a world organization like the United Nations is having to fight that problem and what efforts are undertaken to stop this vicious circle. Organized Crime is endangering the international security.

In this context, I tried to point out the efforts of UNODC and its Global Programmes and looked what impact it actually has.

1. Definition

1.1 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) was founded in 1997 and is globally wide the leading body in countering crime, terrorism and illicit drugs. UNDCP (United Nations Drug Control Programme) established in 1991 and CICP (Centre for International Crime Prevention) founded in 1997 form together UNODC. The headquarter of UNODC is in Vienna and has 21 field offices all over the world. 90 percent of its money comes from contributions of governments. UNODC work consists of three main emphases:

- It does research and analytical work to better understands the dynamics of illicit drug and crime in order to give advice to policy-makers and for operational decisions.
- UNODC assists countries in the ratification and implementation of international treaties and conventions. It helps with the development and installation of adequate local frameworks in order to counter drug and crime. UNODC does educational work as it tries to make people understand the impact of drugs and its affects on someone’s life. Therefore UNODC strengthen international action against these forms of crimes.
- In the field technical and legal assistance is offered to governments to make an international approach to fight these phenomena.[1]

1.2 Organized Crime

The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime defines that term as:

“Organized criminal group, shall mean a structured group of three or more persons, existing for a period of time and acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences established in accordance with this Convention, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit.”[2]

1.3. International Security

Wichard Woyke defines “international security” as follows:

„Der Begriff internationale Sicherheit umschliesst alle zwischenstaatlichen Ansätze zur Gewährleistung der äusseren Sicherheit der Mitglieder des internationalen Systems, also Bündnispolitik und Militärallianzen wie auch Internationale Organisationen. Internationale Sicherheit kann durch Machtgleichgewicht, Machtkontrolle oder Machtausübung erreicht werden.“[3]

2. Partners

Transnational Organized Crime can only be successfully combated through an international cooperation. The United Nation is the leading body in the international sphere. The United Nations Office on Drugs an Crime (UNODC) in Vienna as well as the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in Turin are the special units in this area in the UN system. UNODC and UNICRI are working closely together in their daily fight against organized crime. Right now their main emphases are the Global Programmes against Organized Crime, Trafficking in Human Beings, Corruption, Money-Laundering and Terrorism. In this context UNICRI is responsible for research, for strategy development and for the collection of the necessary data. UNICRI and UNODC share the database UNCJIN (UN Crime and Justice Information Network) together which should improve the cooperation of all judicial institutions worldwide.

Besides UNODC and UNICRI there are other UN institutions who deal with that matter. There is the UNHCR (Office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees), UNIFEM (UN Development Fund for Women=, OHCHR (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), ILO (International Labor Organization) and UNICEF (UN International Children’s Emergency Fund). Besides that, every year there is an own UN committee that deals with modern forms of slavery. There are even more UN agencies who deal with the ongoing dangers associated with transnational organized crime.

There are lots of international project in this field. Diverse international organizations such as OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) try to improve the situation. Unfortunately they do not really coordinate their work. A lot of the same projects are often in the same area. If they would all collaberate their efforts, the available resources could be used in a more efficient way. We always have to keep in mind that this insufficient project management costs human lives.

At this point I have to say that we can see an increased cooperation in regional projects, what is definitely necessary.[4]

Endeavors to fight organized crime in a well functioning network of international organizations are more und more underway. The UN, OSCE and the European Union cooperate in a variety of initiatives and programmes.[5]

3. Efforts in the fight against Transnational Organized Crime

Before the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime got adopted, the United Nations called upon Member States in resolutions to criminalize trafficking in women and children and to find measures to counter act it.


[1] Ibid.,

[2] United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, p. 4

[3] Woyke, p. 195-196

[4] Ibid., Oberloher 1, p. 169-173

[5] Ibid., Oberloher 2, p. 46

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UNODC and the Global Programmes
University of Vienna
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Karin Rammerstorfer (Author), 2006, UNODC and the Global Programmes, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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