High-Level General Assembly Thematic Debate on ‘Integrating Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’

Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this important debate, and you, Madam Chair, for your leadership on this issue. I align myself with the statement by the EU and would like to add some remarks in my national capacity.

If we are to address not just the symptoms but also the root causes of crime, we must focus our attention to the links between sustainable development, criminal justice systems and organized crime.

The Netherlands has therefore been a strong supporter of the inclusion of Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies and effective and accountable institutions in the post-2015 agenda. This includes, among others, target 16.4 that highlights the need to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows and combat all forms of organized crime. 

I would like to highlight three issues in this context. Firstly, we need more attention for fragility and crime, because the World Development Report of 2011 already noted that the number of violent deaths caused by crime may be higher than that caused by conflict. Because 500 million people worldwide live in fragile situations caused by violence, be it from conflict or criminal activities. Because crime thrives on inequality and exclusion. Here, I note the relevance of Goal 10 on reducing inequalities for this debate. Because crime endangers livelihoods in many different forms, by robbing communities of their natural resources, like fish, timber or oil. Or by hunting wildlife that could attract tourists and provide for far more sustainable livelihoods than poaching will ever do. Therefore, the Netherlands supports raising more awareness and gathering more information on this destructive link between crime and fragility.

Secondly, we need better cooperation between law enforcement, criminal justice systems and development. Law enforcement efforts are futile if socio-economic issues are not addressed or if the criminal justice system is not transparent and accessible. Only by addressing root causes can we combat criminal activities in a sustainable way. Development efforts need to take into account the detrimental effect of crime on the achievement of the SDGs. In this respect, I would like to commend an excellent report launched by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime together with Saferworld. The report analyzes all the SDGs, demonstrating the crosscutting threat that organized crime poses to the achievement of the post-2015 agenda. 

Thirdly, we need new partnerships. The post-2015 agenda is a universal agenda and we will have to realize that the issues of organized crime are not only issues of the developing world. We are all dealing with its detrimental effects and all have a responsibility to fight it. In this regard, socio-economic policy makers and criminal justice systems can work together more closely. Here, there are also opportunities for south-south and trilateral cooperation. The Netherlands stands ready to support these partnerships.

In conclusion, Madam Chair, going forward, we join the call in this room to collectively address the growing threat that organized crime poses to peace, justice and development.

Thank you.