Permit me to express on behalf of the Group of 77 and China my warm congratulations to you on your election as well as to other members of the Bureau to direct the proceedings of this First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Group wishes to pay tribute to the Chairman Ambassador Luigi Lauriola and the members of the Bureau of the Ad-Hoc Committee, of Italy that elaborated the TOC. I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead as the Group has a lot at stake in assuring its success.
First, the Group reiterates the importance of the entry into force of the TOC and two of its protocols. It is remarkable that in less than 4 years after the TOC and its protocols were opened for signature, the first session of the COP is taking place. It is even remarkable that the Convention has gathered the largest number of signatories, within any existing UN Convention. As of today, there are 79 parties to the TOC Convention. The G-77 and China welcomes the State of Bahrain as a Signatory of the Convention.
The Convention and its three protocols represent a major step forward in the fight against transnational organized crime and signifies the efforts of Member States to promote cooperation and combat transnational organized crime more effectively through close and dynamic international cooperation including the adoption of concrete measures within frameworks for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law- enforcement, technical assistance and training.
This important inaugural session has before it, agenda items and issues that will constitute the platform of the work of the COP and its universality to which the Group attaches great importance. The Group wishes to make the following remarks.
As the COP embarks upon the activities envisaged under the Convention and its protocols, the Group wishes to recall the commitments undertaken during the negotiations of the Convention and its protocols, to provide technical assistance to the developing countries for the implementation of the Convention and its protocols. We expect the Member States especially the development partners to fulfill their commitments.
On the mechanisms to review periodically the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols in force, the G-77 and China believes that such mechanisms must be linked to technical assistance projects aimed at better implementation of the Convention by State parties. The process leading to the adoption of these mechanisms must be open to all Member States in a view to encourage the ratification and assure the universal character of the convention. Any reviewing process should aim at improving the implementation of technical assistance projects. In this context, the follow-up evaluation of the technical assistance projects would in effect be the review of the implementation of the Convention.
On Mechanisms to facilitate activities by State parties under articles 29-31 of the Convention, including by encouraging the mobilization of voluntary contributions, the Group wishes to recall the experiences of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and stresses the need to be cautious in the management of financial resources, while at the same, not jeopardizing the work of the COP. The Group, therefore, proposes the setting up of an "open - ended working group" to elaborate on the financing of the activities of the COP.
Regarding mechanisms for facilitating exchange of information among parties, the G-77 and China believes that the mechanisms for achieving this objective should be situated within the Secretariat, whereby information on successful best practices on patterns and trends on transnational organized crime for combating it will be disseminated or made available.
As regards mechanisms to cooperate with international and regional organizations the G-77 and China is of the view that such cooperation should be within the framework of the Convention and the Rules of Procedure. As for the NGOs the Group believes that adequate provisions have already been made in the convention and the Rules of Procedures.
The COP must clearly define its relationship and streamline its work with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. There is a need for a clear articulation so as to avoid duplication and ensure proper synthesis.
I thank you.