Madam President,

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 Fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead.

The Group welcomes the increasing number of ratifications of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the implementation of its Protocols. The Convention and its three protocols represent a significant step forward in the fight against transnational organized crime and signifies the collective will 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 for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law-enforcement, technical assistance and training.

To successfully fight transnational organized crime, a legitimate and effective international cooperation is necessary, based on full respect for International Law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, especially those of respect for the political independence of Member States and for their territorial integrity and the non-intervention in their domestic affairs.

As the Conference of the Parties 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 their implementation at the national level, in accordance with Article 30 of the Convention.

The Group of 77 and China stresses the importance of a comprehensive, objective and transparent assessment by the Conference of the current transnational organized crime situation and of the efforts of States Parties to implement the Convention and its Protocols, based on the information gathered from Member States. In this respect, the Group reaffirms the need to ensure that all practices be compatible with and contribute to a strong and effective multilateral system, while avoiding unilateral practices. Thus, the Group reiterates the relevance of the Convention and its Protocols as means to promote genuine cooperation among State Parties, whether in multilateral or bilateral settings.

We would like to recall the Vienna and Bangkok Declarations, which recognized that comprehensive crime prevention must address the root causes related to crime through social, economic, health, education and justice policies. In this context, we call upon the international community to cooperate effectively in addressing the root causes of crime, in order to better implement the TOC convention, in accordance with its Article 30.

Madam President,

The Group would like to highlight challenges faced by Member States in the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, particularly with regard to human trafficking and migrant smuggling, especially women and children, in order to protect the rights of migrants and avoiding any intent of criminalization. The Conference should specially address issues of capacity-building, social and economic factors underlying the supply and demand dimensions of these crimes.

The G77 and China believes that the main role of the Conference of the Parties is to enhance the implementation of the Convention and its protocols, particularly taking into account provision of technical assistance. Therefore the Group attaches great importance to the agenda items of this session, especially agenda item 3 on technical assistance activities.

The Group reaffirms that technical assistance should be delivered, upon request, on the basis of recipient priorities, mutual benefit, respect for diversity and national sovereignty. Furthermore, the Group reiterates that no conditions should be attached to the provisions of technical assistance, and no links be established with development assistance. The provisions of the Convention should be the framework for bilateral and multilateral donors for providing technical assistance.

Consequently short-, medium- and long-term political and financial commitment from Governments and the international community should be ensured. Furthermore, the Group calls upon major donors and relevant international and regional financial institutions to ensure a stable predictable and sufficient financing to UNODC, so as to strengthen the Office's main role as technical assistance provider.

The Group of 77 and China believes that the Open-ended Working Group on Technical Assistance is a fundamental component of the Conference of Parties. The Group hopes that this Working Group will continue to perform its work in a more efficient and effective way, beyond the current 4th session of the Conference.

Madame President,

The Group takes note of the holding of a round table for the technical assistance providers represented at this session and requests that this round table be open-ended. The Group also looks forward to the outcome report of this meeting.

As regards to any possible mechanisms to be decided by the Conference to review the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, the G77 and China believes that such mechanisms should include the provision of technical assistance.

The Group appreciates the elaboration of the two questionnaire cycles on the implementation of the Convention, expresses its concern about the difficulties encountered in its application and considers important to improve its usefulness and applicability. In this regard, the Group looks forward to the conclusion of the new integrated checklist, which comprehensively entails the implementation of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols and the Convention against Corruption.

Madam President,

Efforts to fight money laundering are a significant element to fight transnational organized crime. Member States' efforts to criminalize this crime and to implement measures allowing preventive seizure, confiscation of proceeds of crime, as well as overseeing suspicious transactions and establishing and strengthening financial-intelligence units should be acknowledged. The Group also stresses the importance of encouraging international cooperation among Member States in this regard.

The Group of 77 and China supports the work plan, adopted at the third session of the Conference of Parties, which aims at improving the implementation of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Fire Arms by its State Parties. The Group awaits the outcome of the working group mandated to elaborate technical guides for the implementation of the Protocol and the model legislation.

The Group would like to reiterate its support to the Chair in the task ahead during the current session of the COP.

Thank you Madam President.

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