The Ambassador of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Vienna H.E. Ayoob M. Erfani chairs the ACUNS Side Event “Relationship of Organized Crime, Illicit Economy & Sustainable Development”
Ambassador Erfani chaired the panel discussion that was part of the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on October 8, 2014 at the Vienna International Centre. The conference was concerned with the negative impact of Organized Crime, Illicit Economy, Fraud and Corruption on Development, as well as the contribution of UNODC to these challenges. “Afghanistan, as a country, which has long been a victim of war and has felt the impact of organised crime during our path to development, has seen how these three issues are precariously intertwined.” Ambassador Erfani extended his appreciation to each of the speakers for their valuable contribution to the event.
Ambassador Erfani introduced the event by discussing the precarious nature of these three intertwined issues. He mentioned how this is a main priority for the new unity government and discussed how detrimental they have been to Afghanistan. The panellists discussed several points regarding organised crime, illicit economy and sustainable development and in particular issues concerning Afghanistan.
Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public affairs, lead UNODC’s largest operation in Afghanistan and talked about the strengths and weaknesses of such engagements. He sees the creation of alternative and sustainable livelihoods as vital, in order to reach a peaceful and sustainable solution for illicit activities. Lemahieu noted that the global community should also take responsibility for organised crime and illegal activities in Afghanistan, since 90% of the money made is moved out of the country. Mr. Arije Antinori, Professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, mentioned the connection between poverty, corruption and organised crime. Organised crime disregards national borders and thus the global community has to take responsibility. Mr. Michael Theil, Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, talked about how financial institutions such as insurance companies might facilitate illicit activities in different ways. The presentations concluded with Mr. Maximilian Edelbacher, Former Chief of the Major Crime Bureau of the Federal Police in Vienna, who spoke of the connection between qualitative and quantitative crime and how we can fight the increase of organised crime on a global scale by trying to close the gap between poverty and wealth.
Some concluding remarks were made on how election fraud, which also affects Afghanistan, is usually forgotten when discussing organised crime. “Fighting these challenges is one of the main priorities of the new unity government for a successful Decade of Transformation, as it is without a doubt that the presence of corruption, organised crime and illicit economy, will forever inhibit the development of countries, such as Afghanistan, from achieving peace, stability and prosperity.”
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