Re: African Regional Preparatory meeting for the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 2019
I am pleased to send you this advance notice to you about the upcoming 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, tentatively scheduled to take place 20-27 April 2020, in Kyoto, Japan. Since 1955, the United Nations through its crime prevention agency the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) and related crime prevention and criminal justice network such as the United Nations Programme Network of Institutes for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (PNI) as well as other stakeholders in State Members globally, including individual experts, civil society organisations and mandated institutions for crime prevention convene to celebrate successes and review strategies to overcome identified challenges in strengthening practices and policy development to stem crime and its impact on development. Prior to the Congress, it is a tradition that preparatory regional meetings are held for each continent to analyse the substantive subjects on the agenda and make recommendations on the course of action from each region. The African Regional Preparatory meeting for the said Congress will be held 8-12 April 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is expected that in due course, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime,(UNODC), the lead organising agency, will send out formal invitations to the stakeholders to attend the meeting. Due to financial constraints, UNODC will not meet the costs of attendance for the delegates. Each delegation will be responsible for its costs.
The changing political and socioeconomic contexts in Africa and around the world mean that there is an increasing need to strengthen the capacities of criminal justice systems. It highlights the need for international cooperation and collaboration through institutional networks and prescribes measures for sharing experiences that help to promote good practices, providing information on measures taken to strengthen the capacities of criminal justice systems and developing crime prevention programmes, including through the harmonization of practices among jurisdictions.
The preparatory meeting will take stock of the efforts undertaken by African countries in adopting regional and international initiatives for cooperation by relevant actors in the fight against crime and the nature of technical assistance needed to strengthen their criminal justice systems, consolidate avenues for good governance and continuously improve mechanisms for the realization of the rule of law.
Building on an overall global assessment of crime and how this has undermined development, an agenda comprising of the substantive issues regarding crime prevention and criminal justice has been drawn by the United Nations for this Congress. The meeting will also help African countries analyse the substantive subjects on the agenda and make recommendations on the course of action from the region’s perspective. These recommendations also create a basis to prepare the conclusions and recommendations that would subsequently be considered at the Congress.
The Regional Preparatory Meeting will have a guide for the combined deliberations on substantive topics of the programme and the subjects of the seminars that will be addressed in the Congress, prepared by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the network on the United Nations Institutes for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on the topics. I will make reference to the provisional programme of the 14th Congress approved by the General Assembly in its resolution E/CN.15/2017/L.6/Rev.1 (limited distribution) of May 24, 2017 which establishes:
‘The main theme of the 14th Congress is Promotion of crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda
The programme includes the following:
Approving the following provisional agenda for the 14th Congress as defined by the Commission at its 26th session
- Opening of the Congress
- Organisational matters
- Comprehensive crime prevention strategies aimed at social and economic development
- Integrated approaches to the challenges facing the criminal justice system
- Multidimensional approaches that governments can adopt to promote the rule of law, for example, by facilitating access to justice for everyone; creating effective, responsible, impartial and inclusive institutions; and considering the possibility of adopting social, educational and other relevant measures, such as the promotion of a culture of legality based on respect for cultural diversity, in accordance with the Doha Declaration (The Doha Declaration, Doha, Qatar April 2015: On integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation:)
- International cooperation and technical assistance to prevent and address all forms of crime:
a) Terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations
b) New emerging forms of crime
- Approval of the Congress report
- The following topics will be considered in the seminars envisaged in the framework of the XIV Congress
a) Empirically based crime prevention; good practices based on statistics, indicators and evaluations
b) Reduction of recidivism: determine the risks and find solutions
c) Education and active participation of young people as a key to creating resilient societies in the face of crime
d) Current criminal tendencies, recent phenomena and emerging solutions, in particular the use of new technologies as a means and instrument against crime
The idea is for the Regional Preparatory Meeting to examine the substantive issues of the programme and those of the Congress seminars, from a regional perspective and to formulate action-oriented recommendations, as a basis for the draft recommendations and conclusions that will be examined at the 14th Congress.
As sated above the UNODC will in due time send invitations through embassies. At the national level these invitations will be sent to government departments/ministries related to the area, particularly the Ministries of Justice, Security or Interior, the Supreme Court of Justice, Public defence, prosecutors, law schools, Legislative Assemblies and others as appropriate in order to integrate them into national delegations.
It is our view that we shall benefit from sharing with you the existing body of knowledge and skills available in the expertise at your organisation and more specifically, from your personal experiences accumulated in the course of your routine duty. In this respect the African Regional Preparatory meeting would highly be privileged to utilize your expertise and we look forward to your participation in this important meeting.
Acting Director, UNAFRI