UN Review Mechanism and role of Civil Society

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The review mechanism to the UN Palermo Convention is in operation. The mechanism is intended to assess how states are implementing UNTOC and the protocols to which they are party. The Review should also identify what gaps exist in implementation that could be addressed through capacity building and technical assistance. The first countries selected to be reviewed are for Europe; Armenia, Belarus, Cyprus, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg, Poland, Moldova, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.

Civil society can participate in the review; firstly states parties are ‘encouraged’ to consult with NGOs for input for the reports they will submit; secondly NGOs are offered the opportunity to take part in a ‘constructive dialogue’ convened at the thematic working groups of the UNTOC COP. A panel of representatives from civil-society groups, including NGOs, may be arranged by the UNODC to share independent views on the review process. Reports from these dialogues will then be made available to the working groups at following sessions, to ensure communication between member states and civil-society representatives. Finally, civil-society groups will be able to participate in and make oral statements at the ‘general review’ track of the mechanism, taking place at the COP.

Earlier this year, La Strada International and GAATW reached out to the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) to discuss the role of civil society further and to develop further guidance for their members. In order to promote civil society involvement, LSI and GAATW have developed a short guidance for NGOs and recommend NGOs to get involved.

According GI-TOC there are serious drawbacks in the design of the mechanism, including its low levels of transparency and limited scope for substantive engagement with civil society on specific issues in specific countries. This risks hampering the effectiveness of the mechanism, as civil society can provide data and expertise that is not always available to the state. A new blog by GI-TOC recaps some of the key information and resources that interested civil society will need to attempt to engage with the mechanism, and therefore hopefully inform and improve the response to transnational organized crime.

See guide by GI-TOC and UNODC on the review mechanism