Thank you for organizing this meeting. I also thank Secretary-General Guterres, Executive Director Waly, Professor Cammett and Ms Nyanjura for their remarks.
As we have heard, organized crime feeds on violence. It's a harmful cycle that often transcends borders. It jeopardizes the efforts of national governments and of this Council to promote peace and security.
The Security Council itself has recognized this. The Geneva-based Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime has done the math: in almost half of its resolutions in 2022, the Council mentioned organized crime and illicit markets.
But organized crime and the violence it engenders are not inevitable, Mister President. It's up to us, as political leaders, to deprive this harmful weed of its breeding ground.
Harmful, because violence sows fear in societies and erodes their confidence in the capacity of institutions.
Harmful, because violence undermines young people's prospects and increases inequality. Inequality between social strata, but also between genders.
Harmful, because criminal structures and patriarchal models of governance reinforce each other and foster sexual and gender-based violence, as today's presentations testify.
This leads us to the following conclusion: we must rely on civil society and the gender perspective to come up with relevant risk analyses and targeted responses to organized crime.
What other choice can we make to break the cycle of violence engendered by transnational crime?
Indeed, it all starts with one fundamental choice: to make prevention - the concept at the heart of the New Agenda for Peace - a political priority. For the immediate task is to contain the spread of organized crime. But at the same time, we need to eradicate its roots.
Prevention means building the confidence of societies in their institutions. Strengthening the democratic framework and the rule of law. Respecting human rights without fail, online and offline. And enabling all members of society to become agents of change. Among the latter, civil society and women are often the essential pillars of a resilient community.
Switzerland has opted for prevention. That's why we support, for example, the Nigerian NGO Women's Aid Collective, which is committed to preventing human trafficking, and involves traditional and religious leaders as well as social media influencers.
This is also why, at international level, Switzerland co-founded with Brazil and Sierra Leone the Pathfinders initiative to promote peaceful and open societies, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Within this framework, my country is committed, alongside 45 other countries, to halving global violence by 2030. To achieve this, we are also relying on scientific research. In 2023, the Pathfinders carried out three national studies on the cost of violence, including one on Switzerland. Such an analysis enables us to identify context-specific measures for effectively preventing and reducing violence.
Ultimately, all our choices and decisions will determine whether organized crime will spread, or whether sustainable development and peace will prevail.
Each country is invited to make a greater commitment to prevention, by adopting a national strategy in this field. To monitor the implementation of national efforts, the international community can use the UNTOC review mechanism.
Within the framework of this convention, each member state is invited to opt for cooperation, with its neighboring states and within the UN, to curb organized crime in the long term. Transnational challenges call for a multilateral response.
Finally, choosing prevention and sustainable peace means placing human rights at the heart of our national and multilateral efforts.
As the High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized during the open debate under Swiss presidency last May: respect for human rights is the basis of confidence in our fight against threats to peace and security.
The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a key opportunity to unite behind this common starting point.
For the best antidote to organized crime and violence is a free and dignified life for everyone. Let's make that choice, and let's make it now.