Combating transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking and mining of precious metals
New York, UN HQ, 23 July 2019. During its 36th Session, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) approved the draft resolution “Combating transnational organized crime and its links to illicit trafficking in precious metals and illegal mining, including by enhancing the security of supply chains of previous metals.”
In its previous resolution 2013/38 of 25 July 2013, entitled “Combating transnational organized crime and its possible links to illicit trafficking in precious metals”, it was underlined the need to develop multifaceted and coherent strategies and measures to counter the phenomenon. UNICRI was invited to conduct a comprehensive study on the possible links between transnational organized crime, other criminal activities and illicit trafficking in precious metals. Following the resolution UNICRI produced the report entitled Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain where it is indicated that, inter alia, research on illicit trafficking in gold is applicable to coloured gemstones, given the similar vulnerabilities and that collaboration among key stakeholders on gold and gemstones may increase the efficiency of interventions and maximize results.
The draft resolution express strong concern about the growing phenomenon of illicit trafficking by transnational organized criminal groups, including gold and other precious metals and takes note of the efforts by UNEP, INTERPOL and UNICRI to produce reports in which illicit trafficking in minerals and precious metals and illegal mining are indicated as growing threats and as growing sources of profits for transnational organized criminal groups.
The resolution expresses great concern on the negative impact on the livelihoods of communities and the environment (i.e the effects of the use of mercury, the impact on protected natural areas and on indigenous lands), as well as the capacity of Governments to regulate the mining of and trade in precious metals and stem illicit trade and money-laundering linked to the production of and trade in precious metals.
The draft resolution acknowledges that the vulnerability of the supply chain facilitates illicit trafficking in precious metals and contributes to the creation of a significant revenue base for organized criminal groups, thereby potentially contributing to the expansion of criminal enterprises, facilitating corruption and undermining the rule of law. It stresses the need to promote universal adherence to and full implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto, the UN Convention against Corruption and other relevant international instruments in preventing and combating illegal mining and illicit trafficking in precious metals, and stresses also the importance of international cooperation between the Governments and private sector entities to counter transnational organized crime, as described in various reports of UNODC and UNICRI.
The draft resolution takes notes of the findings of UNICRI’s and recalls the mandates of UNODC and UNICRI to provide technical assistance to Member States in order to enhance capacity-building in preventing and fighting this illicit trafficking. It also invites Member States to consider criminalizing, illicit trafficking in precious metals and illegal mining and to take appropriate measures to prevent and combat the involvement of organized criminal groups, including by controlling and securing the supply chain and introducing the necessary legislation.
The resolution invites Member States to consider implementing the national precious metals action plan as prepared by UNICRI in cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (EOCD) and contained in Strengthening the Security and Integrity of The Precious Metals Supply Chain. The study also stresses the importance of developing national risk assessments on the integrity of the supply chain, establishing regional laboratories to profile precious metals and analyse their fingerprints, and reinforcing capacities to prevent the infiltration by criminal groups.
Furthermore, the resolution invites Member States to share examples of laws, regulatory standards and best practices on securing the supply chains in precious metals relevant to the study of topics such as the prevention of money-laundering and import and export controls with relevant institutions, including UNICRI; it also invites Member States to work in cooperation with UNICRI, UNODC and other relevant international and regional organizations to identify and promote the use of solutions based on emerging technologies to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in precious metals and illegal mining, including technology that strengthens the integrity of the supply chain, in particular as regards traceability, authentication and forensics, technologies for the analysis and visualization of big data to monitor evolving crime trends and patterns. The resolution encourages Member States to provide one another with assistance and to cooperate in providing training to law enforcement personnel; to enhance international cooperation, information-sharing and exchanges of best practices among law enforcement and judicial authorities, in accordance with their domestic legal frameworks and international obligations. Also encourages Member States to consider adopting legislative or other appropriate measures to strengthen border control, including by using appropriate technologies as may be necessary to prevent and detect illicit trafficking in precious metals and the use of mercury in illegal mining.
The draft resolution invites UNODC to continue to provide, upon request, technical assistance to Member States, and encourages UNODC and UNICRI and other relevant international and regional organizations to closely coordinate their activities and enhance their cooperation in supporting Member States in their efforts to combat illicit trafficking in precious metals and illegal mining. Member States and other donors are invited to provide extrabudgetary resources for the purposes described above, in accordance with the rules and procedures of the United Nations.