David M. Luna
Director for Anticrime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
U.S. Chair Statement
Christchurch, New Zealand
November 17, 2010

The United States is honored to be co-hosting this important workshop with the Government of New Zealand and to strengthen our partnerships with the jurisdictions and partners present in Christchurch this week to work together on new ways to combat and dismantle transnational illicit networks across the Pacific.

The discussions that will take place here are of great consequence for every economy in the Asia Pacific region, and the United States looks forward to being a part of them.

Threat Convergence: Destabilizing: Threats to Our Common Security

Building on the success of the inaugural Trans-Pacific Symposium on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks held in Hawaii in November 2009, and as underscored by President Barack Obama in his message to delegates delivered at the opening plenary:

“ . . . . the world has seen a convergence of transnational threats and networks, which are more dangerous and destabilizing than ever. These threats and networks are becoming more fluid and sophisticated; are able to cross borders; and involve elements of international organized crime, particularly illicit finance and trafficking in drugs, arms and persons. This can undermine stability and security, fuel violence and corruption, weaken the rule of law, and subvert legitimate economies.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was visiting Christchurch and New Zealand a few weeks ago, also reinforced the importance of our regional partnership with New Zealand, and other governments, to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal threats across the Pacific, particularly illicit transnational networks. This message was also highlighted this past week at both the G20 and APEC summits that were held in Seoul and Yokohama, especially issues related to combating corruption and illicit trade.

On behalf of President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the United States Government, we welcome you and applaud your leadership and active participation at this important conference.

Net-centric Partnerships: Fighting Networks with Networks

We hope to continue to discuss new ways to confront security threats that until relatively recently, would not have ranked high on the international community’s foreign policy agenda. Threats such as international narcotics trafficking, transnational organized crime, corruption, financial crime, illicit trade, have taken front stage, and we often see a convergence of these threats. The international community has acted to deal with these threats, and we will make further proposals to explore them over the coming days.

We also hope to build on the recommendations that emanated from the first trans-Pacific symposium on fighting networks with networks including ways and means for:

  • Devising more strategic frameworks to combat transnational illicit networks
  • Strengthening international cooperation and partnerships
  • Enhancing intelligence and information-sharing arrangements
  • Combating the illicit trade and tracking illicit financial flows
  • Leveraging inter-regional and global law enforcement networks
  • Developing innovative law enforcement capacities and training
  • Adopting multi-disciplinary security, law enforcement, and governance approaches
  • Securing borders and optimizing border controls
  • Synchronizing strategies to target “money conduits” and corruption nodes

Way Forward: Collective Action

The challenge in confronting today’s transnational threats is too large for any one of our governments. Rather – and as a key strategic objective for the New Zealand trans-Pacific workshop – it will require that we and other governments work together closely at the bilateral, sub-regional, regional and global level.

Together, the United States joins our partners across the Pacific, and globally, to take the fight directly to these threats, dismantle their networks, unravel the illicit financial nodes that sustain a web of criminality and corruption, develop strong law enforcement threat mitigation approaches, and enhance our cooperation through public-private partnerships.

The United States is committed to working with your governments, and our international partners, to meet this challenge and to make real progress toward a world where all our people are free, prosperous, and safe.