Meeting on permanent secretaries of Home Ministries on the establishment of a Regional Criminal Intelligence Sharing Center held in Colombo

High level meeting on permanent secretaries of Home Ministries on the establishment of a Regional Criminal Intelligence Sharing Center, began this morning in Colombo. The meeting was held under the patronage of Presidential Secretary Mr.Austin Fernando with the participation of Mr. Jagath Wijeweera, secretary Ministry of Law & Order and Southern Development.

This will focus on issues relating to the establishment of a regional platform for the sharing of criminal intelligence in the countries of South Asia. 

Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) issues have multi-lateral and global dimensions which require global and regional cooperation to counter them. In our ever more interconnected and inter-dependent world, it has become increasingly evident that responses to counter TOC must go beyond the immediate country, sub-region or region, with the adoption of global and regional strategies as well as localized interventions. The strengthening of regional and inter-regional cooperation in criminal intelligence sharing is an important approach to countering the menace of TOC which can be more effectively tackled through a robust regional cooperation mechanism.

The countries of the South Asian region face serious TOC challenges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, wildlife crimes and the growing threat of cybercrime. The porosity of borders along with the ease of access between some countries of the region helps the organised crime to easily spread its tentacles across the region.

These crimes have multi-lateral dimensions which require regional and wider international cooperation to effectively counter them. However, at the present time, the region lacks appropriate and effective regional cooperation mechanisms designed to facilitate criminal intelligence sharing and operational coordination of TOC matters. Although a number of mechanisms of cooperation do exist between some member states, usually by way of Memoranda of Understanding and UNODC ROSA: BACKGROUND AND APPROACH PAPER Page 2 bilateral agreements, there is no substantive regional entity with a mandate to support operational cooperation and coordination on all TOC matters or to facilitate the sharing of criminal intelligence on a real time basis. This region needs something more than just bilateral mechanisms as these may not be sufficient to address organized crime matters that affect South Asia in an effective and innovative way. The region needs a platform that will ensure better coordination and sharing of information between all the six countries.

The establishment of a substantive regional criminal intelligence sharing platform in South Asia will provide a facility for the meaningful, systematic and efficient exchange of information/ intelligence on organized crime matters among member countries, thus helping them to respond to tackling TOC challenges in a more effective and coordinated way. Since all organized crime have inevitable linkage with proceeds of crime and other related illicit flows of money, targeting of illicit financial flows originating from such crimes would also form an integral part of such platform.

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