Drugs and International Crime

Birmingham, 16 May 1998

1. Globalisation has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in transnational crime. This takes many forms, including trafficking in drugs and weapons; smuggling of human beings; the abuse of new technologies to steal, defraud and evade the law; and the laundering of the proceeds of crime.

2. Such crimes pose a threat not only to our own citizens and their communities, through lives blighted by drugs and societies living in fear of organised crime; but also a global threat which can undermine the democratic and economic basis of societies through the investment of illegal money by international cartels, corruption, a weakening of institutions and a loss of confidence in the rule of law.

3. To fight this threat, international cooperation is indispensable. We ourselves, particularly since the Lyon summit in 1996, have sought ways to improve that cooperation. Much has already been achieved. We acknowledge the work being done in the UN, the EU and by other regional groupings. We welcome the steps undertaken by the G8 Lyon Group to implement its 40 Recommendations on transnational organised crime and the proposals G8 Justice and Interior Ministers announced at their meeting in Washington last December. By working together, our countries are helping each other catch criminals and break up cartels. But more needs to be done. There must be no safe havens either for criminals or for their money.

4. We have therefore agreed a number of further actions to tackle this threat more effectively:

We welcomed the FATF decision to continue and enlarge its work to combat money-laundering in partnership with regional groupings. We place special emphasis on the issues of money laundering and financial crime, including issues raised by offshore financial centres. We welcome the proposal to hold in Moscow in 1999 a Ministerial meeting on combating transnational crime. We agreed to establish Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) where we do not already have them, in line with our national constitutions and legal systems, to collect and analyse information on those engaged in money laundering and liaise with the equivalent agencies in partner countries. We agreed on principles and the need for adequate legislation to facilitate asset confiscation from convicted criminals, including ways to help each other trace, freeze and confiscate those assets, and where possible, in accordance with national legislation, share seized assets with other nations.

5. We urge the Lyon Group to intensify its on-going work and ask our Ministers to report back to our next Summit on progress on the action plan on high tech crime, the steps taken against money laundering and the joint action on trafficking in human beings. We also welcome the steps agreed by our Environment Ministers on 5 April to combat environmental crime.

6. There is a strong link between drugs and wider international and domestic crime. We welcome the forthcoming UNGASS on drugs. This should signal the international community's determination in favour of a comprehensive strategy to tackle all aspects of the drugs problem. For its part, the G8 is committed to partnership and shared responsibility in the international community to combat illicit drugs. This should include reinforced cooperation to curb illicit trafficking in drugs and chemical precursors, action to reduce demand in our countries, including through policies to reduce drug dependency, and support for a global approach to eradicating illicit crops. We welcome the UNDCP's global approach to eliminating or significantly reducing illicit drug production, where appropriate through effective alternative development programmes.

Source: Released at the Birmingham G8 Summit