United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday warned of the vicious threat that transnational organised crime poses to the world's peace, security and sustainable development.
Speaking to the UN Security Council in New York, Guterres said that the issue affected the entire globe.
"Often invisible but always insidious, transnational organized crime is a vicious threat to peace, security, and sustainable development wherever it operates," said Guterres. "And it operates everywhere – in all countries, rich and poor, North and South, developed and developing."
The UNSG spoke about the impact of illicit financial flows, saying they amounted "to billions of missed development opportunities, lost livelihoods, and worsened poverty."
"On the African continent alone, more money is lost due to tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows than comes in through official development assistance," Guterres said.
Also addressing the Security Council on Thursday was Ghada Fathi Waly, the Executive Director for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
She urged the Security Council to "continue devoting its attention to the critical threat of transnational organized crime, which underpins many of the peace and security challenges you address."
Prior to the meeting, Daniel Noboa, Ecuadorian President and President of the Security Council for the month of December addressed the press, and said, "The Security Council expresses concern with the development of organized crime groups and networks, which are better equipped with new information and communication technologies and are becoming more decentralized, diversified and connected in their illicit operations, which in some cases may aggravate threats to international security."
The issue is often exacerbated by conflict, with criminal groups exploiting insecurity.