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Only global cooperation can thwart security threats, both old and new, Ban warned

Only full international cooperation can counter global security threats, from long-standing issues like terrorism and nuclear proliferation to newer challenges such as cyber-crime to violent unrest from hunger and climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today.

“Because these threats are both interconnected and trans-national, countries are not equipped to deal with them on their own,” he told an international high-level meeting on security in Sochi, Russia, in remarks delivered by Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“They must be addressed comprehensively and in coordination. International cooperation – bilateral, regional, trans-national – is the only effective approach.”

He praised Russia’s Security Council for convening the meeting, noting that in four years’ time Sochi will host the Winter Olympic Games in a display of international goodwill and respect for the rules of fair play and teamwork. “You have come to Sochi to team up against those who have no respect for the rules, who violate international law, who seek to sow discord and undermine stability,” he said.

Mr. Ban cited long-standing threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and nuclear proliferation, which “continue to exact a terrible cost,” while also focussing on new challenges like cyber-crime, or old ones that have emerged in new forms, like piracy.

“Criminals are taking advantage of new technologies to advance their illicit activities, at times outpacing our ability to deter them or and deliver justice,” he said.

“We have also broadened our understanding of what constitutes a security threat. Hunger has led to food riots in many countries. Pandemics and extreme poverty make families less resilient, and societies more fragile. Climate change, at present trends, will give us more extreme weather and more natural disasters. These may not strike with the concentrated force of an earthquake, yet they spill across borders, tear societies apart, and promote insecurity.”

He stressed that although dangers addressed at the meeting include natural disasters, most of them are man-made. “That means that we, the international community, have the power to do something about them,” he declared. “We at the United Nations, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, are determined to do our part, including through capacity-building, research and support for treaty compliance.”

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