The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are jointly hosting a roundtable discussion on Innovative Nuclear Analytical Techniques for Crime Prevention and Control Purposes. The event is scheduled for November 30, 2023, from 14:00 to 16:00 at the Vienna International Centre, CR5, C Building, 7th Floor.
The collaboration between UNICRI and IAEA aims to further promote the utilization of nuclear and other analytical techniques for crime prevention and control. The initiative focuses on enhancing knowledge on investigative techniques, practices, and technologies related to countering organized crime. By combining insights into criminal methods with expertise in existing and innovative analytical tools, the collaboration seeks to strengthen capabilities for monitoring, detecting, and investigating crimes.
The primary objective is to address the increasing challenges posed by organized crime by developing and implementing innovative nuclear analytical tools. While the initiative is expansive in scope, a specific pilot project is currently being designed to address illicit trafficking in cultural property. The focus is on utilizing nuclear and other analytical techniques to authenticate and establish the provenance of cultural artifacts in close collaboration with law enforcement agencies.
The upcoming roundtable discussion will build upon the outcomes of the Joint Informal Technical Briefing which took place with Member States on 4 May 2023. This briefing followed a two-day workshop involving law enforcement and technology experts. The November 30 roundtable is scheduled to coincide with another expert workshop taking place November 29 to December 1 at the Vienna International Centre, which will formulate a roadmap and establish key requirements and strategies for the IAEA-UNCRI collaboration.
The collaboration between UNICRI and IAEA bridges the gap between scientists and the law enforcement and forensic community. This partnership is particularly timely as criminals continue to exploit technological advances. The IAEA supports the development and application of novel nuclear techniques for analytical purposes, providing concrete tools to forensic experts and investigators worldwide. UNICRI focuses on analyzing the transnational nature of organized crime and has identified investigative techniques to disrupt criminal networks.
Both organizations have previously collaborated in areas such as computer security and research projects utilizing nuclear analytical techniques in forensic science. The current partnership extends to fighting the production and trading of counterfeit and fraudulent products.
The roundtable discussion on November 30 will provide representatives from Permanent Missions at the UN in Vienna with an update on the initiative's progress, share the elaborated roadmap, and seek valuable inputs to enhance ongoing efforts. UNICRI and IAEA are actively engaging interested Member States and other stakeholders in an inclusive approach to develop and support this initiative.
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The work of the IAEA and UNICRI is complementary: UNICRI assesses criminal activities, identifies trends and strengthens crime prevention and criminal justice, the IAEA develops and delivers innovative nuclear analytical tools and related frameworks, in support to Member States’ needs.
The IAEA and UNICRI capacity building plan will enable the transfer of technologies to promote the application of nuclear science and technology for forensic science, and to develop tools for the forensic and law enforcement community. One example of the future collaboration is the development of nuclear analytical tools for investigating and prosecuting different forms of illicit trade. Working closely with forensic experts and end users, such tools will help identify fraudulent products which counterfeiters intend to pass-off as originals such as trafficked works of art and cultural property.
This important partnership between UNICRI and IAEA bridges the gap between scientists and the law enforcement and forensic community and is especially timely since criminals are extremely innovative in exploiting technological advances.
The IAEA supports the development and application of novel nuclear techniques for analytical purposes. Thanks to its worldwide network of national nuclear laboratories, the IAEA provides concrete tools to forensic experts and investigators. For example, the IAEA through its Coordinated Research Project (CRP) has studied how nuclear analytical techniques can be used to obtain information on food origin and authenticity, to assess art authenticity, and to analyse glass residues in crime scenes.