HEUNI policy brief “FOUR TRANSITIONS IN THE UNITED NATIONS CRIME PROGRAMME” paves the way for the 26th CCPCJ in Vienna on 22-26 May 2017

Published 17.5.2017

A new HEUNI policy brief, “Four Transitions in the United Nations Crime Programme", written by HEUNI Director Matti Joutsen, describes three historical transitions in the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme from 1945 to the present, and argues that a fourth transition is currently underway. The policy paper gives insights into the development of the UN Crime Programme from the perspective of the author, who has spent most of his career helping to influence and shape the programme.

The policy paper is published as part of the preparations for the 26th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held in Vienna on 22-26th May 2017. It is a highly recommended read for anyone preparing for the Commission.

According to the HEUNI policy brief, the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme has undergone three major transitions over the course of seventy years. The first was a transition from a forum for intellectual debate among primarily Western European and North American criminologists and practitioners, into a truly global programme (1950s – 1960s). The second was a transition from an expert-driven programme into a government-driven programme (the 1990s). The third was a transition from a soft law programme into a programme based also on hard law treaties (the 2000s).

Each of these transitions has, in different ways, changed and strengthened the UN Crime Programme, but each has entailed its own costs. This paper briefly describes the transitions, as well as their accompanying costs and benefits. It also suggests that a fourth transition is underway, one that is framed by the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

Four Transitions in the United Nations Crime Programme