The President of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador of Pakistan Munir Akram, has called for strengthening international cooperation to effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute transnational organized crime, as illicit financial flows remain an “ubiquitous” problem for developed and developing countries. “The reality of organized crime remains complex and multifaceted, but at its core is the objective of organized criminal groups to obtain illicit profits and control markets of illicit goods and services,” he said at a virtual ministerial event marking the 20th anniversary of the U.N.Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UTOC). “Apart from social and economic disruption, criminal activities retard and reverse development gains,” Ambassador Akram added. He described as “significant” the impact of corona virus pandemic on transnational organized crime, noting that some of the largest threats to sustainable development emanated from crimes such as the trafficking of counterfeit medical products. “In the meantime,” the ECOSOC chief said, “corruption and various forms of illicit trafficking and migrant smuggling continue to undermine the rule of law, economic development and the livelihoods of people.” In the context of Covid-19, Ambassador Akram called for criminalizing corruption and laundering of proceeds of crime related to manufacturing and trafficking of falsified medical products. He also stressed the need for dealing with environmental crimes and ever-growing illegal trade in wildlife – which could lead to other zoonotic diseases. Change in labour and migration laws was also critical in addressing the demand for the services of human traffickers, Ambassador Akram said. He also called for halting bleeding of the resources of developing countries through illicit financial flows, saying it was nothing short of criminal to allow such flows during this crisis when developing countries were already struggling to overcome the challenges posed by shrinking fiscal space to fight the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).