Crime prevention

Crime prevention and criminal justice issues have been a concern of the United Nations since its early days. Recent decades have seen the widespread appearance and growth of transnational organized crime and there is therefore an increasing need for international cooperation to address this problem.

Crime prevention work of the UN

The United Nations works to set standards for fair and efficient criminal justice systems and to prevent criminal acts in a range of ways. The UN monitors

  • transnational organized crime
  • rights of offenders and their victims
  • trafficking
  • corruption
  • cybercrime
  • illicit drugs
  • arms trade
  • international terrorism.


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) coordinates the UN work with drugs and crime issues.

ECOSOC Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The ECOSOC Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
functions as an advisory body to the General Assembly and other UN entities. The Commission assists in the preparations of the UN Crime Conferences held every five years.


The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) conducts research and provides technical assistance, documentation and information.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
Last modified: 2024-02-15