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UNICRI’s Impact and Initiatives Highlighted by Acting Director Leif Villadsen at the CCPCJ Session

Strengthening Global Justice and Security: UNICRI’s Impact and Initiatives Highlighted by Acting Director Leif Villadsen at the CCPCJ Session

Vienna International Centre (Vienna, Austria) -



During the 33rd regular session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) at the Vienna International Centre, Leif Villadsen, Acting Director of UNICRI, shared an update on the Institute's vital role and recent achievements. Hosted in Turin, Italy for over 50 years, UNICRI is unique as the only autonomous UN entity dedicated to research and training in crime prevention and criminal justice. The annual UNICRI’s report presented to the CCPCJ, outlined significant progresses and set a strategic path for the future.

Mr. Villadsen expressed pride in UNICRI's legacy and its evolving scope, saying, "Building upon our strong evidence-based approach, we continue to expand our programmatic frameworks, integrating research with practical applications to create safer, more just societies globally."

UNICRI has been particularly active in developing areas such as counter-terrorism, the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, and emerging digital threats. By enhancing its programmatic offerings, the Institute has conducted specialized technical assistance and training workshops across continents, significantly boosting the capabilities of justice and law enforcement worldwide. These efforts cover a range of critical topics including tourism security, vulnerable target protection, responsible AI innovation, and combating online child sexual abuse material. Additionally, UNICRI has been at the forefront of combatting trafficking in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological (CBRN) materials and addressing international counter-proliferation financing, further strengthening global security measures.

Among the educational initiatives, UNICRI launched the first edition of the online Master of Laws in Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, and International Law, organized in cooperation with the University for Peace, adding to its existing Master of Laws in Transnational Crime and Justice. These programs address the urgent need for expertise in the rapidly evolving legal landscape surrounding cyber and transnational crime.

UNICRI’s research has tackled urgent global challenges such as climate change's impact on violent extremism, the use of advanced technologies for prisoner rehabilitation, and the digitalization impacts on peace and justice. These studies not only deepen understanding but also guide the Institute’s practical interventions.

Looking ahead, UNICRI is seeking to deepen engagement with Member States and garner support crucial for their goals. Mr. Villadsen emphasized the necessity of this support, stating, "As we continue to confront these significant challenges, the collaborative effort of our Member States and partners remains vital. Together, we can further our shared vision of a world free from violence and crime."

UNICRI's ongoing efforts are a testament to its commitment to enhancing justice systems and combating global threats, aligning with the goals of SDG 16 to promote peaceful, inclusive societies. As he invited further collaborations and support, the Director’s message is clear: continued commitment and cooperation from the global community are key for the achievement of a safer, more just and inclusive world.


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