Toward a global response to counterfeiting
Roundtable held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the Permanent Observatory on Anti-Counterfeiting Systems (POAS)

New York, 26 January 2010. A roundtable, organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), will be taking place today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss a global programme on anti-counterfeiting in order to reduce its devastating effects.

The Roundtable will be involving key experts, including representatives from Bascap (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy), the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), the IAA (International Authentication Association), Reconnaissance International and the Council of Europe.

Around the world, organized criminals are increasingly involved in the “counterfeit industry,” while, on the other hand, the consequences suffered by citizens and the losses caused to the economic sectors are staggering. There is no country in the World that is free from counterfeiting, just as there is no product in the market that cannot be replicated.

The OECD has estimated that the value of internationally traded counterfeit goods reaches approximately 200 billion USD, without considering the internally produced and consumed counterfeit goods, nor the counterfeit products sold through the Internet. Taking these elements into consideration, the OECD’s estimates would grow by several hundred billions of USD.

The most alarming aspect however is the presence of potentially dangerous counterfeit products on the market. Counterfeit medicines, for instance, represent a humanitarian problem as, according to the WHO, their presence in developing countries’ markets may reach percentages near to 30% of all pharmaceuticals on sale.

Counterfeiting is a multifaceted problem requiring a multidisciplinary strategy involving key public and private actors. This situation calls for the greater involvement of all actors who can play a crucial role to help improve the efficiency of the anti-counterfeiting response and to create innovation in the long-lasting and challenging efforts invested by both public and private stakeholders to reduce the impact of this crime.

Under its commitment in the global fight against counterfeiting and organized crime, UNICRI has recently developed the Permanent Observatory on Anti-counterfeiting Systems (POAS). The Observatory is a technical and analytical instrument stemming from applied research in search of innovative approaches to support the international community’s efforts in reducing significantly counterfeiting, piracy, the reselling of stolen goods, as well as frauds in general.

Its immediate goal is to support a better control and transparency of the products’ distribution, while contributing to enhance the security of the supply chain, supporting law enforcers’ investigations and improving the transparency of all the actors involved in the supply network. 

The project intends to create added value to any type of existing traceability or identification system. Its innovative character lies in the possibility of having a global "central management system" and a global databank, designed to support, integrate and work with all the existing traceability and identification systems already on the market – the Worldwide Track and Trace Bank (WTTB). This system can serve several traceability and identification systems, while harmonizing and integrating different databases into one single global collector.

The meeting represents a significant opportunity to share the common strategy of the POAS and the WTTB and to develop future joint actions to develop the initiative.


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