In recognition of the importance of regional and interregional cooperation, and in response to various legislative mandates, a network of institutes was established by the Secretariat of the United Nations, in cooperation with the Member States. The network has been developed to assist the international community in strengthening international cooperation in the crucial area of crime prevention and criminal justice at the global, regional and subregional levels.
The components of the network provide a variety of services, including exchange of information, research, training and specialized education. Since the creation of the oldest institute in 1962 in Tokyo, Japan, this United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI) has grown in number and presently consists of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and several interregional and regional institutes around the world, as well as specialized centres.
Major activities among the institutes include the organization of joint events and meetings such as the Crime Congress. The role of PNI in preparing the UN Quinquennial Crime Congresses has grown in significance over the years. In the past twenty years, thirteen different workshops were convened during the last four Congresses.
The Programme Network has also started, on a standing basis, to cooperate in the organization of practical workshops and events in support of the work of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice during its annual sessions. These activities are in fulfilment of the mandates given to the Institutes by the Commission to provide technical assistance to Member States on relevant issues of the Programme. The topics of these workshops are related to the thematic debate of the Commission. Accordingly, the areas covered have dealt with prison issues, criminal justice reform, trafficking in persons and the promotion of the rule of law.
Other joint efforts related to the UN crime programme include gathering information on the implementation of UN standards and norms, as well as participation in various crime and justice survey activities.