The Road to Kyoto is a podcast series from the GI-TOC with some of the leading experts who study and track organized crime and related issues, in the context of the upcoming United Nations Crime Congress.

The Congress usually takes place every 5 years, and the next one was due to be held in Kyoto, Japan, in April 2020. It has now been postponed to an undetermined future date to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This podcast looks into some of the key issues that will be discussed and debated at the Congress, such as cybercrime, drugs policy, human rights, and the role of civil society in preventing and countering organized crime.

The United Nations Crime Congress, which usually meets every five years, is a key opportunity for the international community to make progress on countering organized crime and the damage it does around the world.

The Congress, as an international non-decision-making conference, is easy to characterize as detached from the realities on the ground. Nevertheless, its influence over crime policy is significant, as is the opportunity it affords to galvanize international action, and to exchange experiences and new ideas. The agreements reached during past UN Crime Congresses do in fact shape the policy direction of the UN on organized crime. At the same time, however, other issues can overshadow those prioritized at the Congress, and follow-up has arguably been too narrowly focused.

This series seeks to shed light on these issues and how to make progress on them through the Congress, particularly in light of the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.


On March 2020, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime kindly invited Jamie Bridge and Gloria Lai, from the International Drug Policy Consortium, to discuss the evolution of the Crime Congress' approach to drug policy matters. The episode is available here.