Welcoming Remarks at the OECD High Level Risk Forum

David M. Luna
Senior Director for National Security and Diplomacy Anti-Crime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Washington, DC
December 8, 2015

Good morning everyone.

On behalf of Secretary of State John Kerry, I would like to welcome you all to the U.S. Department of State.

It is an honor for the United States to host the OECD High Level Risk Forum (HLRF) here in Washington, DC and at this historic venue.

The Loy Henderson auditorium has been the site of many important high-level international meetings over the years of significance in the areas of global security and foreign affairs.

Ladies and gentlemen, we continue to live in a dangerous time of insecurity and instability.

As we learned from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino California, and other places around the world, in today’s threat environment, terrorists and transnational illicit networks are relentless in expanding their reach, and projecting their acts of criminality and violence.

They know no borders. They do not respect the rule of law, and are determined to bring greater harms to our communities.

If we factor in issues like pandemics, climate change, and the fact that we are poaching endangered wildlife, destroying vital ecosystems, and extracting critical resources at a rate of consumption that is not sustainable, our global security remains very turbulent.

Given today’s complex world and the issues being addressed by the HLRF, it is only fitting that we meet in this very special setting.

At his press conference last week at the OECD in Paris, President Barack Obama underscored the security challenges facing the international community: whether it's fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or climate change – or illicit trafficking, we need global partners.

In his Address to the Nation this past Sunday, President Obama again reinforced the importance of international cooperation and partnerships to confront today’s global threats including our common goal of destroying ISIL. The President concluded with a strong message that “freedom is more powerful than fear”.

As Chair of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, let me applaud the leadership of Rolf Alter and the OECD in advancing the illicit trade and risk management agendas forward internationally, and for encouraging innovative public-private partnerships.

Let me also thank the members of both the High Level Risk Forum and the Task Force for their commitment and energies to partner across borders, markets, and supply chains globally, and building resiliency across impacted economies.

There is no doubt in my mind that how we confront these global threats and risks will be among the defining issues of our generation.

Indeed, in combating today's converging threats and illicit networks across borders, we very much need joint and collective action across communities.

That’s precisely why we are all here today.

It’s why we are really delighted to see such an extraordinary group – and you are extraordinary because you already get it.

The State Department very much looks forward to working with all of you.

Let me now turn it over to our esteemed colleagues, the Chair of the OECD High Level Risk Forum, Tina Gabbrielli, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Rolf Alter, Director for Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD.

Thank you.