Applied logic for… the United Nations

I am proud to announce my logical contribution to the “United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto ” (UNTOC), in particular concerning its Review Mechanism.

The Convention represents the only global treaty instrument to fight transnational organized crime, as it counts 190 States parties.

An important obligation for the parties to the Convention is the participation in a peer review mechanism, through which States review each other, on how they implemented the measures requested by the Convention (or its Protocols).

This means that, according to the relevant resolution, each State party should be assigned some reviewers in a random fashion,  subject to  a series of constraints, such as, for instance:

“ (a) States shall not undertake mutual reviews;

(b) For each instrument, a State party under review shall not be reviewed by States which are not parties to the same instrument; in the case that a drawn reviewing State is not party to all the instruments to which the State under review is party, an additional drawing of lots shall be carried out so as to select an additional reviewing State only for those instruments;

(c) The total number of reviewing States for all instruments shall not exceed four unless the State under review decides otherwise…. ”

I was involved at this point, in devising a fair, random procedure for the assignment of reviewers, complying with all the relevant constraints.

After realizing that, due to the intricacies of the requirements, a standard physical procedure, consisting in drawing of lots, would have requested a forbidding amount of time for preparation and material execution, we opted for an automated procedure.

In this task, logic played an essential part. I encoded the legal constraints  into a logical language, and  developed a program, based on the Answer Set Programming paradigm, to find optimal random solutions for the problem at hand.
The program was accepted by the State parties, and is finally to be used on November 23rd, in a plenary meeting with the delegates of all the States for the official assignment of reviewers.

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