The ISS co-hosted and facilitated a EU Conference on organised crime and drug trafficking along the cocaine route from Latin America to Europe. The ISS coordinated the substantive elements of the 3-day conference on behalf of the EU, including conceptualising the conference, drafting the agenda and identifying all participants and speakers from outside Europe. Over 180 participants from West Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean attended and actively participated at the conference. The majority of participants were drawn mainly from law enforcement, with other participants from the legal profession, the diplomatic corps, civil society and academia.
The objective of the conference was to build on the work of the EU Cocaine Route Programme and come up with recommendations on how best to engage in this field going forward. The EU recognised that the ability to respond effectively to drug trafficking, organised crime and all related activities must extend beyond law enforcement and criminal justice interventions. In this light, the EU is eager to make linkages and support broader governance and development priorities of countries along the Latin America/Africa/Europe cocaine route. To do this, the EU resolved that a strategy must be adopted that aligns itself with international and regional actors such as the African Union.
Former President of Nigeria and the Chair of the West Africa Commission on Drugs, Olusegun Obasanjo, gave the keynote address. In his remarks, he recognised the crosscutting nature of organised crime, underscoring the transnational nature of organised crime and that the responses should be shaped with this in mind. He also highlighted the need for multi-faceted cooperative responses and that holistic strategies must be shaped at a local, national, regional and international level.
Each session included in-depth presentations from experts covering the following wide range of topics related to responding to organised crime and drug trafficking along the Cocaine Route:
- Organised crime and drug trafficking: a peace, security and development challenge
- The scope of the challenge, including national perspectives and emerging challenges
- Strengthening regional political responses and aligning international responses
- Interrupting the flow through effective law enforcement
- Money laundering
- Mitigating impact and building community resilience: engaging civil society, the community and the media
There were some common themes that emerged from the presentations and discussions and from this a list of concrete recommendations will be developed.
Media coverage of this event:
Acting Executive Director, ISS