In Focus

Breaking the organized crime and counter-terrorism nexus: identifying programmatic approaches

Executive Summary

To pave the way for better policy and programmatic responses, in line with Security Council Resolution 2195 (2014), Threats to international peace and security, which called upon states to better understand and address the nexus between organized crime and terrorism as a threat to security and development, UNICRI and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) led a group of experts in a meeting in Bangkok on 11-13 May 2016. The meeting provided a platform for the exchange of ideas between international experts with specialised knowledge of organised crime and terror groups in various regional contexts and representatives of 15 States. The participants were challenged to review the current evidence basis and conceptual theories related to the nexus, to test them against their own areas of expertise, and to draw from their knowledge of lessons learned and best practices to propose a series of programme priorities.

The substantive deliberations resulting from the 3-day meeting, which considered various regional contexts, identified and agreed upon several priority areas to effectively address the organised crime and terrorism nexus. The challenge of working with unclear definitions of terrorism and organized crime did not prevent the participants from jointly concluding that the framework for response was based upon 3 key components:

1) build an evidence base: more comprehensive research is necessary to achieve more systematic and multidimensional responses;

2) promote local engagement: to empower local communities to build social resilience and create a societal all-inclusive and holistic approach in identifying responses; and

3) build the capacity of state and non-state actors: developing new tools and capacity building to address the challenges and priorities.

An extensive matrix was created that identified priority areas of concern and possible programmatic responses that could be used to address them. The conclusions will serve as a useful guide to future programming.

Other UNICRI initiatives falling under the Nexus programmatic framework:

• In the report on Countering Emerging Threats and Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime from Thailand’s Perspective in the Context of the ASEAN Community, a study undertaken by UNICRI and TIJ, one section is dedicated to exploring the potential links between transnational organized crime and terrorism.

• In UNICRI’s training portfolio, the Institute organized a one week Spring School in partnership with John Cabot University on Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism: is there a nexus?, where renowned world experts shared knowledge with participants wishing to gain insights into the nature of the nexus and understand through theory and evidence what links, if any, there may be.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Stuart Price

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