From the Cocaine Route Programme and the Heroin Route Programme to the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union

For more than ten years, the Cocaine and Heroin Route Programmes of the European Union strived to address the challenges of an often-fragmented law enforcement approach along established illicit trafficking routes into the EU.

From source to destination, countries located along illicit trafficking routes often suffer the harmful consequences that affect daily life. Fostering violence and corruption and undermining good governance, illicit trafficking jeopardises national security and economic prosperity, leads to public health problems and causes significant environmental damage.

Drug smuggling routes also often serve as trafficking highways for a host of other illicit products, not just cocaine and heroin. To acknowledge this and to enshrine the benefits of trans-regional law enforcement and judiciary cooperation in countering transnational security threats into its response, the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development launched a new umbrella programme in November 2019: the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union (GIFP).

Taking stock of the history of the Cocaine Route Programme and building on its achievements, the GIFP has been designed to be a more effective mechanism for the European Union to assist partner countries in their efforts to tackle transnational organised crime. It is also intended to serve as a vehicle for the EU and its Member States’ law enforcement authorities to achieve wider global reach.

An important aim of the GIFP is to expand the focus and remit of international cooperation to “Organised Crime Flows” more broadly, in order to give greater insight, respond to changes in organised criminality and an evolution towards poli-criminality and stimulate pro-activity in transnational law enforcement cooperation. The programme supports the fight against organised crime on trans-regional illicit routes, be it in relation to narcotics and the movement of pre-cursor chemicals, illicit arms trafficking, wildlife crime, or illicit financial flows.



Linking stakeholders in the fight against organised crime and illicit trafficking

The GIFP seeks to establish the new direction required to deliver momentum, disruption and impact across a wide sphere of serious organised crime, to support the national security and sustainable development of international partners in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia whilst protecting European member state borders and security.

The GIFP enhances the partnerships that exist between the EU and other organisations at international, regional, national and local level, with the aim of connecting relevant actors and agencies involved in the fight against organised crime. It also aims to better steer and coordinate the European Commission’s cooperation initiatives with third countries in the area of transnational organised crime, with the ultimate goal of increasing impact.

The programme achieves its objectives by engaging the operational, analytical, thematic and support capabilities offered by its 11 component projects, AIRCOP, COLIBRI, CRIMJUST, DISRUPT, ENACT, ECO-SOLVE, ENACT ESACD, EU-ACT, iARMS, MASIF and SEACOP, as well as through collaborative connectivity with other partner complementary projects, institutions and agencies.

About the European Union

The European Union is a strategic partner in combating transnational organised crime.

The Global Illicit Flows Programme is funded by the European Commission – previously via the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP, art. 5), and currently through the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe. 

As part of the EU external action, the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe instrument supports countries most in need to overcome long-term developmental challenges. The instrument, which came into force in 2021, contributes to achieving the EU’s international commitments and objectives related to the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Guided by the priorities established in the EU Global Strategy, NDICI – Global Europe covers EU cooperation with third countries through geographic and thematic programmes as well as a rapid response mechanism. As part of the thematic programme on Peace, Stability and Conflict Prevention, the GIFP responds to global and trans-regional threats, such as fighting the global and trans-regional aspects of organised crime.

From the Cocaine and Heroin Route Programmes (CRP and HRP) to the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union

Heroin Route Programme I (2008-2013)

Heroin Route Programme I

Heroin Route Programme II (2013-2015)

Container Control along the Heroin Route



Information Networks along the Heroin Route


FIIAPP and EU Member States

Support to the fight against Trafficking in Human Beings in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey


ICMPD and EU Member States

The Heroin Route Programme becomes EU-ACT

EU Action against drugs and organised crime (EU-ACT)

Cocaine Route Programme (2009-2019)


GAFISUD I: 12/2009-12/2012

GAFISUD II: 12/2011-12/2014

Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP)

AIRCOP I: 01/2010-06/2014

AIRCOP II: 02/2011-06/2016

Seaport Cooperation Project (SEACOP)

Phases I and II: 07/2010-07/2015



Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support Project (CORMS)

CORMS I: 05/2011-05/2014

West African Police Information System (WAPIS)

WAPIS I: 09/2012-09/20213

WAPIS II: 10/2013-02/2016

Cocaine Route Programme (2009-2019)

Prevention of the diversion of drugs precursors in the Latin American and Caribbean region (PRELAC)

PRELAC I: 03/2009-02/2012

PRELAC II: 02/2012-02/2016

Anti-Money Laundering activities in West Africa (AML-WA)


Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP)

AIRCOP III: 12/2013-12/2017

AIRCOP IV: 06/2017-12/2020

AIRCOP V: 12/2019-05/2022

AIRCOP VI: 2022 – 2026

Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support Project (CORMS)

CORMS II: 05/2014-11/2016

CORMS III: 05/2016-06/2020

Seaport Cooperation project (SEACOP)

Phases III and IV: 12/2014-12/2020

Phase V: 2021-2023



Strengthening Criminal Investigation and Criminal Justice Cooperation along the Cocaine Route (CRIMJUST)

CRIMJUST I: 01/2016-12/2020

CRIMJUST II and III : 01/2019-12/2022

Controling and Monitoring General Aviation along the Cocaine Route (COLIBRI)

Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP-November 2019)

Countering Firearms Trafficking project (FIREARMS)

FIREARMS: 08/2018 – 09/2022

Disrupting firearms trafficking flows (DISRUPT)

DISRUPT: 03/2021-04/2023

Monitoring and Support Project for the Global Illicit Flows Programme (MASIF)

MASIF: 04/2021-04/2024

Enhancing Africa’s response to transnational organised crime (ENACT)

Phase I: 2017-2021

Phase II: 01/2022-12/2023

IcSP is folded into the NDICI

The NDICI-GE Regulation was adopted on 9 June 2021, came into force on 14 June 2021 and applies retroactively since 1 January 2021.

The East and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs (ESACD)

ESACD: 10/2022 – 10/2025

EU Action Against Drugs and Organised Crime (EU-ACT II)

EU-ACT II: 06/2023 – 05/2027

Disrupting Illicit Environmental Commodity Flows Through Innovative Activities (ECO-SOLVE)

ECO-SOLVE: 08/2023 – 07/2026