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.