The second Steering Committee of the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union was held a year after its launch, from 24 to 26 November 2020. Organised by the Cocaine Route Monitoring and Support Project (CORMS), it took place online over three consecutive days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first part of the Steering Committee, coincided with CRIMJUST’s Annual Meeting, involved GIFP partners elaborating on recent trends and developments in the field of drug trafficking along trafficking routes. The session benefited from contributions from MAOC(N), FRONTEX, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), UNODC Research Section, EMCDDA and EUROPOL. Identifying that illicit trafficking has not been heavily disrupted by the COVD-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the speakers highlighted the availability of drugs globally and in the European Union is at-all time-high. They further stressed the growing role of general aviation in drug trafficking, the growing number of organised crime organisations operating globally and the increased use of social media and the dark-web for drug related transactions as the main challenges faced by law enforcement.
This session also saw the exceptional participation of the Head of the Colombian Navy’s antinarcotics unit (DICOD: Dirección contra las Drogas) who delivered a keynote speech on the Colombia-led international campaigns ORION, an example of effective and successful transregional cooperation against drug trafficking. In his speech, the Head of DICOD stressed how important it is to “raise awareness of the concept of shared responsibility and strengthen international cooperation” as a strategic objective. Operation ORION is in its sixth edition and involves 29 participating countries.
In the second part of the Steering Committee, the GIFP component projects presented their response to the main trends and challenges seen in their respective projects responds to and their response to those challenges to an audience of over 70 participants. SEACOP elaborated on seizures in Latin America, West Africa and the Caribbean, while EU-ACT provided two presentations on the heroin southern route and a threat assessment in the Western Indian Ocean. The session then moved on to trafficking by air with a presentation of the COLIBRI project highlighting the growing importance of general aviation in regional and transregional drug trafficking. A presentation by the AIRCOP project showed new trafficking trends identified in 2020 and covered the support it provided to its task forces. EU-ACT further provided the audience with an overview of its action in terms of drug demand and harm reduction and how it is aligned with the EU action plan on drugs with a focus on its partnership with Georgia. The session ended with a focused presentation by CRIMJUST on its efforts to link the judicial chain through its investigative case forum.
The second Steering Committee of the Global illicit Flows programme was also the opportunity to officially integrate two new components projects complementing and strengthening the structure of the GIFP’s focus on the fight against firearms trafficking. Namely, the Illicit Arms Records and Tracing Management System project (iARMS) managed by INTERPOL and the Countering Transnational Illicit Arms Trafficking through the Implementation of the UNTOC and its Firearms Protocol (also known as the Countering Firearms Trafficking project), led by the UNODC Global Firearms programme.
Finally, the Steering Committee wrapped up with a session led by the DEVCO B5 Global Illicit Flows Programme Manager brainstorming how to further enhance coordination, coherence and synergies between the component projects of the programme and the exchange of ideas on the respective projects’ priorities and strategic direction in 2021.
We look forward to the next edition of the Steering Committee!