Transnational organized crime is considered a major threat to human security, affecting the social, economic, political and cultural development of societies worldwide. It is a multi-faceted phenomenon and has manifested itself in different activities, among others, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, trafficking in firearms, smuggling of migrants, illicit production and trade of falsified medicines, cybercrime, money laundering, among others.
The incredible profits to be made from the cocaine trade make it by far the potent of organised criminal flows, around which criminal economies have developed and are fiercely protected. Along the cocaine route, from the production countries in the Andes: Bolivia, Columbia and Peru; via those countries through which it transits on its way to Europe: states in Central America, the Caribbean, West, Southern and North Africa, the drug trade is exacerbating organised crime and criminal groups, resulting in extreme violence, instability and the chronic weakening of state institutions.
Since 2009, the European Union has committed almost €30 million over 36 countries along the cocaine route from the Andes to Europe through its flagship “Cocaine Route Programme”. This Programme is intended to provide an integrated response to the challenges presented by international criminal networks and illicit trafficking from the Andes to Europe, by enhancing the capacity for international cooperation of law enforcement and judicial services of the involved countries and regional organisations.
2013 might just be Somalia’s year. A confluence of events – the successful end of the political transition, the formation of a promising new government headed by a new guard of civil society leaders, and the rollback and significant weakening of the militant terrorist group al Shabaab – offers the best hope for a peace that Somalia has had in decades. But the challenges remain immense, and recent achievements can be easily reversed. Without an effective central government since 1991, parts of the country have been torn apart by decades of conflict, chronic poverty, inequality, food insecurity, and public health challenges. State institutions, where they exist, are a patchwork of colonial legacies that were never fit for the purpose of governing a sovereign state and delivering services to its people.
STATT has developed a conflict analysis based upon fieldwork in Somalia, and ongoing engagement with the newly elected national government and provincial authorities. The findings, summarised in the article “What hope for peace? Greed, grievance and protracted conflict in Somalia“ published by the Yale Journal of International Affairs, examines current dynamics. It is clear that any analysis that attempts to identify the underlying and precipitating causes of conflict in Somalia wades into turbulent waters. There are numerous competing narratives and differing interpretations of a complex and contentious twenty-year conflict. What is clear, however, is that the best chance of sustaining the peace in Somalia will be through ensuring the legitimacy of leadership and by addressing some underlying causal dynamics.
STATT thanks national partners in Somalia, and past and current clients for their support and frank exchange of views.
In the last few years mobile technology; social media; and geo-spatial technologies have become sophisticated and ubiquitous enough to offer potentially game-changing development interventions – offering services and harnessing the power of crowds in a way not previously possible. It can collapse barriers of cost, time, and distance which typically prevent regular interactions with large numbers of people. It can also help generate efficiencies, make information exchange easier, overcome last-mile obstacles, and support rapid two-way communication in ways previously unforeseen. Moreover, unlike many traditional interventions, mobile phones are a means to directly access and communicate with the disenfranchised youth population who are central to addressing issues of urban violence and expanding criminal groups. Yet despite the proliferation of projects using mobile phones to improve everything from health care to bill payments to agricultural information, there appear to be a small number of projects deploying mobile technology to enhance safety and security.
This report, Safety in Our Hands: Promoting Community Safety through Mobile Technology presents the findings of an investigation into community-driven solutions that could use mobile technology to help enhance local safety, and is the second in a broader exploration conducted by STATT into how mobile technology can be used to enhance citizen security. The first study analysed mobile finance in East Africa, and is available here.
STATT’s Resonance Program focuses on creating two-way connections between aid system donors and beneficiaries with the aim to improve the system’s impacts. Indonesia has been a focus for Resonance program work. We completed Phase I of the Indonesian NGO Sector Review in December. AusAID commissioned the review and the report is available on AusAID’s Knowledge Sector publications page and directly in pdf form. To complement the broad analytical work represented in the NGO Sector Review, STATT is also partnering with AusAID to support the organizational capacity development efforts of Indonesian NGO grantees through AusAID’s MAMPU (Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction) program.
Finding social support and gaining access to justice is difficult for many Afghans. Physical, cultural and social practices, as well as a lack of knowledge and access to services, leave many people isolated and vulnerable in times of need. With support from the Government of Canada and in cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan (see story), STATT has opened a Family Support Hotline, serviced by a call centre in Kabul. To operate the centre, we are working with an Afghan group, ACDEO. The response from Afghans has been phenomenal: although the pilot focused only on the Eastern Region, we have been swamped with calls from around the country, serving 340 callers a week and, with our capacity overwhelmed, unfortunately more than 150 calls a week are going unanswered. Continue reading
The global economy has doubled since 2001 – a remarkable statistic in its own right – but this pace of growth has been matched, if not exceeded, by the growth in illicit activities and global criminal markets. In 2009, the World Bank’s World Development Report estimated the annual value of revenue accruing to organised crime to be US$1.3 trillion. By 2011, this estimate had risen as high as US$3.3 trillion – a 50% rate of growth per year. Trade, migration and financial interconnections may be benefiting illicit economic development even more than licit markets, with regulators and law enforcement struggling to catch up. In the last decade, there has been significant growth in organised criminal activities and illicit trafficking of various contrabands, including drugs, illegal migrants, firearms and natural resources. Not all these illegal services are new, but their scale and scope are unprecedented. The pace of globalisation has created new opportunities for illicit activities and enormous unregulated openings for crime. Continue reading
Having launched an innovative guide to identify, analysing and understanding the role of organised crime in fragile states, “Spotting the Spoilers“, in partnership with the IPI “Peace without Crime” programme, STATT was invited by the International Civilian Peacekeeping/Peacebuilding Training Program (IPT) to present this tool to their students.
The course is aimed at professionals working with national or international non-governmental organizations, international organizations (including the UN), governments, the academic or private sector. The emphasis is on providing the basic knowledge and skills required in post-conflict and crisis areas, independent of the specific function they will fulfill as experts in their own fields. The course highlights desirable personal attitudes, stresses the importance of active involvement in the host society, and promotes a reflective and critical approach.
STATT received a grant from Australia to implement a community development program in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. This program has two primary objectives:
- To improve community benefits from international labour emigration; and
- Reduce migrant vulnerability in the process of emigration decision-making and when working abroad.
This program is being implemented in 2 districts: Sumbawa Besar and West Sumbawa, covering at least 12 sub districts in total.