Civil Society Observatory’s Risk Bulletin

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) published Issue 5 of the Risk Bulletin produced by the Civil Society Observatory to Counter Organized Crime in South Eastern Europe.

Among other stories, you can read some related to drugs:

A renaissance of crime in Novi Pazar?

A spate of violent incidents has put Novi Pazar in southern Serbia back on the map as a hotspot of organized crime. The city, situated along key trafficking routes, once had the reputation of being the main heroin warehouse in Europe. We look at its past and present links to illicit economies.

Synthetic drugs in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans is well known as a transit region for the trafficking of drugs, like cannabis, cocaine and heroin. But, as examined in this article, there are signs that the region is also a producer of synthetic drugs, as well as a growing consumer market.

Lessons learned from cannabis legalization in North Macedonia

In March 2016, North Macedonia legalized the cultivation and export of cannabis for medicinal use. We look at lessons learned from North Macedonia’s experience over the past five years, particularly related to regulation, and the dangers of legally-grown cannabis landing on the black market.

To read full the Bulletin, follow this link>>>.

 

GI TOC is a network of more than 500 experts on organised crime drawn from law enforcement, academia, conservation, technology, media, the private sector and development agencies. It publishes research and analysis on emerging criminal threats and works to develop innovative strategies to counter organised crime globally. To receive monthly Risk Bulletin updates an read more interesting stories and analysis from the region, please sign up following this link>>>.

Bolstering resilience among civil society in the Western Balkans

The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI TOC), through their Observatory of Illicit Economies in South Eastern Europe (SEE-Obs) and the Resilience Fund, published Stronger Together: Bolstering resilience among civil society in the Western Balkans report.

As the space for civil society appears to be shrinking in the Western Balkans, this report looks at organized crime and corruption in the region from a civil society perspective. It aims to give an overview of how civil society organizations in the Western Balkans deal with issues related to organized crime and corruption and highlights their main activities and concerns.

The GI-TOC’s experience of engaging with community actors all over the world has shown that individuals and community groups are able to build their individual and collective capacity to respond to and recover from organized crime. This report shows that courageous and committed CSOs across the Western Balkans are doing the same, but would benefit from further support to help strengthen communities’ resilience.

More about the report is available from this video

To read the report, follow this link>>>.


GI TOC shall present the report at the webinar scheduled for Friday 19 Mar 2021 at 11 AM (CET). Interpretation to Albanian, Macedonian, and Bosnian-Montenegrin-Serbian will be available during the event.

This webinar will draw together insights from civil society actors from across the Western Balkans working on organized crime and corruption and identify good practices across the region. During the 90 minute discussion we will also explore how these organizations’ resilience can be strengthened and how CSOs themselves can contribute to strengthening resilience in their communities and across the region.

Registration is required: Click here to register>>>.

 

Protecting communities: Responding to the impact of urban drug markets

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and it is predicted that by 2050 roughly two-thirds of all the people on our planet will live in urban areas. This creates opportunities but also challenges like drugs and organized crime.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of over 500 independent global and regional experts working on human rights, democracy, governance, and development issues where organized crime has become increasingly pertinent.

Their new paper looks at the challenge posed by urban drug markets, particularly the impact on crime, safety, and development. It combines a granular local analysis – based on research as well as interviews with current and former gang members, police, drug users, social workers, court employees and representatives of civil society – with a broader transnational perspective. The study focuses in particular on drug markets in the cities of Cali, Colombia; Chicago, US; Cape Town, South Africa; Karachi, Pakistan; Kingston, Jamaica, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The paper first identifies the problems, types and impact of urban drug markets, and then examines what can be done about them. It looks at what can and is being done at the community level to strengthen local resilience to drugs within a broader context of improving urban management to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable (in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities). The topic of protecting communities takes on added relevance as calls to defund the police open important debates about the limitations of militarized policing and create new opportunities beyond law enforcement to build safer communities.

In short, this study looks at the impact of urban drug markets: why they develop in some cities; how they manifest themselves; how they shape and are shaped by their environment; and what can be done to disrupt them and help nurture resilience in these communities.

To read the report, follow this link>>>.

 

 

 

 

 

 


On 5 October, World Habitat Day, The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) will convene a webinar to discuss contemporary challenges of making cities safer. The webinar will build on GI-TOC’s recent report Protecting Communities: responding to the impact of urban drug market. Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on urban drug markets;
  • Militarized policing and its limitations;
  • How violence spreads like an epidemic – and how to interrupt it;
  • Lessons learned from alternative development for urban security;
  • Promoting safer communities in vulnerable neighbourhoods.

To join the webinar, follow this link>>>.

Hotspots of organized crime in the Western Balkans

A new report by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has identified locations in these countries that are hotspots for organised crime.

Rather than focusing on illicit markets, flows of commodities or particular criminal groups, this report looks at places of interest: hotspots of organized crime in the Western Balkans. It looks at the characteristics of these hotspots, then provides a granular analysis of particular border crossings, intersections or regions of vulnerability. What makes these places particularly vulnerable? Why are they attractive to criminals? After discussing these questions, the report connects the dots between these locations to identify possible links and patterns that tell us more about the geography of crime in the region.

Regional illicit flows

To contextualize these organized-crime hotspots, the report provides an overview of the current situation in the Western Balkans, as well as some general information on the main illicit flows. It then looks at hotspots close to border or (internal) boundary crossings.

The other main section of the report focuses on major intersections of organized crime in the Western Balkans – mostly bigger cities (particularly capitals), coastal towns and places where major highways intersect. Maps are provided to show the hotspots as well as key traffic arteries. Amid these assessments, the report takes a deeper dive into vulnerable locations, such as Sarajevo, three ports along the Montenegrin coast, northern Kosovo as well as the triangular region where North Macedonia meets south Serbia and Kosovo.

One key observation of this report, which is important to highlight upfront, is that illicit flows through ports, cities and border crossings in the Western Balkans are enabled by a political economy of crime that is deeply entrenched in most countries of the region. The report therefore takes a look at the ecosystem of crime that creates an environment in which illicit activity can flourish. It concludes with a prognosis of potential future hotspots of crime.

The report is available in EnglishAlbanianBosnian and Macedonian