Thursday, March 01, 2012

Chatham House launches project on Drugs and Organised Crime

The world-renowned Royal Institute of International Affairs (also known as Chatham House) has announced its new project on drugs and organised crime.  It is yet another example of the ever expanding body of organisations outside of the drug policy field - in this case security - recognising the importance and urgency of the need to explore alternatives to the war on drugs.  Increasingly prohibition is recognised as having an overwhelmingly negative impact in a wide range of policy areas, as demonstrated by the Count the Costs initiative.

The areas of security and conflict have already generated significant scrutiny through the work of numerous organisations, including the upcoming Adelphi Publlication from the International Institute for Strategic Studies titled 'Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States: The Problems of Prohibition', due to be launched on 17 April.

The following text is taken from Chatham House's website:

This project seeks to explore alternative options to the drug and organized crime policy challenge and provide a distinctive contribution to the debate. The project will provide a forum for open discussion and alternative policy approaches. Through the establishment of a broad and varied network of senior individuals and organizations involved in the field, it aims to develop a comprehensive assessment of potential policy responses. It seeks to highlight the local, regional and international dimensions of the topic and how they relate to one another for government strategies. Moreover, the project will explore the overlap and importance of areas including public health, education, international law and civil society efforts in informing a comprehensive and more effective approach to drugs policy.
There is a general recognition that conventional crime and drugs policy is failing to protect the security of societies and local communities. The traditional response of the 'war on drugs', formulated under the United Nations Drug Control Convention has long focused on criminal legislation and law enforcement, but over the last forty years it has become apparent that this approach no longer meets the evolving challenges associated with the burgeoning global drugs trade or its impact on society and security. Irrespective of international investment in counter-narcotic strategies, global trends in drug production, consumption and distribution show no signs of diminishing. Despite the potential harm that organized crime and drugs can do in terms of social impact, economic costs and security implications, it remains relatively low on risk registers and government priorities, often overshadowed by more high-profile risks such as terrorism. 


Drawing on the independent and impartial forum of Chatham House, practitioners, officials, academics and policy makers will be asked to think innovatively about what policy makers should do to meet the drugs and crime policy challenge and how any responses relate to the local, national, regional and international level. Through events and publications it aims to raise the prominence of drugs and organised crime within the international policy and mainstream security agenda. 

Independent Advisory Panel

This project is assisted by an Independent Advisory Panel of experts from different related fields. Members include: 
  • Damon Barrett, Senior Analyst, Harm Reduction International 
  • Bob Baxter, Associate Fellow, International Security, Chatham House
  • Vanda Felbab-Brown, Fellow, Brookings, USA
  • Bill Hughes, Director, BlueLight Global Solutions and Former Director of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
  • Danny Kushlick, Founder and Director, Transform
  • David Livingstone, Associate Fellow, International Security, Chatham House
  • Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexican Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  • AndrĂ©s Rozental, Senior Fellow, Brookings, USA


 27 March 2012
Drugs and Organized Crime: Challenges and Policy Objectives 

This event will set out the challenges related to drugs and organised crime and seek to establish the state of the current landscape and the interconnectedness of policy approaches. 


For more information please contact Claire Yorke.

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