The Chicago Syndicate: Urgent International Action Deemed Required to Combat Unprecedented Levels of Transnational Organized Crime

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Urgent International Action Deemed Required to Combat Unprecedented Levels of Transnational Organized Crime

From Central America’s drug cartels and human trafficking in Australia to money laundering and financial fraud in Switzerland, organized crime has “embraced globalization” and is causing national security issues around the world. But why are multilateral, global governance bodies and international leaders not taking more action?

A new conference report from The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) looks at how the constructive powers initiative (CPI) can play a greater role in addressing the security and institutional challenges that organized crime inflicts upon regional and global security.

“The current geographical breadth, level of sophistication and broad array of markets and activities that transnational organized criminals are involved in is unprecedented,” the report says. “[Organized crime] is constantly on the lookout for new markets, new routes to smuggle its products and weak states where it can set up operations.” Moreover, the dimensions and impact of transnational organized crime are not exclusive to law enforcement; contrary to what many governments believe, this type of crime undermines national institutions more broadly.

The report points out that member states of universal organizations such as the United Nations do not treat the issue with the urgency it requires, which inhibits progress on policy coordination. In addition, policy advisers, who are responsible for anticipating items for their national leaders, are challenged by the speed at which transnational issues are emerging and evolving in a post-Cold War world. The report calls for greater leadership and partnerships in policy coordination and capacity-building to tackle these challenges and transnational organized crime.

The report notes that, to tackle transnational organized crime, countries with shared interests will need to generate momentum with “the strategic decision to make coordinating their crime policies a priority.” Hence, there is functional role for the CPI, which is made up of government and non-government representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey: countries that are “democratic, politically influential, economically significant, non-nuclear-armed … with a proven track record of active and creative diplomacy at both the regional and global levels.” The CPI, with its independence of thought and research, combined with its composition, allows for it to identify emerging security issues, and also influence and play a useful role in global governance bodies such as the G20, the report states.

To access a free, online copy of "Global Governance and the Challenge of Transnational Organized Crime: The Role of the Constructive Powers," please click here. The report is based on workshop discussions held in Mexico City, during September 2012, organized by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, A.C., the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI), and CIGI, with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. This was the second CPI workshop, following up on an event held in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 2011.

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