On June 7th, IPI launched a new publication entitled “The Elephant in the Room: How Can Peace Operations Deal with Organized Crime?” a policy-oriented report designed to reduce the impact of crime where UN peace operations are trying to make, keep, or build peace. The report examines the threat posed by transnational organized crime in theaters where the United Nations has peace operations (particularly Guinea-Bissau, Haiti and Kosovo), and makes observations and recommendations for how the UN can deal with this challenge more effectively.
During their presentations, the report’s co-authors—Walter Kemp, Mark Shaw and Arthur Boutellis—highlighted the relevance of the topic to international peace and security; the impact of transnational organized crime; the UN’s current approach to dealing with it; as well as potential areas for improvement.
“We hope that this report can help practitioners and policymakers who are grappling with this issue in difficult situations like Mali and Somalia,” said Mr. Kemp.
Participants in the roundtable–particularly from member states and the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations–discussed operational challenges; how to end the impunity of criminal acts; the timing and process of bringing perpetrators to justice; the strengthening of host state capacities and issues when interlocutors are part of the problem; how to build the resilience of and incentivize local communities (particularly as part of peacebuilding strategies); the need to manage expectations, as well as the risks and opportunities associated with either addressing or ignoring the problem.
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI’s Editor and Senior Fellow, chaired the discussion, and recalled the organization’s long history of publications focusing on the political economy of conflict.
The report is the second in a trilogy of publications that are the main outputs of IPI’s Peace Without Crime project, supported by Norway and Switzerland. The first, entitled “Spotting the Spoilers,” is a guide for carrying out organized crime threat assessments in fragile states. The third report, due later this year, will look at how to have a more integrated approach to coping with organized crime both within the UN and the international community.