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Santo Domingo Pact | SICA-UNODC Mechanism


Given the constantly evolving and increasingly complex nature of transnational organized crime, it is extremely important to understand the flows and the effects of such crime on individual countries or regions in order to elaborate and implement effective national and regional responses. The  Santo Domingo Pact and SICA-UNODC Mechanism (SDP-SUM) project is an interregional initiative for Central America and the Caribbean which was designed to assist Member States in preventing and countering serious and organized transnational crime, by providing technical assistance and enhancing knowledge on crime trends and threats affecting the region to better support policy development.

The experience accumulated in the past two years has shown that the region is in urgent need of a strong operational approach, focusing on building capacities in criminal intelligence as well as in the area of crime statistics and analysis. This should form the basis for well informed decision making by senior officials from Central America and the Caribbean.

Research and Analysis

The project has established a Network of Strategic Analysts/ Organized Crime Researchers responsible for gathering, harmonizing and analyzing data on an ongoing basis and in close coordination with national and regional counterparts (relevant sections and departments in national police, public ministries, immigration departments, etc.).

This Network, which currently consists of analysts in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama, is also responsible for providing the international community with up-to-date information on the situation of organized crime and its various manifestations through the production and publication of national Situation Reports and regional Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessments (TOCTA) for Central America and the Caribbean, with the substantive support of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch from UNODC Headquarters. These studies seek to identify the main transnational organized crime and drug trafficking threats, serving as a useful tool for policy making and for strategic analysis in the region. The Situation Report for Costa Rica will be the first to be launch and it is set to be published by the end of 2013.

The Santo Domingo Project/SICA-UNODC Mechanism is also aligned to support the Central American Security Strategy (ESCA), focusing on the development of anticrime projects within the framework of the ESCA. Furthermore, other processes derived from the ESCA, such as the creation of the SICA Democratic Security Observatory and Index (OBSICA), are also keenly supported. The Network of Strategic Analysts/ Organized Crime Researchers has been fully integrated into this regional initiative, also acting as the operational arm of OBSICA. The Strategic Analyst for El Salvador was designated by the SICA Democratic Security Department as coordinator of the OBSICA, to support its activation and work, in close coordination with the OBSICA team and partners.


Strengthening Law Enforcement Capacity in Strategic Analysis and Criminal Intelligence

In order to strengthen the capacities of institutions in charge of public security on criminal intelligence and strategic analysis against organized crime, and increase awareness of regional and national authorities on the importance of periodic threat assessments, the SDP/SUM project, with technical guidance and support of the UNODC Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch, based in its Vienna headquarters, has conducted a series of needs assessments, political meetings and national and regional training workshops on criminal intelligence and analysis.

The SDP/SUM project is also supporting the development of Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessments (SOCTAs) whichallow for the analysis of current and expected new trends in serious and organized crime and terrorism within a country. The assessments are based upon existing knowledge and expertise and are presented in order to enable decision-makers to take the appropriate action to counter the anticipated threats. The SOCTA approach is recognized worldwide as an effective and efficient means of analyzing and anticipating serious and organized crime, and has been successfully implemented in a number of countries. 

Additionally, the project is supporting the implementation of national initiatives to strengthen criminal intelligence systems in pilot countries in Central America and the Caribbean. This includes support to the Project known as "Plan Orion" of the National Office of Police Information (DNIP) of the National Police of Panama, and to the Fenix Project of the Intelligence Police Centre (CIP) of the National Civil Police of El Salvador. Processes of institutional building and centralization of national analytical capacity are taking place throughout the region, and national authorities have requested that the SDP/SUM project continue to support this effort, providing guidance and best practices for the definition of appropriate institutional structures and procedures.


Regional and International Cooperation

In order to foster cooperation and collaboration amongst regional countries, the SDP / SUM project also facilitates bilateral meetings, study-visits and exchanges of best practices.