UNODC launches new cross-border initiative between The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal

     This activity was financed by Germany

The official launch of the project aiming at "Enhancing national capacities to detect and investigate cross-border organized crime in The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal" was held on 15 December 2017, in Banjul, The Gambia, during the opening ceremony of the first training course implemented under this initiative.

The new project emanates from the recommendations made by the UN Inter-Agency Mission to The Gambia, dispatched by the UN Secretary General in February 2017, to assess the political, security, human rights and development situation in the country and explore ways of supporting national efforts to rebuild the economy and democratic institutions.

The mission identified possible areas of UN support based on the priorities expressed by the Government of The Gambia, including "the need to implement actions aimed at fostering closer working relationships with neighboring countries to promote cooperation and fight cross-border criminality". The recommendations identified UNODC as the best placed actor to support the strengthening of sub-regional cooperation between the three countries, and train elite law enforcement officers to investigate high-profile crimes and establish a solid criminal intelligence system.

Group photo of the participants in Banjul

The opening ceremony of the training course was attended by the Permanent Secretary to the Minister of the Interior of the Gambia, the Ambassador of Germany for Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in The Gambia, a representative of the UN Resident Coordinator in the Gambia and the UNODC Head of Law Enforcement of the Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

This two-week training course on the detection and interdiction of cross-border crime through enhanced crime scene management, investigation, profiling and interview techniques, and search on vehicles and persons is organized from 11 to 22 December 2017, and gathers 25 law enforcement officers from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia Police Force and The Gambia Immigration Department. The training is led by three experienced and qualified trainers from the British National Crime Agency and the Ghanaian Criminal Investigation Department, balancing international expertise with experience from the region.

Addressing the trainees, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior emphasized the tight relationship between national and sub-regional security, and the challenges encountered in tackling cross-border organized crime: "The Gambia is in the process to begin a security sector reform, and you are all part of it. Our aim is not to make the security sector bigger, but smarter and more efficient. We are given the task to bring security and safety at the door of every Gambian."

Participants during the meeting

Over the course of 2018, the training modules from the workshop will be replicated with counterpart agencies from Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, in order to constitute a pool of highly-skilled officers, trained on the specificities of the detection and interdiction of cross-border crime, profiling and crime scene management techniques.

This initiative represents a unique opportunity to support robust regional strategies to provide an effective response to transnational organized crime in West Africa, and to foster stronger regional cooperation and coordination of law enforcement authorities in the sub-region between The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

Recognizing the difficulty of managing land and sea borders, in the framework of its Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020) and of its contribution to the common goal under SDG 16 « Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions », UNODC has set the objective to promote proactive policing by developing an intelligence-based approach to law enforcement. It further seeks to improve inter-agency coordination with a view to disrupt and dismantle activities of transnational organized crime networks involved in the broad spectrum of illicit trafficking, money laundering and serious crimes and its interlink with terrorism groups.

The Project is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Fore more information:

The Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020)

The International Organization for Migration

SDG 16 "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions"