UNODC CRIMJUST Research Segment organizes first Expert Meeting of Strategic Analysts on Cocaine Trafficking and Markets

2-3 December 2020 - The UNODC Drug Research Section, under the framework of the CRIMJUST Global Programme, held the first expert meeting on cocaine trafficking and markets ahead of the release of the Global Cocaine Report. A total of 19 strategic analysts, including 6 women and 13 men, from across 12 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa, participated.

Ms. Chloé Carpentier, Chief of UNODC Drug Research Section, inaugurated the meeting outlining its main objectives and thanking the European Union for its commitment to fund research, thus ensuring evidence-based policymaking. Her intervention was followed by Ms. Andreea Schmidt, Programme Manager of the European Union’s Global Illicit Flows Programme, who stressed the need to provide the resources to ensure national ownership over intelligence and data gathering. Her words were echoed by Mr. Glen Prichard, CRIMJUST Programme Coordinator, who added the importance of assiduously collecting reliable data to ensure criminal justice responses were tailored to local realities and ensuring investigations were intelligence-led.

During this two-day meeting, UNODC Research Officer, Mr. Antoine Vella first offered an overview of current trends characterizing the global cocaine market and also provided an analysis of current organized crime groups involved in shipping drugs produced in South America, transiting through the Caribbean and / or West Africa and bound for the European Union. His presentation was complemented by analysts from partner organizations, EUROPOL and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, who presented key findings from intelligence briefs released in 2020. Analysts underscored the rising availability of cocaine in Europe and the growing use of new communication platforms by organized crime groups, along with the continued use of container ships as a preferred choice of transportation modality to smuggle cocaine into EU territory.

Following these presentations, each delegate discussed cocaine production and trafficking trends observed in their respective countries, specifying common modi operandi, entry and exit points, current and emerging routes and transportation modalities. In addition, delegates discussed the detected impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on national and regional criminal landscapes.  These presentations shed key insights into the evolution of the cocaine market in recent years and will provide ground for the development of the first ever Global Cocaine Report, set to be released in 2022 by the Drug Research Section, under the framework of the CRIMJUST Global Programme..

This CRIMJUST initiative was funded by the European Union under the framework of the "Global Illicit Flows Programme" [GIFP]). It seeks to enhance law enforcement and judicial counter-narcotic strategies beyond interdiction activities and to foster transnational responses targeting each stage of the drug supply chain.

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