The event can viewed on YouTube Live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vZFk15EEF8)
ABOUT THE EVENT
In various fragile and conflict-affected settings, the impact of organized crime and corruption on the peacebuilding process is the subject of increased international concern. Once considered a problem isolated to a small number of failed and weak states, organized crime has become globalized, and now affects a wide range of the UN’s activities, including the maintenance of peace and security. Transnational in nature, organized crime and corruption now spans across the globe with illicit goods originating in one region and being trafficked across others until they reaches their destination markets. The corresponding influence of organized crime on stability, governance, and socio-economic development offers challenges and opportunities that the international community must consider during conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts.
With the growth of organized crime groups outpacing that of the governance structures capable of sufficiently addressing them, and with organized crime expanding beyond nation-state borders into the international arena, domestic approaches are increasingly ill-suited to respond to what has been deemed a threat to both national and global security. However, there exist constraints on the international community’s ability and capacity to respond. On one hand, state sovereignty represents a limitation on collective multinational action against organized crime, especially where it intersects with domestic politics. On the other hand, there is no consensus on what kind of approach the international community should undertake: a security-centered approach that reacts to emerging threats by using military and legal avenues, or an international development approach which seeks to understand and address the underlying factors that push groups/individuals into the criminal economy (i.e. high unemployment, civil war, lack of socio-economic support, etc). To complicate matters further, traditional definitions of organized crime, as outlined by UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, may not encompass the wide range of illicit criminal activities, especially as this definition is constructed based on legality/illegality as defined by the state and as carried out by its law enforcement. What does this mean for weak or corrupt states with fragile governments and contested authority? An overemphasis on the state’s role in addressing organized crime through law enforcement may effectively prevent the success of other forms of intervention and peacebuilding.
As such, new questions arise: What existing international structures and tools can be wielded to effectively address and combat corruption and transnational crime? Criminal background checks and drug testing in Naples FL or other American states can help make sure criminals are kept out of American companies. Could a similar testing structure be rolled out to other countries and positions of power? Is there a way to bolster domestic and cross-national capacity without unnecessarily infringing on the normative concerns of state sovereignty? How should peacebuilding efforts interact with the criminal economy? And how can they address the power vacuums rife with the criminal activities of non-state actors in such a way that extricates crime from politics, and brings the government back into the equation? And finally, what constitutes “organized crime” and is there an effective antidote for it?
As much remains to be understood about the relationship between organized crime, corruption and peacebuilding, it is important to explore how international organizations and key stakeholders can intervene to help eliminate, or reduce the impact of, criminal agendas. This will be the central question addressed at the seventh instalment of the Centre for Security Governance’s eSeminar series on “Contemporary Debates on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding”, presented in collaboration with the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Global Studies. Our distinguished panelists will each give brief introductory remarks, followed by an open Q&A period where participants will be able to engage the panel directly.
This eSeminar will take place on June 28 from 12:00 PM EST to 1:30 PM EST, and is open to the public and free to attend by registering below.
Geoff Burt is the Executive Director of the Centre for Security Governance (CSG). He previously served as the Deputy Director from 2013 to 2016. He was co-founder and Vice President of the Security Governance Group (SGG) from 2012 to 2016 and remains an SGG Senior Associate. Prior to joining the CSG, Geoff Burt was a researcher at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and a member of CIGI’s Security Sector Governance project. Geoff is an experienced researcher and project manager whose work has focused on security sector reform, transnational organized crime, migration and counter human trafficking, with an emphasis on fragile and conflict-affected countries. Geoff is the Editor-in-Chief of Stability: International Journal of Security and Development.
Dr Sasha Jesperson
Dr Sasha Jesperson is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery at St Mary’s University Twickenham. Before coming to St Mary’s, Sasha was leading research on organised crime at the Royal United Services Institute, working closely with government departments to ensure that research is useful for strengthening policymaking on organised crime. Her research background is on organised crime and particularly the role of development is preventing and responding to criminal activity.
Sasha completed her PhD at the London School of Economics. Her research examined international initiatives to address organised crime through peace building missions under the framework of the security-development nexus, comparing examples from Sierra Leone and Bosnia. Sasha also completed an MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and worked for Amnesty International for three years, primarily focusing on human rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
Dr John de Boer
John de Boer is Managing Director of SecDev Group. He was formerly a Senior Policy Adviser with the UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU CPR). Mr. de Boer is an expert on development, humanitarian, and security challenges in situations of conflict and violence. At UNU-CPR he leads research that identifies and responds to the multiple dimensions of vulnerability in urban contexts. This includes research that tackles specific challenges related to urban violence, urban disaster, and organized crime.
Prior to joining UNU-CPR, Mr. de Boer was the Program Leader for Governance, Security, and Justice at the International Development Research Centre in Canada. He has also worked at the Canadian International Development Agency where he served on the Afghanistan and Pakistan Task Force and with the Agency’s Office for Democratic Governance. He is a Research Associate with the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, and a Fellow in Diplomatic Affairs at the University of San Francisco’s Center for the Pacific Rim. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and has taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. de Boer holds a PhD in Area Studies from the University of Tokyo.
James Bosworth is the founder of Hxagon, a start-up consulting and technology company providing predictive analysis in emerging markets. He helps clients identify risks to their investments and assess the probabilities of those risks. He also assists clients identify potential high-return investments in emerging markets that are undervalued.
Bosworth was previously CEO at Southern Pulse, a company providing on-the-ground reporting for the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. There, he helped clients understand the neighborhood-level security environment, analyzed national and local political trends, and directed investigations into networks of corruption and organized crime around the hemisphere.
For the past 15 years, Bosworth has written about politics, economics, security and technology in emerging markets, primarily Latin America and the Caribbean. He is a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Among his public work, he wrote a feature article for Americas Quarterly on robotics in Latin America, authored a chapter for the Woodrow Wilson Center on organized crime in Honduras, and conducted a study on cybersecurity and botnets for the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, for the past 12 years, Bosworth has been the author of ‘Bloggings by Boz’, where he provides analysis and commentary on Latin American politics and US foreign policy.
Eric Scheye consults in justice and security development; organised criminal networks; women’s access to justice/ending violence against women; trafficking in persons & modern slavery; anti-gang initiatives; statebuilding; governance; rule of law; and monitoring and evaluation. Over 20 years, he has worked for and in many countries, emphasizing the need and use of reliable empirical analyses to identify credible programmatic and policy options. He has also participated on portfolio reviews of, respectively, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Commission’s justice and security programming.
His most recent assignment developed programmatic options for how to support local community development in an environment in which organized crime and organized criminal networks are virulent and prolific. He has also written an analysis of the empirical ‘what works’ in programming intended to prevent/reduce trafficking of persons. In these assignments, he has also proposed new methodologies and approaches to political economy analyses emphasizing a temporal perspective in contrast to the customary systems analyses; suggested that contemporary development concepts such as political ownership and political will are obsolete given the marriage of state actors into organized criminal networks; and questioned the validity and practical credibility of the current governance agenda with respect to the empirical reality of the ‘aid curse.’
In 2016, he undertook a value-added case study analysis of organised criminal networks in four industries/markets in Nigeria and highlighted possible programmatic choices; reviewed/critiqued the Global Initiative’s Framework on organized crime; studied ‘what works’ in police accountability and recommended empirically valid programmatic approaches; and provided the EU with monitoring and evaluation policy guidance for its justice and security programming.