Countering Narcotics and the Illicit Commons Workshop
February 13-16, 2012
The Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS), in cooperation with three other U.S. Department of Defense Centers for Strategic Studies—the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies, and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC), hosted and co-sponsored a four-day workshop on “Countering Narcotics and the Illicit Commons” at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, February 13-16, 2012.
The workshop convened 60 senior-level government officials from Latin America, West Africa, North Africa, and Europe, as well as the United States and international organizations and focused primarily on the increased flow of cocaine from South America, through West and North Africa, into Europe. The rise of this global route for illegal trafficking symbolizes the growing challenges posed by the illicit commons more broadly. These transnational threats have grave implications for the health, governance, security, and stability of all regions concerned, as reflected in the 2011 U.S. Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.
To support policies to combat narcotics trafficking and illicit networks and build partnership capacity, the workshop sought to:
- Assess the threat posed by Latin America–West/North Africa–Europe drug smuggling and illicit commons challenges between regions.
- Identify limitations in current national, regional, and global responses to this drug smuggling route and the illicit commons more broadly.
- Enhance understanding of regional U.S. and policies regarding illegal drug smuggling and illicit commons challenges, as well as resources available to counter these threats.
- Promote harmonization of national and especially inter-regional security efforts, and explore potential cooperative strategies for enhancing these efforts.
- Initiate a dialogue and create networks among senior security sector leaders in Latin America, West Africa, North Africa, and Europe.
- Focus on strategic responses, particularly the sharing of best practices between regions and the development of solutions among regions.
The workshop included panel sessions and a limited number of discussion group sessions that took place in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The Regional Centers' faculty facilitated sessions based on respective language skills, experience, and expertise. The conference was conducted under a strict policy of non-attribution in order to ensure intellectual freedom and to promote frank, open dialogue.