On the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized a side-event focused on addressing the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime in Africa, with high-level participation from the Permanent Mission of Mozambique, as well as the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Eastern Africa Police Chief’s Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO).
A priority area for UNICRI for several years, the nexus is an issue of growing global concern due to serious consequences it has on international security and development. The importance of addressing this issue has increasingly been highlighted by the United Nations, most recently in Security Council resolutions 2462 (2019) and 2482 (2019) and during the seventh review of the United Nations Global Strategy (GA 75/291) in 2021, which encourages Member States and international and regional organizations to enhance knowledge of and support initiatives to address the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime.
The side-event was an opportunity for UNICRI and UNODC – two of the leading UN entities working in this field – to reflect on the extensive research and capacity-building work already carried out to address the nexus in other parts of the world, as well as to examine the unique challenges and responses required of African Member States and regional organizations to address the linkages between terrorism and organized crime in Africa.
These issues are particularly relevant for Africa which continues to grapple with the threat of terrorism. Given the growing terrorist violence facing Africa, addressing these challenges and the growing relevant security threats was identified as one of the key priorities during the 2021 Global Counter-Terrorism Review.
During the meeting, Ms. Ghada Waly, Executive Director of UNODC and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), emphasised that: “By conspiring together, terrorists and criminals are undermining peace and security in Africa and threatening its hopes for sustainable development. UNODC is supporting inter-agency cooperation to investigate terrorist activity and its linkages with other illicit operations, enabling simpler and faster information-sharing across jurisdictions and agencies.”
Ms. Antonia De Meo, Director of UNICRI, further reiterated the commitment of the Institute, highlighting that: “The data and lessons learned tell us clearly that manifestations of the nexus between organized crime and terrorism must be addressed comprehensively. More cooperation at the national and regional levels is critical if we want to dismantle the nexus in Africa. UNICRI continues to support Member States in their efforts to prevent and counter the nexus, which negatively affects the rule of law, peace and security, and development. Coming together to share our knowledge and expertise on the margins of the General Assembly takes us one step closer to our goal.”
About the work of UNICRI on the nexus between terrorism and organized crime
Since 2016 UNICRI has been working to address this Nexus, in line with Security Council resolution 2195. In 2017, UNICRI launched the Initiative on the Nexus Between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism, in close cooperation with the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF). UNICRI then developed The Hague Good Practices on the Nexus Between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism and a subsequent Policy Toolkit.
More information is available at the following link: