The ENACT project is working to ensure that Africa’s priorities, realities and challenges in combatting transnational organised crime (TOC) receive a voice and visibility at key global decision-making platforms. In line with this commitment, ENACT hosted a high-level event on the margins of the opening of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City on 20 September 2017.
The ENACT project is funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in affiliation with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime. Launched in 2018, the project aims to enhance Africa’s response to transnational organised crime (TOC).
The event featured the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E. Amira El-Fadil, former Nigerian President and Chair of the West African Commission on Drugs, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWA).
The meeting brought together representatives of African and European governments and regional bodies, such as the International Conference on the Great Lakes, the G5 Sahel and the International Parliamentary Secretary of the Mediterranean.
The three keynote speakers highlighted the challenges the continent faces and the globalised nature of TOC flows. During the discussion period, senior representatives voiced their support for the role that the ENACT project could play in improving the evidence basis and capacity of African actors themselves to investigate and analyse organised crime. They welcomed the convening and bridging role that the project could play between European and African states, as well as with civil society.
‘I believe a project like this will do a number of things: first, raise awareness. There is a need for awareness to be raised,’ said Obasanjo, emphasising the value of initiatives like ENACT to enhance cooperation. This aligns with a need for actors to move away from working in siloes and for the exchange of information and mutual assistance to be promoted.
A number of speakers noted the importance of the pan-African approach of the project. Illicit flows do not constrain themselves to one region because it is convenient for policymakers: human smugglers have broken down borders between West Africa, the Sahel and North Africa; drug traffickers move heroin with impunity along the East African coast from Somalia to South Africa.
Through this well-known event, the ENACT project has showcased its potential to build a strong collaboration between Europe and Africa in responding to transnational organised crime. ‘We need this level of partnership with different stakeholders,’ said El Fadil.