Summer Walker

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) researches the political economy of organized crime in many countries, including those on the United Nations Security Council’s agenda.

The GI-TOC also analyzes how the Security Council responds to illicit economies and organized crime through its agenda, including through an annual review of resolutions that tracks references to organized crime. We use the term ‘illicit economies’ here to include the markets and actors involved. This series, UN Security Council Illicit Economies Watch, draws on research produced by the GI-TOC regional observatories and the Global Organized Crime Index to provide insights into the impacts of illicit economies for Council-relevant countries through periodic country reports.

As the United Nations develops its New Agenda for Peace, there is a need to consider the impacts of illicit economies in the search for sustainable peace and preventing conflict. The UN Secretary-General called for a New Agenda for Peace in his report Our Common Agenda, saying that to protect peace, ‘we need a peace continuum based on a better understanding of the underlying drivers and systems of influence that are sustaining conflict, a renewed effort to agree on more effective collective security responses and a meaningful set of steps to manage emerging risks’. One of these key underlying drivers is illicit economies and a more effective response will need to account for this. The Security Council will play a critical role in any renewed effort.

This brief provides an overview of how the Council addresses illicit economies and offers ideas for advancing the agenda. It first examines how specific crimes are addressed by the Council, expands into a wider analysis of the dynamics of illicit economies and conflict, and offers thinking around how illicit economies can be considered in the context of the New Agenda for Peace.

This brief is part of the UN Security Council Illicit Economies Watch series, which provides insights into the impacts of illicit economies for Council-relevant countries through country and thematic reports. The illicit economy is a key underlying driver upsetting a peace continuum – and a more effective response is needed.

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