Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs /

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Oslo / Vienna / Geneva

15 January 2019


Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime launches new Norwegian-funded civil-society resilience fund against organized crime

In the past decade, the highest rates of homicide in the world are no longer found in conflict zones, but in places where organized-crime groups and criminal gangs have displaced the state as the primary form of authority and agents of governance.

Criminal violence and extortion have a destructive effect on security and on people’s life chances.

Criminal groups prey on those who are most committed to revealing and combating their deleterious behaviour: change agents such as journalists, activists, government officials and environmental defenders are harassed, threatened and even murdered – often with terrifying impunity.

The detrimental impact of organized crime is, therefore, a manifold development threat in its capacity to penetrate and compromise states; to warp the process of democracy, regulation and the rule of law; to violently erode the safety, security and livelihoods of communities; and to degrade the environment.

Civil society and other non-state actors have become critical protagonists in the fight against organized crime, and protectors of those who are most vulnerable to it. They are active in multiple ways and under different institutional guises – be it community groups and activists, academics, the media or labour unions – in places where the state has been compromised or replaced by criminal governance. Their influence is seen in remote communities and in the heart of urban metropolis.

To support the efforts of such groups and individuals, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are proud to announce the launch of a Civil Society Resilience Fund Against Organized Crime.

The Fund provides tangible progress towards the longstanding priorities of the Norwegian Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond to complex, non-traditional security threats, to promote peace and development.

Audun Halvorsen, State Secretary – Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains:

‘Civil-society institutions and courageous change agents find themselves at great risk, working in dangerous environments and the target of criminal groups. Despite having few resources, they are nonetheless able to organize themselves and present a genuine obstacle to the dominance by fear of organized crime. The Civil Society Resilience Fund Against Organized Crime is a way of catalyzing and supporting the work of such agents, and building resilient communities.’

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of prominent law enforcement, governance and development practitioners and policymakers who are dedicated to seeking new and innovative strategies and responses to organized crime.

In addition to its global research and policy work, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime pioneers programmes to help foster community resilience in the face of criminal governance in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Pilot initiatives have supported community awareness raising and dialogue in smuggling hubs in Libya; in the Balkans we have trained and funded investigative journalists to investigate criminal enterprises and state complicity with criminal activity; activated gang mediators and facilitated local dialogues in Cape Town, South Africa; and outreached to communities in Manila impacted by both drug use and the violent state response to drugs.

Says Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime Director, Mark Shaw:

‘In our daily work, we see people’s lives destroyed by organized crime. But we also see shining examples of courage and hope that are born in those very communities that are most affected by such agents of crime. Whether it is to provide services, promote safety, raise awareness or to change attitudes – or fostering innovations born of local need that we may not yet have identified – it is our commitment that this fund will incubate and protect that resilient spirit.’The Civil Society Resilience Fund Against Organized Crime will expand these efforts by identifying individuals and local civil-society institutions undertaking activities to counter criminal governance, providing grants and technical support, and by building a global network of community resilience actors and activists.

The fund will begin its activities in March 2019.

Contact us for more information.

image ©Sanne Derks