In the context of failed and failing states, the analysis around the role of illicit resources flows has been quite widely examined, particularly in the context of Africa and the post-colonial “Congo” wars in Central and West Africa. In these discussions, violent protection of access to natural resources such as minerals, oil and wildlife, have been shown to be linked to the cause, exacerbation and protraction of conflict. In recent conflicts in the Sahel, similar analysis has been applied to illicit trafficking in drugs, the smuggling of migrants and other criminal transit flows as serving as a means of resourcing insurgencies. However, in both cases, the failure of internationally sponsored peace and transition processes to adequately address illicit flows and provide effective means to separate criminal activity from legitimate grievance, and to protect the institutions of the state from penetration of illicit flows, has become widely cited as reasons for the resurgence of conflict and subsequent state failure. This initiative aims to focus on how to respond on illicit markets and organised crime in the context of conflict.



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