The capacity to respond to and recover from shocks and stressors.
In our area of work, it can be identified as a collective answer to transform communities and to positively face the impact of organized crime.
“Community resilience can be identified as a community’s ability to respond to adversity while retaining its functional capacities. It refers to the collective competency of a community to absorb change, transform and seize opportunities to improve conditions. It includes the community’s capacity for concerted actions as well as its ability to solve problems and build consensus towards coordinated responses.”
Organized crime impact
The detrimental impact of organized crime is becoming increasingly felt in its capacity to:
- Penetrate and compromise states;
- Warp the process of democracy, regulation and the rule of law;
- Violently erode the safety, security and life chances of communities;
- Degrade the environment.
There are now a growing number of places in the world where the state has been compromised or replaced by criminal governance, both in remote communities and in the heart of urban metropoles.
It does not manifest itself in the same form in all parts of the world. However, there tends to be characteristics in common:
- The use and threat of violence;
- The targeting of women, girls and young people in general;
- Efforts to control economic activity and resources;
- Influence of political and judicial recourse for ordinary citizens.
One of the principle challenges of responding to organized crime has been the capacity of criminal groups to target and capture those very agents of the state that are earmarked to prevent and prosecute their operations. Civil society and non-state actors have thus become critical protagonists in the fight against organized crime, and protectors of the vulnerable in the absence of an effective state response.
Yet civil society institutions and courageous change agents find themselves at great risk, working in dangerous environments and the target of criminal groups. Nascent community and civil society efforts to mount a response are often trying to organize themselves with few resources and huge obstacles.
Civil society actors
They are active in multiple ways and under different institutional guises, everywhere in the world where organized crime is now present:
- Community groups
- Local NGOs
- Non-profit foundations
- Labour unions
- Women and youth collectives
- Religious-based foundations
- Community leaders
Their initiatives are, of course, calibrated to the specificities of their local context, but they also often share commonalities: working to reveal criminality and corruption; organizing around community resistance and community protection; agitating to have their voices heard on a larger national or international platform, to call for attention, for action and for assistance.