West Africa Regional Network on Organized Crime

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Goldin Global Fellow, Liberia

I am pleased to report that our organization, Citizen Bureau for Development and Productivity, has joined as an official member of the West Africa Regional Network on Organized Crime (WARNOC) organization. Given our selection, I was fortunate as Founder and Executive Director to attend three days of interactive and informative sessions in Nigeria, Abuja.

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The sessions included two days of trainings and workshops, featuring a multi-stakeholder dialogue with the ECOWAS commission, the first of its kind in the West Africa region.  After three days of deliberations and planning, our efforts were recognized by the ECOWAS Commission as pioneering! Congratulations to us!

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Jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is implementing the “Organized Crime: West African Response to Trafficking” (OCWAR—T) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the international Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Enhancing Africa’s ability to Counter Transnational Crime (ENACT). As part of a regional and coherent approach to combatting organized crime and trafficking in West Africa, the project-is supporting the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS member states and Mauritania in reducing Transnational Organized Crime (TOC). For this purpose, the project is strengthening structures and capacities on national and regional level and is fostering evidence-led policy making to more effectively combat TOC in the ECOWAS region.

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In the context of the OCWAR—T project ENACT, represented by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Global Initiative Against Organized Crime (GITOC), held a debut capacity building workshop for members of the West Africa Regional Network on organized Crime (WARNOC). The design of the capacity building modules was tailored to the needs and priorities of WARNOC members. These were assessed through a training Needs Assessment (TNA), which collated self-assessments regarding WARNOC members baseline understanding of different elements of TOC in the ECOWAS region.

As one of the workshop participants, we were guided through the foundational modules of the course developed for the WARNOC. The foundational modules have been designed to build the capacity of WARNOC members to better understand, analyze and research transnational organized crime.

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The foundational modules delivered during the workshop explored definitional issues and start to provide participants with an analytical framework for understanding organized crime, with particular focus on the ECOWAS region. Sessions explored the evolution of organized crime, drivers and enablers of organized crime, and the political economy of illicit markets. The workshop also delved deeper into the components of organized crime, including the actors, markets, and illicit flows.

Later elements of the course delivered to the WARNOC after the inception workshop included thematic modules on different markets, a focus on responses, together with skills-based exercises to build the research skills of WARNOC members, and to support their research at each stage of the research process. Throughout the sessions, facilitators use teambuilding approaches and exercises to foster cohesion among WARNOC members. The WARNOC virtual platforms “basecamp “got introduced to participants to encouraged networking, sharing of information and group exercises.

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