Organised crime is not a new phenomenon in the Western Balkans. Yet, despite its pervasiveness, research on the topic is scarce. Information is often anecdotal, and data is limited and frequently unreliable. Better quality of information would enable a more accurate picture and allow for more effective responses to fighting organised crime and corruption in the region.
How to gather and analyse such information and how to design more effective policy responses was the topic of a two-day conference on the Western Balkans region at Wilton Park. The conference, ‘Tackling serious and organized crime in the Western Balkans’, was held on 24–26 February 2020, with the support of the UK Home Office and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
New studies from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (the Siracusa Institute) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) were presented to stimulate discussion on the nature, extent and impact of organized crime and corruption in the Western Balkans as well as suggestions for how to tackle it more effectively
Through the conference discussions ideas were generated for:
- enhancing collaborative approaches to sharing information and data for policy use;
- supporting criminal-justice strategies for tackling organised crime and corruption;
- strengthening civil-society organizations; and
- enhancing the coordination of international donor activities.