During ECADs 25th Mayors Forum and the 6th World Forum Against Drugs in Gothenburg more than 60 speakers discussed topics related to the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs to a 400 head large audience. One of our prominent speakers, Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, presented her findings from international research on conflict areas, insurgencies, terrorism and organized crime to give an overview of the relationship between Organized Crime, Illicit Drugs and Terrorism.

Illicit drug production in weak states have enriched guerrillas, militias, organized crime groups, terrorist groups and corrupt governments alike. Violence, corruption and insecurity threaten the integrity and legitimacy of governments and their institutions.

Yet, it is not so easy as to equate tough drug control with increased levels of violence. The illicit drug trade is more violent in some parts of the world than others. What are the linkages between organized crime, drug trade and terrorism? What blame can be attributed to the so-called war on drugs and how should the vicious cycle of state fragility, conflict and weak rule of law be turned into a virtuous cycle of increased security and development?

What follows is a summary complied by ECAD Secretary General who moderated the event. Any mistakes in the text or discrepancies to what Vanda said shall be attributed to him.

Vandas speech can be viewed on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIE7E1KjnYc
A written compilation of Dr Felbab-Browns speech can be accessed here

Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.A. in Government from Harvard University, USA. Vanda Felbab-Brown is a Senior Fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, as well as Director of the project 'Improving Global Drug Policy: Comparative Perspectives Beyond UNGASS 2016'. Vanda Felbab-Brown is an expert on international and internal conflicts and non-traditional security threats, including insurgency, organized crime, urban violence, and illicit economies as well as author to several books, policy reports, academic articles and opinion pieces.

Download the full commentary here