Europa and latin america / Police Cooperation

Latin America and the EU, united in the fight against transnational organised crime

15 July 2021
Foto grupo IDEAL

IDEAL identifies and assesses the main threats of organised transnational crime in Latin America (cybercrime, drug trafficking, environmental crimes etc.), as well as promoting greater coordination between institutions to tackle these threats.

The criminal challenges of the 21st century are no longer national but global, transcending state borders. On this premise and inspired by the European SOCTA (Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment) instrument, the EL PAcCTO programme has implemented the IDEAL (Instrument for Documentation and Evaluation of the Threat of Organised Transnational Crime in Latin America) initiative in association with Latin American police agencies.

EL PAcCTO has brought together around 50 important authorities in Lisbon, from institutions from Europe and Latin America such as Ameripol and Europol. Among other participants, special mention should be made of Portugal’s Justice Minister, Francisca Van Dunem, the Costa Rican Deputy Minister of Public Security, Luis Castillo, Panama’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Security, Jonathan Anier Riggs Tapia, the Chilean Under-Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security, Juan Francisco Galli, the national director of the Portuguese Judicial Police, Luís Neves and, representing the General Directorate of International Associations of the European Commission, Jorge de la Caballería.

IDEAL, the leading cooperation initiative confronting transnational organised crime

As detailed in it presentation, IDEAL provides knowledge and evaluation of current criminal threats, such as drug and people trafficking, as well as offering a multidimensional, regional and joint approach to such phenomena, contributing to a better knowledge of the reality of organised transnational crime in the Latin American region.

This will allow the authorities to define and implement public policies that effectively combat and dismantle the most important organised criminal groups. The Portuguese Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, said that IDEAL “establishes priorities, strategies and cooperation between the different countries (…) Transnational organised crime requires a joint response, mutual trust and cooperation between States and authorities because there is no justice without security.”

It will also serve as an important basis for CLASI, the Latin American Committee for Internal Security, referred to by the head of the unit of the General Directorate of International Associations of the European Commission: “IDEAL is accompanied by the setting up of CLASI and will be an essential work base to define the Committee’s priorities and strategies. It represents a considerable advance in the fight against transnational organised crime, allowing us to get to know the real situation in advance.”

After a year and a half of intense work by Latin American law enforcement agencies from Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Panama and with European support, the threat documentation and assessment programme IDEAL has managed to identify the criminal areas that have the greatest impact and assess the threats that loom in terms of transnational organised crime. In addition, the instrument is committed to greater high-level coordination to tackle arms trafficking, smuggling, cybercrime, environmental crimes and money laundering, among other problems. IDEAL was presented as an important new basis for a comprehensive, unique and systemic response to tackle these problems jointly among the different participating countries based on a criminal analysis of large volumes of information.

Regarding this important advance, Luis Castillo, Costa Rica’s Vice Minister of Public Security said: “It is imperative to intensify efforts through a multidimensional approach in order to combat transnational organised crime. In reference to EL PAcCTO and IDEAL, the vice minister added that “they allow the countries to unite in a more orderly and coordinated manner.”

Drug trafficking, cybercrime, environmental crimes and other criminal areas

The threats that IDEAL addresses (including drug trafficking, cybercrime, human trafficking, money laundering, environmental crimes, arms smuggling and crimes against property) result in the commission of many different crimes, such as cocaine smuggling, phishing, sexual and labour exploitation, wildlife trafficking and illegal mining. The purpose of putting an end to these crimes through international cooperation is a key IDEAL goal.

Given the success of the initiative, other countries in the Latin American region, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay, have already expressed their interest in joining the project, in what is expected to be the second part – IDEAL 2.0.

EL PAcCTO (Europe-Latin America Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime) is an international cooperation programme funded by the European Union that seeks to contribute to security and justice in Latin America by supporting the fight against transnational organised crime. The programme addresses the entire criminal chain from a comprehensive perspective through its work in three core areas: policing, justice and prisons. 

EL PAcCTO is a European Union cooperation project, coordinated by two institutions with extensive experience in managing cooperation projects: FIIAPP (Spain) and Expertise France (France), which has two European partners: IILA (Italia) and Camões (Portugal).