Latin America / Organized crime

More than 230 programmed crime-fighting activities

22 December 2020

The EL PAcCTO programme has taken stock of 2020 and presented the plan for its activities over the coming year to the Steering Committee, which met virtually for health reasons.

2020 has been a particularly tough year, with a reorientation of activity since March. In total, 136 activities have been carried out, most of them remotely, with the aim of strengthening the fight against organised crime in Latin America and the EU. Of these, 80 were national activities, 36 multi-country (several countries) and 20 were implemented at the regional level. Among the most important, we can highlight the presentation of the Latin American Committee for Internal Security in Latin America and IDEAL, which will measure the threat in the Latin American region. Also worth highlighting is the First Meeting of Latin American and EU Justice Institutions, the launch of the prison academies network and the presentation of the judicial assistance form to modernise and speed up procedures in the field of justice.

Crime in times of pandemic

But, without a doubt, this year has been marked by an orientation of activities towards our partners’ priorities in the wake of the pandemic. Starting in March, a contingency plan was drawn up that outlined the programme’s strategy for the following months. One success we can highlight is the creation of the COVID Channel, which has enabled the exchange of information about the pandemic between security forces, judicial powers, and prison systems in both regions. In addition, there have been several consultancies and online seminars focused on how to face the situation in prisons. To this end, exchanges of positive experiences have been carried out between EU member states and Latin America. Also noteworthy is the support of EL PAcCTO, which ended with 280,000 investigations and 102 people being detained as part of Europol’s Retrovirus Operation, or the virtual seminar organised together with Eurosocial+ and COPOLAD II to address the management of alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty in times of pandemic.

In total, 14 virtual seminars were held on Covid and its relationship with organised crime, with 830 participants from 23 countries in Latin America and the European Union.

Ready for the challenges of 2021

At the Steering Committee meeting, EL PAcCTO also presented its plan of activities for 2021. A flexible plan that can be modified depending on the evolution of the health crisis. For next year, 236 activities have been planned, some of them face-to-face (38%), others remote (36%) and, for the first time, we are introducing a hybrid model (face-to-face and distance 26%).

The main challenges are:

  • Give continuity to the priority themes for the participating countries
  • Define the work with real cases
  • Strengthen national coordination
  • Develop international cooperation and the ties with the EU and its agencies and member states. In particular, through networks and work with EMPACT
  • Take a strategic leap towards national, regional and bi-regional public policies
  • Boost the leadership of the EU: Green Agenda and Digital Agenda + Covid Roundtables, without losing sight of the identity of the Programme
  • Carry out a hybrid programme that combines face-to-face work with remote activities

In 2021, the pandemic will continue to affect people’s lives, so EL PAcCTO has designed a flexible schedule to adapt to new circumstances. Participation in the Team Europe Covid Roundtables and with attention on the operation of organised crime and corruption in the fight against Covid being a permanent constant of the programme.

Aligned with EU priorities

EL PAcCTO will work to reinforce the EU’s priorities such as the green agenda and the digital agenda by strengthening the fight against environmental crimes and cybercrime. At a strategic level, we must also highlight:

  • The first meeting of CLASI in Brussels, June 2021
  • IDEAL: the first version will be finalised in the first semester and presented to CLASI
  • The second meeting between justice authorities from Latin America and the EU
  • The constitution of Inter-institutional Technical Committees to promote alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty

In addition to the programmed activities, there are 92 with a gender perspective, which represents a significant leap forward compared to 2020. In 2021, the “Mercosur Order for the Protection of Women Witnesses and Victims of Organised Crime” will be further enhanced. As will the mainstreaming of gender within the team.

Important challenges based on the requests from our partners in Latin America. Objectives that have the support of the European Union, the agencies and the member states that make up EL PAcCTO.