Latin America / Covid-19

Recognition by the European Union of EL PAcCTO's work during the Covid-19 crisis

13 July 2020
COVID-19

The last Steering Committee meeting for the EL PAcCTO programme has been held virtually due to the restrictions imposed by the health crisis. The meeting was attended by Ramón Espinosa and Vania Bonalberti, from the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO) at the European Commission, Iris Ljubicic, from the European External Action Service (SEAE), David Ramos, from the Council of the European Union and representatives from Europol and the Member State Ministries of Justice and the Interior  that make up EL PAcCTO (Spain, France, Italy and Portugal). It was also attended by the programme’s implementing agencies (FIIAPP, Expertise France, IILA and Camões) and representatives from the projects linked to EL PAcCTO: EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and INTERPOL: Support to EL PAcCTO

DEVCO representatives have recognised the work EL PAcCTO has carried out in recent months “with the formulation of a contingency plan, results such as the Covid Channel and the high visibility of webinars, such as the CLASI presentation”, said Ramón Espinosa, of the European Commission.

During the meeting, the EL PAcCTO team took stock of the activities carried out in the first half of the year and presented the objectives for the coming months.

Contingency Plan in response to the health crisis

The normal implementation of the programme has been interrupted this year by the health crisis and, for this reason, the EL PAcCTO programme has had to react quickly by preparing a Contingency Plan. This plan has set the strategy for the last few months. In summary, of the activities programmed in the 2020 Plan, 37 have been carried out virtually. In addition, after evaluating the countries’ new demands, 17 new activities have been designed during the health crisis, including the webinar on “Alternative Measures to the Deprivation of Liberty During the Pandemic” and another on “Corruption in Public Procurement Processes”.

EL PAcCTO has developed three possible scenarios for the coming months (minimum, intermediate and broad) that will depend on the evolution of the pandemic. This will allow it to continue carrying out activities virtually and combine them with workshops or seminars in person (in Europe or Latin America) when the health crisis allows.

AMERIPOL and INTERPOL, linked to EL PAcCTO

The projects linked to EL PAcCTO: EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and INTERPOL: Support to EL PAcCTO also presented their results, highlighting the rapid adaptation to the health crisis and the quality of the virtual activities that have been undertaken to strengthen the fight against crime during the pandemic.

EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL has organised four webinars through the AMERIPOL Executive Secretariat and UNAs to disseminate and promote good practices and lessons learned from the EU. The topics have included:

  • Adaptation of water-spraying lorries to disinfect large areas using the COUNTERFOG system.
  • Fight against disinformation (the spreading of FAKE NEWS) and cyber crime in the context of a global pandemic.
  • Scientific and forensic police
  • Illicit drug trade

Covid channel as an immediate response to the crisis

The success stories presented to the Steering Committee included the launch of the Covid Channel. An immediate response to the crisis and a space for exchange between the security forces, justice representatives and prison systems in Latin America and the European Union.

The exchange of information between Europe and Latin America has promoted coordination and cooperation between the two regions to face the challenges of crime in the context of a health crisis.

Thanks to the Covid channel , the security forces, justice representatives and prison systems in the two regions have been able to exchange information in different areas such as:

  • cybercrime,
  • prison policy, with the reduction in overcrowding and introduction of healthcare protocols in the centres, or the implementation of alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty,
  • crimes against minors online,
  • corruption in public procurement,
  • the management and traffic of medical waste.

Communication during the health crisis

To make the work of the Covid Channel more effective, a space has been created on the EL PAcCTO website where all the information that has been generated on the work by the programme to strengthen the fight against organised crime during the pandemic has been collected.

So far, 5 videos, 19 news items and 6 opinion articles have been published on this website. In addition, it should be noted that, from March 2020 until now, the traffic on the EL PAcCTO website has more than tripled, compared to the same period in 2019.