International Colloquium Addressing the Development Implications of Illicit Economies


Illicit economies − especially drug economies − pose a serious threat to human development and health. The International Colloquium addresses the development implications of illicit economies in order to promote innovate research in this area.

Illicit economies are a serious threat to human development and to the health of individuals and communities. Drug economies in particular are one of the main sources of income for illicit networks. They weaken state institutions and foster violence and poverty. With their expansion, illicit drug markets can create hidden structures of power in fragile states, which pose clear dangers to public security and health. In order to improve human development the root causes of illicit economies need to be addressed.

However, in many regions, such as Central to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Central Africa, communities survive because of their involvement in illicit economies. Often this is due to a lack of access to legal markets. Illicit networks are oftentimes the only source of income for their survival. Additionally, these communities may at-times not be covered by development programmes, nor receive sufficient state protection. This dynamic raises difficult questions around the relationship between illicit economies and development.

The International Colloquium from April 19 to 21, 2018, will examine the effects of illicit economies on development from a cross-disciplinary perspective. It will bring together government representatives, scholars and experts of international organisations and civil society. The aim is to develop innovative research approaches on the implications of illicit economies to human and social development and to encourage policymakers and practitioners to consider possible implications for implementation.

GPDPD organises the International Colloquium on behalf of the BMZ and under the political patronage of the Federal Government's Drug Commissioner jointly with Christian Aid and the University of Glasgow and in cooperation with Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Institute for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. The colloquium will be held at SOAS.

The formal call for submissions will open shortly. In the meanwhile, registration of interest by e-mail is required:

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