How do illegal economies affect development?

Actualité

07.05.2018

Government representatives, scientists, and experts from international organisations and civil society discussed the link between illegal markets and poverty, weak state institutions, lack of access to legal outlets, and violence.

On April 19 and 20, 2018 the colloquium "Addressing the Development Implications of Illicit Economies" took place in London. The event focused on how to mitigate or avoid the harmful effects of illegal economies – especially drug markets – on human development, health, the stability of democratic institutions, and public security.

Criminal networks are largely financed by revenues from transnationally organised drug economies. Illegal markets often lead to violence, corruption, exploitation, and poor governance in the affected regions. Marginalised communities are particularly often affected by the negative consequences of illegal economies, such as violence and poverty. At the same time, such communities are in some areas not fully reached by government development programmes. For many communities living in conflict regions worldwide, participation in illegal economic activities can therefore be an effective way of securing income and survival.

During the two-day forum, government representatives, scientists, and experts from international organisations and civil society discussed the link between illegal markets and poverty, weak state institutions, lack of access to legal outlets, and violence. Parallels and differences between different development-oriented approaches were addressed in the discussion. These approaches have the aim of countering development barriers that can favour illegal markets.

The panels reflected the diverse global problems: From opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar and illegal gold mining in Colombia to the refugee camps in Lebanon and the trade in counterfeit medicines in West Africa, the various facets of illegal economies were examined.

The International Colloquium was organised by GPDPD on behalf of BMZ together with the University of Glasgow, Christian Aid, and the Institute for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London on the SOAS campus.

A selection of the topics presented at the colloquium and the most important results will be summarised in a publication and a short video. Current information can be found on our Twitter channel.

Flyer: University of Glasgow
Flyer: University of Glasgow
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