8 July 2014
Tim Midgley, Conflict and Security
Advisor, Saferworld
Identifying approaches and
Transnational organised crime
Aim: to identify and analyse a broad range of approaches
and intervention strategies for tac...
'The Business': the
money making activities
associated with TOC
Facilitation networks:
systems and actors that
actively su...
Image: ClipArtBest.com
Global political and
economic system
Social, political and
economic vulnerabilities
Support network...
Datasets and baskets of indicators
measures of
 Capacity
 ‘Objective’
 Perceptions
Challenges and ways forward
• Under-developed and contradictory evidence base
• Law enforcement focus
• Lack of comparabil...
Implications for development community
• Deepening evidence base (research, M&E, mulit-
sectoral innovation etc.)
• Emphas...
Thanks for listening!
More information:
Conflict, Crime and Violence Results Initiative
• Support DFID in identifying and applying best
practices and meas...
Illicit financial
flows target
Arms, drugs &
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Tim Midgley, Saferworld (UK )


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"Measuring for results in conflict, crime and violence affected situations"
Regional Review Conference on the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development
Geneva, Switzerland | 8-9 July 2014

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  • 15 July 2014November 15, 2004
  • Commissioned in recognition that, despite the fact that it has traditionally been considered a law enforcement issue, and beyond the remit of most development actors, it is in fact a critically important issue for development actors to get to grips with.

    Over the last few years for example, a growing body of evidence and research has begun to focus on the relationship between crime (and especially transnational organised crime) and key aspects of development, such as poverty, governance and conflict. E.g. WDR 2011 had a substantive focus on ‘external stress factors’- increasing attention being paid to the corrosive impacts of TOC on governance, peace and security- and pointed to (amongst other things) the ways in which TOC can undermine state legitimacy and capacity by co-opting state services and resources towards its own gains, making the state primarily accountable to TOC networks at the expense of the population. (TOC has also become more pertinent issue given developments in a range of contexts, e.g. the opening up of new smuggling routes through West Africa, inter-section of TOC and insecurity in Colombia, Afghanistan etc, links with insurgency and political violence etc.)

    The sheer scale of TOC also makes it a difficult topic for development actors to ignore- UNODC estimates value of TOC at about $870 billion per year- (1.5% of global GDP) or size of 93 of the worlds smaller economies. A large number of studies have also shown that there has been a massive increase in scale, power and influence since end of cold war- globalisation has facilitated massive expansion of opportunity for TOC, whilst the growth of global rules and regulations aimed and tackling TOC has simply not been able to keep up.

    The aim of the paper was to develop a practical resource that could be used to help advisors and others working in contexts in which TOC has been identified as a challenge to design appropriate interventions, based on evidence of what works. Our approach was to identify common assumptions that guide approaches to TOC, and to collate information about their effectiveness.

    (There were several objectives of this paper:
    identify common approaches, strategies and assumptions underpinning programmes that aim to tackle TOC
    Assess strength of evidence base for some of these assumptions
    assess challenges for measuring impacts
    identify existing or potential datasets and indicators)
  • However, in order to do this, we had to first outline how we were conceptualising transnational organised crime. We laid this out in a simple ‘dartboard of crime’- the aim was to try to simply illustrate how TOC operates within, and is dependent on a wide range of external dynamics. Important to see TOC not as an isolated or separate activity, divorced from wider social, political and economic dynamics, but rather as a complex phenomenon that is intimately and intricately linked up with these wider systems.

    The Business in the middle- the money making activities of crime- small group of ‘full time criminals’, with access to lots of money and influence
    Facilitation networks- those people who make it possible for the business to operate with relative impunity- the corrupt politicians, border guards etc
    Support networks- communities that are either complicit in, or turn a blind eye to criminal activities, e.g. by providing safe houses, alabies or not cooperating with the police.
    Social, political and economic vulnerability factors- differ from context to context, but might include a lack of an effective state presence, marginaliation or patterns of inequality
    Global political and economic system- TOC is able to thrive because it is so well adapted to the global system within which it resides- e.g. global trade infrastructure (ports, internet etc) and deregulated markets make it possible for TOC to transport illicit goods with minimal risk, lack of co-ordination and harmonisation between judicial and law enforcement systems meanwhile allow for criminal actors to escape prosecution, so long they ‘are of use to some government somewhere’ as UNODC put it.

  • In this paper, we were able to identify and cluster the main approaches to tackling TOC under 6 broad headings, which allowed us to construct 6 ‘high-level’ theories of change that seem to guide the majority of approaches to TOC. (It is important to note that these are rarely explicitly stated as theories of change, and should therefore be understood as ‘implicit’ theories of change rather than those that have been explicitly outlined by any one specific programme or strategy)

    I will not go into these in detail, but would be happy to elaborate on any of these in Q&A

    (For each Theory of change, we:
    Articulated the logic and assumptions behind it
    The types of programmatic approaches commonly employed
    Evidence of effectiveness
    Challenges of measuring programmes guided by these theory of change)

    The evidence is not clear cut that indicates that any one theory is more valid than the others- there are plenty of examples of interventions and strategies directed by each theory of change that have been successful, and many similar programmes that have had little or no positive impact, and some very negative impacts. This underlines the need for both context specificity, but also a joined up approach that addresses critical issues at each stage within this system. There are a few interesting patterns that emerge:

    The first is different approaches have not been evenly applied- the vast majority of interventions are focused on the inner-two circles- mostly aiming to directly tackle criminal networks by either interdicting and apprehending actors involved in criminal activity (mostly deterrence strategies, but also some of those aimed at breaking the links between politics and crime through anti-corruption agencies etc.)- however the evidence is fairly clear that these strategies, taken in isolation have only limited impact on preventing violence associated with TOC, and in many instances can actually exacerbate conflict, e.g. as can be seen by impact of highly militarised responses to drug trade in Afghanistan, Mexico and Colombia.

    A second observation relates to the need to avoid simplistic assumptions about the relationships between TOC and development. We strongly argue that developmental processes should be used to address crime, but it development should not be equated with TOC prevention. Many intervention strategies have sought to promote economic development as an approach to tackling TOC- the theory goes that factors such as poverty and high rates of unemployment drive people into crime as a livelihood strategy, and if they had alternatives within the legitimate sector, they would not engage in criminal activities. There are some contexts where this appears to have been the case- e.g. Thailand moving from being one of the worlds largest opium producers to almost complete eradication. However, more broadly there are no clear cut correlations between poverty rates, unemployment and TOC related violence. In fact, countries with the highest rates of violent crime, such as Honduras, el Salavdor, Jamaica etc tend to be middle income countries with reasonable or strong growth rates. Too often, programmes guided by this theory of change have failed to account for the broad range of factors that drive people to engage in criminal activities.

    This relates to a third observation; TOC is extremely adaptable and resilient. (Whilst it does appear to be the case that high income countries meanwhile score higher on rule of law indicices,) there is a strong case to be made that as the economic profile of a country changes, so too does the nature of crime. Take for example consumption patterns of many illicit goods- drugs, counterfeits etc- often luxury items that correlate with levels of disposable income- as incomes increase these countries may move from being producers of, or transhipment zones for illicit goods towards being consumers. This, combined with domestic policies within major consuming countries that tend to focus on limiting the supply of illicit goods into their own markets (e.g. through violent crack down on actors engaged in the production and shipment of goods, rather than on the demand for such goods) can potentially result in the displacement of crime and violence to more vulnerable places. The ultimate impact being a decrease in levels of violence within the country, but a net increase in violence at the global level.

    (One relatively under-researched but highly promising approaches to tackling TOC appears to be those that focus on managing the impacts of crime on conflict, e.g. by trying to nudge the types of crime that people engage in towards those that have relatively less impact on conflict. These approaches can however be politically very difficult since they do not necessarily seek to reduce the total amount of crime, and can imply a degree of tolerance of certain types of crime- e.g. through decrimonalisation of certain types of crime, or harm reduction approaches.)

  • We also identified a range of available and potential indicators, that taken together could form the basis for measuring impact of programmes guided by these theories of change

    We tried to pull together a braod range of indicators from existing datasets, as well as potential indicators that could be feasibly developed, which could be used to inform programme design and M&E frameworks. Important to make use of a basket of indicators that

    One objective of this paper is to identify the sorts of indicators and associated datasets that could be used to inform approaches to measuring impact in programmes focusing on TOC. For each theory of change we include a short list outlining areas that programmes might seek to measure, with examples of possible indicators that could be used. In all programmes it is important that the right combination of indicators is employed to present a balanced picture of progress. For each theory of change, we therefore suggest a basket of issues (with example indicators) that, taken together may offer a holistic picture of how programmes are contributing to conflict prevention. Each basket combines 3 types of indicators:
    Capacity Indicators: is capacity developing to address the key issue?
    ‘Objective’ Situation Indicators: do statistical measures of actual societal situations show that improvements are being achieved?
    Public Perceptions Indicators: does the public feel that an improvement is occurring?

    This is important to provide a balanced picture of progress. If for example we take indicators commonly employed to measure progress against interventions that seek to break the links between crime and politics, many make use of widely available perceptions of corruption surveys. These are very valuable datasets, but taken alone can present a skewed or incomplete picture- e.g. perceptions of corruption can be influenced by a large number of things, e.g. widely publicised anti-corruption campaigns, or expose of corruption, can lead to greater public awareness of corruption, yet this same awareness may be an important factor in anti-corruption efforts. These indicators therefore need to be complemented with indicators that demonstrate for example the strength of legislation or institutions to address different aspects of corruption, e.g. money laundering. Such capacity indicators give credit to governments that are taking long term measures that can take many years to yield objective results. However, the ultimate success of such laws and institutions cannot be understood without reference to an ‘objective’ situation indicator: for example, the volume of illicit financial flows from the country in question. However, such statistics are not always accurate, and public/investor confidence is also crucial to the overall success of the exercise of addressing corruption, which brings us back to the perception based indicators.

  • In addition to the complexity laid out already, there are a number of further challenges associated with measuring the impact of programmes aimed at tackling TOC.

    The evidence base necessary to robustly test many of the assumptions that underpin these theories of change remains largely under-developed. Crime statistics are obviously critically important. However they can also be notoriously unreliable and often open to wide interpretation, even in countries with strong data gathering capabilities. (These challenges are only exacerbated in low income and conflict affected countries. Furthermore, the majority of crimes go unreported, meaning that multiple metrics must be employed to develop a picture of the prevalence of crime in any context.

    Definitional ambiguities, for example around what constitutes TOC against simply organised crime, or indeed unorganised crime (and even what constitutes crime, for example in a context lacking a developed legal framework or constitution) further complicate data gathering and analysis.)
    Where data is available, it has largely been generated from the law enforcement sector (reflective of the focus on most TOC focused efforts to date). Whilst this obviously extremely important, it does not provide a comprehensive picture of the drivers of TOC. Nor does it provide evidence of what works in addressing TOC from a non-law enforcement perspective. Alternative sources of data may be available from other sources, but there may be issues of comparability between datasets generated from very different methodologies ((e.g. there may be geographical or social biases in data gathering between surveys used to assess education and crime levels). The relatively under-developed nature of this evidence base also means that many of the lines of causality between variables (such as homicide rates and employment) remain highly contested, further complicating programme approaches. )

    The extreme adaptability of TOC, and the inherently global nature of activities and drivers also create very specific challenges for measurement. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that TOC is able to manifest itself in very different ways in different contexts, meaning that as the social, political and economic nature of a particular context changes, so can the nature of TOC. Likewise, a crack down on aspects of TOC in one place can often simply result in the displacement of that activity to somewhere else, often a more vulnerable context. This complicates efforts to measure TOC because it means that a reduction in one manifestation of TOC, e.g. drug production, in one area may simply imply that that activity has been displaced elsewhere. The net impact of violence or crime may be negligible, or possibly worse.

    However, it is not all doom and gloom. The fact that TOC is slowly becoming recognised as a development issue means that a growing number of donors are investing in programmes, research and analysis- new and innovative approaches are being employed, and so long as this is accompanied by rigorous M&E and honest assessment and dissemination of results, then the evidence base will deepen. Furthermore, a lot of data is available from agencies such as UNODC and World Bank.

  • Finally, some implications of this work for donors and the wider development community:
    Continue to deepen and develop the evidence base
    Build capacities of local data gathering and analysis institutions in developing countries, e.g. through support to national statistics and crime data gathering institutions
    Ensure that integrated development and security strategies are informed by an analysis of TOC dynamics
    Identify a set of common, global indicators that can be used to assess the culminative impacts of programmes seeking to tackle TOC beyond the local and national levels- links in with post 2015 discussion we will have tomorrow.
    Ensure that all policies and programmes seeking to tackle TOC are informed by an appreciation of the potential global or regional impacts they may have on TOC dynamics- i.e. policies intended to undermine the impact of TOC domestically need to be informed by an understanding of their potential impact in far off locations. Amongst other things, this will require significant co-ordination and co-operation between different legs of governments as well as partnerships with local governments, donor co-ordination and civil society engagement.
  • The Conflict, Crime and Violence Results Initiative (CCVRI) is an on-going project, funded by DFID, that seeks to support the application of best practices and innovative approaches to measuring impact of programmes operating in conflict affected contexts.

    Its is intended to be a resource that advisors from across DFID, and increasingly from other government departments, can draw upon to access specialist expertise on M&E and conflict sensitivity. There are two functions- a helpdesk, whereby advisors and programme staff can submit specific requests for support or short pieces of research to identify best practices to aid in the design, monitoring and evaluation of specific programmes. The second function allows for participating agencies to undertake slightly more detailed pieces of research and analysis, with the aim of developing practically focused tools or guidance materials on selected topics.

    This particular paper on crime was from this second category. A range of these guides are available on different topics, e.g. on ICT for peacebuilding evaluation, pros and cons of different evaluation techniques etc. All of these products are available through consortium partners.

    The consortium is made up of …

    Introduce CCVRI
    What it is and how it works
  • Tim Midgley, Saferworld (UK )

    1. 1. 8 July 2014 Tim Midgley, Conflict and Security Advisor, Saferworld tmidgley@saferworld.org.uk Identifying approaches and measuring impacts of programmes focused on transnational organised crime
    2. 2. Transnational organised crime Aim: to identify and analyse a broad range of approaches and intervention strategies for tackling TOC, and assess challenges for measuring impacts Approach • identify common, but implicit theories of change and common assumptions • review evidence of effectiveness • identify appropriate datasets and indicators
    3. 3. 'The Business': the money making activities associated with TOC Facilitation networks: systems and actors that actively support TOC networks by leveraging power for criminal gain Support networks: community support, social, ethnic and class identities, etc. Global political and economic system: trading conditions and infrastructure, financial integration, international norms and standards etc. Social, political and economic vulnerabilities: horizontal inequalities, marginalisation, patronage networks, absence of effective state presence etc. Image: ClipArtBest.com
    4. 4. Image: ClipArtBest.com Global political and economic system Social, political and economic vulnerabilities Support networks Facilitation networks ‘The Business’ Theories of Change: 1: Deterrence 2: Severing the links between politics, the state and crime 3: Managed adaptation of crime 4: Cultural change 5: Economic transformation 6: Global regulation 6 2 1 5 4
    5. 5. Datasets and baskets of indicators Combine measures of  Capacity  ‘Objective’ situation  Perceptions
    6. 6. Challenges and ways forward • Under-developed and contradictory evidence base • Law enforcement focus • Lack of comparability across datasets • Extreme adaptability of TOC • Local projects, global impacts BUT • Evidence base is growing • New approaches and programmes
    7. 7. Implications for development community • Deepening evidence base (research, M&E, mulit- sectoral innovation etc.) • Emphasis on local data gathering and analysis capacities • Holistic security and development strategies informed by understanding of TOC dynamics • Global indicators • Global considerations built into domestic policies
    8. 8. Thanks for listening! More information: saferworld.org.uk/what/post-2015 Contact: tmidgley@saferworld.org.uk
    9. 9. Conflict, Crime and Violence Results Initiative (CCVRI) • Support DFID in identifying and applying best practices and measuring the results of programmes in conflict affected contexts • Two work-streams: • Helpdesk function open to advisors across DFID and staff from other government departments • More detailed pieces of secondary research of selected topics • Partners: Small Arms Survey (co-ordinators), Saferworld, CARE International, CDA, Search for Common Ground and Vera Institute for Justice
    10. 10. Illicit financial flows target
    11. 11. Arms, drugs & conflict commodities target