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International Policy on Illicit Drug Trafficking: The Formal and Informal Mechanisms

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 37 Issue: 4 Dated: Fall 2007 Pages: 755-780
Cindy Fazey
Date Published
26 pages
This article provides an overview on international policies regarding illicit drug trafficking.
Important changes have taken place regarding international policies on illicit drugs during the last 10 years. Four formal world international organizations lead the fight against illicit trafficking: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), Interpol, and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The core countries driving policy are the G8. There is considerable overlap between these countries and the major donors to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU). Officially policy determination comes from the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) for the UNODC, but in reality projects in countries are determined by the major donors since their financing is reliant entirely on voluntary contributions from member states. Increasingly this money is not for a general fund but earmarked for specific projects. As the CND expanded, the G7/8 set up more informal groups to deal with specific issues, such as money laundering and precursor control. The EU set up the Dublin Group to discuss policy, and was joined by the rest of the G8. Whether international aid is delivered depends on the will and policy interests of a small group of nations, essentially the G8 and members of the U.N. grouping called the Western Europe and Other Governments (WEOs). The WEOs plus Australia, Canada, and New Zealand comprise the G8, and although the United States does not belong to any regional group, it attends WEO meetings. The practicalities of stopping drug trafficking are accomplished at a national level, but more through cooperation at the regional level, and sometimes beyond. International organizations can facilitate this cooperation through meetings, and training. Which projects are internationally promoted, depend on the finances that are provided largely by the G8 and WEO, and more recently the EU. Table, references