Regional responses to illicit flows in the Atlantic Space

Date - 29 / 11 / 2019

Regional responses to illicit flows in the Atlantic Space

Challenges for regional and interregional security cooperation in the Atlantic area facing illicit networks.

Anna Ayuso, CIDOB

Human Security has been a dominant conceptual paradigm that shaped the Security Strategies in the decades after the Cold War introducing a multidimensional approach. The aim of this chapter is to analyse how the changes in the international system that have been taken place in the last two decades impacted in the Security Strategies of the main actors in the Atlantic Space, how have affected the Human Security agendas and specifically the opportunities for the design and implementation of regional and inter-regional cooperation programmes and instruments to fight against the increase of transnational criminal networks related to drugs trafficking.

The international security agenda experienced major transformations following the end of the bipolar world after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The growing globalization and interdependence of the states and the emergence of new powers fostered diverse alliances in the transition to an increasingly multipolar and heterogeneous world (Grevi, 2009).  In addition to these changes, there were other transformations resulting from the new regional dynamics of cooperation and integration and from the progressive expansion of the Security Agenda towards a more comprehensive approach including both the traditional conventional, state-centered military concerns, as well as ‘non-traditional security’ issues (Soriano, 2019). In the 1990s, “the idea of human security rekindled the debate over what security means and how best to achieve it” (Acharya, 2018).

These changes affected the composition, nature and functions of regional security bodies; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expanded its membership and geographical composition, as well as the scope for intervention under the then nascent principle of the responsibility to protect. In the Americas, the traditional role of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) under the leadership of the United States (US) was questioned, and subregional organizations were created in search of greater autonomy and improve regional cooperation as mechanisms to balance the hegemonic power (Weiffen, Wehner and Nolte, 2013). In Africa, the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001 to replace the Organization for African Unity led to the creation of a Peace and Security Council, which also sought to play a greater role in the regional settlement of conflicts on the continent. All these initiatives highlighted the growing role of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter[1].

At the same time, as the institutional evolution took place, there was a process of expanding the Security Agenda towards issues related to multi-level international governance in the face of transnational threats.  In this direction, the mentioned concept of Human Security, inspired by the work of the Nobel Prize in Economics Amartya Sen and promoted by the first UNDP Human Development Report of 1994 (UNDP; 1994), had a great influence. In addition to the academic debate that generated its definition and scope (Roberts, 2005), this concept had a strong influence on the definition of strategies and policies in subsequent years.  One of the effects was an extension of the security environment to previously unrelated areas and the increase of the number of actors involved in security policies in the face of complex and transnational problems. The agenda evolved from a nation-centric notion to a people-centric notion of security (Acharya, 2018).

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