c/o WMO
Avenue de la paix 7bis
GENEVE  (Suisse)
M. Mark Shaw, Director

Mark is one of the original founders who has been working to bring the Global Initiative to fruition since 2011, and now serves as the Director. Mark is a Professor at the University of Cape Town, Department of Criminology, on the NRF funded Research Chair on Security and Justice, where his principle aims are to strengthen and improve research and innovation of research in South Africa in the field of security and justice; to build the capacities required for research that will enhance explanatory and normative understanding of African Security and Justice, and to develop a networks of scholars and practitioners.  His specialised research is in transnational organised crime and criminal networks, and their impact on governance and the community. Prior to joining UCT, Mark was a Director at a boutique consulting firm specialising in fragile states and transnational threats.  Mark lead projects and provided technical assistance to national governments, bilateral donors and international organisations in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, West Africa, the Sahel and Southern Africa, on security sector and criminal justice reform, and countering transnational threats. Mark has extensive experience working on peace-building, conflict prevention, security sector reform and crime prevention issues in transitional, fragile and post-conflict states, providing substantive expertise to international policy dialogues as an Advisory Board Member of the Open Society Justice Initiative; a member of the Experts Council of the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL); senior consultant for the International Peace Institute and the United States Institute of Peace; and a Senior Research Fellow at the Pretoria based Institute for Security Studies.  Mark worked for ten years at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), including as Inter-regional Advisor, Chief of the Criminal Justice Reform Unit and with the Global Programme against Transnational Organised Crime, with extensive field work.  A South African national, before joining the UN, Mark held a number of positions in government and civil society where he worked on issues of public safety and urban violence in the post-apartheid transition.  He holds a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and has published widely on organised crime, security and justice reform issues. PUBLICATIONS M. Shaw and F. Mangan, Profits and Losses: Illicit economies and emerging patterns of organised crime as obstacles to peace and state consolidation in Libya, Washington DC, United States Institute of Peace, 2013 T. Reitano and M. Shaw, ‘Briefing: Peace, politics and petroleum in Somalia’, in African Affairs, October 2013 M. Shaw and T. Reitano, The Evolution of Organised Crime in Africa: Towards a new response, Institute for Security Studies, April 2013 W. Kemp, M. Shaw and A. Boutellis, The Elephant in the Room: How can Peace Operations Deal with organized Crime? New York, International Peace Institute, June 2013 T. Reitano and M. Shaw, The End of Impunity? After the Kingpins, what next for Guinea Bissau? Institute for Security Studies Policy Brief, June 2013 T. Reitano and M. Shaw, Check your blindspot: Confronting criminal spoilers in the Sahel, Institute for Security Studies Policy Brief, March 2013 M. Shaw and T. Reitano, ‘Cocaine Politics in Guinea-Bissau: The link between drug trafficking and political fragility and its wider implications’, Columbia Journal of International Affairs, January 2013 M. Shaw and W. Kemp, Spotting the Spoilers: A guide to analysing organised crime in fragile states, New York, International Peace Institute, New York, 2012 M. Shaw, Leadership Required: Drug trafficking and the crisis of statehood in West Africa, ISS Policy Brief No. 37. October 2012 M. Shaw, Interim Security Arrangements in States Transitioning to Democratic Rule, Research Memorandum, International Network to Promote the Rule of Law, July 2012 M. Shaw, Know your Enemy: An Overview of Organized Crime Threat Assessments, International Peace Institute, Issue Brief, October 2011 M. Shaw, ‘Organised crime in Africa’, in P. Reichel and J. Albanese (eds), Handbook of Transnational Crime and Justice, London, Sage, 2013 M. Shaw, ‘Drug trafficking and the development of organized crime in post-Taliban Afghanistan’, D. Buddenberg and W. Byrd (eds), Afghanistan’s Drug Industry: Structure, Functioning, Dynamics and Implications for Counter-Narcotics Policy, Washington DC, World Bank, 2007 M. Shaw, ‘The Middlemen’: War Supply Networks in Sierra Leone and Angola, The Netherlands Institute of International Affairs, 2003 J. van Dijk, M. Shaw and E. Buscaglia, ‘The TOC Convention and the need for comparative research: Some illustrations from the work of the UN Centre for International Crime Prevention’, in H-J. Albrecht and C. Fijnout (eds), The Containment of Transnational Organized Crime: Comments on the UN Convention of December 2000, Freiberg, Max Planck, 2002

The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of prominent law enforcement, governance and development practitioners who are dedicated to seeking new and innovative strategies to end organized crime.

The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of prominent law enforcement, governance and development practitioners who are dedicated to seeking new and innovative strategies and responses to organized crime.

Nature of the Challenge

The problem of organized crime is not new, the scope, scale and spread of the phenomena is unprecedented – affecting all countries, development, middle-income and developing, as well as states beset by political instability and conflict. The impacts can be diverse, but the common feature is that organized crime negatively affects the life chances of ordinary people: it undercuts key institutions, damages the environment, distorts or impedes economic growth and it fuels conflict.


While there is growing consensus as to the rapid evolution and detrimental impact of organized crime, there is much less agreement around what constitutes an effective response.

Catalyzing a New Approach

The Global Initiative was born from a series of high-level, off the record discussions between mainly (though not exclusively) law enforcement officials from both developed and developing countries, hosted by the International Peace Institute in New York in 2011-12. At these meetings, the founding members of the Global Initiative, many of whom stand at the front line of the fight against organized crime, illicit trafficking and trade, concluded that the problem and its impacts are not well analyzed; they are not systematically integrated into national plans or strategies; existing multilateral tools are not structured to facilitate a response and existing forms of cooperation tend to be bilateral, slow and restricted to a limited number of like-minded states.

The result was a decision to create a new initiative: the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, which would seek to provide a platform to promote greater debate and innovative approaches as the building blocks to an inclusive global strategy against organized crime.

Strategies, Analysis and Response

Launched formally in New York in September 2013, the Global Initiative comprises a network of close to 100 independent global and regional experts working on human rights, democracy, governance and development issues where organized crime has become increasingly pertinent.


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