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08 February 2011 - Media release

Europe-Africa conference in Naples sets stage for enhanced co-operation against trans-Mediterranean crimes

INTERPOL Chief highlights global dimension of local and regional security problems

NAPLES, Italy - The need for integrated international policing to address the external dimensions and global implications of trans-Mediterranean crimes is the focus of a Europe-Africa conference held under the aegis of the Italian State Police.

The three-day conference (7-9 February) brings together public security chiefs from European and African countries, the head of INTERPOL, and top officials from other international organizations and agencies, including Europol. The aim of the conference is to provide a collaborative platform for elaborating joint strategies against transnational crimes linking Europe and Africa, including human and drug trafficking and terrorism.

With migration a key theme of the conference, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said that co-operation and co-ordination between authorities across all sectors in the European and African regions was vital to contend with the ‘multi-dimensional’ migration pressures of the 21st century and transnational criminals.

“To be effective, international migration management must be undertaken jointly by governments, civil society, law enforcement, policy makers and practitioners to develop a comprehensive approach towards the serious challenges of human trafficking and people smuggling,” said Mr Maroni.

Highlighting the role of international law enforcement co-operation,  INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said: “Since internal security in Europe and Africa is closely linked to external security beyond their borders, countries either side of the Mediterranean and around the world are recognizing the global dimensions and links between their local and regional security problems.”

With as much as a quarter of the cocaine consumed in Europe transiting through West Africa, the region faces new issues related to drug violence. The resulting instability impedes progress towards fostering sustainable peace, stability and prosperity, with law enforcement implications for Europe and the international community.

“Interconnectedness and the globalization of crime are the realities of the 21st century. This means that collaboration and its success depend on countries inside and outside Europe and Africa playing their full part in co-operation, in sharing intelligence, and in making the most of INTERPOL’s global tools and resources,” added the head of INTERPOL who held a series of bilateral meetings with key security representatives on the sidelines of the conference.

Emphasizing Italy’s central role in the Mediterranean region, Italian State Police Director General Antonio Manganelli said: “The problems of crime originating in, transiting through and impacting entire regions require law enforcement to join forces regionally and internationally against transnational organized crime, so that we can co-ordinate and prepare together specific strategic actions through international law enforcement co-operation with organizations such as INTERPOL. This conference is a decisive step in addressing these common challenges.”

Under the aegis of INTERPOL, in March 2009 Italy and Nigeria signed an agreement to strengthen their police co-operation and enhance their capacity to combat human trafficking, people smuggling and transnational organized crime. The agreement saw Nigerian police officers posted in Italy work alongside their counterparts at border posts, ports and international airports, and use INTERPOL’s tools and resources such as its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database to establish broader criminal links between individuals arrested.