With the pandemic still affecting all aspects of life, the GDPO’s activities over the past quarter continued in a somewhat restructured and exclusively online manner. That said, and despite the usual quieter summer period, there remains much to report, including changes within the composition of the Observatory team.
After four incredibly productive years, Khalid’s term as an Honorary Research Fellow at Swansea University came to end. We would like to express our great thanks to Khalid for all his valued contributions and wish him well in future endeavours. To be sure, we look forward to continuing working with him on a range of projects, including with the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva where he remains a Visiting and Teaching Fellow. Nearer to home, Julia left CEU and moved to the Department of Criminology at the University of Manchester after success in a British Academy Global Professorship grant application. The grant funds four years of research that will variously examine the impact of Brexit on illicit drug markets in the UK, and the extent to which drug policy reform in other countries has enabled a wider diversity of stakeholders to engage with drug policy processes. A huge congratulations go to Julia on this significant award. Discussion is already underway regarding continuing research synergies with her at Manchester where, among others, she will be working with friends of the GDPO, Professor Judith Aldridge and Patrick Shortis. The quarter also saw Axel, who is currently working on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea as the Project Coordinator for the Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) project, become a member of the Global Initiative on Transnational Organised Crime network of experts.
As part of the GDPO Metrics project, September saw work begin on an ambitious new proof of concept project to develop a Global Drug Policy Index. This is funded by a grant from the Robert Carr Fund to the Harm Reduction Consortium. Joining the Consortium on the project as the ‘technical partner’ for development of the Index, the GDPO has consequently expanded to include Swansea University colleagues with appropriate quantitative expertise. As such, we’re pleased to welcome on board Dr Matt Wall and Jack Tudor. September also saw GDPO PhD student Heloisa Broggiato present her research at the College of Arts and Humanities annual PGR conference. As part of an excellent panel titled ‘Perspectives on Pain’, she spoke on ‘Untreated Pain: A Side Effected of the International Drug Control System.’
On the publication front, in late August Julia's latest publication was released. An edited collection by International Development Policy, this explores the relationship between international drug policy and development goals, both current and within a historical perspective. Contributions address the drugs and development nexus from a range of critical viewpoints, highlighting gaps and contradictions, as well as exploring strategies and opportunities for enhanced linkages between drug control and development programming. Criminalisation and coercive law enforcement-based responses in international and national level drug control are shown to undermine peace, security, and development objectives. Co-edited with Khalid Tinasti and Mary Chinery-Hesse, the collection includes contributions from leading academic and practitioners in the field of drug policy, including the GDPO’s Director, Dave Bewley-Taylor and Senior Research Associate, Martin Jelsma. It is available as an Open Access download.
The following month saw the publication of another long in the making edited collection, the Edward Elgar Research Handbook on International Drug Policy. Analysing arguably one of the most controversial areas in public policy, this pioneering Research Handbook brings together contributions from expert researchers to provide a global overview of the shifting dynamics of drug policy. Emphasising connections between the domestic and the international, contributors illustrate the intersections between drug policy, human rights obligations and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, offering an insightful analysis of the regional dynamics of drug control and the contemporary and emerging problems it is facing. With a foreword by the Hon. Louise Arbour (former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights) and co-edited by Dave and Khalid - the latter also contributing a chapter - the collection involved several other members of the GDPO team; Christopher Hallam, Julia Buxton, Constanza Sánchez Avilés and Rick Lines.
Reflecting upon a recently completed project and the ongoing work of GDPO partner organisation, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Cannabis Research at the University of West Indies, Branwen Lloyd’s blog ‘Cultivating Change: The Contemporary Challenges of Studying Cannabis Regulation in Jamaica’ was published in mid-September. Representing the activities of another new partnership, late September saw the publication of the first in the Colombian Organized Crime Observatory’s (OCCO), (Insight Crime Foundation-University of Rosario, Faculty of Political Science, Government and International Relations), working paper series. Coca and Its Medical Applications: Prospects, Obstacles and Lessons Learned, was co-authored by GDPO Research Associate and OCCO Research Fellow, Ross Eventon, David Restrepo (University of the Andes) and Dave Bewley-Taylor.