Newsbriefing – Week of 18 March

During the ministerial segment of the 62nd session of the CND, the Gambian Minister of the Interior announced that his government firmly opposed the decriminalisation of cannabis use highlighting that the drug was responsible for most of the drug-connected crimes in the Gambia.

On Monday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro started off his official visit to Washington with a meeting at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). According to Brazilian sources, Bolsonaro and the CIA officials talked about cooperation on matters related to organised crime and drug-trafficking.

On Tuesday, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office signed an agreement of judicial cooperation with Brazil in Brasilia. The agreement aims to improve the mutual efforts to combat organised crime and drug-trafficking given that a significant part of the drug trade between South America and Europe transits from Brazil through the port of Antwerp.

A few days after the Ugandan authorities opened an investigation into US$300 million of unexplained gold suspected of originating from Venezuela, the United States imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan state-run gold company. The latter is accused of engaging in illegal mining activities and of smuggling gold out of Venezuela.

The satellite mapping elaborated by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) shows the scale of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. In most cases, deforestation is entailed by criminal activities including illegal mining, illegal timber trade and illicit crops cultivation.

A recent study conducted by Transparency International (TI) stresses the connection between corruption and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. According to TI, forest-rich countries are particularly subjected to corruption since the most valuable commodity politicians can offer is land which will be later exploited for logging and illicit crop cultivation.