The UN Office on Drugs and Crime “recognizes the need to promote strong partnerships with civil society organizations in dealing with the complex issues of drug abuse and crime which undermine the fabric of society”. However, the UNODC itself admits that it is far from clear how to achieve such collaboration.
How can civil society organisations collaborate effectively with state agencies, on the one hand, and with diverse communities, on the other?
The challenges are even more acute in contexts of state corruption and societal violence. Assembling collaboration to address the issues may seem impossible in these contexts.
Our project builds on a previous project in Mexico led by CISRUL Director Trevor Stack with Salvador Maldonado, and a second one led by Jenny Pearce:
- Stack and Maldonado’s previous project examined how a range of actors organised in response to crime-related violence across 6 localities of the Mexican state of Michoacán.
- Pearce focused on still more marginal contexts where residents had difficulty organising, one of which was in Michoacán, working with residents to co-produce Human Security Agendas.
We paid some attention in those projects to how societal actors engage with institutions. Stack and Maldonado’s looked at local security councils set up to monitor police, while Pearce’s Human Security Agendas were aimed at institutions.
Yet in this current project, Stack, Maldonado and Pearce agreed to focus more centrally on how societal actors can transform how government works by collaborating more effectively with it. We look to identify principles for effective collaboration between state, civil society and communities in challenging contexts.
We are proceeding by:
- extending the research to other Mexican contexts
- stimulating experiments in collaboration, where there is little existing
- incorporating leading academic and non-academic partners to the team.