The Centre for the Study of Illicit Economies, Violence and Development (CIVAD) is an international network of affiliated researchers and research organisations working on different aspects of illicit economies across the world. It was built on the foundations of the Drugs and (dis)order project in 2022, to provide grounded, policy-relevant evidence on illicit economies and development in some of the world’s most fragile, conflict-affected regions. These are some of things CIVAD has been doing in the last few years:

Illicit Economies, Violence & Development Seminar Series, Oct 2022 – March 2023

CIVAD and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), organised a series of six seminars, bringing together academics, students, policy makers and practitioners with an interest and engagement in questions of illicit economies, violence and development.


Policy Workshops on Drugs, Development & Peacebuilding Trilemma, 2023

CIVAD organised two policy workshops to discuss drugs, development, and peacebuilding in Colombia and Afghanistan. The workshops focused specifically on the trilemma concept, which points to significant trade-offs between the objectives of peace, development and drug control, indicating that it is impossible to achieve all three simultaneously. These policy workshops, funded by a UKRI consolidator impact grant, draws on research and findings from the Drugs and (dis)order project. 


The Forum on Illicit Drug Crop Economies in the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), June 2023 – April 2024

In 2024, we published a Forum on Illicit Drug Crop Economies in the Journal of Peasant Studies consisting of nine articles. The articles address challenges surrounding illicit drug crop cultivation and offer new insights into the problems posed by these prohibited crops, why past policies failed, and what potential solutions might offer. 


Research and policy lab on paramilitaries and organised crime, March 2024 – September 2024

CIVAD and the Serious Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Evidence (SOC-ACE) research programme are hosting a policy lab, bringing together policymakers, practitioners and researchers whose goal is to support sustainable war to peace transitions in contexts affected by paramilitary violence and organised crime. The policy lab aims to explore new approaches to, and models of, policy and practice around peacebuilding. It was inspired by the policy lab organised as part of the Drugs & (dis)order project in 2021.

The 2024 policy lab, “Addressing paramilitary violence and organised crime in war to peace transitions” has been developed as a follow-up to a research programme, funded by SOC-ACE on Para-statal armed groups, illicit economies and organised crime.

This programme resulted in a three-part, research paper series examining the nexus between paramilitaries, illicit economies and organised crime, with a particular focus on the borderlands of Afghanistan, Myanmar and Colombia. The papers draw upon data and analysis generated by the Drugs & (dis)order project.