Identifying approaches and measuring impacts of programmes focused on transnational organised crime

This paper identifies and analyses a broad range of approaches and intervention strategies that have been applied to tackle Transnational Organised Crime (TOC). It focuses on the impact and effectiveness of these approaches in breaking the links between TOC and violence, conflict and insecurity. It identifies challenges associated with measuring the impact of these approaches, and includes possible indicators (with relevant datasets) that could be used to capture impacts. It is intended to act as a useful resource for development practitioners responsible for the management of existing, or development of new, programmes aimed at tackling the destabilising impacts of TOC on development objectives, including security and justice objectives. It also aims to be a useful resource to inform policy makers working on broader organisational approaches to addressing TOC as a driver of conflict, including cross-government approaches and inter-governmental development, security and rule of law strategies and initiatives. It is hoped that by identifying key indicators relating to a wide range of approaches to addressing TOC, a set of common indicators can be developed that may be used to assess progress against anti-TOC efforts at both the national and global levels.

The paper identifies six, inter-related and overlapping theories of change that guide the majority of programmes focused on TOC. A series of core assumptions under each are identified, and assumptions underpinning them are discussed. Challenges and dilemmas associated with measuring progress against each are outlined, and examples of possible indicators that could be used to assess progress are presented.

The paper was developed as a ‘practice product’ for the Conflict, Crime and Violence Results Initiative in collaboration with CDA. As such, although the research was financially supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the paper solely reflects the authors’ views.


“Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) is an important development issue. However the relationship between TOC and poverty is complex and multi-faceted. Simplistic assumptions are best avoided.”