The International Council on Security and Development

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International Council on Security and Development
Formation2002 (2002)
TypeInternational relations think tank
President and Founder
Norine MacDonald

The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) is an international think tank that focuses on Afghanistan and other conflict zones such as Iraq[2][3] and Somalia.[4][5] ICOS is a project of the Network of European Foundations' The Mercator Fund.[6] The organisation was originally named the Senlis Council[7] but later[when?] rebranded as the International Council on Security and Development to better reflect the interest and activities of the organisation.[vague]

The organisation works primarily on security and development issues and states that its overarching objective is "to promote open debate in order to alleviate current governance, development and economic crises and ensure that future policy-making in these areas is informed, humanitarian and delivers impact."[8]

The organisation currently runs five programmes: Human Security and Youth Inclusion, Education and Employment , Public Safety and Citizenship , Global Food Security and The Rome Consensus for a Humanitarian Drug Policy.[9]

ICOS programs[edit]

The program on Human Security and Youth Inclusion focuses on contemporary conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. Reports have noted the problem of unemployment leading to "Angry Young Men" becoming involved in insurgency actions.[10][11] The 2010 field research in Afghanistan showed how Afghans in two crucial southern provinces were almost completely unaware of the 11 September attacks,[12] and the negative views held by Afghan citizens against the foreign forces.[13] Reports have also drawn some controversy, with NATO spokesmen disputing an ICOS report's findings on the extent of the Taliban presence in Afghanistan.[14] The findings on the ineffectiveness of Canadian development aid in Kandahar were also disputed by CIDA officials, particularly regarding food aid and hospitals.[15]

The Public Safety and Citizenship initiative "identifies global challenges for public safety in the 21st century".[16] ICOS supports social and economic development, using a "Policy Labs" tool of participatory decision-making. It has conducted a pilot project in Asuncion, Paraguay, addressing the problem of crack consumption and trafficking, and it has also worked in Formiga, a community in the Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, on improving public safety in cooperation with the local Pacifying Police Unit.[17]

The program on Global Food Security, in collaboration with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and CINI, examines the intersection between food security, development, and state security. It currently focuses on India and Brazil, while also maintaining a central aggregation website for information on food security.[18]

The Rome Consensus program by ICOS commits 121 National Societies of Red Cross and Red Crescent to promote and implement humanitarian approaches to drug use. The declared aims are to bring drugs and drug use to the forefront of social concerns, focusing drug response formulation and implementation on a public health approach.

Directors and spokesmen[edit]

Norine MacDonald QC is both Founder and President of ICOS.[19] Norine MacDonald also serves as Lead Field Researcher (conducting most of her work in Afghanistan and Somalia).

Emmanuel Reinert is executive director and works generally out of the Rio de Janeiro office.[20] His work has led to international campaigns focusing on counter-narcotics and security issues.

Jorrit Kamminga is the Director of Policy Research for ICOS.

Poppy licensing[edit]

One of their major policy recommendations is the licensing of opium in Afghanistan for pharmaceutical purposes.[21] They argue that it is based on the premise that there are two problems that need to be solved:

  1. Afghanistan's reliance on opium;
  2. A lack of opiate-based medicines available for pharmaceutical purposes

They contend that this would be a short-to-medium term solution to address the opium crisis that is currently occurring in Afghanistan, since alternative livelihoods programs in the country will take many years to come to fruition and no crop matches the agronomic properties of opium.[22] Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization there are vast unmet needs for morphine in developed countries[23] and this is an even greater problem in developing countries, compounded by the growing rates of HIV/AIDS and cancer around the world.[24]

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Laureate John Charles Polanyi and Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, have expressed their support for the poppy for medicines project.[25]

Poppy for Medicine[edit]

The organisation, in 2007, launched a "Poppy for Medicine" technical dossier that outlined a project model for licensing poppy cultivation and producing essential medicines within Afghanistan at a local level. They purported that village cultivated poppy would be transformed into poppy-based medicines, such as morphine, in Afghan villages. In their dossier, the organisation laid out an integrated control system that combines the involvement of local structures and state authorities such as the police and the Afghan National Army in order to limit diversion. They argued that by making the medicines locally, value is added to the finished product, the proceeds of which will go towards the economic diversification necessary to break ties with the illegal opium industry and eventually phase out opium production.

Food aid in Afghanistan[edit]

The organisation has also carried out some food aid activities in informal internal refugee camps in the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand in southern Afghanistan.[26][citation needed]


  1. ^ "About Us - ICOS". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Council), International Council on Security and Development (formerly: Senlis (1 June 2008). "Angry Hearts and Angry Minds". Retrieved 29 April 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ ICOS Report: Chronic Failures of the War on Terror Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ ICOS website
  6. ^ Archived 9 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "ICOS – International Council on Security and Development (formerly: Senlis Council) – Source description –". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Global Food Security Initiative Archived 19 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Iraq report: Job prospects would combat insurgency". 26 June 2008.
  11. ^ "AKI - Adnkronos international Iraq: Angry youth are new recruits for extremists, says report". Archived from the original on 1 July 2008.
  12. ^ Reuters
  13. ^ Reuters
  14. ^ "Report: Taliban 'noose' around Kabul - CNN". Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Vanguard Canada". Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  16. ^ The ICOS Centre of Excellence on Public Security and Citizenship Official Site [1]
  17. ^ "ICOS Citizenship - Urban Labs". Archived from the original on 26 March 2012.
  18. ^ Global Food Security Official Website
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Home".
  22. ^ ""Poppy for Medicine in Afghanistan" by Romesh Bhattacharji and Jorrit E.M. Kamminga". Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  23. ^ "WHO | Medicines: access to controlled medicines (narcotic and psychotropic substances)". Archived from the original on 18 July 2010.
  24. ^ "Annals of Oncology - Journal - Elsevier".
  25. ^ The Globe and Mail, "There's a way to end Afghanistan's and the world's pain" (23 September 2006) Registration required
  26. ^ Esprit de Corps,"From the ground up" Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (11 February 2007)

External links[edit]