PMI IMPACT: Fighting illicit trade with new projects from its third funding round

Our global initiative, which has now provided 67 grants since its 2016 launch, aims to foster public-private collaboration and expertise to counter illicit trade and its far-reaching threats.
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Seven new projects have been launched around the world to tackle the multifaceted problem of illicit trade as part of PMI IMPACT’s third funding round.

The global initiative—in partnership with its independent Expert Council—works by fostering an ecosystem of public, private, and non-governmental organizations to counter illicit trade through its grant program.

Since launching in 2016, PMI IMPACT has selected 67 projects to finance. It has allocated close to USD 50 million across 33 different countries to help combat and prevent illegal trade.

New grants have been given to projects in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. You can learn more about the grantees and the work they’ll be undertaking in the 2022 PMI IMPACT Report.

PMI IMPACT: Securing the Seas

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Speedboat moving across the water with the sun near the horizon

In the latest funding round, third parties were asked to submit proposals focusing on the following key topics:

  • Border control
  • Capacity building
  • Restorative justice and victims’ protection
  • Network engagements, awareness building, and international cooperation
  • COVID-19 and the threat of illicit trade

Sparking synergies for sustainable solutions

PMI IMPACT’s third funding round aims to further our work fighting illicit trade and its negative real-life consequences.

“We’re welcoming new projects that foster partnerships and create synergies to enable sustainable solutions in the illegal trade battle,” said Alvise Giustiniani, PMI’s Vice President, Illicit Trade Prevention.

“The new round focuses on funding projects aimed at reducing or preventing illegal trade,” he added, “as well as countering the negative consequences of illegal trade for individuals, their families, and communities.

“This is why, during the COVID-19 crisis, PMI IMPACT has opened its program to projects aimed at limiting the threats of counterfeit and substandard supply of vaccines, medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment.”

Sharpening the focus on illicit trade prevention

Illicit tobacco trade makes cheap, unregulated tobacco products easily accessible—undermining efforts to reduce smoking prevalence and protect young people from smoking.

“But we recognize that this problem exceeds our industry,” added Giustiniani. “It affects other products, consumers, and communities all over the world. And what’s worse, it is feeding organized crime.”

Through each funding round, PMI IMPACT has improved and streamlined its processes, making it as effective and efficient as possible in its mission.

To date, grantees have launched a broad range of actions to tackle illicit trade. These include research programs, awareness-raising campaigns, the development of technical solutions, and the funding of specialist equipment designed to combat crime.

PMI IMPACT: We Need a Network To Fight A Network

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Customs officer searching a truck

They have also provided training for law enforcement agencies and communication initiatives to foster cross-sector and public-private collaboration.

Following this third funding round of PMI IMPACT, some of the new grantees will be focusing on consumer awareness and educational initiatives to bring visibility about the dangers and real-life consequences of illicit trade in different consumer goods.

Other grant recipients will work toward fostering harm-reduction tools and awareness-building that can complement the fight against illicit trade across various commodities. This will also empower consumers with information about risks associated with fake and contraband products.

To find out more about the work delivered by projects financed in our first two funding rounds, you can read the 2022 PMI IMPACT Report.

Working together to delivering IMPACT

Because PMI is committed to delivering a smoke-free future, eliminating illicit trade is a top priority. It’s crucial to protect consumers and communities from its devastating consequences through funding projects, leveraging technology, raising consumer awareness, and providing training for law-enforcement agencies.

This is the spirit of togetherness, through partnerships and funding programs, that holds the key to society’s success in this critical area. But there’s still a long way to go.

“Fighting illicit trade is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution,” said Giustiniani.

“There’s no silver bullet. Public-private partnership is clearly one of the best avenues to combat this problem, simply because organized crime operates as a network. And, so, we need a network to fight this criminal system.”

Illegal trade is predominantly driven by criminal networks that stretch beyond specific countries, regions, and industries.

Throughout our third funding round, we welcomed new projects—whilst supporting existing ones—to create initiatives aimed at eliminating illicit activity and its related crimes.

By working together, we’ll deliver the biggest IMPACT.

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