Illegal trade affects communities, businesses, and governments across the globe. Billions of dollars flow into the hands of criminal organizations annually, providing vast resources to support their operations and activities. This includes human trafficking, drug and weapons smuggling, and the sale of illicit tobacco, among other consumer goods.
In 2016, Philip Morris International (PMI) founded PMI IMPACT to help combat this global issue. The initiative has put forward $100 million to fund and support a broad range of initiatives and projects designed to tackle the many strands of illegal trade that affect economies and societies all over the world. It enables public-private collaboration and aims to achieve long-term, sustainable results against illegal trade.
Today, PMI IMPACT announced the launch of its third funding round, calling for projects that aim to reduce or prevent illegal trade and counter its negative consequences for individuals, their families, and communities. The program is open to project proposals from public, private, or nonprofit organizations, including governmental organizations, international organizations, associations, academic institutions, and private companies.
In the wake of COVID-19, this year, PMI IMPACT will also be open to evaluating projects aimed at limiting the threats of counterfeited and substandard vaccines, medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment.
PMI IMPACT has already allocated $48 million for the implementation of 60 projects in 30 countries. In the first and second funding rounds, the initiative supported organizations working in several different areas, such as enhancing knowledge on illegal trade, engaging in educational and capacity-building initiatives, and developing technological solutions to facilitate anti-illicit efforts. Projects PMI IMPACT have supported so far include:
- Hellenic Coast Guard: Procuring high-speed boats to patrol the national waters of Greece to prevent illegal trade.
- The Mekong Club: Engaging the banking, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality sectors in tackling the issue of modern slavery by developing tools, data collection techniques, and trainings.
- Sao Paulo University Support Foundation: Creating courses for police officers from Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina Tri-Border area, exploring issues such as the organization of crime, transnationalization of illicit markets and crime, and operational structure of the main illicit markets.
To help find and support the most promising projects and organizations, PMI IMPACT relies on the knowledge of its Expert Council members who are some of the world’s leading experts in the fields of law, anti-corruption, and technology. While its members work in different industries, they have one common objective—progressing the fight against illegal trade.
Commenting on the third funding round announcement, Alvise Giustiniani, Vice President Illicit Trade Prevention at PMI, said: “Illicit trade knows no borders, and effective measures are needed to fight this international threat, which is a top priority for PMI as it undermines all our efforts toward delivering a smoke-free future—a future that can one day be without cigarette. Now in its third funding round, PMI IMPACT once more welcomes applications for funding for new projects that can enable sustainable solutions in the battle against illegal trade. More than ever, we need programs like PMI IMPACT that exchange expertise and bring together organizations, ideas, and solutions to eradicate illegal trade.”
Navi Pillay, human rights advocate and member of the PMI IMPACT Expert Council, added: “PMI IMPACT offers a platform for organizations to bring resolutions to tackle the problematic reality of illegal trade. We are looking forward to evaluating the applications in the third funding round—the level of interest the initiative receives is truly remarkable. It is promising to see so many fantastic organizations working resolutely to fight illicit trade.
If you are interested in putting forward a proposal for PMI IMPACT’s third funding round, please contact the project office of PMI IMPACT at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more information on how to apply, please visit www.pmi-impact.com.
Written by STOP: ILLEGAL