UNODC IN CENTRAL ASIA
UNODC presence in Central Asia began 1993 with the establishment of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Today there are Programme Offices in all five Central Asian States and the value of the programme portfolio has increased from $26 million in 2004 to almost $70 million dollars in 2009.
With a traditional emphasis on building capacity in counter-narcotics through technical assistance, UNODC activities in the region link national projects on border control with regional projects developing intelligence analysis systems and joint operations. These include: the Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Centre in Almaty; precursor chemical control; controlled deliveries; national drug control agencies and mobile interdiction units. All this work is carried out in close cooperation with national and international partners and donors.
Significant trends in the UNODC in recent years have seen the shift towards activities within the crime mandates of UNODC and towards an increasingly regional programming structure. Within the framework of a number of political initiatives concerning Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries (such as the Paris Pact and the Rainbow Strategy), UNODC is seeking to build synergy between its drugs and crime mandates.
The legislative platform for UNODC's crime mandates has grown out of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the UN legal instruments against drugs and terrorism. Much effort has gone into promoting adherence to these instruments and in supporting States in bringing their domestic laws into compliance with them. Since laws mean little without effective implementation, UNODC also helps to strengthen criminal justice institutions through training and equipping national governments to enforce and adjudicate the law. To this end a number of regional and national training activities for investigators, lawyers, prosecutors and judges have been implemented.
Effective regional and international law enforcement cooperation is an essential element in combating the trans-national threats of drug trafficking, human trafficking and organized crime and UNODC law enforcement activities are being extended where possible to cover all these areas.
Human trafficking is now a major problem facing the region, and the multi-billion dollar opium economy in nearby Afghanistan combined with limited institutional capacity fosters conditions that leave Central Asian countries vulnerable to the incursion of illicit money from drug trafficking and other crimes. A further consequence of their proximity to Afghanistan can also be seen in the growth of HIV/AIDS associated with intravenous drug use. UNODC, as a co-sponsor of the Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), is the lead agency in the region for HIV and AIDS prevention and care among injecting and other drug users and in prison settings.
On these and other issues, regional and national programmes continue to be developed, in close coordination with regional and national partners, that support and contribute to improving human security in Central Asia.