2. Project description (background and justification)
South Asia is flanked by two of the world's largest illicit drug producing regions. These regions, however, do not have the chemical industry to produce the precursors required to manufacture the drugs. By contrast, South Asia has a vibrant chemical industry which produces and uses many of the precursors listed in Tables I and II of the UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988. Some of these precursors are often smuggled into the neighbouring drug-producing regions for use in the illicit production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
India, one of the project countries, is also the world's largest producer of licit opium under a strict system of licensing. Farmers are issued licenses subject to the condition that they sell the entire opium to the government. Unscrupulous farmers, however, divert a portion of the licit opium and sell it in the illicit market for a higher price. While it is suspected that the major portion of the opium so diverted is used as such by addicts, some quantities of opium are processed into heroin in illicit makeshift laboratories in the country. Diverted precursors like acetic anhydride are also used for manufacturing heroin. Illicit production of methaqualone using diverted precursors has also been reported in India.
Many project countries do not have any precursor control laws, while others have laws which need to be strengthened. Many law and policy makers, as well as drug law enforcement officers, are not yet aware of the significance of precursor control. This project therefore aims at increasing awareness about precursor control and in building institutions for precursor control training within the project countries.
This project is funded by the E.C., U.K., USA and Sweden through UNODC and executed through the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia. The first phase of the project started in January 1996 and covered the whole of South and South West Asia. The second phase, covering only South Asia, was started on 7
th November 2000 and was scheduled to end in December 2003. A tripartite review of the project (TPR) was held in November 2002 with the project staff, donors and beneficiary countries participating. It was recommended by the TPR that the project should be extended beyond its completion date of December 2003 and that its scope expanded to cover other aspects of drug supply reduction.
On receipt of additional funds from the U.S. Government, the project was extended until 31 August 2005.
The long-term objective of the project is to control and reduce precursor chemicals from being diverted and used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs, in particular within the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region.
3. Immediate objectives, related outputs and activities
The three immediate objectives of the project are:
- To raise awareness and political will of the Governments in the region on the need to establish workable and control mechanisms for the precursor control.
- To enhance existing or establish precursor control measures as well as administrative and enforcement mechanisms in the selected countries of the region.
- To strengthen cooperation for the exchange of information and coordination between the countries of the region on precursor related matters.
In order to achieve these objectives, the following outputs have been identified and the related activities are described briefly below:
4. Counterpart, institutional setting and implementation arrangements
The project to be executed by UNODC in collaboration with the competent authorities of the SAARC countries.