and International Cooperation
Facilitating dialogue and exchange at the bilateral, regional and international level, along with the promotion of international conventions, standards and best practices are the objectives of the UNODC integrated programme of technical cooperation on drugs and crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2011-2014).
They feature prominently in each of the programmatic areas of work: illicit trafficking and border management, drug demand reduction and HIV control, and crime, justice and corruption.
Illicit Trafficking and Border Control
Under sub-programme 1, support is provided to the national authorities to facilitate the implementation of the Triangular Initiative on counter narcotics enforcement amongst the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, particularly in the following three areas: establishment of border liaison offices, information-intelligence exchange and intelligence-led investigations, and cross-border communication system. Bilateral, regional and international cooperation under Sub-programme 1 is fostered within the framework of existing regional and international initiatives such as the Global Container Control Programme, Operation TARCET, Paris Pact Initiative, meetings of the Economic Cooperation Organization ( ECO), and the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. Dialogue and exchange with the international anti-narcotics community (e.g. the Mini-Dublin Group and Drug Liaison Officers) are also being promoted under Sub-programme 1.
Drug Demand Reduction and HIV Control
Under Sub-programme 2, South-South cooperation is facilitated through activities that expose other middle-income countries, as well as developing countries, to the good practices carried out by the national authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the areas of opium substitution therapies and HIV prevention and control in the prison setting. In particular, Iran's good practices in harm reduction have been presented to the relevant authorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. Iranian drug control officials and experts also benefit from study tours organized by UNODC to other countries that provide them with the opportunity to get acquainted with good policies and practices in the areas of interest. Moreover, missions are organized with the objective of allowing Iranian NGOs to familiarize themselves with the organization of NGOs and the role of civil society in other countries. In the past,
Iranian experiences have contributed to the enhancement of harm reduction activities and programmes in several countries.
Crime, Justice and Corruption
Under Sub-programme 3, regional and international cooperation is facilitated through a UNODC initiative known as FIU to FIU Programme, aimed at facilitating dialogue between the Iranian Financial Intelligence Unit and its counterparts in other countries. Sub-programme 3 will also facilitate a structured dialogue on criminal justice matters between the judicial authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries. National efforts to establish an integrity-based, accountable and effective anti-corruption regime in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption are supported through technical cooperation in the areas of legislation and capacity and institution building. Last but not least, an innovative initiative has been launched by UNODC, in collaboration with national partners and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) to enhance national capacities in countering trafficking in cultural properties, art and antiquities in line with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
Mini Dublin Group
The Dublin Group is a flexible, informal consultation and coordination body concerned with the global, regional and country-specific problems of illicit drugs production, trafficking and demand. It is comprised of the 27 Member States of the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, the United States, the European Commission and UNODC.
The Mini-Dublin Group in the Islamic Republic of Iran has the main tasks of compiling local situation reports, facilitating coordination on drug policy and assistance, conducting a dialogue with the host country on drug control, drawing up recommendations, and implementing the orientations of the Central Dublin Group and regional chairs.
The Mini Dublin Group in Tehran consists of representatives from the embassies of the member states, while other countries take part as observers, and is currently chaired by Germany. The UNODC Country Office in the Islamic Republic of Iran provides MDG with expertise and technical and secretariat support.
Afghanistan's borders with the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan are under attack from criminal groups that are smuggling precursor chemicals into Afghanistan and trafficking drugs out of the country. Above 70% of Afghan opiates are trafficked via Iran and Pakistan every year. Information sharing and coordination amongst anti-narcotics forces of the three countries are key tools for the achievement of successful counter narcotics results.
The blue flag of the United Nations provides an ideal setting for fostering options for regional and transnational cooperation. UNODC has played an instrumental role in building bridges between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the area of counter-narcotics enforcement through the Triangular Initiative, which was launched by policy-makers from the three countries in Vienna in June 2007. The TI umbrella of cooperation has set in motion a series of trust building measures and joint operations, with the ultimate goal of information/intelligence sharing, and has operationally engaged the three countries in finding field-oriented solutions to the transnational threat posed by the trafficking of Afghan opiates and the diversion and smuggling of associated precursors. TI has three aspects of significance: (1) political value (due to its ability to engage the three countries with the international donors and other United Nations Member States), (2) confidence building, and (3) technical cooperation. The role of UNODC is to serve as the Secretariat of the Triangular Initiative, facilitate the implementation of technical assistance and mobilize financial support.
Periodic meetings of experts and policy-makers have been facilitated by UNODC since 2007, building trust amongst the anti-narcotics authorities of the three countries. At the operational level, a Joint Planning Cell (JPC) has been established in Tehran for information and intelligence sharing and the implementation of joint operations targeting drug trafficking networks operating in the region. It became fully operational by stationing 3 Permanent Liaison Officers (PLOs). Moreover, two Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) were established at the common borders between Iran and Afghanistan (Taybad/ Islamqala) and between Iran and Pakistan (Mirjaveh/Taftan), to improve information exchange and ensure a concerted inter-agency and cross-border response against drugs and precursor trafficking. UNODC supported the establishment of the BLOs through the provision of equipment and has facilitated two operational meetings between Taybad and Islamqala BLOs to date. So far, a total of 19 simultaneous / joint operations have been planned and conducted by the JPC from 2009 to mid 2013, leading to the seizure of 11,664 tons of different types of drugs and 530 liters of illicit chemical precursors.
An important recent development with the TI framework has been the launching of the Maritime Security Initiative (MaRes), which aims at promoting cooperation against drug/chemical precursors trafficking through maritime routes. Two meetings have been held so far under MaRes and concluded with important recommendations including, inter-alia, the establishment of a Regional Maritime Network among TI members and willing regional states; the appointment of Focal Points by the regional member states; the initiation of an Action Plan; and the establishment of a data bank.
The Regional Programme for Promoting Counter Narcotics Efforts in Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (2011-2014) is a strategic framework for UNODC's engagement in the West and Central Asia region, launched in December 2011. It aims to enhance counter-narcotics capacities across the region through better coordination and facilitation of regional cooperation, as well as better allocation of the required resources and provision of technical assistance for regional cooperation by the international community to the countries of the region.
The Regional Programme is introduced as an umbrella over the ongoing assistance at the country and sub-regional level, providing additional value through the creation of a dedicated facility to support regional cooperation initiatives and the maximization of coherence and development of synergies in UNODC's work across the region. It focuses on cross-border and regional activities and does not supersede the Country Programmes or national projects, which represent the foundations of UNODC's work in the region.
The Regional Programme is composed of the following four Sub-programmes:
- Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation
- International/Regional Cooperation in Legal Matters
- Prevention and Treatment of Addiction among Vulnerable Groups
- Trends and Impacts (as a cross-cutting function).