Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries supports the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of West and Central Asia to cut across a range of transnational organized crimes 

20 November, Almaty

The first Annual General Meeting of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network West and Central Asia (ARIN-WCA) was co-hosted by the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan with technical support provided by Sub-Programme 2 "International/Regional Cooperation in Legal Matters" of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, and financial support by the Government of Finland and the European Union.

The meeting, which took place in Almaty on 19-20 November, was opened by the representative of the 2019 ARIN-WCA Presidency, Mr. Auganbayev Nurlan, Deputy Head of the Criminal Prosecution Service of the General Prosecutor' s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Mr. Danilo Campisi, Regional Programme Coordiantor of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. Mr. Issatay emphasized that regional and international cooperation is paramount for asset recovery and welcomed the establishment of the Network as a key instrument to deprive criminals of ill-gotten assets. Mr. Campisi highlighted the crucial role played by the Government of Finland and the European Union in supporting past and current UNODC initiatives in the region in the area of asset recovery and thanked them for their engagement in the Programme activities.

Mr Niko Heimola, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland expressed satisfaction for the establishment of ARIN-WCA and praised UNODC for the key role played in supporting Government to establish the network and reiterated the commitment of the government of Finland to continue supporting this initiative. Mr. Johannes Stenbaek Madsen, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Kazakhstan delivered a video message highlighting the importance of supporting asset recovery initiatives such as ARIN-WCA and the synergy it provides to achieve the goal of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The meeting aimed to provide a platform for ARIN-WCA Members to present the latest developments in their respective jurisdictions in the area of asset recovery, share best practices and challenges with a view to 'peer learning' and improving cross border cooperation, present an introduction to 'beneficial ownership' issues and network development. Topics related to membership, Steering Group and Presidency of the network for 2020 were also discussed. In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan expressed their willingness to be part of the Steering Group in 2021, and the General Prosecutor's Office of the Kyrgyz Republic assumed the Presidency of the Network for 2020.

Focal points of law enforcement agencies, prosecution authorities and General Prosecutor's Offices of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the event, which was also supported by representatives of other ARINs (i.e. CARIN and ARIN-AP), the Attorney General's Office of Guernsey and the Asset Recovery and Management Agency of Ukraine.

The meeting successfully concluded with a set of conclusions on the achieved level of ARIN-WCA Members cooperation; outreach to other ARINs to further enhance regional/international asset recovery cooperation; on the importance for the Network's members to take part in the peer review country assessment of the legal and institutional asset recovery capacities which will start in 2020 with the support of the Regional Programme; the need to improve communication and transparency through updating and sharing data among  Members. At the end of the meeting the capacity building programme for 2020 was approved unanimously and the Secretariat presented the official Webpage of the Network. 

UNODC thanked the government of Finland and the European Union for the support.