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UNODC promotes gender equality and empowerment of women in law enforcement in South Eastern Europe

26 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: Gender equality and the empowerment of women are at the forefront of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). UNODC is committed in this regard to ensuring that a gender perspective is actively and visibly mainstreamed in all its practices, policies and programmes.

In the framework of the ongoing joint UNODC/CEPOL project on capacity building on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe, UNODC is providing efforts in line with its Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, in particular through gender mainstreaming in its activities aimed at strengthening the capacities of the law enforcement sector and the judiciary to effectively detect, investigate, prosecute and recover the proceeds of crime. The series of recent trainings on Advanced Adult Learning and Training for six Working Groups of National Trainers (WGNTs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 organized within the project showed very encouraging results in terms of gender equality as 43% of all participants were women.

UNODC is actively engaged in promoting women's empowerment in its project activities in line with SDG 5 (Gender Equality), a goal which is reflected in the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe under which UNODC is conducting the above project, implemented in the context of the Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), funded by the European Commission.

For more information:

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5

UNODC concludes a series of sub-regional financial investigations trainings by certifying the third group of national trainers

19-22 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC organized a four-day training course on Advanced Adult Learning and Training Methodologies for the participants from the Ministries of Interior, Special Police Units, Tax Administrations, Financial Intelligence Units, the Judiciary, Prosecutors' Offices, Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing from Montenegro and Serbia.

The course concludes a series of three sub-regional trainings conducted in the framework of the joint UNODC/CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The courses are part of the UNODC Training-of-Trainers programme and resulted in the certification of 61 national trainers in the six Western Balkan jurisdictions, who will further use the knowledge obtained in these trainings for the development of national curricula in their respective jurisdictions on conducting financial investigations.

In spring 2019, the newly certified national trainers will provide first trainings at a 50% rate with the support of the UNODC experts, and eventually at a 100% rate later in 2019, which will make the impact of the UNODC work sustainable beyond the completion of the project.

This project is implemented under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and in the context of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative. It is funded by the European Commission.

UNODC and the European Agency for Law Enforcement Training reinforce partnership by signing a Working Arrangement

21 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) signed a Working Arrangement today, bringing the current collaboration between both organisations to a new level of mutual support and trust. The working arrangement will contribute to strengthening capacities of member states including on law enforcement cooperation.

The heads of offices discussed the current UNODC-CEPOL partnership, a two-year initiative on financial investigations funded by the EU and delivered under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The initiative aims to strengthen partnerships and support the law enforcement sector and the judiciary in the region to effectively detect, investigate, prosecute and recover the proceeds of crime. This is conducted through training activities, consultative events, information exchanges, as well as developing and implementing common curricula for sustainability beyond the project end-date.

The initiative on financial investigations is recognized as good practice by the jurisdictions in the region - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 - and by the European Commission, as a method of ensuring complementarity and cost-effectiveness between the EU and the UN in the Balkans.

The current Working Arrangement between UNODC and CEPOL is an example of cooperation that is mutually beneficial and allows both offices to strengthen their capacity building activities by sharing knowledge, expertise, best practices and coordinated approaches to learning.

For more information:

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL): https://www.cepol.europa.eu

UNODC and Transnational Organized Crime: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro.html

UNODC participates in the first Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group meeting in Montenegro

20 November 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: Following the Western Balkans Summit in London held in July 2018, during which Ministers of Interior and Security met for the first time under the Berlinprocess to strengthen security and political cooperation, a Security Commitments Steering Group was established to ensure a continued focus on security issues at future Summits.

The United Kingdom chaired this first Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group meeting in the presence of relevant stakeholders and experts in arms control including the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), German Federal Foreign Office, UK Counter Terrorism Europe Network and UK Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Risk and Intelligence department as well as the French embassy in Podgorica.

UNODC also took part in this important event, which focused on new initiatives in the region such as the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition in the Western Balkans, the Joint Declaration on the Principles of Information Exchange in the Field of Law Enforcement as well as on illicit finance and related security threats - all key areas for an increased cooperation to achieve tangible results in the region with benefits for all stakeholders.

In her opening remarks, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Montenegro highlighted that "the United Kingdom sees the future of Western Balkans and European security as intimately connected, and we recognise that collectively we share threats. That is why it is important we build and deepen partnerships so that we learn from each other and provide support where we can, particularly on effective flows of information and steps to tackle illicit financial flows. These pose a threat to our shared values, have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of our citizens, and as such are fundamental parts of the EU accession process."

The UNODC delegation has contributed to the discussion in particular in the context of the need for further increase in the effective countering of illicit financial flows and stepping up the work of the Governments in the region on asset recovery.

For more information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-first-berlin-process-security-commitments-steering-group-meeting

https://twitter.com/ukinmontenegro

https://www.facebook.com/UKinMontenegro/

UNODC joins RACVIAC led Dialogue on Developing Strategies on Rehabilitation and Reintegration on Foreign Terrorist Fighters

12-13 November 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC participated in a workshop on "Developing Strategies on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF)" organized by the Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) jointly with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Ministry of Defence of Albania.

The workshop aimed to provide an overview of the existing policies, programmes, stakeholders and challenges in connection with the role of civil society organizations in the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of returning FTFs and members of their families, especially children, who followed them to and from war zones. Government officials, particularly in the law enforcement sector, international organizations including UNODC, OSCE and EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as civil society representatives, academia, media and the religion's community took part in this important event.

During the workshop, following the discussions on trends, information exchange and the rehabilitation and reintegration issues in relation with FTFs, the national delegations provided their respective countries' perspective on best practices and current challenges providing thereby information on national FTF Strategies and Policies as well as successful preventive actions.

The UNODC expert provided a summary of current efforts in the field of terrorism prevention including the FTF phenomenon under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and mentioned in this regard the "Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTF in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe" currently implemented in the region.

This important event further contributes to the promotion of international stability, transparency and to the building of regional trust and confidence in South Eastern Europe. The participation of UNODC was in line with the UNODC - RACVIAC Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013.

Port Control Units from South Eastern Europe on a study visit to Port of Haifa, Israel

11-13 November 2018, Haifa, Israel: To assist participating states in further enhancing their technical capacities and promoting good practices in the fight against transnational organized crime, officials of the UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme (CCP) Port Control Units (PCUs) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro visited the Port of Haifa. The visit was hosted by the Israel Customs Directorate, Israel Tax Authority.

The three-day study visit was organized for 10 officials of the PCUs who were provided with the opportunity to learn about existing policies and practices of Israeli Customs and to directly exchange experiences and information on common challenges and cooperation in the fight against maritime trade supply chain crime.

The Port of Haifa supports a large volume of cargo traffic on an annual basis. Israeli Customs authorities presented the technical skills and practices that enable them to monitor a substantial number of shipping containers to deter the illicit spreading of narcotics, illicit commodities and nuclear materials in the global containerized trade. Therefore, the study visit focused on presentations by Israeli Customs officials on mechanisms to identify suspicious consignments, risk profiling, modus operandi and cooperation between all relevant stakeholders providing security at sea and land borders. Participants expressed particular interest in the risk analysis systems producing high rates of profiling success.

The study visits represent an important output of the CCP well-designed training cycle as it targets the main beneficiaries of the CCP working as front-line officers in the sea and land ports. In addition, the study visit component has been instrumental in the development of cooperation and the exchange of information among staff of customs and police agencies from different countries, and provides opportunities for direct interaction on specific matters of joint interest.

Annual regional discussion on UNODC - Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme held in Belgrade

8-9 November 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: In collaboration with the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) and with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, UNODC organized a Regional workshop on Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSA) programme implementation with national professionals and Lions Club representatives from the South Eastern Europe (SEE) region. 

The objective of the meeting was to discuss the programme results in SEE, the programme implementation methodology, as well as potential expansion strategies. Among the positive outcomes of the event were the very active networking of the professionals and the energetic exchanges on best practices related to the programme implementation.

Participants who attended the workshop represented the relevant national institutions (Ministries of Education and Security from the region) and local Lions Clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.

The LQSA programme commenced in SEE in 2014 with the implementation in Serbia and has grown since then and gradually expanded to Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Understanding the cultural and technical specificities during the programme implementation, mostly in view of the structure of national educational system and its readiness to integrate and sustain programme implementation, the programme was eventually extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina with suggested longer implementation modality to two years. Following the expansion strategy, the initially involved countries in the programme pilot (Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia) also continued with the additional, longer, programatic cycle with supplementary 10 elementary schools per country. Furthermore, the LQSA programme will be offered to Croatia following the suggested innovative implementation modality.

With regard to the results of the programme, UNODC conducted a scientific analysis of the collected pre-/post-test data sets, resulting in positive outcomes on substance use and the intention to use substances (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) in the next period of 3 months. The evidence-based results are conclusive on the positive effect of the implemented programme with the intervention groups of students comparing to the control group who haven't had direct contact with the programme intervention.

The regional workshop is considered as the annual platform for the exchange of practices related to the evidence based social emotional learning interventions and its scale-up in SEE among national professionals and Lions Club representatives. The next event is to be expected in November 2019.

More resources available at:

Presentation Ms. Ariel Dickson - Lions Quest South East Europe Project Results https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Wu0gt1HUI

Presentation Ms. Ariel Dickson - Lions Quest Global Perspective https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FQ0hAkgGqk&t=18s

Presentation Mr. Wadih Maalouf - UNODC Global Initiative for prevention on drugs, crime and violence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcFGEC1p-wc&t=7s

Presentation Mr. Milos Stojanovic - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihSCMSsS-RI

Second group of national trainers from South Eastern Europe certified by UNODC

6-9 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: In the framework of the UNODC/CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe, UNODC organized a four-day training on the Advanced Adult Learning and Training Methodologies as part of the Training-of-Trainers programme.

The training, which was the second in a series of three, gathered participants from the police, courts, prosecutor's offices, tax and customs administrations, financial intelligence units and judicial training institutes from Albania and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

The trainees were provided the opportunity to get extensive knowledge on the Advanced Adult Learning and Training Methodologies and practice the acquired knowledge via situational and group exercises. Additionally, the training allowed for the participants from the two jurisdictions with different specialties to have open floor discussions and exchange on their experiences, which contributed to and promoted increased inter-agency cooperation. Upon completion of the training, 21 experts were certified as national trainers on financial investigations. In the future, they will be engaged in the development of the national curricula on financial investigations in their respective jurisdictions. 

UNODC will deliver the third training of this kind, within the mentioned project, in Vienna later this month. The project is implemented in the context of the Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), funded by the European Commission.

Regional workshop held on addressing trafficking in persons facilitated through abuse of internet-based technologies in South Eastern Europe

31 October - 2 November 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria: In collaboration with the National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, UNODC held a regional workshop on "Improving capacities in addressing trafficking in persons facilitated through abuse of internet-based technologies in South Eastern Europe".

The misuse of digital technologies by criminal organized groups with the purpose of facilitating the process of recruitment and payment via the use of cryptocurrencies poses an even more serious risk and threat for potential victims of trafficking in persons (TiP). Given that, the connection between cybercrime and organized crime is placed at the forefront of the national, regional and international discussions' agendas aimed at effectively countering TiP.

With this in mind, this 2.5-day regional workshop gathered all relevant stakeholders including criminal justice practitioners of origin, transit and destination countries from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, as well as Kosovo  under UNSCR 1244; representatives of renowned social media groups and other digital platforms, as well as international organizations and EU agencies including among others, OSCE, Interpol, Europol and SELEC. The workshop allowed the sharing of various perspectives around the issue of TiP through the lens of abuse of internet-based technologies.

The discussions focused on the use of digital communication technologies in the context of cross-border investigation and prosecution of TiP and the role, capacity and experience of international organizations and private sector providers in this regard. The workshop was concluded with exchanges of experience and practice on the latest trends, modus operandi and the current challenges in addressing TiP.

This event provided a renewed perspective for all stakeholders on addressing TiP through raising awareness on the nexus between TiP and abuse of digital technologies and provided the opportunity to discuss areas of enhanced cooperation for concrete future actions at national, regional and international levels and with the support of international organizations, private sector and academia. 

Operational capacities of the Bosnian Port Control Unit supported

29 October - 2 November 2018, Land-border crossing point Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme (CCP) carried out its sixth mentorship visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The advanced approach of support to the PCUs aims to help support and strengthen operational capacities of the Units, as well as to strengthen the skills and knowledge of the staff deployed to successfully contribute to risk minimization concerning the exploitation of maritime containers for all forms of illegal activities.

PCU officer in Bosnia and Herzegovina conducting partial physical control of containerized goods

In September 2018, PCU staff from Bosnia and Herzegovina attended a UNODC-WCO regional training on environmental crimes. In response to this recent advanced training opportunity, the mentorship visit was used to further extend the knowledge of PCU staff performing regular risk analyses of the goods imported to the county. As part of the mentorship visit, the PCU staff visited the Customs Terminal in Mostar and observed the use of available equipment for the control of gases in accordance with the Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air. The mentorship visit also included discussions concerning other challenges and troubleshooting that the PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina encounters in performing its regular activities.

The CCP implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014. Throughout 2018, the programme implementation in country was conducted with the generous support of the Government of Luxemburg.

Number of Macedonian teachers educated by UNODC in the life skill based programme has exceeded 100

29 - 31 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) successfully expanded the implementation of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme with the inclusion of 10 additional elementary schools, by organizing training of educators in Skopje.

As a result of this training, 20 educators were trained on the programme material and teaching skills to proceed with the direct implementation of the LQSFA programme sessions with the groups of students in their elementary schools in the period from November 2018 to June 2020. Participants nominated from Skopje, Veles, Kumanovo and Bitola have successfully completed the training workshops, thus increasing the current number of educated teachers in the country to 104, including the already trained teachers from the previously organized project training workshops.

The Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme is an evidence-based intervention developed by the LCIF based on the methodological approach to develop social and emotional competences with students as a foundation to establish relevant practices to prevent and delay onset of drug use.

A representative from the Ministry of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia officially opened the training, presenting national achieved results related to drug use prevention, mainstreamed interventions and effective policies. The value of the life skill based programme and its complementarity with the current national drug use prevention system has been repeatedly highlighted and welcomed.

Meeting of the Southern Eastern European Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative

26-28 October 2018, Ljubljana, Slovenia: The third South Eastern European ACAD meeting was held at the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana, with the support of UNODC and the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC) Geneva.

UNODC launched the ACAD Initiative in 2011, following the notion that one of the best ways to fight corruption, is to have an educated population, and that reinforcing a culture of integrity at all levels is amongst the most powerful tools against corruption. ACAD aims to produce comprehensive anti-corruption academic support tools to be used by universities and academic institutions, in their existing programmes. Among such tools, is the Model Academic Course on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), developed in 2013, which in fifteen units covers global corruption, good governance and the UNCAC. ACAD also offers a Menu of Resources with over 1000 publications, articles, presentations and other teaching tools. Participants discussed these tools, as well as the educational materials developed by UNODC under the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, particularly the University Modules on Integrity and Ethics and the forthcoming University Modules on Anti-Corruption.

The meeting reviewed the situation in the anti-corruption field in the region and the implementation of UNCAC, focusing on the Implementation Review Mechanism and Chapter V on Asset Recovery. The meeting concluded with a discussion addressing the possibility of a regional Masters programme on anti-corruption, as well as future activities of the SEE ACAD members and possibilities for cross-fertilization.

The meeting in Ljubljana was the third one for South Eastern Europe, following the previous event in November 2016 in Tirana, Albania, and the meeting in May 2015 in Doha, Qatar, where South Eastern European representatives have participated for the first time.

UNODC presented the results of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme at the Lions Europe Forum 2018

25-27 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: In the past 4 years, collaborating with the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF), UNODC had implemented the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in the Southeast Europe region (SEE).

The programme was piloted in 4 countries of the SEE region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia delivering outstanding results related to the reduction of substance use and intentions to use substances (alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis) among the group of students who participated in the programme.

Currently, as part of the collaborative agreement and expansion strategy, the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme is reaching additional elementary schools in the SEE region with slightly different implementation timeframe, being two years instead of initially offered one academic year, in the attempt to collect additional data on the effectiveness of programme intervention.

The Lions Club Europa Forum is an annual event where the LCIF senior management and the Lions Club members discuss the results of the vast number of humanitarian activities that were delivered across the globe, however for this event specific focus was on the European region.

As the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme is considered to be the flagship intervention of the LCIF, UNODC was asked to present the programme results in the SEE region together with the  LCIF.

Presenting the results of the programme helped the audience to understand its applicability and benefits, particularly for the primary beneficiaries. Furthermore, the challenges and best practices related to the implementation methodology were discussed, which provided additional information for better understanding of probable outlines of the roadmaps for the expansion and scaling-up of the programme in the SEE and other regions.

UNODC certifies first group of national trainers on financial investigations

16-19 October 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC organized a four-day training on Advanced Adult Learning and Training Methodologies for participants from South Eastern Europe as part of its Training-of-Trainers (ToT) programme incorporated in the joint UNODC/CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe currently being implemented in the region under the framework of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative.

The training gathered participants from the law enforcement, Ministry of Interior, Financial Intelligence Units, Customs and Tax authorities and the Prosecutor's Office from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This interactive and tailor-made training provided the opportunity for participants from various fields of expertise to perform hands-on exercises and have open floor discussions and in doing so, gain practical knowledge on Adult Learning and Training Methodologies.

At the end of the training, the participants received certificates attesting the successful completion of the four-day training. This training, which was the first in a series of three, constitutes the second phase of the UNODC ToT programme aimed at preparing certified national trainers on conducting financial investigations in each Western Balkan jurisdiction who, in 2019, will be involved in the development and delivery of national curricula on financial investigations in their respective jurisdictions.

UNODC will deliver the trainings on Adult Learning and Training Methodologies for the other Western Balkan jurisdictions in Vienna in November 2018. These trainings are organized under the framework of the joint UNODC/CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe.

The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the IISG initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC completes the first round of trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

16-19 October 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC organized a four-day national training on financial investigations in Podgorica which concludes the series of national trainings on financial investigations held in the six Western Balkan jurisdictions organized in the framework of the joint UNODC/CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe.

The training in Montenegro gathered 17 representatives of national law enforcement institutions and the judiciary involved in combating serious and organized crime. The participants had the opportunity to work with the international experts on the real case studies, perform simulation exercises, exchange best practices and thereby contribute to the inter-agency cooperation.

The Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Montenegro and a representative of the UN Country Team in Montenegro also attended the training and addressed its opening session. The UNODC Chief of Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe expressed in his opening remarks appreciation to the representatives of the Government of Montenegro for their active engagement in UNODC programmatic activities and strong cooperation in the organization of this event.

As mentioned above, this training completes the first round of trainings in the six Western Balkan jurisdictions constituting the first phase of the six-phase comprehensive UNODC Training-of-Trainers programme used in the framework of the joint UNODC/CEPOL two-year project on capacity building on conducting financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. This first round of trainings on financial investigations involved 127 participants from six Western Balkan jurisdictions and resulted in the establishment of a Working Group of National Trainers (WGNT) in each jurisdiction, who will further use the acquired knowledge in developing national curricula on financial investigations.

This project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the IISG initiative, in particular its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC delegation visits Montenegro

15-17 October 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: A UNODC delegation visited Podgorica to meet with national and international counterparts to discuss the ongoing and future cooperation between UNODC and the Government of Montenegro, which is an important partner of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Among the meetings in the Montenegro's capital, the UNODC delegation held talks with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). State Secretary of Internal Affairs presented the activities to date that the Government of Montenegro performed in the framework of the mentioned UNODC Regional Programme and pointed out that this programme contributed to a better resolution of complex issues faced by Montenegrin law enforcement agencies through the exchange of best practices, training and technical assistance. The State Secretary highlighted the results achieved in the areas of container control, conducting financial investigations, combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) phenomenon, trafficking in human beings, illicit arms and drugs. He also expressed the readiness of the MIA to pursue its active engagement in the Regional Programme for the period 2020-2023, in line with the progress of reforms and the accession process, with a particular attention to Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaires.

The UNODC Chief of the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe expressed the vision that future collaboration in the joint projects on countering organized crime, corruption, money laundering and financing of terrorism will contribute to creating a stable and sustainable system with the capacity to address challenges in this area and will build on the good results achieved so far.

In sum, the meeting provided a framework for future cooperation and gave the opportunity to identify areas of enhanced cooperation, with the purpose of implementing the rule of law and achieving greater results, both on preventive and operational levels.

For more information:

http://www.gov.me/naslovna/vijesti-iz-ministarstava/192713/Pejanovic-smit-MUP-znacajan-partner-Kancelarije-Ujedinjenih-nacija-za-droge-i-kriminal-UNODC.html

http://www.antenam.net/drustvo/97208-pejanovic-smit-mup-znacajan-partner-kancelarije-ujedinjenih-nacija-za-droge-i-kriminal

https://www.cdm.me/drustvo/mup-znacajan-partner-kancelarije-un-za-droge-i-kriminal/

https://portalanalitika.me/clanak/315243/mup-znacajan-partner-kancelarije-ujedinjenih-nacija-za-droge-i-kriminal

UNODC extended the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme implementation in Montenegro

08-10 October 2018, Kotor, Montenegro: In collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Montenegro, UNODC expanded the implementation of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme with the Inclusion of 11 additional elementary schools from the coastal region of Montenegro. The expansion process commenced with the organization of a training for educators with 23 nominated teachers, pedagogues and psychologists to learn more on programme implementation in their schools and relevant workshop techniques.

"Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence" is an evidence-based intervention developed by the Lions Club International Foundation based on the methodological approach to develop social and emotional competences with students as a foundation to establish relevant practices to prevent and delay onset of drug use.

In the region of South East Europe, the programme started in 2014 and so far, was implemented in four countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, in over 130 elementary schools reaching more than 4,000 students. In Montenegro programme was piloted in 17 elementary schools from 2014-2016 with 1,300 students.

Addressing and scaling up of the positive results on substance use and refusal skills delivered as part of the initial piloting of the programme in the country, additional elementary schools from Kotor, Bijela, Bar, Tivat, Ulcinj, Budva, Herceg Novi and Prcanj are involved in the expansion cycle with recommended different implementation modality. The suggested variation in the implementation entails the possibility to conduct the  programme in the period of two academic year contrasting the initial implementation cycle where only one academic year was proposed. With the additional academic year to implement all programme sessions anticipated, the outcomes might be even more encouraging, which will be systematically measured as to report further on the attained  effectiveness of the utilized intervention.

More resources available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPvFkNdzhPw

Smuggled cigarettes seized at the Montenegrin Port of Bar

8 October 2018, Bar, Montenegro: 868 boxes of smuggled cigarettes were seized at the Port of Bar by Montenegrin law enforcers engaged into the UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The operation was supported by the usage of the Customs Enforcement Network Communication Platform (CENcomm) provided by the CCP. The information received through the Platform helped identify the cigarettes, which were not declared in the bill of lading and were hidden in the shipment originating from Thailand and declared as 258 boxes of furniture decoration.

The seizure is an excellent example of international cooperation through CENComm and CCP and shows evidence that increasing inter-regional and inter-agency cooperation produces tangible results on the ground.

UNODC participates in the OSCE regional workshop on combating illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property

5 October 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: More than 50 participants from police, border and customs services, and the Ministries of Justice and Culture from South-east Europe and the Caucasus completed a five-day workshop in Podgorica today on combating illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property.

The workshop, the third held as part of an OSCE project on this issue, was organized by the Italian OSCE Chairmanship in co-ordination with the Border Security and Management Unit of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE Mission to Montenegro and the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro. It follows similar workshops held in the past in Vicenza, Italy for the Mediterranean region and in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the Central Asian region.

The UNODC presentation highlighted the international legal framework and best practices in criminal justice responses to trafficking in cultural property with an emphasis on the utility of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as by the comprehensive measures recommended by the International Guidelines on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses with Respect to Trafficking in Cultural Property (annexed to General Assembly resolution 196/96), Security Council resolutions addressing the topic, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

The Workshop also included presentations on available IT systems and databases to support the fight against this phenomenon. Experts emphasized the importance of international cooperation and information exchange as efficient counter-measures, equally important to the monitoring and protection of archaeological sites, as well as controls in museums.

Experts from various agencies and bodies participated in the workshop. In addition to OSCE and UNODC experts, presentations were also made by representatives of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Homeland Security Investigations; Italy's Carabinieri Command for the protection of cultural heritage; Department of Canadian Heritage; INTERPOL; EUROPOL; UNESCO; the British Museum; the International Council of Museums; and the Regional Diving Centre in Bjela, Montenegro.

For more information please refer to: https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/398831

Regional Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies held in Pristina

4-5 October 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC participated in a regional conference of Anti-Corruption agencies organized by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Anti-Corruption Agency of Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

The conference, was attended by representatives of the Governments of Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States as well as the European Union, international organizations including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and anti-corruption agencies of the countries in the region.

International cooperation was at the core of this regional conference, in particular in the context of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The discussions focused on areas of enhanced cooperation between anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies and Financial Intelligence Units, tools for information sharing such as a draft International Treaty on Exchange of data for the purposes of declaration of assets and conflict of interest, increased transparency in administration and public sector and the efficacy of criminal and administrative sanctions, as well as the last two summits of the Berlin Process.

UNODC expert delivered a presentation on Preventive anti-corruption policies and practices - article 5 of Chapter II (Preventive measures) of the UNCAC and its implementation by the States parties providing an overview on anti-corruption strategies and policies and integrity plans.

This important event further contributes to supporting States' legal and policy frameworks address corruption risks in line with UNCAC and improving regional cooperation in preventing and combating corruption.

UNODC gathered experts and practitioners on the issue of trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality in the region

3 - 5 October 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France and UNODC organised a regional workshop on "Enhancing national and regional capacity on combating trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality in the South-Eastern Europe", in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 3-5 October 2018. 

The regional workshop gathered States of origin, transit and destination from the broader region of South Eastern Europe (SEE) and the European Union (EU). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the current challenges in trafficking in person (TiP) for the purpose of forced criminality, exchange good practices in the legislative framework, discuss early identification guidelines, inter-institutional coordination, protection and assistance measures, the participation of victims in criminal proceedings, cross-border cooperation, and share experiences on new trends in recruitment of human trafficking victims for the purpose of forced criminality. Particular focus was put on minors as victims, as well as the protection of all victims of human trafficking by avoiding secondary victimisation through victim-centered investigative and prosecution approaches.

The regional workshop is the first in the new cycle of three regional expert group meetings (REGM) in South East Europe focusing on forced criminality aimed at raising awareness on the issue of TiP for the purpose of forced criminality (1st REGM), putting a specific focus on investigation and prosecution of traffickers while protecting victims of TiP  (2nd REGM) and enhancing cross-border cooperation in investigation and prosecution of TiP offenses for the purpose of forced criminality (3rd REGM).

Addressing violent extremism and preventing radicalization to violence in prisons: regional expert discussion held in Skopje

3-5 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC participated in a regional conference on "Sharing experience on deradicalization, management and rehabilitation of prisoners in Western Balkans" which was organized within the "Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey" programmatic framework, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe. As Member States increase their efforts to counter violent extremist groups, however, an associated challenge has gained importance and urgency: how to manage those violent extremists who end up in State custody. According to official reports, some perpetrators of terrorist acts have in recent years become radicalised in prison or under probation. Overcrowding, poor prison conditions and infrastructure, insufficient prison management capacity, manifestations of racist discrimination as well as corruption are all factors which will poison attempts to effectively prevent and counter violent extremism in prisons.

The two-day conference gathered over 50 participants from the region who represented relevant prison authorities and criminal justice system practitioners from the region, civil society organizations and international partners.

The purpose of the conference was to contribute towards enhancing regional security through increased collaboration among prison authorities, support proficient and sustainable cooperation and exchange of good practices on deradicalization of prisoners, share best practices in prison management and effective implementation of rehabilitation programmes, with focus on two specific objectives:

(i) enhancing regional cooperation on approaches to address the issue of violent extremism and radicalization in prisons; and

(ii) strengthening prison management that will provide for successful rehabilitation of prisoners and their full reintegration back into society.

The UNODC expert promoted key principles and recommendations for the managements of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons. These principles were developed by UNODC to support Member States in the implementation of the rule of law and the development of criminal justice reform.  Particular emphasis was made on promotion of the good prison management and necessary reforms that constitute a fundamental basis for the effective management of all prisoners, including violent extremist prisoners. Stand-alone interventions for violent extremist prisoners which are implemented in isolation of the broader prison context are unlikely to yield positive results.

UNODC Handbook on the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons, which constitutes the first technical guidance tool to addresses the manifestation of radicalization to violence and violent extremism in prison settings at the level of the United Nations provides practical guidance on (i) the management of violent extremist prisoners (prisoners who have embraced violent extremism); (ii) preventing the progression to violent extremism in prisons (prisoners who may be vulnerable to radicalization to violence), and (iii) interventions aimed at disengaging violent extremist prisoners from violence and at facilitating their social reintegration upon release.

Participants agreed that the good management of prisons is an important basis for the prevention of radicalisation to violence in prisons. Prison staff should not only ensure safety and security, but communicate with prisoners, know their concerns and be trained to recognise cycles of radicalisation, evaluate the risks and needs of prisoners, develop individualized sentencing plans and promote social re-integration. Since no single model of disengagement is universally applicable, participants agreed that to be effective, technical assistance and governments' efforts must be highly tailored to the national context, the varying experience, as well as the specific obstacles and challenges which prisoners face.

UNODC and OSCE support regional conference of Heads of Financial Intelligence

3-4 October, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a two-day regional technical conference of the Heads of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) from the following seven countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. The conference was also attended by the representatives from Moneyval, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), and from the Support Group of the Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG).

The meeting was aimed at exchanging the information on the current money laundering and terrorist financing risks in the region, underlining current trends, challenges and proactive interventions and cooperation between the regional FIUs in addressing these risks. During the conference, policy responses to such challenges as virtual currencies, illegal migration in the region and foreign terrorist fighters have been also discussed in detail. The representative of the Moneyval also made a presentation on the process of the 5th round of Mutual evaluation (MER) of the AML/CFT systems in the region and provided an overview and explained in detail the new requirements related to the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) and the way forward for the Western Balkan jurisdictions. The conference concluded with a revision of the conference protocol and identification of the aligned joint approaches to the regional threats posed by organized crime, money laundering and terrorist financing.

The conference was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the IISG process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Countering Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and TADOC support South Eastern Europe in countering money laundering and financing of terrorism

25-28 September 2018, Ankara, Turkey: UNODC and the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) held the first in a series of training courses in the TADOC premises in Ankara on the topic of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism. The training is in line with the long-standing partnership between UNODC and the Government of Turkey in the Balkans and was undertaken with the Turkish financial support within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Each of the delegations from South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244) included representatives of the financial intelligence units, the police and prosecution. The delegations prepared detailed presentations on the overview of the anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism systems in their jurisdictions.

The topics addressed by the training agenda included but were not limited to the following ones: application of new techniques and tools in tax fraud and tax evasion, in weapon smuggling and in illegal trade of drugs; evidence collection and protecting; financing of terrorism and financial intelligence; and others.

The feedback of the participants was collected after the conclusion of the course and it was underscored that the training has contributed to the reinforcing of partnerships and strengthening the contemporary responses to the challenges posed by the illicit financial flows in South Eastern Europe and beyond.

UNODC supports initial training on smuggling of migrants' curriculum in Serbia

24 - 28 September 2018, Sabac, Serbia: A national UNODC initial training took place in Sabac, in partnership with the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia. It represents the final activity under the initiative "Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe", funded by the USA INL and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Under this initiative, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, using blended learning and interactive methodologies based on case-based simulation.

The training workshop provided an opportunity for selected members of the expert group, tasked with developing the training curriculum on smuggling of migrants, to independently train a multidisciplinary group of practitioners from the police, prosecution and protection authorities. The multidisciplinary group of trainees, prior to the initial training, passed three e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants localised into the Serbian language. They were provided with classroom segment of the curriculum with customized training materials adapted to national legislation, existing procedures and recent jurisprudence to go through the case-based simulation module. A training team of five trainers had the opportunity to deliver the initial national training, applying facilitation techniques instead of traditional lecturing and case study analysis training modules. Other members of the Expert Group supported delivery through structured feedback to the training team as a control group.

Upon completion of the initial training, the training curriculum will be finalized by the Expert Group and will be made available to the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia, and formally incorporated into the regular training programme, for training multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors on migrant smuggling.

UNODC completed training for policymakers on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

25-27 September 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC organized a national training for policymakers on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders in join collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The training was offered to the representatives from various Governmental and non-governmental institutions that are contributing to the national drug demand reduction response. The training involved participants from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, as well as the representatives from the Ministries of Social Affairs and Education.

The training was delivered by the UNODC professionals and a national expert using the precisely designed implementation methodology developed by UNODC that is addressing relevant topics, including appropriate legislation, strategies, programmes and interventions aimed at preventing drug use and providing comprehensive systems of care for persons with drug use disorders.

The objective of the training was to strengthen the capacities of the relevant policymakers with the applicable knowledge on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders to assist them in improving national drug demand reduction policies and to promote and support effective strategies that are compliant with the International Standards and the International Drug Conventions.

The training concluded with the significant outcome - a comprehensive inter-ministerial workplan, that will further strengthen the development of health- and human rights-oriented response associated with the challenging situation related to the illicit drug use.

Regional Training on measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans

24-27 September 2018, Becici, Montenegro: The project "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans" (MACRO) held its first regional training. Over 70 experts from the six project jurisdictions participated, representing a spectrum of criminal justice institutions involved in collecting, analysing and reporting data on crime. Together, these experts are all engaged in implementing MACRO project activities at the national level and have been engaged with the project since its beginning through their National Technical Groups.

The purpose of the training was twofold. It served as an opportunity for regional coordination and cooperation by way of sharing of good practices to collect, store, analyse and disseminate criminal justice data. One institution from each beneficiary was asked to share with the others their expertise and experiences in these areas. In particular, data relevant to organized crime was emphasized since this is a main aim of the project. The training also provided the attendees with first-hand information on collecting and storing data on trafficking in persons and smuggling on migrants, sharing UNODC experience as a standard bearer in these areas.

The training also provided hands on exercises and direct training for the implementation and use of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS), which was unanimously requested by the MACRO beneficiaries during the data assessment phase of the project. The ICCS is a UNODC tool that provides a comprehensive framework for producing statistics on crime and criminal justice data and is a formidable instrument to improve its collection as well as to support national efforts to monitor Sustainable Development Goals and targets in the areas of public security and safety, trafficking, corruption, and access to justice. 

Participants expressed their satisfaction with the topics discussed and delivered, the ability to interact and share practices with other institutions and the agreeable environment in which the training took place, giving a space to communicate and discuss in an amiable and substantive manner.

The second regional training under the MACRO project is foreseen for the second quarter of next year.

UNODC empowers Southeast European Civil Society Organizations to fight corruption

24-27 September, Belgrade, Serbia: Corruption affects all countries and undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. To train civil society, private sector and government representatives from Southeast Europe to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only international legally-binding anti-corruption instrument, UNODC organized a regional multi-stakeholder workshop in Serbia from 24 to 27 September.

The event aimed to facilitate collaboration between the various stakeholders in implementing UNCAC and its Review Mechanism, and to advise them on applying the methodology and tools available through the Convention. Among other things, this enabled them to build on the momentum of their country reviews and ensure that preventing and eradicating corruption is at the forefront of their national agendas.

The event was a good opportunity for the 60 participants to engage in a constructive dialogue on good practices and lessons learned, thereby building trust and confidence among each other.

Representing the host country, the representative of the Serbian Ministry of Justice stressed that prevention is better than cure, highlighting the decisive commitment from the Serbian authorities to eradicate corruption from its roots, which falls in line with Chapter II (Preventative Measures) of the Convention being reviewed under the current cycle. 

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia emphasized that in order to succeed collectively, civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector must be involved in the State's effort to combat corruption.

The Director and Regional Head of Western Balkans for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), echoed the UNRC's remarks. She highlighted the importance of coordinating efforts between the private sector and civil society, stating that since 2014, "EBRD has been committed to strengthening public-private sector dialogue, promoting good governance, and enhancing transparency in the Balkans."

The workshop was organized by UNODC in partnership with the UNCAC Coalition with the support of the EBRD and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI), through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

For more information:

UNODC Activities with Civil Society in the fight against corruption

UNODC's Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2018/September/unodc-empowers-southeast-european-civil-society-organisations-to-fight-corruption.html?ref=fs2

Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe delivers a workshop on environmental crime

24-26 September 2018, Bar, Montenegro: As part of the Container Control Programme (CCP) in South Eastern Europe, a workshop on environmental crime was organized in Bar, Montenegro. The event brought together 23 officials from the Port Control Units (PCUs) of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro as well as representatives from the Ministries of Environment and the State Authority on Export Control from the three countries. 

The main objectives of the workshop were: i) to introduce the attendees to the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs); ii) to discuss and receive feedback on the selected case studies presented through videos; iii) to trigger some reflections on the usefulness of studying environmental crime and investigating whether the lessons from such case studies can be generalized across South Eastern Europe.

During the workshop, the participants shared their perspectives and views on the enforcement and efficiency of environmental legislations and corruption. Being a relatively new element of countering crime in the region, the combatting of environmental crimes was recognized to require cooperation of several actors (including the police, customs, prosecutors and judges) as well as the effective implementation of the respective legislative frameworks and procedures.

Overall, the workshop was a much-appreciated opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices among the UNODC-WCO trainers, the PCU officers and the external experts who attended the event. Some of the most desirable impacts that the workshop were the prioritization of the environmental public awareness, increased availability of data, better networking and enhanced exchange of information among investigative agencies and enforcement authorities. The pre-/post-workshop evaluations illustrated the impact of the event (perception of the participants' own knowledge increased by 150%). The workshop also observed an increased number of female attendees.

The workshop was financially supported by Luxembourg.

Delegation of German and French Foreign Ministries received at Durres Port Control Unit

18 September 2018, Durres, Albania: A delegation of the representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of France, accompanied by the Ambassadress of France to Albania, the Deputy Minister of Interior of Albania, the Director General of Customs Administration and other local dignitaries paid a visit to Durres Port.

The visit was undertaken in the framework of the coordination initiative of Germany and France on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans to promote more integrated and coordinated action to tackle small arms proliferation in the region and implement the Roadmap on comprehensive Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control.

The meeting with the Port Control Unit (PCU) officers provided an opportunity to discuss with the guests the ongoing Container Control Programme (CCP) activities to address border control issues and the typology of cross-border crimes at the Durres Port as the main port in Albania and one of the most dynamic ports in the region as regards imports/exports of goods and traffic of passengers.

During the meeting, presentations were made by the PCU officers followed by questions and discussions. The discussion focused on the proliferation and illicit trafficking of SALW through the Durres Port. Though cases of seizures of arm trafficking have been few, arms trafficking still poses a threat to the Durres Port. This makes the provision of further training on interdiction of arms trafficking most useful. The Deputy Minister of Interior, the Director General of Customs and the local police and customs representatives stated that the PCU at the Durres Port is a unit of excellence and a national referral entity in specialized border control techniques, and that enhancement of the Unit's capacities in this field would complement the PCU's profile.

The delegation also visited the container terminal, the ferry terminal and the scanner location as part of their examination of the port infrastructure. The national authorities called for more advanced technologies to be introduced in order to support the joint work of law enforcement agencies at the port premises.

Germany and France are traditional donors to the UNODC-WCO CCP  in South Eastern Europe. Impressed by the work of the PCU at Durres Port, in particular, by the increased number of seizures of narcotics and smuggled goods and the upcoming CCP-Air expansion at Tirana International Airport, the representatives of the two Governments pledged their continued support to the CCP SEE in the future.

UNODC held first trainings on financial investigations in Serbia and Albania

4-7 September 2018, Belgrade, Serbia, and 18-21 September 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC organized a first series of national four day trainings on financial investigations for some 20 experts in each of the countries. The experts represented the national law enforcement institutions and the judiciary involved in combatting serious and organized crime. The trainings are part of the comprehensive UNODC train-the-trainers programme designed to strengthen the capacities of the law enforcement sector and the judiciary to effectively detect, investigate, prosecute and recover the proceeds of crime, and are implemented under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

During these interactive trainings, the participants had the chance to work with the international experts on the real case studies, be involved in the simulation exercises, had the opportunity to strengthen interagency cooperation in their respective countries, and share their experience and knowledge with the peers. As a result of these trainings, a Working Group of National Trainers (WGNT) from the law enforcement sector, judiciary and training institutions was established in each country. The knowledge obtained in these courses will be utilized by each WGNT to develop national curricula on financial investigations during the course of this project.

The trainings were organized within the joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Countering Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

Work study visit of officials from Nepalese Customs Administration to Bosnia and Herzegovina

17-21 September 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Drawing upon experiences, best-practices and other general settings of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina,  a delegation of senior Nepalese Customs Administration officials visited the Indirect Taxation Authoirty (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 17-21 September 2018. The work study tour included visits to the ITA's Regional Centers in Sarajevo and Mostar as well as to the land-border Bijača.

"Work study visits of these kind provides venue for exchange of experiences, discussions on possibilities how to contribute each other work in various areas of mutual interest," said the Head of Customs Affairs of the ITA Regional Center Sarajevo, "as it is designed to provide both parties with a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from experienced law enforcement officials and discover different working techniques compared to their home port. It will enable them to acquire new skills and experiences which they can apply in their daily work practice in their home countries", she concluded.

The Nepalese delegation visited the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Field Office Doljani - discussing inter-agency cooperation modalities, in particular within the CCP implementation framework. The excellent level of cooperation was highlighted with reference to the specific structural and other settings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Inter-agency cooperation and conducting investigations in the fight against organized crime groups by the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina were addressed by the Prosecutor from the State Prosecution Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In particular, the work of the State Prosecution Office and specific modalities of launching and implementing joint investigations and joint inter-agency operational activities were presented to the Nepalese delegation. The Prosecutor stressed the absolute importance of inter-agency cooperation and exchange of information related to all kind of operational actions targeting cross-border and other organized criminal activities. She also commended future endeavours of the CCP to facilitate work study activities and additional training, as well as knowledge based education for prosecutors to widen their knowledge related to organized crime in the containerized trade supply chain.

The CCP has been developed jointly by UNODC and WCO for the purpose of assisting Governments to create sustainable enforcement structures in selected sea, dry and air ports in order to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. The creation of dedicated container profiling units, called Port Control Units (PCUs), involves the creation of an inter-agency team of officials drawn from agencies including Customs, anti-narcotics police as well as port authorities.

Implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014 and in Nepal in 2015. The programme implementation in Nepal is conducted with the generous support of the Government of the United States - the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme. The CCP in South Eastern Europe is generously supported by the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC scaled up the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme implementation in the Republic of Serbia

14-16 September 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: Expanding the successful cooperation between UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation on the dissemination of evidence-based drug use prevention strategies, a training of educators for the further implementation of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme (LQSFA) was held to 10 additional elementary schools in Belgrade.

The LQSFA is an evidence based programme targeting school population by means of addressing the developmental factors with groups of adolescents. It addresses the strengthening of the social emotional skills with groups of students in order to develop the resiliency skills to refuse and delay the onset of drug use. Programme is jointly delivered together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological development of the Republic of Serbia.

This particular programme was initially piloted in Serbia with 21 elementary schools in 2014-2016 reaching more than 1,300 students from the central city municipalities in Belgrade. The pilot programme generated 75 educators and 3 trainers as a resource for continuous and sustainable implementation.

The programme was rigorously monitored and evaluated in regard of its effectiveness, where particular positive outcome was evident on the enhancement of the refusal skill among the students, who participated in the programme, as well as on the reduction of the reported substance use.

The expansion process of the programme entails a slightly different implementation modality following precisely the list of recommendations from the cultural adaptation report that was derived as a result of the initial pilot phase in Serbia. Following the suggested implementation outline, the programme will be conducted in 10 additional elementary schools, both from central Belgrade and municipalities at the outskirts of the city, in the period of two academic years, contrasting the initial pilot implementation period that lasted for one academic year. It is expected that, with the longer implementation period, more programme sessions will be implemented and thus even more efficient outcomes are assumed to be achieved.

For more information:

http://www.mpn.gov.rs/novi-ciklus-obuke-za-strucne-saradnike-i-nastavnike-za-sprovodjenje-programa-prevencije-nakomanije/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLIf-9XRczc

UNODC holds national workshop on challenges related to foreign terrorist fighters in Skopje

12-13 September 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) implemented the second national workshop for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on challenges related to the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) threat in Skopje.

It brought together representatives from the Ministries of Interior and Justice, as well as from customs, financial police, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office for Prosecuting Organized Crime and Corruption, the National Committee for the Prevention of Violent Extremism and the Fight against Terrorism, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Defence. Experts from France, the European Union and UNESCO shared their experiences relevant to cases involving or related to FTFs.  The event aimed to respond to one of the needs identified during the first regional event for South Eastern Europe organized in Vienna in February 2017, namely capacity-building on efficient investigation and prosecution of FTF cases.  

The workshop allowed for the exchange of experiences and good practices on the common challenges faced by national institutions in investigating and prosecuting FTF cases, with a focus on the illicit trafficking in cultural property and its linkages with the financing terrorism.  In addition, presentations on terrorism cases and national efforts in countering violent extremism were facilitated. Furthermore, a presentation was delivered by the Radicalization Awareness Network, European Commission;  a platform which brings together practitioners from around Europe working on the prevention of radicalization.

The event was organised under UNODC's Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union. The project aims to assist beneficiaries in improving their criminal justice responses to FTFs, in compliance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/276 and United Nations Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014) and 2396 (2017).  

Under this initiative, four national workshops are planned to be held in the beneficiary Member States from 2017 to 2020. The first national workshop for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was held in Skopje in September 2017, and focused on the normative and administrative challenges relating to the FTF threat.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/terrorism/latest-news/2018-iss-i-skopje-september-2018.html

Container Control Programme: Illicit goods seized at the Port of Bar in Montenegro

17 August 2018, Bar, Montenegro: A shipment containing 7,680 fake batteries of a renowned brand has been seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU) officials established in the Port of Bar. The official report states "the fake batteries were very well done, and all the bar codes worked". After investigation with the support of the Customs Office in Podgorica, it was confirmed by the brand representatives that the batteries were fake. This seizure shows that types of seized goods are being diversified. The origin of the shipment appears to be Hong Kong.

The Container Control Programme is a joint UNODC-WCO (World Customs Organization) initiative launched in 2003 and responsible for the establishment of PCUs in secure environments and in key areas to intercept containers transporting illicit goods or involved in illicit trafficking. It has proven to be effective in a number of countries across all continents.

Port Control Unit at the port of Durres seizes Cannabis destined for Italy

15 August 2018, Durres, Albania: An estimated 6.1 kg of Cannabis Sativa were found concealed in a Fiat vehicle owned by an Italian citizen.

The drugs found in a secret compartment in the trunk belonged to the Italian driver and owner of the car, however the country of origin of the seized drugs remains unclear. The seizure took place during a routine car search by the Port Control Unit officers at the ferry terminal in the port of Durres, Albania. The driver of the car is in custody and the case is being handed over to the prosecution for further investigation.

UNODC marks world day against human trafficking, urges to better protect children and young people

30 July 2018, Vienna, Austria: Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Almost every country in the world is affected by this scourge, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

On the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the UN is calling on the international community to urgently step up responses to the trafficking of children and young people, who make up one-third of all victims worldwide.

"Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Releasing a statement ahead of the Day, UNODC's Executive Director Yury Fedotov painted a bleak picture: "Humanitarian crises and armed conflict have left children and young people at greater risk of being trafficked. The perils are compounded further still when children and young people are on the move, often separated from their families." He also expressed concern about the misuse of the internet and new technologies by human traffickers to broaden their reach and to exploit and abuse young people.

"All of us have a responsibility to prevent and stop human trafficking, and protect the health, well-being and potential of all children, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," Mr. Fedotov continued, underlining that the Office helps governments implement effective anti-trafficking responses, raise awareness through the Blue Heart Campaign, and serves as Coordinator of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) to harmonize and reinforce responses.

A major step forward in tackling trafficking in children and young people is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which came into force more than a decade ago. This international instrument represents the best and most effective means to protect children and young people by ending impunity for traffickers, and ensuring that criminal justice responses safeguard the interests of children at every stage.

UNODC welcomes the coordination and cooperation efforts undertaken within ICAT that led to the publication of an Issue Brief containing key policy recommendations, launched today in New York. For its part, UNODC contributes to building cross-border cooperation and law enforcement capacities in order to keep children and young people safe. The Office is also helping to ensure that child victims become survivors through the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking. Adopting a victim-centred approach, the Fund supports around 3,000 individuals every year through its non-governmental organization partners.

Marking the World Day in Vienna, UNODC organized an event at the Office's headquarters. Attending were Mr. Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director; Ms. Alena Kupchyna, Permanent Representative of Belarus; Mr. Jean-Louis Falconi, Permanent Representative of France; and Ms. Roksanda Nincic, Permanent Representative of Serbia. After opening remarks, the event proceeded with the screening of the movie "Sestre/Sisters", a Serbian film that depicts the tragic story of two sisters who fall in the hands of traffickers and become victims of sexual exploitation. The movie is based on factual events, and the film was released in 2011. It raises the awareness and knowledge of the challenges and threats that victims and potential victims may face.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2018/July/unodc-marks-world-day-against-human-trafficking--urges-to-better-protect-children-and-young-people.html?ref=fs1

Border Police Chiefs of the region meet in Tirana

19 July 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC joined the Meeting of the Border Police Chiefs under the Auspices of the DCAF Border Security Programme, along with the representatives of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, as well as FRONTEX, GIZ, IOM, OSCE, MARRI, IISG, RACVIAC and UNHCR. The second day of this two-day meeting was welcomed by the Head of the DCAF Ljubljana Border Security Programme and the Deputy General Director of State Police and Acting Director of Border and Migration Department within the State Police/Ministry of Interior of Albania. Substantive discussions followed a tour de table among the Border Police Chiefs, where they presented the specific details of their work, challenges they are encountering in daily work, as well as recent positive developments.

The session concluded with a thorough discussion on possible common measures to be taken, which were summarised in the Joint Statement of the Chiefs and authorized representatives of the Border Police Services.  

The international partners and organizations shared their ongoing and planned activities and explored possibilities to further enhance their cooperation with the region to improve capacities for successfully undertaking the measures as listed in their Joint Statement.

UNODC presented their current work in the subject area, including in the context of the IISG.

Monitoring illicit arms flows and the Sustainable Development Goals: Regional Meeting for South East European, Eastern European and Neighbouring Member States

17-18 July 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) and its Research and Trend Analysis Branch, organized its 4th regional meeting on firearms data collection and analysis in the framework of the EU funded project on "Supporting Global Data Collection and Analysis on Firearms Trafficking and Fostering Cooperation and Information Sharing, in particular Among Countries Along Major Trafficking Routes to/from the EU".

The meeting aimed at facilitating and promoting participation in the global firearms data initiative through the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire (IAFQ), identifying firearms data collection practices and challenges of target countries, and fostering the exchange of information and operational use of firearms data.

The meeting brought together 18 experts and National Focal Points for the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire from 11 countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine, and was supported by experts from Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, UNODC, the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) and the European Union.

Opening the regional meeting, the Head of the GFP stressed the importance of firearms data collection at national and global levels for evidence-based decision making at policy and operational levels and explained that the mandate for UNODC's firearms data collection exercise is derived from resolution 8/3 of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and also linked to UNODC's role as co-custodian for indicator 16.4.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Meeting participants enhanced their understanding on the IAFQ - UNODC's data collection methodology to identify firearms trafficking trends and patterns and to report on indicator 16.4.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through presentations, engaged discussions and practical exercises. The national representatives and experts also shared their national experiences in the collection and analysis of firearms related data and provided updates on their progress of filling in the IAFQ. A focus was also set on presenting best practices and the benefits of strategic and comprehensive firearms data collection for evidence-based policy making and operational decision making.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/news/monitoring-illicit-arms-flows-and-the-sustainable-development-goals_-regional-meeting-for-south-east-european--eastern-european-and-neighbouring-member-states.html

Second Meeting of the National Project Focal Points on the Implementation of the Joint UNODC/CEPOL Project

17 July 2018, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) in close collaboration with UNODC organized the "Second Technical Meeting of the National Project Focal Points on the Implementation of the Joint UNODC/CEPOL Project on Capacity Building on Financial Investigations in South-Eastern Europe". The latter was the second partnership meeting held in the framework of the recently launched joint CEPOL and UNODC two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Commission under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II). The project is an integral part of the second IISG Pillar (WBCSCi), and the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Whereas the purpose of the first meeting was to inform the regional participants of the project activities, raise awareness and enhance the visibility of the project activities on the ground, the aim of this meeting was threefold:

* to present to the beneficiaries the results of the joint UNODC and CEPOL Training Needs Assessment Missions,

* to introduce the work plan for the period fall-winter 2018-2019, consisting of national and regional trainings and workshops,

* to announce the exchange programme for the law enforcement and judiciary officers of the Western Balkans jurisdictions.

By implementing this work plan, IISG Partners, CEPOL and UNODC will follow their common goal to develop capacities of law enforcement agencies in the Western Balkan jurisdictions for enhanced prevention, detection and investigation of transnational serious and organized crime proceeds, countering financing of terrorism, anti-money laundering and enhanced capacity for financial investigations.

The project will also result in the development of national curricula for financial investigations in the Western Balkans jurisdictions.

 

UNODC continues crime research work in the Balkans

16-17 July 2018, Vienna, Austria: Within the framework of the UNODC project on measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans, the UNODC Crime Research Section, supported by the UNODC staff based in the subject region, organized a training workshop for the national in-depth interviewers of this project.

The interviews will take place with victims, prisoners and criminal justice experts in the beneficiary countries and territories of the project in order to supplement the statistical data that is being collected to measure and monitor organized crime.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • for the interviewers to become more familiar with the project's overall goals, objectives and methodology;
  • to better understand the specific crimes that are being addressed in the interviews;
  • to learn about the methodologies that will be used to gather this information;
  • and to receive training on how to carry out such interviews. 

The training was attended by the national counterparts from six beneficiary countries and territories. The project is funded by the European Commission.

UNODC pursues the regional approach in tackling illicit use and trafficking of firearms in the Western Balkans

9-10 July 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro; 11-13 July 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a series of meetings with national and international counterparts in the two countries to discuss various avenues for cooperation with and support to the two Governments with the purpose of achieving the objectives set by the Regional Roadmap for a sustainable solution to misuse of and trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024 (Regional Roadmap).

The meetings in both capitals were held with the high-level officials, including representatives of law enforcement bodies, UN and the EU. During the meetings, UNODC's GFP shared an overview of planned activities aimed to support the existing efforts to combat trafficking in firearms and discussed opportunities to further increase cooperation, in particular in the areas of capacity building on investigation, detection and prosecution of firearms trafficking. Additionally, GFP identified areas for technical assistance, including the development of Standard Operating Procedures for prosecutors for conducting prosecutions against firearms trafficking and the delivery of a specialized training course on identification and tracing of firearms, and international cooperation for collection of relevant and admissible evidence in firearms trafficking cases.

UNODC rolled out first trainings on financial investigations in the Western Balkans

26-29 June 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 3-6 July 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 10-13 July 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC organized the first series of national four-day trainings on financial investigations for some 20 experts from the law enforcement institutions and the judiciary involved in combatting serious and organized crime. These trainings are part of the comprehensive UNODC train-the-trainers programme designed to strengthen the capacities of the law enforcement sector and the judiciary to effectively detect, investigate, prosecute and recover the proceeds of crime.

During these interactive trainings, the participants had the chance to work with the international experts on the real case studies, be involved in the simulation exercises, had the opportunity to strengthen the interagency cooperation, and share their experience and knowledge with the peers. At a later stage, the knowledge obtained in these courses will be utilized by the national experts to develop national curricula on financial investigations, which currently does not exist in the Western Balkans jurisdictions.

The trainings were organized in the framework of the recently launched joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. This work is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), namely its Pillar II - the Western Balkans Combatting Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

As of September 2018, UNODC will continue the delivery of the trainings in the three remaining jurisdictions in the region.

UNODC and Turkey further expand cooperation in South Eastern Europe

10 July 2018, Ankara, Turkey: UNODC and the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) convened detailed consultations on the future expansion of the successful cooperation the two agencies lead in the Balkan region.

TADOC was established in Ankara on 26 June 2000 (the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking) under the Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Department and within the framework of the Turkey-UNODC collaboration. With its experienced trainers, international subject experts, premises, facilities and equipment, and the training programs developed according to the needs of the region, TADOC provides various trainings not only to the personnel of the national law enforcement agencies, but also to the law enforcement personnel of South Eastern Europe and West and Central Asia. TADOC is also a significant contributor of the training projects organized within multinational organizations and institutions, including UNODC, the OSCE, the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), the Economical Cooperation Organization (ECO) and others.

Turkey is a strong supporter and donor to the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe and, following the latest consultations, more capacity building events will take place in TADOC, in particular in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.

Furthermore, Turkey will support the UNODC efforts aimed at strengthening inter-regional cooperation between South Eastern Europe and West and Central Asia, as well as provide the Turkish expertise and national best practices within relevant UNODC events.

UNODC-WCO Training on Strategic Trade and Export Control in Albania

2-6 July, 2018, Tirana, Albania: Sixteen participants from the Port Control Unit, the Customs Administration, the State Police and the State Authority on Export Control in Albania attended the UNODC-WCO training on Strategic Trade and Export Control (STEC). The training was aimed at informing the participants about the strategic trade control and the risks chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials and dual use goods pose if diverted for unauthorized use in international supply chains.

The sessions examined different topics, such as the relationship between the UNSCR 1540 regarding the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the strategic trade control implementation; the role of the UN sanctions resolutions; the role of control lists in managing trade of strategic goods with specific focus on EU Regulation. The training also provided information on the control regimes, national cooperation structures and key requirements such as risk management, as well as specific challenges faced by the Customs and other entities in controlling strategic and dual use goods.

The training was interactive keeping the attendees involved with in-session collaboration.

Certificates were delivered to the participants at the end of this first phase of the training, which will be followed up upon in the future.

The STEC training was organized in the framework of the Container Control Programme in Albania, which is currently supported by the Government of Luxembourg.

Building inter-regional synergies to disrupt illicit financial flows in West and Central Asia and South Eastern Europe

28-29 June 2018, Zagreb, Croatia: Heroin trafficking is a global business that generates immense profits. The amount of poppy cultivation and heroin production in 2017 represents a serious concern for the international community, given that heroin trafficking fuels other organised crime, drives corruption and is also believed to be a key source of funding for insurgent groups which poses a threat to regional and inter-regional security and stability.

In turn the illicit financial flows (IFF) triggered by it, undermine the economies of Member States along the major trafficking routes, heighten perceived and actual risks to direct foreign investment and the confidence of international development effort.

These challenges require a concerted and collective response by all relevant stakeholders. Towards this goal, UNODC, under the framework of its Regional Programmes for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries and South Eastern Europe, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the government of the Republic of Croatia convened an Inter-Regional Meeting between South Eastern Europe and West and Central Asia on Building Partnerships in Countering Illicit Financial Flows on 28-29 June 2018 in Zagreb, Republic of Croatia. In his welcoming remarks Mr. Amir Muharemi, Assistant Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, welcomed the participants and the innovative inter-regional approach of UNODC.

The event was attended by more than 80 participants including heads of drug control agencies, heads of financial intelligence units, and other relevant stakeholders from Albania, the I.R. of Afghanistan, Bosnia  and  Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, I.R of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, I.R Pakistan, Republic of Serbia, Republic of  Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Kosovo (under Security  Council Resolution 1244) and members of the donor community. During the event challenges and prospects for inter-regional cooperation were addressed, with a particular emphasis on illicit financial flows (IFF) in line with the 2016 UNGASS Outcome document.     

"The meeting is organized within the context of the UNODC Regional Programmes for South Eastern Europe and Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, as well as the One UNODC Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia aiming at inter-connecting and enhancing synergies for increased impact to address drug trafficking and organized crime, including the related illicit economy", said Mr. Alexandre Schmidt, Chief of the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe in its opening remarks. Mr. Schmidt further added that "UNODC would continue supporting Member States, in close cooperation with partners, to tackle drug-related crime and related illicit financial flows, using all the tools at our disposal, as provided by the Conventions on drugs, corruption, transnational organized crime and terrorism, and the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice".

The meeting counted with the contribution of a wealth of experts from the public and private sectors including ABN AMRO Bank, Western Union, Europol, The Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Center of Afghanistan (FINTRACA), Moneyval, RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmonitoring), Financial Crimes Investigation Board - FIU (MASAK) of Turkey and others. The representatives of the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro have presented the South Eastern European experiences in the subject field.

The two-day event started with an overview of the trends and analysis of IFF along the three drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan given by UNODC, which presented the updated Report on the trafficking of opiates along the Northern Route.  Many different topics were discussed and analysed such as national measures and responses to challenges associated with illicit financial flows, financial investigative techniques to interdict illicit financial flows, trans-border investigations, national experiences in countering money laundering and  the role played  by regional and inter-regional actors to strengthen cooperation at all levels. Additionally, the role that the private sector, particularly the banking industry and HOSSP (Hawala and other similar service providers), can play to support the criminal justice systems identifying and disrupting illicit financial flow was discussed.

This meeting not only contributed to exchange best practices among participants of both regions, but also raised awareness on the critical importance of cooperation at the regional and inter-regional level and on the need  to support Afghanistan in its endeavour to fight drug trafficking and organised crime.

In this regard H.E. Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, in her remarks commended UNODC initiative to convene this meeting and highlighted its importance. Minister Azimi also reiterated the commitment of Afghanistan to continue its fight against drugs trafficking in synergy with all relevant regional and international partners.

UNODC thanked the European Union and the Government of Turkey for funding this important activity.

For further information please see https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2018/July/strengthening-cooperation-to-disrupt-illicit-financial-flows-in-west-and-central-asia--south-eastern-europe.html?ref=fs1

Albania joins the UNODC campaign "Listen First"

26 June 2018, Tirana, Albania: On the occasion of the International Day against Illegal Trafficking and Drug Abuse, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania through the office of the National Coordinator on Drugs Issues released a pamphlet with the purpose of providing an overview on the global and national dimension of drug phenomenon. The publication conveyed the UNODC slogan " Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them growing healthy and safe" and its main goal  was to increase drug use prevention efforts as key to anti - drug social interventions and an effective investment in the welfare of children and young people, their families and their communities.

As per the figures provided by the Albanian Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the number of drug usersin the country varies from 70 to 80 thousand, out of which 8-10 thousand are reported to be problematic drug users.

Referring to one of the reliable studies of the recent years, it turns out that lifetime drug use prevalence of almost all illegal drugs in Albania has undergone a growing curve. Specifically, during the 2011-2015 period, to which the study refers, the figures show that the Heroin users had the highest growth, 2.4 times, with lifetime use prevalence increasing from 0.7% to 1.7%. Cocaine is the second drug to increase prevalence of use, by 2.3 times (from 1.6% in 2011 to 3.7% in the year 2011). The prevalence of lifetime use of cannabis has increased from 4.4% in 2011 to 6.6% in 2015. Increased prevalence of lifetime use also had inhalants, from 2.7% to 3.5%. Meanwhile, the decrease has had only ecstasy, from 3.5% to 2.4%. Also, according to one of the latest surveys conducted in the 15-34 age group, it turns out that 11.7% of respondents have tried at least once in their life cannabis, and 4.7% of their cocaine.

New psychoactive substances (NPS), which are entering Albania with a growing trend, presently present a significant public health risk and an added challenge in our anti-drug policies.

Likewise, Aksion Plus, a local NGO, in cooperation with the Regional Health Directorate of Fier District (south west Albania) and youth volunteers distributed leaflets, brochures that aimed to inform the general public about drugs, harm reduction and HIV/AIDS. Aksion Plus also had a meeting with representatives of the Fier City Hall where they discussed about the need to open a new branch of their NGO for the delivery of methadone and the provision of medical and psychosocial assistance to drug users in Fier.

UNODC presents a unified approach to working in Europe and West/Central Asia

22 June 2018, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Regional Section for Europe and West/Central Asia and the UNODC Representatives in this region have organized a briefing to Member States on the occasion of the UNODC Annual Field Representatives' Meeting. The meeting has given an opportunity to share with the large group of partners, including the countries from this wide region, as well as donors, the single UNODC vision for Europe and West/Central Asia.

The inter-connectivity between drugs, crime and terrorism was highlighted and it was pointed out that these links were also mentioned in high-level policy fora , including, most recently, the Conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent in March 2018.

Furthermore, the UNODC "Strategic Action to Respond to the Global Threats of Opiates" (SARTO) aimed at stepping up regional and inter-regional actions to counter opium cultivation and production increases, and to respond to related threats of crime, terrorism and corruption, was mentioned, as well as the Paris Pact initiative.

The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was presented at the event, and it was pointed out that it represents an innovative, flexible and relevant framework for cooperation in the strategically important region.

UNODC holds an initial national training on smuggling of migrants curriculum in Skopje

19-20 June 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC conducted an initial national training in Skopje, in partnership with the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev". The training workshop provided an opportunity for the established group of 5 national trainers to independently deliver the training based on the curriculum developed within the project to 14 participants coming from the judiciary, law enforcement, protection authorities and civil society, with support of a control group consisted of 8 of their peers.

The initial national training is the final activity under the project "Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe", funded by the USA INL and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. With this initiative, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Judicial Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, using blended learning and interactive methodologies based on case law.

During the project, the UNODC e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants were localized in the Macedonian language, and customized training materials were adapted to national legislation, existing procedures and recent jurisprudence.

Throughout the delivery of the initial national training, the trainers with their peers from the control group engaged in additional debriefing discussions on the topic that helped to fine-tune various points on methodology, roles and responsibilities.

Upon successful completion of the initial national training, the training curriculum materials were made available to the Academy and a pool of trainers for the curriculum was officially nominated and certified by the Academy for future multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors on migrant smuggling.

UNODC holds two trainings on detection of firearms trafficking at land border crossing points

18-22 June 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) conducted two trainings for 20 customs officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina on the detection of firearms at land border crossing points (BCP), investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. The first training targeted officials from the regional centres in Tuzla, Mostar, Banja Luka and Sarajevo. The second training was attended by members of the mobile Customs' units within the Law Enforcement Department.

UNODC GFP has adopted a unique approach to these trainings by bringing together key actors responsible for the control, detection and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases.

The representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade (MoFTER), who are responsible for the establishment of the national import-export arms regulations, provided guidance on the legislative framework and elaborated on key provisions and specific administrative procedures to be followed during the customs control of arms transfers.

The prosecutors from the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina discussed with the trainees the specific requirements under the Bosnia and Herzegovina Criminal Procedural Code for securing evidence and follow-up activities after the detection and seizure of firearms, which will ensure successful prosecution of the cases.

UNODC GFP delivered the training components on persons and car search, including practical exercises on the use of equipment and hands-on search techniques to detect firearms. UNODC GFP worked also with the customs officials on developing local risk indicators, profiling and selection of passengers and vehicles as part of the training.

With these activities, UNODC GFP contributes to the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to achieve the goals established under the regional Roadmap for a sustainable solution to misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024. The two trainings were supported by the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the Government of Germany.

Cocaine seized at the Port of Bar in Montenegro

14 June 2018, Bar, Montenegro: 38 kg of cocaine coming from Ecuador to the Port of Bar in Montenegro were seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU).

The drug was concealed in two containers with bananas while it was forwarded for customs clearance. The Customs Risk Analysis System showed red channel and both containers were scanned using the mobile scanner. One of the containers was marked as suspected and was sent for further detailed examination. During the examination, the PCU officers found 32 packages containing a gross weight of 38 kg of cocaine. Investigation goes on.

This is the third case of cocaine seizure at the Port of Bar by the Port Control Unit since its establishment in 2014.

The Port Control Units in South Eastern Europe are established through the assistance of the UNODC-WCO Container  Control Programme (CCP), which is currently supported by the Government of Luxembourg.

Paris Pact Policy Consultative Group Meeting reviews contemporary challenges related to drug trafficking

12-13 June 2018, Vienna, Austria: The 14 th Paris Pact Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCMG) brought together around 80 delegates from 27 countries and 13 international organisations. Paris Pact partners discussed and endorsed the recommendations of the four thematic experts working groups conducted in 2017-2018. They also reviewed the outcomes and recommendations of the independent mid-term evaluation of the Paris Pact programme and shared views on the future modality of the programme.

The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was presented at the event.

For more information on the PCMG, including the presentations made in the course of the event, please refer to https://www.paris-pact.net/execute.php?action=cms_render&section=102&content_id=9960&mm=mm9&tools=cms_content_tools

UNODC supports national capacities in countering terrorism in Montenegro

11-13 June 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC conducted the second national workshop on challenges related to the threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters' (FTF) within the framework of the UNODC project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union.

Senior officials from the law enforcement agencies of Montenegro, as well as international experts in the field of terrorism attended the event and provided their expertise in this field. The workshop was opened by a detailed presentation of the initiatives and achievements of the Government of Montenegro in the fight against terrorism in general, and notably regarding the phenomenon of FTF.

The event provided the opportunity for the representatives of the judiciary and law enforcement institutions of Montenegro to exchange experiences in handling FTF-related cases and further build the in-depth knowledge in this field. The UNODC focal point for prison reform delivered a presentation on de-radicalization in prisons, which is currently an important topic for many countries. The workshop also put emphasis on the subject of the returning FTFs.

UNODC meets with regional partners to discuss security related matters in South Eastern Europe

31 May - 1 June 2018, Ljubljana, Slovenia: UNODC visited the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG) Support Group and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE) in the premises of the DCAF Ljubljana. The consultations aimed at discussing the progress in the implementation of the IISG, as well as the role of the UNODC as the lead partner of the IISG's Pillar II on Counter Serious Crime (WBCSCi). The discussion focused on the policy planning and sharing vision for the next steps of the IISG and its Pillars.

A separate component of the consultations was devoted to the evaluation of the WBCSCi, which has been therefore launched.

UNODC and IISG will continue comparing notes and working in partnership in the future.

For more information: http://wb-iisg.com/

UNODC participates in technical assistance and donor coordination meeting in Montenegro

31 May 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC participated in the meeting of international donor organizations providing technical assistance in the areas of law enforcement and financial investigations and asset recovery in Montenegro. UNODC presented the EU-funded regional programme 'Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans' with focus on activities in Montenegro. Following the data availability assessment from December 2017, a statistical framework has been developed, based on which the participating institutions will provide their data, which will be used for analyzing and assessing organized crime. This will be supplemented by targeted surveys with the prison population and victims of organized crime.

During the coordination meeting, a joint two-year UNODC/CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations was presented with an overview of the prospective project activities in Montenegro.  This project is also funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (IISG), namely its Pillar II on Countering Serious Crime (WBCSCi).

The coordination meeting was held at the EU Delegation in Podgorica with participation of all relevant international donors and projects such as the European Union, EURoL2, IPA/2017 Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans, OSCE, UNODC, CEPOL, US Embassy, and with participation of the main national stakeholders such as the Ministry of Interior, Special Prosecutor's Office and Financial Investigation Unit. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to discuss the common areas and challenges, as well as to coordinate the donor efforts.

UNODC supports national capacities in addressing smuggling of migrants in Serbia

29 May - 2 June 2018, Vrsac, Republic of Serbia: A UNODC national pilot training took place in Vrsac, in partnership with the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia. The training workshop intended to provide an opportunity to test the training curriculum with the control group of peers. It represents a follow-up to the activities under the initiative "Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe", funded by the USA INL and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. With this initiative, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, using blended learning and interactive methodologies based on case law.

During the project, the UNODC e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants were localized in the Serbian language, and customized training materials were adapted to national legislation, existing procedures and recent jurisprudence.

Upon completion of the activities by the end September 2018, the training curriculum will be finalized and made available to the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants of the Republic of Serbia for training multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors on migrant smuggling.

During the delivery of the pilot training, the expert group took the chance to engage in additional discussions on the topic that helped to clarify various points on methodology, roles and responsibilities.

In this concluding phase of the project (September 2018), the expert group members will train a group of practitioners who will need to pass the e-learning tests as a pre-requisite for participation and the case-based simulation module for classroom training will be pilot-tested. A training team of five trainers will have an opportunity to deliver the initial national training, applying facilitation techniques instead of traditional lecturing and case study analysis training modules. The other members of the Expert Group will support delivery through structured feedback to the training team as a control group.

UNODC participated in the Society for Prevention Research Annual meeting

29 May - 1 June 2018, Washington DC, USA: Society for Prevention Research Annual meeting "Optimizing the relevance of prevention Science to Systems" was organized this year in Washington where many researchers had an opportunity to present the findings of prevention study trials. Following the goals and objectives of the Society for Prevention Research to promote etiological and program development research and high-quality prevention science that will influence prevention policies vast of highly informative and scientifically stimulating results were presented sparking the interactive discussion among the scientific society.

UNODC had an opportunity to present the recently promoted UNODC-WHO International Standards on drug use prevention ( https://www.unodc.org/documents/prevention/standards_180412.pdf) to a group of experts during the International Networking Forum session, highlighting the strategic importance of this document and its comparative advantage with the first edition of International Standards.  Furthermore, as a result of technical support of UNODC provided to Member States, evidence based interventions that were evaluated on their effectiveness were showcased at the SPR Annual meeting. Results of the UNODC-LCIF (Lions Club International Foundation) multisite case control trials of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence in South Eastern Europe were presented as part of the "Implementation of school based programmes to improve behavior and social emotional learning" interactive session, stressing the identified positive outcomes in intervention group of students comparing to the comparison group on substance use in the last 30 days and intention to use substances in the next three months among users.

In addition, a very informative work on family skills programmes for families in challenging settings was showcased as poster presentation "A multi-level parenting skills package for families living in challenging settings (including refugees, internally displaced people and others)" presenting the efforts and results of UNODC in this particular field of work.

UNODC and CEPOL joint Training Needs Assessment missions successfully concluded

22-25 May 2018, Belgrade, Serbia, and 29-31 May 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) completed the Training Needs Assessments (TNAs) of the law enforcement institutions and the judiciary in the field of financial investigations in all six jurisdictions of the region of South Eastern Europe. This work is undertaken in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme's component on anti-money laundering/counter-financing of terrorism and within the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG).

The TNAs covered over 100 institutions in the region in the past three months and have collected important information for the future work.

Based on the outcome of the TNA missions, national training plans on financial investigations will be developed for each jurisdiction in the region.

Already at the end of June, the first cycle of the financial investigations training courses will start at national level and will continue through summer and autumn 2018, as agreed with the national authorities and other relevant institutions, as well as the focal points for this initiative in the region.

UNODC holds a regional practitioners meeting on firearms control

29-30 May 2018, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organised a regional meeting on "Exchange of good practices and experiences in prosecution of illicit firearms trafficking and its links to other forms of organised crime".

The workshop was attended by prosecutors from the Western Balkans and the European Union with experience in prosecuting cases of firearms trafficking, organized crime or terrorism. The main focus of the workshop was to identify measures on how to increase the number of prosecuted cases on firearms trafficking and thus contribute to reaching the goals, established by the Roadmap for sustainable solution to the misuse and trafficking of firearms in the Western Balkans.

The participants presented many concrete cases on trafficking in firearms and engaged in in-depth analysis of the national regulations, factual and normative context of the cases, the investigative and prosecutorial strategies applied to those cases and shared good practices and lessons learned.

The discussions highlighted the existing challenges and identified specific assistance needs.  The exchange of information yielded concrete results by closing several gaps in international cooperation and by identifying experts, who can provide support to on-going anti-trafficking investigations.

The event, sponsored by the Government of Germany, was the third of a series of UNODC GFP Community of Practitioners meetings, an initiative aimed at fostering regional and inter-regional cooperation for effective action against illicit firearms trafficking through regular exchange of information, case-based experiences and good practices among communities of criminal justice and law enforcement practitioners. It complements and mutually supports the elaboration of a Digest of Illicit Firearms Cases, which will compile and analyse practical experiences, including concrete legal techniques, common protocols and operational norms in combatting these crimes, as well as new and emerging forms of criminality.

UNODC supports national capacities in addressing smuggling of migrants in Skopje

21-22 May 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A UNODC national pilot training took place in Skopje, in the premises of the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev". The training workshop intended to provide an opportunity to test the training curriculum with a control group of peers. It represents a follow-up to the activities under the initiative "Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe", funded by the USA INL and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. With this initiative, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Judicial Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, using blended learning and interactive methodologies based on case law.

During the project, the UNODC e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants were localized in the Macedonian language, and customized training materials were adapted to national legislation, existing procedures and recent jurisprudence.

Upon completion of the activities by the end June, the training curriculum will be finalized and made available to the Academy for training multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors on migrant smuggling.

During the delivery of the pilot, the expert group took the chance to engage in additional discussions on the topic that helped to clarify various points on methodology, roles and responsibilities. The discussion helped to emphasize that trainers can and should use the case, that was worked on during the training, to teach not only through its strengths, but also through its weaknesses, highlighting the need to carry out investigations in this field by using a broader range of legal instruments and investigative techniques. The trainers were also encouraged to use the debriefing and complementing input sessions of each activity to clarify key messages in line with the identified learning outcomes, e.g. recalling relevant parts of the e-learning modules or the respective UNODC manuals, a concise version of which will be produced and translated as a training aid for the curriculum.

In this concluding phase of the project (May-June 2018), the expert group members will need to pass the e-learning tests as a pre-requisite for certification and the case-based simulation module for classroom training will be pilot-tested. In line with the requests of the Judicial Academy to offer avant-garde trainings to its trainees on a complex topic such as migrant smuggling, a training team of five trainers will have the opportunity to deliver the pilot training, applying facilitation techniques instead of traditional lecturing and case study analysis training modules. The other members of the Expert Group will support delivery through structured feedback to the training team.

As a final conclusion, it was recommended that the same training team that worked on preparing the May training workshop delivers the Initial Training in June.

A Framework to Measure and Monitor Organized Crime - side event at the Crime Commission

17 May 2018, Vienna, Austria: During the 27 th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) the UNODC Crime Research Section presented the framework to measure and assess organized crime in the Western Balkans. This framework is part of a project funded by the European Commission geared towards strengthening the rule of law through the fight against organized crime in the six beneficiary countries and territories of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

Understanding and researching organized crime has proved challenging in the past. By its very nature, as well as by its methods and means of operation (often within legitimate markets), it can remain a relatively 'hidden' phenomenon. As such, the side event explained the mechanisms being used by the project to develop a measurable statistical framework to quantify, assess and analyse organized crime.

The framework is composed of a comprehensive set of indicators on organized crime activities, the state response to these crimes, estimation of the economic value of the markets and the modus operandi and structures of the groups. The data will come from various sources, such as crime statistics, in-depth interviews with experts, victims and prisoners and court verdict analysis.

The framework will lead to, for the first time, standardization of indicators to measure organized crime at the national and regional level, assist in monitoring trends and patterns of organized crime, lead to the development of tailor-made technical assistance and operational activities and contribute to evidence based policy making that can be evaluated against established bench marks.

The side event was successful in presenting the framework in a clear manner and CCPCJ attendees showed great interest in the methodology as well as next steps for its implementation in the region. The project aims to participate during the next year's CCPCJ to present the specific data results obtained from developing the framework as well as carrying out the other project activities. The project will finalize with a regional report to be published end of 2019.

 

UNODC conducts a country visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the context of reviewing the implementation of UNCAC

15-17 May 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC conducted a country visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the context of reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in that country (second year of the second review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia signed the Convention on 18 August 2005 and ratified it on 13 April 2007. The Convention entered into force domestically on 13 May 2007. The reviewing States parties are the Republic of Moldova and Montenegro. During the country visit, the reviewing States parties engaged in direct dialogue on the review of implementation of the Convention (Chapter II on Preventive Measures and Chapter V on Asset Recovery) with relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as civil society organisations and the private sector representatives.

Information, including legal resources on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia may be found online:

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/treaties/CAC/country-profile/CountryProfile.html?code=MKD

Following the country visit, a country review report and executive summary will be published. The report will identify successes, good practices as well as challenges and make recommendations for the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated into all United Nations official languages and will be made available online. The country report may also be published with the consent of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Steering Committee Meeting of the Container Control Programme in Albania and Montenegro

8 May 2018, Tirana, Albania: The joint Steering Committee Meeting of the Container Control Programme in Albania and Montenegro (CCP) took place. The CCP Global Programme Coordinator welcomed the attendance of the Director General of the Albanian Customs Administration, Director General of the Anti-Organized Crime Department, Director General of the Border Police and Migration of Albania, and the Head of the Risk Assessment Department of the Customs Administration of Montenegro who also co-chaired the meeting.

Over 30 participants took part in the meeting, among them, in particular, officials from the customs, border police and anti-narcotics services of Albania and Montenegro, officers of both Port Control Units (PCUs), as well as the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, representatives of the international organizations and foreign diplomatic missions in Albania.

The report on the CCP achievements in 2017 and the workplan for 2018 were presented. Besides that, presentations by the Heads of the PCUs in Albania and Montenegro were made, and discussions on the current situation of the Programme implementation, its perspectives and priorities took place.

Heads of Port Control Units in SEE met to discuss enhanced cooperation and exchange of information

26 April 2018, Budva, Montenegro: The Heads of the Port Control Units (PCUs) in South Eastern Europe (SEE) met to discuss new developments and further cooperation. The meeting, which brought together nine officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, was a good opportunity to get an update on the daily work of each PCU in the region, including the achievements and challenges they face. Each participant made a presentation offering examples of best practices by pointing out the challenges and recommendations to overcome them. The discussions echoed the key points of the presentations on the use of criminal intelligence, risk profiling, exchange of information, cooperation with private sector and potential undertaking of joint regional operations.

The Heads of PCUs adopted the following initiatives:

  • Continued PCUs capacity building through joint training, transfer of know-how and participation in joint activities and operations;
  • Continue to make use of the information exchange tools available for PCUs members to better facilitate analysis in drug trafficking and contraband cases;
  • Foster the trust between the PCUs with other domestic and international partners;
  • Strengthen PCUs capacities to provide effective regional and international cooperation in interdicting illicit drug trafficking and contraband of goods with the purpose of enabling timely interventions;
  • Issue an updated list of indicators for identifying suspicious consignments and share it among the PCUs in the region.

The PCUs in SEE are established through the assistance of UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). These units are uniquely positioned to cooperate and support both national and international efforts within the broader border control and anti-organized crime initiatives in their respective countries. The Programme is being generously supported by the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC participates in national and regional activities in Albania on the firearms control

25-27 April 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC participated and presented the activities at the regional inter-disciplinary workshop on the links between firearms trafficking and cybercrime, as well as provided inputs at the national workshop on the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW)/firearms in the Western Balkans by 2025.

On 25-26 April 2018, UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) participated in a regional workshop organized by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) with a focus on the links between firearms trafficking and cybercrime. UNODC presented its holistic approach on addressing firearms trafficking and provided an overview of the activities of UNODC's programmes - on countering money laundering and cybecrime, which were relevant for this workshop.

The participants of the event provided examples related to firearms, drugs, and human trafficking offences, where a specific action of the offence was taking place in Internet or special investigative techniques were used in Internet, including undercover investigation. The participants discussed the notion of cybercrime and the contemporary electronic communication methods that could be related to it. The legal and administrative elements of this type of crime were also reviewed, along with specificities of such investigations and prosecutions, in particular in the context of firearms. SELEC briefed the participants about their current work in the area, including in supporting investigations in the Internet on firearms related offences.

On 27 April 2018, UNODC attended the national meeting on the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW in the Western Balkans by 2025, organized by the Ministry of Interior of Albania and UNDP/SEESAC. The objective of the meeting was to review the Zero Draft of the Roadmap and collect comments from international counterparts on the key performance indicators (KPI) and the goals identified in the roadmap. UNODC provided specific inputs for amendments of 6 KPIs, general comments on 8 KPIs and a proposal for the amendment of Goal 4. "By 2025 significantly reduce the supply, demand and misuse of firearms through increased awareness, outreach and advocacy".  UNODC presented to the national authorities and international counterparts UNODC's Education For Justice (E4J) initiative and described the outputs, which UNODC expects to produce in the areas of integrity and ethics, smuggling of migrants and human trafficking, cybercrime, terrorism, organized crime and firearms. UNODC GFP proposed to include in Goal 4 of the draft Roadmap a reference to education. The proposal was accepted and will be further reviewed in the process of review and approval of the final draft of the Roadmap.

UNODC also held a meeting with the Ministry of Education of Albania and described the activities of E4J project at the primary and secondary educational level.

Anti-Money Laundering Capacity Building Course Held for South Eastern European Experts in Moscow

23-27 April 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation: The International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM) of the Russian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) - the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmontoring) - organized a training on "Analytical methods in conducting financial investigations in the field of anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism".

The training was held under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and gathered participants from the FIUs and law enforcement agencies from this region.

The emphasis of the training was put on building capacity of FIUs' and law enforcement agencies' officers in investigating financial crimes and enhancing cooperation between the Russian Federation and South Eastern European countries in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In this regard, participants' knowledge of new techniques used by drug traffickers, such as the use of electronic payment systems and the use of cryptocurrencies in relation with drug trafficking among others, was further enhanced.

Improving international and inter-agency cooperation was also part of the agenda, in which South Eastern European participants and their Russian counterparts were able to share experiences and have fruitful discussions on financial crime investigative techniques.

The first ITCFCM/Rosfinmontoring-UNODC collaboration under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe took place in April 2017. Both training courses were productive and achieved the set goals in capacity building in the field of AML/CFT and in strengthening inter-regional cooperation.

Future cooperation will focus on countering illicit drug trafficking, deconstructing the financial aspect of illicit drug trafficking, countering financing of terrorism as well as transnational organized crime in the countries of South Eastern Europe.

UNODC holds Workshop on normative and administrative challenges relating to the FTF threat in Pristina

18-19 April 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The continuing and evolving threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) constitutes and ongoing challenge to peace and security. United Nations Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) defines FTFs as individuals who travel or attempt to travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality "for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training."

The threat of FTFs has led UNODC to launch a Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union. The specific objective of this project is to enhance the criminal justice response to FTFs of beneficiary jurisdictions, fully incorporating the rule of law and respect for human rights.

In order to meet this objective and to enhance the capacity of local stakeholders to handle terrorist cases involving FTFs, UNODC conducted a workshop on normative and administrative challenges relating to the FTF threat in Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 on 18 and 19 April 2018, with the support of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Welcoming remarks were delivered by the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Zahir Tanin, and by UNODC.

Members of the Judiciary, Prosecution Service, Kosovo Academy of Public Safety, Kosovo Police, Financial Intelligence Unit and EULEX attended the workshop, and had the chance to exchange experiences in the handling of cases involving FTFs. International experts from Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands also shared their practice on the subject. Presentations were also delivered on the international legal framework applicable to FTFs, international and regional cooperation on FTFs, and countering the financing of terrorism in relation to FTFs.

UNODC participates in a coordination meeting to counter firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans

18 April 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) took part in the Meeting of the local coordination group on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The meeting was attended by H.E. Ivica Dacic, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Nevojsa Stefanovic, Minister of Interior, H.E. Frederic Mondolini, French Ambassador to Serbia and H.E. Axel Dittmann, German Ambassador to Serbia.

The meeting is a part of the process for developing a Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkans by 2025. The purpose of the Roadmap is to serve as a guiding and consensual document, which is developed and owned by the countries in the region. The overall objective of the Roadmap is to achieve a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms and its ammunition in the Western Balkans. The document will represent the consensus reached among all stakeholders in the region about the current challenges, the overall targets to be reached, and timeline of actions to be taken. The Roadmap will serve also as a foundation for the development of National Action Plans.

UNODC GFP participates in this process and contributes towards the formulation of the goals and targets of the Roadmap with substantive inputs in the area of criminal justice and crime prevention.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme follow-up sessions successfully completed in Bosnia and Herzegovina

16 April 2018, Bijeljina - 17 April 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, initiated the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in  March 2017. The programme is scheduled for the implementation until June 2019 in 29 elementary schools in Tuzla, Mostar, Sarajevo and Bijeljina reaching out to more than 700 students in total.

Following the approved implementation methodology, the follow-up sessions are organized to collect relevant data from programme educators in order to get better understanding of the effectiveness of the programme delivery, as well as to report on best practices and experienced challenges of the programme utilization. This implementation modality was strategically developed for programme implementation in South East Europe and had shown excellent results in Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as an evidence informed activity.

As part of the comprehensive evaluation strategy, the follow-up sessions also availed the opportunity for programme educators to discuss the findings of the pre-test results conducted with the intervention groups on substance use, normative believes, refusal skills and intention to use substances.

Representatives from the relevant Ministries, both on entity and federal level, applauded the initiative and highlighted the value of the implementation of evidence-based programmes that are closely in line with the International Standards on drug use prevention.

The next follow-up sessions will be organized next year, whereby the group will have an opportunity to discuss preliminary results of comparative analysis of pre-post test results among the intervention groups of the programme on relevant epidemiological indicators that are targeting substance use.

 

UNODC organized a training  for Policymakers on the Nature, Prevention and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Bosnia and Herzegovina

11-13 April 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNODC organized a national training of policymakers on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders.

The training was delivered by UNODC using a specifically prepared technical tool addressing relevant topics, including appropriate legislation, strategies, programmes and interventions aimed at preventing drug use and providing comprehensive systems of care for persons with drug use disorders.

The training included representatives from different institutions of the national drug response system: policymakers from the Ministries of Security and Justice and law enforcement officers, as well as officials from the Ministries of Social Affairs and Education, the Institute of public health and the civil society organizations. The participants represented the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brčko district. This diverse combination of participants was important for the successful delivery of the training in view of the fact that appropriate drug demand reduction strategies require a multi-sectoral and comprehensive approach.

The main goal of the training was to assist policymakers in improving national drug demand reduction policies by strengthening their capacities to develop, promote and support effective strategies, compliant with the International Standards and the International Drug Conventions.

As a result of the training, the policymakers are additionally equipped to build a health- and human rights-oriented response to the problem of illicit drug use and to reduce the burden caused by problematic drug use and its associated health and social consequences. With the acquired knowledge on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders, policymakers are able to precisely identify the missing programmes and services. Moreover, this approach could inform the further development of the action plan of the current national drug strategy.

UNODC and CEPOL successfully partner in training needs assessment mission to Pristina

10-12 April, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: Experts from UNODC and CEPOL successfully completed a joint training needs assessment mission to Kosovo. The mission aimed at outlining the particular needs of local authorities engaged in financial investigation. To that end, the experts met with representatives of Kosovo Financial Intelligence Unit, police, tax administration, customs, and prosecution service.

The mission was a part of a 24-month project on increasing the capacities of national actors to conduct financial investigations and is a part of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Imitative (IISG).

As a follow-up to the assessment, a tailored training plan will be prepared for Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 institutions with particular focus on reinforcing national capacity by implementing training of trainers approach. Furthermore, UNODC will be able to respond to the specific requirements of the local training institutions by offering support to developing national curricula.

UNODC continues implementation of evidence based prevention strategies in Serbia

2-5 April and 13 April 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: Following the results of the pilot intervention of the UNODC Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 (SFP 10-14), implemented since 2010 in the South Eastern European region, UNODC embarked on a new collaborative venture with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

Upon the request of the Ministry of Interior to further advance the drug use prevention work undertaken on a regular basis in elementary schools in Serbia, the UNODC SFP 10-14 was identified as the most beneficial intervention for young adolescent population in such schools. This methodology, with its active engagement of law enforcement officers, has great potential to avail the evidence-based interventions to a great number of elementary schools in Serbia as it is using the well-established cooperation between Ministry of interior and Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development as part of the national drug use prevention strategic approach.

The first training workshop for 15 law enforcement officers on the SFP 10-14 implementation methodology was followed by the workshop on trainers' skills. The latter was organized by UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development and aimed to build up trainers' capacities to deliver the programme in the future.

The trained professionals from the Ministry of Interior will proceed with the direct pilot programme implementation of SFP 10-14 in 12 selected elementary schools in three municipalities in Belgrade (Stari Grad, Vračar and Voždovac).

It is expected that 130 families in total will be trained on family and parenting skills, family relationships and techniques to reduce problem behaviours, positioning the family values and protective factors as crucial response mechanism to prevent or delay the onset of drug use.

International and Regional Partners Strengthen Cooperation in the Field of Asset Recovery

28 March 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI) and the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) Centre held a Regional Conference on Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Asset Recovery, which is a part of a project "Combating corruption in the Western Balkans and strengthening regional cooperation in the field of asset recovery" implemented with support of the UK Government and the OSCE. The project analyzes the effectiveness, efficiency and adherence to human rights in criminal justice systems of South Eastern Europe in relation to seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

The objective of the Conference was to present the findings of the Study prepared by the AIRE Centre and the RAI Secretariat concerning search, seizure and confiscation of illegally obtained assets, with emphasis on final court judgments in corruption cases in South Eastern Europe. The event also serves as an opportunity for establishing a common dialogue about the identified challenges and determination of future actions at the regional level, which will address the recommendations resulting from the Study.

In addition, practices on asset recovery in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and Romania were discussed to explore potential for cooperation of these countries with the Western Balkans region. The Conference also highlighted key international and European instruments and discussed best practices in asset seizure and confiscation in the UK and Italy.

The UNODC Regional Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism Advisor presented the Office's work in the subject area and referred to the international regulations and good practices from around the world.

For more information on the conference: http://rai-see.org/models/regional-conference-on-strengthening-cooperation-in-the-field-of-asset-recovery/

Furthermore, on 29 March 2018, in Vienna, Austria, UNODC and OSCE conducted consultations on the future work in the field of asset recovery and agreed to coordinate their work in the future in this field. Both agencies are striving to avoid duplication and ensure maximum impact for the jurisdictions in South Eastern Europe. With this in mind, agreement was reached with regard to the identification of capacity building needs and subsequent delivery of trainings, including training-of-trainers. As next steps, the two agencies will share their findings and meet also at field level.

UNODC and IOM launch new initiative to counter migrant smuggling

28 March 2018, Vienna, Austria: Two United Nations agencies are joining forces to combat migrant smuggling. Today at the UN in Vienna, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, and UNODC organized an event centring on a Joint Platform on Countering Migrant Smuggling.

Opening the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "We must work together to deny criminals the means and opportunity, to protect the lives and safety of people, and end the impunity of smugglers."

He welcomed this joint initiative to pool and leverage the expertise and experience of both organizations in the fight against migrant smuggling, saying: "UNODC is committed to expanding our work and exploring ways of bringing UN agencies together, including to ensure that criminal justice responses to migrant smuggling are part of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches".

Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM's Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia said: "As Ambassador Swing, our Director General has often stated, there is no lack of political will or legal protection for migrants, the gap is in implementation. The smuggling of migrants across borders is a transnational crime and requires transnational cooperation. We need action. Too many lives are being lost, and too much suffering is being endured."

During these journeys, migrants face abuse and exploitation, inhumane treatment and sexual violence.

On a global level and through its regional and country offices IOM has contributed towards preventing and combatting migrant smuggling for many years. In 2016, it adopted a Comprehensive Approach to Counter Migrant Smuggling which defines four key pillars of work: protection and assistance; addressing the causes; enhancing States' capacity to disrupt the activities of migrant smugglers; and promoting research and data collection

UNODC is the guardian of the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants under the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Through global, regional and national programmes managed from Vienna and a network of field offices, UNODC is supporting States in countering migrant smuggling through legislative assistance and capacity building to investigate and prosecute smuggling-related offences as well as dismantle organized criminal groups, protect the rights of smuggled migrants and strengthen international cooperation.

UNODC has also produced a series of tools and policy papers, including the web-based Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal, and has led public campaigns against migrant smuggling in different parts of the world. In 2018, UNODC will publish a Global Study on the Smuggling of Migrants.

The new IOM-UNODC initiative encourages the main stakeholders to join forces against the smuggling of migrants. This may include joint research; reinforcing Member States' capacities - upon request - to dismantle criminal networks engaging in migrant smuggling; enhancing assistance to smuggled migrants; or supporting the development of prevention strategies and action plans.

Durres Port Control Unit hosts a mentorship mission

19-23 March 2018, Durres, Albania: With the goal of maintaining the highest standards of professional skills of the front-line officers, a mentorship mission took place at Durres Port in Albania. During one week, the mentor assessed Durres Port Control Unit's strengths and weaknesses, drafted a plan to develop further its strong points and improve those requiring assistance, set achievable and measurable goals for improvement, and tracked progress.

The mentor's mission followed the seizure of the largest quantity of cocaine ever made in Albania by the PCU in February. As stated by the PCU officers, the recent seizure was also a result of the valuable advice, coaching and teaching offered by the mentor during previous missions. The mentees demonstrated commitment to further developing their skills and are open to new ways of accomplishing their tasks. 

During the mission, the mentor held meetings with the Heads of Customs and Border Police for Durres district, which encompassed an exchange of ideas on how to better support PCU work.

The PCU at Durres Port is established under the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is being generously supported by the Government of France.

UNODC participates in a regional meeting on SALW

23 March 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme took part in the Regional Steering Group Meeting on small arms and light weapons (SALW), organized by the United Nations Development Programme's project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)". The meeting was attended by representatives from the National Commissions on SALW from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Officials from several international organizations, including the OSCE, NATO, CELEC, RACVIAC, and the Regional Cooperation Council also participated in the meeting.

During the meeting, UNODC briefed the participants on the main activities of the Global Firearms Programme, presented its work in the Western Balkan countries in 2017 and shared the plans for activities in 2018. UNODC highlighted its data collection efforts as an overarching theme and the focus on supporting further the community of practitioners in the region. UNODC stressed also that it will provide added value towards the on-going efforts to combat firearms trafficking through its work on detection of trafficking at land border crossings and working with criminal justice practitioners on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases.

Second Board Meeting of the Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative

16 March 2018, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The President of the Republic of Slovenia, H. E. Mr. Borut Pahor, opened the ministerial conference of the Brdo Process, which hosted the Second Board Meeting the of Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (IISG).

Ministers of Interior and Security of the Western Balkan region - members of the IISG Board - were joined by EU, UN and other international partners in the Board Meeting chaired by the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission.

The Ministers endorsed the Integrative Plans of Action of the three IISG Pillars (WB Counter-Terrorism Initiative, WB Counter Serious Crime Initiative and WB Border Security Initiative) for the period 2018-2020. The Integrative Plans of Action include inputs of all IISG partners, providing therefore for the minimization of duplication and enhancing coordination and better awareness of the ongoing and planned work in the region in the respective fields. The aim of these three living documents is to provide guidance to IISG in the upcoming 3-year period, in line with the IISG Terms of Reference. Each Plan of Action will be continually updated, in order to include all relevant partners' activities and support the main IISG goals. The Plans are available on the IISG webpage.

The meeting also received the report of the WB Counter-Terrorism initiative (WBCTi) Integrative Plan of Action for the period 2015-2017.

UNODC was appointed in the course of the meeting to be a lead partner of the Pillar II of the IISG together with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC has also made a presentation of the evaluation of the Pillar II of the IISG. This important function is led, within the IISG, by UNODC and is aimed to ensure that impact is measured, results are accounted for and the lessons learnt are used in the future.  The results of the formative evaluation of the Pillar II of the IISG will be presented to the next, third, meeting of the IISG Board.

For more information: http://wb-iisg.com/

18 th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe

15 March 2018, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The 18 th meeting of the highest PCC SEE statutory body - the Committee of Ministers - was held under the auspices of the Slovenian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office. The Committee of Ministers reviewed the developments in the five PCC SEE core clusters, mainly focusing on the establishment of an EU Prüm-inspired framework for automated exchange of DNA, dactyloscopic and vehicle registration data in the PCC SEE region. In this light and as one of its key priorities, the Slovenian Chairmanship is committed to invest special effort in continuing the process of integrating Prüm decisions into the partnership of the Contracting Parties and seeing the negotiations of the new EU Prüm-inspired legal framework successfully concluded in May 2018 and subsequently signed in September 2018 on the occasion of a conference to be held under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency to the Council of the EU.

The expansion of the European area of free movements of goods and services brings on the one hand advantages, however also opens to the door to international crime. Criminal police authorities need to take up complicated and complex investigations of criminal offences and, in doing so, shape partnerships with other countries. Time is of crucial importance, especially having in mind that special investigation measures are limited in time and subject to statutory time limitations. In this respect, the main topic of discussion among the Contracting Parties was the enhancement of operational cooperation in the area of ​​special investigative measures, aimed primarily at sharing training approaches and exchanging experience on tactics and methods used in investigating various types of crime and strengthening synergies for an intensified long-term cooperation. The Committee of Ministers supported the Slovenian proposal on the way ahead in this important area, thus recognising the Chairmanship's efforts to better combat the most complex forms of international crime.

The UNODC delegation to the event has pointed out the importance of shared responsibility and joint address to the contemporary challenges and threats to security and offered international good practices in these areas.

For more information: http://www.pccseesecretariat.si/

Smuggling of migrants training curriculum drafting continued with Macedonian professionals

15-16 March 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on developing materials for case based-simulation, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, was held in the premises of the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" in Skopje.

The TOT was organized within the context of the project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', funded by the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants of UNODC.

This TOT workshop marks a further step in the process of SoM curriculum development, in partnership with the said Academy in Skopje. The members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, as well as US ICITAP representative, continued their previous work from February 2018 on drafting and testing training material and deciding on thematic areas for the training curriculum, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of blended learning and problem-oriented education.

A pilot training will be held in May 2018, in order to allow the Expert Group to pilot test the draft curriculum on SoM materials and approaches developed, with participation of a selected control group, and make final modifications before the initial training planned for June 2018.

Impact of life skills education programmes on drug use prevention in South East Europe presented on the margins of the 61 st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

14 March 2018, Vienna, Austria: Lions Club International Foundation in collaboration with UNODC organized a side event "Impact of life skills education programmes in schools on prevention: Experience in South East Europe and Latin America" on the margins of the 61 st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The event was co-sponsored by the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and presented the positive effects of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme as piloted in South East European region since 2010 as well as the plans to replicate this positive experience in Central America.

In South East Europe, to date, over 350 teachers were trained on, and over 6,000 students received Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence support in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.

The impact of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme was clearly documented showing positive outcomes on reducing prevalence of current use as well as intention to continue using alcohol, tobacco or cannabis in the intervention compared to the control group of students who did not receive the programme.

Further to the documented scientific evidence, representatives from the Ministry of Education of Montenegro presented the values attributed to the Lions Quest programme for the targeted groups from their experience in the 17 selected elementary schools. It was highlighted that the programme managed to gather substantive information on cultural adaptation specificities, which will enable more productive expansion of the programme across the country.

The event also featured the voices of stakeholders at the ministerial and school administration and education level, parents and students benefiting from the programme in South East Europe through an especially made video documentary.

Most valuably, a student from an elementary school in Bosnia and Herzegovina (arguable the youngest CND panelist to date), who personally benefited from the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in his school, shared his views with the audience stating that the benefits of the programme are evident in helping students "avoid and overcome stressful situations, peer pressure, family difficulties and even more". The student emphasized the negative role of media and the impact on substance use as aggressive. He however pointed out that this programme and similar programmes are strategically developing prevention skills and are identified as crucial. The student recapped in his closing remarks: "It's your responsibility to implement the programmes that make differences, and I say this is one of them".

Additional resources:

https://www.lions-quest.org/

Video material:

https://youtu.be/olyHCPVz90M

https://youtu.be/aH4WU4Hni4s

Power point presentations:

Lions_Quest_SFA_Implementation_process_in_SEE.ppt

Experience_of_the_Lions_Quest_school-based_prevention_program.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_-Results_Montenegro.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_Research_Results_and_Policy_Implications.pptx

UNODC and Serbian professionals drafted a training curriculum on smuggling of migrants 

7-9 March 2018, Vrdnik, Serbia: The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held within the context of the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe'. The project is funded by U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented in Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by UNODC through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants, in close cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The aim of the project is to develop specialized training capacity on countering SOM, through delivering customized training materials on migrant smuggling and making it available for training of different target groups of criminal justice practitioners operating in relevant areas. Within the same project, expert group members will develop and pilot-test the materials and proposed methodology, while using UNODC e-learning modules on migrant smuggling that will be localized into Serbian language and made available to the competent training institution in March 2018.

This TOT workshop in Vrdnik was a follow-up to another such event on training delivery techniques held on 4-8 December 2017 in Arandjelovac, Serbia, and a further step in the process of curriculum development. The members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, consisting of 16 experts, including prosecutors, law enforcement offices, representatives of protection services, academia and civil society, as well as US ICITAP, worked together to test case-based simulation methodology, in order to check and shape the contents and decide on thematic areas of the training curriculum, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of problem-oriented education.

The Expert Group for the development of the SOM training curriculum in Serbia decided to use a combination of e-learning modules and case-based simulation activities as core elements of the SOM training curriculum. The process of developing a draft training curriculum, including a lessons plan, case materials and training aids engaged all members of the Expert Group in different phases of the TOT workshop.

In the weeks following this training workshop, the project activities will focus on building the structure of the case simulation and creating the necessary training materials related to the case (evidence, leads for trainees, tasks, tools, forms, visuals, etc.). The Expert trainers will revise the methodology ensuring sequencing and other necessary technical features are well-designed for optimal learning. Selected parts of the UNODC in-depth training manual on SOM will be translated and used as a background reader. Suggested dates for the pilot training workshop are 21-25 May 2018.

 

UNODC and CEPOL Joint Training Needs Assessment Mission Successfully Concluded in Albania

6-8 March 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) undertook a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) mission to identify key technical and training needs for the staff of the Albanian law enforcement agencies involved in fight against serious and organized crime and financial investigations. Based on the outcomes of the mission, the national training plan on financial investigations will be developed.

During the TNA mission, the experts from UNODC and CEPOL held a series of meetings with the Albanian law enforcement sector, law enforcement training institutions and the EU as well as the international community in order to ensure that the needs and priorities of the Albanian law enforcement institutions in the area of financial investigations are addressed and that the project activities are complimentary to the existing capacity building efforts provided by the international community on the ground.

This TNA mission was organized in the framework of the recently launched joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building initiative on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Combatting Serious and Organized Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

Joint OSCE-UNODC regional training course on cryptocurrencies, darknet and open-source investigations concludes in Tirana

5-9 March 2018, Tirana, Albania: Enhancing the knowledge and skills of criminal justice practitioners from South Eastern Europe in investigating cryptocurrencies and the darknet and using open-source intelligence methods was the focus of a one-week training course jointly delivered by the OSCE and UNODC from 5 to 9 March 2018 at the Albanian Security Academy in Tirana.

The course, which was jointly organized by the OSCE Secretariat's Transnational Threats Department and the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering, with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Albanian Security Academy, was attended by 19 members of various criminal justice institutions from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The training course provided participants with a comprehensive overview of key issues related to the criminal use of cryptocurrencies and the darknet. The main concepts and current questions linked to compliance, regulation and seizure of cryptocurrencies were discussed. Trainees had the opportunity to operate with real Bitcoin transactions and to practice Bitcoin tracing. The second part of the course focused on investigating the darknet using open-source intelligence. Participants were given a broad and detailed picture of criminal activities on Tor marketplaces and gained hands-on experience by using several open-source resources for investigative purposes.

Since this course is a part of a larger OSCE regional capacity-building initiative to enhance training capacities of beneficiary countries in combating cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime, one day was also dedicated to further developing the training skills of those participants who will serve as national trainers in the next phases of the project.

The course was the fourth in a series of regional training activities, taking place from January until the end of April this year, within this project. The project is a collaborative endeavour of the OSCE Secretariat's Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE field operations in South Eastern Europe, and their respective host authorities.

The project's implementation is steered by a co-ordination board which selects and nominates participants for each regional training activity and will later monitor and evaluate local training activities run by the beneficiaries themselves in the second part of the project.

The largest haul of cocaine seized at Durres Port in Albania

28 February 2018, Durres, Albania: Carrying out a coordinated joint operation, the Port Control Unit (PCU) at Durres Port, Albania, seized 613kg.35gr. of cocaine. The PCU officers working on the basis of risk indicators deployed themselves to the container terminal where four containers of bananas originating from Colombia were expected to arrive. The officers monitored the shipment trip to the Port of Durres and waited for ten days for the local company to collect the shipment. 

Supported by the scanner images, the officers drilled in a double layer floor of one of the containers where more than half a ton of cocaine was concealed.

It is reported that the seized cocaine has a market value of 180 million Euro.

This has been the most successful and team-spirited operation since the establishment of the PCU at Durres Port in 2013 under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

This largest seizure in the history of Albania has been hailed by the Government of Albania and the international community as an indication of Albania's commitment in the combat against international drug trafficking.

 

UNODC, CEPOL and Western Balkans Partners Held First Coordination Meeting

23 February 2018, Budapest, Hungary: The first technical meeting of the UNODC National Project Focal Points and the National Contact Points of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 was successfully concluded at the CEPOL premises in Budapest, Hungary.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform the regional participants of the project activities and to raise awareness and enhance the visibility of the project's activities on the ground, in addition to the dissemination and exploitation of the prospective project results.

This meeting was the first partnership meeting held in the framework of the recently launched joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building initiative on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Combatting Serious and Organized Crime initiative (WBCSCi). The initiative is part of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The objective of this initiative in the region is two-fold:

  • enhance the ability of the regional participants to detect, deter and prosecute money laundering, financing of terrorism, including foreign terrorist fighters, in order to degrade organized crime and terrorism threats, and
  • enhance the ability of the regional participants for interagency and international cooperation on anti-money laundering, combating terrorism financing and asset recovery, so as to reduce threats of transnational organized crime and terrorism.

UNODC undertakes the second training with Macedonian officials on smuggling of migrants

20-21 February 2018, Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A training of trainers (TOT) workshop on case based-simulation techniques, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held in the premises of the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" in Skopje.

The TOT workshop was organized within the context of the project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', and was a follow-up to the TOT workshop held on 7-8 February in Mavrovo, and a futher step in the process of curriculum development, explained in the respective article below.

The current event is another element in the comprehensive process of the development of the curriculum and building capacity of the national criminal justice systems in the region of South Eastern Europe. A follow up TOT with the Expert Group on substantive aspect of developing the curriculum on smuggling of migrants will be held in Skopje on 15-16 March 2018.

UNODC providing integrated support for justice, security in South Eastern Europe, says Executive Director

16 February 2018, Vienna, Austria: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is advancing real-time, integrated cooperation to address justice and security challenges in South Eastern Europe, said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today.

"We are operating in complex times, with new threats arising as we deal with continuing security challenges. I am proud to say that the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe is responding to them in a solid manner," he said.

Speaking at the opening of the Ninth Steering Committee Meeting on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the UNODC Chief highlighted work to address challenges posed by drugs, as well as smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and returning foreign terrorist fighters.

A 2015 UNODC study found that the estimated value of illicit opiates trafficked along the Balkan route was US$28 billion annually.

Mr. Fedotov said UNODC had taken a number of comprehensive steps in South Eastern Europe including enhancing the region's UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Programme, intercepting illicit financial flows, and preventing and treating drug use.

He also emphasized UNODC initiatives to strengthen real-time cooperation between law enforcement authorities, including through its Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach, and the One UNODC Concerted Approach to Europe, West and Central Asia.  

Thanks to its innovative, flexible framework, UNODC's Regional Programme is helping countries fulfil obligations with respect to UN Conventions and the decisions of UN organs, as well as their own national priorities, including to meet European Union requirements, he noted.

The Regional Programme, in 2017, joined the newly established Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative, a political platform designed to promote effectiveness in countering terrorism, fighting serious and organized crime, and strengthening border control.

Participants at the Ninth Steering Committee included ambassadors, donors and partners, as well as UN Resident Coordinators of countries in the region.

UNIS press release: http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2018/uniscp1031.html

Port Control Unit at Durres Port Seizes over 11 kg of Heroin

10 February 2018, Durres, Albania: 11.395 kg of heroin concealed in a truck loaded with garments were seized at the Port of Durres by the Port Control Unit (PCU) established in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The truck, with an Albanian driver, was heading to Ancona, Italy. Upon inspection, the PCU officers decided to take the truck to the scanner terminal. Following the scan, which provided non-intrusive images, the officers exercised a second inspection and discovered an adopted compartment in the driver's cabin where heroin was found.

The case is turned over to the Prosecution Office for further investigation.

CCP in South Eastern Europe is currently generously supported by the Governments of France and Luxembourg.

UNODC trained Macedonian professionals on smuggling of migrants training delivery techniques

7-8 February 2018, Mavrovo, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Migrant smuggling is a transnational crime that has been expanding significantly in the past few years affecting an increasing number of countries. Intelligence indicates that most flows directed towards the EU transiting through the Western Balkans are managed by organized criminal groups. Criminal networks vary in size: regional and smaller networks operate autonomously and rely on freelancers who act as drivers, recruiters, document falsifiers or organizers.

While pressure on the borders has considerably diminished after the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Statement in March 2016, the use of the Western Balkan route for smuggling migrants has remained constant or has reportedly increased for certain groups.

The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on training delivery techniques, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held in Mavrovo on 7-8 February 2018. The TOT was organized under the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', funded by the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented in Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The project is implemented through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants, in close cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

With this project, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum for The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through the project, customized training materials on SOM are being developed, pilot-tested and made available for the multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors.

This first TOT workshop was a stepping stone in the process of curriculum development: members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, consisted of 12 experts as judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, academia and civil society, started working together to shape the contents of the training curriculum and discussed training methods, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of problem-oriented education.

The multi-disciplinary composition of the expert group is meant to facilitate a comprehensive process in terms of curriculum development and capacity building, taking into account the criminal justice and the protection aspects of the phenomenon. A follow up TOT with the Expert Group on substantive aspect of developing the curriculum on smuggling of migrants will be held in Skopje on 20-21 February 2018.

UNODC delegation visits Pristina

5-7 February 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The UNODC Chief of Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, accompanied by delegation and the UNODC Rule of Law Advisor at UNMIK, visited Pristina.

The mission agenda included meetings with UNMIK, senior officials, international partners and the UN Development Coordinator. The main purpose of the mission was to discuss the efforts to tackle organized crime, including illicit financial flows and illicit trafficking. The mission also had a particular focus on the new areas of cooperation within the framework of the EU-led Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG), of which UNODC is an active participant and implementing agency. The mission was also an opportunity to introduce the newly appointed UNODC Rule of Law Advisor, who will work in particular on anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism issues, to the counterparts in Pristina and to brief them on the respective workplan with specific emphasis on Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. The activities in this field are being and will continue to be undertaken in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans reviewed

5-6 February 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC participated in a conference of the Global Counterterrorism Forum: "Nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism Initiative". The conference was the second regional meeting (focused on Western Balkans) under the initiative led by the Netherlands and in partnership with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. The objectives of the event were:

  • to raise awareness, identify needs and resources, better understand the nexus;
  • expand and tailor the toolkit for dealing with the different aspects of the nexus, including information sharing, criminal justice, border controls, soft target protection, and address the life cycle of radicalization from prevention to intervention to rehabilitation and reintegration; and
  • develop a set of internationally recognized, non-binding good practices, which can serve as the basis for international engagement, assistance, and training to address the potential challenge posed by the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime, and which can help authorities at global, national, and local levels solve this problem.

In the meeting, extensive discussions took place concerning the mechanisms of coordination of donors, the regional counter-terrorism initiative, and border management. The meeting reviewed the topic of the foreign terrorism fighters in the region and addressed the topic of weapons trafficking across the region and their deployment for terrorist activities.

UNODC highlighted the capacity building activities of UNODC concerning the nexus and presented the outputs of the project entitled "Strengthening Research and Evaluation Capacity on Linkages between Organized Crime and Terrorism within Tertiary Institutions Globally", a component of the Education for Justice project. This project seeks to provide tertiary education institutions with a guide to develop education modules on the nexus, and to strengthen the body of available academic research on existing or emerging linkages between organized crime and terrorism. UNODC presented the December 2017 draft of the "Educational Issues Paper" and its associated literature review.

UNODC also described the capacity building activities of UNODC projects in South Eastern Europe: "Strengthening the legal regime against emerging terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters", "Normative and administrative challenges relating to the foreign terrorist fighters threat", and "EU-UNODC global initiative on FTF in Middle East and North Africa and South Eastern Europe".

More attention is paid to trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the region

2 February 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC took part in a meeting of the Coordination group on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The Group is an initiative launched by the Governments of France and Germany to promote a more integrated and coordinated action to tackle small arms proliferation in the region.

The meeting in Podgorica provided an opportunity to discuss existing programmatic activities in Montenegro, define the gaps and needs in the country, draw up recommendations for national authorities, and identify promising initiatives and opportunities for further collaboration between donors.

In the course of the meeting, the Government of Montenegro presented the national efforts in the fight against the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW), achievements and remaining challenges. The South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of SALW (SEESAC) gave a brief overview of the current national situation.

The meeting reviewed the roadmap in the subject area, which would include elements of cross-border control; legislative and regulatory frameworks; management and exchange of data and information; SALW collection and destruction and other topics.

The UNODC Global Firearms Programme and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme participated in the event and briefed the participants on the Office's possible role within the new roadmap, as well as the long experience in implementing capacity-building programmes and presence in the region of South Eastern Europe.

Heads of Border Police agencies review the way forward in the Western Balkans

31 January - 2 February 2018, Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC joined the Meeting of the Border Police Chiefs organised under the auspices of the Border Security Programme of the DCAF-Ljubljana.

The DCAF Border Security Programme contributes to the raising of efficiency of border management authorities in Southeast Europe and fosters mutual cooperation to successfully mitigate modern and occurring security threats to regional and European border integrity. It aims to enhance the security of citizens and support the free movement of people, goods and ideas.

The Trebinje meeting focused on the review of progress within the DCAF Border Security Programme in 2017 and addressed recent developments relating to the security in the Western Balkan region. The event also particularly focused on the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), and specifically its Pillar III - Western Balkan Border Security initiative (WBBSi).

The participants of the event exchanged views and approaches on addressing contemporary security challenges and discussed the way forward for the period 2018-2020.

For more information: http://www.dcaf-ljubljana.si/ and http://wb-iisg.com/

UNODC and OSCE Secretariat sign new 2018-2019 joint action plan

31 January 2018, Vienna, Austria: A plan for joint action by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretariat for the period 2018-2019 was signed by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna.

The OSCE Secretariat-UNODC Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 reflects the two organizations' contributions to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and allows for more streamlined technical collaboration in twelve subject areas. These areas include combating transnational organized crime, preventing and countering violent extremism leading to terrorism, combating trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants, anti-money-laundering activities, and security sector governance and reform.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "I welcome UNODC's ongoing cooperation with the OSCE, which is one of our key strategic partners. When taken together, the Joint Action Plan, regular expert consultations and staff talks provide an effective foundation for action against the challenges of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism, and support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

The signing of the Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 was accompanied by presentations from UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat, which illustrated the distinct benefits and added value of closer collaboration between the two organizations.

"This joint action plan has emerged from a genuine culture of cooperation between our organizations," said OSCE Secretary General Greminger. "It is based on the profound understanding that only by drawing from our respective comparative advantages can we be effective in countering transnational threats to security."

The Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 contains four new subject areas on security sector governance and reform; preventing and combating violence against women; combating cybercrime; and combating trafficking in cultural property that reinforce the evolving nature of the threats faced by the international community.  

Official collaboration between UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat on the basis of joint action plans was first established in 2011, and the current plan is the fourth of its kind. Subject to the availability of funding and within the framework of each organization's mandate, the plans allow for greater coordination and the implementation of joint programmes and activities. This includes coordination and cooperation through the exchange of best practices, the organization of joint workshops, joint technical assistance and sharing resources.

UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to diplomats in Vienna

22 January 2018, Vienna, Austria: Update on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was presented to the first in 2018 formal meeting of the Standing Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC (FinGov) under its fifth mandate.

The UNODC representatives presented the results of work in South Eastern Europe in 2017, including the update on the work of the three centres of expertise in the region (in Tirana, Albania; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Belgrade, Serbia), as well as the increased presence in the region. The principles and the general coordination arrangements of the Regional Programme were highlighted.

In presenting the work by Sub-Programme, UNODC pointed out the successful work of the Port Control Units in the region, the capacity building activities that took place within the Container Control Programme, and the seizures made. It was mentioned that, in the spirit of inter-regional cooperation, a visit of officials from Afghanistan was organized to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Specified were also the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming and the Award of Excellence received by two Albanian officers from the Port Control Unit.

The progress of the initiative on "Measuring and Assessing Organised Crime in the Western Balkans" was presented. The results of work in the arms control were highlighted, in particular with regard to the important for the region topics of identification, tracing of firearms and ammunition, their marking and detection of firearms trafficking. The initiatives on countering forest crime and an assessment of the cannabis cultivation were mentioned.

The inter-regional forensic cooperation was pointed out, in particular two exchange visits, which took place between forensic institutions of Serbia and Kyrgyzstan.

It was noted that within the UNODC programmes on countering trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, in addition to four regional and national events, in 2017, for the first time in this region, held two cross-sectoral events on cross-border investigation and prosecution of smuggling of migrants, including through cross-border financial investigations and disrupting illicit financial flows.

An important area of the Regional Programme on anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism was presented. It was pointed out that, in addition to the technical assistance at regional and national levels (four events and daily work), in 2017, UNODC has entered into a new partnership with the EU Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policies and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) on the new Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG). UNODC is an active member of the WB IISG.

UNODC pointed out that within the initiative on anti-corruption and cooperation with civil society, a large-scale regional seminar was organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina for business leaders and business associations on voluntary and compliance-based approaches to addressing corruption in the private sector, including private to private corruption.

Within two UNODC initiatives on foreign terrorism fighters (FTF), UNODC has developed a Manual for Judicial Training Institutions in South Eastern Europe and held a total of twelve national and regional workshops and events.

Under the Sub-Programme III of the Regional Programme, and within the UNODC Global programmes on prevention and treatment of drug use, active work has continued in 2017, being quite evenly distributed between the countries of the region, and included the implementation of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme, a new national programme "Strong Families" which works on refugee and migrant drug use prevention, as well as various national initiatives on drug dependence treatment, including drug dependence treatment quality standards.

The presenters thanked the UNODC colleagues, as well as donors and partners of the Regional Programme for their support and cooperation.

Active implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe will continue in 2018.

UNODC advances efforts to measure organized crime

17 January 2018, Vienna, Austria:  A comprehensive understanding of the nature and extent of organized crime is lacking in almost every region of the world. With a view to addressing this challenge, UNODC initiated the development of a framework for measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans.

Measuring progress at the regional and national levels has proved to be a difficult one given the lack of comparable data analysis on the dynamics of organised crime. In this regard, UNODC's new framework will present a clear way forward for States to assess the volume of organized crime and their responses to it.

The framework will focus on a set of indicators to collect and analyse data on activities and modus operandi of organized criminal groups; organized crime enablers such as corruption, obstruction of justice and technology; States' responses; and the size of illegal markets. The analysis of such data will lead to more focused prevention methods and monitoring of policy interventions.

"The beneficiary countries have the opportunity to participate in this important initiative and lead the way in terms of progress," said Angela Me, UNODC's Head of Research and Trend Analysis Branch, speaking about the framework.

For sustainable and efficient development of the framework, UNODC is working closely with national statistical offices. The Office has recently completed data availability assessments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

Funded by the European Commission, the framework will contribute to the beneficiaries' national priorities, in particular the European Union (EU) integration process. The outcome will complement the Commission's annual progress report, focusing on Chapter 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, freedom and security).

The framework will be followed by a series of data collections starting mid-2018 and capacity building activities on data collection and reporting. A final analytical report on organized crime in the Western Balkans will be produced in 2019.

UNODC launches manual on investigation and prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters

19 December 2017, Vienna, Austria: Foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) continue to pose a threat to the international community, with South Eastern Europe having been identified as one of the regions that remains most vulnerable to the phenomenon.

Acknowledging that coordination across borders is key to identify the most appropriate criminal justice responses, UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch developed a new training manual entitled, " Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Manual for Judicial Training Institutes, South-Eastern Europe".

The manual seeks to provide guidance on international legal instruments against FTF activities and techniques for digital investigation and evidence collection, especially concerning global financial transactions and social media activity. While it is tailored for judicial training institutes in South Eastern Europe, it can be utilized in any jurisdiction seeking resources to address the FTF threat.

Dolgor Solongo, Officer-in-Charge of the Implementation Support Section 1 of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, said: "UNODC developed this training manual with practitioners, for practitioners, and we hope to adapt it for other stakeholders needing practical guidance in investigating and prosecuting foreign terrorist fighter cases."

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, said: "These recommendations are aimed at assisting Member States to establish and enhance policies, laws and institutional capacity to provide improved outcomes for victims, while fully respecting the rule of law and rights of accused persons."

The manual is the product of a multi-year project to build the specialized legal capacity of judicial and prosecutorial training institutes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Funded by the United States, the publication of the manual and project activities were conducted under the Branch's Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Terrorism.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2017/December/unodc-launches-manual-on-investigation-and-prosecution-of-foreign-terrorist-fighters.html

Training in Serbia on identification and tracing of firearms and ammunition

19-20 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) and the United Nations Development Programme's regional project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)" organized in Belgrade, Serbia, a sub-regional training for 17 police officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia on identification and tracing of firearms and ammunition. Germany provided financial support for the organization of the event.

The objective of the training was to enhance the knowledge and skills of first line responders to identify trafficked firearms, collect and record relevant data and successfully participate in international information exchange.

The first session examined the international framework on firearms tracing and provided the participants with detailed knowledge on the categorization of firearms, record-keeping, evidence collection, and the methods for tracing. Several cases studies on firearms were discussed and examples provided on diversion of firearms from licit to the illicit market. The second session introduced details about the firearms, their parts and components, and working mechanisms. The topic of conversion was highlighted with several case studies. The third session presented to the participants information on new technologies, including 3D printed firearms, modular firearms and smart guns.

The following sessions provided police officers with the opportunity to receive additional information on markings on firearms and ballistic identification of ammunition. Examples were discussed about markings at the time of manufacture, post manufacturing markings, including import, deactivation, proof house's symbols, and ammunition identification.

UNODC GFP and SEESAC focused in the organization of the training on transmitting practical skills and knowledge - all participants were provided with laptops and were able to practice with tools for identification of firearms and ammunition. Specifically, the police officers used the Firearms Reference Table and Cartwin Pro software to identify firearms and ammunition. They participated in tracing simulations and received first-hand experience in working with the European Union tracing manual, INTERPOL iArms, and information on the use of the E-Trace system of USA.

In 2018, UNODC GFP and SEESAC will continue providing specialized training for criminal justice practitioners from the Western Balkan countries on detection, identification, and tracing of firearms and ammunition.

Workshop on firearms marking held in Belgrade

14 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme held a workshop with the members of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia on marking of firearms and ammunition.

In the course of the event, UNODC presented a report on best practices of marking of imported firearms and ammunition. The report provides examples for import marking from the legislation and practice of countries from the European Union, as well as Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America. It contains legislative provisions and administrative guidelines on the organization of the marking process, the technical requirements for marking and record-keeping. The report presents also the Technical Guidelines, Standards and Best Practices on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition developed by UNODC. The Chair of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons presented the draft Law on Testing and Marking of Firearms and Ammunition, in which the national authorities have incorporated UNODC's recommendations. The draft Law will be submitted for approval by the Parliament in January 2018.

The Serbian officials presented also the Regulation on deactivation of firearms, which foresees among others placing a specific mark on the deactivated firearms. The Regulation establishes the procedure, conditions and methods for deactivation. The adopted Regulation brings Serbian legislation in compliance with the international obligations of the country stemming from the ratification of the UN Firearms Protocol and from process of accession to the European Union.

Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 2.5kg of Heroin

16 December 2017, Durres , Albania: Heroin worth 90,000 Euro was seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU) at Durres Port, Albania.

The seizure of 2kg. 568gr. occurred when a trailer loaded with pellet (wood for fire) destined for Italy entered the first line of control.  The heroin was hidden in the driver's cabin and the seizure was a result of a coordinated effort between the scanner team and PCU officers.

The case is turned over to the Serious Prosecution Office for further investigation.

This recent seizure takes the total number of kilos of heroin seized at Durres Port by the PCU to 59.5 kg.  The Port Control Unit at Durres Port is established in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Regional meeting of firearms control practitioners community in Belgrade

12-13 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) organized a regional meeting for criminal justice practitioners from the Western Balkan countries on exchange of good practices and experiences in combatting illicit firearms trafficking. Germany provided financial support for the organization of the regional event.

During the two-day meeting, prosecutors and border police officers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia presented cases on trafficking in firearms from their practice. They exchanged information on trafficking routes, profiles of traffickers, methods of concealment, evidence gathering, law enforcement and judicial co-operation. UNODC GFP presented an initiative on developing a Digest of Illicit Firearms Cases, with the objective to compile and analyse practical experiences, including concrete legal techniques, common protocols and operational norms, new and emerging forms of criminality.

The regional meeting is part of the UNODC's efforts to foster the exchanges of good practices and experiences and to develop a "Community of Practitioners" (CoP) in accordance with the recommendations of the Working Group meeting. The CoP is a space for building knowledge, innovation and efficiency by bringing together professionals who share a common work activity with a view to deepening their knowledge and expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. Peer-to-peer learning lies at the core of this knowledge management tool, which helps practitioners explore and identify joint solutions to common problems, facilitates the exchange of information on news, events and/or topics of shared interest, promotes professional development and generates useful knowledge and skills that individual members can apply in their daily work.

Enhancement of efficiency of border control in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported

4-6 December 2017, Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The fifth Mentorship visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Bijača Border Crossing Point, working within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) was organized. The implementation of the knowledge received during capacity building events is regularly evaluated through such Mentoring events. The visits also aim at measuring the effectiveness of the CCP Units and at solving practical challenges and barriers, as well as at identification of necessary additional training needs and other required support.

To ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the PCU at Bijača, the Mentorship visit gave particular attention to conducting profiling and risk assessment of containerized shipments transiting land-border point Bijača, as well as broadening cooperation with the private sector entities, especially forwarding agents. Furthermore, the Mentorship visit reviewed other challenges that the PCU meets in performing its regular activities, suggested possible improvements and offered solutions aimed at enhancement of the Unit's capacities.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014. Throughout 2017, the Programme's implementation in the country is conducted with the generous support of the Government of the United States of America - Export Control and Border related Security (ERXBS) Programme.

Workshop on marking of firearms and ammunition in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 December 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a workshop with the Working Group on the implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition. The workshop was organized with financial support from Germany.

UNODC presented the UNODC's report on the Implementation of Import Marking Requirements for Firearms and Ammunition. Detailed explanation was provided on the international and regional regulatory frameworks. UNODC GFP reviewed examples for import marking from various countries in the European Union, including Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, and Lithuania. The members of the Working Groups discussed also examples of national regulations from Switzerland, USA and Canada.

The second session of the workshop was devoted to the review of the technical guidelines, standards and best practices on marking of firearms and ammunition. UNODC GFP presented the solutions envisaged by the Technical Guide for the implementation of the UN Firearms Protocol and elaborated over practices of some Member States in marking of ammunition, including Brazil. The participants discussed the various methods for marking of firearms and reflected upon the experience gained during the study visit to the Vienna Proof House, organized by UNODC GFP in October 2017.

The Working Group presented the draft regulation on marking of imported firearms and ammunition, which has incorporated various best practices from the international and national legal frameworks, based on the UNODC's report. The participants discussed the record-keeping process and the exchange of information between the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and the Ministries of Interior of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srbska for conducting tracing in firearms trafficking cases. Several options for operational data exchange were considered and proposals for the development of relevant software solutions were made. The participants discussed also the technical requirements for the implementation of the marking process and briefed UNODC GFP on the procedures envisioned for marking firearms and on the data, which will be collected and recorded for the purposes of firearms tracing.

The regulation for implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition will be presented for adoption by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the end of 2017.

Training on Detection of Firearms Trafficking at Land Border Crossing Points

28-30 November 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with UK Border Force Skills Academy and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a training for 20 customs officers on detection of firearms trafficking at land border crossing points. The capacity building event was support through a generous contribution from the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNODC's Global Firearms Programme provided information on the international instruments on arms control, including the UN Convention on Organzied Crime, UN Firearms Protocol, Arms Trade Treaty, International Tracing Instrument and UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control, and presented updated information on the existing arms embargos. The participants received a briefing on the links between organized crime and terrorism, on the use of firearms in terrorist attacks at regional and global levels, on firearms trafficking from the Western Balkans, and on foreign terrorist fighters from the countries in the region. Further, UNODC discussed investigations of firearms trafficking and provided overview of the procedures for domestic and international tracing, marking, record-keeping and exchange of information at national and international levels.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the national legal framework on arms import and exports, provided updates on the recent changes and informed about forthcoming legislative initiatives. Moreover, the Ministry's officials explained in detail the implementation of the existing regulations, reviewed the required documentation and analyzed the relevant procedures. The participants received answers on the application of the national legislation, on the incorporation of the relevant EU acquis and its impact on the national practices for arms control, discussed specific cases and developed various scenarios.

WCO provided detailed overview of the concept of risk assessment and management. First, the participants received information about the Kyoto Convention and the WCO framework. They obtained knowledge on the risk management process, required documentation and the organizational priorities. Later, they reviewed several examples of the risk management process and learned about available tools, which can support their work.

The representative of the UK Border Force Skills Academy acquainted the customs officials with the process of profiling vehicles and passengers, including the use of indicators and relevant methodology. The participants learned about concealment methods and detection practices. A practical exercise on detecting firearms took place at the premises of the Customs Administration where the participants used a training vehicle and received hands-on experience on locating possible concealments for firearms trafficking.

In 2018, UNODC's Global Firearms Programme will continue working with authorities from the Western Balkan countries and support their activities in detecting and investigating firearms trafficking.

UNODC and OSCE compare notes on their work

27 November 2017, Vienna, Austria: UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat held consultations on the development of the new Joint Action Plan for the period 2018-2019. The Action Plan is a key document that supports the coordination efforts of the two agencies in the various fields of their work all over the OSCE region. The Action Plan covers such topics as: countering illicit drug trafficking; transnational organized crime; violent extremism leading to terrorism; criminal justice reform; countering firearms and small arms trafficking; human trafficking and smuggling of migrants; anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism, and others. The Action Plan is an effective mechanism to coordinate work, ensure non-duplication of efforts, support communication channels, formalize cooperation where necessary, and at the same time, facilitate the partnership in a strategic and yet practical manner.

UNODC supports raising the capacity to disrupt financial flaws for terrorist activities in South Eastern Europe

21-23 November 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Regional Seminar "Countering Financing of Terrorism: Disruption of the Financial Flaws of Terrorist Networks in South Eastern Europe" was jointly organized by the UNODC's Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the Embassy of Republic of France in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The seminar brought together practitioners in the subject field from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Slovenia and responded to the central role of the region in the modus operandi of organized crime groups, in particular those related to drug trafficking and money laundering. Furthermore, in the framework of the event, it was reiterated that trafficking of drugs along the Balkan route remains one substantial revenue source of terrorist groups.

This initiative served as a forum for exchange of counter-terrorism experiences among key regional stakeholders - Financial Intelligence Units, state agencies, national police and investigation services, tax authorities and public prosecution offices.

The participants had the opportunity to share their professional experiences, in particular related to the most recent typologies and trends in their countries. The seminar also included a tailored programme consisting of practical exercises on various methods for gathering financial intelligence and disruption of financial flows delivered by an UNODC expert. Finally, participants exchanged views on the regional challenges pertinent to combatting financing of terrorism and disruption the financial flows of terrorist network and concluded that the successful outcome of their actions depends on strong regional cooperation, harmonization of policies and protocols, improved capacities of relevant stakeholders and interaction with the private sector.

In the closing discussions, participants and experts agreed on the value of the initiative and the need of further strengthening the technical capacities in the region.

Paris Pact Initiative Discusses Illicit Financial Flows

21-22 November 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Paris Pact Expert Working Group (EWG) on Illicit Financial Flows was held by UNODC in the building of the former National Assembly of Serbia in Belgrade. The event was attended by nearly 60 participants, representing 19 countries and 5 international organizations.

The EWG on Illicit Financial Flows was directly related to the Pillar II of the Vienna Declaration, adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners in February 2012, which serves as the roadmap to guide all partner actions in support to the Initiative and guiding Paris Pact partners' actions throughout its Phase IV.

The EWG meeting was structured around the "Understand-Disrupt-Develop" approach which formed three main thematic items that were discussed with the guidance of UNODC. The participants were updated on the latest opiate trafficking trends with a focus on the South Eastern Europe, as well as on activities by the European Union, UNODC and the national Financial Intelligence Units from Afghanistan, Russian Federation and others. The experts also presented some topical studies on crypto-currencies, national risk assessment, SOCTAs and discussed anti-corruption strategies for financial investigation teams as well as other issues.

Based on the discussions and inputs provided by the meeting participants, the Expert Working Group was concluded with the formulation of draft recommendations, to be endorsed at the forthcoming Paris Pact Policy Consultative Group Meeting.

The EWG was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Serbia. Both Republic of Serbia and OSCE are partners to the Paris Pact Initiative.

Further information is available at www.paris-pact.net.

UNODC delegation visits Tirana

20-22 November 2017, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC Chief of Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, accompanied by the UNODC Regional (South Eastern Europe) Advisor on Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-Financing of Terrorism visited Tirana.

The mission agenda included meetings with senior Albanian Government officials, international partners and the UN. The main purpose of the mission was to discuss the efforts of the Government of Albania to tackle organized crime, including the vision of the recently established Task Force "Power of Law". The mission also had a particular focus on the new areas of further productive cooperation with Albania within the framework of the EU-led Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG), of which UNODC is an active participant and implementing agency. The mission was also an opportunity to introduce the newly appointed UNODC Regional Advisor on anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism issues to the counterparts in Tirana and to brief them on the respective workplan with specific emphasis on Albania, which meets the country's specialized needs in a targeted manner. The activities in this field are being and will continue to be undertaken in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

COSP7: Opportunity to showcase government-civil society cooperation in the UNCAC review 

10 November 2017, Vienna, Austria: This week's Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (COSP) continues to be a platform for civil society organizations and Governments to share best practices in its review mechanism.

On the margins of the Conference (6-10 November), the UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) organized a side event, bringing together various stakeholders to discuss best practices in the UNCAC review. Organized in partnership with the UNCAC Coalition, the event showcased the results of successful cooperation between Mauritius and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities and their civil society counterparts.

In her opening remarks, Petra Schirnhofer from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) said: "The role of civil society in fighting corruption is more effective when their respective governments listen to them."

A representative from the Civil Society Network against Corruption in Mauritius underscored the importance of involving different groups of civil society, including religious leaders, in anti-corruption efforts. In response, the representative of the Mauritius Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) said that the Government and civil society organizations are integral partners in fighting corruption. Given the country's multicultural nature, it is critical to have structured and well-coordinated anti-corruption efforts across various societal groups, he emphasized.

Also participating, a representative of Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina talked about positive experiences gained from  the UNODC multi-stakeholder workshop, which took place in Sarajevo in September 2017. The event provided a learning opportunity for the representatives of the Bosnian authorities and led to a constructive dialogue with civil society during the second review cycle of the UNCAC implementation.

On that point, the representative of the Bosnian Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the Coordination of the Fight against Corruption (APIK) underlined that "considering the complex environment in the country, it would have been impossible to implement our anti-corruption plans without civil society's participation."

During the event, participants exchanged ideas on means to strengthen civil society organizations' engagement with Member States for future country reviews.

Also took place was the launch the UNCAC Coalition's Africa Region Anti-Corruption Platform, which presents civil society organizations' related work in the region.

More than 340 civil society representatives attended the COSP. 11 side events were organized by or with civil society.

The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is the main donor of CST's anti-corruption activities. With its financial support, anti-corruption activities will continue running until 2021.

Further Information:

Seventh session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNODC Engagement with Civil Society on Drug and Crime Prevention

UNODC and Macedonian counterparts discuss challenges of smuggling of migrants

1-2 November 2017, Ohrid, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: An Expert Group Meeting was held in the context of the UNODC work on strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe - an initiative funded by the Government of USA. The aim of the initiative is to develop specialized training capacity on countering smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through this project, customized training materials on migrant smuggling will be developed and made available for training of different target groups of criminal justice practitioners operating in relevant areas in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. Furthermore, expert group members will take part in training of trainers (TOT) sessions and then pilot-test the materials and the proposed methodology delivering training sessions to other groups of officials. UNODC e-learning modules on migrant smuggling will be localized and made available to the competent training institutions.

Judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Interior, Faculty for Security of the University "Sv. Kliment Ohridski", Bitola, the National commission on human trafficking and illegal migration, the Macedonian Young lawyers association and the civil society members from the NGO "Open Gate La Strada" have actively participated in the two-days Meeting.

The main goal of the Meeting was to set up priority thematic areas and methodology for future smuggling of migrants curriculum in the country. Migrant smuggling as challenge in the fight against the dispersion of organized crime, countering this phenomenon, the latest trends in the cases of migrant smuggling in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were discussed in the course of the event. The Meeting also reviewed, including through case studies, the problem of the jurisdiction of smuggling of migrants cases.

Developing smuggling of migrants curricular with the Academy for judges and prosecutors will continue with an aim to integrate it into the regular programme of education, and the next activity in this process will be the TOT tentatively planned for February 2018.

Customs and Police officers trained on use of HazMatID 360

31 October - 3 November 2017, Durres, Albania: A four-day training course for the Albanian Port Control Unit (PCU) officers and six other officers from the Albanian Customs and State Police aimed at increasing their operational capacities to use the HazMatID 360 machine was organized at Durres Port. The training course provided an in-depth knowledge about the manufacturing of the machine, its specifications as well as instructions on handling the machine in a scientific and professional way.

Conducted by a forensic expert from the Federal Criminal Police of Germany, the training included theoretical aspects and focused specifically on practical elements of work. The latter part of the training was carried out at the container terminal of Durres Port.

The equipment worth USD 65,000 is the latest version of the portable and rugged HazMatID chemical identification system, which provides fast and comprehensive in-field analysis of unknown solids, gels and liquids, including illicit narcotics. This is the first machine of this kind provided to the Albanian Customs and State Police and it is expected to mark a new stage in the work of the Port Control Unit in applying advanced technologies to the fight against illicit trafficking in narcotics and smuggling of hazardous substances.

 

UNODC and Serbia work in support of drug dependence treatment facilities

30 October 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: In collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, UNODC organized a training seminar on mapping of drug dependence treatment facilities with experts from over 35 treatment institutions across the country. The mapping of treatment facilities aims to collect relevant information on available resources to assist national counterparts in more precise strategic orientation of drug dependence treatment and care system.

The training event gathered representatives of the institutions in Serbia dealing with substance use disorders who had were informed about the envisaged activities, got acquainted with the culturally adapted UNODC-WHO mapping instrument and suggested data collection methodology.

Following the recommendations gathered during the first cycle of treatment facility mapping in Serbia, in September 2016, a new data collection methodology was proposed and arranged as an on-line platform for further use. Beside serving as the carrier for data collection instrument, the on-line platform will promote necessary information on drug dependence treatment and care and hence serve as a capacity building platform for broader audience and experts. Moreover, it will serve as a resource data base for applicable diagnostic therapeutic protocols and related legislative acts.

The occasion was co-facilitated by the representatives from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, as well as from the Clinical Center of Vojvodina, Department of Dependence Diseases of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Clinical Center Kragujevac, Clinic for Psychiatry.

Mapping of the treatment facilities will commence shortly with 37 treatment facilities and institutions across the country, including therapeutic communities, private sector and low threshold treatment programme organizations.

    

Award of Excellence bestowed to two Port Control Unit female officers

30 October 2017, Tirana, Albania: Two female officers of the Port Control Unit at Durres Port in Albania received the Award of Excellence in a ceremony organized on the occasion of the United Nations Day. The ceremony which took place at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania was attended by the Minister, Ambassador of Sweden in Albania, the UN Resident Coordinator, representatives from the diplomatic corps, ministries, academia, UN agencies and civil society. Two officers were awarded for their outstanding contribution as champion safe-keepers of the Albanian borders.

The award was bestowed to the PCU female officers by the Ambassador of Sweden, who in his remarks stated that he was honoured to give the award to two women who have committed themselves to the fight against organized crime, in particular, to the fight against illicit trafficking in narcotics. 

During the ceremony, five other Albanian women were honoured with the award. These women are active in the area of diplomacy and civil society, are survivors of the domestic violence, and women from Roma and Egyptian minority.

This year, in Albania, the UN Day theme was dedicated to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 - Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.  

The main product of this event was the documentary on women "who work behind the scenes", women who never make it on TV or other media, but who are the "silent heroes" who work across the country, including in law enforcement area, and make a big difference every day. The awards related to UN work in the area of gender equality.

The award is another milestone in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) where empowerment of the women's role remains a priority. The recent award adds up to the UNODC-WCO efforts in mainstreaming gender in the CCP implementation. 

 

UNODC and WCO support operational cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries

26-29 October 2017, land-border crossing point Gradiška, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Continuing to build cooperation between customs administrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, joint operational activity focused on prevention of illicit trafficking and other smuggling activities at the land-border Gradiška.

This activity represents continuation of ongoing efforts throughout 2017 aimed to identify illegal activities of organized crime exploiting maritime containers, interception of such consignments and psychical inspection of high-risk containers. During activity, a number of containerized shipments have been inspected on the basis of risk analyses and work conducted jointly by customs officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

In addition to this, activities of joint operations aimed to further develop interagency cooperation, including between and with customs, and cooperation with neighboring countries with the overall objective to increase levels of safety and security of the international supply chain, as well as overall border security.

Implementation of the joint activity took place within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme. Under the CCP framework, activities in Bosnia & Herzegovina were launched in 2014 to assist the host government to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, at the same time to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders. 

Paris Pact Initiative discusses precursor control

23-24 October 2017, Bucharest, Romania: The Paris Pact Expert Working Group (EWG) on Precursors was organized by UNODC at the Headquarters of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) in Bucharest. The event was attended by more than 60 participants, representing 21 countries and 8 international organizations.

The EWG on Precursors was directly related to the third law enforcement pillar - on precursors - of the Vienna Declaration, adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners in February 2012, which serves as the roadmap to guide all partner actions in support to the Initiative and guiding Paris Pact partners' actions throughout its Phase IV.

The EWG meeting reviewed a variety of topics, including the update on latest trends, routes and techniques used to smuggle precursor chemicals destined for use in heroin production, as well as operational elements of work, including international investigations into trafficking of precursors, identification and prevention of diversion of acetic anhydride, information sharing between regional centres, alignment of legal frameworks to improve the use of special investigative techniques, controlled deliveries, exchange of intelligence and parallel/joint investigations, and many others.

The EWG adopted draft recommendations which will be eventually presented for endorsement at the 14 th Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCGM), tentatively scheduled for February-March 2018.

Further information is available at http://www.selec.org/  and  www.paris-pact.net .

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in firearms tracing through implementation of firearms import marking

23 October 2017 , Vienna, Austria: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organized a study visit for five officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina and two officials from Serbia to Vienna Proof-House. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are in the process of developing and implementing procedures for marking of imported firearms, which improves their capacity to conduct domestic tracing. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina has established an inter-departmental Working Group for the implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior. Currently the Working Group is drafting the regulations, which will implement Law's provisions. Serbia has also initiated the process for drafting a Law on Marking of Firearms and formed a Working Group under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior.

The goal of the visit was to acquire information about the procedures and methods used by Vienna Proof-House to mark firearms, which are imported in Austria. During the course of the visit, the officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia received information about the organization of the marking process, including the responsibilities of the parties involved in the process, the cooperation with industry, the resources and organizational structures required to implement the marking of firearms. Further, the delegations learned about the methods of marking and testing of firearms at the Vienna Proof-House and witnessed several demonstrations. They took note of the various marks applied by the Vienna Proof-House and the procedures for record-keeping of information on marked firearms. The Head of Vienna Proof-House demonstrated the equipment for marking and testing of firearms and provided thorough information on the technical specifications, follow-up modifications and adjustments, which have improved the efficiency of the marking process and have made it cost-effective.

UNODC GFP will follow up on this activity by organizing two workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to present a report on regulations and best practices of import marking for the purpose of tracing firearms. The report summarizes the national experiences from countries with legislation on import marking, and provides further examples and recommendations. The study visit was organized with the generous support of the Government of Germany. 

For more information please refer to: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/index.html

UNODC leads the third regional dialogue on cross-border investigation and disrupting illicit financial flows from smuggling of migrants

18-20 October 2017, Split, Croatia: UNODC held the third Regional Expert Group Meeting on smuggling of migrants as it relates to illicit financial flows in South Eastern Europe. The event has gathered representatives of transit and destination countries in the region, Turkey, EU, as well as regional and international organizations.

The primary objective of the meeting was to support a coordinated response to smuggling of migrants across borders within the wider region of South Eastern Europe, and hence to assist in the implementation of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The specific goal of the event was to raise awareness on parallel and joint investigations, as well as the use of special investigative techniques and financial investigations by mapping the latest trends, identifying the needs, challenges and priorities of the South Eastern European countries and jurisdictions in combating smuggling of migrants.

Criminal justice practitioners, financial investigators and specialised prosecutors tasked with investigating and prosecuting migrant smuggling and organized crime through financial investigations were the main focus group of the event. The participants gained a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the issues involved in preventing and combating the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe through cross-border investigations and prosecutions. They also had an opportunity to review the benefits of a 'joined up' national and regional approach to detecting and intercepting criminal networks behind the migrant smuggling in order to bring them to justice in full compliance with international protection and assistance obligations.  Regional cooperation between respective law enforcement agencies and judiciary in the investigation of transnational criminal networks engaged in migrant smuggling was also an important topic of the meeting.

Following the session on regional and international organizations' role and perspectives on cross-border cooperation in combating smuggling of migrants, experts exchanged practical experiences concerning cross-border cooperation and use of special investigative techniques in combating smuggling of migrants. In particular, practitioners from the region provided operational examples of good practices, challenges and lessons learnt in cross-border cooperation and use of special investigative techniques. Given the centrality of the principle "follow the money" for effectively combating the smuggling of migrants as form of organized crime, a session was dedicated to the role of private sector, the role of Hawalas and other similar service providers (HOSSPs) and practical experiences in SEE (concrete cases from Croatia, Bulgaria, France and Serbia) in detecting and disrupting illicit financial flows in combating smuggling of migrants. The last sessions were dedicated to drafting and validating a model of protocol for cooperation in combating smuggling of migrants, which will be prepared by the UNODC as an outcome of three REGMs.

The meeting was implemented by the UNODC's Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe in cooperation with the State Attorney General's Office of Croatia and with the generous contribution of the Government of France.

 Strong Families prevention programme for Afghan refugee families successfully initiated in Serbia

18-20 October 2017, Vranje, Serbia: In partnership with Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, UNODC initiated piloting of "Strong Families" programme for the prevention of drugs, crime and violence on Afghan refugee families currently stranded in refuge reception centers in Republic of Serbia.

The "Strong Families" is a family skills programme developed as part of a global project on prevention of the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of Drug Prevention and Health Branch for families living in challenged situations (including the refugees, the internally displaced, those in conflict/post conflict situations and those in rural settings).

The programme is designed for families with children aged between 7 and 14 with the aim of improving parenting skills, child well-being and family mental health. More specifically, the pilot programme intends to normalize and manage stress within the families who went through conflict and displacement, to develop positive parenting strategies as well as to improve communication and relationship among family members. As it is designed to be implemented for families in low resource settings, it is composed of three (1 hour) sessions (one pre-session for caregivers only and two additional sessions for the family). "Strong Families" programme is also currently being piloted in Afghanistan and Tanzania.  

The "Strong Families" programme pilot in Serbia kicked off with the training of 27 facilitators who will implement with the refugee families in the selected camps. These facilitators were delegated from local organizations who actively support the refugee response on the field: Indigo, Caritas, Belgrade Centar for Migration, SOS Children Villages, Danish Refugee Center and Save the Children. The facilitators will implement the "Strong Families" programme in three refugee reception centers in Bujanovac, Presevo and Vranje. The intervention will last for three weeks (at a rate of one session per week) and will be implemented with the selected group of Afghan families/caregivers and children under their care aged between 7-14.

"Strong Families" programme pilot in Serbia will be closely monitored and assessed at the level of process feasibility and effectiveness. The indicators to assess are on the level of improving family skills outcomes and caregiver mental health, to analyze the extent of families' attendance and to explore the cultural and contextual acceptability of programme for families and practitioners in Serbia. The lessons learned through the Serbia pilot assessment will carry important implementation value for the local Serbian counterparts as well as on the global level for many other interlocutors engaged with families going through similar circumstances.

 

UNODC mission visits Serbia

16-18 October 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe and West/Central Asia / Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and delegation visited Serbia for consultations with the national and international counterparts in Belgrade. In particular, the mission met with the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering of the Ministry of Finance and other national and international actors.

The mission was focused in particular on the topic of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism and the ongoing and future cooperation between UNODC and the Government of the Republic of Serbia in this field.

Exchanges on the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative 

11 October 2017, Brussels, Belgium: Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia / Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and Chief of the UNODC Independent Evaluation Unit met in Brussels with the representatives of EU DG NEAR and other partners, including the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the innovative partnership UNODC has entered into with the EU (in particular with DG NEAR) within the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG) which foresees capacity building activities in the area of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.

The UNODC involvement also aimed at undertaking formative evaluation of the effectiveness of the approaches of the EU and its partners in the Western Balkan region in order to further improve the delivery of assistance as well as complementarity of actions by different actors, within and outside the EU umbrella.

The meeting was aimed to make the final review of the workplan prior to the technical launch of the WB IISG in Vienna on 1 December 2017.

UNODC and CEPOL will work on financial investigations in the Balkans

6 October 2017, Budapest, Hungary: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) held consultations on the implementation details of the joint UNODC-CEPOL action on financial investigations which will take place as of early 2018 under the new EU Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (WB IISG).

The two agencies met to discuss areas of mutual interest and cooperation and to finalize the joint workplan which will be part of the Western Balkan Counter-Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi) - the second pillar of the WB IISG. This pillar is aimed to respond to the threats of Serious and Organized Crime in the Western Balkan region by merging the efforts of all relevant security actors, EU and international donors of external assistance in this area of policy - in an efficient and sustainable manner.

For more information: http://wb-iisg.com/  

UNODC conducts a country visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of reviewing the implementation of UNCAC

5-7 October 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC conducted a country visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in that country (first year of the second review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).

The discussions in the context of this country visit were held in Sarajevo, involving the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Trinidad and Tobago as reviewing States parties and UNODC as the Secretariat of the Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of UNCAC.

The objective of the country visit was for the reviewing States parties to engage in direct dialogue on the review of implementation of the Convention (Chapter II on Preventive Measures and Chapter V on Asset Recovery) with the relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As a result of the country visit and based on the exchange of information and views between the competent national authorities and the reviewing experts, a country review report will be drafted. The report will identify successes, good practices and challenges and make recommendations for the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated in all United Nations official languages and will be made available online. The country review may also be published, if the country under review decides to make it available in the public domain.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/implementation-review-mechanism.html

Drug and Precursors Training for Port Control Units Takes Place in Sarajevo

2-4 October 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Advanced Drug and Precursors Training for officers of the Port Control Units (PCUs) in South Eastern Europe was organized within the framework of the UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme. The training objective was to enhance capacities of the PCU officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro to identify and conduct interdiction of drugs and precursors trafficking through the South Eastern European region.

The PCUs' staff received advanced training focused on risk-based profiling of containers and improved information exchange at national, regional and international levels on container crime. A total of 24 officials from customs, border police, anti-narcotic units and other relevant institutions of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro attended the training course.

An interactive training event, led by WCO expert, comprised of lectures and practical exercises, complemented by interactive discussions, was focused on up-to-date identification and interdiction of drugs and precursors trafficking. The participants also discussed on the overall and prevalent drug situation in the region with special emphasis on the diversion of precursor chemicals. 

Advanced Drug Precursors Training was organized through the generous support of the Government of United States and France.

 

UNODC assists Bosnia and Herzegovina in its efforts to identify and interdict the illicit use of cash couriers

27-29 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe with support of the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the generous contribution of the Government of Turkey organized an interactive workshop on enhancing technical skills of some 30 law enforcement officers in controlling cross-border transportation of cash. The workshop took place in Sarajevo and brought together participants from law enforcement agencies of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brcko District.

This three-day workshop allowed the participants to enhance their technical skills in identification and interdiction of the illicit use of cash couriers and further investigation of illicit cash flows. The officers, analysts and investigators exchanged experience on how to apply risk assessment in creating a profile of cash couriers to perform cash controls at the border. The participants also shared their real-time examples of cash smuggling and learned about the application of the cash seizure procedures.

It is expected that this training will result in an enhanced cooperation between various law enforcement agencies in this area and in an increased number of case-related investigations. In addition, the participants learned about the application of the FATF Recommendation 32 on having a proper system and instruments in place necessary for restraining a cross-border transportation of cash in relation to terrorist financing, money laundering or predicate offences or that is falsely disclosed or declared.

 First multi-stakeholder workshop on UN Convention against Corruption in South Eastern Europe

26 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC is hosting this week the first multi-stakeholder workshop on the United Nations Convention against Corruption and its Review Mechanism in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As the first such workshop to be held in Southeast Europe, the event aims to develop capacities of around 60 participants across the region to contribute to the implementation of the Convention and its Review Mechanism.

Speaking at the event, Assistant Director of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the Coordination of the Fight Against Corruption, underscored the importance of cooperation to tackle this phenomenon worldwide. He said: "Without the help from international partners and civil society, we are blind and cannot do anything in our efforts to fight corruption."

At the first review cycle, approximately 85 per cent of Governments involved civil society organizations in their country visits, building momentum to uphold their treaty obligations. The workshop, in this regard, reiterates the importance of this practice during the second review cycle, especially in the Southeast Europe region. It also aims to promote collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.

Pointing to the 2030 Agenda, UNODC's Civil Society Team Leader, said: "All Sustainable Development Goals can be hampered if corruption prevails. The fight against this peril is deeply rooted in Goal 16, which aims to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."

Supported by the Austrian Development Agency through the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the training will inform participants about the methodology and tools for country reviews and build their capacity to reproduce workshop sessions at the national and regional levels. Participants will engage in a constructive dialogue by sharing their experiences, lessons learned and good practices, as well as undertaking practical exercises.

The UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by 182 States, is the only legally binding, universal, anti-corruption instrument. Its far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to global corruption issues.

To date, 286 civil society organizations from across the world have been trained under the UNODC Civil Society Programme. It aims to provide them with the necessary tools to work with Governments and the private sector in implementing the Convention.

 

Further Information:

United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNODC and the Civil Society

UNODC's work on corruption

UNODC works with the Government of Montenegro on anti-human trafficking

24-29 September, Bijela, Montenegro: UNODC delivered a training workshop on combating human trafficking to a group of judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and civil society professionals from Montenegro. The workshop, entitled "In-depth training on identification, investigation and proving of trafficking in persons cases and respect of victims' rights in criminal proceedings", was organized by UNODC in close cooperation with the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro, under the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Montenegro. The workshop was implemented under the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and with the generous contribution of the Government of the USA.

In September 2015, UNODC successfully conducted a Multi-disciplinary training workshop, entitled "Protection of human trafficking victims in criminal proceedings". The workshop took place in Budva, Montenegro and reached 31 professionals and practitioners, from law enforcement, prosecution, courts, diplomatic representation, international organisations and civil society.

In March 2017, UNODC received a request from the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro to conduct a follow-up training on the prosecution of human trafficking cases and the protection of the rights of trafficking victims in Montenegro.

In accordance with the needs and priorities defined by the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro that were addressed to the UNODC, this latest week-long multidisciplinary training workshop for practitioners was held in order to improve efficiency of criminal prosecution and sanctioning of human trafficking in Montenegro.

The multi-disciplinary training workshop was successfully organised for more than 30 professionals and practitioners, from law enforcement, prosecution, courts and civil society with a focus on issues related to protection of victims of trafficking in persons in the criminal proceedings.

At the opening ceremony, the US Ambassador in Montenegro, the General Director of the Directorate for Judiciary of the Ministry of Justice, the National Coordinator for Combating Human Trafficking of Montenegro and the UNODC staff delivered welcoming remarks.

The UNODC Anti-human trafficking manual for criminal justice practitioners and the Case Digest on Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases were used as a basis for the workshop, as well as the selected cases from the UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database.

The Case Digest on Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases was translated into Montenegrin language and used for conducting Mock Trial during the training.  

Follow up activities to the event will take place in spring 2018.

 

UNODC, IOM, OSCE zoom into tackling migrant smuggling in the Balkans

19-20 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The third Regional Seminar on "Moving Forward in Addressing Migration-related Crimes in South-Eastern Europe" was jointly organized by the OSCE, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNODC, in co-operation with the OSCE's Office of the Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the Office of the Co-ordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Over the past few years, the flow of migrants, originating especially from the Middle East and North Africa, has been a challenge for European States, in particular for Southern European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Considering the complexity and the permanence of the situation, the responsibility placed on countries of origin, transit and destination is immense and entails a substantially pressing obligation to react not only to human rights violations and security challenges, but also to criminal organizations making large profits from migrants' and refugees' vulnerable situation.

The seminar aimed at strengthening co-operation between criminal justice, law enforcement and relevant public and private actors, in order to address irregular migration-related crimes, such as migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings, in South Eastern Europe. The objective of the event was to identify gaps, challenges and good practices, as well as to strengthen information sharing networks between countries of origin, transit and destination using a multidisciplinary approach, paying also attention to the issue of vulnerability of migrants.

Specific sessions of the seminar focused on

  • recent developments and challenges of human mobility in South Eastern Europe;
  • modus operandi of criminal groups operating along migration routes on smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings;
  • criminal justice co-operation within the region and through Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes to Europe.
  • vulnerability of individual migrant or group of migrants, and the resources and capacities needed to resist or recover from their vulnerability, and other topics.

The seminar has also broke into group work and review of case studies on practical aspects of detecting organized criminal groups; related financial investigations; cross-border investigations and prosecutions; and other important topics.

The seminar has issued recommendations and finding which will be basis for the future work in the region and beyond.

UNODC and Serbia focus on sustainable approaches to smuggling of migrants

14-15 September 2017, Vrdnik, Serbia: UNODC organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Curriculum Development for the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants. The event is part of the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe', funded by the Government of the USA, and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Within this project, UNODC is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Interior and Republic Public Prosecutor's Office/Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants in Serbia to develop specialized training capacity on smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through this project, customized training materials will be developed/adapted and made available for multi-disciplinary target groups of criminal justice practitioners. The proposed methodology foresees the use and adaptation of a broad range of existing materials such as the translation of three UNODC e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants, UNODC training manuals, analysis of recent court cases from the two countries (2015-2017), and other relevant materials.

The EGM devoted its attention in particular to:

  • mapping the specific needs of Serbian professionals;
  • identifying existing training programs that are related to migrant smuggling and organized crime to ensure complementarity;
  • analysing court cases and jurisprudence on smuggling of migrants and determining what cases are suitable for training purposes;
  • exchanging information on emerging trends, operational tools and instruments.

The process is designed on the basis of a genuine participatory approach. The role of the EGM in defining the training priorities, selecting content, designing materials and ultimately shaping the process that will lead to the development of the smuggling of migrants curriculum. The EGM will be followed by further meetings in the region led by UNODC.

A series of UNODC events is organized in South Eastern Europe on criminal justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters

12-13 September 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 20-22 September, Podgorica, Montenegro; 29-31 October, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch held a series of national workshops for some of the countries of the region on normative and administrative challenges related to the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) threat. 

The events brought together judges, prosecutors, representatives from the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice, and the Financial Intelligence Unit. Experts from the region as well as from other countries, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the European Union and INTERPOL shared their experiences relevant to cases involving or related to FTFs. The events aimed to respond to one of the needs identified during the first regional event for South Eastern Europe organized in Vienna in February 2017, to efficiently investigate and prosecute FTF cases.

The workshops provided a platform that facilitated an important exchange of ideas as well as a debate on practical solutions to common challenges faced by different national institutions in investigating and prosecuting FTF cases. By the end of 2017, UNODC will have carried out similar tailor-made workshops in other South Eastern European jurisdictions.  

The workshops were organized with the support of the national Governments and members of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The workshops were implemented within the framework of UNODC's Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union. The project aims to assist beneficiaries in improving their criminal justice responses to FTFs, in compliance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/276 and United Nations Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014).

UNODC organizes national consultations on foreign terrorist fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina

6-7 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Within the UNODC project supported by the USA Government, the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a national workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 'Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF)'. The workshop was organized with the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Public Institution Center for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Republika Srpska and the Judicial Commission of the Brcko District. The workshop was the final in the series of events in all jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe in 2017.

The objectives of the workshop included the following:

i) Discuss the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF, which UNODC is developing within the project in questions;

ii) Enhance the understanding of the international and regional legal framework dealing with FTFs;

iii) Familiarize participants with and discuss the criminal offenses under CETS dealing with FTF;

iv) Discuss special investigative techniques in FTF cases;

v) Review the financial components of FTF related investigations;

vi) Analyse online investigations and collection of e-evidence;

vii) Promote and support the use of rule of law-based strategies and compliance with international human rights standards to strengthen the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism related offences.

The event brought together national officials representing the relevant institutions, including (the police, prosecutorial services and judges as well as international representatives, including the staff of the Embassies of the USA in the region). The workshop included discussions of several topics included in the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF. The workshop covered FTF related offences, the international and European legal framework, the collection of e-evidence and financing of terrorism investigation in FTF related cases, as well as case studies based on a real investigations conducted. The event generated an important exchange of ideas among the participants and gave rise to a valuable debate in terms of practical solutions to key practical challenges faced by criminal justice officers when investigating and prosecuting FTF related cases.

The Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF will be launched in Vienna in late October 2017.

Container Control mentorship support to Albania and Montenegro

28 August - 5 September 2017, Durres, Albania, and Bar, Montenegro: Throughout its implementation in South Eastern Europe, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) has established mentorship missions primarily staffed with experts who help to ensure that CCP introduced techniques and methods are applied effectively.

For two weeks, the Port Control Units (PCUs) at the Port of Durres, Albania, and the Port of Bar, Montenegro, hosted mentorship missions which encompassed exchange of ideas, monitoring of the day-to-day practices, including applied search techniques, creation of risk profiles, information on new trends of illicit trafficking and smuggling through containerized shipments; use of open and confidential sources of information, etc.

The missions offered a hands-on combination of international and local expertise ensuring that efficient container control methodologies are put in place and applied.

UNODC holds consultations to address dirty money in the Balkans

11-14 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC held consultations with the national and international counterparts in Bosnia and Herzegovina with regard to the work in the priority area of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe - anti-money laundering/counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

The Regional AML/CFT Advisor based in Sarajevo servicing entire South Eastern Europe, provides policy advice, technical guidance and specializes tailored support to further improve the effectiveness of the UNODC work in this important area, benefitting from the global good practices and contemporary methods of tackling challenges related to money laundering and terrorism financing.

UNODC is working in this thematic area on a basis of a multi-year workplan with support of the EU, Turkey, Russia and other donors.

Ministers of the Western Balkans launch an innovative EU initiative - the IISG

8 September 2017, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The Board of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG), the highest-level monitoring body within the initiative's implementation process, was convened for the first time in the framework of the hosting Brdo Process, a regional ministerial-level initiative led by the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior.

The Ministers of the Western Balkan countries and other Brdo Process members expressed their full support and endorsed the establishment of the IISG framework together with the Terms of Reference to guide its operation and division of tasks. Mr. Rajko Kozmelj, Programme Manager at DCAF Ljubljana was appointed Chair of the IISG Support Group upon the proposal of the European Commission. The IISG Support Group involving Lead Partners and other Partners in the respective IISG Pillars will be hosted by DCAF Ljubljana. The director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) Ambassador Thomas Gürber has expressed a full commitment to the task of hosting the IISG Support Group and gratitude for the trust vested on part of the countries and the international community. Regional, EU and international IISG Partners expressed their strong support for the IISG and DCAF as the hosting actor.

The IISG Board also appointed Lead Partner functions in Pillar I (Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative), Pillar II (Western Balkan Counter-Serious Crime Initiative) and Pillar III (Western Balkan Border Security Initiative). The Lead Partners are to act as the "first among equals" and are taking over the task of continuous coordination of activities within each Pillar and the implementation of the respective multi-annual comprehensive Integrated Plans of Action (iPAs).

UNODC is an active member of the IISG, in particular its Pillar II.

UNODC joins the 17 th PCC SEE Committee of Ministers

7 September 2017, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia:  The Committee of Ministers of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE) met in Brdo pri Kranju for the 17 th time in its statutory capacity of the highest PCC SEE decision-making body. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Serbian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office, in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the PCC SEE Secretariat as co-chairs, and the Slovenian Ministry of Interior as the host.

Ministers of home affairs and authorised representatives from the Contracting Parties acknowledged the new strategic alignment of the PCC SEE implementation process - PCC SEE Plus, which paves the way for the implementation of the five PCC SEE core clusters dedicated to data protection, information exchange, operational cooperation, countering terrorism, and automated exchange of data.

The presented strategic document with concrete action plans is set to be a living document, updated regularly following the progress and identification of needs by the Contracting Parties.

The Committee of Ministers further discussed the steps ahead in the establishment of an EU Prüm-inspired framework in the PCC SEE region, which is seen to bring a new dimension to the Contracting Parties' fight against serious and organised cross-border crime, as well as terrorism. By utilising EU Prüm methodology in the PCC SEE region, the Contracting Parties will be enabled to implement automated exchange of data years before all Contracting Parties will become EU Member States. In view of timely starting with the official negotiations of this future framework, the Committee of Ministers supported to kick-off the process with a dedicated preparatory meeting by the end of 2017. The Contracting Parties also expressed their expectations as to which of the three data fields - DNA, dactyloscopic, vehicle registration data - they consider to first achieve the practical implementation of automated exchange of data. In this regard, the PCC SEE Secretariat will support the building of necessary capacities, following the specific progress, priorities and needs of the Contracting Parties.

For more information: http://www.pccseesecretariat.si/

  The Second Public - Private Partnership Consultation held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

6 July 2017, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Further facilitating cooperation with the private sector stakeholders, the Second Public-Private Partnership Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme framework was organized jointly by the Indirect Taxation Authority and UNODC.

The Workshop gathered representatives of the forwarding agents and other private sector subjects following activities initiated in 2016 and ongoing effort to support the legitimate trade supply chain.

Containerized shipments represent an important part of the growing international trade supply chain, measuring up to approximately 90% of the world's cargo. The roles of private actors as well as law enforcement agencies in establishing effective trade security and is vital. The Workshop aimed to continue building relationships with key private sector stakeholders in particular forwarding agents and transport operators. In addition, the Workshop discussed ongoing plans of the Indirect Taxation Authority, such as establishment of the National Cargo Transit System (NCTS) that should further facilitate trade in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently in the phase of preparation, the NCTS should be implemented at the beginning of 2018. The Workshop also looked into risk analyses and pre-arrival information and provided recommendations for the future work of the Indirect Taxation Authority.

The Public-Private Partnership initiative will be continued throughout 2017 within the Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Afghan officials visit South Eastern Europe

5-15 July 2017, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro: Fourteen officials from the Afghanistan Port Control Units attended an eight-day study visit to South Eastern Europe (SEE) as part of the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The goal of the visit which included the Port of Durres, Albania, Port of Bar, Montenegro, and the Border Crossing Point of Bijaca (BCP), Bosnia and Herzegovina, was to enhance sharing of best practices on security related systems and processes, commercial operations, automation, management models and other trade enforcement activities.

The CCP is closely working with the Governments of the three countries in SEE and the Government of Afghanistan to build the capacity of customs and border police through several initiatives, including the establishment Port Control Units. Regional and inter-regional initiatives are also an important element of the CCP.

The visit offered a range of sites and meetings with senior officials from the three countries of SEE. These meetings gave the participants first-hand experience on customs control cargo and vehicle at the Ports and BCP and demonstrated the possibilities for improvement and modernization of customs practices in particular when it comes to export, import and transit procedures. The meetings also familiarized the Afghan officials with the customs risk management and investigation techniques; electronic clearance methodologies, best practices in detecting and managing the movement of illegal goods; import and export restrictions.

Particular attention during the meetings was paid to strengthening the cooperation between border authorities, trust building and establishment of a more effective information exchange at national and regional level aiming at keeping a good balance between security and trade facilitation.

Seizures in Afghanistan (several shipments of ammonium nitrate) and in SEE countries (various types of drugs and IPR) are a clear indication of the interdiction efforts contributing to the improved safety of the borders in the respective countries. 

The visit presented a good experience in sharing of knowledge and lessons learned through effective coordinating mechanisms between Port Control Units and achieving the CCP goals globally.

UNODC joins the dialogue on arms control in Bosnia and Herzegovina

4-6 July, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC delegation visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess possibilities to engage the authorities in activities related to regulating, preventing and combatting illicit trafficking in firearms, as well as to attend the Arms Symposium in South Eastern Europe organized by the Centre for Security Cooperation in South East Europe (RACVIAC).

The main focus of the mission was to identify areas of cooperation and counterparts among Bosnian authorities for the implementation of UNODC activities in regulating, preventing and combatting illicit trafficking in firearms, as well as raise awareness among the regional member states about the work of UNODC in arms control. In particular, meetings were held with senior representatives of the Ministry of Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

In addition to that, UNODC presented the synergies between the Arms Trade Treaty, the Firearms Protocol and other international instruments that contribute to countering illicit trafficking in firearms, at the Arms Symposium organized by RACVIAC. Special focus was made on the issue of the criminal justice response to illicit trafficking - a topic which is not covered regularly in this forum and therefore was well received by the participants. The issue of end user certificates was highlighted as one of the main challenges, particularly enforcing their legal use.

UNODC will step-up its cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of arms control in the course of 2017.

 

  Hands-on support to countering illicit trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3-5 July 2017, Land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized the IVth Mentorship visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) working within the framework of the Programme. The mentorship visit activity is designed to address challenges faced by the Unit in implementation of the daily work at the CCP designated land-border site Bijača.

Working closely with the PCU staff, a UNODC Mentor considered standard and other practices of the PCU composed of law enforcement officers from Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police working on profiling of high-risk cargo containers to minimize risk of exploiting them for smuggling of narcotic drugs, weapons, precursor chemicals and other organized crime activities.

During the three-day mentorship visit the PCU members presented to the Mentor different tools and practices used to conduct profiling and risk assessment of the cargo containers, both for goods and persons involved in the trade supply chain. Particular attention was given to the existing Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police databases as well as to the use of open sources of information used to complement the profiling process. Additionally, mentorship discussed existing legal and other challenges tackling the work of the Unit and possible solutions that might contribute to improving particular circumstances.

"Mentorship visits are essential to improving the Unit's knowledge and practice in daily work," said the PCU Coordinator, "It is a great opportunity for the Unit's staff to test own knowledge and discuss particular challenges faced individually and by the Unit as a whole", he said.

Implementation of the UNODC-WCO CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014 to assist the host government create sustainable inter-agency PCU to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. As well, CCP's mission is to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders. 

Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe launched

3 July 2017, Tirana, Albania: UNODC launched the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the WCO-UNODC Container Control Programme (CCP) in South Eastern Europe (SEE).

In its implementation in SEE, the CCP is paying particular attention to the gender aspect of law enforcement professions, including the work of the Port Control Units (PCUs). The programme has set up the CCP Women's network which brings together the gender focal points operating within the Customs and Police structures, PCU female officers, female senior managers from law enforcement authorities and CCP staff.

Furthermore, UNODC and WCO developed the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the CCP making SEE the first region to undertake such an initiative on country specific level. The aim of the Guidelines is to assist SEE countries in the CCP network to effectively integrate the gender perspective into all aspects of work, from planning strategic tools, developing normative standards, designing and delivering thematic and regional programmes and working through the project cycle.

During the launch meeting which was attended by the gender focal points of the Albanian State Police, Customs administration, PCU female officers, UNDP and UNWOMEN, a UNODC-WCO consultant offered gender analysis focused on examining public policies and their outcomes through a gender lens; the disaggregated data; recommendations and proposed activities to promote women's role in the container control area.

The stakeholders' inputs were an integral part of the Guidelines drafting process. It enabled an UNODC-WCO assessment from a view point of those who are responsible for, as well as those who are affected by the policy decisions, practices or design of services. These inputs were obtained through focus groups, interviews and surveys as part of the approved methodology.

In line with the National Strategies on Gender Equality which call for gender-mainstreaming structures within all ministries, departments and agencies as mechanisms to implement and monitor national laws and policies and regional and global commitments for gender equality and women's empowerment, the newly approved Guidelines are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is expected that the Guidelines will contribute to improve the design, delivery and implementation of gender oriented policies in the law enforcement area and shift the targets from the designers of gender-oriented policies to operational managers and female staff who are the actual actors in question.

The CCP gender related activities in SEE, including the drafting of the Guidelines, are generously supported by One UN - Albania.

UNODC results in South Eastern Europe presented to over 30,000 people in the Lions Clubs Centennial convention

1-4 July 2017, Chicago, USA: The results of the UNODC and LCIF partnership under the global programme for prevention and its significant impact in preventing substance use as documented through clinical trials in South Eastern Europe was presentedto the Lions Clubs Centennial convention. The event represented an important scientific and political occasion to highlight the UNODC efforts in the field of prevention of drug use, as well as the excellent cooperation with the Governments in South Eastern Europe.

The results of the UNODC-LCIF pilots of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence were presented in a special session during the convention, which included an intervention by Dr. Yamada (outgoing President of the Lions Clubs International) commending the positive collaboration with UNODC.  Further to this session, several meetings were held with the Lions Clubs representatives of countries engaged in this collaboration, the Lions Clubs liaisons to the United Nations and more importantly with the leadership of Lions Clubs International.

UNODC was invited to attend a meeting of the Lions Clubs liaison to the UN discussing 2016 results and planning for the Lions Clubs UN-days to come, the collaboration with UNODC was presented as a model to present in Lions UN Days (in the presence of Bob Corlew president elect to Lions Clubs International) .

The convention was attended by well over 30,000 Lions Clubs members and the plenary session featured several high level key note speakers including the former US VP Al Gore, the former UN SG Ban Ki Moon and many others.

Most valuably a video of the partnership with UNODC (produced by UNODC) was featured in the plenary session when Mr. Ban Ki Moon was speaking. The outcomes of this collaboration continue to be positively received.

UNODC continues to implement the partnership programme with the LCIF in South Eastern Europe.

 

Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of Europe meet in Vienna

27-30 June 2017, Vienna, Austria: The Twelfth Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of the countries in Europe has taken place in Vienna. The meetings of HONLEA European Region take place once every two years. Membership is open to any State that is a member of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). Other United Nations Members States may be invited as observers at their request. HONLEA European Region was established by an ECOSOC resolution and is a subsidiary body of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The documents for the session are available at https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/Subsidiary_Bodies/HONEUR/HONEUR_12-documentation.html

The Secretariat has, inter alia, prepared a comprehensive report on drug trafficking trends in Europe and worldwide. According to this report, one of the main developments of the two recent years for the region of South Eastern Europe is that here seizures of amphetamine and "ecstasy"-type substances reached record levels in 2015.

Europe accounts for significant proportions of global seizures of cannabis resin, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and "ecstasy"-type substances. While cannabis resin and cocaine seizures within the region are almost exclusively concentrated in Western and Central Europe, South Eastern Europe represents between 30 and 50 per cent of European seizures of cannabis herb and amphetamine-type stimulants. This sub-region also accounted for over 50 per cent of heroin seizures that took place in Europe in 2015. East Europe represented between 10 and 20 per cent of cannabis herb and heroin European seizures in 2015.

Compared with seizures of opium and illicit morphine, heroin seizures occur in a much wider range of countries, in particular around the larger markets in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Each of these three markets is mostly supplied by a different producing region. While East and South East Asia are supplied in the main by production in Myanmar and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, most of Europe is supplied by Afghan heroin through the "Balkan route" and the "southern route" through Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan and, increasingly, countries in Africa. In South Eastern Europe, heroin seizures declined sharply in 2015, while remaining stable in Eastern Europe.

The Secretariat has also prepared a report on current situation with respect to regional and sub-regional cooperation. The report points out that in South Eastern and Eastern Europe, recent developments such as the active integration processes in the region, advances in technology, transport and travel and the on-going emergence of new psychoactive substances can, as a side effect, pose new challenges and facilitate cross-border crime, requiring new approaches. A robust response is needed to counter the serious challenges posed by the links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Current UNODC approaches are interdisciplinary and dynamic and aim to provide consistency in the objectives, policy approaches and management arrangements across UNODC. Emphasis is placed on integrated, multi-component programmes that are fully aligned with Governments' priorities, on more effective and transparent cooperation and planning, involving other UN entities, and on leading the effective mainstreaming of UNODC mandate areas within the UN system.

The report describes the efforts of UNODC with its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the cooperation with the jurisdictions in the region, as well as their vigorous efforts in countering contemporary challenges and threats.

UNODC initiates training workshop on treatment of drug use disorders on the occasion of the observance of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Montenegro

26-27 June, Podgorica, Montenegro: United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime is annually marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with tactically developed campaign drawing the attention of the general public to the importance of evidence based interventions and strategies in terms of reducing the drug supply and demand. This year's theme of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is "Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe" focusing the campaign attention to evidence based drug use prevention as the integrative and crucial segment of the comprehensive and systematic drug response.

The International campaign is fundamentally supported with the analytically produced World Drug Report 2017 ( https://www.unodc.org/wdr2017/) on the new trends and facts related to the illicit drug use, burden of disease from drug use, drug market developments and policy implications. This year Report estimates a quarter of a billion people, or around 5 per cent of the global adult population to used drugs at least once in 2015 with 29.5 million of persons with drug use disorders. 12 million people inject drugs with reported fatal and no fatal consequences such as HIV and Hepatitis C infection with reported 6,1 million of people who live with Hepatitis C, 1,6 Million who live with HIV and 1,3 million of people who live both with Hepatitis C and HIV. These worrisome data are showing a clear picture on a heavy burden of the disease from drug use, furthermore additionally challenging fact is that only 1 in 6 persons with drug use disorders globally is able to receive the necessary treatment.

Following the intention and dedication of the Government of Montenegro - Ministry of Health - to support and mark the International campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking a two-day seminar for national experts on treatment of drug use disorders and associated co-morbidity was organized in Podgorica with 26 psychiatrists from various treatment facilities across the country. National professionals discussed the diagnostic therapeutic protocols both for the drug use disorders and associated co-morbidities and had a chance to be acquainted with the state of the art drug use disorders treatment modalities and best practice studies. Prior the onset of the expert part of the training workshop, the main facts on statistics and trends of the World Drug Report 2017 along with the list of recommendations and policy implications were showcased to the group.

The training workshop was officially opened by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of Montenegro underlining the necessity and importance of the application of evidence based interventions and strategies in line with the International Standards and developed practices.

UNODC joins INTERPOL's work to address smuggling of migrants

26 June 2017, Belgrade, Serbia:  UNODC took part in a INTERPOL Specialized Operational Network against People Smuggling (ISON) Specialized Training under an INTERPOL Project to Support Regional Counter-Migrant Smuggling Capacity Building Programs which took place in Belgrade on 26-30 June 2017. The activity included several countries in the region of South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia), as well as ISON members from associated countries and presenters from regional and international organizations and institutions.

A UNODC expert delivered a training session on 26 June entitled "Bringing Smuggling Cases to Court" which focused on the following topics:

- international legal framework surrounding the smuggling of migrants;

- protection and assistance issues and determining the victim's status;

- witness protection and assistance and the role of the UNODC Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal https://www.unodc.org/cld/en/v3/som/

UNODC and INTERPOL actively cooperate in the field of smuggling of migrants and areas of their respective mandates  in the region and will continue this partnership in the future.

Serbian forensic expertise shared with Kyrgyzstan

19-23 June 2017, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Ujice, Goc - Serbia: Representatives of the Kyrgyz State Forensic Centre under the Ministry of Justice of Kyrgyzstan visited facilities of the Forensic Centre of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

The main goal of the visit was to exchange experience in the international accreditation process according to the ISO 17025 standard, and to review the work of five laboratories in Serbia - on the expertise of drugs, luminescent substances, ballistics, documents and handwriting. The Kyrgyz delegation also visited the Training Centre for Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories in Goc used by the Serbian Interior Ministry to train its staff on identification of illegal drug laboratories. Additionally, an agreement on bilateral cooperation was discussed.
The study visit was organized in the framework of a project on strengthening the State Forensic Centre under the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic implemented by the UNODC Programme Office in Bishkek, with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The Serbian Forensic Centre was chosen to be visited due to their membership in the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and membership in the Networks Working Groups developing standards for forensic institutes all over the world.

The Kyrgyz delegation had a chance to get acquainted with the work of different laboratories and was introduced to the Quality Management System that is being used by their Serbian colleagues. The partners from both countries exchanged experience in conducting expertise and shared contacts which will allow them to cooperate on a daily basis in the future.

According to the Deputy Head of the Forensic Centre in Belgrade, based on the good results of the visit, further cooperation between the Kyrgyz State Forensic Centre and the Serbian National Criminalistic-Technical Centre is expected, as well as between UNODC and NCTC. The members of the Kyrgyz delegation were very satisfied and the study visit reached its goals.

The activity is in line with the UNODC Concerted Approach to Europe, West and Central Asia.

UNODC work in Europe, West and Central Asia presented to Member States

16 June 2017, Vienna, Austria: Within the annual UNODC Field Representatives Meeting, the heads of UNODC Field Offices reported to the member states about the progress achieved and challenges met in the past year. Within the respective regional briefing, the work in Europe and West/Central Asia was presented with a particular emphasis on the integrated and concerted interregional approach that UNODC is executing. More about this approach under the link:   http://www.unodc.org/documents/rpanc/Brochure_One_UNODC_Concerted_Apparoach.pdf

911 kg of marijuana and cannabis herb seized in Albania

7-9 June 2017, Durres, Albania: The Port Control Unit at Durres Port, Albania, seized 911 kg of Marijuana in two separate events.

The first seizure (7 June 2017) occurred when a Macedonian citizen arrived at the ferry terminal, second line of control, for further inspection. The behavior of the driver made the officers take the truck to the scanner area whose images alerted to an area of the truck where bags containing green, leafy substances which tested positive to marijuana. The drugs of 705 kg were heading to Bari, Italy, with the final destination in Holland.

The second seizure of Cannabis Herb took place on 9 June 2017 when a bus with tourists was referred for additional inquiries about their planned visit to Florence, Italy. 206 kg of Cannabis Herb were found by the PCU officers during the inspection of the bus.

Both cases were turned over to the Prosecution Office for further investigation.

The seizures were a result of the hard work by the PCU officers utilizing good interviewing techniques in identification items forbidden from entering and leaving the country. The PCU at Durres Port has demonstrated continued vigilance.

HazMatID 360 donated to Durres Port Control Unit

5 June 2017, Durres, Albania: The handover ceremony of HazMatID 360 equipment, a donation of the US Embassy in Tirana (EXBS Programme), officially marked the transfer of the useful equipment to the Port Control Unit operating at the Durres Port. The Export Control and Border Security Programme (EXBS) is a strong supporter of UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in the last three years of its implementation in South Eastern Europe. The equipment worth USD 65,000 Is the latest version of portable and rugged HazMatID chemical identification system, which provides fast and comprehensive in-field analysis of unknown solids, gels and liquids, including illicit narcotics. 

At the ceremony, which was attended by the Deputy Director General of Customs Administration, Director of Border Police and Migration Department of Durres district, Head of Durres Customs, EXBS Advisor to Albania and UNODC it was underlined that integrated border management remains a priority for Albania. Satisfaction was expressed over the increased coordination between border control entities in the country in the fight against drug trafficking.

It is expected that donation of this modern equipment will enhance the performance of the PCU officers to an up-to-date level. It is a new and concrete step towards a more integrated approach in the common fight of the concerned law enforcement agencies. Training opportunities on the use of the equipment will be offered by UNODC-WCO so as to enhance officers' knowledge, minimize risks or mistakes, and help duty-specific skills and knowledge.

The Port Control Unit at Durres Port is established through the assistance of the UNODC -WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe.

 

UNODC organizes a series of national events on Foreign Terrorist Fighters in South Eastern Europe

27-28 April 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 17-18 May, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244; 1-2 June 2017, Durres, Albania; 22-23 June, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC organized a series of National Workshops on the 'Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in South Eastern Europe'. The events were organized as part of a regional project supported by the Government of the USA.

The events were typically attended by the heads and experts from the national academies for judges and public prosecutors, representatives of the US Embassies as the donor country, and UNODC experts. The workshops included a detailed review of the international legal framework on the FTF topic, FTF offences and their investigation, including financial components, as well as foreign financial intelligence and information, mutual legal assistance, analysing financial information and evidence, and parallel financing of terrorism investigations. They typically gathered around 25 practitioners in each jurisdiction, including prosecutors, judges and magistrates and other specialists.

The objectives of the workshops included the following:
i) Discuss the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF;
ii) Enhance the understanding of the international and regional legal framework dealing with FTFs;
iii) Familiarize participants with and discuss the criminal offenses under CETS dealing with FTF;
iv) Discuss special investigative techniques in FTF cases;
v) Review the financial components of FTF related investigations;
vi) Analyse online investigations and collection of e-evidence;
vii) Promote and support the use of rule of law-based strategies and compliance with international human rights standards to strengthen the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism related offences.

The workshops were concluding with a review session in which the participants applied what they learnt during the event by discussing a case study based on a real investigation. The workshop generated an important exchange of ideas among the participants and gave rise to a valuable debate in terms of practical solutions to key practical challenges faced by criminal justice officers when investigating and prosecuting FTF related cases.

The project will continue until the end of October 2017 and will produce a training module on FTF for all jurisdictions in the region.

UNODC joins an EU-led talk on terrorism and violent extremism

17-18 May 2017, Ljubljana, Slovenia: UNODC participated in the "Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism Regional Conference" for countries of the EU-led Western Balkans Counter Terrorism Initiative (WBCTi), organized by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the George C. Marschall European Center for Security Studies, and the Slovenian Police.

The conference included an active exchange of views and presentations by representatives of participating states and academics, interactive plenary discussions, and small-group breakout sessions. The latter sessions served as a forum to discuss counter-terrorism and prevention/countering of violent extremism policy options for individual countries in Western Balkans and the region as a whole, as well as cooperation with the civil society.

The event provided an opportunity to inform participating delegations of the UNODC work in the region, in particular with respect to addressing the topic of foreign terrorism fighters.

Government of the Republic of Serbia and the UN Country Team in Serbia launch new country Development Partnership Framework 2016 - 2020

30 May 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Karla Robin Hershey, signed today the Development Partnership Framework between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Country Team for the period 2016 to 2020. This document presents a comprehensive basis for the cooperation and assistance of the UN system, including 19 UN agencies, funds and programmes, aimed at encouraging and improving the overall economic, social and environmental development of the Republic of Serbia. The Development Partnership Framework is fully aligned with the national development priorities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, as well as with the process of accession negotiations of the Republic of Serbia and the European Union and the UN Agenda for sustainable development by 2030. Estimated value of the programme activities for a five-year period covered by the Development Partnership Framework, amounts 170 million dollars (USD).

With its five pillars and nine outcomes to be achieved by 2020, Development Partnership Framework is a kind of road map for the further promotion of good governance and the rule of law, development of social and human resources, economic development, growth and employment, environmental protection, fight against climate change and building resilient communities, and integrating culture into the overall process of sustainable development. At the signing ceremony, both sides have expressed expectations that the five-year Development Partnership Framework will give a new impetus to the joint efforts to further promote cooperation between the Republic of Serbia with the UN system.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic thanked the UNCT, represented by the Resident Coordinator Karla Robin Hershey, for the persistent and dedicated work on the Development Partnership Framework, as well as the expectation that through the joint work of our ministries, offices and agencies of the UN system, Framework will be successfully put into practice in the interest of the prosperity of all citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

For more information please refer to: http://rs.one.un.org/content/unct/serbia/en/home/presscenter/government-of-the-republic-of-serbia-and-un-country-team-in-serb.html

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia work jointly on smuggling prevention in maritime containers

29-31 May 2017, Land-border crossing Gradiska, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Officers of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Customs Administration of Croatia conducted joint operational activity focused on prevention of illicit drug trafficking and other smuggling activities that exploit maritime containers transported to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as through the region.

Joint efforts of the customs and other offices of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia aimed to identify criminal activities exploiting maritime containers, intercept such consignments and psychically inspect high-risk containers. Furthermore, activities of this joint operation focused on establishing functional exchange of information between law enforcement agencies, primarily customs, contributing to increased levels of the safety and security of the international supply chain as well as overall border security. Furthermore, this activity contributed to the facilitation of cooperation between the custom and police agencies of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia building upon ongoing cooperation.

Implementation of the joint activity was supported by UNODC within the framework of the UNODC-WCO (World Customs Organization) Container Control Programme (CCP) which was launched in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014 to assist the government in creating sustainable inter-agency Port Control Unit (PCU) to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. As well, CCP's mission is to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders.  In 2017, CCP continues to support implementing agencies - Indirect taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementation of activities within the Programme's framework and agreed Work Plan.

UNODC supported the treatment quality standard assessment in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

26 May 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: In collaboration with the Inter-ministerial state commission for combating illegal production, trafficking and abuse of drugs of the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UNODC supported the execution of Treatment Quality Standards Assessment in the period of August - December 2016.

The Assessment measured the quality of treatment and care for people with drug use disorders by applying the internationally recognized methodology closely in line with the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders. The aim of the Assessment was to identify the available drug dependence treatment and care services along with the acknowledgement of strengths and weaknesses in order to formulate future supportive strategies and recommendations.

The methodological approach applied during the Assessment was based on the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data from treatment facilities and institutions across the country. Data was collected using the structured interviews, focus groups, observation, and further analysis of available resources.

The results of the Assessment were reported against the seven basic principles of the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders which makes the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the first country in the South Eastern European region to field-test the recently published International Standards and benefit from the offered guidelines.

The Treatment Quality Standards Assessment was acknowledged by national stakeholders as the first assessment in the country with such a broadly set research framework that gathered variety of information on drug dependence treatment and care, not only from the health care system but also from other relevant sectors. The inter-sectoral approach of the Assessment produces precise networking strategies aimed at strengthening the multidisciplinary approach in drug dependence treatment and may ensure the continuum of care of persons with substance use disorders.

Presentation of the results was organized by UNODC together with the Inter-ministerial state commission for combating illegal production, trafficking and abuse of drugs and the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the participation of high governmental and UN representatives.

The General Assembly of the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) held in Sarajevo

23 May 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina:  The General Assembly meeting of the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) was hosted by the Federal Police Administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which currently chairs the Association. The Assembly meeting was successfully completed during which the Republic of Moldova officially joined the Association.

In addition, the members of SEPCA agreed upon the guidelines for future activities of the Association, and adopted conclusions. Activities to strengthen the position of strategic central points in the field of police and security cooperation in Southeast Europe have been agreed, with the aim of effectively combatting terrorism, radicalism, violent extremism, migration, human trafficking, organised crime and other security challenges with the intention of continuous strengthening and improvement of relations, coordination and joint work.

The importance of the MIS (Management Information System) necessary for the development of the strategic document SEPCA has been highlighted and activities to be undertaken in the coming period for the development of the strategic document have been specified. In addition, with the support of international partners SEPCA will launch an initiative for the establishment of a single database of forensic data in the coming period.

UNODC presented current programmatic activities implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina and South Eastern Europe underlining very good cooperation with police authorities and other law enforcement agencies in the region at all levels. UNODC also expressed support to SEPCA forum conclusions on improving operational cooperation and information exchange among the agencies of participating countries.

Parliamentarians working to fight human trafficking in the Western Balkans

17 -18 May 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Human Trafficking Foundation United Kingdom, in partnership with the Committee of Human and Minority Rights of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, has invited UNODC to participate as a panellist at the international workshop "European Parliamentarians working in Cooperation to fight Human Trafficking in the Western Balkans", which was held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

The aim of the workshop was to promote more comprehensive and effective fight against human trafficking by gathering Members of Parliament from UK, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, with attendance from the representatives of national institutions (Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Human and Minority Rights Office, Ombusman etc.) and NGOs representatives.

The workshop was also aiming to encourage parliamentarians of the region for collaboration and to take steps to address the problem by establishing a sub-committee on trafficking in their own parliaments to help improve the national response. A similar meeting was hosted in Romania in 2016. The dialogue will also continue in the future. UNODC maintains working contacts with the UK counterparts on the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015 and other topics related to human trafficking.

Additional round of Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" training organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina

15-17 May 2107; 18-20 May 2017; 22-24 May 2017, Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Advancing the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, additional training workshops for educators and trainers were organized in Bijeljina. The workshops were held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of Republic of Srpska in close coordination with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The training workshops are the initial capacity development step for further implementation of Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in the selected elementary schools with group of students of 10-14 years of age. With the inclusion of 12 schools from Bijeljina, the project is now reaching 27 elementary schools across Bosnia and Herzegovina and has provided skills and relevant knowledge to over 85 teachers to directly implement the programme in the following two academic years in their settings.

The pilot programme delivery in elementary schools is aiming to field-test the programme material, acknowledge working modalities in schools and report on potential challenges during the piloting phase. The programme implementation will be closely monitored with the organization of several follow up sessions where all teachers who are actively engaged in the programme delivery shall contribute with their suggestions and recommendations to further enhancement of the programme material and the implementation modality.

Prior to commencing the pilot phase, a selected group of students (both case and control group) will be interviewed to acquire information on substance use, normative beliefs, refusal skills and intention to use substances which will be contrasted with the post-test results thus assessing changes for the set of indicators and obtaining more information on the efficiency of the implemented intervention.

The pilot programme will commence in Bijeljina in Republic of Srpska in September 2017 with the expected duration until June 2019.

UNODC and EMCDDA mapped substance use treatment facilities in South Eastern Europe

3-5 May 2017, Tirana, Albania: As part of the UNODC-WHO Drug Dependence Treatment and Care Programme in collaboration with the UNODC Regional Programme for South East Europe, a substance abuse treatment facility mapping exercise was conducted in Serbia with the aim to assist the national counterpart to map the available resources for the treatment of substance use disorders. The substance abuse treatment facility questionnaire is comprised of five sections, which aim to collect administrative details, background information about the facilities and the treatment services provided in addition to details of the facility's resources.

In parallel, European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) initiated the European Facility Survey Questionnaire - EFSQ in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 with the same objective.

The intent of the Tirana meeting was to discuss the similarities among collected data, the reporting templates and further presentation of the results. What regards the obtained data, it was acknowledged that both surveys have respectively acquired valuable information which would serve relevant national institutions to better understand substance use trends and available physical and human resources.

In agreement with EMCDDA, further presentation of the survey results from Serbia would be showcased using the agreed EFSQ reporting format which would allow additional comparison of the results among the countries of the South Eastern Europe region.

UNODC will further explore the presentation of the survey results together with the Ministry of Health of Serbia using the web platform which would enable national professionals, clinicians and decision makers to explore available resources and substance use treatment trends.

The next EMCDDA meeting is scheduled for September 2017 in Bosnia and Herzegovina where final country reports on survey results will be presented.

Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina Seized 10.5 kg Marijuana

3 May 2017, Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Port Control Unit (PCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina seized 10.5 kg of lab-grown marijuana implementing its regular activities within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

Marijuana was discovered in a private vehicle coming from Montenegro, crossing Bijača intending to enter Croatia. The persons involved in the attempted smuggling were citizens of Montenegro. The drugs were intended for EU market.

Suspicious behaviour of the driver and passenger led the PCU to the use of the specialized search equipment for preliminary search of the vehicle. Traces of alterations made in the vehicle undercarriage were discovered leading further to full physical search of the vehicle and discovery of concealed marijuana. The total of 10.5 kg was discovered divided to 36 hermetically sealed packs.

PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to successfully contribute to further strengthening of the country's security through application of the specialized profiling techniques and methodologies, focusing on risk analysis, data profiling and analyses of pre-arrival information of containers and other means of transportation in the legal trade supply.

 

UNODC Alternative Development Mission Visits Albania

2-4 May 2017, Tirana, Albania: Following a request of the Government of Albania, the UNODC Sustainable Livelihoods Unit, with the support of the UNODC Programme Office in Albania, conducted a mission to Albania to assess the possibility to provide assistance to the Albanian authorities in shaping a new long-term vision and developing a focused drug control strategy.

The mission included meetings with the Albanian Minister of Interior, members of the diplomatic community, local authorities and a visit to a cannabis producing site.

Based on the information received during the mission, the UNODC team will draft a report to the Government of Albania based on international best practices and the UN Guiding Principles on Alternative Development as related to the specifics of the situation in Albania.

Academia reviews opportunities of prevention of financing and recruitment of terrorism

1-5 May 2017, Dubrovnik, Croatia: The University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law, Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Programme, Architectur des Sichercheits and Max-Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law organized a seminar on the topic "Fight against terrorism through prevention of financing and recruitment". The academia representatives from around the wide region as well as experts from international and regional organizations exchanged views on a variety of topics related to the theme of the seminar, including preventing radicalization, de-radicalization, rehabilitation, fair trial, the role of social media, cybercrime, as well as human rights. Different approaches to addressing these topics in countries across the region were discussed and examined along with good practices and challenges.

A UNODC expert presented the International framework for foreign terrorism fighters, including its implementation and challenges associated with it. UNODC is currently implementing two regional programmes addressing the phenomenon of foreign terrorism fighters, within the overall context of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Follow the Money: Experts Meet in the Balkans to Address the Financial Profits from Migrant Smuggling 

26-28 April 2017, Budva, Montenegro: UNODC conducted a Regional Expert Meeting that gathered law enforcement practitioners and prosecutors from 14 countries, together with experts from civil society organisations, regional and international organisations. This meeting, the second of the kind under the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants, within the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, aimed at discussing and share experience related to the use of special investigative techniques and financial investigations in cross-border investigations in the area of smuggling of migrants.

The opening of the meeting was an opportunity for the Special State Prosecutor of Montenegro, the National Anti-human trafficking Coordinator of Montenegro, the Ambassador of France and UNODC to highlight the importance of cooperation as a prerequisite for dismantling the organized crime groups and networks that often are behind the smuggling of migrants to remind participants of the vulnerability of smuggled migrant to being trafficked. Emphasizing that it takes a network to fight a network, the role of informal networks and strong inter-institutional cooperation in this endeavour was repeatedly referred to.

Practitioners around the room shared their direct experience in investigating and prosecuting migrant smuggling in the region through concrete cases which illustrated the importance, yet difficulty to follow the money by removing the profit from the crime, breaking the business model of smugglers by seizing, freezing and confiscating the assets and proceeds of crime. Representatives of specialized agencies from France such as TRACFIN (Financial Intelligence Unit) and AGRASC (Agency for the Recovery and Management of Seized and Confiscated Assets) as well as the private sector: MoneyGram and Western Union, shared examples of good practices which could help in pursuing these efforts. Yet, migrant smuggling being largely a cash based crime, experts also emphasized the challenges posed by the detection of the illicit financial flows and why it was essential to use a financial analysis at the beginning of the investigation to trace the destination of the proceeds from these criminal activities.

Participants supported the format of the meeting which allowed for a hands on exchange of experience, including on ways and means to address smuggling networks in South Eastern Europe with the tools available to tackle organized crime, such as special investigative techniques. The third Regional Expert Meeting, to take place in the autumn 2017, will be supported by the Government of France which has accompanied UNODC in project since the first meeting in the region in November 2016.

Regional Steering Group on SALW holds its annual meeting

24 April 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Regional Steering Group (RSG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) held its annual meeting with the participation of over 50 experts, including SALW focal points or their representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as SEESAC's partners (including UNODC) and representatives of the donor community, co-chaired by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The goal of the annual meetings is to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the SEE Regional Implementation Plan on Combatting the Proliferation of SALW.

SEESAC Coordinator presented its results from 2014 to 2016 and shared plans for the next phase covering 2017 to 2019. SEESAC promotes regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information-sharing, leading to evidence based, effective and efficient arms control polices. RSG meetings are an essential part of the SEESAC governance structure. SEESAC receives its political and strategic guidance and key indigenous support from the RSG which is composed of representatives of the governments from the states concerned, the EU, the RCC, UNDP, and observers from relevant international and regional institutions and civil society.

SEESAC - the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons - was launched on 8 May 2002 and was given a mandate by the UNDP and the Stability Pact for South East Europe (later succeeded by the RCC) to function as a component of the Regional Implementation Plan on Combating Proliferation of SALW formulated and adopted by the Stability Pact in November 2001 and revised in 2006 and in 2014.

For more information: http://www.seesac.org/News_1/Regional-Steering-Group-on-SALW-holds-its-annual-meeting_1/

Talks in Skopje on the Curriculum for smuggling migrants

10-12 April 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A UNODC delegation visited Skopje to discuss with the national authorities migration policies, related to them human rights and countering migrant smuggling, with special focus on criminal justice systems. The primary goal of the UNODC mission was to promote compliance with the Protocol against smuggling of migrants to the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention and to help the visited country in its efforts towards the effective implementation of the Protocol. In particular, the mission focused on the preparation of a new Curriculum for smuggling migrants.

The UNODC delegation met with a large group of counterparts in Skopje, including the Director and other officials of the Academy for judges and public prosecutors, a judge from Primary Court, visited the National Coordination Centre for Integrated border management and met with the National Coordinator for IBM, as well as with the National Coordinator for the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration. The delegation also met with the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and public prosecutors from the Primary Public Prosecutor's Office for prosecution of organized crime and corruption.

As a result of this fact finding mission, in partnership with the Judicial Academy, priorities were identified and modalities for the development of the Curriculum for smuggling migrants have been laid forward. It was agreed to nominate a team of national experts to assist the Academy and UNODC in developing and piloting the national Curriculum. 

Balkan and Russian law enforcers review financial investigations of money laundering and terrorism financing

3-7 April 2017, Moscow, Russian Federation: The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation - International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring - in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, held an Advanced training for representatives of national systems of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) of the partner countries of the Russian Federation from South Eastern Europe. The training was entitled "Analytical methods and special techniques of financial investigations in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism".

The goal of the training was to improve qualifications of the personnel of the FIUs and law enforcement agencies of the countries of South Eastern Europe in the field of analytical methods and technologies of financial investigations, as well as to strengthening inter-regional cooperation in the field of AML/CFT. The participants of the training were 19 representatives of FIUs and law enforcement agencies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

In the course of the training, the following topics were reviewed:

  • Russian system of AML/CFT and international cooperation in the field of AML/CFT;     
  • financial investigations of cases of ML;
  • the use of companies registered in offshore jurisdictions to layer and integrate proceeds of crime;
  • ML typologies;
  • the use of electronic payment systems in drugs payments schemes;
  • inter-agency cooperation with regard to identification and investigation of financing of international terrorist organizations; and others.

As part of the training, a specialized Round table was held on the topic "Exchange of experience towards improving the effectiveness of international cooperation against illicit production and trafficking in drugs" with the participation of the representatives of other Russian law enforcement agencies.

It is foreseen to continue active cooperation with the Russian Federation in the AML/CFT field.

 Parliamentarians form the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe review  implementation of UNSC resolutions on terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters

30-31 March 2017, Rome, Italy: UNODC and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) organized in close consultation with the United Nations Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and upon the generous contribution of the European Union (EU), the conference entitled "Evaluation of implementation by national parliaments of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Terrorism and Foreign Terrorist Fighters". The conference was generously hosted by the Italian Senate.

The conference was organised within the framework of the EU-funded UNODC - EU joint Initiative aimed at Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and South Eastern Europe.

This initiative follows and complements the activities jointly organized by UNODC and PAM in recent years, notably the seminar "The oversight of law enforcement and security services in the fight against terrorism" (Rome, Italy, 26-27 February 2015) and the "Workshop on the challenges posed by a preventative criminal justice response to terrorism and to Foreign Terrorist Fighters" (Bucharest, Romania, 8-9 October 2015). More recently, UNODC has also organised, with IPU and in cooperation with PAM, the conference on "The challenges posed by extremism leading to terrorism and preventive criminal justice responses" (Aswan, Egypt, 31 January - 2 February 2017).

The purpose of the present conference was to discuss the status of the implementation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions by national parliaments, and national Counter-Terrorism strategies along with the lessons learned and present best practices in order to facilitate the smooth implementation by all PAM Member parliaments. At the request of CTED, the national parliaments of the Central Asian states were invited to join the national parliaments of the PAM region for this important discussion, as the present event fell immediately after the Parliamentary conference on combating international terrorism organised jointly by the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly on 28 March 2017 in St. Petersburg. The event also welcomed representatives of South Eastern European and several Western European parliaments. 

Container Control Programme continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina

30 March 2017, Bijaca, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In 2017, UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) continues to support the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enhance its capacities to fight against illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity in selected land-ports. CCP maintains its support to sustainable inter-agency Port Control Units (PCUs) in selected sea and dry ports to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illegal activities.

Regular monitoring visits (latest on the above date) to the Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police officers, aim to help stakeholders and beneficiaries to reflect on and learn from their actions and practice and to help inform the development of good practice in support to the Programme implementation.

 

The Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina is operational since January 2015 and regularly engages in risk analyses and profiling of all risky containerized shipments imported/exported to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UNODC supports national capacities of Serbia to address challenges related to foreign terrorist fighters

22-23 March 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC held a National Workshop on the "Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in South Eastern Europe". The Workshop is part of the UNODC project "Strengthening the Legal Regime Against Emerging Terrorist Threats, Including FTF in South Eastern Europe (Training Module Development)".

The objective of the project is to support specialized training modules on the prosecution of FTFs for criminal justice sector practitioners from the jurisdictions in the region. Among the goals of the project are:

  • strengthening the capacity of national jurisdictions in light of the increasing flow of international recruits to terrorist organizations, as identified by the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council;
  • development of the capacity of criminal justice training institutions in the region to provide training on the specific legal and technical aspects related to countering FTF at the national and regional levels through the tailor-made FTF training modules which include best practices and key practical case-law resources;
  • enhancing regional and sub-regional cooperation concerning specialized counter-terrorism aspects related to FTF between and among national jurisdictions in the region, especially through the support to the relevant training institutions.

In sum, the project, funded with the generous contribution of the US Government, aims at addressing the FTF phenomenon and its global and regional risks by developing a training curriculum to enhance counter-terrorism criminal justice capacity of beneficiary jurisdictions to counter the FTF phenomenon in compliance with the rule of law.

The Belgrade Workshop included reviews of the relevant international legal frameworks as well as an expert discussion on recruitment of FTFs, their training, travelling, financing and organizing. Special investigative techniques, analysis of financial information, evidence and e-evidence were also addressed.

Similar workshops will be undertaken in all jurisdictions of the region by the end of 2017.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" training for trainers and educators organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina

20-22 March 2107, Tuzla; 23-25 March 2017, Sarajevo; 27-29 March 2017, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the programme inception meeting organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo in December 2016, first project activities have started in Tuzla, Sarajevo and Mostar.

In particular, trainings for trainers and educators were successfully organized with a group of nominated experts from 15 elementary schools from Tuzla, Mostar and Sarajevo with the aim to capacitate the schools' teachers with the comprehension on the programme material and suggested implementation mechanism in order to continue with the direct project implementation in their schools. The trainings were organized with the support of Ministry for Security and local cantonal and federal Ministries for Education and supervised by the Lions Quest international trainer coach.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme is an evidence based programme targeting school population by means of addressing the developmental factors with groups of adolescents. It addresses the strengthening of the social emotional skills with groups of students in order to develop the resiliency to rebuff and delay the onset of drug use. The programme implementation in South Eastern Europe is an outcome of the cooperation of UNODC with the Lions Club International Foundation with tangible results already achieved with large groups of students in Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro in terms of reduction of substance use, supporting refusal skills and strengthening normative beliefs and intention to use them.

The programme will continue with the organization of the trainings of trainers in Bjeljina, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in May 2017, involving 15 additional schools and thus allowing the expansion of the programme across the different parts of the country. The programme will result in the developed national capacities by having 90 teachers from 30 elementary schools and 4 trainers educated on programme material  who will serve further to assist the programme expansion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The programme will extend its reach to Albania in the second half of 2017, consequently involving all countries of South Eastern Europe in its implementation.

UNODC and partners from South Eastern Europe unite in the efforts to prevent drug use

14 March 2017, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the 60 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UNODC organised a special side event on prevention of drug use articulated in two back to back panels.

The first panel was entitled "New Initiative in Prevention: Strengthening the Global Prevention Response" co-sponsored by the governments of Singapore, France and Norway, the UNODC Justice Section and the Vienna and New York NGO Committees.

The second panel was entitled "Schools as Valuable Social Institutions for Prevention and to Build Socio-emotional Skills" and it was co-organised with Lions Clubs International Foundation and co-sponsored by the Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, as well as UNESCO and the Vienna and New York NGO Committees.

This special event was opened by the Chair of the 60 th session of the CND and UNODC deputy Executive Director in presence of over 150 senior and expert level representatives of different governmental and non-governmental delegations to the CND.

The panel on schools featured the collaboration between UNODC and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), particularly in adapting and piloting Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) in South East Europe. LQSFA is a programme that focuses on strengthening socio-emotional skills in youth aged 12-15 years. The programme is in line with UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.

 

The panel podium covered interventions from UNODC and LCIF as well as from delegations from South Eastern Europe highlighting:

  • the positive value and impact of the programme that has been piloted on 5,000 students (intervention and comparison groups), so far, in over 80 elementary schools from Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, showing a significant impact on substance use initiation (alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana), as well as skills to refuse and to challenge the normative belief and to alter the perception of harm of these 3 substances;
  • the plans of expansion of this initiative to cover during the coming year Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • the high level of satisfaction and affinity on the positive and added value of the programme on the ongoing positive expansion and strengthening of evidence based prevention interventions in South Eastern Europe.

As schools are one of the most common, and one of the most effective, settings for prevention (including substance use prevention), applying evidence based prevention in schools carries several benefits. On the one hand, preventing substance use tackles a serious threat to well-functioning schools and, on the other hand, evidence based prevention that addresses vulnerabilities linked to substance use initiation, leads to the improved academic performance and functioning of the schools in general (over and beyond preventing substance use).

This experience in South Eastern Europe was presented as an exemplary model for other countries to follow, particularly within the context of the recently developed UNODC-WHO-UNESCO guidance document on prevention for the education sector entitled "Education sector responses to the Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs" that was presented during the event, and on the same podium by UNESCO.

UNODC Training on Cash Couriers: How to Detect Cash Smugglers, Investigate Money Laundering, and Destroy Criminal Networks

13-15 March 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Regional Program for South Eastern Europe together with the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering organized a training course in Sarajevo for 32 national customs officers, police investigators and anti-money laundering analysts from 15 different authorities on combatting cash smuggling.

During the first day of the event, UNODC and national experts visited the airport of Sarajevo and reviewed the existing cash control procedures in order to ensure that the training course fully corresponds to the needs of practitioners.

The following two training days focused on the practical skills. The practitioners met in the Council of Ministers' building to share their personal experiences and specific expertise on cash couriers. They learnt the latest international and regional trends of cash smuggling, applied crime mapping skills, analyzed cash flows and practiced the methods of control, detection and seizure of cash. The training was highly interactive and included multiple practical exercises. The participants actively contributed to the discussions, provided their real-life examples of cash smuggling, and tested the new skills in realistic scenarios. The UNODC experts from Germany and Hungary illustrated the course with their own experience with regard to countering cash smuggling involving several countries and provided a regional perspective. In view of the fact that combating cash couriers and money laundering requires cooperation of all law enforcement agencies, the training paid significant attention to the interagency cooperation.

Feedback of one of the senior Bosnian counterparts on the outcome of the training is as follows: "I had the pleasure of participating at the UNODC workshop on cash couriers held in Sarajevo. The workshop fully met my expectations and expanded my knowledge on the subject."

The training is a part of a long-term strategic partnership between UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina identified combating cash smuggling as one of the top priorities in 2015 in its statement to the Council of Europe and the FATF. Criminals move cash across the borders to pay for drugs and other illegal goods, to hide criminal profits, launder money, and to finance terrorism.   

UNODC commenced Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in Albania

23 February 2017 Tirana, Albania: Scaling up the results of the prolific cooperation with the Lions Club International Foundation on the piloting of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, UNODC has embarked on the programme expansion mission extending the programme offer to Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Within the scope of the International Standards on drug use prevention and following the outstanding results with the implementation of the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 in the South East European region, additional evidence based drug use prevention programme was presented to Ministry of Education and Sport of the Government of Albania for its further piloting and evaluating its effectiveness as one of the anticipated results of the pilot programme.

The Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" is a school-based life skill programme targeting young people to develop skills, to accept the responsibility, to learn how to communicate effectively and make health decisions, as well as to resist pressure to use alcohol and drugs.

The inception meeting was conveyed together with the Ministry of Education and Sport of Albania inviting the representatives of relevant institutions engaged in the drug use prevention to discuss the programme material and the suggested programme implementation outline.

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Institute of public health, local communities from Tirana and representatives from the 'Save the children' organization and local Lions Clubs actively contributed to the dialog with their comments and suggestions in view of the national adaptation of the programme implementation mechanism.

The Programme would commence in the next months with the organization of the training sessions for the educators who will continue with the direct implementation of the programme in the nominated elementary schools across the country.

Illicit drug challenge remains "formidable", UNODC Chief tells Tehran audience

28 February 2017, Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran: The value of opiates trafficked out of Afghanistan is "staggering", UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, told an audience at a high-level conference in Tehran, on 27 February.

Taking the Balkans route as an example, the illicit proceeds of trafficked Afghan opiates amounts to $28 billion said the UNODC Chief. This figure exceeded not just the gross domestic product of Afghanistan, but it was also only one of the three main trafficking routes flowing out of the country. Mr. Fedotov told the audience that a UNODC report on opium grown in Afghanistan published in 2016 showed that poppy cultivation had increased by 10 per cent to 201,000 hectares. Production, driven by the high opium yield, had risen also by 43 per cent to 4,800 tonnes.

UNODC was responding, Mr. Fedotov said, by working with regional and international partners to build greater cooperation against transnational organized crime and terrorism threats, as well as refining regional drug control coordination. Known as the "One UNODC Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia", activities included efforts under the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, and South Eastern Europe, the Programme for Central Asia, and the Country Programmes for Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

Underpinning these activities were a number of other integrated initiatives. One such programme, the Triangular Initiative, brought together Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan to share information and good practices on law enforcement, and to conduct  joint operations against the traffickers founded on the intelligence of a Tehran-based Joint Planning Cell. Mr. Fedotov said UNODC was planning to complement these activities by setting up a regional anti-money laundering network in Tehran to counter regional terrorism financing.

Another important activity within the "One UNODC approach" is the Networking the Networks initiative to build bridges between law enforcement bodies along the major opiate trafficking routes. Organizations involved in this process included: the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) , the Joint Planning Cell and the Doha-based Gulf Criminal Information Centre for Combatting Drugs, among others.

The broad range of UNODC's activities in the region, Mr. Fedotov said, were undertaken to also support the outcome document of last April's UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016). He stressed that last October's Brussel's Conference on Afghanistan had also reinforced the need to focus on illicit drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism in the region. But, Mr. Fedotov said, "high level political commitment and pledges must be backed by the required support, including financial resources."

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the Tehran International Conference on Cooperation against Illicit Drugs and related Organized Crime, which brought together Ministers, ambassadors, experts and others from Central Asia and beyond to discuss drugs and crime.

At the end of the conference, organizers issued conclusions commending UNODC and recognizing that "Afghanistan and the transit countries in the region continue to face multifaceted challenges, and reaffirm[ing] the continuing need for cooperation and support, including the provision of technical assistance to, inter alia, enhance their capacities to effectively address and counter the  drug problem".

Commenting on the conclusions, Mr. Fedotov said, "The Conference's conclusions are useful inputs for the forthcoming 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the ongoing post-UNGASS 2016 implementation efforts." As part of his overall mission to Tehran, the UNODC Executive Director also met with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Minister of Interior and Secretary General of Drug Control Headquarters.   

Further Information:

Conclusions: "Tehran International Conference on Cooperation against Illicit Drugs and related Organized Crime"

Afghanistan Opium Survey 2016

One UNODC Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia

Triangular Initiative

UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem

UNODC Promotes International and Regional Cooperation in Criminal Matters involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters in South Eastern Europe

14-16 February 2017, Vienna, Austria: UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a regional workshop for South Eastern Europe on strengthening international and regional cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, with a focus on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). The event was funded by the European Union in the context of the EU-UNODC Global Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe.

The workshop brought together senior level criminal justice officials, including judges and prosecutors,  from the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo under United Nations Security Council resolution 1244), as well as representatives from Italy, Spain, the Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), INTERPOL, OSCE, Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe (PCC SEE), Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

Participants exchanged experiences, challenges, lessons learned and good practices on strengthening international and regional cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, with a focus on FTFs.  The event provided a forum to present real cases participants had dealt with in their respective jurisdictions, and to have in-depth discussions on relevant national legislation and the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. The sessions generated a rich debate on how the challenges faced by South Eastern Europe in this field have been addressed and how the existing good cooperation could be further enhanced.


Paris Pact Initiative supports the review of the situation at Afghan opiates trafficking routes, including the Balkan route

1-2 February 2017, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe presented the results of work in the region at the 13 th Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCMG) of the Paris Pact Initiative. The event, attended by senior representatives and experts from the vast region where Paris Pact is operating, was, inter alia, debriefed on the Expert Working Groups (EWGs) that took place since the last PCMG, including their recommendations and conclusions. These were:

  • Expert Working Group on Law Enforcement Training in Support to Cross-border Cooperation (INTERPOL General Secretariat, Lyon, 8-9 November 2016) - in support of Pillar I of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Illicit Financial Flows Deriving from the Trafficking of Opiates Origination in Afghanistan (UNODC Vienna, 17-18 January 2017) - in support of Pillar II of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Precursors (EUROPOL HQ, The Hague, 1-2 December 2016) - in support of Pillar III of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Integrating Drug Dependence Treatment and Care in the Public Health System (OSCE Mission to Serbia, Belgrade, 10-11 October 2016) - in support of Pillar IV of the Vienna Declaration.

It was particularly stressed that the latter was the first Paris Pact EWG that took place in South Eastern Europe, and the support and cooperation of the OSCE Mission to Serbia was underscored in this regard.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/paris-pact-initiative.html

https://www.paris-pact.net/

Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 430 kg of Cannabis herb

30 January 2017, Durres, Albania: A major haul of contraband, 430 kg of Cannabis herb, worth Euro 645,000 was seized from a truck in Durres Port.

The Port Control Unit (PCU) succeeded in seizing the consignment of the narcotics as they exercised a routine control and interviewing techniques to the driver of the truck.

The truck was filled with empty fruit cases and belonged to an Albanian company doing fruit business with the province of Trento in Italy. The PCU officers carefully examined the vehicle, undertaken scanner control, and followed with further examination, having eventually detected that the sides of the empty cases were filled with Cannabis herb. The driver of the truck, the company owner and the manger were detained and more details are expected to be cleared after the continuation of the investigation. A case under relevant sections of Durres Anti-Narcotic Section has been registered in this connection.

The PCU at Durres Port is established in the framework of the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe. Since its establishment, the PCU has succeeded in seizing around 8 tons of Cannabis herb (2013-2016).

UNODC participates at the Lions Quest Europe meeting in Finland

12-15 January 2017, Hyvinkää, Finland: Resulting from the cooperation with the Lions Club International Foundation, UNODC has piloted the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in the South East European (SEE) region: first in Serbia in 2014, later in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. Currently, the outstanding results of the programme are expanding to Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme is a school based social emotional learning intervention which is strongly scientifically evaluated as the efficient drug use prevention programme. 

The Lions Club International Foundation together with the local Lions Clubs are annually organizing Lions Quest European meetings with the aim to discuss the best practices observed in the European region as a result of  the implementation of various Lions Quest programmes (Skills for growing, Skills for Adolescence and Skills for Action). Furthermore, new social emotional learning programmes developed for the specific target groups such as refugee groups and sport society at large are presented as anticipated interventions for further development and piloting.

The topic of the Lions Quest European meeting was strongly focused on the evaluation of the efficiency of the implemented programmes whereby UNODC actively contributed with the presentation of the evaluation results of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme  from three countries in the SEE region. The results were decisive in presenting the positive changes in view of the four indicators evaluated: substance use, intention to use substances, refusal skills and normative beliefs among the targeted the groups of the students in more than 80 elementary schools who were exposed to the programme.

The meeting was well attended with the participation of the Lions Club Country Directors and Senior trainers from 24 European countries.

The next Lions Quest European meeting is scheduled for January 2018 in Georgia.

Related articles:

http://www.aamuposti.fi/artikkeli/475297-elamisentaitoja-lionseilta-saksalainen-kokousedustaja-kehui-suomen-kouluja

https://www.lions-quest.org/

 

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