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Results and status of the UNODC - LCIF work with adolescence in South East Europe presented at the Lions Clubs International Convention

25-27 June 2016, Fukuoka, Japan: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) work on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration in disseminating evidence based prevention programmes. The MOU is implemented by means of adapting and piloting Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) materials in teacher-led life skills education programmes for children of 12-15 years of age which focus on socio-emotional learning for prevention of substance use and other social outcomes.

As a result of this collaboration, LQSFA was first piloted in Serbia in the academic year 2014-2015 with 1,600 students having received it. This successful outcome has resulted into the expansion of the cooperation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro during the academic year 2015-2016.

Each year, over 30,000 LCIF members from across the globe gather in the international convention. This year, UNODC was invited to acknowledge the positive collaboration and explore future potential. A UNODC expert has attended the 99 th International Convention in Fukuoka, presented results and status of the UNODC - LCIF work in South East Europe, and explored opportunities for further expansion of potential collaboration. As a result, a vast group of international experts and partners have been sensitized on the results of UNODC - LCIF joint work, and the continuation of cooperation was placed as an important point on the agenda of the relevant LCIF meetings in the near and mid-term future.

UNODC-WCO conducts a scoping mission to Kosovo under UNSCR 1244

27-29 June 2016, Pristina, Kosovo: UNODC and WCO conducted a scoping mission to Kosovo to assess the current situation in the area of border control with particular focus on the control of containers, cargos and freight. The mission was accompanied by a representative of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) as donor representative.

The mission identified the needs and elaborated a plan for further activities required in the field of cargo control. Those were discussed and agreed upon in principle in the course of meetings with and at UNMIK, as well as the customs and other officers in line with the UNSCR 1244. The delegation also met with the representatives from several embassies and international counterparts. The final report of the mission with recommendations is in the process of preparation.

Container Control Programme (CCP) for South Eastern Europe organizes the Second Annual Meeting of Women's Network

20-21 June 2016, Podgorica, Montenegro: The UNODC-WCO gender workshop was organized to raise awareness among the female officers of the Joint Port Control Units, national and international stakeholders and CCP female staff on gender equality and related matters.

The workshop started with the opening remarks by a representative of the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro who welcomed the participants on behalf of the Government and highly assessed the relevance of the event. Welcoming remarks were also delivered by the UNODC CCP Global Programme Coordinator, a UNWomen Representative, and a donor representative who stated that gender is one of the priority topics across the globe and further elaborated on the importance that UNODC attaches to this issue.

The workshop brought together 25 participants from South Eastern Europe and other countries where CCP is operational. The event reviewed relevant international treaties as well as analysed progress made by the law enforcement entities in the subject area and constraints attached to the active involvement of women in the law enforcement work. Participants agreed that gender discrimination in the law enforcement jobs, in particular in managerial positions, should be addressed very as a matter of importance and urgency. Each session was accompanied by open discussions. Participants also focused on specific topics in working groups concentred on negative attitude towards women, lack of awareness among women about their rights, a mind-set that women are less capable, non-cooperation between men and women, long working hours and shifting duties, inadequate importance to gender issues, and others.

The workshop proposed a set of guidelines and suggested to develop a respective training manual. A list of actions to be undertaken by the members of the women's network was agreed upon.

The workshop was organized in the framework of the implementation of the CCP in South Eastern Europe generously funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

UNODC and RAI working on a New Regional Initiative on Strengthening the Capacity of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Civil Society

In December 2015, UNODC in cooperation with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) launched a new "Southeast Europe Regional Programme on Strengthening the Capacity of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Civil Society to Combat Corruption and Contribute to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Review Process". The Programme is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

According to 2011 UNODC Report "Corruption in the Western Balkans: Bribery as experienced by the population", the population of Southeast Europe ranks corruption as the most important challenge in their countries, after unemployment and poverty, hindering economic and social development and being a great impediment to the EU accession process. Therefore, the overall objective of the new initiative is to build and strengthen the capacity of governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) from the SEE region to prevent and fight corruption. The initiative has been developed in coherence between RAI and UNODC and seeks to involve a broad spectrum of stakeholders while being aligned with the objectives of poverty eradication, promotion of gender equality and good governance.

The three-year initiative targets Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. It is aimed at bringing together all relevant stakeholders including representatives of authorities from the public sector and CSOs as well as members of the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) network and the UNCAC Coalition.

The initiative aims towards the implementation of six outcomes, among which are strengthening corruption risk assessment and corruption proofing of legislation, as well as enhancing regional framework for cooperation on data exchange in asset disclosure. Other outcomes envision CSOs increasing their knowledge of the UNCAC, thus building a capacity for contributing to the ongoing review process and replicating the training. The programme is instrumental in expanding civil society networks in the SEE region, raising awareness and bolstering cooperation with the private sector.

The outcomes of the programme will be achieved through a varied range of activities including development of national methodologies and legal proposals, providing IT tools for a regional data exchange mechanism, and creating a virtual regional knowledge management hub to satisfy the need for technical cooperation. At the same time, holding training sessions on the UNCAC and its Implementation Review Mechanism, as well as facilitation of multi-stakeholder consultations will enable all parties involved to maximize the outcomes of the programme implementation.

A multi-stakeholder workshop on the UNCAC and its IRM which is to take place from 19-22 September 2016 in Austria, will be the first activity organized within the initiative.

Message of the Secretary-General on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June 2016

Today is the first International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking since the adoption last year of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Goal 3 calls on countries to strengthen the prevention and treatment of narcotic drug abuse, end AIDS and combat hepatitis.  Goal 16 is designed to help to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies and institutions that can address illicit drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.

The Sustainable Development Goals also informed the deliberations of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in April.  They support the founding principle of the International Drug Control Conventions, which is to ensure the health and well-being of humankind.  This requires a balance between interrupting drug supply and preventing and treating the harmful impact of drugs on people's health.

Addressing the world drug problem demands a considered and unified response by Governments.  The illicit trade in drugs fosters transnational organized crime networks, systemic corruption and widespread violence.  It is also a major public health menace.  Millions of people are directly affected, especially the poor, vulnerable women and children, and those living in fragile communities. 

The challenges posed by the world drug problem require a global response that is simultaneously effective, compassionate and humane.  At the April Special Session on the World Drug Problem, tangible progress was made in promoting alternatives to incarceration, fortifying human rights commitments, strengthening the focus on illicit financial proceeds, and tackling corruption.  On this International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, I call on countries and communities to continue to improve the lives of everyone blighted by drug abuse by integrating security and public safety with a heightened focus on health, human rights, and sustainable development. 

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2016/June/number-of-drug-dependent-adults-up-for-first-time-in-six-years--now-at-29-million_-unodc-world-drug-report-2016.html?ref=fs1

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2016/June/unodc-executive-director-yury-fedotov_-statement-on-the-international-day-against-drug-abuse-and-illicit-trafficking---26-june-2016.html

http://www.unodc.org/wdr2016/

UNODC took part in the TAIEX Regional Workshop on Prevention of Drugs Abuse in the Workplace in Skopje

21-21 June 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC participated in the Regional Workshop on Prevention of Drugs Abuse in the Workplace in Skopje, organized under the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX) in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and presented the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, as well as showcased the UNODC insights on tackling drugs use in the workplace.

The Workshop was attended by over 60 participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. The participants were representing the health care institutions as well as national leading institutions in charge for combating drugs.

The aim of the Workshop was to promote effective preventive measures targeting drug abuse in the workplace, as well as to discuss the formulation of adequate regulations for employers on monitoring, prevention and treatment. Furthermore, the Workshop sought to identify the techniques on how to improve the availability, accessibility and coverage of effective and diversified drug demand reduction measures and how to systematically introduce the quality standards in the national drug use prevention systems.

The Workshop allowed the participants to discuss the best practices in their respective countries and territories in the region and to acknowledge the importance of the timely utilization of evidence best practices.

Further developments led by TAIEX team in collaboration with the local and international experts with regard to the identification and implementation of cost-effective drug use prevention interventions in the workplace, are to be expected in the forthcoming period.

UNODC Participates in ICITAP/OPDAT Anti-Corruption and Financial Investigation Workshop

15-16 June 2016, Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC participated in the joint International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) of the US Government workshop that focused on creating and executing anti-corruption investigation, with a focus on financial aspects of the investigations. This in-depth national training was attended by over 50 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina from prosecutor's offices, law enforcement and the judiciary.

The training focused on the challenges in investigating and prosecuting corruption cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically in developing and presenting financial evidence, the management of investigative teams for corruption investigations, and the utilization of all resources available to the investigative team. The varied workshop presenters, including significant expertise from Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided best practices in managing corruption investigations, developing witnesses and utilizing special investigative techniques. In addition, special focus was provided to the financial side of corruption in providing international best practices in analyzing complex financial information, utilization of expert financial witnesses, the presentation of financial evidence at trial and the application of alternative or complimentary charges, including money laundering.

It is expected that this training is the first in a series of progressively advanced trainings in this area.

Briefing to member states organized at UNODC HQ

16 June 2016, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the Annual UNODC Field Representatives' Meeting held in Vienna from 13 to 17 June 2016, a series of informal briefings for interested Permanent Missions was organized by the respective Country and Regional Representatives of UNODC.

The Field Representatives provided insights and updates, as well as addressed questions on the work of UNODC. In the briefing session on the Office's work in Europe, West and Central Asia, chaired by the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Operations, the Regional Representative for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries and Special Adviser on Counter Narcotics to the SRSG (UNAMA); the Regional Representative for Central Asia; the Country Representative for the Islamic Republic of Iran; the Country Representative for Pakistan; and the Chief of the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and the Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe provided an overview of UNODC's integrated strategic approach and programmes, as well as led an open the discussion on latest progress, achievements and plans.

UNODC Hosts Regional Counter-Terrorism Financing Event with OSCE and Serbia

7-8 June 2016, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC Regional Programme for South East Europe hosted a workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade. This workshop was organized by the UNODC anti-money laundering / counter-terrorism financing advisor based in Bosnia and Herzegovina jointly with the OSCE and Serbia's financial intelligence unit, the Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

This two day workshop was attended by representatives from the financial intelligence units, law enforcement agencies and prosecutor's offices of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The participants exchanged experience in detecting transactions where there is a suspicion of terrorism financing and best practices in disseminating financial intelligence to appropriate investigative bodies. In addition, the participants identified current developments in terrorism financing and their implications for the region. The workshop set potential future activities for the collective including improving risk assessments, the identification of transactions where there is a suspicion of terrorism financing and the development of relationships between agencies, both domestic and international, that are engaged in the fight against terrorism.

The workshop is part of the UNODC workplan in the area of anti-money laundering / counter-terrorism financing for the period 2016-2019.

Serious and organised crime threat assessment is launched in Skopje

7 June 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Upon an invitation received of the Ministry of Interior, UNODC attended the presentation of the "Serious and organised crime threat assessment" (SOCTA) produced by the Ministry of Interior as part of the regional project "Strengthening of capacities for strategic analysis and production of serious and organised crime threat assessment" supported by OSCE and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), involving Ministries of Interior of Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

As stated by the Macedonian Minister of Interior, this National Threat Assessment is the first of this kind produced in the country and it represents a new approach in the fight against serious and organised crime, based on in-depth analysis of the main criminal threats that the country is facing. The Minister also stated that transnational and organised crime pose serious and increasing threat to the national and international security with major effect on the public security, democratic institutions and the economic stability of all countries. Furthermore, it was said that the participation in this project allowed strengthening of the capacities for strategic analysis and will serve as an important tool for identification and management of the challenges brought by the organised crime. This project also allowed the participating countries to strengthen their mutual cooperation through exchange of experiences.

Copies of the report were provided in the course of the event and will be made available at the Ministry's official web site.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" pilot programme proceeded with the implementation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonian and Montenegro

26-27 May 2016, Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 30-31 May 2016, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation commenced in 2015 the Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" pilot programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro reaching over 40 elementary schools in both countries.

The programme is directly working with 1,604 students of the age group of 10-14 by encouraging the social emotional learning to develop student capacities to address drug use protective factors more efficiently.

With the objective to review and discuss local pilot programme implementation modality together with  teachers who are directly working in elementary schools, the follow up sessions were jointly convened with the Ministries of Education in Podgorica and Skopje. Furthermore, the data analysis on substance use, current refusal skills, normative belief and perception of harm was showcased presenting the results of the performed (pre)testing with the groups of students involved in the programme.

The follow up sessions were acknowledged as highly beneficial for teachers and national counterparts as an opportunity to discuss the best practices and future steps in terms of programme sustainability. Next sessions with the group of educators are planned for the end of September where analysis of rigorous evaluation will be presented showing the effects of the implemented pilot.

Extending the outcomes of the follow up meetings discussion, additional national expert group meetings were organized in Skopje and Podgorica to further examine the value of the programme, its affinity, additional cultural adaptation of the material, training needs and allocation of resources for the prospective continuation of the programme.

The results of the national expert group meetings will support the conception of national presentations to be exhibited at the upcoming regional event on Lions Quest programme in October in Belgrade, Serbia. The regional event will gather experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to showcase the results achieved during the programme and to streamline the importance of adequate drug use prevention interventions and their effects.

 

UNODC Participates in the Regional Conference on Managing complex data in organized crime and corruption cases

26-27 May 2016, Belgrade, Serbia: The Conference, organized by the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Ministry of Interior of Serbia and the Office of the Prosecutor for Organized Crime of Serbia, gathered the prosecutors and police officers from South Eastern and Western Europe to discuss cooperation in multilateral investigations into corruption and organized crime. During the conference prosecutors from ten countries signed a Declaration of Intent expressing their will to cooperate more closely in cases of serious and transnational crime. The Declaration is open for signature by other countries. The Conference also looked at how complex national or international investigations involving large amounts of data in various formats should be managed, preferably in real time. This requires advanced IT solutions and adequate analytical software and one of the recommendations of the conference was to make a better use of Europol channels and data bases which make access to high quality intelligence easier as well as the platforms such as SIDDA-SIDNA.

On the second day of the Conference, mixed working groups of prosecutors and police officers debated common challenges, shared inspirational best practices and discussed creative solutions in cases of grand corruption, smuggling of migrants, weapons, and narcotics as well as fighting corruption, money laundering and retrieving proceeds of crime. The UNODC representative engaged in the discussion on fighting smuggling of migrants and drugs.

The conference was supported by the Embassies of the US, Norway and the Netherlands, with special participation of the Italian Anti-Mafia Directorate and Guardia di Finanza. Participants agreed to meet again in Rome in April 2017 to continue developing mutual cooperation and common approaches to fight organized crime and corruption.

UNODC participates in a Preparatory Meeting on Facilitation of Common and Coordinated Measures in the Western Balkan region

18-19 May 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A Preparatory Meeting on Facilitation of Common and Coordinated Measures in the Western Balkan region in Skopje by the Centre for security, development and the rule of law (DCAF) Border Security Programme. The Common and Coordinated Operations Working Group has based their discussion on the produced analytical material. Operational planners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia exchanged additional presentations on current border-related affairs, including contextual information needed for planning purposes (border police capacities in terms of manpower, technical equipment, current and predicted workload, etc.). Representatives from Austria and Slovenia and from international organisations (Frontex, IOM, OSCE, UNODC and IPA Residential Expert in Skopje) actively participated in the debate.

The Group elaborated a workplan which defined where, when and with which specific focus common and coordinated operations (CCOs) would be organised in 2016 (two common and one coordinated operation). The participants also agreed on the profile and number of participating police officers, as well as logistical issues. The CCOs will focus on traditional cross-border and international crime (illegal migration, human smuggling, drug smuggling, weapon smuggling, falsified documents, alcohol smuggling, cigarette and tobacco smuggling, livestock smuggling and textile smuggling) and especially on the illegal transportation of weapons to be used for terrorist and criminal acts in Western Europe. For this purpose, special mobile equipment will be used on some regional routes in the border area with the aim to detect "anti-trade" (small quantities of arms, mostly in personal cars, mules without previous crime records, constant flow).

  UNODC Workshop on International Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Standards Held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

17 May 2016, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC organized a one day event on International Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Standards in the Parliamentary Assembly Building of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. This workshop was in preparation for the National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing which will begin shortly in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the consideration and approval by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 May 2016.

The workshop provided in-depth information on Financial Action Task Force recommendations and immediate outcomes affecting the delivery of a national risk assessment, as well as the outcomes of mutual evaluations on national risk assessments conducted by the Financial Action Task Force and Financial Action Task Force-Style Regional Bodies. In addition, further information was provided on the methodology that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be following, and expectations for resource and data commitments were made for each of the attending agencies. Lastly, international best practices on conducting national risk assessments were shared from the experience of the international AML/CFT community.

The workshop was attended by representatives from over 30 agencies from across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Workshop on Corruption Reporting and Whistleblower Protection takes place at RACVIAC

10-11 May 2016, Zagreb, Croatia: A UNODC specialist on whistleblower protection participated as resource person in a workshop on corruption reporting and whistleblower protection at the RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. The event was organized in cooperation with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA). It is a follow-up activity to the International Conference titled "Effectiveness of Corruption Prevention Measures" organized in May 2015, and participants as well as organisers expressed their wish to establish an annual platform for exchange, including on whistleblower protection.

The purpose of the workshop was to share good practices and experiences as well as to discuss the most adequate steps for an implementation strategy for the protection of whistleblowers in the South Eastern European region, with concrete proposals to enhance regional cooperation.

In his welcome address, RACVIAC Director Ambassador Haydar Berk emphasized the importance of whistleblowing as a strong tool and mechanism in the fight against corruption. He said that the protection of reporting persons (whistleblowers) had been identified as one of the biggest challenges. States parties had also requested UNODC to provide more support in the field of whisteblower protection as reflected in the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019).

All nine participating States parties have finalised their UNCAC Implementation Reviews. Eight of them received recommendations to strengthen whistleblower protection in accordance with article 33 of UNCAC. As a response, UNODC launched in 2015 a Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Protection of Reporting Persons and is currently conducting several regional training events next to participating in events of other organisations. Such regional initiatives are backed-up by more focused supported at the national level, for instance, on drafting whistleblower legislation.

More information:  http://www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/2015/15-04741_Person_Guide_eBook.pdf

http://www.track.unodc.org/Academia/Pages/Topics/WhistleblowerProtection.aspx

10 th anniversary of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe is celebrated in Vienna

10-11 May 2016, Vienna, Austria: Ministers and representatives of the Parties to the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) met at the 15 th meeting of the Committee of Ministers in Vienna to celebrate the 10 th anniversary of the Convention with a view to take stock of achievements and to set future priorities.

"The Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe is the most important multilateral legal basis for operational police cooperation with the countries of the region. South Eastern Europe is a key region for the security of Austria and Europe" said the Minister of Interior of Austria H.E. Mr. Wolfgang Sobotka at the event. Based on the PCC SEE, Austrian police officers will be deployed to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to support joint patrols and border control.

The meeting took stock of the results achieved in the first decade of the Convention and agreed upon the future steps, including those on the usage of DNA and fingerprints in investigating organized crime, terrorism, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. The implementation of the Convention also assists the countries of the region with the EU accession process, especially as regards Chapter 24 of the EU acquis.

The Ministers and senior representatives of the parties of the Convention - Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova (the current Chair), Romania, Serbia and Slovenia - have addressed the event. The representatives of the participating organizations have also welcomed the 10 th anniversary of the Convention and stressed its usefulness. The UNODC delegation has invited the PCC SEE to join the UNODC-led initiatives "Networking the Networks" and "Law Enforcement Training Network - LE TrainNet".

For more information:

http://www.pccseesecretariat.si/

http://www.bmi.gv.at/cms/BMI/_news/BMI.aspx?id=7A5277516D527A346749383D&page=0&view=1

New UNODC research initiative "Measuring and assessing organised crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidence based policy making" launched in Vienna

'What is not measured cannot be improved'

5 May 2016, Vienna, Austria: UNODC officially launched the new three year EU funded UNODC research initiative "Measuring and assessing organised crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidenced based policy making". Representatives of the jurisdictions participating in the project - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as UNMIK -, Croatia as a partner country, and the EU Ambassador to the UN in Vienna have joint the launch.

In his statement at the event, Deputy Executive Director of UNODC recalled that this project forms a part of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and its work plan that was approved by the 7 th meeting of its Steering Committee on 26 November 2016. He highlighted the previous work UNODC has conducted in the region, emphasizing that UNODC will build on previous research working in partnership with jurisdictions in the region.  UNODC experts have provided a detailed description of the project including its aims, methods, expected results and timelines.

Key results and output to be produced by the project include:

  • a statistical framework for measuring and assessing organised crime;
  • a regional data repository;
  • qualitative data collection and analysis;
  • targeted capacity building for participating jurisdictions and a final regional report.

The project corresponds to the key facets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and forms an integral aspect of Chapters 23, 24 and 18 of the EU acquis (Judiciary, Rule of law and Statistics, respectively). UNODC has further highlighted the excellent partnership with the region, including in the preparation of the corruption surveys in 2011-2014 which have subsequently served as examples to be replicated throughout the world. It was outlined that this initiative represents an excellent opportunity for the participating jurisdictions to not only participate actively in the 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process, but to also lead the way in terms of progress in fighting organised crime and in particular - measuring progress.

The Ambassador of the European Union, welcomed the initiative and outlined EU areas of priority in the issue of fighting transnational crime.

The representative of the region provided statements supporting and welcoming the UNODC initiative and highlighted the importance of working together to counter organised crime.

UNODC provides RCC regional workshop with advice on degrading foreign terrorist fighter threat

4 May 2016, Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC participated in the Regional Cooperation Council's (RCC) regional workshop for law enforcement experts and state attorneys / prosecutors from South Eastern Europe on legal and practical challenges in countering violent extremism leading to terrorism and dealing with current and former foreign terrorist fighters. This workshop provided law enforcement and state prosecutors from the region with the opportunity to provide their insights into the current threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and provide solutions to counter violent extremism.

 At this meeting, UNODC called on jurisdictions to implement relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions aimed at degrading the threat of terrorism financing and foreign terrorist fighters, as well as recommended three steps to leverage financial intelligence to better detect and deter the financing of foreign terrorist fighters in their jurisdictions:

 1)      Include the financing of foreign terrorist fighters in an updated addendum to the National Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism Risk Assessment. Such a risk assessment must evaluate the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, as well as the risk posed by geographies and products and services known to be used for their financing, including: prepaid cards, trade in cultural products, virtual currencies and non-government organizations. From this identification of threats and risks, adequate countermeasures ought to be designed.

 2)      Provide both typological and operational intelligence to private sector entities involved in financial transactions. These entities, with obligations to report transactions where there is a suspicion of terrorism financing to the financial intelligence unit, require timely and accurate information to properly identify such transactions. The validity of information received by the financial intelligence unit from the private sector is a direct function of the information on which the private sector can act upon.

 3)      Create a working group amongst the financial intelligence unit, law enforcement and security services to facilitate domestic and international information sharing. Such a group would ensure that the financial intelligence unit has real-time, operational information required to make use of their unique powers in detecting terrorist financing money flows.

The outcomes identified by the participants of this meeting will be presented to a planned meeting of South Eastern Europe directors of police and state prosecutors later this year for further action.

UNODC completes judicial integrity support initiative in Pristina

28 April 2016, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC has completed a judicial integrity project in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 which represented a component of the larger "Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo (SAEK)" project implemented by UNDP. The project beneficiaries included the Kosovo Judicial Council, the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor, judges and prosecutors, civil society and media representatives.

The project aimed at achieving a positive impact on the prevention and fight against corruption in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 by means of strengthening monitoring and oversight mechanisms of local institutions to perform in an efficient, transparent, accountable and gender sensitive manner.

To this effect, the work focused on enhancing the internal capacities and mechanisms of the judiciary for disciplining judges and prosecutors on anti-corruption, and increasing the capacity of the judiciary to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.

The closing event of the project included presentations to donors and stakeholders of the activities carried out under the project. More than 30 high level officials and representatives of developmental assistance providers participated in the event. The speakers highly rated the support they have received and expressed their interest in continuing their cooperation with UNDP and UNODC.

The project was implemented in accordance with the UN rules and regulations, including the UNSCR 1244.

Second meeting of the Steering Committee of the Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina

21 April 2016, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Second Steering Committee meeting of the UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) was held in Sarajevo. The Steering Committee is the body to provide framework for the CCP implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Chaired by the UNODC Programme Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Steering Committee meeting gathered stakeholders - the Ministry of Security, Indirect Taxation Authority, Border Police and UNODC. The meeting discussed strategic, operational and funding aspects of the Programme implementation, on the basis of the Global 2015 Annual Report and the Progress Report 2015 for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

All participants concurred with the importance of the CCP implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a prominent and contributing factor to minimize risks of trafficking in narcotic drugs and other illegal commodities, smuggling, tax evasions and customs frauds through the national borders. Stakeholders' particular attention was dedicated to aspects of cooperation with neighboring and other countries in order to facilitate cross border information exchange and cooperation.

To support implementation of the CCP activities, a set of conclusions and recommendations was discussed. The recommendations aimed to further strengthen capacities and operational work of the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit deployed at the land border at Bijača.

Furthermore, in view of the UNODC's considerations to expand the CCP in the area of cargo control in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UNODC Senior CCP Coordinator visited the unit of the Indirect Taxation Authority at the Sarajevo Airport.

The first Public - Private Partnership Workshop within the framework of the Container Control Programme held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 April 2016, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The First Public-Private Partnership Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme framework was held on 20 April 2016 in Mostar, organized jointly by the Indirect Taxation Authority and UNODC Programme Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Workshop gathered representations of forwarding agents and other private sector subjects, including representative of the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Containerized shipments represent an important part of the growing international trade supply chain, measuring up to approximately 90% of the world's cargo, or about 750 million containers that are shipped in the global trade supply chain every year. The role of law enforcement agencies in establishing effective trade security and facilitation standards represent important part of the global Container Control Programme, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Workshop aimed to continue building and strengthening current relationships with key private sector stakeholders, in particular forwarding agents and transport operators conducting their business primarily through the border crossing Bijača, but also other parts of the country. Furthermore, the Workshop aimed to contribute to facilitate a range of services targeted to assist the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit through identification of common interests, and promote enduring dialogue among the stakeholders complementary to the existing efforts. The Indirect Taxation Authority, in cooperation with representatives of the private sector, will contribute to successful implementation of the CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Workshop participants identified several areas where further improvement of cooperation and joint efforts are to be made in order to facilitate the trade and contribute to secure and fast movement of goods, to and from Bosnia and Herzegovina. All participants underlined the need to continued activities in this domain to improve relationship between the public and private sector to secure the borders and facilitate the legal trade as are the objectives of the CCP activities.

UNODC mission visits Skopje and Podgorica

18-20 April 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 21-22 April 2016, Podgorica, Montenegro:  The Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and delegation visited Skopje and Podgorica to continue the dialogue with national and international counterparts on the implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and in particular the new UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism initiative for the region. Following the previous visits to other jurisdictions in the region, the missions to Skopje and Podgorica discussed the respective workplan of UNODC for the period 2016-2019 and introduced the new Regional Advisor. The national counterparts and the international partners underscored the importance of the challenges associated with money laundering and terrorism financing and welcomed the UNODC initiative to address them in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

The UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism initiative aims to strengthen local AML/CFT capacities in South Eastern Europe with a view to ensure that these capacities will become self-sustaining in the future, will involve structural relationships and enhanced information sharing, and will be coordinated with all relevant actors. By the end of May 2016, the AML/CFT mission will also visit Belgrade and complete the round of consultations in the region.

UNODC-South Eastern Europe is an active member of the MONEYVAL

15 April 2016, Strasbourg, France: UNODC participated in the 50 th Plenary of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL). MONEYVAL is a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe which is tasked with assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism and the effectiveness of their implementation. In addition, MONEYVAL makes recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. The highlights of the 50 th Plenary of MONEYVAL included the mutual evaluation of Serbia and a special session on the suppression of the financing of terrorism.

The presentation of the mutual evaluation of Serbia represented the second mutual evaluation conducted under the fifth round of MONEYVAL's mutual evaluations done using the Financial Action Task Force's new methodology detailed in 2012 and represented over a year of work on behalf of the Serbian authorities. The mutual evaluation was adopted by the MONEYVAL plenary and will be published on MONEYVAL's public website within the next two months. This mutual evaluation document will contains priority actions that will form the basis of Serbia's anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regime's priority initiatives in the coming months and years.

In addition, UNODC provided valuable input into MONEYVAL's special session on the financing of terrorism. This section focused on forward looking policy and operational interventions by the international community and national governments to effectively combat new global risks emerging related to the financing of terrorism.

First Review Cycle of UNCAC is completed in Albania

5 April 2016, Tirana, Albania: The first cycle of the Review of implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (Chapter III on Criminalization and law enforcement and Chapter IV on International cooperation) is completed. The date of agreement on the final report is 5 April 2016.  The Executive Summary of the first cycle of the Review is available on the website of the Implementation Review Group, at its seventh session, in all UN languages: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/IRG-session7.html

The final country review report has been authorised by Albania for publication online: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/treaties/CAC/country-profile/CountryProfile.html?code=ALB

UNCAC was signed by Albania on 31 October 2003 and ratified by the Parliament on 13 March 2006 through Law No. 9492 and decreed by the President through Decree No. 4820 of 28 March 2006. With respect to international law, article 122 of the Constitution states that generally accepted rules of international law and international conventions, when they have been ratified by an act and have come into effect, shall form an integral part of Albanian domestic law and shall override any other contrary provision of domestic law.

Albania has several competent bodies in the fight against corruption, including specialized directorates and units dealing with corruption and economic crimes, established at the prosecution offices and the State police, at both the central and local levels. The General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (the Albanian financial intelligence unit) also plays an important role in the fight against money-laundering and corruption.

UNODC joins discussion on radicalisation and recruitment of fighters in the Balkans

30 March 2016, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC participated today in the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network's (BIRN) conference "Balkan Jihadists: The Radicalisation and Recruitment of Fighters" in Syria and Iraq.  The conference offered the key results of BIRN's research into the "Balkan Jihadist" topic in the six jurisdictions covered by UNODC's Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. These insights were coupled with experts providing threat assessments and security challenges related to this problem, as well as the solutions to tackle radicalisation in the six addressed jurisdictions.

The insights provided by BIRN were valuable to the diverse group of regional practitioners, policy makers, reporters and the international community in attendance.  However, the conference also highlighted the lack of information available on the financing and financial logistics of the "Balkan Jihadists" where it was acknowledged that no information is available on the sources and methods of funding enabling recruiting, training and traveling for these individuals.  Such knowledge is key in the detection of potential fighters leaving the region and UNODC will support the development and utilization of such knowledge in the region through its activities.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" continues to work with Macedonian and Montenegro schools

21 March 2016, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 23 March, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation initiated the pilot programme "Skills for Adolescence" in June 2015 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. The programme is currently being implemented in more than 40 elementary schools in the two countries reaching out to over 3,000 students, significantly supporting the expansion of evidence based drug use prevention initiatives in these countries.

With the intention to address the challenges and report best practices, as well as to collect relevant data on the effectiveness of the programme delivery, the follow-up sessions were conveyed in Skopje and Podgorica with the support of national partners, the Ministry of Education of Montenegro and the Ministry of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The follow-up sessions served as an opportunity for the trained professionals, who are directly supporting the programme implementation in their communities, to network and discuss the value of the programme, its challenges and sustainable solutions. Further institutionalization of social-emotional school based programme was repeatedly highlighted as the  topic of high concern especially in view of the programme capacity to address many drug use protective and resistance factors important for the group of adolescents.

Representatives from the relevant Ministries commended the initiative and repeatedly highlighted the value of the provided expertise both by the Lions Club International Foundation and UNODC.

The next follow-up sessions are scheduled for the end of May 2016. In their course, collected data from the elementary schools on drug use patterns, refusal skills, intention to use drugs and perception of harm will be additionally showcased and discussed.

            

UNODC promotes successful collaboration with Lions Club International Foundation at the CND side event

18 March 2016, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) and the Governments of Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia held a side event at the margins of the 59 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs entitled "Piloting a school-based prevention programme in South Eastern Europe: Results from Lions Quest - UNODC collaboration".

Cooperation between UNODC and LCIF provided an opportunity to pilot Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in South Eastern Europe since 2014, starting from Serbia and successfully expanding to Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  This is part of the Lions Quest global evidence-based school-based programme delivered by teachers to improve the social, emotional and life skills of students and thus prevent a variety of risky behaviours - including substance use - while building protective and resistance factors.

The Lions Club-UNODC programme has been delivered in the three South Eastern European countries to the benefit of over 3,000 students in over 40 elementary schools. Moreover, the wider indirect effect in the region is most significant. A good example was provided by the Ministry of Education of Montenegro who pointed out that in their country a total of 15,148 pupils are positively affected by the programme reaching to unbelievable 22% of VI th  to IX th graders in all schools in the country.

According to research, the programme positively supports and improves:

  • establishing positive norms and personal commitments that drug use is not the norm among young people and that a personal commitment to not use drugs is essential;
  • addressing risk and protective factors that encourage and discourage drug use; 
  • building social and emotional competencies and resistance skills that strengthen the skills to make healthy choices and resist negative peer pressure to use drugs; 
  • recognizing impact of drug use with accurate information about short- and long-term effects of drug use on young people's health, friendships, interests, and future goals;
  • bonding with prosocial peers and caring adults who are skilled in reinforcing key prevention concepts and skills and providing a safe, caring network of support.

Furthermore, the programme leads to a significant improvement in refusal skills of students, and not only as relates to drugs, but also in significant improvement in perception of harm of alcohol and tobacco.

The side event provided an opportunity to showcase the results of work in Serbia where the programme has been launched first and therefore completed and evaluated, as well as in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro where the programme is currently being delivered. The best practices were shared with other Governments and civil society. Presenters from the Ministries of Education from the three countries briefed the meeting on the outcomes of work and promoted the value of the programme, especially in view of the extension of the national educational curriculum with evidence-based drug use prevention interventions, highlighting the importance of systematic and sustainable programme application.

The programme is in line and in closely referenced to the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and compliments the UNODC Strengthening Family Programme.

The results of the programme will also be presented at New York Headquarters of the United Nations at the side of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem in April 2016.

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  UNODC holds a practical event on counter financing of terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

15 March 2016, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: A one-day Workshop on the trends and typologies of the financing of foreign terrorism fighters (FTF) was held jointly by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UNODC Programme Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina for representatives of law enforcement, intelligence and supervisory agencies, as well as judicial and prosecution offices.

Trends and typologies exercises are meant to spread knowledge of particular priority topic areas across the anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to ensure that the private sector is equipped to fulfill its obligations in reporting transactions suspicious of terrorism financing to relevant authorities.

As underlined by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the issue of the financing of foreign terrorist fighters is an increasingly relevant challenge in ensuring the safety of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue to make progress in the area of the financing of terrorism through its AML/CFT National Risk Assessment. In the course of these events, the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina has reinforced that all relevant institutions are making progress in complying with the recommendations and international best practices set forth by the Financial Action Task Force.

The Workshop follows UNODC's commitment to creating a regional centre of expertise in Bosnia and Herzegovina for AML/CFT and the appointment of an international advisor for South Eastern Europe in support of this commitment as of 2016. The trends and typologies event is the first such formal engagement supporting AML/CFT to be delivered by UNODC through its 2016-19 Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

 

UNODC partakes in an event on migration management in the Western Balkans and Turkey

9-10 March 2016, Belgrade, Serbia: Marking the launch of the EU´s programme "Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey", a kick-off event took place in Belgrade. The kick-off conference was attended by more than 50 international and local actors from the target Western Balkan countries and Turkey, EU institutions, such as DG NEAR and DG HOME, programme partners (Frontex, EASO, IOM and UNHCR) who contributed to active discussion on project goals and project scope, as well as other international partners, including UNODC.

The 8 million Euro Programme is planned for three years and is largely funded with the EU and includes contributions from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and UNHCR with the aim to provide the  technical assistance to target countries in developing multidisciplinary and holistic responses in regard of migration management in accordance to the EU policies and standards, identification and registration of migrants and refugees, their return, and information exchange. The Programme will also strengthen identification mechanisms regarding irregular migrants and asylum seekers; enhance national capacities to perform the registration of mixed migration flows; streamline referral systems into national mechanisms; strengthen national capacities in international protection; support return mechanisms at regional level; and establish a system of information sharing at inter and intra-regional level.

Considering the UNODC mandate area, illegal migration remains the topic of high concern, especially in South Eastern Europe with the current refugees influx fluctuations and their prolonged transition in the region on their way to the EU, due to the application of new cross-border rules and regulations. For more information on the UNODC work in the fields of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/index.html?ref=menuside

 

UNODC joins the civil society on the topic of studying and investigating organized crime

7-9 March 2016, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in the academic seminar "Studying and Investigating Transnational Organized Crime" co-organized by a Belgrade-based NGO KRIK (Journalists' network for investigating crime and corruption), the University of Milan, Italy, and supported by the OSCE. The main topic of the seminar - organized crime - was discussed from three perspectives: academic research, criminal investigations and journalistic and civil society investigations. Experts of the CROSS institute (Osservatorio sulla Criminalità Organizzata) from the University of Milan gave an overview of the development of academic study of organized crime in Italy and its added value for the society and for law enforcement agencies. Experts from the Government institutions in Italy and Serbia spoke about their experiences in tackling organized crime and the connection between Balkan and Italian criminal groups. The particular role of the civil society in Italy and Serbia in the fight against organized crime was discussed, including the best practices and parallels between the two countries. An example of the growing importance of the civil society sector in Italy is the status of Special Consultant for UNODC at the Palermo Convention for the organization Libera International.

In their discussions the experts included reference to UNODC research and findings and the representative from UNODC engaged with the seminar participants on the questions of the capacity of the Serbian institutions to tackle organized crime and money laundering, as well as on possible ways forward.

 

UNODC Supports the Governments in South Eastern Europe in Addressing the Challenges Related to Foreign Terrorist Fighters

February - March 2016: UNODC has started the implementation of a new initiative "Strengthening the legal regime against emerging terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters in South Eastern Europe (Training Module Development)" and has conducted assessment missions to Tirana, Albania (8-9 February 2016); Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 (10-12 February 2016); Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (15-16 February 2016); Belgrade, Serbia (1 March 2016); Podgorica, Montenegro (2-3 March 2016) and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (14-17 March 2016).

During these missions, the UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch experts met with representatives from the national judicial training centers/academies and members of the judiciary, prosecution, police services and security agencies to discuss the challenges in the investigation and prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters as well as training needs.

As part of the project, two representatives from each jurisdiction will attend a regional workshop in Vienna on 6-7 September 2016. National workshops to implement the training module are planned to take place in the region beginning at the end of 2016 and throughout 2017.

The overall objective of the initiative is to support specialized training modules on the prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters for criminal justice sector practitioners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244).

The specific goals of the initiative are:

  • Strengthening the capacity of South Eastern European national jurisdictions in light of the increasing flow of international recruits to terrorist organizations, as identified by relevant UNSC resolutions, including UNSCR 2170 (Condemning systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate killing of civilians by terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front) and UNSCR 2178 (Proposing to address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters by strengthening domestic criminal offences; stressing the importance of curbing the financial flow and providing material/logistical support to terrorist organizations; strengthening international cooperation and underscoring the role of the United Nations; preventive measures, including efforts to counter violent extremism through enhanced civil society and community engagement);
  • Developing the capacity of criminal justice training institutions in South Eastern Europe to provide training on the specific legal and technical aspects related to countering foreign terrorist fighters at the national and regional levels through the tailor-made foreign terrorist fighters training modules that will include best practices and key practical case-law resources;
  • Enhance regional and sub-regional cooperation concerning specialized counter-terrorism aspects related to foreign terrorist fighters between and among national jurisdictions in South Eastern Europe, especially through the support to the relevant training institutions.

The project is implemented by UNODC with the generous support of the US Government.

For more information on the visit to Skopje, please refer to: http://www.jpacademy.gov.mk/novosti/-oo---a-------joaquin-zuckerberg----------

 

UNODC/OSCE agree new Joint Action Plan

Heads of UNODC and OSCE sign new Joint Plan of Action with combatting smuggling of migrants and terrorism prevention high on the agenda.

Vienna, Austria, 9 March 2016: In a meeting of senior officials at the Vienna International Centre today, UNODC and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) surveyed past results of their partnership and agreed upon a new Joint Action Plan for future cooperation.

During welcoming remarks, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, stated, "the Joint Action Plan provides a welcome framework for UNODC and the OSCE to leverage their respective strengths." The new plan, he said, has been successfully expanded from seven  to eight key areas and now includes police development and reform.

In his own statement, the OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, said, "As a regional security organization under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE supports the implementation of key UN policies and decisions in our region. Our relations with UNODC have been particularly close over recent years. I am therefore very happy to sign the latest update of our biannual OSCE-UNODC Joint Action Plan today. Drawing on our respective comparative advantages, it will guide our cooperation in 2016-2017."

Calling on UNODC and the OSCE to draw on their comparative advantages to develop joint activities, the new action plan focuses on a number of key thematic areas including terrorism prevention, trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, firearms, corruption, money laundering and fighting illicit drugs.

Mr. Fedotov, in his statement, acknowledged the importance of counter-terrorism cooperation between the two organizations. He said, "countering terrorism remains a priority, and I very much welcome the new joint Plan of Action's focus on emerging security challenges, including foreign terrorist fighters and their radicalization; violent extremism and terrorism financing."

On the subjects of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, Mr. Fedotov said a heavy focus on the criminals networks was needed, particularly in view of the ongoing migration and refugee crisis. The UNODC Executive Director also stressed that chasing the money was critical to confronting transnational threats and he congratulated the UNODC/OSCE joint capacity building activities planned for this year.  

UNODC maintains close cooperation with the OSCE on a broad range of threats and challenges, and the two organizations have been meeting at the senior level for several years. The partnership was formalised in 2010 when Mr. Fedotov met with the then head of the OSCE, Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, to agree on a Joint Plan of Action.

The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was identified by the UNODC and OSCE principals as one of the most active vehicles for cooperation.

UNODC mission visits Tirana and Pristina

Tirana, Albania, 29 February - 2 March 2016; Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, 2 - 4 March 2016:  The Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and delegation visited Tirana and Pristina to conduct talks with national and international counterparts with regard to the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and in particular the new UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism initiative for the region. The purpose of the two visits was to discuss the workplan of UNODC in the two thematic areas for the period 2016-2019 and to introduce the new Regional Advisor. The consultations with field counterparts have confirmed that the topics of money laundering and terrorism financing represent a serious challenge for the region and that addressing them in a coordinated and comprehensive manner would be beneficial, both for the implementation of the UN Conventions and treaties, the FATF recommendations, as well as the EU accession processes.

The UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism initiative aims to strengthen local AML/CFT capacities in South Eastern Europe with a view to ensure that these capacities will become self-sustaining in the future, will involve structural relationships and enhanced information sharing, and will be coordinated with all relevant actors.

By the end of April 2016, the AML/CFT missions will have consulted with the counterparts from Belgrade, Podgorica, Skopje and Zagreb and have completed the assessment of the situation in the region.

UNODC and SELEC coordinate work on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism

Bucharest, Romania, 22 February 2016: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (Regional Advisor for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)) and the UNODC Global Programme on Money Laundering (senior experts) visited  the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) in Bucharest, Romania to meet with its Director for Operations and criminal analysts. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the renewed mandate of UNODC South Eastern Europe Regional Programme, and to coordinate the delivery of programme objectives with those also being pursued by SELEC.

UNODC South Eastern Europe Regional Programme's initiative to build regional AML/CFT capacity is delivering operations through three strategic principles:

  • Building self-sustaining capacity through training trainers in key requirements areas;
  • Improving structural relationships through ensuring that the program is multilateral and breaking down barriers to information sharing; and
  • Taking a complimentary coordinated approach by aligning technical assistance initiatives with other stakeholder.

Given the alignment of the UNODC South Eastern Europe Regional Programme's AML/CFT initiative and SELEC's main objective to provide support for their Member States and enhance coordination in preventing and combating crime, including serious and organized crime, where such crime involves or appears to involve an element of trans-border activity, both programmes viewed the potential for alignment in delivering services to Member States.

The two sides discussed ways to contribute to information sharing between the Member States, and also committed to potential joint activities to build AML/CFT capacity for the Member States held on SELEC premises in the future.

 

UNODC Executive Director visits Albania on the occasion of the 10 th Parliamentary Assembly of Mediterranean

Tirana, Albania, 18-19 February 2016: The 10th Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) has taken place in Tirana. Ten years after its creation, this was the first time that PAM met in a Balkan country. The main topics of the Session included situation with terrorism, the migration crisis and free movement.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Albania asked the counterparts from the Mediterranean countries for cooperation in drafting a joint strategic plan to face regional challenges and stressed the topic of the migration crisis. The Prime Minister of Albania has also mentioned this challenge in his statement and pledged Albania's commitment to address it together with other partners. In the recorded statement of the UN Secretary-General, close cooperation of all parties in countering terrorism and violent extremism was underscored. The Session has also addressed the long-standing relationship between the international organizations and the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, the complex and often interrelated challenges affecting the Mediterranean and wider region. In this regard, it was noted that PAM and its partners need to further articulate the added value of the respective organizations according to their specific mandates, while building synergies wherever possible and creating strong interregional coalitions.

In his address to the opening of the Session, the UNODC Executive Director stated that the Mediterranean is a transit region for illicit drugs to Western and Central Europe, which includes heroin via the Balkans, cannabis resin trafficking from Morocco to Spain, and cocaine destined for Europe that has crossed West Africa. He also referred to the migration situation in the region and to the new UNODC strategy to address the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean, which includes research on trends and routes, capacity building and trans-regional cooperation. The Executive Director pointed out that UNODC's response to supporting countries in countering and preventing these and other challenges is threefold: political commitment among governments; strengthened partnerships, both within and outside the UN system; and integrated support through our global network of offices and regional programmes, including the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The UNODC Executive Director has also met with the Speaker of the Parliament of Albania and discussed the results of UNODC work in the country, as well as prospects for the future, including the Container Control Programme and the work in the area of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing. A UNODC delegation is visiting Albania shortly after the visit of the Executive Director to continue talks on the latter point. 

                             

 

Seminar for Judges and Prosecutors to address the Smuggling of Migrants held in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

About 50 kilometres north east of Skopje, near the border with Serbia, lies the village of Lojane. According to Deutsche Welle, the story of Lojane is a good example of the migrant smuggling network in operation across the Balkans. Migrants cross from Greece into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in search of passage to western Europe meaning border villages like Lojane can become migrant smuggling hubs.

UNODC's Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants, is designed to help Member States take action to prevent and combat smuggling of migrants affecting towns like Lojane, tailored specifically to their needs with regard to the migration crisis which has played out in the region.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia requested technical assistance from UNODC related to smuggling of migrants, which was held on February 16 and 17 2016 within the framework of the Regional Programme in South Eastern Europe 2016-2019. The seminar was delivered by two UNODC officials alongside two experts from Italy; a judge and a prosecutor who were able to share their experiences of prosecuting and adjudicating landmark cases of migrant smuggling in Italy. After introductory sessions on the international legal framework and concepts and categories of migrant smuggling, they focused on the role of smuggled migrants and  smugglers of migrants in investigations; investigation methods and techniques in migrant smuggling cases, including special investigative techniques, cross-border investigations and evidence collection with origin countries.

A prosecutor from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia delivered a session on national legislative and institutional frameworks and presented a national case on smuggling of migrants as a case study. A prosecutor for organized crime and corruption from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also presented a case on smuggling of migrants from the national practice as a case study. The seminar was concluded with a session on the importance of assistance and protection of smuggled migrants, together with the importance of non-criminalisation of smuggled migrants alongside the protection of their human rights. Of the 25 participants, the vast majority were judges and prosecutors.

Arranged as a seminar, the focus was to discuss best practices with view to enhancing successful prosecution and adjudication of smuggling of migrants cases. It addressed key aspects of criminal justice responses to the smuggling of migrants using specialized UNODC training materials and real-life cases to draw out relevant issues and specific challenges related to the organized crime element.

The seminar included a tailored programme based on the relevant modules from the In-Depth Training Manual on Investigating and Prosecuting the Smuggling of Migrants, and with reference to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

The seminar was very successful, leading the way for future collaboration on smuggling of migrants-related activities in South Eastern European Member States.

 

UNODC joins discussion on recovery from drug addiction in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15 February 2016: As part of the project  "Project 3 - Balkan" implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD), a Conference "Recovery from drug addiction - Turnover in policies and practice" was convened in Sarajevo.

A Non-governmental organization "Proslavi Oporavak" (Celebrate Recovery) in collaboration with  the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Department for the Suppression of the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs, organized the Conference and brought together more than 50 representatives of the respective institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the practical and technical matters of the recovery of persons with substance use disorders.

Guest-speakers at the event included experts from the WFAG, the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities and Centre for Drug Misuse Research (CDMR), as well as the UNODC office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNODC contributed to the discussion and presented a good practice document "Sustained recovery management" emphasizing the importance of comprehensive, flexible and tailor-made approach in drug dependence treatment recovery.

Among the Conference's conclusions were the emphasized importance of applying an individual approach to each client and the significance of continuous provision of relevant services which assist the persons with substance use disorders during their recovery.

 

UNODC Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Advisor posted in South Eastern Europe

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 27-29 January 2016: Following the release on 26 November 2016 of the UNODC Report "Drug Money: the illicit proceeds of opiates trafficked on the Balkan route", a UNODC Regional Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Advisor was posted in Bosnia and Herzegovina as of January 2016 to assist the region in providing hands-on responses to the challenges identified in the report.

The Advisor has been introduced to national and international counterparts in Sarajevo in the course of a mission from Vienna Headquarters of UNODC on 27-29 January 2016.

The next steps for the Advisor will be the elaboration of a detailed, targeted and tailored workplan in the AML/CFT areas for the period 2016-2019 in consultations with the other jurisdictions in the region. 

 

Facilitating International Cooperation in Trafficking in Persons - Second Country Workshop in Sarajevo

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 25-27 January 2016: The UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section successfully convened the second national workshop under the project "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response in trafficking in children in the Western Balkans" in Bjelasnica, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This workshop has been implemented by UNODC in collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France. The opening remarks of the workshop were made  by Ambassador of France in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Assistant Minister and National Coordinator for Trafficking in Persons, Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The workshop served as a follow-up to the multi-disciplinary Action Plan developed by UNODC and the Governments of the region in March 2015 with regard to selected national and trans-national trafficking in persons cases aiming to facilitate international cooperation in this area. The workshop gathered nearly 30 participants from the UNODC methodological and initial workshops, relevant professionals from the police and judiciary authorities of the destination countries (law enforcement, prosecutors and judges), as well as experts from the victim protection system. Representatives of the civil society also participated in the event.

This first part of the workshop investigated the needs assessment for a better protection of the victims. Precisely, knowledge on the psycho-social profiles and needs of the victims who are trafficked in France and other EU Member States as well as the implementation of measures for the protection of the victims has been shared and discussed on a round table. Proposed key questions at this workshop evolved around the collection of pertinent information on the psycho-social profiles as well as around the international cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and France during criminal investigations for the purpose of collecting and sharing data. Further proposed topics of discussion were housing and shelters; medical, psychological and material assistance; employment, education and repatriation to victims of trafficking; non re-victimization during the judicial process; safe-guarding the victim's privacy and identity to the extent possible under domestic law as well as physical safety, amongst others.

The workshop resulted into an update of the Action Plan, which now includes a time-frame and indicators and can further assist the national capacities to counter trafficking in persons. The next follow up event will take place on Tuesday, 31 March 2016 and will discuss the elements of and elaborate on the Action Plan, based on the needs assessment for a better protection of the victims.

Second Mentorship visit to the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bijaca, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 17 December 2015: Continuing to support work of the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit (JCCCU) within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), Second Mentorship visit was conducted in the period 14-17 December 2015 at the land port (border crossing/customs point) Bijaca.

The mentorship visit observed current activities of the JCCCU, their operational practices, recent achievements and overall assessment of the Programme's implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, interactive work with the Unit staff, on-site practical support and assistance provided advice for further improvement of all aspects of the Unit's functioning and operations, contributing to fulfilment of work plans and achieving results.

In parallel to the Mentorship activity, JCCCU was visited by representatives of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces - DCAF, donor organization of the CCP in South Eastern Europe region. As highlighted by the Project Coordinator in the DCAF's Office in Geneva, the main purpose of the DCAF's visit was to observe the progress of the CCP implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to increase knowledge on a particular and general issues encompassing work of the Unit.

Programme's well-structured and dynamic approach of technical assistance delivery supports the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen its capacities and contribute to prevention and stoppage of trafficking of various illicit goods, such as drugs, precursor chemicals, firearms, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear material, to minimize the risk of maritime containers being exploited by organized crime structures, acting within the Programme's framework, and beyond.

Mentorship visit findings will also assist UNODC and national stakeholders to further contribute to the Programme implementation as well as advance training activities in the course of 2016.

              

UNODC Report on illicit financial flows through the Balkan route presented in Brussels

3 December 2015, Brussels, Belgium: UNODC has presented its new report "Drug Money: the illicit proceeds of opiates trafficked on the Balkan route" to the EU Commission and counterparts in Brussels. The presentation was chaired by the UNODC Deputy Executive Director and Director for Operations and the Chief of the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe. A detailed presentation of the Report was made by the Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch of UNODC.

The report was released on 26 November 2015 in Vienna in conjunction with the launch of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2016-2019 (please refer to the respective articles below).

The presentation of the report in Brussels reflects the importance that UNODC attaches to the cooperation and coordination of its work in South Eastern Europe with the European Union. The complementarity of the UNODC engagement in the region and its usefulness for the EU accession process, especially in the context of Chapters 23, 24 and 28 of the EU acquis communautaire, was pointed out at the launch of the new Regional Programme by the Ambassador of the European Union to the UN in Vienna, as well as by the countries of the region in the process of developing the Regional Programme.

On the occasion of the presentation of the new report in Brussels, the Chief of the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, has also held consultations with the EU Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).

Joint Container Control Unit in Montenegro seizes 33 kg of cocaine

1 December 2015, Bar, Montenegro: The Joint Container Control Unit (JCCU) at the Port of Bar in Montenegro in cooperation with other structures of customs administration at this Port, discovered 33 kg of white substance, under reasonable suspicion being psychostimulant drug cocaine.

During the warehousing of containers with coffee, which were shipped to the port of Bar on 25 November 2015, on-board the vessel "TONGAN II", the officers, on the basis of port documentation and risk analysis, initiated examination of a number of containers that arrived from Brazil, South America. Controlling the containers, which were singled out for detailed examination, they found that the customs seals of one container were damaged, while the seal number was identical to the seal number listed in the bill of lading.

After the container was opened, it was noted that on top of the pile was a bag, which did not fit neither by colour nor shape to the declared goods, which caused further suspicion of customs officers. Following the opening of the bag, customs officers discovered the goods that correspond to the conventional packaging of smuggled narcotics by its appearance and hardness. It was the case of 33 kg of white substance, under reasonable suspicion being psychostimulant drug cocaine.

The competent prosecutor was informed of this event, and the collected substance was handed over to jurisdiction of the officers of the Police Administration, Ministry of Interior.

This is the second case that JPCU and customs authorities of the Port of Bar seize cocaine coming from South America. The first case was the seizure of 250 kg of cocaine coming from Ecuador in a container loaded with bananas.

The JPCU at the Port of Bar is established through the assistance of the UNODC and WCO under the implementation of the Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe.

The Programme is currently being financially supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). 

 

UNODC launches the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019)

26 November 2015, Vienna, Austria: The new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019) was launched in the Vienna Headquarters of UNODC at the special 7th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Regional Programme.

The meeting was attended by the Steering Committee Members, Ambassadors and senior special representatives of the countries of the region -- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Croatia as a partner country. Observers to the Steering Committee who have attended the launch at the level of Ambassadors and senior representatives are the donor countries supporting the work of UNODC in the region, European Union and partner organizations, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC), the Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), as well as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Serbia.

                                      

The UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov has opened the meeting with a statement in which he pointed out that the region of South Eastern Europe was always of strategic importance to UNODC due to its geographic position between the sources of illicit goods in the east and the markets in the west. The Executive Director has also pointed out that UNODC is building the new Regional Programme on the experience and lessons learned of the previous programmes, and that thanks to this work, UNODC has further improved the Programme's efficiency, effectiveness, delivery and impact. Mr. Fedotov has further pointed out that UNODC has worked hard to link the Regional Programme to Thematic and Global Programmes, which reinforces our comprehensive and integrated approach to drugs, crime, corruption, health and terrorism. Finally, Mr. Fedotov has thanked the countries of the region of South Eastern Europe, the donors and the partner organizations.

The new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019) was developed based on the decision of the previous meeting of the Steering Committee (9 December 2014), and through an inclusive and participatory process involving over seventy-five national officials and experts to ensure their input, support and, ultimately, the countries' ownership of the Programme; as well as in-house UNODC consultations.

The document takes into consideration the recommendations and findings of the In-Depth Independent Evaluation of the current Regional Programme (2012-2015) which was concluded in May 2015. It makes use of data and findings from various research products and surveys (including on drug trafficking and corruption) produced by UNODC and other partners. The document is based on the results achieved by the current Regional Programme and the work undertaken in the region by UNODC Global and Thematic Programmes, and has been prepared in close cooperation and with support of the UNODC thematic units at all stages of the development of the draft.

                    

                    

The Regional Programme is in line with the UNODC global strategy and seeks maximum synergy with all relevant programmes in the region. It is also in line with the UNODC Inter-regional Drug Control Approach, the Networking the Networks initiative and the Paris Pact initiative. The Regional Programme is complimentary to and aims at effective linkages with the "Integrated UNODC Solution for West and Central Asia" and the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries. The Regional Programme will seek partnerships with UN sister agencies operating in the region as well as support from prospective funding partners.

The new Regional Programme, with an indicative budget of USD 21,000,000, is composed of three Sub-Programmes in the following areas: (i) Countering Illicit Drug Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime; (ii) Strengthening Criminal Justice, Integrity and Legal Cooperation; and (iii) Enhancing substance use prevention, drug use disorders treatment, and reintegration and care, while Research and analysis is a cross-cutting component of the Programme.

The overall objective of the Regional Programme is to contribute to the promotion of the rule of law, good governance (especially in the areas of organized crime and trafficking in drugs, human beings and goods), countering money laundering, preventing and curbing corruption, supporting the development of national drug and crime policies and strategies and their implementation plans, supporting drug prevention, treatment and care and, at the same time, promoting regional and inter-regional cooperation in line with the UN conventions and treaties as well as with the EU accession requirements which are important for the region.

                  

                  

A number of cross-cutting components and principles were mainstreamed into all of the work foreseen under the Regional Programme, including human rights, the gender perspective and the cooperation with civil society. The Regional Programme is specifically tailored to the region, meets its priorities and has identified, with the Governments, targeted niches for UNODC engagement.

The 2016 UNODC workplan for the region has been submitted to the Members of the Steering Committee and reflects the activities that UNODC will be undertaking in the course of next year.

 

Drug money and opiate trafficking on the Balkan route, focus of new UNODC report

26 November 2015, Vienna, Austria: A new report launched today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that the total value of illicit heroin and opium trafficked from Afghanistan to Western Europe through the Balkans amounts to some $28 billion every year. Sixty-five per cent of this total ($18 billion) is generated in Western and Central Europe. The four largest European markets for heroin - France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy - account for nearly half of the gross profits, as the major heroin benefits are made by traffickers on the retail markets.

The report, entitled Drug Money: the illicit proceeds of opiates trafficked on the Balkan route, shows that the total value generated by Afghan heroin and opium trafficked in Europe and through the Balkan route is one third bigger than the entire GDP of Afghanistan itself, which, in 2014, amounted to some $21 billion. Other findings indicate that the negative economic impact of heroin and opium are actually greater in Europe and the Balkan route countries than in Afghanistan itself.

The report also shows the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey as the two countries which interject the greater percentage of heroin and opium destined for Europe. Iran seizes about 30 per cent of the 155 tons of heroin and opium entering its territory every year, while Turkey seizes 17 per cent. All other countries in Europe interject an average of 6 per cent of heroin in their territory. Data show that the impact of illicit profits in the national licit economy across countries is significant, with heroin and opium traffickers gaining between 0.2 to 2 per cent of their country's GDP. For some countries this share is bigger than the public expenditures dedicated to drug policies - if all drugs, and not only heroin and opium, are considered. The large amounts of money generated through this illicit activity can distort the licit national economies in the region.
The launch of the report coincides with a new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which was also unveiled today as one of the Office's responses in assisting countries in interdicting illicit financial flows. At the launch, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, noted that information such as that contained in the new report is key to UNODC's work in the region. "UNODC is experienced at undertaking research that builds a detailed picture of the problem, while assisting Member States through effective and tailored projects and programmes." He further noted that by providing a detailed analysis of the situation, "the report can strengthen our evidence base for effective action in South Eastern Europe."

Set to run from 2016 to 2019, the Regional Programme will cover a wide range of activities, including: countering illicit drug trafficking and transnational organized crime; strengthening criminal justice, integrity and legal cooperation; and prevention treatment and care. Its work is undertaken in collaboration with Government partners and civil society, recognizing the challenges related to the links between illicit drug trafficking and organized crime and terrorists and extremists and ultimately aims to strengthen local law enforcement to help combat these phenomena.

Further information:

Full report download: 'Drug Money: the illicit proceeds of opiates trafficked on the Balkan route'
Statement by UNODC's Executive Director at the event
UNODC in South Eastern Europe
UNODC's data and analysis work

 

Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port makes two large drug busts

26 November 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) operating at the Port of Durres made two drug seizures in the range of 10 days seizing 232 kg 530 gr of marijuana. The estimated local street value of the seized drugs is 349,000 Euros.

The considerable amounts of drugs did not reach the intended destination, Italy in both cases, thanks to the professional work of the officers who used risk indicators and information gained in an operational way to stop the illicit trafficking.

In the first seizure dated 12 November 2015, the JPCU officers selected a trailer for a secondary examination and ordered its scanning using the Portal x-ray system of Rapiscan company operating at Durres Port and noted anomalies in the appearance of the fuel tanks of the trailer. The officers removed the fuel tanks and located 120 kg180 gr of marijuana.

In the second seizure dated 23 November 2015, the anti-drug officers of the JPCU had received classified information in an operational way and stopped the targeted trailer for a detailed examination. During the search, they could spot 112 kg 350 gr of marijuana concealed in cases of shoes going to be exported to Italy.

In both cases, the drivers of the respective trailers were arrested and the cases were handed over to the serious crime prosecutors.

The Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port is continuously achieving good results in stopping illicit trafficking thanks to the professional work of the officers and of the coordination of the enforcement actions of all categories with other agencies operating at the Port.

                      

                      

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme: Vehicle donation for the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina

23 November 2015, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Joint Cargo Container Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina (JCCCU), working within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme framework, received a new off-road vehicle provided through the donation of the Export Control and Border Security Programme (EXBS) to the Indirect Taxation Authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In August 2015, in a meeting between the EXBS Regional Adviser and the Director of Indirect Taxation Authority, presentation of the U.S. Government donation of seven new off-road vehicles provided through the EXBS Programme - Export Control and Border Security was made. The main purpose of this donation was to support future activities to prevent smuggling of goods through the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, therefore supporting the work of the Law Enforcement Department of the Indirect Taxation Authority.

Building on the constructive cooperation between the EXBS and UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as regionally, one of donated vehicles was allocated to support the work of the JCCCU. The vehicle donation will further support work of the JCCCU and increase Unit's operational mobility to contribute to minimization of risks related to illicit trafficking of prohibited goods across the Bosnia and Herzegovina borders.

The JCCCU consists of the officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located at the border crossing/customs point Bijaca.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are funded through the contribution of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, in the context of the Swiss Regional Police Cooperation Programme in the Western Balkans, and the United States Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.

                     

 


UNODC delivers a Regional Training Seminar on evaluation of effectiveness of drug use policies

19-20 November 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: Following the last year's organization of a Regional Meeting for policy makers from South Eastern Europe, where the International Standards on drug use prevention have been disseminated and discussed, a new Regional Training Seminar on the evaluation of the effectiveness of drug use interventions and policies was conveyed for policy makers from the region to further provide them with evidence-based information and to increase the understanding of the value and importance of appropriate evaluation methods.

The objective of the Training Seminar was to discuss the evaluation of prevention of drug use strategies by raising the knowledge on the paramount necessity of regular evaluation of the effectiveness of drug use interventions and to provide instructions on how and when the evaluation can be conducted.

The Seminar lasted for three days and was attended by policy makers from the region of South Eastern Europe who would assist the respective national drug use prevention systems with  the provision of appropriate guidance and instruments derived from the best practices on the evaluation of drug use strategies.

The high officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia officially addressed the audience highlighting the importance of interministerial cooperation and multidisciplinary approach with special attention given to the under-represented field of evaluation of drug use interventions and policies.

                     

UN launches its Common Development Plan in Pristina

18 November 2015, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT) with its agencies, programmes, and funds officially launched the UN Common Development Plan (UNCDP) 2016- 2020 in Kosovo. The UNDP Resident Representative and UN Development Coordinator, explained the three-track approach used to draft this document: standard UN consultations with counterparts, a bottom-up consultation with the general population including youth and civil society, and incorporated over 9000 people from Kosovo through interactive means.  The UNCDP includes three main areas: promotion of good governance and rule of law, equitable division of resources and social inclusion, as well as sustainable environment and improvement of health. UNODC is part of the UNCDP and has participated in its development.

For more information please refer to http://www.unkt.org/public-launching-of-the-un-common-development-plan-2016-2020-in-kosovo/

All references to Kosovo are understood in the context of the UNSCR 1244.

UNODC HQ mission to Belgrade

16-18 November 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: The Chief of the Regional Section for Europe and West/Central Asia, Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, visited Belgrade, Serbia, to meet with the national and international counterparts and discuss with them the implementation of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe in the country. The senior UNODC representative met with the Assistant Minister of Interior, Chief negotiator for the Chapter 24 of the EU acquis, and the staff of the Ministry, including the Cabinet of the Minister; the senior representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (United Nations Department); as well as the OSCE Mission to Serbia and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. Together with the later, the UNODC representative have visited the new future UN Common premises granted by the Government of Serbia to the United Nations team in Belgrade.

                                

 

10 kg of Cannabis Sativa seized at Durres Port

10 November 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port (JPCU) seized 9 kg 520 gr of Cannabis Sativa destined to Bari, Italy.

17 packages of the seized narcotics were hidden in the a Ford vehicle. The driver, an Albanian citizen, was arrested and the vehicle was sequestrated. The analysis, based on the risk indicators such as number of travels in and out of the country and strange behaviour of the driver on the vehicle during the interview, made border police officers exercise a thorough control on the vehicle.
            

This is the second case of seizure in the course of two weeks when the JPCU seized one ton of Marijuana destined to Italy.
The total amount of Marijuana seized at Durres Port by the JPCU goes to 6.16 tons.

 

Strengthening Cross-border Cooperation in Addressing Irregular Migration-related Crimes in the Western Balkans

4-5 November 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: Striving for a broader involvement of different stakeholders to address irregular migration and confront criminals who take advantage of peoples' need to migrate, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and UNODC jointly implemented in 2013 and 2014 a project on "Strengthening cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination in combating irregular migration and related transnational organized crimes", which produced key findings and outcomes for future activities and consolidated the existing co-operation framework between the three organizations.

Following the concluding workshop of this project, held in Athens, Greece, on 11-12 June 2014, the three agencies reaffirmed their joint commitment towards a continued partnership in the area of countering transnational organized crime, especially smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings in the Western Balkans and held on 4-5 November 2015 a Regional Workshop on Strengthening Cross-border Co-operation in Addressing Irregular Migration-related Crimes in the Western Balkans in Belgrade, Serbia.

The event has gathered policy-makers and practitioners from relevant bodies who were presented with an opportunity to share their views on the recurring challenges they face and innovative good practices identified in addressing irregular migration related crimes. Among such participants were: judges dealing with smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings cases; prosecutors dealing with such cases; law enforcement officers from different agencies; officials from the Ministry of Finance dealing with anti-money laundering; officials from the Ministry of Justice dealing with seizure and confiscation of assets; police liaison officers and non-governmental organizations dealing with migration and victims of THB cases, as well as criminal justice experts from the IOM, OSCE and UNODC and international and regional organizations and academia.

The aim of the discussions was to explore the strategic outlook for further development of the cooperation between criminal justice actors and other relevant public and private parties in the Western Balkans.  The main findings and outcomes of the meeting were compiled in a set of findings, which will serve as a basis and guidance for further discussions on this topic at the national and regional levels. A follow up event in the afternoon of the second day of the conference, limited to criminal law practitioners, aimed to find operational solutions to practical problems currently affecting investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cross-border cases of irregular migration-related crimes.

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme: Work Study Visit to the Port of Rijeka, Croatia  

27-29 October 2015, Rijeka, Croatia: Fostering cooperation among the law enforcement structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia through the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, a three-day Work Study Visit for the officers of the Joint Cargo Containers Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina (JCCCU) to the Port of Rijeka has been successfully implemented.

Hosted by the Customs Administration of Croatia, besides JCCCU officers, Study Visit was joined by several other officers of the Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, representative of the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as officers from another operational Container Control Programme structure in the South Eastern Europe - the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) in Montenegro.

Considering the framework of cooperation among the law enforcement structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in prevention of cross-border organized crime and all forms of illicit trafficking, the Study Visit had a specific focus on such topics as risk profiling and risk analyses for containerized shipments, information exchange contexts, cooperation of customs with other law enforcement structures, cooperation with the private sector, and other relevant issues. During the visit, the participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro had an opportunity to observe a practical IT solution applied by the Customs Administration of Croatia in the areas of risk profiling, intelligence assessments and analyses complemented by the practical exercises of the detailed psychical search and the use of the scanner.  

This UNODC-WCO activity was implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform Programme.

                             

                          

                          

Joint Container Control Unit at Durres Port seizes one ton of marijuana

25 October 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port, Albania (JPCU) in cooperation with the Border Police officers of the second line of control at the ferry terminal seized  983 kg 845 gr of marijuana. The drugs were seized at a trailer truck awaiting to be embarked on the Durres - Ancona ferry. Final destination of the seized narcotics was Milan, Italy.

             

The verifications in the Technology and Information Management System showed that the driver had frequently traveled through the Durres Port as well as through Qafe Thana Border Crossing Point, the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The trailer was loaded with timbers amidst which 50 packages of marijuana were found.

              

This operation was a result of the joint work of the JPCU at the Durres Port with the Risk Assessment Department of the Durres Border Police which decided to examine the trailer very carefully, based on risk indicators. Various elements supported the police work such as the type of the load which is classified as a risky one, the uncertainty and fragmented responses of driver during the interview and the use of the drug sniffing dog.

The driver and two other Albanian citizens are under arrest accused of international illegal trafficking of narcotics. It is reported that the narcotics was purchased in Bushat, Shkodra district, in north-western Albania.

This seizure takes the total amount of the seized marijuana at Durres Port by the JPCU only to 6.6 tons.

The JPCU is established in 2013 under the UNODC-WCO Global Programme on Container Control supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

 

Results of the UNODC - Lions Club International Foundation pilot "Skills for adolescence" programme presented at the European Union Society for Prevention Research annual meeting

22-24 October 2015, Ljubljana, Slovenia: UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) has successfully piloted the Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" programme in the Republic of Serbia in the period of September 2015 - June 2016 in 21 elementary schools in Belgrade. Following the implementation of this programme, informative data was collected as part of the monitoring process, that facilitated siring of interesting assessment on pilot project effectiveness, presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Prevention Research (EU-SPR) in Slovenia.

The assessment of the UNODC - LCIF pilot Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" programme was layed out in a form of a poster presentation which was well attended and raised significant interest. The assessment was executed using the pre-post test instrument measuring substance use and the following four indicators: refusal skills, normative belief, perception of harm and intention to use psychoactive substances. Main results of the assessment argued the significant improvement in refusal skills, especially among the groups who never tried the relevant substance (alcohol, tobacco, marihuana) where the perception of the harm of alcohol increased significantly.

This year's annual meeting of the EU-SPR was entitled "Changing Behavior without Talking: Automatic Processes and the Regulation of Behavior" and gathered vast number of scientists to present their work in the field of universal, selective and indicated prevention aimed at improving human health.

                       

UNODC and Turkey Deliver a Regional Criminal Intelligence Training

19 October 2015, Podgorica, Montenegro: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the Turkish International Academy Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) started today a Regional Criminal Intelligence Analysis course for law enforcement officers from the countries of the South Eastern European region. The training course was designed for officers who have or will have responsibilities for analyzing crime and criminal activities; producing intelligence assessments on the activities, finances and associations of criminal groups, and the movement of commodities; and developing trends in the targeted criminal activity. Analytical knowledge gained in this course was its primary goal.  The course was interpreted in local languages in order to ensure the maximum outreach, also in the future.

            

The Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) was established in Ankara on 26 June 2000 under the Anti-smuggling and Organized Crime Department and within the framework of Turkey's collaboration with UNODC. The day of which Academy was opened is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. TADOC provides training not only to the personnel of the Turkish national law enforcement agencies, but also to the law enforcement personnel of the countries that Turkey signed bilateral cooperation agreements and treaties. Furthermore, TADOC is also a significant contributor of the training projects organized within multinational organizations and institutions such as the OSCE, the NATO-Russia Council and others. For more than a decade, UNODC and TADOC have fruitful cooperation, and this training course is an extension of this partnership.

Earlier this year in Ankara, UNODC and TADOC have conducted a two-week training programme on undercover operations with the participation of law enforcement officers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. More trainings funded by the Government of Turkey are planned to be undertaken under the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019).

                         

UNODC and Lions Club International Foundation participate in national consultative meetings on the implementation of Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" programme

16 October 2015, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia; 19 October 2015, Podgorica Montenegro:  Following the organization of the inception meeting of the Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" pilot programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, meetings with the national group of experts in the field of drug use prevention were organized in Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia.

Meetings were scheduled as a part of the Lions Club International Foundation representative visit to the region of the South Eastern Europe to discus the pilot programme Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" values and the set objectives, with the group of national experts delegated by the national counterparts.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia and the city municipality Zvezdara a follow up meeting was organized in Belgrade on 16 October. Meeting objectives were to further discuss the programme implementation and its achieved results and to focus on the next steps respecting the lessons learned from the piloting phase of the programme. Meeting was attended, beside the national counterparts, by the representatives from the elementary schools where the programme was delivered. The importance of having the continuous implementation of the evidence based drug use prevention programmes and its usefulness for the students as well as for the teachers and the schools was repeatedly underlined.

On 19 October in Podgorica, the Ministry of Education of Montenegro together with UNODC organized an inception meeting of the Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" pilot programme to present the programme material, implementation mechanism and acknowledged best practices from the region.  It was announced that programme will be piloted in five cities in Montenegro: Podgorica, Niksic, Cetinje, Danilovgrad and Spuz - in 17 elementary schools with the coverage of more than 1,000 students in the pilot phase. The representatives from the national Department for education and the Institute of public health attended the meeting, alongside with the NGO CAZAS.

                      

                      

UNODC joins the discussion on good practices of reporting corruption in Skopje

15 October 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC participated in a conference "International and regional good practices to protect the reporting persons - whistleblowers" organized by the Transparency International in Skopje.

One of the recommendations to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia made in the Executive Summary of the Implementation Review of the UN Convention against Corruption, was to strengthen the protection of reporting persons. This topic has also been picked up by the civil society in the country. Transparency International - Macedonia organized the two day conference with the participation of high-level politicians and experts from various countries which allowed for focused discussions on the experiences that can be transferred into the Macedonian anti-corruption system. The Conference included a segment for UNODC in which the new publication on Good Practices in the Protection of Reporting Persons was presented and advice on the follow-up to the review recommendations was provided.

Establishing Joint Investigation Teams - Good Practices and Challenges

13-15 October 2015, Budapest, Hungary:  The UNODC Regional Programme for South East Europe and the Government of Hungary - the International Training Center of the Ministry of Interior - have jointly organized the third training on establishing Joint Investigation Teams for participants - Judges, Investigators, Prosecutors and Forensic experts - from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Trainings were held in the languages of the counties and were supported by a financial contribution of the Hungarian Government.

After two successful training session which took place earlier this year for the participants from the above countries of South Eastern Europe, as well as Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, this third session was organized to strengthen and enhance the communication among the mentioned countries and identify principles, practices and guidelines that support operational Joint Investigation Teams to tackle serious organized crime.

The third course provided valuable experience of the Eurojust and Europol experts, as well as experts from the National Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution of Hungary.

At the beginning of the course, participants were familiarized with the work and history of the Ministry of Interior International Training Center. An investigator from the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation and Organized Crime presented orientation skills, technical information and joint Trafficking in Human Beings case study of the United Kingdom and Hungary. An JIT expert from the Hungarian Prosecution presented conclusions and results of selected JIT cases.

Participants also have had the opportunity to learn more about the main points of JIT cooperation with the Europol, Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe legal frame for the contracting countries, and the role of Eurojust.

Participants evaluated all three courses as successful in providing the necessary knowledge and skills for the numerous professional challenges in tackling organized crime.

                  

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme advance in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

09 - 15 October 2015, Skopje and Kavadarci, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) successfully continued piloting the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" program in Kavadarci, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, by organizing the third and fourth training sessions out of a series of five in total.

Participants coming from Veles and Kavadarci have proficiently completed the training workshops, thus increasing the current number of educated teachers to 60, taking into account the trained teachers from two previously organized workshops. The teachers nominated for attending the training workshops represent 14 elementary schools from Veles and Kavadarci, where further delivery of the programme is expected in the following academic year.

As part of the mission to the South Eastern Europe region, the representative of the LCIF visited the training workshop in Kavadarci and has officially addressed the participants, emphasizing the relevance and successful collaboration between UNODC and the Ministry of Education of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Furthermore, at the inception meeting of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" pilot programme, organized by the Ministry of Education in Skopje on 12 October 2015, the LCIF representative presented the relevant programme material, envisaged implementation mechanism and the programme objectives.

The inception meeting was attended by representatives of the local education institutions and relevant other organizations and was concluded with an active discussion on the next steps and exploring potential for sustainable results and actions in the future.

The last training workshop is planned for 9-11 November 2015 in Tetovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with 15 new teachers to be trained.   

                       

 

15th meeting of the Expert Working Group of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe

7-9 October 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC participated in the 15th meeting of the Expert Working Group of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe hosted in Skopje by the Ministry of Interior under the umbrella of the current Macedonian Chairmanship of the PCC SEE.

The meeting discussed PCC SEE initiatives with regard to the extraordinary migration flows, including Parties' joint efforts and common operations under the DCAF Border Security Programme. The ongoing PCC SEE work was reviewed and the strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation was reflected upon. The meeting also discussed the PCC SEE work beyond 2016, including training needs assessment and strategic and practical orientation. The closing discussion was oriented towards the upcoming Meeting of the Committee of Ministers, including the topics for the Ministers' discussion and the documents to be signed.

UNODC cooperates with the PCC SEE under the umbrella of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme which operates in the region in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

At the side of the meeting, UNODC conducted consultations on the ongoing activities with the representatives of the host Government, Albania and Hungary as well as OSCE, MARRI, IOM, EUROPOL and FRONTEX.    


       

UNODC participates in the Regional conference to discuss countering violent extremism

8 October 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Rising global concerns related to challenges in countering violent extremism and radicalization was the focus of an international conference that concluded today in Sarajevo.

The conference "Foreign Terrorist Fighters - Challenges for South-Eastern Europe" was co-organized by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the RACVIAC Centre for Security Co-operation and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and gathered more than 150 regional and international experts, including from UNODC.

The aim of the conference was to provide a platform for national authorities of South Eastern European countries, civil society, academic circles, and international organizations to discuss challenges in countering violent extremism and the foreign fighters' phenomenon in the region. The participants discussed different elements that lead to violent extremism, ranging from radicalization to recruitment, departure, and return.

The Deputy Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina has noted in his remarks at the event that his country was well aware of all risks related to violent extremism and radicalization and is active at both national and international levels in contributing to global counter-terrorist measures aimed at preventing, combating and protecting against all forms of terrorism and terrorism related activities.

The participants of the conference have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that local communities are involved in prevention of violent extremism and are empowered to promote positive narratives to counter those espoused by violent extremist groups, and stressed that it is exactly at this local level that counter-radicalization measures prove most effective. They underscored the dedication to prevention of inter-state travel by foreign terrorist fighters, inter-agency cooperation and information exchange, countering the financing of terrorism, measures countering the increase of the use of information and communications technology for recruitment and to strengthening international cooperation in countering the use of the Internet and social media for terrorist purposes.

The UNODC representative focused particularly on the UN Security Council Resolution 2178 on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. 

                          

UNODC Executive Director holds an official visit to Romania

8 October 2015, Bucharest, Romania: Mr. Yury Fedotov, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, visited Bucharest, Romania, with an official mission on the occasion of the Regional workshop on challenges posed by a preventative criminal justice response to terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters organized by UNODC and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean and hosted by the Parliament of Romania.

The workshop is part of the five-year UNODC Initiative on Criminal Justice Responses to Foreign Terrorist Fighters (2015-2019) covering North Africa and Middle East, as well as South Eastern Europe. In the course of the workshop various elements related to the topic of the foreign terrorist fighters phenomenon were reviewed, including applicable international law, the prominent role of parliamentarians in countering terrorism, the challenges related to the new financial channels of terrorist groups, as well as promoting regional and international cooperation. The topic of prevention and countering terrorism was among the key issues discussed in the bilateral programme of the UNODC Executive Director.

                 

During his visit, Mr. Fedotov met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Romania, Foreign Policy Advisor of the President of Romania, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania and State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Romania. The meetings with the Romanian counterparts were instrumental in the identification of future avenues for cooperation between UNODC and country. Romania is an Observer to the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and participates in the meetings of its Steering Committee. Romania has also offered in-kind to the Regional Programme.

On the occasion of his visit, the UNODC Executive Director has held consultations with the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, and agreed on concrete steps for the two agencies to pursue in 2016.  

For further information:

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/speeches/2015/bucharest-pam-081015.html

https://twitter.com/unodc

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=430417683823681&id=165253540340098

                  

                  

                  

UNODC Executive Director visits the South Eastern European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC)

8 October 2015, Bucharest, Romania: During his official mission to Bucharest, Mr. Yury Fedotov, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, visited the Headquarters of the South Eastern European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) and met with Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir, Director General of the Centre.

The officials discussed the status of cooperation between UNODC and SELEC, usage of data provided in SELEC situation reports, and useful outcomes of inter-agency and inter-regional cooperation initiated by UNODC, including the Networking the Networks initiative.

UNODC and SELEC share common objectives with regard to enhance coordination in preventing and combating crime, including serious and organized crime, and cooperate on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations concluded in 2012. UNODC has a status of Observer to SELEC, and SELEC is an Observer to the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.
For more information: http://www.selec.org/ 

                

 

UNODC conducts a country visit to Albania in the context of reviewing the implementation of UNCAC

5-7 October 2015, Tirana, Albania: UNODC conducted a country visit to Albania in the context of reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in that country (fourth year of the first review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).

The discussions in the context of this country visit were held in Tirana, involving Armenia and Mali 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 at the domestic level (chapters III on Criminalization and law enforcement and IV on international cooperation) with the relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of Albania, involved in the implementation of anti-corruption measures and policies.

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 to reflect the conclusions and findings of the country visit. The report will identify successes, good practices and challenges and make observations for the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated in all United Nations official languages. The country review may also be published, if the country under review decides to make it available in the public domain.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme initiated in Montenegro as a result of collaborative effort of UNODC and Lions Club International Foundation

02-04 and 05-07 October 2015, Podgorica, Montenegro: In accordance with the agreed upon plan of the expansion of the UNODC - Lions Club International Foundation work in South Eastern Europe, the two agencies have commenced the pilot Lions Quest programme entitled "Skills for Adolescence" in Montenegro.

Montenegro is the third country in the South Eastern European region to benefit from the life skill school based Lions Quest programme "Skills for Adolescence". In Montenegro, the pilot programme is continuing following the successful implementation in the Republic of Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The pilot programme is implemented together with the Ministry of Education of Montenegro and has started in Podgorica with the two training workshops, in a series of five, where educators from six elementary schools: "Savo Pejanovic", "Branko Bozovic", Stampar Makarije", "21 May", "Maksim Gorki" and "Vuk Karadzic" successfully completed the training. As a result of these trainings, 30 educators were trained on the programme material and teaching skills to proceed with the implementation of 26 programme sessions with the groups of students in their schools from October 2015 to June 2016. Furthermore, as part of the programme capacity development process, two trainers of educators will be trained in parallel with the training workshops, to ensure the sustainability of programme application and higher numbers of trained experts.

The next three training workshops are planned from 29-31 October in Niksic and 2-7 November in Podgorica, Montenegro with 45 new educators to be trained.          

           

Workshop on combating drug trafficking takes place in Skopje

1-2 October 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A Workshop on combating drug trafficking, was organized by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Italy represented by the Embassy of Italy in Skopje with the participation of UNODC, DCSA (Italian Central Direction for Anti-drug Services), and Public Prosecution Office for Organised Crime.

The event was of practical nature for law enforcement officers working in the Sectors for illegal drug trafficking from the national Ministry of Interior and Customs Administration. The Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Skopje and authorities of  Ministry of Interior, including the Director of Public Security and the Director of the Training Center presented an address at the opening of the Workshop.
The Workshop further went on to discuss operational cooperation in the fight against international drug trafficking, latest trends in modus operandi, and new drugs on the market (New Psychoactive Substances-NPS) with presentations from DCSA, Public Prosecutors Office, Ministry of Interior and Customs.

The UNODC contribution to the seminar focused on presenting the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the Paris Pact Initiative, with special emphasis on the latest findings of the World Drug Report 2015 and the Report "Illicit drug trade through South Eastern Europe", including the new global trends in opiates including the online market, and synthetic drugs with focus on the NPS.

                                  

                               

 

Mentorship mission at the Port of Bar, Montenegro

27 September - 2 October 2015, Bar, Montenegro: One of the objectives of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme is to pursue the results of the delivered training activities after they were completed with a view to ensure that the improved skills of the Joint Port Control Teams (JPCU) will allow the officers to sustain their services and become more independent in a longer term. With this in mind, UNODC has organized a five-day mentorship mission to the Port of Bar which was also attended by four officers of the Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port in Albania.

During the mentoring week, 2 container vessels called the port of Bar. Customs receive the deep sea manifest data via email, normally at least 24 hours before arrival of the vessel.

After risk analysis, 3 containers were selected for physical inspection: 2 containers from China for IPR infractions and 1 container with medicines for permit reasons. Due to the procedures that are in place (the customs declaration has to be presented and the owner of the goods or his representative needs to be present during the inspection), the selected containers will be examined at a later stage.

44 refrigerated containers loaded with bananas from Ecuador and Costa Rica were examined on MO rip off immediately after dischargement from the vessel in the presence of a representative of the shipping line. These rip off inspections can be done at any time and do not cause any problems. Often, the JPCU makes use of the mobile scanner to assist in the examination.

                      

On request of the teams' members additional specialised training on the manipulation of seals and container search was provided by UNODC mentor.

During this mission, UNODC-WCO provided the JPCU with 6 UN drug and precursors test kits. UNODC mentor provided training on the use of the test kits to all participants (similar drug test kits were also provided to the JPCU in Durres).

           

The mentorship visit contributed to the promotion of the capacity building of the target joint team and enabled the officers to reach out to their services in a more effective way. The participation of the Albanian officers contributed to a better exchange of information and cooperation between the different units in the region.

UNODC and Lions Club International Foundation commenced the pilot Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

25-27 and 28-30 September 2015, Ohrid, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Lions Club International Foundation signed a cooperation agreement last year to pilot the life skill school based programme of the Lions Quest entitled "Skills for Adolescence" in the region of South Eastern Europe.

Following the successful implementation of the programme in the Republic of Serbia, the piloting of the programme has been further extended to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in partnership with the country's Ministry of Education and Science.

The programme has now started with two training workshops, in a series of five, where 30 educators were trained on the programme material, implementation mechanism and teaching skills. Following the results of these training workshops, direct implementation of 40 programme sessions will be conducted in 12 elementary schools in Ohrid and Struga from October 2015 to June 2016.

Upon the completion of a five training workshops cycle, the programme is expected to reach out to more than 2,000 students in 45 elementary schools covering the topics of social emotional skills building as a tool for prevention of drug use risk factors.

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.
The next training workshops, third and fourth, are planned for 9-11 and 13-15 October 2015 in Kavadarci, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with 30 new educators to be trained.

                                

                             

                             

UNODC and Montenegro focus on protection of victims of trafficking in persons

22-25 September 2015, Budva, Montenegro: UNODC and the Office of the Government of Montenegro for the Fight against Human Trafficking, with the financial support of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings of the Government of the United States (US J / TIP), has organized a four-day conference on "Protection of victims of trafficking in the criminal proceedings."

At the opening ceremony, the Chief State Prosecutor of Montenegro, the US Ambassador to Montenegro, the National Coordinator and Head of the Office of the Government of Montenegro for the Fight against Human Trafficking, and the UNODC Expert delivered welcoming remarks.

Organizing of multidisciplinary training 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, was aimed to improve the knowledge and enhance the exchange of experiences of participants in areas such as the taking of testimony from the victims of trafficking in persons; special measures in relation to protection of child victims of trafficking in persons; informing victims of their rights - particularly with regard to the right to apply for compensation, as well as avoiding secondary victimization of victims during criminal proceedings.

For more information  please refer to  http://www.antitrafficking.gov.me/vijesti/152562/Zastita-zrtava-trgovine-ljudima-u-krivicnom-postupku.html

 

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme: Workshop on principles of basic criminal intelligence analysis

21-22 September 2015, Bar, Montenegro: Operating within the framework of the successful UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme training structure and methodology, a two-day Workshop on Principles of Basic Criminal Intelligence was organized for officials of the Joint Port Control Units (JPCUs) established in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
The Workshop discussed endeavours of the administrations of customs, border police and other police structures to modernize their risk management practices by building an intelligence capability within their organizations. The workshop in particular addressed several issues identified by the participating countries' agencies aiming to expose participating officers to international best practices related to intelligence and provide additional tools, techniques, and continuing education designed to enhance their analytical capabilities in pursuit of credible, reliable, and timely intelligence products demanded by a risk-based approach to Customs management.
This activity builds upon a previous training opportunity organized for the officials from the Joint Port Control Units organized in May this year - Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures (COPES), within continued efforts of UNODC and WCO to support the Customs administrations as well as border/police structures in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to enhance its crime response capacities.

            

 

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme: Training on use of the Preliminary Drug Identification Kits

15 September 2015, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: To further enhance operative capacities of the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit deployed at the border crossing/customs point Bijaca, a hands-on training on the use of the Drug Identification Kits was provided through the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

Drug Identification Kits are intended to provide law enforcement officers with a tool for rapid and simple testing for the preliminary field identification of drugs most commonly encountered in the illicit traffic. The hands-on training was delivered in cooperation with the Federal Police Directorate - Center for Forensic and Information Technology Support, whose experts trained participants on use of the drugs identification tests and other practical techniques required in the field conditions.

Besides the staff of the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit, training was attended by a number of officials from the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Indirect Taxation Authority, adding to collaborative effort to enhance professional capacities of the staff in their regular work and operations.

A number of Preliminary Drug Identification Kits were donated to the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina in collaboration with the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section in the HQ Vienna.

Since January 2015, the daily work of the Joint Cargo Container Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina contributes to minimizing risks related to illicit trafficking across of borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are funded through the contribution of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, in the context of the Swiss Regional Police Cooperation Programme in the Western Balkans, and the United States Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme.

       

       

             

UNODC study tour from Central Asia to South Eastern Europe

14 September to 18 September 2015, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania: The UNODC Regional Programme for South East Europe and the UNODC Regional Project for Central Asia on regional cross-border cooperation have jointly organised a study tour for senior law enforcement and other officials from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to Serbia on 14-15 September, Montenegro on 15-16 September and Albania on 17-18 September 2015.

The purpose of the study tour was the familiarization with the organization of the work of cross-border cooperation liaison offices and the border control situation centers at the checkpoints, as well as an interagency and cross-border cooperation set-up to fight smuggling and illicit drug trafficking; as well as the inclusion in the work of law enforcement agencies (especially at checkpoints) of technological novelties, radio communication networks and trained dogs. The best practices that could be acquired in the course of the study visit were considered to be useful for the further improvement of the work of border liaison offices and other officials in the three Central Asian countries.

In Belgrade, Serbia, meetings were held with officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Border Police and the Customs Administration of Serbia. The Serbian counterparts have shared the lessons learnt and best practices from their work as well as other relevant information about procedures in combating narcotics, merchandise and human trafficking.

                          

Meeting with colleagues from Border Police Serbia in Ministry of Interior

                          

Meeting with the Risk Management Department at the Serbian Customs Administration   

The visit of the Central Asian delegation is presented as a valuable event on the official website of the Serbian Customs : http://www.carina.rs/lat/Stranice/Vest.aspx?ListItemID=1222

After a valuable exchange of experiences with Serbian colleagues, the Central Asian delegation visited Montenegro for the meetings with the national Border Police and Customs Administration, organized with the help of the Montenegrin Member of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme at the Ministry of the Interior of Montenegro. A frank exchange has taken place between the receiving and visiting officials.                        

                         

Meeting with the Montenegro Border Police

                         

The Customs Administration of Montenegro presents the detailed structure of their organization and the challenges faced in daily work

After two fruitful meetings with the Montenegro Border Police and Customs, the high-ranked officers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have visited the first one-stop Joint Border Crossing in South Eastern Europe between Albania and Montenegro - "Muriqan/Sukobin".

The Joint Border Crossing is a very good example of the customs and border police cooperation of two countries, who act as a team in combating various law violations. The passengers also benefit from the JBC arrangement as they have to undergo only one passport and customs control.

The customs and border police of Albania and Montenegro are placed together in the same building where they constantly exchange observations and assist each other in their work.

                                              

Albania and Montenegro one-stop Joint Border Crossing officials with the Central Asian delegation

                        

Demonstration of a joint inspection of a suspect at the Joint Border Crossing "Sukobin/Muriqan"

The fifth day of the Central Asian official mission was fulfilled with meetings with representatives of the Albanian Ministry of Interior, Customs and Border Police in Tirana.

                       

Meeting with the Chief of the Central Anti-Narcotics Service, General Directorate of State Police of Albania

After very a useful and detailed exchange of professional experiences between  the Central Asian delegation and the Albanian counterparts, the sixth day of the visit was devoted to the trip to the Albanian Port Duress and introduction with the structure, duties and functions of the Customs, Border Police and Migration at the port, as well as with the outcomes of work of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.  Besides the useful verbal introduction of procedures in the Duress Port, the Central Asian guests had a chance to take a closer look at the daily work of the Albanian officials.

                       

The delegation visits the Customs office at the Duress Port that is equipped and furnished with support of UNODC

The study tour was successfully concluded by achieving the expected outcomes in further promoting interagency and inter-regional cooperation in combatting drug trafficking and other types of crimes at the borders. Best practices were identified by the members of the Central Asia delegation, including, for instance, the implementation of the border control by specific units consisting of representatives of different agencies, usage of a single databases by different structural divisions involved in border control and cross border cooperation, online control and video surveillance of goods moving through the borders by specific teams on risk assessment and analysis, the capability of remote inspection of declared goods, One stop - One control principle, and others. All sides agreed that the study visit was a mutually beneficial and very effective practices that could be continued in the future.                  

The UNODC Executive Director meets the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina

14 September 2015, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov and H.E. Mr. Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, met in Vienna to continue the ongoing active dialogue between UNODC and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially with regard to the implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The Foreign Minister appreciated the work of UNODC in Bosnia and Herzegovina in various areas of UNODC mandate and noted that this work is beneficial for the activities that Bosnia and Herzegovina is undertaken in relation to the Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an active partner of UNODC in various areas and is hosting a UNODC office currently working predominantly in the container control and counter-trafficking areas and in the future aiming to host the expertise in the area of anti-money laundering.

The Minister also noted the UNODC work under the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 and expressed willingness of Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue participating in the UNODC-led drug use prevention programmes. 

UNODC, OSCE develop strategies to reduce drug demand and drug supply to youth

10 September 2015, Vienna, Austria: UNODC, through its Deputy Executive Director, addressed a high-level conference aimed at enhancing the mechanisms to stem the increasing spread of illicit drugs amongst young people, organized under the Serbian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The two-day event was held at the Hofburg palace in Vienna, bringing together practitioners from national administrations, representatives from youth initiatives and civil society organizations (CSOs) as well as international and regional organizations.

The objective of the conference was to provide a platform for representatives of both OSCE participating States and Partners for Cooperation to discuss ways in which non-law enforcement agencies and CSOs can collaborate with law enforcement services in their efforts to address the links between young people and illicit drugs. Furthermore, the conference sought to identify measures that can be taken to protect children and young people from the illicit use of narcotics; to enhance and streamline international cooperation in the prevention of illicit drug supply to youth; to raise the awareness of drug problems among youth in the OSCE area; to support the delay in the age at which illicit drugs are first used; and to review other practical aspects of drug demand reduction. The high-level meeting also reviewed a potential OSCE engagement in the preparation of the UN General Assembly Special Session world drug problem (UNGASS) in 2016.

In the UNODC statement at the opening of the conference, scientific evidence-based approaches to addressing drug demand reduction challenges were highlighted, along with the notion that substance abuse should not be seen only as a security threat, but rather as a consequence of a compromised security at the individual level as well as a social, public, developmental and economic challenge. In this context, it was noted that, for UNODC, it is always important to focus on the human dimension of the drug problem: namely, the men, women and children affected in many ways by drug use and dependence including all its negative health and social consequences. Participants were briefed on UNODC's efforts to promote a health-centred, rights-based approach, rooted in the international drug control conventions, as well as the value of evidence based prevention and treatment. UNODC Executive Director, Also Lale-Demoz, further stressed that a health-oriented approach focused on supporting the healthy and safe development of children and youth, ensuring they would grow into adulthood as productive members of our society. The UNODC representative also spoke about the UNODC-OSCE work in Central Asia, as well as the achievements under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The conference is in line with the Joint Action Plan between UNODC and the OSCE and contributes to the active ongoing cooperation between the two Organizations, based on the complementarity of their mandates, whereby the OSCE is primarily a political forum and UNODC a practical supporter of countries in building their capacities. In their partnership, UNODC and the OSCE are applying coherent and complementary approaches to assist the countries in the OSCE area.

Further information:

Opening remarks of Deputy Executive Director Aldo Lale-Demoz

UNODC's work on drug prevention and treatment

 

Presentation of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe to the UN member states in Vienna

7 September 2015, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC work in South Eastern Europe has been presented to the Standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in accordance with the regular workplan of the Group. UNODC has pointed out that it recognizes that South Eastern Europe is a region where a lot of good results have been achieved already and that the Regional Programme works taking into consideration the common goal of accession to the European Union in the region and is designed to contribute to this process and strengthen in particular the areas that require attention in the context of the accession negotiations under chapters 23 (on justice), 24 (on organized crime and trafficking) and 28 (public health) of the EU acquis.

The Regional Programme team has presented a summary of achievements in 2014 including:
·    The successes of the Container Control Programme, including expanding to Bosnia and Herzegovina, multiple capacity building events in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, cooperation beyond the region (with Italy, Middle East, North Africa and Latin America), as well as seizures by the Albanian Container Control Unit (over 5.6 tons of marijuana, 23 kilos of heroin and counterfeit goods worth 200,000 Euro). UNODC has expressed appreciation to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the provision of the in-kind contribution to UNODC in a form of a free of charge office premises.
·    The cooperation with the Government of Turkey which is an active partner of the UNODC work in the region and has supported, among other actions, the development of a comprehensive Report on Drug Trafficking through South Eastern Europe which was launched in Vienna and the capitals in the region and is now being used by law enforcers.
·    The start of work on a new Report on the impact of illicit financial flows on the Balkans.
·    The active work of the UNODC Global Anti-Human Trafficking Programme in South Eastern Europe to support national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in human beings, including children, through multiple capacity building events, as well as assistance to the Office of the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator in Albania in drafting a new National Strategy, and in establishing and maintaining of the helpline for victims.
·    The multi-faceted UNODC work in connection to the UNCAC Review Mechanism, as well as the finalization of a series of 16 studies on corruption in the Western Balkans which provided evidence-based data to assist the region in mapping crime problems, better addressing them, and raising awareness in general.
·    The gender sensitive work under the Regional Programme, including in the context of treatment of female prisoners in the region and in anti-corruption efforts in Albania.
·    The assessment of prison-based rehabilitation programmes in Albania.
·    The active work of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch in the region, including in the context of the UNSCR 1540 on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.
·    The vigorous partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation in Serbia (where 720 capacity building training session in 18 schools in Serbia took place reaching out to 1,300 children), Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
·    The active work of the UNODC Strengthening Families Programme in 10 schools in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia holding over 70 capacity building events across the country, as well as knowledge raising among policy makers from the entire region.
·    The active work of the UNODC Treatment Programme which has reached over 130 experts in Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, assessed the scale of problematic drug use in Albania, and fostered the system of sustainable development and social inclusion.  
UNODC has further noted that two meetings of the governing body of the Regional Programme - its Steering Committee - were held last year, as well as a senior donor briefing by the UNODC Executive Director. UNODC has published four quarterly newsletters and 78 web-stories on this webpage in 2014.

A short summary of the outcomes of the Independent In-Depth Evaluation of the Regional Programme, which has been completed in May this year, was presented, including a number of examples of best practice in its work.
Close quotes: One of the strengths, noted throughout, is the ownership of the Regional Programme, which assists the Governments in the fulfilment of their national plans, strategies and priorities, and contributes to a more effective regional operational environment. This is further supported by the evident impact of the Programme which, according to the Evaluation, is visible in a number of EU-accession inspired action-plans, programmes and guidelines in the region; * improved staff skills and infrastructure for border police and customs facilities; * increased drugs seizures; * increased cooperation between judiciary; * as well as improved awareness, expertise and professional skills in drug-treatment and prevention.

Finally, the meeting was informed about the progress in the development of the new Regional Programme for the period 2016-2019 and the way forward. 

Link to PP presentation of RP SEE for Fingov September 2015

 

Annual Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Container Control Programme in Albania

3 September 2015, Tirana, Albania: The annual meeting of the Steering Committee (SC) of the Container Control Programme in Albania (CCP) was held in Tirana. The meeting was opened by the UNODC CCP Global Programme Coordinator who briefed the attendees on the status of implementation of CCP globally and regionally focusing in more detail in its implementation at the Port of Durres, as well as informed the meeting on the new UNODC-WCO Programmes such as Air Cargo. Welcoming remarks were also delivered by the Resident Coordinator/UNDP Representative ai in Tirana, General Director of the Albanian Border Police and Migration, Head of Durres Customs House, Director of Anti Organized Crime Department.

          

The meeting, chaired by the Head of Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port and the UNODC Programme Officer in Albania, discussed the progress in the implementation of the 2015 of the CCP; the JPCU's achievements; cooperation with other national law enforcement entities and the business community; international and regional activities and contacts established; the role of the JPCU in the country's efforts against illicit trafficking and contraband; proposed key factors  and recommendations for further improving the JPCU performance; knowledge sharing and the role of the Steering Committee; financial resources and donors' support to CCP in Albania, including advocacy efforts and number of publications produced.

The meeting was operational and practical and allowed to plan ahead and design activities for the 2016 workplan.

 

Launch of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme Women's Network

25 August 2015, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme held a one day meeting to launch its new Women's Network initiative. The meeting brought together CCP staff and two national female officers from the CCP Port Control Unit in Durres, Albania, to discuss how to operationalize the Women's Network.

Within a culturally sensitive framework, the CCP Women's Network aims to promote professionalism and core leadership of female national counterparts in order to increase women's participation in the Programme. At present, women account for approximately 12% of CCP's Port Control Unit (PCU) officers.  In some countries, there are no women PCU officials, while in West Africa 22% of PCU members are women. The Network aims to address gender stereotypes that limit women's opportunities.

Among the actions to be undertaken, the CCP Women's Network will:

  • Encourage the Programme's PCUs to include female law enforcement officers by introducing a number of measures including gender-sensitized recruitment criteria and flexible working hours;
  • Establish a support network to build the capacity of women PCU members including specific mentoring initiatives and the development of information/resource sharing initiatives;
  • Introduce a gender sensitization module to the standard CCP training package for men and women PCU members; and,
  • Define gender indicators to assess the impact of interventions.

The CCP builds capacity in Member States seeking to improve trade security and facilitation standards/controls at their borders.  The CCP develops capacity to profile, target and examine containers being used for the transport of illicit goods.  At present, CCP is operational in 28 countries and has initiated activities in further 25 countries. The CCP has received contributions from One UN, Australia, Canada, Denmark, European Union, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

                       

UNODC launched the Strengthening Family Programme 10-14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina

17-21 August 2015, Banja Luka; 22-28 August 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Strengthening Family Programme 10-14 (SFP) is the UNODC flagship drug use prevention programme for the region of South Eastern Europe implemented in Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia since 2010. SFP is an evidence based programme aiming at supporting families in recognizing and identifying family values and strengths relevant for timely and adequate  response to vulnerable and risk factors, which prove to be pertinent for prevention of the onset of drug use within the selected group of adolescences.

Following the consultation with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republican Committee for Drug Use Prevention and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Srpska, an Action plan for Programme implementation was developed defining the implementation modality, which initially resulted in organizing the training of facilitators in Banja Luka and Sarajevo. Selected 10 elementary schools in Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo delegated their experts (teachers, pedagogues and psychologists) to participate at the training for facilitators where they were offered an opportunity to learn more about the teaching skills, project curriculum and project structure.

30 teachers successfully completed the training for facilitators so as to continue with the implementation of the Programme in their schools starting from the beginning of October this year. Every school will be asked to involve 12 families totalling with the expected number of up to 120 families.

Respecting the requirements of the Programme curriculum, UNODC will provide presentation equipment (lap top and projector) to elementary schools involved in the project realisation along with the necessary training material in order to technically support the implementation modality.

A senior representative of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Srpska officially opened the training in Banja Luka and expressed the intention to actively support the project implementation on behalf of the Ministry.

Official opening and closing ceremonies of the training for facilitators in Sarajevo were marked with the speech of the Head of Department for the Suppression of the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs of the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina stating the importance of such drug use prevention programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Training of facilitators was attended by representatives of NGOs "Viktorija" and "PROI" who will logistically support the implementation of the Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.               

 

Joint Container Control Unit and Sector against Economic Crime and Money Laundering seize faked Euros

26 July 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port, Albania (JPCU) in cooperation with the Sector for the Fight Against Economic Crime and Money Laundering arrested an Italian citizen under the accuse of illegal trafficking of arms and ammunition, falsification of currency and non-declaration of foreign currency and of precious items, penal offences envisaged in the Albanian Criminal Code.

The Italian citizen who was passing through the Durres Port to Bari, Italy, was driving a Ford vehicle was discovered to be in possession of 46,750 faked Euros, one gun, model 54, calibre 62mm and a cartridge with 5 bullets.

 

            

The arrest was made using special investigative techniques and in coordination with various law enforcement agencies. This is first case of seizure of faked currency but the second time that JPCU at Durres Port succeeds in seizing arms and ammunition. The case is being further investigated by the serious crime prosecutors.

The JPCU at Durres Port is functioning since February 2013. It is being assisted by the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme financially supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 8.5 kg of heroin

16 July 2015, Durres, Albania: The JPCU operating at Durres Port in cooperation with the Anti-Narcotics Unit of Durres District Police detained at the ferry terminal two Albanian nationals under the penal offence of international illicit trafficking of narcotics. During the inspection at the second line of control, 17 packages of suspected heroin or 8 kg 423.5 gr were found in their vehicle. The final destination of the seized narcotics was Italy.

           

The JPCU decided to control the vehicle after making an analysis of risk indicators. The decision was made in cooperation with the Border Police and the Anti-Drug Service. The Police also sequestrated the vehicle which was in the possession of one of the detainees. Investigation still goes on.

The last seizure of heroin at Durres Port takes the total kilos of seized heroin by the JPCU during 2015 to 11 kg.

The JPCU at the Durres Port was established in February 2013 under the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme and is being generously funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

Experts of the Forensic Centre of the Serbian Ministry of Interior come for a Study Visit to Vienna

15-16 July 2015, Vienna, Austria: Experts from the Forensic Centre of the Serbian Ministry of Interior made a study visit to the UNODC HQ in Vienna facilitated by the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The visit was organized by the OSCE Mission in Belgrade with an OSCE project aiming at enhancing the national capacity of the forensic center of the Serbian police. During the visit to the Laboratory and Scientific Section (LSS) of UNODC the Serbian police forensics experts were informed about the work of the UNODC laboratory and its programmes and the Serbian experts, in turn, informed their UNODC counterparts about the activities of the chemical laboratory of the Forensic Centre of the Serbian Ministry of Interior.

The visiting experts from the Serbian police also learned about UNODC's Global SMART programme which improves the capacity of targeted Member States to generate, manage, analyze, report and use information on illicit synthetic drugs as well as about the Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). The UNODC and Serbian forensic experts also exchanged information on Quality Assurance and the identification and Quantification of Substances under International control and NPS, such as validation of methods, requirements for accreditation, maintenance of the system for quality control in a laboratory, etc.

This study visit is the second one of two study visits to UNODC Vienna organized jointly by UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the OSCE Mission in Serbia for law enforcement officials from South Eastern Europe, within the efforts to support the effective fight against organized and trans-national crime.

                     

UNODC supports sharing the Spanish experience with the ports of Albania and Montenegro 

6-9 July 2015, Port of Valencia, Spain: The post of Valencia was selected by UNODC due to the fact that it is the first and last port of call for regular shipping lines operating in the Western Mediterranean and has regular inter-regional connections with other major world ports (over 1000 ports globally). Furthermore, it has a considerable number of consignments of imports and exports mainly of leather, chemicals, ceramics and fruits including exotic fruits coming from Latin America to the Port of Durres in Albania and Port of Bar in Montenegro. During 2014, the Port of Valencia handled 4 million containers and its work is highly automated.

The delegation supported by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, through the contribution of the EXBS-Albania, consisted of the officers of the Joint Port Control Units of the Durres and Bar Ports, prosecutors, representatives of the Anti-Narcotics Service and other officials.

The delegation met with the Chief of the Economic Department and Chief of the Surveillance Department of the Customs Authorities at the Port of Valencia and was introduced with the structure, organigram, objective of the Regional Customs Authority for Valencia. The guest officers also visited the customs laboratory in Valencia and the container scanner. The delegation also met with the specialists of the risk analysis unit, anti-narcotics and anti-money laundering units, as well as the Chief of Surveillance Department of the Regional Customs Authority of Valencia.

               

               

The representatives of the three ports have agreed to maintain contacts aiming at exchanging information and to plan a return visits to Albania and Montenegro ports from the Valencia port authorities in 2016.

UNODC participates in the OSCE's 15th  Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference

6-7 July 2015, Vienna, Austria: UNODC has taken part in the 15th  Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference  "People at Risk: Combating Human Trafficking Along Migration Routes" organized by the OSCE.

The Alliance against Trafficking in Persons was launched by the OSCE in 2004 as an informal platform for advocacy and cooperation among relevant international interlocutors from across the OSCE region with the aim to prevent and combat human trafficking.

This year's Alliance Conference focuses on human trafficking in the context of migration processes. Delegates from the 57 OSCE participating States and the 11 Partners for Cooperation, experts from key international organizations and NGOs, as well as representatives of the academia, think-tanks and media, attended the Conference. Capitalizing on the knowledge and expertise of the speakers and participants, this event serves to promote human security and enhance the coherence of international efforts in addressing human trafficking along migration routes. The Conference offered an opportunity for an exchange of good practices and lessons learned and provided a platform for strengthening cooperation in the context of implementing both human trafficking and migration-related commitments.

The UNODC Executive Director has spoken in the High-level Introductory Panel of the Conference and had a bilateral meeting with representatives of the Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE, including H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Nikolić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

                     

 

UNODC takes part in the regional anti-corruption dialogue

3-5 July 2014, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC attended a Regional Conference on Development and Strengthening of the Anti-Corruption System in the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina and presented the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), specifically its Chapter II and the upcoming review cycle.

The welcoming remarks at the Conference were delivered by the Chairperson of the Committee for Election and Monitoring over the Work of Agency for Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption, Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as senior representatives of the international community and Ambassadors.

Apart from the UNCAC, the Conference also reviewed the anti-corruption framework in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of EU accession, as well as development, monitoring and implementation of anti-corruption strategies across the region. In the course of the event, experts from different anti-corruption agencies and initiatives from South Eastern Europe presented their experiences and exchanged best practices and lessons learnt. Discussions were held with regard to the development of a new anti-corruption strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the recently adopted anti-corruption strategy of the Republika Srpska.

UNODC and OSCE Support the Law Enforcement Agencies in SEE in the Area of New Psychoactive Substances

2-3 July 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Over 30 representatives from ten countries of the South-Eastern European region and experts from nine international and regional organizations met to discuss law enforcement cooperation in combating the increasing spread of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). With the support of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) the OSCE and UNODC held a two-day regional workshop "New Trends and Identification Techniques in Detection of the New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and Co-operation among Law Enforcement Agencies in South Eastern Europe" aiming to strengthen the capacities of regional law enforcement bodies and their forensic units in detecting such substances and countering illicit drug trafficking.

According to the OSCE representative "over the last couple of years there has been an unprecedented increase in the number, type and availability of new psychoactive substances in Europe, and this tendency is also directly reflected in South-Eastern European region. Such growth of the market in New Psychoactive Substances will continue to pose a range of challenges for public health and drug policy over the next few years and a better regional co-operation is crucial in combating this phenomenon."

The UNODC representative stated that "the number of NPS, such as synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, phenethylamines, and others, continues to increase and already exceeds the total number of substances under international control".

This regional workshop provided the participants with up-to-date information on new trends and identification techniques for detection of New Psychoactive Substances in the region and it is also expected to promote mechanisms of co-operation and co-ordination to enhance capacity of forensic services.

                    

http://www.osce.org/secretariat/168031

UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons supports the work of NGOs in South Eastern Europe

1 July 2015, Vienna, Austria: In its second call for proposals, the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons (UNVTF) has selected and provided grants to two NGOs from South Eastern Europe - from Albania (Different and Equal) and Serbia (ATINA).

In total, 19 NGOs have started implementation of UNVTF grants across the world. The projects focus on provision of direct assistance to victims of human trafficking, including humanitarian, financial and legal assistance. UNODC is the manager of the UNVTF and monitors the work of the NGO partners in their project implementation. The NGO partners will also be kept in mind for inclusion in any anti-human trafficking activities that UNODC will undertaking in their countries, as appropriate.

The Albanian NGO "Different and Equal" was established in 2004 and worked with the Government and other civil society organizations, including anti-trafficking shelters. Their project will be aiming to enhance the efforts for the reintegration of victims of trafficking in Albania with a view to reach out to at least 120 female and 40 male victims, potential and former victims of human trafficking.

The Serbian NGO "ATINA - Citizens' Association for Combat Trafficking in Human Beings and All Forms of Violence Against Women" is working in the anti-human trafficking field since 2004 and is part of the national referral mechanism in Serbia. The project that the NGO will be delivering with the provided grant will focus on sustainable social inclusion of victims of trafficking in Serbia, including 80 women, 10 men, 50 girls and 10 boys.

The projects will be delivered over the period of 3 years.

 

UNODC participates in RACVIAC's seminar on effective national practices in the implementation of UNSCR 1540 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

29-30 June 2015, Rakitje, Croatia: The Seminar, organized by RACVIAC (Centre for Security Cooperation in South Eastern Europe) in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the UN Trust Fund for Global and Regional Disarmament Activities supported by the Republic of Korea, the United States of America and the European Union, focused on voluntary National Implementation Action Plans (NAP) for the Resolution 1540.

The Resolution 1540 (2004) stipulates that all States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery as well as to adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws. In 2011, the UN Security Council adopted a Resolution 1977 which extended the mandate of the 1540 Committee for a period of ten years to 2021 and encouraged all States to prepare on a voluntary basis NAPs, mapping out national priorities and plans for implementing the key provisions of the Resolution 1540. So far, 14 States have submitted voluntarily the NAP to the 1540 Committee.

Representatives from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Romania, Tajikistan and Turkey participated in the Seminar along with experts from international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the World Health Organization, the OSCE, UNODC and the 1540 Committee.

The participants discussed key elements of a voluntary NAP, shared their experience, lessons learned and national effective practices on the development, adoption and implementation of their NAPs and reflected on their national needs in this field and enhancement of cooperation with international and regional organizations.

UNODC presented the Office's mandate in preventing and suppressing the acquisition by non-state actors of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and nuclear), and explained how, by implementing the criminalization provisions of the seven international legal instruments dealing with the matter, States fulfil the obligation established in paragraph 2 of UNSCR 1540 which states: "…States shall adopt and enforce appropriate effective laws which prohibit any non-state actor to manufacture, acquire, posses, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, in particular for terrorist purposes, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist or finance them". Additionally, participants were briefed on the legislative assistance available to requesting States and relevant tools of UNODC such as its legislative database and the online platform, as well as existing and upcoming publications relevant to the implementation of the UNSCR 1540. UNODC will continue to contribute to the activities by RACVIAC and UNODA in this area.

UNODC delivers final follow up session of the programme LionQuest "Skills for Adolescence"

 

29 June 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: As part of the collaborative effort of UNODC and Lions Club International Foundation, Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" Programme has been piloted in Serbia between June 2014 and June 2015. Serbia was the first country to benefit from this global collaboration with plans of expansion to other countries in the near future.

The pilot involved 1,350 students in 21 elementary schools in Belgrade during the 2014-2015 academic year. The pilot was followed by three follow-up sessions to support the implementation of the project and monitor and evaluate the progress.

The third and final follow-up session organised in Belgrade on 29 June 2015 marked the official completion of the implementation of the pilot project in elementary schools presenting a comparative analysis of pre- and post-test results. Aside assessing substance use among students, the pre-test and post-tests accounted for the following main indicators: intention to use substances in the next 30 days, refusal skills, perceived harm and perceived use of psychoactive substances (normative belief).

The post-test analysis showed very rewarding (and statistically significant) changes in strengthening refusal skills in both boys and girls. The changes in other indicators was not statistically significant. The possible reason for not catching this significant change might be due to 2 reasons: 1) the post-test was delivered shortly after the last session of the programme and we needed a longer time to measure the outcome and 2) we did not have a student control group (a comparison group of students who did not receive the Lions Quest intervention) to better judge the impact of the programme.

In order to further assess the effectiveness of the programme, an additional study aiming to test a control group of student in the same elementary schools is due for the next academic year (as of September 2015). The next steps of the analysis would also include a supplementary comprehensive evaluation of the project implementation as well as further revisions of the adapted Lions Quest programme based on lessons and experience learned from the pilot phase.

                          

                        

 

International Day of United Nations against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking marked in Skopje

26 June 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: On the occasion of the International Day Against Drugs, the message of the UN Secretary-General was published to UNDP/UNRC web page:
http://www.mk.undp.org/content/the_former_yugoslav_republic_of_macedonia/en/home/presscenter/articles/2015/06/26/the-secretary-general-message-on-international-day-against-drug-abuse-and-illegal-trafficking.html

The launch of the new World Drug Report 2015 prepared by UNODC and the message of the UNODC Executive Director was promoted through social media.

The Institute for Public Health also gave statement on the International Day Against Drugs on their web-page:
http://www.iph.mk/26-juni-megunaroden-den-protiv-upotreba-na-drogi-i-ilegalna-trgovija/

A UNODC officer has visited the Treatment Center "Kisela Voda" to show support to the work of the centre, pass on the message from our UNODC Executive Director and discuss with the medical professionals the new World Drug Report. The UNODC officer also met with counterparts from the City of Skopje, the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Public Health.

Furthermore, the NGO "HOPS - Healthy Options Project Skopje" marked the Day, paying particular attention to the rights of people who use drugs, including children.  "HOPS" has so far contacted 76 children who use drugs, of which 32 are contacted from January 2014 until now. Youngest children that has contacted 3 year old child inhaling glue and 8 year old child who injected heroin. Of children that "HOPS" has contacted, three have died in 2011 and 2012. "HOPS" has documented three cases of children who use drugs, and in several of them have taken concrete actions to facilitate access to treatment. The first example dates back to 2009 when "HOPS" was assisting an 11-year old who was injecting heroin for two years. The second case of assistance took place in 2011-2012 to help another 11-year old boy who was originally contacted when he was only 8 years old and started injecting heroin; the child is now is in a wheelchair.

In December 2014, "HOPS", in partnership with the Ombudsman Office, has organized a roundtable on "Treatment of children who use drugs". As a conclusion of the round table, was a letter sent to the Ministry of Health asking to set up a multi-sectoral working group to prepare a protocol and a comprehensive programme for treatment of children who use drugs. On the occasion of the International Day, the recommendations were recalled by 18 NGOs and the Ombudsman was thanked for support.

UNODC marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illegal trafficking in Serbia

26 June 2015, Belgrade, Serbia:  The activities of the Republic of Serbia on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illegal Trafficking were connected this year to the exchange on knowledge between the Serbian Ministry of Health and the respective authorities of Israel on drug dependence treatment and care. UNODC was invited to present achieved drug demand reduction results and conveyed the message of the United Nations Secretary-General on the International Day. The main objective of the bi-national conference was to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between Israel and Serbia in the field of drug dependence treatment presented an opportunity to exchange best practices. The conference was co-organized by Israel Anti-Drug Authority and the Ministry of Health of Serbia. Distinguished experts from Israel and Serbia presented their views on the development of drug use treatment in the health care system, moreover the private sector and the important role of the local community was promoted. UNODC had opportunity to present the results of work in Serbia, which were delivered with support of an NGO "The land of living" in the region of Novi Sad, aiming at sustained recovery interventions. The entrepreneurship initiative to produce compost soil and to use generated revenue for the sustainable funding of the treatment center was perceived as an example of good practice. The meeting participants will have an opportunity to visit the therapeutic center in Novi Sad during the second day of the conference.

             

                    

http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=518

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

--

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING

26 June 2015

In September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all.  This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.

Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions.  In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs.  We must consider alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply.  We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. 

We must address the nexus between illicit drugs and violence, corruption and terrorism.  A balanced approach recognizes the close connections between those who traffic in drugs and criminal networks involved in firearms smuggling, kidnapping, human trafficking and other crimes.  This work must also include redoubling efforts to prevent the supply of the precursor chemicals that are the foundation of so many illicit drugs.

Promoting international cooperation through the UN conventions on transnational organized crime and corruption is essential to addressing today's security and development challenges.  No criminal should escape justice. The balanced approach calls for unity of purpose within the international community, including the UN, civil society and, most importantly, the world's nations. No country can work in isolation.  Comprehensive and integrated efforts at the local, regional and global levels offer the best hope for dealing with the traffickers, while taking care to protect vulnerable groups and marginalized communities. 

Efforts against illicit drugs must be connected to our work to promote opportunities through equitable and sustainable development.  We must continually strive to make the weak and fragile stronger.  The United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, to be held in April 2016, can advance this cause, with countries sharing knowledge and forging common solutions.

On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, let us raise awareness about the value of applying a balanced approach to these problems based on an understanding that sustainable development can and must catalyze change across all these fronts.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2015/June/2015-world-drug-report-finds-drug-use-stable--access-to-drug-and-hiv-treatment-still-low.html?ref=fs1

http://www.unodc.org/drugs/en/ed/executive-directors-message-2015.html

 

UNODC joins efforts in support of the UNSC Resolution 1540 regarding the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Montenegro

25-26 June 2015, Podgorica, Montenegro: Following a request by Montenegro to the United Nations Security Council Committee 1540 for international assistance in fulfilling its obligations under the Resolution, the Government of Montenegro held a Workshop on the Implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1540 in Montenegro together with the OSCE and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), with contributions provided by the European Union. Participants from Montenegro were the representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Environmental Protection Agency, Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, Customs Administration and Center for Eco-toxicological Research. The OSCE, UNODA, UNICRI, UNODC, the 1540 Committee Group of Experts, the World Organization for Animal Health and the USA also participated in the meeting.

In the course of the workshop, UNODC briefed Montenegro representatives on types of legal technical assistance that could be offered in support of fulfilment of the county's obligations of the resolution.

The participants of the Workshop discussed the following issues requirements and obligations arising from the UNSCR 1540 at national level, related best practices, UNSCR 1540 Committee activities and its role in improvement of the national implementation measures, strengthening of legislative and administrative framework in order to prevent the proliferation of WMD, interagency cooperation in the field of reduction and elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical threats, cooperation between neighbouring countries, public awareness raising and other topics.

 

UNODC Participates in the National Seminar on 'Strengthening Rule of Law Compliant Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism' in Skopje

24-25 June 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The Seminar was organized in partnership with OSCE and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) for national officials responsible for criminal investigations and prosecution related to terrorism.
The main objectives of the Seminar were to strengthen the legal, criminal justice and institutional capacity of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to conduct effective investigations, prosecutions and adjudication of criminal cases related to terrorism, in accordance with the Rule of  Law and Human Rights and by reference to the GCTF's Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector (the Rabat Memorandum), as well as United Nations and other counter terrorism instruments.

Besides presentations provided by trainers from the US, the Netherlands, Italy and the EU, a UNODC expert provided a number of presentations in the seminar on different aspects of criminal investigations and prosecutions related to terrorism such as: Development of Practices and Procedures to Encourage International Co-operation in Counterterrorism Matters, Criminalization of Terrorism Offenses as Outlined in the Applicable International Conventions and Protocols, Ensuring that Convicted Terrorists are Appropriately Punished and Development of Policies for their Incarceration and Reintegration and Adopt Incentives for Terrorist Suspects and Others to Co-operate in Counterterrorism Investigations and Prosecutions.

UNODC will continue coordinating with OSCE and GCTF related to a follow-up to the training activities from this seminar.

UNODC holds a meeting of HONLEA-Europe

22-25 June 2015, Brussels, Belgium: The Eleventh meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Europe took place in Brussels and discussed the current situation with respect to regional and sub-regional cooperation, trends in drug trafficking as well as practical measures taken in the implementation of recommendations that were adopted by the Tenth HONLEA Europe meeting in 2013. The meeting included four working groups of an operational nature on a variety of the most pertinent issues to the region, including on Airport Communication Project, container control, new psychoactive substances and money-laundering. To underscore the practical and operational nature of the 11 th meeting of the HONLEA Europe, the Belgian authorities have also organized a field visit to the Port of Antwerp, during which participants were invited to address major challenges and effective responses to drug trafficking using sea containers and to share their experiences with national customs and federal police officers and representatives of the private sector.

UNODC has prepared two reports for the meeting:

  • the Report of the Secretariat on current situation with respect to regional and sub-regional cooperation summarizing activities of UNODC with respect to cooperation in South Eastern and Eastern Europe during the period under review (second half of 2013, 2014 and first quarter of 2015) and presenting recent developments concerning relevant initiatives in these regions; as well as
  • the Report of the Secretariat on statistics on drug trafficking trends in Europe and worldwide. This report provides an overview of the latest trends in illicit drug production and trafficking in Europe, Central Asia and worldwide. The statistics and analysis in the report are based on the latest information available to UNODC. In respect of seizure statistics, the report focuses on the years up to and including 2013. The report also includes the latest information on cultivation, production and manufacture of illicit drugs. Annual estimates of the area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2014 to record levels. In South-East Asia, opium poppy cultivation also increased and remained concentrated in Myanmar. Heroin seizures in South Eastern Europe increased slightly, while seizures in Western and Central Europe remained stable at historically low levels. In Eastern Europe and South Eastern Europe the availability of cocaine remained limited, while cocaine seizures in Western and Central Europe have declined since peaking in 2006 and remained relatively stable since 2008. After rapidly increasing up to 2012, global seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants stabilized in 2013. Over half of the worldwide seizures of "ecstasy"-type substances occurred in Europe, seizures of methamphetamine increased in parts of the region and amphetamine seizures remained stable in most European countries. Cannabis continues to be the most widely cultivated, produced, trafficked and consumed illicit drug worldwide. In 2013, cannabis herb seizures increased in Europe and most other regions worldwide.

 

Note: seizures of heroin in South Eastern Europe in 2012-2013 are back to the level of 2006-2007.

The results of work under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe were presented to the 11 th meeting of the HONLEA Europe.

The Programme was also presented to the representatives of the Permanent Missions of the countries of the region to the EU in Brussels and to the officers of the EU Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

For more information:

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/Subsidiary_Bodies/HONEUR/HONEUR_11-documentation.html

http://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/Newsroom/news/press_releases/foreign_affairs/2015/06/ni_220615_honlea.jsp?referer=tcm:312-268804-64

 

UNODC participates in RAI's International Whistleblowing Research Network Conference

18-19 June 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Conference, organized by the International Whistleblowing Research Network and administered by Middlesex University - London, UK, in collaboration with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) brought together experts from academia, governments and NGOs  across the world. Participants from various countries, such as Australia, Romania and the UK presented their latest research results, discussed opportunities and challenges for whistleblower protection and identified future research needs.

A UNODC expert held a presentation on UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism as an entry point for research and reform on the protection of reporting persons. She gave an overview of the recommendations and technical assistance needs identified through the review process, with some 100 countries already being reviewed, which indicates the highest technical assistance needs in the areas of witness protection, protection of cooperating offenders and protection of reporting persons. The participants of the Conference were also informed about UNODC's new publication, the Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Protection of Reporting Persons and the Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative.

On the second day, a special session on cooperative planning for governments and NGOs from South East Europe was organized by RAI and Blueprint for Free Speech (as presented in photo). This session was dedicated to the developments in the field of whistleblowing in RAI member countries. During the session, the RAI publication, Whistleblower Protection in Southeast Europe - An Overview of Laws, Practice, and Recent Initiatives, developed in cooperation with Blueprint for Free Speech was presented. The participants agreed about the importance of taking the positive changes in the region as a basis for further steps and to strengthen the international exchange and collaboration in the area of whistleblower protection. 

                      

 

Cooperation between the ports in Italy and Ecuador and the ports in Albania and Montenegro is enhanced

16-19 June 16-19 2015, Albania and Montenegro: The Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe hosted an exchange visit and meetings between the port officials from the Port of Gioia Tauro in Italy and the Port of Guayaquil in Ecuador at the Ports of Durres in Albania and Bar in Montenegro. The joint visit aimed to provide the officials with an opportunity to learn from each other and to identify the best practices for future operational work.

The learning experiences facilitated through the visit were undertaken at the following levels:

  • Theoretical: meetings with senior customs and police authorities in Albania and Montenegro supporting knowledge exchange and presenting practical information about structures of law enforcement entities operating at each port;
  • Practical: demonstration lessons at the Ports of Durres and Bar which made it possible for the guests to see concrete examples of container control and to witness advantages of subsequently adapting these practices and applying them in their own circumstances;
  • Behavioral: the exchange visit led encourages adoption of new techniques at work.

               

The visit followed two earlier visits paid by Albanian Joint Port Control Unit officers to the Port of Gioia Tauro and Guayaquil in 2014, which looked, among other topics, into differences in national legislations, political circumstances, and enhancing cooperation and information exchange among law enforcement officers. The importance of regional and international cooperation and smoother communication was agreed upon by all participants, including the managers and principles of Customs and State Police of Albania and Montenegro.  

                                                                              

 

UNODC takes part in the consultations on the EU progress reports

15-16 June 2015, Brussels, Belgium: UNODC took part in consultations on the EU progress reports that the EU Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) has organized with the participation of UNODC, UNHCR, IOM, ILO, Frontex, Europol, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

The consultations were aimed to allow the participating agencies to share their views, expertise, advice and knowledge with the country/territory desks of the EU for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 with regard to the progress, successes and areas requiring attention in the fields falling under chapters 23 and 24 of the acquis communautaire, including anti-corruption, justice reform, countering organized crime and illicit trafficking (including trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants), anti-terrorism and other related areas.

UNODC has provided expert advise on the above areas drawing from the experience of working under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The progress reports will be released in mid-October 2015.

http://www.unodc.org/brussels/news.html

                    

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers and United Nations sign the UN Development Assistance Framework (2015-2019)

15 June 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Today in Sarajevo, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdić, and the UN Resident Coordinator Yuri Afanasiev signed the 2015-2019 United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"This 5-year programme will address several very important areas across four themes: rule of law and security, sustainable and equitable development and employment; social inclusion, and women's empowerment", said Denis Zvizdić, the Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers. "The projected budget is USD 265 million, while its major part has already been secured. We will immediately start developing the projects through which these funds will be implemented".

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is a standard programme document which defines a strategic partnership between the United Nations and countries where the UN provides technical assistance to the achievement of national development. This is the third UNDAF for Bosnia and Herzegovina and it contains 13 strategic goals across four priority areas, which were defined through a comprehensive consultation process with governmental and non-governmental institutions and representatives of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The document also envisages a framework budget needed for the implementation, as well as mechanisms of implementation and monitoring.

"Implementation of the new UN Programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina starts in a year which is very important for the global development processes. This includes defining the next global development agenda (i.e. sustainable development goals) which should be considered by Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of its own development agenda. There is a need for comprehensive consultations, including with citizens, on the essence of the sustainable development goals and their implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to achieve that, the UN Country Team is at disposal to authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina on that matter", said Yuri Afanasiev, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

http://ba.one.un.org/content/unct/bosnia_and_herzegovina/en/home/presscenter/vije_e-ministara-bih-i-ujedinjene-nacije-potpisali-un-ov-petogod.html

                     

                  

 

UNODC and Turkey deliver law enforcement trainings to South Eastern Europe

8-19 June 2015, Ankara, Turkey: UNODC in cooperation with the Turkish International Academy Against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) has conducted a two-week training program on "Undercover law enforcement operations" with the participation of law enforcement officers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Comprising 10 working days, the training program covered a wide range of topics on the definition and use of undercover with the purpose of fighting against organized crime in particular. Highly important subjects such as assignment of undercover, physical surveillance, target profiles, role playing, life story making, use of life story in undercover and speaking dialects were explained to trainees.

During the course, participants had a chance to combine theoretical knowledge on the above issues with practice via in-class applications, which made a great contribution to the overall quality of the training. Multi-national character of the target group was regarded as highly beneficial by trainees since they found the opportunity to compare different criminal justice systems and legal regulations on the use of "Undercover" as an investigation method.

The fact that some of the trainees were already active undercover officers is a clear indication that the profiles of the participants perfectly matched with the training. Other beneficial elements of the course were the practical nature of the training and the opportunity for the law enforcement officers to network with their colleagues from the neighbouring countries and from Turkey.

In light of the outlined above, the next training to be held at TADOC in short and middle term will use the same principles and promise good results for law enforcement officers.

Turkey is a key donor and supporter of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

                    

A visit from the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia to the Vienna International Centre

5 June 2015, Vienna, Austria: A group of over 30 students from the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia has visited the Vienna International Centre. The students are largely already working in the Government of Serbia, in particular country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UNODC staff members have made presentations about the mandate, role, functions and key pillars of UNODC work, as well as its Governing bodies and priorities at the moment, including tee UNGASS in 2016. The group was further introduced to the work that UNODC is doing in the region of South Eastern Europe, including Serbia. The students were briefed about the strategic direction for UNODC which is guided by the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe developed with the countries of the region to ensure national ownership in view of the UN treaties obligations and EU accession processes towards achievement of more coherent and integrated results, inter alia, in the context of the Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach. Different areas of UNODC work in the region were explained, including anti-trafficking, including container control and human trafficking/migrant smuggling; anti-money laundering, including advisory services on countering illicit financial flows; anti-corruption, including the UNCAC Review Mechanism; anti-terrorism, including addressing the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters; as well as prevention and treatment of drug use. The students then proceeded to the tour of the Vienna International Center organized by the UN Information Service.

Criminal Analysts from South Eastern Europe come for a Study Visit to Vienna

3 June 2015, Vienna, Austria: Criminal Analysts from the Ministries of Interior of Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia made a study visit to the UNODC HQ in Vienna facilitated by the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The visit was organized by the OSCE Office in Belgrade with an OSCE project aiming at enhancing the national capacities for serious and organized crime threat assessments and analysis. Serious and organized crime threat assessment (SOCTA) is an important tool that identifies trends and provides conclusions and recommendations that could be used by the Governments when policies are adopted and decisions made at the top level of each Ministry of Interior or the Police service. Prior to the visit, the six experienced analysts from each participating country underwent an OSCE training to enhance their skills and knowledge in strategic analysis and visited the EUROPOL as well as the national Police services in Belgium and Austria.

During the study visit to UNODC the criminal analysts were able to get first-hand information on how UNODC produces its Threat Assessments and reports on global trends in organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as what the challenges are in using crime statistics from various sources. The participants of the study visit were also informed about some of the main the activities of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and on how UNODC could assist them in their work, as well as provided with the recent UNODC research products for the region.

This study visit is the first one of two study visits to UNODC-Vienna organized jointly by UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the OSCE Office in Serbia for officers of the Ministries of Interior of Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

            

Regional operational seminar on combatting drug trafficking takes place in Split   

2-3 June 2015, Split, Croatia: A Regional operational seminar on combatting drug trafficking in the Western Balkans was organized by the Government of the Republic of France represented by the Embassy of France in Croatia with participation of UNODC.

The event was of practical nature for law enforcement officers from the region, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Greece and representatives from the region. The Ambassador of the Republic of France in Croatia and authorities of  Ministry of Interior of Croatia presented an address at the opening of the seminar.

The meeting further went on to discuss operational cooperation in South Eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea, including by customs services and in the context of specialized jurisdictions in the fight against the international drug trafficking. The UNODC contribution to the seminar focused on illicit financial flows, including combatting money laundering, disrupting illicit financial flows from drugs and terrorism, research on illegal economies, support of interagency and international cooperation.

 

Mentorship training to the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina on strengthening operational capacities

1-5 June 2015, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: A one week mentorship training was conducted by the World Customs Organization to the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit (JCCCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, operating in the framework of the joint UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme. The training took place at the border crossing/customs point Bijaca, the operational location of the JCCCU.

In the course of the Mentorship training, special attention was paid to cover all aspects of JCCCU operations and its day-to-day engagement in conducting risk analysis, profiling of the high-risk containers, obtaining pre-arrival information and sharing experience and good practices on the regional level. Contemporary work procedures applied in Customs operations, work organization and use of information channels, risk indicators, among other topics, were discussed which are of particular relevance to the work of the JCCCU.

This activity aimed to further strengthen the capacity of the Unit and to contribute to the overall security along the Bosnia and Herzegovina border. It is based on the successful UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme training structure and methodology which draws from the experience and best practices in the field of Customs operations, including data information exchange, risk analysis processes and systems and the organization of functioning and effective Customs/border controls.

 

Third round of consultations on the new UNODC Regional Programme completed

28-29 May 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC convened the third and last of three Expert Working Group meeting for the development of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019).

The third Expert Working Group focused on the development of the Sub-programme of the Regional Programme addressing the challenges of corruption, anti-terrorism matters and the topic of crime prevention and criminal justice. The meeting has defined the current state of play in these three broad fields, as well as research, capacity building and legislation development needs for criminal justice and legal cooperation. The identification of priority interventions took into consideration national and European level reality and context, including the human rights, gender and cooperation with civil society. Priorities identified included supporting the development and implementation of national legislation, strategies and related frameworks, strengthening institutional capacities, fostering partnerships, mutual learning, sharing of international best practices and supporting participation in international and regional training programmes on various aspects of the criminal justice sector. 

Like the previous meetings, this one was attended by the subject matter experts from the countries of the region and UNODC, as well as representatives of the EU Delegation, donor and partner countries.

The meeting resulted in the unanimous endorsement of the logical framework of the Sub-Programme 2 of the new Regional Programme by the participating countries, thus ensuring ownership, inclusive and participatory approach of the countries of the region, and a proper reflection of their national and regional priorities, as well as avoiding duplication.

                    

Joint Port Control Unit at Durres seizes machinegun and bullets

28 May 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) operating at the Durres Port in cooperation with the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Durres Police Directorate arrested in the act three citizens, one of them an Italian citizen. During the control of their "Jeep" vehicle with Italian number plates a dismantled machine gun, 722 bullets and two mobile phone sets were seized. Preliminary investigation showed that the Italian citizen bought the machine gun from the two Albanian citizens, also arrested.

The case is being further investigated by the Serious Crime Prosecution Office.

The JPCU, established through the assistance of UNODC - WCO in the framework of the Global Programme on Container Control (CCP), is operating in Albania since February 2013 and has scored good results in seizing tons of marijuana, several kilograms of heroin, faked goods worth USD 203,000, cash and weapons.

              

               

 

UNODC Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative holds its second meeting

27 and 28 May 2015, Doha, Qatar: A two-day "teach the teacher" academic expert workshop for South Eastern Europe was organized by UNODC, in partnership with the Centre for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) of the Government of Qatar, under the auspices of the Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD). This constituted the second activity (out of six) under the Qatar funded project (education segment in the UNODC Global Anti-Corruption Programme).

The workshop was organized with a regional focus in mind, following the recommendations of the first ACAD workshop held in August 2014, and the ACAD expert group meeting held in February 2015.

The participants were nominated by 17 leading state universities from the region: University of New York in Tirana and School of Magistrates (Albania); School of Magistrates,  Tirana Universities (Albania); University of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina); University of Montenegro; South East European University (Tetovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); Skopje University "St. Kliment Ohridski" (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); University of Belgrade (Serbia); University of Zagreb Law School (Croatia); Law Faculty Split (Croatia); University of National and World Economy (Bulgaria); University of Ljubljana (Slovenia); Democritus University of Thrace (Greece); Panteion University of Athens (Greece); as well as University of Pristina (Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244). Moderators were from UNODC, the European Union, the American University, the Australian National University, LUISS Rome.

The principle aim of the workshop was supporting the development of stronger teaching capacity in the field of anti-corruption in South Eastern Europe. The workshop facilitated the exchange of academic expertise between the 18 academics participating from the region, as well as the moderators and presenters. This knowledge exchange was structured around the presentation on the model UNCAC course, developed by UNODC, and break-out sessions looking at how to enhance and develop the course to make it more relevant for national and regional contexts. To this end, in order to "localize" the approach, the European Union was invited to present on issues related to the EU accession process, which was of particular interest to the participants. Specialized support was also provided in using the UNCAC model, as developed by UNODC, as a framework for their teaching in this field. The workshop was held in plenary and class sessions, enabling session-leaders to deliver lectures followed by discussions amongst participants with a view to exchanging information and clarifying key concepts in smaller group sessions.

In order to evaluate the workshop a survey was distributed to the participants, who have rated the course overall as positive: 59% rated it as very good and 32% rated it as good (9% as average, 0% as poor and 0% as very poor).

UNODC participates in OSCE Annual Law Enforcement Meetings

26-29 May 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in the OSCE Annual Meeting of Heads Of Law Enforcement Departments of the OSCE Police-Related Projects and Programmes held on 26-27 May and in the subsequent OSCE Annual Police Experts Meeting: "Fighting Organized Crime in the OSCE Area with a Focus on Trafficking in Human Beings and Irregular Migration", held on 28-29 May, organized in cooperation with the Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE.

A senior UNODC representative made a presentation of UNODC's ongoing projects in the regional co-operation context and on the global level with an emphasis on joint UNODC-OSCE activities. UNODC global initiatives were discussed such as "Networking the Networks", the Paris Pact Initiative, the Network of Law Enforcement Training Academies, as well as the main activities by the Regional Programmes for South Eastern Europe and West and Central Asia. The UNODC and OSCE representatives agreed that the scope for further cooperation and joint activities between two organizations in the area of Law Enforcement is large.

The subsequent Annual Police Experts Meeting concentrated on various forms and best mechanisms of co-operation between law enforcement agencies, judiciary and other relevant bodies in the fight against migration-related crimes committed by organized criminal groups, through concrete examples. Building on the 2013-2014 joint project of the OSCE, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNODC on "Strengthening Understanding of the Link between Irregular Migration and Transnational Crime Impacting Migrants in Irregular Situation", the meeting provided a platform for national authorities to exchange views and to improve the multi-agency co-operation to fight organized crime and trafficking in human beings linked to irregular migration in the OSCE area.

To address this threat, various OSCE Ministerial Council and Permanent Council Decisions particularly call for the OSCE to promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, entered into force in 2003, and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, entered into force in 2004.

In his address, a UNODC expert mentioned the ways in which UNODC assists the States in their efforts to implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and made a presentation of the findings of the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014. Various UNODC tools and activities facilitating implementation of the Protocols were discussed such as assessment guides, training manuals, model laws, UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database as well as the activities under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The main findings and outcomes of the meeting, one of which is that UNTOC and the Protocols thereto remain the main legal framework for cooperation, will be compiled in a report, which will serve as a basis and guidance for further discussions on this topic at the national, regional and international levels. 

                   

UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime Presented in Bosnia and Herzegovina

26 May 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the request from Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNODC's Global Programme for Combatting Wild Life and Forest Crime presented Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytical Toolkit developed by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) - a partnership established in 2010 between the Secretariat if the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, INTERPOL, the World Bank, the World Customs Organization and UNODC.

Presentation of the Toolkit gathered representatives from all level of authorities - relevant ministries, law enforcement agencies and other structures in the field of border security, criminal justice, environmental protection and related areas. The meeting discussed benefits of the Toolkit implementation: understanding and enhancing the country's response to wildlife and forest crime through more coherent, coordinated and effective work of all national stakeholders and the actions needed to respond to this crime.

Noticing recent trends of organized crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina related to smuggling of wildlife and forest crime, and considering country's richness with biodiversity rated third in Europe, Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina initiated the process of the Toolkit implementation aimed to conduct a comprehensive analysis of preventive and criminal justice responses to transnational wildlife and forest crime.

UNODC highlighted that the estimates for the global wildlife trafficking are 20 billion USD annually, putting this criminal activities alongside drugs and arms trafficking by criminal networks. In some cases money goes to financing terrorism and contributing to instability. "Wildlife and forest crime" refers to the taking, trading (supplying, selling or trafficking), importing, exporting, processing, possessing, obtaining and consumption of wild fauna and flora, including timber and other forest products, in contravention of national or international law. Broadly speaking, wildlife and forest crime is the illegal exploitation of the world's wild flora and fauna. Criminal groups are using the same routes and techniques for wildlife trafficking as for smuggling of other illicit commodities, exploiting gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

Most common criminal activity against protected wildlife recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina is linked to poaching of rare birds that end up as gastronomic delicacy in restaurants of Western Europe, smuggling of turtles, lizards and other species.

Successful national response to wildlife and forest crime as was highlighted by participants of the meeting requires an active role of all respective structures of authority and further enhancement of coordination of activities as well as exchange of information on organized crime activities.

Presentation of the Toolkit is to be followed by the in-county technical assessment mission planned for the second half of 2015.

For more information please see  www.un.ba and http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/wildlife-and-forest-crime/index.html.

             

 

The evaluation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) completed

19 May 2015, Vienna: The presentation of the outcomes of the Mid-Term In-Depth Evaluation of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) took place in Vienna on 19 May 2015 in presence of Ambassadors and representatives of the countries of the region, the European Union, the partner and donor countries and the OSCE, as well as UNODC staff.

The opening remarks of the Deputy Executive Director of UNODC and Director of the Division for Operations, which underscored the cross-cutting importance of the evaluation culture at UNODC and willingness to continue working with the countries of the region, were followed by a presentation, by the leading independent evaluator, of the main findings, lessons learnt, best practices and recommendations which were responded to by the Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia.

In the beginning of his presentation, the lead evaluator pointed out that "this is a successful Programme" with "clear evidence of impact in border control, corruption, drug demand reduction" and other areas and "quite evident best practices", including the Steering Committee and others.
Among best practices, the evaluation has identified, quote:
·    Good collaboration and cooperation with Global Programmes (including Container Control Programme, Global Prevention and Treatment Programmes and others);
·    The research conducted in the region is valuable for the mapping of crime problems;
·    The ownership by the counterparts of the Regional Programme of directions and priorities is its notable strength;
·    New and well-functioning partnerships in the design and delivery of the Programme.

Among lessons learnt, the evaluation has identified, quote:
·    The framework concept has proved flexible and useful;
·    Alignment of the Programme with the EU-accession priorities is an essential element;
·    Importance of transparency and equal distribution of investments in relation to activities, funding and staffing under the Programme in different countries;
·    The uniqueness of the region is key to regional programming.

Among evaluation findings, the evaluation has identified, quote:
·    In its design, the Programme has a different form and construct than other UNODC Regional Programmes, being more of a political umbrella that gives strategic structure to activities in the region;
·    The Programme has been effective in reaching its objectives and a comparison between planned and delivered activities confirms that with very few exceptions, all activities have been delivered timely and as planned;
·    The framework construct has caused some confusion in reporting, where achievements and inputs under the Regional Programme versus individual Global Programmes have not been clearly separated and indicated (there has been considerable improvement in more recent reporting);
·    The impact of the Regional Programme is visible in a number of EU-accession inspired action-plans, programmes and guidelines in the region; improved staff skills and infrastructure for border police and customs facilities; resulting in increased seizures of drugs; increased co-operation between judicial authorities; as well as increased awareness, expertise and professional skills in drug-treatment and prevention;
·    The national and regional relevance and priority of Regional Programme outcome areas is readily visible in project documentation and is acknowledged by both donors and counterparts;
·    Moving the regional office from the field to the Regional Section in Vienna has proven to be efficient and appropriate. Programme coordination and management from the Vienna office has worked well, and communication from and coordination with the Regional Section is regular, consistent and efficient.

In the next step of the presentation, the recommendations of the evaluation and the management response were presented. All recommendations have been accepted and will be used in the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019), which is in an advance development stage and drafted within an inclusive and participatory process with all relevant counterparts.

The full report (including the recommendations and the management response), as well as the evaluation brief can be found at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/evaluation/evaluation-briefs.html .

UNODC expresses sincere appreciation to all counterparts for their support in the process of the evaluation.

 

Compendium of Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures (COPES) training piloted in Albania

18-20 May 2015, Tirana, Albania: Twenty participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro were trained on the Compendium of Customs Operational Practices for Enforcement and Seizures (Evidence Handling) during a three-day training within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe funded by the Swiss Government. The participants who are officers of the Joint Container Control Units of the three countries, officers of the criminal police, customs anti contraband units, including airports, and prosecutors received training in a variety of techniques to improve their intelligence, investigation and forensic awareness. Piloted for the first time in a non-English speaking country, the training was delivered by two European Customs Experts in order to increase regional capacity to act effectively at the and after the time of discovery of contraband, narcotics, CITES products, cigarettes and other commodities, as well as to assist in preparing prosecutions that can be successfully put before local courts under existing legislation.

The course was made up of discussions, problem solving, participation and sharing of experiences in an interactive manner with several practical exercises for participants to develop and record information, discussions on the benefits of joint interagency working and exchanges of good practise around successful interview and forensic techniques.

Officers received comprehensive training in several key areas including:

  • Risk analysis and risk assessments,
  • Consigning sharing and disposition of seized goods,
  • Intelligence gathering techniques,
  • Joint working with other agencies,
  • Recording of information for judicial proceedings,
  • Rules of evidence and case management,
  • Practical interview techniques, and
  • Evidential requirements for prosecutions.

                                

The outcomes of the training demonstrate the benefits of using Risk Assessment, Profiling and Selectivity in order to increase the effectiveness of local anti-smuggling enforcement programs. In fact, criminals, organised crime gangs and smugglers rely on high volumes of freight in deciding when and where to attempt to smuggle contraband. The focus of the training and one of the solutions to tackling this problem is to concentrate resources on identifying and examining the most high-risk containers, vehicles, lorries and passengers.

The participants received the certificates in a ceremony attended by the Director General of the Albanian State Police against Organized and Serious Crime who addressed the participants and emphasized that the training would contribute to strengthen the capabilities in seizure handling, documentation and maintaining the evidential value of the seized goods for further investigations and court proceedings.

                               

 

24th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) includes a side event organized by France and UNODC on the fight against trafficking in human beings 

18 May 2015, Vienna, Austria: Mrs Marion Paradas, Representative of France to the UN and international organizations and Mr. Ilias Chatzis, the Chief of the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, have organized a side event promoting partnership between civil society and States in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

Mrs. Michèle Ramis, Ambassador of France against organized crime, Mrs. Catherine Sultan, Director of Judicial Protection of Youth, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Tamara Mirovic, Assistant Attorney of the Republic of Serbia, and Mrs. Marija Andjlekovic, President of the Serbian NGO ASTRA have all participated in this event.

                               

Consultative process on the development of a new UNODC Regional Programme continues

11-12 May 2015, Zagreb, Croatia: UNODC organised the second of three Expert Working Group meeting for the development of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019). The meeting focused on the drafting of the Sub-Programme on Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, Human Trafficking and Money Laundering.

The Expert Working Group meeting was attended by the subject matter specialists from the countries of the region, including Ministries of Interior, Security and Justice, Customs and Border Services, General Prosecutor Offices and other relevant bodies and relevant UNODC experts. On the second day of the meeting, representatives of the donor countries were also present in the observer capacity. The meeting was held in the premises of the Centre for Security Cooperation for South Eastern Europe (RACVIAC). The senior management of the Centre has also spoken on the second day of the meeting and underscored the importance of coordination and complementarity of action in the region, as well as on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and RACVIAC.

The objective of the meeting was to ensure that sound, shared and comprehensive guidance and recommendations, based on recent developments and best practices in the law enforcement field in the region are provided by the Government authorities to UNODC, discussed and integrated in the new Regional Programme document, together with the outline of appropriate interventions by UNODC.

The meeting resulted in the endorsement of the logical framework of the Sub-Programme 1 of the new Regional Programme by the participating countries, thus ensuring ownership, inclusive and participatory approach of the countries of the region, and a proper reflection of their national and regional priorities, as well as avoiding duplication.

The next meeting will take place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 28-29 May 2015 and will focus on Sub-Programme 2: Strengthening Criminal Justice and Legal Cooperation.

                     

 UNODC supports investigation and prosecution of smuggling of migrants cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina

5-8 May 2015, Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina:  UNODC's Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants held a Training on investigation and prosecution of smuggling of migrants (SOM) cases for officers of law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions with the generous support of the USA. The aim of the training was to enhance investigation and prosecution capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina's law enforcement and judiciary to respond to the SOM, including the protection of smuggled migrants.

In February 2015, the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina started to partner with UNODC in organising the first national training on SOM in the country to address core elements of the criminal justice response to the smuggling of migrants, utilizing specialized UNODC training materials, primarily the Basic Training Manual on Investigating and Prosecuting the Smuggling of Migrants to be delivered by a team of expert trainers.

The current training has gathered 32 representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, border police, law enforcement training institution, academia and international organisations, including IOM and UNHCR. The four-day workshop covered a large array of topics, including the national and international legal framework against SOM; international judicial and police cooperation to address SOM; human rights - protection and assistance to migrants, non-discrimination, refugees and asylum seekers, non-refoulement and rights of asylum seekers; extradition and mutual legal assistance; investigative methods (indicators and profiling, proactive and reactive investigation techniques and disruption of criminal activity) and role of smuggled migrants in investigation, risks associated with investigation of SOM and obstacles in cooperation of smuggled migrants in criminal proceedings; parallel investigations and joint investigation teams and special investigative techniques and financial investigations of SOM. A case study was presented on the last day and followed by a group analysis and discussion to apply the knowledge gained on the workshop.

The expected outcomes of the training were achieved and the participants noted that the event was valuable in raising awareness, exchange of experiences, inter-agency coordination and constructive discussion.
     

UNODC and Hungary deliver trainings on the establishment of Joint Investigation Teams

8-10 April and 28-30 April 2015, Budapest, Hungary: UNODC in cooperation with the Government of Hungary has undertaken two rounds of professional training "Establishing Joint Investigation Teams - Good Practices and Challenges" in the International Training Centre of the Ministry of Interior of Hungary in Budapest for the law enforcement officers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The outcome sought from the training courses was the identification of guidelines and good practices that would support both domestic and cross-border Joint Inter-Agency Investigation Teams (JITs) responsible for tackling serious organized crime. The courses enhanced the knowledge of participating officers in the concept of JITs along with the understanding of the benefits and practical advantages of using JITs as a flexible tool for supporting investigations involving cross-border crime, evidence gathering and handling and prosecution file preparation. The courses also touched upon supporting the drafting of workable inter-agency memoranda of understanding, the legal framework for JITs established with EU Member States and third States and guiding principles covering their structure, direction, coordination and communication of information and developed operational intelligence. As a result of their participation, attending officers have a better understanding of the JITs concept, how they are composed and the advantages of improved information exchange and operational cooperation that flows from their use. The materials used in the course will be made available to all participants.

The participants of the courses are requested to provide feedback through a dedicated evaluation form. Among the responses of the participants of the first course, all participants have provided positive feedback. Moreover, 40% of them strongly agreed that the outcomes of the course can be beneficial not only for them but also for their organization at large, and the other 60% said they agree with this statement.

The next training course out of a series of three will take place in Budapest in October 2015.

For more information, please visit the webpage of the International Training Centre of the Ministry of Interior of Hungary

http://www.nokitc.hu/nokeng/page.php?7 

UNODC delivers Strengthening Family Programme 10-14  Training of Trainers in Skopje 

20 - 24 April 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science held a final capacity development activity as part of the Strengthening Family Programme (SFP) 10-14 - a Training of Trainers which will further develop capacities scaling-up the Programme's results and supporting its expansion across the country.

The Training of Trainers was attended by 15 teachers delegated by the Ministry of Education and Science as well as five educators who have delivered excellent results during the Programme implementation, are now selected as best candidates and will be educated as Trainers.

Following the training methodology approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, these future trainers will be supervised by master trainers from Serbia and gradually involved in the training process, resulting eventually in self-facilitated workshops.

Albanian speaking teachers also participated in the Training. To support this element of the training, translation of UNODC materials and simultaneous interpretation of the training into both to Albanian and Macedonian languages was provided.

The results of the Training add to the professional knowledge and capacity of the trainees as well as to the gained overall experience of the Programme, and support its sustainability and expansion.

Since 2012, SFP 10-14 reached more than 120 families implementing programme in 15 elementary schools in the region of Skopje. Now, in accordance with the national directions document, UNODC is aiming to develop the Programme to seven additional regions of the country, and local community resources have been secured for that.

         

UNODC participates in the OSCE-led dialogue on Security Sector Reform

21 April 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in the OSCE Conference on Security Sector Government and Reform, organized by the Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE.

The objective of the conference was to discuss strategies for comprehensive support to the Security Sector Government and Reform processes with an OSCE-wide perspective. Such a comprehensive approach includes, among other things, national ownership and regional approaches. National ownership is an essential requirement for the sustainability of internationally supported reform processes. Examining SSG/R support through a regional lens is important to identify regional approaches to transnational challenges. Thus, both topics are of great relevance in the OSCE area, in particular South Eastern Europe.

In his statement, a senior representative of the UNODC referred to lessons learnt with regard to security sector reform, including, for instance, the connection between the delivery and effectiveness of aid and peace with the rule of law and the ability to enforce it. UNODC's statement referred to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to be approved in September 2015, economic crimes, as well as illicit financial flows, corruption, smuggling and other forms of transnational organized crime and the importance of countering these threats, especially in the context of the EU accession of the countries of South Eastern Europe. It was noted that UNODC's mandates, spanning health, the rule of law and human security, are examples of universal aspirations embedded in the post-2015 development agenda. UNODC advocates for a joint security-development-human rights approach. It was also recalled that in January this year, UNODC has piloted the UN-system-wide Task Force on Drugs and Organized Crime in Serbia under the co-chairmanship of the UN Resident Coordinator in Belgrade and the UNODC Regional Representative for the Balkans. The work under the UNODC's Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was also mentioned.

For more information please refer to http://www.osce.org

 

UNODC participates in the Joint Ministerial Conference of the Brdo Process and the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP)

16-17 April 2015, Budva, Montenegro: The conference was opened by the Prime Minister of Montenegro and attended by Ministers or Deputy Ministers of Justice and Interior of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 and senior officials from Austria and France. The Conference followed the recent meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SEECP, held in Tirana in February 2015, which among other recognized the need to bring together all relevant stakeholders with the aim of developing a common approach on the challenge of terrorism and decided to join the efforts of the Brdo Process, established by Interior and Justice Ministers, and the SEECP.

The Conference focused on the phenomenon of foreign fighters, the prevention of radicalization and illegal trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as the judicial response to terrorism, including the prevention of terrorist financing.

The UNODC representative discussed potential support to and cooperation with the countries of the region in the field of strengthening the legal regime against emerging terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters and the related training initiatives.

The Conference participants issued a joint statement agreeing, inter alia, to further enhance national and regional efforts in early detection of radicalization, including in the internet, in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as in cooperating in the field of confiscation.

Consultative process on the development of a new UNODC Regional Programme is under way

16-17 April 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC convened the first of three Expert Working Group meeting for the development of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2016-2019).

The Expert Working Group meeting was attended by the subject matter specialists from the countries of the region, including Ministries of Health, Ministries of Education and other relevant bodies and relevant UNODC experts. On the second day of the meeting, representatives of the EU Delegation, donor and partner countries were also present in the observer capacity.

The objective of the meeting was to ensure that sound, shared and comprehensive guidance and recommendations, based on evidences, recent developments and best practices in the field of drug use prevention and drug dependence treatment and care in the region are provided by the national authorities to UNODC, discussed and integrated in the new Regional Programme document, together with the outline of appropriate interventions by UNODC.

The meeting resulted in the unanimous endorsement of the logical framework of the Sub-Programme 3 of the new Regional Programme by the participating countries, thus ensuring ownership, inclusive and participatory approach of the countries of the region, and a proper reflection of their national and regional priorities, as well as avoiding duplication.

The next meeting will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, on 11-12 May 2015 and will focus on Sub-Programme 1: Countering Illicit Drug Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime.

 

           

Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina delivers results 

9 April 2015, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Joint Container Cargo Control Unit (JCCCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, composed of the representatives of the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police officers, achieved important results working at the land port Bijača since January 2015, upon becoming an operational unit within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

In April 2015, JCCCU scored a notable success preventing an attempt to import undeclared good - more than 10 tons of fresh fruits from Egypt to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The seizure was made through performing a detailed search of the doubtful cargo in four containers. The Joint Unit applies on-site risk analyses and profiling, tasked to prevent all form of illegal trade, smuggling of counterfeit goods, activities of the black market economy, and all other forms of organized crime activities intended to jeopardize security and economic activity of the country.

Applying modern risk analyses methodology and accessible databases of the participating law enforcement agencies, also using sophisticated equipment and tools, the Joint Unit successfully contributes to further strengthening of the country's capacity to improve security throughout the containerised trade supply chain.

                               

           

Anti-Corruption and Port Controls Training Workshop takes place in Albania

7-8 April 2015, Tirana, Albania: A two-day training workshop on Anti-Corruption and Port Controls was jointly organized by the Office of the Minister of State on Anti-Corruption, UNODC, WCO and US Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) in Tirana. The workshop brought together representatives from the Albanian Customs Administration, State Police Directorate, Durres Port Authority, officers from the Joint Port Control Unit and business community.

The purpose of the workshop was two-fold: it was aimed to provide the participating agencies with a general overview of the UN Convention against Corruption as a universal tool in fighting corruption, as well as to review and analyze mechanisms of corruption and principal anti-corruption measures in the public security sector at large and specifically in the area of border control.

The workshop was moderated by the Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of State on Anti-Corruption who also presented recent anti-corruption policies of the Albanian Government, including the newly approved Anti-Corruption Strategy and its Plan of Action.

Specific issues like the code of ethics, integrity plan, definition of corruption, its risks and others were discussed by national and international speakers.

          

The workshop pointed out that countering corruption in the security sector requires concerted efforts involving different institutions and legislation. Successful measures to counter corruption are based on a broad anti-corruption infrastructure, including accountability measures, procurement laws and procedures, penal mechanisms and anti-money laundering legislation.

Participants of the workshop recommended the adoption of a holistic anti-corruption approach addressing systematic aspects of corruption through a combination of measures such as clear guidance and policies, training, operational and HR management, risk analysis, prosecution and penalties. It was also suggested to include the workshop's recommendation into the Annual Workplan of the Plan of Action for 2015-2016.

This workshop is an example of the valuable contribution of various organizations providing efforts to assist border control entities in Albania in resolving the challenges faced in combating corruption.

UNODC and WCO plan to take further the first step made in the area of anti-corruption and port control. The workshop is organized in the framework of the implementation of the Container Control Programme in Albania which is generously supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). Through this workshop, UNODC-WCO and EXBS made its first attempt to depict how corruption facilitates the illicit trafficking of drugs, of arms, of illicit cigarettes and any other type of contraband through containerized shipments by hampering the legitimate trade.

 

UNODC delivers a workshop on improving the level of personal and institutional integrity for judges and prosecutors in Skopje

7 - 8 April 2015, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC in cooperation with UNDP and the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia delivered a technical assistance workshop focusing on Article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and case studies in order for participants to apply the Bangalore Principles on Judicial Conduct in a simulated setting and discuss issues related to their application in the country.

Following on from two separate events attended in Skopje in November 2014, organized by OSCE and RACVIAC respectively, UNODC was approached by the Academy of Judges and Prosecutors of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with a request to support the institution in delivering a workshop on UNCAC and Article 11 (Judicial Integrity). The UNDP office in Skopje had also previously expressed its willingness to collaborate with UNODC in the area of anti-corruption. As such, the opportunity presented itself to further strengthen institutional ties both with Macedonian authorities and UNDP.

Methodology of the workshop, as agreed with the Director of the Academy,  was focused on hands on practical approaches and the use of case studies, in particular for the Bangalore Principles which draw on case studies developed for the French judiciary and which are an invaluable source for future similar trainings. The exchanges between participants focused on how the actions of the judiciary has impacted on the current situation and how the issues raised during the workshop, in particular the behaviour and actions of judges, can impact on the public's perception. Extensive discussions focusing on how to improve this perception was a key concern for those present.

The Academy demonstrated strong interested to develop a further working relationship with UNODC and it was agreed to explore ways of doing this with a list of priority needs to be identified and sent to UNODC by the Academy.

In terms of anti-corruption activities in the country, UNODC has been substantively supporting Macedonian authorities in this field. UNODC has recently contributed to conferences organized on national strategies and prevention of corruption. Furthermore, UNODC has invited and sponsored the attendance of three academics from the University "St. Kliment Ohridski", South Eastern University and University of Skopje to take part in a "teach the teacher" workshop in Doha, Qatar during the last week of May 2015, on how to develop courses on anti-corruption. The workshop is part of the Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative and will bring together academics from South Eastern Europe.

 

Workshop on enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

29-31 March 2015, Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC has held an Initial Country Workshop as part of a UNODC and the Government of France regional project "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the South Eastern Europe" which focuses on exchange of practical experiences among criminal justice practitioners based on analysis of concrete national and, to the extent possible, transnational cases thus facilitating international cooperation in trafficking in persons.

The Workshop has gathered 30 representatives of Bosnian law enforcement, prosecution, anti-human trafficking and victim protection units and agencies, as well as civil society, Eurojust and international organisations. The Bosnian participants have also taken part in the previous UNODC event of this project - a Methodological Workshop held in Sarajevo on 3 February 2015. The event was also attended by relevant professionals for the destination country coming from the police, judiciary, victim protection system and civil society.

The Workshop has resulted in a thorough hands-on analysis of a concrete case of trafficking in children and formulation of a plan of action for this  case through enhanced international cooperation. Also as a result of the Workshop, a set of conclusions and recommendations, including elements for the plan of action, were elaborated and endorsed by the participants. The participants also noted that multidisciplinary analysis of concrete transnational cases of trafficking in children among professionals from the countries involved in these cases was relevant, practical and useful. The Workshop has defined a set of follow-up actions for the future. Furthermore, the project has established close links with Eurojust and uses its support to the joint investigation team between Bosnia and Herzegovina and France, in particular for the victim protection aspect.

UNODC delivers training under the Judicial Integrity project in Pristina

27 March 2015, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244:  UNODC delivered a training workshop for Information Offices and Media Officers under the joint UNODC-UNDP Judicial Integrity Project in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. 

The two-days workshop for Media officers from the Kosovo Judicial Council and from the first tier courts aimed at strengthening knowledge and building capacity in the area of access to information and for development of communication strategies.

Presentations were delivered by UNODC staff, by representatives of the local civil society and the Kosovo Judicial Council. Media representatives were invited to participate in specific sessions of the workshop with a view to communicating their information needs and discussing how the above forms of measures can assist media bodies in their work. Interactive sessions helped strengthen the necessary skills of the trainees.

The importance of the UN Convention against Corruption as a global anti-corruption legal instrument, and as a basis for actions that promote transparency in all branches of power, including the judiciary was underlined; as well as the importance of transparency for the organizational integrity and the need to have a well-designed and structured communication and outreach strategy.

As a second point of emphasis, this training programme provided Media Officers with the substantive knowledge needed in order to be able to effectively provide responses to requests for information received under the Law on Access to Public Documents. Participants were provided information on the core requirements of this law, including the fundamental principle of the presumption of the release of information and learned how to apply relevant exceptions within the spirit of the legislation. This aspect of the training also addressed procedural elements such as the development of templates for response and the deadlines to be respected when a request for information is received.

 

Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 2.5kg of heroin

26 March 2015, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Control Unit operating at the Durres Port under the UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme has seized 2.5kg of heroin of high purity at the ferry terminal.

The heroin of Afghan origin was hidden in the fuel tank of a small vehicle with Fier (South-west Albania) number plates destined to Bari, Italy. 

          

The officers of the joint team utilized elements of risk analysis in making the seizure.  The fact that the driver was  travelling for the first time to Italy in a car that did not belong to him but was driven under a notarized  authorization were enough for the officers to exercise a through examination of the vehicle.

The driver was detained by the anti-drug police officers - member of the joint team.

The seized heroin has an estimated street value of over 7,000.000 Albanian Leke or 50,000 Euro.

The authorities have launched a criminal investigation.  

UNODC launches new global initiative to boost criminal justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters

Photo: UNODC 26 March 2015 - The growing involvement of individuals as Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in various conflicts and terrorist activities has resulted in an increasingly dangerous threat to international peace and security. In response, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a new initiative aimed at bolstering countries' criminal justice responses to this phenomenon. The initiative, which runs to 2019, will assist Member States in criminalizing the FTF phenomenon, in areas such as terrorist recruitment, incitement to terrorism, terrorism financing, and terrorist training, among others.

While not a new occurrence, the extent of the involvement of FTFs in conflicts and acts of terrorism today is unparalleled. With terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida, the Al-Nusra Front, and Islamic State all recruiting foreign nationals, the threat posed by terrorism now encapsulates not just end-target countries, but also countries of origin and transit. In this, the threat of individuals travelling to conflict zones, becoming further radicalized, receiving combat training, and then returning to their home countries with the aim of carrying out terrorist acts is more serious than ever.

In light of this issue, a three-day conference was held this week in collaboration with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta (IIJ). Representatives from the Mediterranean basin - including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen - and the Balkan countries - among them Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - were present to discuss and evaluate the threat that FTFs pose to their countries and regions. Additionally, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States were represented, together with five United Nations agencies and six international and regional organizations.

Addressing the event, UNODC's representative spoke of the urgent need to combat terrorism and bring perpetrators to justice before they launch terrorist attacks: "The tragic events in Tunis just last week, or in Belgium, France and Denmark over the past months confirm the unprecedented threat posed by individuals involved as Foreign Terrorist Fighters. Our principal objective is ultimately to support Member States' efforts in disrupting terrorist plans and operations before they are committed. The more we are confronted with unprecedented terrorist threats, the more we have to collectively look for effective responses and preventive strategies."

UNODC's global initiative covers both foreign cooperation and domestic assistance: the former is critical given the transnational dimension of FTFs which makes a purely national approach insufficient; the latter meanwhile is central to efforts needed to strengthen national legislation against this emerging trend in terrorist operations and to enhance domestic capacities of criminal justice and law enforcement officials.

Building this capacity within criminal justice systems is an important step towards filling a gap in dealing with the terrorist threat. At present, practitioners in this area rely almost exclusively on evaluations made by the intelligence services, despite some very specific aims and constraints being faced by those working in justice. In this respect, UNODC aims to assist in strengthening the response to FTF in a bid to counter this threat in a specific manner, as well as complement the evaluation made by other counterparts.

Further information:

UNODC and terrorism prevention

 

Second session of the programme "Skills for Adolescence" held in Belgrade

23 March 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC together with the Lions Club International Foundation continued the implementation of the  pilot programme  "Skills for Adolescence" delivering the second follow up session. Programme is currently being conducted in 20 elementary schools in Belgrade, reaching more than 1,300 students.

The second follow up session of a series of three, was conducted with 42 educators and an international Lions Quest senior trainer coach  in order to acquire precise information on  the programme implementation and to acknowledge the suggestions and comments  for the potential  improvement of the pilot execution.

As part of the evaluation process, pre-test results gathered at the beginning of the pilot were presented to the group and showed highly interesting data on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour on substance use, identifying  the realistic needs of the group and the potential value of the programme.

The follow up  session once again confirmed the necessity and value of the active monitoring process and demonstrated that fine-tuning of the implementation process is critically important for the sustainable and productive realization.

The next session is envisaged for June 2015.

                        

                    

                    

 

"Balkan Gate" Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina confiscates undeclared goods

16-31 March 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Within internationally coordinated operation of the World Customs Organization (WCO) codenamed "The Balkan Gate", the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit (JCCCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina participated along officials of the Indirect Taxation Authority from other organizational structures.

Upon entering operational status at the beginning of January 2015, this has been the first participation of the Unit in an international operation conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Staff of the JCCCU participated in phases 2. and 3. of the "The Balkan Gate" operated in several towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, aiming to verify origin of imported goods as well as goods violating Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The Operation resulted with seizure of goods with estimated value of about approx. EUR 32,500.

Similar operations have been conducted in sea and land ports of several countries in the South Eastern Europe region, further promoting regional cooperation among the law enforcement agencies preventing and fighting of all forms of illegal trade and other forms of criminality.  

 

"Balkan Gate" Operation in Albania intercepts fake goods  

16-20 March 2015, Durres, Albania: Upon the invitation of the World Customs Organization, the Joint Container Control Unit (JCCU) at Durres Port participated in the operation codenamed "The Balkan Gate".

The Albanian Customs Administration and the officers of the JCCU assisted by a WCO Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) accredited expert targeted consignments infringing IPR. The primary objective of the operation was to ensure practical application of the techniques in identifying IPR infringements as well as to promote regional cooperation among border control entities as the operation took place in ten major ports of entry such as Albania (Durres), Bosnia & Herzegovina (Banja Luka), Bulgaria (Varna), Croatia (Rijeka), the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (Skopje), Greece (Piraeus), Italy (Bari), Montenegro (Bar), Romania (Constanta) and Serbia (Belgrade).

Following risk assessments, containerized shipments were found to carry counterfeit goods such as garments, medicaments, toys, etc. The success of the "Balkan Gate" operation at Durres Port built on the recent successes of the JCCU, including the seizure of fake goods worth 50,000 Euro in addition to the cash amount of USD 150,000.

                     

                              

Prior to the "The Balkan Gate" operation, a three-day workshop (11-13 March 2015) was conducted in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, focusing on distinguishing genuine and fake goods, including best practices and risk assessments. A female representative of the Durres JCCU participated in the workshop.

Albania's JCCU has recognized good knowledge in targeting and selecting contraband based on pre-arrival information. The cooperation with the "The Balkan Gate" operation was mutually beneficial for the JCCU and the WCO IPR expert.   

 

"Balkan Gate" Operation in Montenegro

11-31 March 2015, Bar, Montenegro: The internationally coordinated operation of the World Customs Organization (WCO) codenamed "The Balkan Gate" was also conducted in Montenegro with the aim of detecting consignments with counterfeit goods. Based on risk analysis done by national experts on the behalf of the Customs Administration of Montenegro 27 containers were selected for this operation based on "pre-arrival" data.  Inspection was performed on nine containers whereby goods under suspicion of infringing the intellectual property or copyright were discovered and eight interruption of customs procedure were performed in accordance with relevant regulations.

A total of 16,617 items of 15 brands (including Converse All Star, Nike, Adidas, Hello Kitty, Michael Kors and others) which value, if entered into market would reach about Euro 400,000 were discovered. The goods were mostly shoes, children toys, purses and wallets, earphones, bags and others. The largest portion of the indicated seizure was the consignment of counterfeited Converse All Star sneakers, 5,460 pairs which were hidden in a mixed shipment of goods with a market value of about Euro 300,000.

The goods were found exclusively in those consignments dedicated for domestic market. The operation involved national experts, including customs officers from the Port of Bar.

                               

         

                              
                                

Side event at the margins of the 58th session of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs is devoted to the experience in Serbia on the role of school-based social emotional skill-building in youth prevention

10 March 2015, Vienna, Austria: During the 58th session of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs taking place in Vienna on 9-17 March 2015, the UNODC Drug Prevention and Health Branch and the International Association of Lions Clubs have organized a side-event presenting the experience in Serbia on the role of school-based social emotional skill-building in youth prevention. More information on the UNODC programme in Serbia implemented with the International Association of Lions Clubs is available below, and attached herewith is a video presented at the side-event.

 

          

 

Results of UNODC's implementation of Lions Quest Skills for adolescence programme in Republic of Serbia presented at the UN Headquarters

7 March 2015, New York, United States of America: UNODC presented the results of the collaborative effort on the implementation of Lions Quest - Skills for adolescence programme in Republic of Serbia at the Annual Lions Day with the United Nations.

As a result of the collaboration between UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation - LCIF, a school based programme Lions Quest- Skills for Adolescence commenced with its implementation in Republic of Serbia in June 2014. During the implementation, project delivered tangible results in a short period of time, reaching more than 1,300 students in 21 elementary school in Belgrade, and educating 75 teachers to work on improving social and life skills of students thus tackling the substance use risk factors.

                      

In the occasion of marking the Annual Lions Day with the United Nations, as part of the panel session focusing on youth drug prevention and the role of evidence-based life skills programs, which have been found to be an effective way to prevent substance use among children and adolescents, results on the collaborative effort on the implementation of the Skills for adolescence  programme, along with International standards on drug use prevention were presented to the audience.

Panel session promoted  the implementation modalities in the field,  its diversities and best practices, executed by LCIF or in joint collaboration with UNODC. Furthermore, active discussion on the importance of the implementation of evidence based drug use preventive interventions as part of the national drug use preventive strategies generated lots of interest.

The panel session participants acknowledged the strong point of having the joint approach with UNODC in  programme implementation and promoted the intentions to expand  the programme to other countries in the region of South Eastern Europe. 

                      

 

UNODC Study Provides Evidence Base for Serbia's new Drug Strategy

2014-2015, Belgrade, Serbia: The Government of Serbia adopted in December 2014 a new national Drug Strategy for the period 2014-2021 with an Action Plan for Implementation of the Drug Strategy (2014-2017). The Strategy is the key national document for dealing with the problem of drug abuse. The document reflects the current situation in the country related to drugs and is in line with the scientific findings in the field of narcotics as well as with the current policies of the European Union. The Strategy lists the goals that are to be achieved in the next period and provides an overview of the current situation in Serbia, assessment of the previous Strategy and Action Plan, goals and objectives, priorities in the areas of drug demand and drug supply reduction, the issue of coordination, international cooperation, research, monitoring and evaluation and, lastly, it identifies the funding resources for its implementation.

The new Drug Strategy refers to UNODC and, in particular, the 'Mid-Term Review of the National Drug Strategy of the Republic of Serbia', a study made in July 2012 within the UNODC-WHO Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care in Serbia. The Strategy 'takes into account the results of the... Review... for the period 2009-2013 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)'. Further on, the Strategy quotes the findings of the Review in more details and says that 'The purpose of the review was to assess five criteria: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability and that it was carried out by means of qualitative and quantitative methods and instruments including the review of documents, visits to main institutions involved in the Strategy implementation, interviews with the relevant officials and a web-based survey'. The Strategy goes on to say: 'Based on the information collected, the conclusion of the Review was that a significant progress had been made towards the implementation of the goals set by the Strategy and that the comprehensive approach to the issues of drug use that was applied boosted the development of capacities, improvement of the provision of services and the strengthening of the legislative and institutional frameworks in the area of psychoactive substances'. In the part on international cooperation Serbia's Drug Strategy calls for a stronger bilateral and multilateral cooperation with organizations and fora such as UNODC, CND, INCB, WHO, agencies of the EU and others. The document is available (in Serbian) on the web site of the Serbian Ministry of Health:

http://www.zdravlje.gov.rs/downloads/2015/Januar/Januar2015StrategijaDroge.pdf 

UNODC-WCO mission visits Montenegro

18-20 February 2015, Podgorica, Montenegro: A UNODC-WCO mission visited the Headquarters of the Montenegrin Customs Administration in Podgorica where it met with the Director General of Customs, General Director of the Police and Head of Criminal Police Sector.

In his remarks, the Director-General of Customs expressed his appreciation to the UNODC-WCO mission for the support that the Container Control Programme has provided to the establishment of the Joint Container Control Unit at the Port of Bar.  He commended both agencies for playing a very positive role in creating the conditions for success in Bar.

The UNODC-WCO mission stated that it appreciated Director-General's recognition of the role of the Port Control Unit in the fight against illicit trade through containerized shipments. The mission encouraged the management to support the unit in Bar with some technical material which would further ensure the full functionality of the Joint Container Control Unit and its collaborative approach in joint operational work. The mission also suggested to the Director-Generals of Customs and Police to review the proposed Standard Operating Procedures, find a mutual understanding and encouraged their signing.

The meeting also marked the signing of the Hand-over Protocol for the refurbishment of the Joint Unit premises and provision of various equipment and tools.

             

The meeting was followed by an on-site visit to the Port of Bar where the mission met with representatives from the local customs authorities and the joint team officers.

In a courtesy meeting, the UNODC-WCO mission was also received by H.E. Mr. Rasko Konjevic, Minister of Interior of Montenegro. During the visit, the Minister and visitors exchanged ideas regarding national and regional police challenges such as security threats, the fight against organized crime and the need for a coordinated approach in addressing cross-border crime. The Minister welcomed the technical cooperation with and the support to his country in the implementation of the Container Control Programme in Montenegro. 

 

 UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme further strengthens capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to fight illicit trade

20 February 2015, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC -World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme Basic Practical Training has been completed today in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The two-week practical training (9-20 February 2015) was organized for the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit, gathering officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police Bosnia and Herzegovina. This training aimed to further contribute to the enhancement of institutional capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina's law enforcement agencies under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

Applying a staged training concept, an on-site training has been organized at the border crossing/customs point Bijaca, engaging the Unit's officers in the real-life situations of risk profiling, and examination of cargo containers. The team of experienced WCO trainers delivered the training, teaching modern risk profiling methodology combined with examination exercises to improve the capabilities to identify containers with prohibited goods being imported, or exported, to and from the Bosnia and Herzegovina border.

This Practical Training workshop aimed to give the Joint Container Cargo Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina the full operational status, together with the Joint Port Control Units in ports of Durres, Albania and Bar, Montenegro, in the South Eastern Europe region.

The Container Control Programme activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are funded through the contribution of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, in the context of the Swiss Regional Police Cooperation Programme in the Western Balkans, and the United States Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.

                                 

                           

 

The First meeting of the Steering Committee of the Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina held in Sarajevo

17 February 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The First Steering Committee meeting of the UNODC - World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme took place today in Sarajevo, on the basis of the framework for cooperation provided in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina on 10 July 2014.

The meeting gathered representatives of the Ministry of Security (MoS), Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BP), as well as UNODC officials from the Headquarters in Vienna and the National Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting discussed strategic, operational, administrative and funding aspect of the Programme implementation.

UNODC Senior Coordinator of the CCP in his opening remarks emphasized the very good cooperation with the partner law enforcement agencies - Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina and noted that without dedication and cooperation of the participating agencies it would not be possible to start implementation of this Programme in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Container Control Programme in 2014, becoming 21st operational country. The Programme focuses on enhancing capacities of the national law enforcement structures to successfully fight all forms of the transnational organized crime and other serious threats to the security of the international trade supply chain, and consequently to facilitate sustainable economic development.
"The Container Control Programme is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina from the aspect of general border security, and the Ministry of Security will continue to strongly support it", said Deputy Minister Mladen Cavar.

The First Steering Committee meeting concluded with a number of implementing modalities and focus areas in the forthcoming period, including Programme expansion to new border crossing/Customs point where more officials will be trained and equipped, as the already established Joint Cargo Container Control Unit, composed of ITA and BP officials at Bijaca.

Additionally, the introduction of the new element called CCP-Air, where the same implementation methodology will be used, was discussed during the meeting. The proposal was well received by the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the discussions about the air cargo activities will continue during a technical visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the second half of 2015.

         

 

UNODC delivers a workshop on prevention of corruption in the judiciary in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 

09-11 February 2015, Pristina, Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244: UNODC delivered a workshop entitled "Innovative approaches to Corruption Prevention in the Judiciary: International Best Practices". This was one of an extensive number of workshop aimed at preventing of corruption and promoting integrity in the Kosovar judiciary as part of a joint UNODC-UNDP anti-corruption project, in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

This was the second workshop delivered by UNODC in 2015, with at least eight more scheduled to take place in the course of the year. Over 38 participants took part in the workshop, including from Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, Kosovo Judicial Council, Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor, civil society and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

Methodology of the training is based on practical approaches, case studies and working in groups. UNODC experts prepared presentations on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and in particular Article 11 of UNCAC on Judicial Integrity. Internationally recognised best practices to prevent corruption and increase integrity in the judiciary were highlighted, in particular through the use codes of conduct, asset disclosure mechanisms, adherence to the Bangalore principles and continuous career training of judges and prosecutors. Identifying risk and developing systems to limit the risk of corruption in a given organization was also extensively presented.

During course of the workshop, the participants worked in break out groups to address and discuss the following issues which are of particular relevance: Appointment, Promotion and Tenure of Judges; Discipline, Removal and Immunity of Judges; Court Management, Case Management and Assignment, Maintenance of Case Records; Access to the Judicial System, Transparency, and Reporting Mechanisms.

UNODC and UNDP will continue implementing the project in the course of 2015.

 

UNODC holds a workshop on analysing concrete cases of trafficking in children in Bosnia and Herzegovina

2-4 February 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC's Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons held a methodological country workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the support of France. The aim of the workshop was to develop and elaborate the methodology for the implementation of the national workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina on analysing concrete cases of trafficking in children and on formulating plans of action for the identified cases through enhancing international cooperation.

In 2013-2014, UNODC, with the support of France, has implemented a set of activities related to trafficking in persons in the South Eastern Europe which were focused on improving the situation of victims of trafficking in persons in criminal proceedings in the countries of the region through international cooperation, and on developing and piloting a regional training curricula on trafficking in persons for criminal justice professionals in cooperation with the judicial training institutions from the region.

During 2014-2015, UNODC and France continued to build on the previous achievements in South Eastern Europe, through a regional project "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the South Eastern Europe", and to focus more on the exchange of practical experiences among criminal justice practitioners based on analysis of concrete national and, to the extent possible, trans-national cases thus facilitating international cooperation in trafficking in persons.

The methodological workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina elaborated a set of conclusions and recommendations. The focus on multidisciplinary analysis of concrete transnational cases of trafficking in children, among professionals from the countries involved in these cases, has been supported as relevant, practical and useful. A case for analysis was selected and follow-up actions defined.

The Initial Country Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina is planned for 30-31 March 2015 with the participation of Eurojust and French law enforcers, prosecutors and magistrates, as well as relevant NGOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and France.

UNODC initiates Strengthening Family Programme 10-14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina

29 January 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The first meeting of the national project coordination team was convened under the umbrella of the Sub-Programme 3 of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, funded by UNODC Global Programme "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries" in corporation with Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In  the course  of the meeting  suggested project implementation mechanism for Bosnia and Herzegovina  of the "Strengthening Family Programme 10-14" has been presented along with the outline of the programme material.

Meeting participants were invited to provide their comments and suggestions in order to acknowledge the value of the programme and to address the matters of cultural adaptation of the suggested material.

The Programme has been perceived as an important addition to national drug use preventive portfolios, especially on the account of referencing to the evidence based practices globally and in the South Eastern Europe region.

"Drug use preventive programmes involving the families are the ones particularly important to be implemented, as the family is the first living cell of the society" was principal attitude stated several times during the meeting.

Further cultural adaptation of the material will be continued in the course of the following months, coordinated by the newly established national coordination team, under the supervision of the Ministry  of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Initiation of the Programme in elementary schools in Sarajevo and Banja Luka is envisaged for the September 2015, preceded by the  training of educators in August 2015.

The event was facilitated and opened by the Head of Department for the Suppression of the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and attended by participants delegated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Education and Culture of Republic of Srpska, Ministry of Interior of Republic of Srpska, Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the representatives of NGO "PROI" and NGO "Viktorija".

         

UNODC Project Office in Tirana awarded the Certificate of Merit

 

27 January 2015, Tirana, Albania: Commemorating the International Customs Day, the Albanian Customs Administration awarded a World Customs Organization (WCO) Certificate of Merit  to the UNODC Project Office in Tirana. The Certificate of Merit was given to the Office for supporting the Albanian Customs Administration in their tasks related to the combat against illicit trafficking in narcotics and any other contraband. The ceremony was attended by the General Director of Customs, Deputy Minister of Finance, regional customs heads, representatives of the international organizations including EU Delegation in Tirana and media.

The UNODC Project Office in Tirana has been working together with the Albanian Customs Administration for over 10 years and currently is implementing the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme which delivers tangible results in countering illicit trafficking.   

                    

The UN System Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking as Threats to Security and Stability is launched in South Eastern Europe

26 January 2015, Belgrade, Serbia: The first meeting of the United Nations System Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking as Threats to Security and Stability  takes place under the auspices of the United Nations Country Team in Serbia.

Co-Chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and the UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, the Task Force has the following goals:

* to provide a joint UN system in Serbia response to threats posed by organized crime and drug trafficking;

* to act as a review tool for UN agencies in the country to assess progress made within their respective portfolios in assisting Serbia in the EU accession process in the field of preventing and countering organized crime and drug trafficking;

* to serve as a mechanism for a coordinated approach to the topics of organized crime and drug trafficking;

* to support common UN messaging in Serbia.

In 2011, the UN Secretary General decided to set up this new Task Force, co-chaired by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to raise awareness and mobilize collective action against the threat of transnational organized crime and drug trafficking. The job of the Task Force is to develop a UN system-wide response as well as a roadmap of key activities and initiatives, including data-gathering, threat-mapping, vulnerability and needs assessments, evaluation of policy tools, and lessons learned. The response is focusing on how Regional UNDG Teams, UN Country Teams, and peacekeeping and political field missions can more effectively address the issues involved. On the global level, the Task Force is co-chaired by DPA and UNODC and will include DPKO, UNDP, DPI, PBSO (Peacebuilding Support Office), OHCHR, UNICEF, UN Women and the World Bank. It is closely linked to the Rule of Law Coordination and Research Group as well as to other relevant mechanisms such as the UN Development Group (UNDG) and the Interagency Security Sector Reform Task Force. Other UN and non-UN specialized organizations are also invited to assist the Task Force on specific initiatives.

In South Eastern Europe, this Task Force is first piloted by the UN Country Team in Serbia, and it is planned to replicate it in other countries of the region in which UNODC has presence.

The launching of the Task Force is in accordance with the 2015 workplan of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe as endorsed by the Steering Committee of the Regional Programme in December 2014.

                    

General Directorate of Customs Administration and General Directorate of State Police of Albania sign Memorandum to enhance Inter-agency Cooperation

13 January 2015: Tirana, Albania: The General Director of Customs Administration and the General Director of State Police of Albania signed today at the premises of the Customs Administration a Memorandum of Understanding calling for closer cooperation between the two agencies in the functioning of the Joint Container Control Unit operating at the Durres Port.

            

Both agencies play an important role in hindering illicit trafficking of narcotics, arms, smuggled goods and other contraband through containers for the benefit of the Albanian economy and security. The Memorandum will assist in carrying out the respective roles of the two agencies in the container control and support their cooperation within the Joint Container Control Unit and beyond.

As stated by the General Director of Customs, the signing of the Memorandum, which also incorporates the Standard Operating Procedures, will help enhancing the commercial success of the Albanian Customs Administration and increase legitimate trade. 

The Joint Container Control Unit is established through the assistance of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme and consists of six officers from customs and police.

The signing of the Memorandum further reinforces UNODC-WCO good working relationships with both agencies and allows for collaboration in profiling and criminal intelligence exchange both in Albania and the region. 

The signing of the Inter-agency Memorandum coincided with celebration of the 103 rd Anniversary of the Establishment of the Albanian State Police.

Container Control Programme in Albania holds the annual meeting

22 December 2014, Tirana, Albania: The Container Control Programme (CCP) in Albania held its annual meeting in partnership with the General Directorate of Customs Administration and the General Directorate of the State Police. The meeting was aimed to review the results of the CCP work in Albania in 2014, the goals of the container control endeavors, sustainability of the Joint Container Control Unit (JCCU) in the Durres Port, local, regional and international cooperation and awareness raising.

The keynote speakers included the General Director of Customs Administration, General Director of the State Police, and the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. Members of the UNODC-WCO Programme Steering Committee also participated in the meeting, including representatives of law enforcement agencies, local customs and police authorities, international organizations, EU Delegation in Tirana, ICITAP, EXBS and the Crown Agents.

In their welcoming remarks, the keynote speakers stated that the CCP was an important milestone in the partnership of the police and customs in Albania and expressed hope that it will continue in the future. They pointed out that UNODC has a long history of cooperation with the Albanian law enforcement agencies and continues to be one of the main agencies assisting the country in the implementation of the integrated border management strategy by means of supporting the joint work of the police and customs. The General Director of Customs stated that the JCCU was an example of good cooperation with the police with the ultimate goal of preventing illicit trafficking of drugs and other illicit activities at the Durres Port and promoting legitimate trade.

The meeting reviewed a draft Joint Order and Standard Operating Procedures on the Functioning of the JCCU. Both General Directors informed that they were willing to consider comments provided by the stakeholders and would review and sign the documents.

Since its establishment, the JCCU at the Durres Port has produced tangible results improving the effectiveness of port controls. Detections and seizures of drugs and other illicit goods went up in Durres and included 22.7kg of heroin, more than 5.6 tons of marijuana and counterfeited goods worth Euro 50,000.

The event was widely covered in the local media.

            

UNODC holds a Workshop on the Treatment of Women Prisoners in South Eastern Europe

15-16 December 2014, Vienna: UNODC held a Regional Workshop on Promoting the International Standards on the Treatment of Women Prisoners in South Eastern Europe. The Workshop was convened under the umbrella of the gender component of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The delegations of the countries of the region included senior-level experts from the prison administration and other relevant national authorities together with prison governors and officers in charge of prison staff training and gender-related matters, i.e. gender focal points. Furthermore, representatives of the Council of Europe (Council for Penological Co-operation) and UN Women took part in the Workshop.

In the course of the Workshop, relevant International and European normative frameworks for the treatment of women prisoners were presented and discussed. The format of the Workshop was interactive, with presentations by each delegation as well as five discussion groups on topics related to women in prisons.

Presentations by the delegations from South Eastern Europe included an overview of treatment of female prisoners including such topics as national standards and practices, national legislation and application of International and European legal instruments, national achievements and challenges, national programmes for reintegration/rehabilitation for women in prisons and others.

In the subsequent sessions, discussion groups on national and regional practices reviewed the following topics:

  • General issues of treatment of women in prisons, including admission and registration in prisons;
  • Specific health related issues with regard to women in prisons;
  • Children in prisons accompanying female prisoners;
  • Special groups of female prisoners (i.e. foreign women, women from ethnic minorities, elderly women and others) and
  • Female prison staff.  

Discussion groups were led by the national delegations with support of UNODC.

In the wrap-up session, possible recommendations were discussed. It was noted that the Workshop was very useful and hands-on, and that more such events should be undertaken in the future.

               

Technical meetings and exchange visit in the Port of Durres

December 2014, Durres, Albania: A visit of seven officials from the Republic of Yemen, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UNODC office for Middle East and North Africa was hosted by the Joint Port Control Unit at Durres on 8-10 December 2014. The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the developments and implementation of the Container Control Program at this port with particular focus on the cooperation between the Customs and Police as partner entities to the Joint Port Control Unit.

Officials of the visiting counterparts met with the Head of the Durres Customs House gave an overview of the structure, objectives, handling capacity of the Customs House and highlighted the areas of cooperation between the Customs and Police. The meeting was followed by a tour around the Durres Port including a visit to the Container Terminal.

            

On the second day, a  meeting between the visiting mission and the Joint Port Control Unit was organized in the Durres Port Authority. The meeting was attended and addressed by the Head of the Durres Customs House and the Director of the Border Police and Migration Department of the Durres District. A brief presentation on the establishment, functions, achievements and challenges the Joint team at Durres Port is facing was made by the Head of the Unit followed by remarks from the head of the Middle East delegation.

             

The mission also visited Tirana where they were received by the Deputy Director General of the Albanian Customs Administration. During the meeting the delegation was briefed about the cooperation and good teamwork in the Durres Port Team which are positively affecting their work and support the delivery of good results. In the course of the meeting, a lot of specific examples and best practices were shared with the visitors.

A visit to the Risk Assessment and Monitoring Department focused on risk indicators, the evaluation, profiling, sharing of information and undertaking of joint operations. The meeting was concluded with the discussion of the next steps required to start the implementation of CCP in the Republic of Yemen.

             

Such exchange visits are part of the training curriculum under the Container Control programme. Experience show that such visits stimulate the cooperation between the respective ports  and strengthen the  working relations and information sharing

             

 

 This is the second exchange visit during 2014 welcomed by the Joint Port Control Team at the Durres Port. On 23 September 2014, under the "Bojana 2014" Operation, the team hosted a demonstration lesson for the Western Balkan countries.

UNODC holds a workshop on Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the Western Balkans

11 December 2014, Belgrade: UNODC held a Country Workshop on "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the Western Balkans" in the French Culture Institute in Belgrade.

The Workshop was organized by UNODC in collaboration with the Public Prosecutor's Office of Serbia and the Government of France. It recalled the outcomes of the previous methodological meeting in Belgrade in October 2014, and reviewed several case studies on concrete examples of trafficking in children related to Serbia, as well as discussed the topics of criminal procedure and victim protection. The event was opened by the Deputy Republic Public Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Serbia and a representative of the French Government.

Particular added value on the event lies in the detailed review and analysis of actual cases of trafficking in children. This approach allows the attendees of the Workshop to significantly increase their understanding of the sequence and development of events in real trafficking cases and subsequently be better prepared to act in an efficient way producing intended results.  

               

 

Sixth meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe takes place in Vienna

9 December 2014, Vienna: The sixth meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) took place in Vienna on 9 December 2014. The meeting was attended by the Members of the Steering Committee, Ambassadors and representatives of the Permanent Missions of the countries of South Eastern Europe to the United Nations in Vienna as well as the Permanent Missions of donor countries and regional organizations which UNODC partners with.
In view of the evaluation of the Regional Programme which has recently started, the meeting first discussed this topic.
It then proceeded to review the results of UNODC work in the region of South Eastern Europe in 2014. Within this session, the outcomes of work under each of the three Sub-Programmes were discussed:
Sub-Programme 1: Container Control Programme, Regional and inter-regional cooperation and partnership building, Countering human trafficking and migrant smuggling and Money Laundering/cash flows;
Sub-Programme 2: Anti-corruption (including UNCAC Review Mechanism) and Social inclusion / criminal justice;
Sub-Programme 3: Prevention and Treatment of drug abuse.
The Steering Committee has acknowledged the good results of work in the course of the year and thanked UNODC for their effective delivery.
The meeting then proceeded to the review of the workplan of the Regional Programme for 2015 and approved it. Next year, UNODC will be focusing on such areas as anti-trafficking (in drugs and humans), rule of law, anti-money laundering, drug use prevention and treatment.
UNODC further proceeded to presenting the concept of its work and extended partnership in the region in 2016-2019. The current meeting of the Steering Committee was all the more important as it was reviewing this long-term perspective of UNODC's engagement in South Eastern Europe.  The respective concept note was approved by the Steering Committee and the next steps were endorsed. An important element of UNODC's work in the region in 2015 will be the development of, consulting on and eventually launching of the UNODC Regional Programme for the period of 2016-2019.
The afternoon session of the meeting also included a session on partnerships whereby the regional organizations and actors spoke about their work and vision for the region and cooperating with UNODC. The meeting was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Belgrade, senior and expert representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE), Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.  
Finally, the meeting reviewed communication and coordination arrangements and agreed to have the next meeting of the Steering Committee in mid-2015.  

           

Statement of the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, on International Anti-Corruption Day

Corruption reaches into boardrooms, government, law enforcement, education, healthcare and sport, among many other areas.
No country, region or field of endeavour escapes the pull of this crime. Corruption drives up prices, erodes business credibility, diverts public funds and undermines equity and fairness across societies.
But its influence has rippled outwards. Once considered to be the simple cost of doing business, corruption is now the destructive price paid by millions of citizens, especially the poor.
It may be seen in missing tracts of forest, lost classrooms, absent hospitals and unbuilt roads. Corruption, today, represents a serious brake on the forward motion of sustainable development and building effective institutions.
Just as significantly, corruption oils the wheels of other damaging crimes, including illicit trafficking in drugs, people, animals, timber and guns.
In the face of these challenges, our global resistance to corruption hinges on every country ratifying and implementing the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), as well as entering into its peer review mechanism.
This essential tool, founded on the mutual trust of nations working side by side has proven to be a transformational experience for participating countries and is delivering tangible results. These range from meaningful reform to the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions all over the world.
But others also have a nurturing role. Business, and business groups, need to speak out, and in doing so, acknowledge that a company's brand is driven by good practices, ethical behaviour and sound procurement rules.
Civil society is also working to ensure that corruption is confronted. This work is crucial and UNODC will continue to work closely with civil society in the future.
Next year, the Sixth Conference of the States Parties to UNCAC will be held in St. Petersburg. It offers an opportunity to further strengthen global anti-corruption action and deliver the message that corruption has no place in our world.
On the International Day against Corruption, I welcome the tremendous efforts against corruption undertaken by governments, UN agencies, the private and public sector, civil society, academia and the media.
I pledge that UNODC will continue to work with its partners to help eliminate corruption, and to support the wider UN's work in the area of protecting and promoting sustainable development.
The campaign for the International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December : "Break the corruption chain"    
This year's global UN campaign is led by UNDP and UNODC. More information is available at

http://www.anticorruptionday.org/actagainstcorruption/en/about-the-campaign/index.html 

                

 

UNODC - Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence"  first follow up session organized to scale up programme results

03 December 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC together with Lions Club International Foundation has started  a pilot programme  "Skills for Adolescence" a school based programme delivered by teachers that works on improving the social and life skills of students in order to prevent a variety of risk factors of drug use. Programme is currently  being  conducted in 21 elementary schools in Belgrade, reaching  more than 1600 students, for the  period of one academic year.

As part of  the programme monitoring process, and  taking into account  comments made by educators involved in the implementation, first follow up session of a series of three, was organized in order to scale up programme results and  support further  execution of the pilot process.  The session enabled the group to acknowledge potential  challenges they are facing in their work and to discuss and agree on future steps.

The follow up session attended 60 educators that are supporting the implementation of the programme in their elementary schools, representatives of the Ministry of education, science and technological development and local trainers. It has been  coordinated by a group of local  trainers, recently educated in the inception phase of the programme, under the supervision of the Lions Quest Senior Trainer Coach. Next session has been envisaged for March 2015.

 

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina commenced implementation phase

28 November 2014, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme Basic Theoretical Training has been completed today in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The two-week theoretical training (17-28 November 2014) was organized for the Joint Port Control Unit officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Training also gathered observing officers from several other law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina: State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies and Agency for Education and Professional Training, as well as the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, Customs Directorate of Koper.

This training represents the first segment of the structured professional learning concept of the Container Control Programme, combining on-site theoretical and practical training, e-learning modules and work-study visits, including mentoring and advisory visits. The training also served as forum for information exchange on risk analysis, case studies and for discussion on how to further strengthen cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In particular, future cooperation with the Port of Koper, Slovenia, has also been considered through the Container Control Programme, using ContainerComm, a secure communication system developed by the WCO to facilitate the exchange of intelligence and information.

Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in July 2014, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNODC and became the 21 st operational country out of 52 funded countries.

The Joint Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina is deployed at the Border crossing/Customs point Bijača. On a daily basis, its work will contribute to the minimization of risks related to illicit trafficking of prohibited goods across the Bosnia and Herzegovina border.

The Container Control Programme activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are funded through the contribution of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, in the context of the Swiss Regional Police Cooperation Programme in the Western Balkans, and the United States Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.

               

Background information

The sheer volume of international maritime container traffic with approximately 500 million containers shipped annually in the trade supply chain, the sophisticated and often ingenious concealment methods, along with complex routings adopted by illicit drug traffickers and other criminal organizations, invariably makes successful interdiction difficult. The situation poses a very real and serious threat to the security of the international trade supply chain and consequently to sustainable economic development.

In response to this threat, UNODC and WCO launched the Container Control Programme which seeks to assist governments in establishing sustainable enforcement structures in selected seaports and dry-ports to minimize the risk of maritime containers being exploited for trafficking of various illicit goods, such as drugs, precursor chemicals (for drugs and weapons), firearms, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear material, and other forms of organized crime activity.

The programme aims at establishing so called Joint Port Control Units (JPCU) comprising Police, Customs and other relevant law enforcement authorities in key regional container ports. These JCPU will receive training, computers and basic technical equipment. The overall objective is to increase the skills on risk-based profiling of containers and to improve the information exchange at the national, regional and international levels on container crime while facilitating the cross-border movements of legitimate goods.

              

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme

Since its establishment in 2004, the Container Control Programme created more than 40 operational port control units worldwide, in 20 operational countries leading to significantly increased detections of drugs and other illicit goods and intensified national and international cooperation in targeting criminals who exploit the legitimate commercial supply chain.

A staged approach in training of these officers from basic risk profiling skills to advanced levels, seeks to establish qualified and sustainable structures for developing and processing intelligence for targeting purposes.

              

 

Container Control Programme - Albanian officers visit the Italian port of Goia Tauro

26-28 November 2014, Goia Tauro, Italy: In the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, officers of the Joint Port Control Unit of Durres/Albania met with representatives of the Agenzia delle Dogane and the Guardia di Finanza in the Italian port of Goia Tauro from 26 to 28 November 2014.

The Albanian Customs and Police officers were accompanied by two prosecutors of the Serious Crime Prosecution office from Tirana and discussed issues to intensify the cooperation between the two countries to tackle illicit trade, in particular the smuggling of cocaine from South America. The port of Goia Tauro is one of the major transshipment hubs for container traffic in the Mediterranean Sea and has direct shipping services to the port of Durres in Albania.

The officials were warmly welcomed by the Italian Customs and Guardia di Finanza; it was agreed to intensify the exchange of information as well as to enhance operational cooperation, also in the form of "Controlled Deliveries". A return visit was tentatively planned for 2015.

The Study Visit, facilitated via WCO and UNODC, fully met the objectives of the Container Control Programme to strengthen inter-agency and international cooperation in the fight against illicit goods along the maritime trade supply chain. The participation of the prosecutors added to the professional approach of Albania and Italy in tackling organized crime. 

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2014/december/container-control-programme-albanian-officers-visit-the-italian-port-of-goia-tauro.aspx

               

 

UNODC takes part in a regional anti-corruption conference together with regional partners

25 November 2014, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:  How can States parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) develop and implement effective anti-corruption strategies? Answering this question is key in order to establish effective corruption prevention mechanisms in any given country. However it is also a particularly challenging undertaking and the need to share experiences is important to maximise chances for success.
In order to help address these issues in a practical and substantive manner, UNODC took part in a expert-level regional conference organised by RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation, in close cooperation between the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI). By examining and discussing different approaches used by countries in the region in establishing, implementing and evaluating Anti-corruption Strategies (ACSs) and Action Plans (APs), the regional conference helped to enhance regional and international efforts to build integrity and fight corruption.
UNODC contributed by presenting the international context in which such strategies should be developed and implemented, in particular as part of Article 5 of UNCAC and preparing for the second review cycle of the Convention. Furthermore lessons learned were shared in terms of UNODC's experience of working with countries wishing to implement such policies. It was highlighted that States should seek to develop an anti-corruption strategy which is indigenous, inclusive and involves wide participation; has adequate resources; is based on sound research; and has a very strong focus on implementation and periodic evaluation.
The conference assembled of 50 participants from national anti-corruption agencies from across the region. A ministerial-level conference, based on the recommendations of the meetings ( http://www.rai-see.org/doc/Skopje_Conference_Conclusions.pdf) is planned for April 2015.

UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to the Standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC

20 November 2014, Vienna: The regional team for South Eastern Europe presented the outcomes of work and results achieved in South Eastern Europe in 2013 to the Standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC. The work undertaken by the Regional Programme in cooperation and in support of the UNODC Thematic Programmes, was presented, segmenting the presentation by each of the three sub-programmes of the Regional Programme (on illicit trafficking and organized crime; on justice and integrity; on prevention, treatment and care). In particular, the details of work in the areas of drug control, partnership building, container control, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, anti-corruption, anti-terrorism and prevention and treatment of drug use were described, along with the most significant achievements of the coordination, communication and reporting pillar of the Regional Programme. The outlook for the ongoing and future work in the region was also highlighted. The comments from the floor included expression of strong support to the Regional Programme, especially in view of its cost-efficiency.

 

UNODC participates in the Working level meeting of the Treptower Group

18-19 November 2014, Potsdam, Germany: UNODC participated in the 8 th Working level meeting of the Treptower Group, hosted by the German Federal Police.

The Treptower Group is a network of donors and organizations from the EU who provide assistance and capacity building in the Western Balkans in the area of law enforcement. The Treptower Group meets twice a year to discuss the international support programmes with the purpose of optimizing the international donors' assistance and avoiding the duplication of activities. The Treptower Group forum was established in 2010 upon initiative by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA).

The UNODC officer briefed the participants about the activities and achievements of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and of the Paris Pact Initiative in 2014 as well as about the planned activities in 2015. Besides UNODC the meeting was attended by the representatives of agencies and organizations such as the German Police, Europol, Frontex, NCA, ICITAP, OSCE, RCC, French Ministry of Interior, EJPD Switzerland.

               

               

UNODC launches the Assessment Report on Regime Activities in Institutions for the Execution of Criminal Sentences in Albania

18 November 2014, Tirana, Albania: The launch of the UNODC needs assessment report on regime activities in the Albanian prisons brought together 72 representatives from the Albanian Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, various international organizations and civil society. The report was prepared in the framework of the One UN Project on Support to Social Inclusion in Albania, funded by the Government of the Swiss Confederation. UNODC, which serves as a lead UN agency on prison reform and alternatives to imprisonment within the UN system, implements the project's component on the rehabilitation and social reintegration of prisoners.

The launch ceremony, which was followed by technical group discussions, started with introductory presentations delivered by Director General of Strategic Planning, Ministry of Justice; Director of Social Inclusion Policies at the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth; Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation in Albania; and the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania. Director General of the Albanian Prison Administration, moderated the event. The prison reform experts from UNODC provided a detailed presentation of the main findings and recommendations in the report, which was the result of a one-week assessment mission conducted in July 2014, including consultations with a range of relevant stakeholders as well as detailed visits to six Albanian prisons.

The report acknowledges that typically, the poor and marginalized segments of society tend to be over-represented in prisons. It also builds on the facts that (i) it has been recognized internationally that imprisonment on its own does not have a rehabilitative effect; and that (ii) the vast majority of prisoners eventually return to society. Accordingly, prison administrations, together with other relevant stakeholders, need to support the willingness and ability of prisoners to lead law-abiding lives upon release, both in the course of imprisonment and following release . In line with the above, the Ambassador of Switzerland noted in his speech that "[a]t international level, we have seen a paradigm shift in the way we view prisons and their treatment. We no longer see imprisonment as a mere instrument of punishment. The shift consists in a new conception of prisons as places of re-education and re-integration, and institutions which provide opportunities for prisoners to become law-abiding citizens and to come out as changed human beings". Similar to many other prison systems worldwide, the Albanian prison administration faces shortcomings in the area of prison-based rehabilitation programmes, with a very low percentage of 5%, 8% and 9% of the overall Albanian prison administration benefitting from respective programmes and services at this stage.

It was unanimously agreed that the recommendations of the report would not only serve as a valuable information base from which to proceed, but will also mark the start of a reform process in the course of which prisoners would be supported more strongly in re-integrating into society upon release, including through an increased variety and quality of prison-based programmes in the fields of education, vocational training and work. The General Director of the Albanian prison administration emphasized that the UNODC assessment report was considered an essential guidance document, which must not be shelved, but which should serve as an important roadmap and guide for all prison staff, including the Social Care Departments in prisons. The launch event is followed by a three-days practical training at Fushe Kruja prison, which was identified as a pilot prison for the Social Inclusion Support Programme. In the course of the training, UNODC will assist the Albanian prison administration in contextualizing the recommendations from the report into a concrete action plan of short-, mid- and long-term reform steps and interventions.

             

                    

UNODC participates a Regional Workshop on Dual-Use Items and Arms Export Controls

6 November 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in a Regional Workshop on Dual-Use Items and Arms Export Controls organized by the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control within the EU-Outreach in Export Control of Dual Use Items. The workshop was attended by the national representatives of the Licensing Authorities, Customs Administration and the Foreign Ministries of the countries of South Eastern Europe and of some EU countries. The participants discussed topics related to conventional arms export controls and exchanged their experiences.

In the part of the workshop that discussed relevant regional activities, a UNODC representative presented the UN Firearms Protocol and its links to export controls as well as the UNODC Global Programme on Firearms. The participants of the workshop were also informed of the UNODC Technical Assistance Tools, such as the Model Law, as well as of the legislative assistance provided to the Member States.

 

UNODC held a regional workshop "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the Western Balkans"

31 October 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC, the Government of France and the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Serbia (RPPO) have held a regional workshop "Enhancing national and regional criminal justice response to trafficking in children in the Western Balkans".

Deputy Head of the RPPO, the Ambassador of France in Belgrade and a UNODC expert in the field of countering human trafficking and migant smuggling have addressed the workshop which then went on reviewing a case study on trafficking in children related to the Western Balkans. In the course of the day, methodology of analysis of concrete cases of trafficking in children and developing an action plan for responsible stakeholders was discussed in details. At the end of the event, its participants underscored that the workshop was practical and interactive.

More information is available at the webpage of the Embassy of France in Belgrade:  http://www.ambafrance-srb.org/Reponse-judiciaire-au-trafic-des

        

 

UNODC completes the Course on elements of psychosocial treatment of drug dependence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

21 October 2014, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: As a result of work of the UNODC-WHO drug dependence treatment and care programme, a TREATNET training (Volume "Elements of Psychosocial Treatment") has been delivered to the students of the Medical Faculty of Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje on 15-17 May 2014. The ceremony of awarding the certificates to 33 trainees for completion of the UNODC-WHO Programme course has taken place on 21 October 2014 with attendance of students from the Medical Faculty, members of the European Medical Student Association (EMSA), the Head of the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Drug Addiction (Ministry of Health), and the Vice-Dean for international cooperation at the Medical Faculty, as well as UNODC. Certificates were awarded to each student and appreciation was expressed to the leading experts for the transfer of their knowledge to the students and future medical doctors in the area of drug dependence treatment.

                 

 

Joint Container Control Team at Durres Port seizes counterfeit goods

17 October 2014, Durres, Albania: The Joint Container Control Team at the Durres Port succeeded in confiscating counterfeit goods (clothes, bags and various garments of the well-known brands) from a container coming from China, transiting  Durres Port with final destination Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244. The operation which was based on intelligence information acquired by the Joint Team and supported by the Department of the Fight against Economic Crime resulted in the seizure of goods worth Euro 50,000 and USD 150,000, as well as the detention of the entrepreneur. This is the first case of seizure of counterfeit goods at Durres Port coming though containers.

           

The above successful operation adds to the previous ones led by the Joint Team and resulting into a seizure of 5.6 tons of marijuana and 22.7 kg of heroin.

The Joint Container Control Team at Durres Port was established and is being assisted by UNODC and WCO in the framework of the Global Container Control Programme.

                        

UNODC Report on Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe is presented at a meeting of a Mini-Dublin Group in Skopje

14 October 2014, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Following the official presentation in Vienna in March 2014, the UNODC Report on Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe was also presented in Skopje, at the Mini-Dublin Group Meeting held on 14 October 2014 in the premises of the European Union Delegation.

The meeting included participants from: Hungarian Embassy (Chair of the meeting), Embassies of Italy, France, Greece, Slovenia, Czech Republic, United States of America, Switzerland, United Kingdom, UNODC, OSCE, MARRI, and EU Delegation in Skopje. In total, 24 participants attended the meeting.

Participants presented the current developments, statistics and trends in the field of drug control and drug related offences in the country, as well as regional and local efforts aimed at combating illicit drug trafficking.

UNODC presented the Report and its main findings (copies of the Report were previously distributed to all participants). A few findings of the report related in particular to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, are summarized here.

The organised criminal groups native to South Eastern Europe, with the exception of Albanian organised crime groups and possible exception of nationals of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, do not appear to be major players in heroin retail sales in Western and Central Europe and appear to act mainly as facilitators and middlemen on the Balkan Route.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is unique in South Eastern Europe in that it borders the two main entry points of the Balkan Route into the EU-Bulgaria and Greece and is a major transit point for the western branch of the Balkan route. Its geographical location enables a connection to Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, Serbia or Albania (and further to Italy).

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is an important location for heroin storage and repackaging; and traffickers from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia may be increasingly active in transit and in destination markets, especially connected to heroin and cocaine trafficking, as reported by EUROPOL.

More research should be undertaken to establish whether the reduction in border crossings resulting from the accession of South Eastern European States to the EU is likely to have an effect on patterns of heroin trafficking through the region and the possible shifting of the Balkan route.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia may be playing increasingly important role in trafficking of cannabis coming from Albania. Current evidence suggests that large scale cultivation for export occurs primarily in Albania, with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia recently reporting some large-scale cultivation. While Albania represents the first departure country in 80% of the cannabis cases, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is the second.

From Greece onward, cocaine traffickers have several options, but according to official data, they tend to follow a northward trajectory through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria.

           

UNODC conducts a Regional Drug Use Prevention Strategy and Policy Makers Seminar

29 September - 2 October 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: The Regional Seminar "Prevention Strategy and Policy Makers" was held by UNODC gathering policy makers from the key governmental sectors in charge of prevention of drug use activities and planning, from the countries of South Eastern Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,  Montenegro and Serbia.

The aim of the Regional Seminar was to technically promote and support the improvement of the coverage and quality of national systems for drug use prevention in the participating countries, based on the UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and building on the substantial existing expertise and activities.

The event was divided into two parts. On 29 September - 1 October, UNODC presented to the participants the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and a wide discussion has taken place focusing on evidence based intervention and policies that are proven as effective instrument in drug use prevention. During the concluding day of the Seminar, participants had a chance to discuss the achieved results of the UNODC Strengthening Family  Programme for children of the age 10-14 years old, implemented in the South Eastern European region in the recent years, as well as its potential for the regional expansion and  networking.

The Seminar was an important event for the UNODC work in the region in the area od drug demand reduction due to the fact that evidence based interventions and policies were discussed with the representatives of key governmental sectors which strengthened the multi sectorial comprehensive approach towards the drug use prevention.

The Regional Seminar was opened with the welcoming speech of Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Director of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, and the UN Resident Coordinator.

                

                

                

Container Control mission to Podgorica and Bar in Montenegro  

24 - 26 September 2014, Podgorica and Bar, Montenegro: A UNODC expert inspected a recently refurbished Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) office located in the Customs Administration building in the Montenegro port of Bar. UNODC confirmed that all works are conducted as per the contract agreement in full compliance with UN rules and procedures and with guidance and assistance of UNDP Office in Montenegro. In addition to the construction works, basic furniture for the office was also provided. UNODC also witnessed delivery of six computers and other IT equipment. The expert met with the relevant logistical unit of the Montenegro Customs Administration to agree on the software required for the smooth work of the JPCU, as well as with the Law enforcement agencies' representatives in Podgorica.

Official opening of JPCU office was discussed and is likely to take place before the end of 2014. It was agreed to conduct a risk assessment indicators training for JPCU, to be held by certified national trainers, preferably after the official opening ceremony of the office. 

UNODC also met with the JPCU team at their premises to discuss operational matters. UNODC briefed JPCU about the meeting held in Podgorica and future training activities. The team provided UNODC a list of tools needed for the office, including forensic drug test kits. 

               

               

 

UNODC conducts a training course to further develop knowledge and skills among South Eastern European law enforcement officers to assist them to identify and interdict cash couriers

23-25 September 2014, Ohrid, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) has conducted a regional training course on monitoring cross-border transportation of cash and bearer negotiable instruments (BNIs).

The training course provided an opportunity for 19 representatives of the financial intelligence units, border control and customs officers, prosecutors and the police from South Eastern Europe to further develop their knowledge and skills in the mechanisms for monitoring cash and BNIs at the border and the procedures for declaration/disclosure of cash and BNIs. The training covered profiling and identification of cash smugglers, seizure of cash and BNIs, interviewing of suspected offenders, handling seizures of cash and BNIs and investigation of suspected financing of terrorism and money laundering. The development of intelligence, exchange of information, the role of the FIU and cross-border (regional and international) cooperation in relation to cash smuggling is also included in this course. There was also a focus on effective implementation of the FATF Recommendation 32 on Competent authorities, their powers and resources.

The training also considered the international standards on combatting money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism and domestic legislation for cash monitoring, cash seizure process maps, decision making and improving performance and included practical exercises.

At the end of the course, each trainee was also provided with the Manual of Guidance and a pocket guide on interdicting cash couriers, developed by GPML.

Feedback from the participants of the training confirmed that they acquired new knowledge and skills for identifying cash couriers and seizing undeclared cash.

 

                 

               

 

UNODC participated in a regional working group meeting of the South East Europe Firearms Expert Network

23-24 September 2014, Durres, Albania: UNODC has participated in the First Regional Meeting of the South East Europe Firearms Expert Network (SEEFEN). This initiative is implemented under the umbrella of the European Union within the scope of the Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP and implemented by UNDP's regional project on small arms control in South East Europe - SEESAC.

The meeting was attended by representatives from institutions designated to investigate firearms-related criminality; prosecutors with experience in working on violent crime and smuggling-related cases; and customs authorities dealing with firearms trafficking in: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244. Also partaking were speakers and experts from EUROPOL and the Police Directorate of the Republic of Croatia. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the future tasks of SEEFEN and identify the main topics of concern to be discussed at future meetings.

More information on the meeting is available at http://www.seesac.org/news.php?id=552

 

Preparatory meetings in Belgrade, Skopje and Tirana for the upcoming regional seminar "Prevention strategy and policy makers"

19 September 2014, Belgrade, 24 September 2014, Skopje, 25 September 2014, Tirana: UNODC has organized preparatory meetings to acknowledge the results of the implementation of the drug use prevention programme and to address the challenges and recognize best practice examples identified during the programme's implementation. The meetings were held also in order to support the formulation of national presentations and to prepare the national delegates for the discussions at the upcoming regional seminar that will take place the following week in the capital of Serbia. The meetings have addressed such topics as: suitability of the material as currently adapted, level of preparedness of facilitators/trainers, assessment of the affinity, assessment of monitoring and evaluation capacity, assessment of resources for scale-up and others.

                 

UNODC and WCO host a demonstration lesson at the Port of Durres 

23 September 2014, Durres, Albania: Upon the request of the DCAF Border Security Programme and FRONTEX, UNODC hosted a demonstration lesson on the functioning of the Joint Port Control Unit at Durres Port. The demonstration lesson was part of the programme on cross-border cooperation operational police measures among South Eastern European countries in the area of crime prevention, fight against organized crime and illegal migration called "Bojana 2014".

               

               

UNODC, the Joint Port Control Unit, the Border Police and the Durres Customs House worked together to demonstrate to the law enforcement officers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Croatia specific concepts of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme followed by a detailed presentation on the day-to-day work of the Joint Team operating at the Durres Port.

The indoor part of the demonstration lesson was balanced between theory and practice, absorbing the interest of participants and resulting in interactive discussions.

The practical exercise at the container terminal followed the indoor training and allowed the participants to carefully observe the techniques used in the container control. The practical exercise connected theory to practice by enabling those present to better understand the application of the modern search techniques. Risk indicators were used in selecting three containers for the practical exercise. Control resulted in some surprising outcomes that would lead to further investigative work for the officers and customs authorities.

The one-day activity was attended by 45 participants from South Eastern European countries who were welcomed by the Deputy General Director of the Border Police and Migration of Albania, Deputy Director of Durres Customs House, FRONTEX and DCAF representatives. The demonstration lesson was also attended by the representatives of Crown Agents, ICITAP, PAMECA and EXBS in Albania.

                             
  

The UNODC Project Office in Tirana also invited the Joint Port Control Team of the Port of Bar, Montenegro, to participate in an activity that is considered a good opportunity to establish mutual trust and cooperation among law enforcement agencies in the region as well as a good opportunity to exchange experiences, information, data and know-how.  

 

 

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

16-18 September 2014, 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 (third year of the first review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).

The round-table discussions in the context of this country visit were held in Skopje, involving Croatia and Iceland 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 at the domestic level with the relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, involved in the implementation of anti-corruption measures and policies, as well as with representatives from NGOs and civil society.

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, is to be drafted to reflect the conclusions and findings of the round-table discussions. The draft executive summary of the country review report will be prioritized and eventually finalized in consultations with the national authorities. Upon finalization of the executive summary, the country review report will be adjusted and completed accordingly. The report will identify successes, good practices and challenges and make observations for the implementation of the Convention. Where appropriate, the report will include the identification of technical assistance needs for the purpose of improving the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated in all United Nations official languages. The country review report itself shall remain confidential, unless the country under review decides to make it available in the public domain.

Preparatory meeting for the upcoming Regional Seminar "Prevention strategy and policy makers"

11 September 2014, Podgorica, Montenegro: Following the new UNODC initiative "Prevention strategy and policy makers", the UNODC Global Programme "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skill training programmes in low and middle income countries" in collaboration with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe will organize a Regional Policy-Makers Seminar on 29 September - 2 October in Belgrade, Serbia, aiming at disseminating the UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention in order to support policy-makers in planning national drug prevention systems.

The event will also serve as a platform where national counterparts previously involved in the implementation of the UNODC "Strenghtening Familly Programme 10-14" in their countries will present results achieved and assess the potential for networking, expansion and sustainability.

UNODC is currently conducting preparatory meetings for the Regional Seminar across the region. On 11 September, such meeting took place in Montenegro. National prevention experts from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education of Montenegro as well as actors involved in the implementation of the programme met in Podgorica during the one-day event  to discuss the project delivery and to assist the national focal point to prepare a detailed presentation for the upcoming Regional Seminar. The meeting was organized and coordinated by UNODC together with the Ministry of Education of Montenegro.

               

 

Visit of the delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Vienna under the Container Control Programme

10 September 2014, Vienna, Austria:  Following up on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina on container control on 10 July 2014, a delegation of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina visited Vienna HQ of UNODC for a consultative mission under the umbrella of the UNODC - World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme implemented in the country to contribute to the national efforts to counter illicit trafficking and organized crime.

The delegation conducted consultations with the managers of the Container Control Programme with regard to planning of the establishment of a Joint Port Control Unit at the border port / customs point Bijača, as well as the upcoming capacity building activities for the future staff of the JPCU. The delegation also met with the representatives of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. Next practical activities under the Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be reported in October 2014.

 

UNODC - Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" third workshop held in Serbia

09-11 September, Belgrade, Serbia: Excellent cooperation between Lions Club International Foundation and UNODC with expert and logistical support by Ministry of Education and Belgrade city municipalities New Belgrade and Zvezdara resulted into the next workshop within the ongoing programme. The third in a series of five planned workshop was attended by 15 experts from elementary schools where the programme "Skills foradolescence" will be implemented. Having successfully completed the workshop, these experts will act as educators for the current school year 2014-2015. In the course of the school year, each educator will be asked to continue to work with the selected group of students.

               

Before and in the course of the workshop, trainer candidates had the opportunity to be more engaged in the workshop preparation, coordination and implementation following the Training for Trainers working methodology, identified by the Lions Quest in cooperation with UNODC.

The Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" is implemented under the umbrella of the UNODC Global project on drug use prevention (GLOK01) and supporting the  Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Since the commencement of the programme in August 2014, more than 900 students have been reached and involved in programme implementation.

The next and the last two workshops in the first pilot programme are planned for 17-19 October and 20-22 October with 30 additional educators to be trained.

               

               

 UNODC participates in the Bled Strategic Forum

1-2 September 2014, Bled, Slovenia: UNODC has, for the first time, participated in the annual meeting of the Bled Strategic Forum.

Over the past nine years, the Bled Strategic Forum, organized jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Centre for European Perspective, has grown into a successful platform for high-level strategic dialogue among leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues facing Europe and the world in the 21st century.

The agenda of the Bled Strategic Forum and further information thereon are available at http://www.bledstrategicforum.org/bsf_2014/agenda

               

 Photo: Blejski strateški forum 2014 - panel o povezovanju Zahodnega Balkana. Tamino Petelinšek/STA

UNODC - Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence"pilot workshops to tackle a variety of risk factors including substance use held in Serbia

20-22 and 23-25 August 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: The first and second pilot workshops on drug use prevention among school children were organized in Belgrade by UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation in accordance with the recently signed cooperation agreement between the two agencies which avails prevention programmes in Serbian elementary schools  in order to tackle a variety of risk factors including substance use.

The participants of the workshops (15 in each) came from different backgrounds, including pedagogical and psychological. The events were attended also by representatives of the Belgrade city municipalities and Ministry of education, science and technological development that have made the selection of the participants from the schools where this programme will be continued in the course of the 2014-2015 school year.

The participants demonstrated keen interest in the Lions Quest materials "Skills for Adolescence" (SFA). The methods and the teaching strategies of the programme and the link with Social and Emotional Learning and the prevention for students of ages 10-14 were well received by the trainees (for more information: http://www.lions-quest.org/ ).

All participants successfully completed the trainings and were granted with the title of educators for the programme..

                

                

The workplan for the future is as follows:
· three additional workshops  resulting in 15 trained educators per workshop;

· trained educators will continue with the implementation in their elementary schools, working with the group of approximately 20 students during the entire academic year;

· as part of a parallel training of trainers process, trainer candidates will be gradually engaged in the process of conducting workshops with a Senior trainer monitoring, evaluation and supervision; 

· the 2014-2015 school year's programme will follow the 40 session implementation cycle, while respecting the Serbian school year period of 36 weeks. The programme will be implemented with a group of adolescence in the elementary schools in the city municipalities of New Belgrade and Zvezdara from September to June 2014. The next, third, workshop is planned for 9-11 September 2014 with 15 new educators to be trained.

 

               

               

             

Police operation led by Joint Port Unit in Durres, Albania

19 August 2014, Durres, Albania: The Joint Port Unit, established in Durres under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, participated and led a police operation at the ferry terminal of Durres Port, whereby 332 kg of marijuana were seized. Marijuana was concealed in a double layer of the floor of a truck with Kavaja (39km away from Tirana) number plates destined to Italy. Elements of intelligence led selection were used by the border police and anti-drug officers. The latter could arrest the driver of the truck, an Albanian citizen, and one other person. Investigation is still going on. UNODC recognized this yet another good achievement of the Joint Port Unit at Durres Port.

               

UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation launch a pilot "LionsQuest - Skills for adolescence" programme in Serbia 

15 July 2014, Belgrade, Serbia:  As a result of the collaboration between United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Lions Club International Foundation, a strong evidence based prevention tool will be added to the prevention programming of Serbia. This programme called LionsQuest (Skills for Adolescents) is a school based programme delivered by teachers that works on improving the social and life skills of students in order to prevent a variety of risk factors including substance use.

Through this programme, Serbian students, families, schools and communities are further engaging in supporting a community that cares and works on promoting positive behaviour. The programme also provides opportunities for young people to learn the essential skills needed to lead a healthy and productive life. It promotes a healthy approach to life free from the harms of alcohol and other drugs. Serbia will be the first country in the South Eastern European region to benefit from the piloting of LionsQuest. Many countries in the region are already involved in the UNODC global project "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries".

The launch of the LionsQuest programme took place on 15 July 2014 in Belgrade and was attended by a delegation representing the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republican expert committee for prevention and control of drug addiction, Institute of public health of Serbia and the city municipalities Zvezdara and Novi Beograd, as well as NGOs.  

The launch included a description of the value added and the international knowledge and expertise of the LionsQuest Skills for Adolescents by the LionsQuest main office in Chicago, USA. It also covered a presentation on how this programme moves the Serbian national prevention programming closer in line with the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention promoted by UNODC. At the launch, UNODC presented the International Standards and how the family skills programme (SFP 10-14) and the coming LionsQuest programme fit within the matrix of evidence based programmes recommended by the standards.

The first of a series of five trainings of Serbian teachers on Skills for Adolescents will commence in August 2014. This training will lead to a direct implementation of the 40 sessions of this programme in 20 elementary schools in the municipalities of New Belgrade and Zvezdara during the following academic year. Over 75 teachers will be trained, over 1000 students are expected to benefit from the sessions.

This programme was made possible through the financial and technical support from Lions Club International Foundation and will be coordinated by UNODC.

http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=475

           

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina formally joins UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme

10 July 2014, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, on container control took place in Sarajevo, assembling commitments of the UNODC, Ministry of Security, Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police BiH.

The MoU signing is bringing the global UNODC/World Customs Organization (WCO) Programme to Bosnia and Herzegovina to contribute to country's efforts to fight illicit container trafficking and suppress activities of organized crime groups. This activity coincides with the recent re-opening of UNODC National Programme Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, strengthening Agency's presence in the South-Eastern Europe region, and implementation of activities related to prevention of organized crime and illicit drug trade, counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, human trafficking and other.

UNODC Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs, Mr. John Sandage, in his opening remarks said: " Container Control Programme is uniquely placed to assist Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to create sustainable enforcement structures in order to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit trafficking and other forms of black market activity."

Through cooperation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South-Eastern Europe 2012-2015, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has expressed its strong interest in participating in the CCP through establishment of a Joint Port Control Unit at the border port / customs point Bijača.

" It is our hope that this Programme will further strengthen the system in Bosnia and Herzegovina to successfully fight transnational crime and provide condition for better security in the whole region", said Mr. Samir Rizvo, Assistant Minister of Security.

Drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime and increasing levels of violence continue to pose major challenges for countries in South Eastern Europe. Large volumes of heroin (and some cocaine) pass through the region, representing a major threat to national economic development.

Introduction of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the Container Control Programme will provide a good opportunity for countries of the region to discuss priorities and needs in the field of container control and share experiences and best practices on "profiling" high risk containers.

               

               

UNODC and UNDP present an Assessment on Judicial Integrity in Kosovo*

4 July 2014, Pristina: UNDP Project Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo (SAEK), supported generously by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), in cooperation with UNODC is supporting the enhancement of the internal capacities and mechanisms of the judiciary in Kosovo for investigating internal cases of corruption and disciplining judges and prosecutors with regard to corruption offences, and increase the ability of the judiciary to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption externally.

In March 2014, UNODC and UNDP conducted an on-site assessment mission, which included meetings with a broad range of stakeholders, including: judges, prosecutors, government officials, civil society groups, and regional and international agencies, aimed at identifying the core capacity building and training needs of the judiciary, prosecution services and other bodies, including, in particular, the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor (ODP). The purpose of the on-site assessment mission was to produce a draft-report on Judicial Integrity, with the main findings and recommendations for concrete activities in support of the enhancement of capacities.

The main findings, challenges and recommendations of the report were presented at the third task force meeting, held on 3 July 2014, involving all relevant stakeholders from government, independent institutions, civil society, and representatives of international organizations in Kosovo, such as: Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court of Kosovo, Kosovo Judicial Council, Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor, State Prosecution Office, Kosovo Prosecutorial Institute, Anti-Corruption Agency, Kosovo Bar Association, EULEX, OSCE, EU Office in Kosovo, GIZ, US Embassy, USAID, Council of Europe, Internews Kosova, and KDI.

The presentation of the report, conducted by the Chief and Expert of the UNODC Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, was considered useful for setting a solid foundation for the implementation of the Project's activities on judicial integrity, which are planned to start at the beginning of September 2014. All comments and suggestions will be incorporated in the final report on the Judicial Integrity which will be published soon.

* All references to Kosovo should be understood in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

www.ks.undp.org/content/kosovo/en/home/presscenter/articles/2014/07/04/undp-unodc-present-the-assessment-on-kosovo-s-judicial-integrity/  

          

UNODC assessment mission on prison-based rehabilitation programmes in Albania

30 June - 4 July 2014, Tirana, Albania: In the context of the programme on social inclusion implemented by the Albania One UN Coherence Fund, and in close coordination with the Albanian Prison Administration, UNODC is implementing a programme's component focused on enhancing the prospects of a successful reintegration of prisoners upon release, in particular by means of strengthening respective rehabilitation services and programmes in Albanian prisons.

To this end, a UNODC expert mission visited Albania with the goal of assessing the principle objective of identifying the necessary contribution to the successful reintegration of prisoners into society upon release. During the stay, the mission met with the senior officials of Prison Administration, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, civil society organizations and visited six prisons setting across the country including a female prison.

The mission also attended a National Conference on Prison Reform in Albania organized by the General Directorate of Prison Administration and had a meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania.

Comprehensive 'social reintegration' assessment report will be drafted and launched in Tirana at the end of September 2014 which is expected to include a range of different measures in order to have maximum effect, including diversion from the criminal justice process, non-custodial sanctions and interventions to support former prisoners following release, and purposeful activities and rehabilitation programmes in prisons, including assisting with the planning and implementation of continuum of care and support in the community.

This programme component implemented by UNODC is generously supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) through UN Coherence Fund.

          

 

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

1-3 July 2014, 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina (fourth year of the first review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).
The round-table discussions in the context of this country visit were held in Sarajevo, involving Hungary and Portugal 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 at the domestic level with the relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, both at the state and entities levels. The institutions from the state level and of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brcko District were present, while the authorities from the Republika Srpska were unable to attend the discussions.
During the country visit, the visiting experts had meetings with officials from national institutions, both at the state and entities levels, involved in the implementation of anti-corruption measures and policies, as well as with representatives from Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the NGO Anti-corruption Network ACCOUNT.
As a result of the country visit, and after receiving additional material, as agreed with the national authorities, a country review report, based on the exchange of information and views during the country visit, is to be drafted to reflect the conclusions and findings of the round-table discussions. The draft executive summary of the country review report will be prioritized and eventually finalized in consultations with the national authorities. Upon finalization of the executive summary, the country review report will be adjusted and completed accordingly. The report will identify successes, good practices and challenges and make observations for the implementation of the Convention. Where appropriate, the report will include the identification of technical assistance needs for the purpose of improving the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated in all United Nations official languages. The country review report itself shall remain confidential, unless the country under review decides to make it available in the public domain.

 

Fifth meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe takes place in Vienna

30 June 2014, Vienna: The fifth meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) was held in the Vienna International Centre.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, who noted in his speech that the participation of many senior representatives and Ambassads demonstrated the commitment displayed by all partners in furthering cooperation in South Eastern Europe. Mr. Fedotov appreciated support of the countries of the region in the delivery of the Regional Programme, as well as the donor contributions. He noted the tangible results with regard to the implementation of the Programme, in an integrated manner, based on effective and efficient action, as well as leveraging the experience and expertise in the region. In particular, he recalled the UNODC report on South Eastern European trafficking routes which is now widely used by countries in the region and beyond, the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme in Albania and Montenegro, and now in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UNODC work to confront corruption, especially in the context of the EU accession processes in the region, the good cooperation in the areas of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, as well as the outcomes of the implementation of drug use prevention and treatment programmes. The Executive Director also referred to new areas of work in the region, including anti-money laundering, social inclusion and fostering gender perspective. Mr. Fedotov underscore the UNODC's Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach, the "Networking the Networks" initiative and welcomed the participation of representatives of the regional organizations in the meeting - for the first time in the Steering Committee history. Finally, the Executive Director noted that in maintaining the Regional Programme in Vienna, UNODC is proving to be cost effective and efficient. He welcomed further cooperation of all partners under the Regional Programme's umbrella.

The Ambassadors and senior representatives of the countries of the region, partner and donor countries have also provided their opening remarks and welcomed the Regional Programme, underscoring that UNODC has managed to integrate itself into the plethora of initiatives undertaken by other partners without duplication. The countries of the region confirmed the ownership of the Regional Programme which is extremely important for UNODC. The representatives have underlined different thematic areas which were active in their countries and results of this work. They have also expressed appreciation to the donors of the Regional Programme and encouraged the continuation of their support.

UNODC has presented progress of the Regional Programme in the first half of 2014, by Sub-Programme, and demonstrated the delivery of the workplan which was approved by the last PSC meeting in November 2013.

In the session on the review of partnership opportunities, the regional organizations have made their statements and presented their work and their cooperation with UNODC. Statements were delivered by senior officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE), Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC), Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), as well as on behalf of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.

The next meeting of the Steering Committee is to be held in November 2014.

          

 

RACVIAC holds Seminar on Effective Practices of the Implementation of UNSCR 1540

26-28 June, Rakitje, Zagreb, Croatia: RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, organized a seminar on Effective Practices of the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540). Around 30 participants took part in the seminar, including the RACVIAC member countries and representatives of relevant international bodies such as the 1540 Committee, UNODC, International Atomic Energy Agency, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, WHO and OSCE.

UNSCR 1540 requires every state to criminalize the involvement of various forms of non-state actors in weapons of mass destruction and related activities in their national legislation and to enforce such legislation. The Committee established pursuant to the UNSCR 1540 is tasked to report on the implementation of UNSCR 1540 and to identify effective practices, templates and guidance to be used by States on a voluntary basis in implementing the Resolution.

UNSCR 1540 can be downloaded here.

The implementation UNSCR 1540 has received special attention in the European region where the states made efforts in preparation and submission of voluntary National Implementation Action Plans to the 1540 Committee, while Croatia and Poland conducted the first 1540 Peer Review in October 2013.

Following a successful execution of a pilot project activity on this topic in September last year, RACVIAC organized a similar event to support the implementation of UNSCR 1540. The two-day seminar was a good opportunity for national officials and representatives of intergovernmental organizations to discuss and share their practices in the implementation of UNSCR 1540. The purpose of the seminar was to present the Peer Review as an effective practices in its implementation.

http://www.racviac.org/news/index.html

UNODC supports regional seminar on prevention of corruption-trends and successful practices in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

26-27 June 2014, Tirana, Albania: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) in cooperation with OSCE, UNDP and UNODC organized the regional expert seminar "Prevention of Corruption - trends and successful practices in Eastern Europe and Central Asia", which brought together more than 40 participants from 20 countries (government and civil society) plus more than 10 experts working for international organizations. The seminar was hosted by the Albanian Minister of State on Local Issues. The participants shared experiences of different national departments in the prevention of corruption and discussed initiatives which worked well and others which had lesser effects. Examples and presentations reached from the public service halls in Georgia and Azerbaijan and State finances as open data in Estonia to various research initiatives from civil society organizations.

The seminar was part of the OECD Thematic Cross-Country Review on Prevention of Corruption in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2013-2015 (which included another workshop held in Latvia in June 2013). The review will produce a comparative analytical report on corruption prevention in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The preliminary findings were presented at the seminar in Tirana and further inputs were sought from the participants for the finalization of the report (which will be released towards the end of this year/early next year).

The event is in line with the principles of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, in particular the Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach. The UNODC representative presented the developments under the UNCAC Review Mechanism, including its upcoming second cycle, as well as led the topics of prevention of corruption, inter alia through improving access to public services and reducing regulatory burden.

          

 UNODC participates in marking of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Serbia

26 June 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in a conference which presented results, achievements and recommendations of an EU Project 'Implementation of Strategy for Fight against Drugs (supply and reduction component)'. The conference was planned and became the key event in Serbia related to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, having been attended by the Minister of Interior, Minister of Health, senior representatives of national institutions, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Ambassadors of European states and others.

The message of the UNODC Executive Director has been read out by a UNODC expert and reference to the release of the World Drug Report was made. UNODC experts also distributed the World Drug Report press release in English and in Serbian.

http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=472
http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=470

 

Marking the 2014 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Skopje

26 June 2014, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The UNODC Office in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has marked the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The message of the UNODC Executive Director and the United Nations Secretary-General were published on the UNDP web page in English

http://www.mk.undp.org/content/the_former_yugoslav_republic_of_macedonia/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2014/06/26/statement-from-mr-yury-fedotov-executive-director-of-unodc-on-international-day-against-drug-abuse-and-illicit-trafficking-/

http://www.mk.undp.org/content/the_former_yugoslav_republic_of_macedonia/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2014/06/26/message-of-the-un-secretary-general-on-the-international-day-against-drug-abuse-and-illicit-trafficking-/

The word on the Day was tweeted on https://twitter.com/UNDPMK

 

Marking of 26 June and Presentation of the UNODC Report on Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina

26 June 2014, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the official presentation in Vienna in March 2014, a presentation of the UNODC Report on Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe was held inSarajevo on 26 June 2014.

The event was hosted by the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and gathered representatives of this ministry, as well as Ministry of Civil Affairs, Border Police, Indirect Taxation Authority, Direction for Coordination of Police Bodies, Brèko District Police Administration, Federal Prosecutor's Office of Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina, FBiH Ministry of Interior, RS Ministry of Interior, RS Ministry of Health and Social Policy, Prosecutor's Office of BiH, RS Prosecutor's Office. All participants were provided with copies of the report as well as its partial unofficial translation and other materials.

Preceding the presentation of the Report, the UNODC representative provided a presentation of the overview of the UNODC general mandate and areas of work, as well as past, current and future activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlighting the work under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme. Furthermore, importance of the regional cooperation was pointed out during the discussion on trafficking routes through Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the role and efforts of law enforcement agencies and aspects of successfulness vs. available reports.

In subsequent discussions, all participants agreed that the Report presents a very good summary of available information assembled throughout the South Eastern European region and that it reflects the realistic situation with illicit drugs trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region. The importance of the link between the work of the police agencies in making seizures, analyses of the forensic laboratories and the quality of analyses provided to prosecution offices was also discussed.

The presentation was scheduled for 26 June to use an opportunity and mark the 2014 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. In this context, part of the event was devoted to marking the International Day. Statements of the UNODC Executive Director and the UN Secretary General were read out. Participants' attention was also directed to the new World Drug Report 2014 released on the same day.

Furthermore, the information on marking of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was posted at the UN BiH website and shared with all UN agencies represented in BiH for their information and further application:

http://www.un.ba/novost/10642/drug-abuse-still-responsible-for-the-loss-of-200000-lives-every-year

as well as at the website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs BiH (MoCA):

http://www.mcp.gov.ba/org_jedinice/sektor_zdravstvo/default.aspx?langTag=bs-BA&template_id=108&pageIndex=1

MoCA also provided an information package, including the UN statements and campaign logo to entities' and cantonal ministries of health for their further use and application. This information was further posted on their respective websites in some instances

http://www.zjzusk.com.ba/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188:meunarodni-dan-borbe-protiv-zloupotrebe-droga-i-nezakonite-trgovine-drogama-26062014&catid=35:novosti&Itemid=37

Marking of 26 June in Bosnia and Herzegovina is evident also on the websites of the NGOs active in the field of drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, who are making their own important contribution for this International Day

http://www.rtvtk.ba/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=81%3Aeurope&id=15228%3Au-tuzli-obiljeen-meunarodni-dan-borbe-protiv-droge&Itemid=197

http://proslavi-oporavak.ba/medjunarodni-dan-borbe-protiv-ovisnosti/

http://www.bhrt.ba/vijesti/bih/medunarodni-dan-borbe-protiv-zloupotrebe-krijumcarenja-droge/

The above approach allowed to bring together the elements of both supply and demand reduction into the marking of 26 June in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

 

4PRESS RELEASE UNDER EMBARGO 14.00. CET, 26 JUNE 2014  

Global drug use prevalence stable, says UNODC World Drug Report 2014 

26 June 2014, Vienna, Austria (UNODC): Drug use prevalence is stable around the world, according to the 2014 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with around 243 million individuals, or 5 per cent of the world's population aged 15-64 having used an illicit drug in 2012.  Problem drug users meanwhile numbered about 27 million, roughly 0.6 per cent of the world's adult population, or 1 in every 200 people.

Launching the report in Vienna today, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, appealed for a stronger focus on the health and human rights of all drug users, but particularly those who inject drugs and are living with HIV.  "There remain serious gaps in service provision. In recent years only one in six drug users globally has had access to or received drug dependence treatment services each year", he said, stressing that some 200,000 drug-related deaths had occurred in 2012.

The UNODC chief said sustainable success in drug control required firm international commitment. A balanced and comprehensive approach addressing both supply and demand should be backed up by evidence-based responses focusing on prevention, treatment, social rehabilitation and integration. "This is particularly important as we move towards the Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem in 2016", Mr. Fedotov stated. He also stressed that controlled substances should be made more widely available for medical purposes, including for ensuring access to pain medication, while preventing their misuse and diversion for illicit ends.

Deadly opioid substitutes, shrinking global cocaine supply and mixed picture of cannabis use

The surge in opium production in Afghanistan represented a setback, said Mr. Fedotov, since the world's largest opium poppy-grower had increased its area under cultivation by 36 per cent from 154,000 hectares in 2012 to 209,000 hectares in 2013.  With a crop yield of some 5,500 tons, Afghanistan accounted for up to 80 per cent of global opium production. In Myanmar, the area under opium poppy cultivation covered 57, 800 hectares, continuing the increase in cultivation begun after 2006. In 2013, the global production of heroin also rebounded to the high levels witnessed in 2008 and 2011.

The US, Oceania and some European and Asian countries have seen users switching between heroin and pharmaceutical opioids, a trend largely dictated by low prices and accessibility; but whereas dependent opioid users in the US are switching from  pharmaceutical opioids to  heroin, users in some European countries are replacing heroin with synthetic opioids.

The global availability of cocaine fell as production declined from 2007 to 2012.   Cocaine use remained high in North America, though decreasing since 2006. Whereas cocaine consumption and trafficking appear to be increasing in South America, Africa has already witnessed emerging cocaine use due to the rise in trafficking through that continent, while greater spending power has made some Asian countries vulnerable to cocaine use. 

Globally, cannabis use seems to be down but a perception of lower health risks has led to more consumption in North America. Although it is too early to understand the effects of new regulatory frameworks making the recreational use of cannabis legal in some states of the US and Uruguay under certain conditions, more people are seeking treatment for cannabis-related disorders in most regions in the world, including North America.

Seizures of methamphetamine more than doubled globally between 2010 and 2012. Methamphetamine manufacture expanded once again in North America, with a large increase in the number of meth laboratories dismantled in the US and Mexico. Of the 144 tons of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) seized globally, half were intercepted in North America and a quarter in East and South-East Asia.  The number of unregulated new psychoactive substances on the global market more than doubled to 348 from 2009 to 2013.

Controlling precursors, curtailing the supply of illicit drugs

The globalization of the chemical trade has made it easier to divert chemicals from legal to illegal uses.  However, the control of precursors, the chemicals needed to manufacture plant-based or synthetic drugs, has tangibly curbed such diversion.

Between 2007 and 2012, 15 per cent of diverted acetic anhydride, used to manufacture heroin, and 15 per cent of potassium permanganate, used to produce cocaine, were intercepted.  During that period, seizures of amphetamine and methamphetamine precursors were more than twice as high as seizures of the drugs themselves. Declines in the use of substances such as LSD and ecstasy in recent years can also be partly attributed to improvements in precursor control, which keeps the price of diverted chemicals high and raises the production costs of drugs.  In Afghanistan, acetic anhydride commanded up to $430 per litre in 2011, up from $8 in 2002, but it cost $1.50 per litre in the world's licit markets.

As progress has been made in tracking down precursors, criminals have turned to new tactics, such as creating front companies and diverting precursors within countries to circumvent international controls.  New unregulated "pre-precursors" have rapidly emerged as substitutes for the controlled precursors used to produce ATS.  Mr. Fedotov urged utmost vigilance: "Monitoring global chemical flows is especially important with the rising manufacture and trafficking of synthetic drugs, which cannot be controlled with traditional supply reduction approaches such as crop eradication", he said.  "A robust international control system must remain a key supply control strategy".

For information, please contact:

Preeta Bannerjee, Public Information Officer: UNODC

T: (+43-699) 1459-5764 | M: (+43-699) 1459-5764 | E: preeta.bannerjee {at} unodc.org

 

  http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=472

 

UNODC consults with women's groups on the draft of the new Law on Whistleblowers Protection

25 June 2014, Tirana, Albania: UNODC hosted today a roundtable workshop to discuss the draft Albanian whistleblower protection law 2014 and how it would facilitate the reporting of acts of corruption by women. The workshop brought together representatives from the Office of the National Coordinator on Anti-Corruption, police, women's groups, civil society organizations, academics, UNDP and UNWOMEN, to discuss the legal reform project and to draft recommendations in regard to the reform.

At the opening of the workshop, Director of Cabinet, Minister of State on Local Issues/National Coordinator on Anti-Corruption, explained the steps which had been taken in regard to the preparation of the draft law and the estimated timeline of the next steps, including a consultative meeting wit civil society around mid-July 2014.

                   

UNODC subsequently highlighted in which ways the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) addressed the subject of reporting acts of corruption and referred to other international recommendations on the subject of whistle-blower protection and good practice examples.

The workshop was a follow-up event to a previous UNODC workshop on "Women and Corruption in Albania: Encouraging Reports of Corruption and Protecting Whistleblowers", held on 10 April 2014, as the result of which a list of proposals and recommendations was drafted with regard to measures which should be taken to ensure that women are able to come forward when affected by corruption.

Against the backdrop of these recommendations, in particular the recommendations on the protection of whistleblowers, the workshop participants now screened the draft legislation and discussed how it addressed the priorities and concerns of women's groups. As a result, a report is being drafted, which includes the comments raised by the workshop participants and which will be presented to the Government during the planned consultative process.

                   

The workshop was part of a series of Women and Corruption events, taken forward by UNODC in Albania aimed at encouraging women to come forward with reports of acts of corruption. It was supported by the UN Coherence Fund through the financial contribution of the Swedish Government.

 

Regional pilot training on trafficking in persons for criminal justice professionals of South Eastern Europe

24-25 June 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC andthe Judicial Academy  of the Republic of Serbia organized a Regional pilot training on trafficking in persons for criminal justice professionals of South Eastern Europe.

The initiative to develop and pilot the South Eastern Europe Trafficking in Persons Curriculum (SEE TiP Curriculum) is based on the results of the Regional Conference on criminal justice response to trafficking in persons which was organized by UNODC in Belgrade in October 2012 and one of its conclusions (i.e. that South Eastern European Judicial Training Institutions will initiate work on a regional curriculum on anti-human trafficking).

The aim of the SEE TiP Curriculum is to enhance harmonisation of training and subsequent practical work of criminal justice professionals on trafficking in persons cases in South Eastern Europe, with a focus on the issues that are identified as important in judicial and training practice of the region.

After the regional workshop in Budva, Montenegro, on 27-29 May 2014 which gathered focal points nominated by Judicial Training Institutions from the South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244) and supported the concept of development of the SEE TiP Curriculum, training methodology and materials, the two-day training event in Belgrade tested practical implementation and effectiveness of the SEE TiP Curriculum. The Belgrade training was very practical, reviewed case studies and presented information in an interactive way ensuring hands-on approach.

 

UNODC presents the report 'The Illicit Drug Trade through South-Eastern Europe' to senior counterparts in Serbia

18 June 2014, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC held a presentation of the report 'The Illicit Drug Trade through South-Eastern Europe' at the Ministry of Interior in Belgrade.

The presentation was attended by senior law enforcement officers and managers of the Serbian Ministry of Interior and the Customs Administration, Assistant Minister of Justice and officials from the Ministry of Health.

The report was prepared by UNODC and the countries of the South Eastern European region with the generous contribution of Turkey and launched in Vienna at the margins of the 57 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The report can be reached through the following link: http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/Illicit_DT_through_SEE_REPORT_2014_web.pdf

Subsequently, the report was unofficially partially translated into some of the languages of the region and its presentations are being organized in Podgorica, Belgrade and Sarajevo.  

In Belgrade, the UNODC officer presented the main findings of the report with the focus on heroin trafficking and the position of Serbia on the Balkan Route. The participants agreed with the findings of the report that 'heroin seizures in Serbia have dropped in the recent period, which is in line with the overall trend in South-Eastern Europe' that cannabis is increasingly becoming a major problem, and also that 'larger Serbian trafficking groups have moved away from heroin towards cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe'. The participants thanked UNODC for the report and said that it gives a good overall insight into the issue of illicit drugs in the region and in Serbia.

The participants of the meeting also discussed methodologies of data collection in South Eastern European countries in general, as well as other drug control related topics - from operational work and sharing operational data with international police bodies to strategy and policy in this field. Furthermore, the topic of the upcoming first drug survey in Serbia was raised, as well as the issue of increasing drug consumption in the country. Finally, the question of verdicts in drug-related cases was also mentioned. The meeting also recalled the UNODC-led Paris Pact Initiative, including its Drug Monitoring Platform.

http://www.mup.gov.rs/cms_lat/aktivnosti.nsf/180614-prezentacija.h

http://rs.one.un.org/news.php?id=469

          

UNODC and WCO hand over equipment to the Joint Port Control Unit and Anti-Drug Service in Albania 

17 June 2014, Tirana, Albania: In partnership with the Office of the General Director of the Albanian State Police, UNODC organized a hand-over ceremony of 13,200 Mercury Evidence Bags of various sizes. The evidence bags are an essential component of any crime scene investigation and forensic supplies and ensure correct collection, storing and documentation of seized drugs and other types of evidence which will then be used in court. The provided evidence bags bear the logo of the Albanian State Police.

The ceremony took place at the Headquarters of the State Police and was attended by the General Director of the State Police, the Chargé d'affaires of Switzerland / Head of the Swiss Development Cooperation in Albania, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, representatives of the Albanian State Police, donors and other partners, as well as media.

In his address, the General Director of the State Police stated that Albania is seeing tangible improvements in the fight against illicit trafficking in drugs. He mentioned that the UNODC-WCO contribution comes at the right time and referred to recent police operations to suppress illicit cultivation of Cannabis Sativa. The General Director also acknowledged long-standing practical cooperation with UNODC in enhancing control measures and capacities of the State Police.  

 

                   

                                 

The representative of Switzerland noted that the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme is assessed as an effective mechanism, and the UN Resident Coordinator pointed out that the UNODC assistance takes into consideration Albania's accession to the European Union by fulfilling the main conditions set to the Government: integrated border management, fight against organized crime and countering corruption.

The hand-over protocol was signed by the General Director of the State Police and the UN Resident Coordinator on behalf of UNODC. This contribution is part of the support offered to the Albanian Government under the Container Control Programme generously funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation.

  

Helpline in support of victims of crime launched in Albania

16 June 2014, Tirana, Albania: A 24-hour free telephone line, 116 006 , was set up and launched for victims of crime. This national helpline offers support and services to victims of crime, primarily victims and potential victims of trafficking, and is supported by UNODC as part of its continued partnership with the Office of the National Coordinator on Human Trafficking Issues. The ultimate goal of the helpline is to curb the number of trafficked women and children in Albania.

The ceremony, which also marked the launch of the application Report and Save, supported also by World Vision International organization, was attended by the Prime Minister of Albania H.E. Mr. Edi Rama, the Minister of Interior, the Ambassador of the USA in Tirana, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, the Acting Head of the EU Delegation and other dignitaries.

UNODC in close partnership with the Office of the National Coordinator on Human Trafficking Issues has carefully examined all elements of the helpline, in particular the needs of the victims and the involvement of the local communities in the reporting of offenses. This approach was specifically adapted to ensure the sustainability of the helpline and to prioritize prevention over prosecution and protection.

                   

                   

Speaking on behalf of UNODC, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania stated that the free helpline for victims of crime was a significant practical achievement. The line will be not only help victims but also become a tool in support of law enforcement agencies and researchers assessing the criminality rate, as well as the performance of the police in addressing the reported cases. The Resident Coordinator noted that the UN believed that the new line would be synonymous with trust, ethics, advice and service.

UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of Albania will be engaged in an active public awareness campaign basing on the premise that fight against human trafficking, drug trafficking and other forms of crime are critical issues impacting the overall situation in the country.

Setting up the helpline is an excellent example of UNODC's partnership with other international agencies in Albania in areas of mutual interest.

For further information: 

www.un.org.al

www.facebook.com/UnitedNationsAlbania    

www.twitter.com/UN_Albania

 

Albanian law enforcement officers meet with Montenegro counterparts

10 June 2014, Podgorica, Montenegro: A delegation from the Department of the Fight against Organized Crime of the General Directorate of the State Police of Albania accompanied by the Head of the Joint Port Control Unit of Durres visited Podgorica on an official visit organized with the support of UNODC. The visit followed the recent successful seizure of 250 kilograms of cocaine by Montenegro authorities supposedly destined for Albania.  

                   

                   

The visit was aimed at discussing details of the recent operation as well as exploring new ways of exchanging and sharing of information and undertaking of joint operations.

In the course of meetings between senior officials from the police and customs authorities of the two countries it was agreed that sharing information is critical in delivering efficient results of work. Enhancement of cooperation among different levels of law enforcement agencies was also reviewed and the parties agreed to consider application of specialized police techniques, such as undercover methods and controlled deliveries.

Under the Container Control Programme, UNODC and WCO provide technical support and advice on better port security in both Albania and Montenegro.

 

UNODC and the Ministry of Interior of Austria convene talks 

6 June 2014, Vienna: The UNODC Deputy Executive Director and the Head of the Criminal Intelligence Service of the Republic of Austria led today talks between the experts in the areas of human trafficking, organized crime, corruption and money laundering. The talks were resulting from the meeting between the UNODC Executive Director and the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Austria which took place two months earlier. The parties have briefed each other on the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world and agreed to keep contact in the future for the coordination of law enforcement work and mutual support.

 

           

The copyright belongs to the BMI            
 

UNODC and RACVIAC convene talks 

5 June 2014, Vienna: The UNODC Deputy Executive Director and the Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation in South Eastern Europe - convened talks in Vienna in order to review the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies at the end of 2013. UNODC and RACVIAC agreed to continue coordinating their efforts in order to ensure non-duplication.

In particular, RACVIAC has invited UNODC to join their planned activities in the areas of countering human trafficking and prevention of corruption. RACVIAC has already started coordinating these activities with other relevant regional organizations, including the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI). Combination of regional and global expertise will allow to maximize the practical output of the activities.

 

Presentation of the UNODC report 'The Illicit Drug Trade Through South-Eastern Europe' in Montenegro

3 June 2014, Podgorica, Montenegro: The presentation of the UNODC report 'The Illicit Drug Trade Through South-Eastern Europe' took place in the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro / Police Directorate and was facilitated by the member of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Attendees of the Podgorica presentation were senior law enforcement officials from the national authorities, including the Police Directorate, the Border Police, the Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the Appellate Court and the office of the State Prosecutor.

The national counterparts have welcomed the report and emphasized its usefulness. The UNODC expert has handed out 20 copies of the partial unofficial translation of the report and presented its main findings. It was noted that in addition to other public reports that could be found on this subject, the UNODC report was the most comprehensive one so far to treat the Balkan route in its entire context. It was also stressed that the report was useful for anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the dynamics along the entire Balkan route.

Montenegro's position in the Balkan route was also discussed and the participants agreed with the findings of the Report that 'a decline in heroin business is observable' and that 'in contrast, cannabis shipments transported through the country and continuing northward are on the increase.'

The launch of the report took place in Vienna on 18 March 2014 and it is available in 

http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Studies/Illicit_DT_through_SEE_REPORT_2014_web.pdf

 

                                                                               

 

Regional Workshop on developing the regional curriculum on trafficking in persons for criminal justice professionals of South Eastern Europe

Przno/Budva, Montenegro, 27-29 May 2014: UNODC and the Judicial Training Centre of Montenegro organized a Regional Workshop on developing the regional curriculum on trafficking in persons for criminal justice professionals of South Eastern Europe.

The initiative to develop the South Eastern European trafficking in persons (TiP) Curriculum is based on the results of the Regional Conference on criminal justice response to trafficking in persons organized by UNODC in Belgrade in October 2012. Among the decisions of the Conference was the initiation of work with Judicial Training Institutions from South Eastern Europe on a regional curriculum on anti-human trafficking.

The aim of the South Eastern European TiP Curriculum is to enhance harmonisation of training and subsequent practical work of criminal justice professionals on trafficking in persons cases in the region, with a focus on issues identified as important in judicial and training practice of the South Eastern European countries.

The Budva Regional Workshop gathered focal points nominated by Judicial Training Institutions from South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244, as well as Croatia) to develop the TiP Curriculum, to elaborate training methodology and materials and to plan a two-day pilot training in June 2014, based on the South Eastern European TiP Curriculum with the aim of testing its practical implementation and effectiveness.

Participants of the Regional Workshop studied human trafficking cases and addressed such topics as

  • risk assessment;
  • investigation - objectives, forms, and opportunities;
  • specialist techniques;
  • crime scene examination;
  • countering defence strategies and others.
    
                                                              
 
                                                                                                                          

 

UNODC participates in the 8 th Meeting of the SELEC Council

29 May 2014, Bucharest, Romania: UNODC participated in the 8 th Meeting of the Council of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) along with over 60 representatives of the law enforcement institutions from the SELEC Member States and guests from INTERPOL, RCC, Italy, UK and USA.

In the course of the meeting, the SELEC Council examined and approved the Annual Activity Report for 2013, the Audit Report for 2013 and the Budget for 2015, and discussed cooperation agreements with the USA and INTERPOL. The Council members granted the Operational Partner status both to USA and INTERPOL and mandated the Director General of SELEC to sign the agreements.

UNODC and SELEC have a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2012. The next meeting of the two organizations is planned to take place in Vienna on 30 June 2014 at the margins of the 5 th meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

 

UNODC participates in the Meeting of SEECP states' Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs

29 May 2014, Bucharest, Romania: UNODC participated in the meeting of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) states, organized by the Romanian Chairmanship of the SEECP. In addition to the Ministers and senior representatives of the SEECP states, the meeting was attended by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, the Vice-President of EUROJUST, and the Director General of SELEC. On the occasion, the SEECP Chairman in Office conveyed a message on the importance of strengthening regional cooperation in South Eastern Europe, as a decisive element for the candidate states or states aspiring to EU accession to continue drawing closer to the Union. The Romanian official underscored the fact that the meeting is one of the actions meant to contribute to implementing the priorities of the Romanian Chairmanship in Office of SEECP. The Romanian official expressed the belief that the ministerial meeting in Bucharest would contribute to developing a comprehensive Regional Action Plan addressing such key areas as fighting corruption and organized crime, migration management and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

The UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe informed the meeting of the UNODC ongoing and planned work in the region, inter alia, in the above areas. 

The SEECP is a non-institutionalized regional cooperation structure established in 1996 and managed by the states of the region. Its objects are:

  • consolidating stability, security and good neighbourly relations;
  • strengthening the multilateral economic cooperation of the region, with a special accent on the cross-border cooperation, modernization of the transport, communications and energy infrastructure, the promotion of trade and investments;
  • promoting cooperation in humanitarian, social and cultural fields;
  • cooperation in the field of justice, fighting organised crime and illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons, as well as fighting terrorism.

 

UNODC supports the drafting of a new Strategy on the fight against human trafficking and trafficking in children in Albania 

5-6 May 2014, Durres, Albania: UNODC supports the Ministry of Interior of Albania in drafting of a new Strategy on the fight against human trafficking and trafficking in children (2014-2017). As part of these efforts, UNODC, in cooperation with the Office of the National Coordinator on Anti-Human Trafficking Issues, organized a retreat (workshop) in Durres on 5-6 May 2014. The objectives of the retreat were:

-     to provide information which could be used as background for the Strategy document;

-     to discuss the framework for drafting the document;

-     to assign tasks to the different collaborators; and

-     to begin the process of drafting with information collected by the participants on identified knowledge gaps.

                    

 

                    

     
               

                 

 

The retreat was attended by 40 participants from various government departments, civil society and international organizations and partners, including OSCE, IOM, PAMECA, ICITAP and ICMPD.

The Deputy Minister of Interior / National Coordinator on Anti-Human Trafficking Issues welcomed the participants, noted that the retreat was the first practical stage of drafting the new Strategy and its Plan of Action, and underscored the need for a consistent approach in this process.            

Participants agreed that the new Strategy should be built on four pillars: prevention, prosecution, protection and coordination. Furthermore, working in groups, in accordance with their areas of expertise, the experts agreed on the need to streamline the roles and processes across government departments and agencies.

At the end of the two-day retreat, the participants confirmed that it has helped with streamlining the drafting process for both the Strategy and its Plan of Action.

The presentations delivered during the retreat and key notes from the audience and group discussions are being consolidated into a report and peer-reviewed.

 Regional workshop on effective protection of victims and witnesses of trafficking in persons in criminal proceedings in the South Eastern Europe

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 29-30 April 2014: The Workshop on Strengthening International Cooperation in Criminal Matters in the South Eastern European (SEE) Countries was held 27-28 November 2012, Serbia, with representatives of the Central Authorities from the SEE countries and regional organizations. Since one of the main conclusions from the workshop was "...to organize a special workshop on improving the position of victims in criminal proceedings in the SEE through focus on avoiding secondary victimization and analyzing possibilities for compensation of victims", the workshop that took place in Sarajevo on 29-30 April 2014, is perceived as a continuation of the exchange of experiences and consultations among criminal justice professionals on a regional level. The conclusions of the Sarajevo regional workshop will be taken into consideration in the drafting of a background paper to a workshop of the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that will be held in Doha, Qatar, 12-19 April 2015, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 67/184 of 20 December 2012.

The regional workshop was held by UNODC in partnership with the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to financial contribution from France to the UNODC Global Programme against Human Trafficking. The regional workshop has built upon lessons learned and expertise developed as a result of UNODC's field presence in SEE and activities that UNODC carried out under previous projects and also complements on-going UNODC projects and other efforts against human trafficking in the SEE region.

The objective of the workshop was to improve the position of victims in criminal proceedings in the SEE through effective international cooperation with focus on avoiding secondary victimization and analyzing possibilities for compensation of victims.

 The main topics of the workshop were as follows:

  • Compensation for victims of trafficking in persons and related crimes (money laundering, online sexual exploitation of children, corruption of public officials, etc.) - best practices, methods and strategies;
  • Improving the situation of victims of trafficking in persons and related crimes in
    criminal proceedings, especially of minors, including avoiding revictimization;
  • International cooperation in cases of trafficking in persons and related crimes
    (legal framework, trends, patterns and best practices), including the role of competent authorities in obtaining victim or witness evidence from other countries in a manner that ensures their protection and security.

The regional workshop has gathered representatives of central authorities and focal points in prosecution offices for UNTOC and other international legal instruments from SEE, namely from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Regional organisations and institutions and NGO's from SEE that are active in the field of criminal justice were also represented, namely the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC); the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC); the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), the SEE Prosecutors' Network (GIZ ORF, EU funded project) and NGO International Forum of Solidarity - EMMAUS (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The workshop has adopted a list of practical recommendations and conclusions.

                    
  

     

UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme: Technical Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 23-24 April 2014: UNODC-WCO mission drew a positive conclusion from the two-day technical mission and meetings with officials of the state-level law enforcement agencies participating in the global Container Control Programme (CCP).

The joint team of the UNODC and WCO officials visited Border Crossing/Customs Point in Bijača, designated site for the future work of the CCP Joint Unit, familiarizing itself with the current state of art developments towards construction of the final premises of the Unit, as well as general situation on prospects of the container traffic through this border crossing between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia (EU).

Furthermore, UNODC-WCO team observed front line level cooperation between border police and customs officers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia at Bijača that provides a good foundation for further exploring of cooperation modalities through implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

 

The mission team discussed establishment of the profiling team, its operationalization and follow up arrangements of cooperation with the stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, the UNODC-WCO team visited Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) Regional Center in Mostar, observing technical, theoretical and practical work of the law enforcement sector staff of ITA, considering future work and aspects of engagement within the CCP Joint Team.

The CCP received strong backing for the current and future engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as expressed by senior managers of ITA, and continued commitment of all partners to implement programme.

The technical mission will produce a report providing recommendation and guidelines on particular aspects of the CCP implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be presented to the partners. The engagement of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is funded by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) / the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). A representative of DCAF participated in the mission.

 

UNODC and WHO facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Civil Society in Albania

Tirana, 11 April 2014: The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Albanian Ministry of Health and civil society organizations offering services in the area of drug treatment and care took place in Tirana.

During the ceremony, speeches were delivered by the Deputy Minister of Health, Chief the Addiction Clinic at the Mother Teresa University Hospital Centre and the Presidents of the non-governmental organizations "Aksion Plus", "STOP AIDS" and "Komuniteti Emanuel-Albania". The ceremony was attended by health professionals, civil society activists, UN agencies and media.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is a result of cooperation of national governmental and non-governmental partners in a one-year-long initiative of UNODC and WHO within the framework of a Joint Project on Drug Treatment and Care implemented with a view to support the efforts of Albanian authorities in this area.

Through this partnership and cooperation Memorandum, each entity seeks to improve several important elements of work related to drug treatment, such as the skills of health and social workers; the participation in joint training programmes; and the exchange of professionals, treatment materials and medicaments between them for mutual enhancement of service quality.

The Memorandum is the first cooperation agreement formalized by the Albanian Ministry of Health with the civil society in this area.

                   

               

 

UNODC brings together civil society and government in Albania to support women in reporting corruption 

Tirana, 10 April 2014: UNODC in close cooperation with the Office of the National Coordinator on Anti-Corruption hosted a roundtable workshop bringing together civil society organizations, women's groups, UNDP, UNWOMEN, police and government departments, to identify and discuss ways in which Albanian women can be best supported in coming forward with reports of corruption.

At the opening the workshop, Deputy Minister of Labor, Social Welfare and Youth and the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania underlined how women are more likely to be exposed to bribery and corruption due to their traditional role as the key interface between the family unit and public administration, particularly in sectors such as health, education and social services.

Building on the key conclusions of an earlier UNODC anticorruption conference held in Tirana by UNODC in late 2012, participants held detailed discussions on the current obstacles preventing women from coming forward with reports of acts of corruption and considered how legislative and institutional frameworks can be improved in Albania so as to increase the reporting by women.

              Corruption workshop

Participants were facilitated by UNODC in addressing core themes including reporting tools and mechanisms, awareness-raising activities and the protection of reporting persons. In relation to each of these areas participants agreed upon a set of key observations and recommendations, to be finalized and agreed in an upcoming UNODC report. 

The workshop is a part of UNODC work currently being taken forward in Albania aimed at encouraging women to come forward with reports of acts of corruption. This work was designed to provide a voice to women in the context of the development of a new whistleblower protection law by the Albanian government.

Participants from both government and civil society organizations noted that the workshop and associated follow-up activities will ensure that the views and concerns of women will be reflected in the upcoming legislative reforms.

The series of Women and Corruption workshops is supported by the UN Coherence Fund through the financial contribution of the Swedish Government.

The workshop was widely covered by the media. Top News TV and Ora News TV offered a live broadcast of the event.

              Photo2

 

Partners of UNODC: The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) encourages cooperation between police forces in the Balkans

Opatija, Croatia, 8 April 2014: Since 1999, the SDC has been supporting cross-border cooperation initiatives between the police forces of Western Balkans. Representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as well as Switzerland and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe met on 8 April 2014 at a Ministerial Conference designed to share good practices on the issue.

On the occasion of the Conference, the SDC webpage has published an interview with an Albanian customs officer participating in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Albania, supported by the SDC. The interview can be found under the following link: http://www.deza.admin.ch/en/Home/News/Close_up?itemID=230089 

 

Albanian INSTAT and UNODC Launch Findings of the Survey on Impact of Bribery and Crime on Private Enterprises in Albania 

Tirana, 7 April 2014: The Institute of Statistics of Albania (INSTAT) and UNODC have launched the Survey on Impact of Bribery and Crime on Private Enterprises in the country. The study was prepared by INSTAT and UNODC with the financial support of the EU as part of a broader research project on corruption in Western Balkans which has been previously reported on (please refer to articles below).

The launch was attended by the Director of INSTAT as well as senior officials and representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Economy, Industry and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Integration, Customs Administration, Taxation Directorate, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the EU Delegation in Tirana, international organizations and media.

The survey was developed using a common and solid methodology which has been developed together with the national partners. The survey reports that corruption is the second most significant obstacle to doing business in Albania, after high taxes. Among other findings based on around 2,000 responses were:

  • The bribery prevalence rate among businesses is 15.7 per cent.
  • Bribe-paying businesses paid an average of 4.6 bribes to public officials in the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • There are some variations in the prevalence of bribery across business sectors in Albania: Accommodation and Food service activities (20.3 per cent); Transportation and Storage (20.1 per cent); Building and Construction (18.7 per cent); Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas and Water supply (14.1 per cent) and Wholesale trade and Retail trade (14 per cent).
  • In Albania, 35.7 per cent of bribes are paid in cash. The mean amount paid per bribe is 53,000 Leke which corresponds to 904 EUR-PPP.
  • The main purposes of paying bribes are to speed up a procedure (39.1 per cent), to make the finalization of a procedure possible (16.8 per cent) and receiving better treatment (7.2 per cent). In addition, 13.5 per cent of bribes paid served no specific immediate purpose.
  • The prevalence rate of bribes paid to public officials is highest for police officers (12.5 per cent), customs officers (12.3 per cent), tax/revenues officers (10.7 per cent) and municipal or provincial officers (10.2 per cent).
  • Only 2.2 per cent of the businesses paying bribes had reported bribery incidents to official authorities in Albania. Over one third (36.2 per cent) of business representatives did not report bribery because they consider there is no need to report bribery as it is common practice to pay or give gifts to public officials. In addition, almost one quarter (23.6 per cent) of respondents stated they did not report bribery because it would be pointless to report it as nobody would care about it.

UNODC commended the Government of Albania for its excellent cooperation in the undertaking of the research and for acknowledging the need to conduct this evidence-based survey as part of an on-going effort to curb corruption. In her address, the UNODC officer noted: "With this study, it is possible to provide concrete informative elements about corruption; we now have a better understanding of the nature of corruption and its impact on the businesses, economic and social development of Albania". Appreciation was also expressed towards the EU which has provided funding for the project.

 

                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Officers of the Joint Container Control Unit at Durres Port seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis

Durres, 7 April 2014:  The regional border police exercised a routine control on a "Scania" truck with Macedonian number plates at the ferry terminal of DurresPort. The verification in the Technology, Information and Management System demonstrated that the driver had multiple in and out entries in the territory of the Republic of Albania in the period of 2013-2014. During the interview, the driver could not provide clear responses. In his interview and as per the customs declaration, the driver declared that he was exporting sofas from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Bari, Italy.

The information as well as the disordered answers made the border police request assistance of the anti-narcotics officers of the Joint Container Control Unit operating at the Port of Durres and established under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in February 2013. Equipped with rubber hammer, buster, fiberscope, ladders, key sets and assisted by the counter-narcotics sniffing dog, the officers could seize  2,365 kg 79 gr of Cannabis Sativa concealed inside the sofas to be trafficked to Bari. The case is still under investigation.

This is the second case of excellent results of the officers of the Joint Container Control Unit of the Durres Port. Last year, the Joint Team succeeded in seizing about 8 kg of heroin which was meant to be trafficked to Italy. UNODC and WCO continue to provide support to the Durres Joint Container Control Team under the Joint Global Container Control.

 

UNODC Container Control mission visits Montenegro

Podgorica and Bar, 3 April 2014: UNODC mission has visited Podgorica and Bar in order to meet with Montenegro law enforcement agencies to discuss the establishment of the Joint Port Unit in the port of Bar under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP).

The establishing of the Joint Unit and making it operational was discussed. Setting of the Joint Unit will be followed by analysis of the container traffic, agreeing on arrangements for the operational work, and eventually conducting of a practical training at the end of September 2014.

UNODC briefed officials about the CCP developments in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and possibilities to further explore cooperation with Croatia in this area. Since the port of Bar has a Memorandum of Understanding on the exchange of information with the port of Bari in Italy, ways to further strengthen cooperation with Italian colleagues will also be investigated. 

                                                                                                                            

 

Meeting between UNODC Chief and Austrian Interior Minister focuses on South Eastern Europe, Afghanistan

Vienna, 3 April 2014 (United Nations Information Service): The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, met with the Austrian Minister of the Interior, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, today to discuss UNODC's activities in South Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

After the meeting, Mr. Fedotov said, "I welcome Austria's strong support for our work and UNODC is ready to continue our excellent cooperation in the Balkans under the umbrella of the South Eastern Europe Regional Programme."

"The importance of UNODC's Regional Programme extends far beyond the Balkans," Mr. Fedotov said. "The programme is tightly linked to other regional programmes, particularly in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, where it is part of our overall integrated approach to drugs and crime."

The so-called Balkans route is one of the main conduits for heroin coming out of Afghanistan. UNODC estimates that around 60-65 tons of heroin, valued at some US$13 billion, moves along the Balkans route to destinations in Western and Central Europe.

Mr. Fedotov also informed the minister that, in West and Central Asia, drugs and crime remain a threat to sustainable development and healthy institutions. Last year, UNODC's Afghan Opium Survey found that cultivation of opium had risen by 36 per cent, and opium production by 49 per cent.

In late 2013, UNODC organized a founding meeting of international organizations in Istanbul to discuss how best to counter heroin's movement from Afghanistan to Europe.  

Known as "networking the networks" the initiative is a component of an inter-regional drug control approach that is based on shared responsibility and fully aligned with the Paris Pact Initiative - a coalition of over 70 countries united to confront opiates.

                

           

 

 

Start of the implementation of the third cycle of Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 in Montenegro

Podgorica, 24-28 March 2014: The third cycle of Strengthening Families Programme for children of age 10-14 years old (SFP 10-14) has started in Montenegro with a training of 15 facilitators and 5 trainers of facilitators.
The attendees being trained as facilitators were selected from five elementary schools from Podgorica, which were not previously involved in the SFP 10-14 delivery, thus increasing the  coverage of the programme in Montenegro. More specifically, participants of the training were delegates from elementary schools in Podgorica delegated by the Ministry of Education to be included in the third cycle of SFP 10-14: "Milan Vukotic", "Milorad Musa Burzan", "Savo Pejanovic", "Branko Bozovic" and "Vuk Karadzic". The purpose of the training was to strengthen their knowledge and skills to adequately prepare facilitators who would ensure the implementation  of the programme in their settings  onwards. Furthermore, the schools were provided with presentational equipment (laptops, projectors and flip charts) in order to support the qualitative implementation of the training sessions and sustainability of the project realization.
The training was organized with the help of the Ministry of Education of Montenegro and NGO CAZAS. This training will be followed by training sessions organised in elementary schools for families and children in April-May 2014.

 

                                    

 

                     

                                                       

 UNODC and WHO support the first National Drug Treatment Conference in Albania

Tirana, 21 March 2014: The first National Drug Treatment Conference took place in Tirana and provided a platform for 140 primary care physicians, clinicians, toxicologists, psychiatrists, pharmaceutical professionals, internists and representatives of relevant civil society organizations to discuss important national drug treatment issues and new therapeutics.

                                                                                        

The conference was organized by the Clinic of Addiction at the Mother Teresa University Hospital Center in association with the Albanian Ministry of Health and was supported by UNODC and WHO.

The conference focused on the interdisciplinary fields of drug use, drug therapy and respective treatment, care and medicine. Furthermore, the conference became a forum where health professionals from various areas and civil society activists could present their work. In the course of the conference, the participants had an opportunity to network and be involved in inspiring and stimulating professional discussions. A large number of students from the Faculty of Medicine of the Tirana University also participated in the conference and assessed it as very educational.

The conference was a valuable opportunity for those, interested in the area of drug treatment and care, to gain knowledge from the contributions of eminent professionals.

A new publication entitled "The Multidisciplinary Treatment of Drug Use and Alcohol" was introduced at the conference.

                                                               

                                                                                                                                               

Launch of the UNODC Report 'The Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe'

Vienna, 18 March 2014: UNODC has launched a report "The Illicit Drug Trade through South Eastern Europe" prepared under the umbrella of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe in close cooperation with the countries of the region and with support of the Government of Turkey.

The launch of the report took place at the margins of the 57 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as its side event and was attend by approximately 90 participants, including Ambassadors of the countries of South Eastern Europe, Turkey and the European Union.

In their speeches, Ambassadors highlighted common challenges faced by the region and the transnational nature of drug trafficking. They noted that this challenge affects the overall socio-economic development of the region and the EU accession process in the countries. All speakers expressed appreciation for the preparation of the report and agreed that a comprehensive assessment which it represents is a useful tool and should be taken into account by policy makers and law enforcers in their countries. In this context, the Ambassador of the European Union acknowledged the importance of the report, confirmed that UNODC and the EU are working in a complimentary manner and stressed that effective countering of drug trafficking is an important element of the EU integration and enhances peace, stability, security and freedom in South Eastern Europe.

The speakers also noted that it is important to ensure cooperation not only within the South Eastern European region (and stressed that this cooperation is already very advanced on bilateral and regional levels) but also at earlier and later stages of the Balkan drug trafficking route. In this context, they find the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC Inter-regional drug control approach very useful.

Talking about practical cooperation within the region, Ambassadors of Montenegro and Serbia referred to the operational example of joint work of the law enforcement agencies in the two countries in the case of Darko Saric who was arrested on the same day and will now be brought to justice under charges of trafficking in significant amounts of cocaine and large scale money laundering in the region.

Country representatives also expressed concern with regard to the situation with drug abuse in the region. While absolute figures may not be very high, the South Eastern European market is comparable with those in Western Europe, and this poses a significant risk for the countries.

In her remarks, the Ambassador of Turkey has informed about the proposed future cooperation with the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) which will be one of the practical follow-up actions to the report. UNODC will also foster the continuation of cooperation in this area, inter alia through the members of the Steering Committee of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and its offices in the region.

The report is available under the following link:  http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/publications-by-date.html

 

UNODC-WCO Mentorship Visit to the Port of Durres, Albania

Durres, 3-7 March 2014: A UNODC-WCO mentorship visit was organized to the Port of Durres in the framework of the Container Control Programme implemented by the agencies in the country.

The purpose of the visit was to monitor and supervise the daily work of the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) in Durres which was established within the Programme. The visit was designed to positively impact the work of the JPCU by providing its officers with hands-on support and learning opportunities through practical observations, feedback, advice, sharing best practices and lessons learnt.

                
                                      
 

The visit started with a one day in-door theoretical session, in the course of which the officers could review and analyse all manifested data and profile risk containers. This was followed by outdoor practical experiences whereby the JPCU officers could examine containers previously identified and selected on the basis of risk indicators. At the end of the mentorship visit, the officers shared an opinion that such visits offer long-term benefits to the efficiency of their work.

                                                                                                           

      

 

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                        

                                                            

                                                                            

 

UNODC and WCO organize awareness workshop on maritime private sector

 Tirana, 4 March 2014: The UNODC Project Office in Tirana in cooperation with the Customs Administration and the State Police Directorate of Albania organized a one day awareness workshop on the maritime private sector with the intention of developing an effective interagency cooperation and improveinformation sharing withthe local and international maritime community and private sector.

                                  

The workshop was attended also by the heads of the Consolidation of Law Enforcement Capacities in Albania (PAMECA), the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program of the USA Department of Justice (ICITAP) and an international development company Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations.

The customs and police authorities, representatives of the maritime community and private sector had a detailed discussion on the need to identify and align data standards, business processes and resources. The participants agreed on the development of a mechanism which would enable information sharing among these entities.

The workshop pointed out that such cooperation and information sharing would contribute to the reduced friction of legitimate commerce, increased efficiency, improved security, enhanced safety and less diversion of the licit trade into illicit circulation.

The workshop was organized under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Albania which is at present supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The workshop was widely covered in the Albanian electronic media.         

                                                                               

            

Consultations between UNODC and H. E. Mr. Bledi Çuçi, Minister of State for Local Government of Albania

Vienna, 28 February 2014: H. E. Mr. Bledi Çuçi, Minister of State for Local Government of Albania, visited Vienna for consultations with the Austrian counterparts, International Anti-Corruption Academy in Laxenburg and UNODC.

At UNODC, the Minister met with the Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov and the Director, Division for Treaty Affairs Mr. John Sandage as well as senior anti-corruption experts. The counterparts exchanged views on possible areas of cooperation in the field of anti-corruption between UNODC and Albania, including the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism, educational programmes aimed at preventing and countering corruption and other initiatives.

H. E. Mr. Çuçi stressed the attention paid to anti-corruption in Albania and the commitment of the national authorities in fighting this challenge. He also recalled the negative impact that corruption has on Albania, as well as on other countries. The Minister briefed on the initial steps which he has undertaken in the function of the national anti-corruption coordinator and informed that a short-term plan for 2014 and a longer term workplan for the next five years are being elaborated in his office.

UNODC will cooperat with the Government of Albania in the area of anti-corruption in accordance with the 2014 workplan approved by the Steering Committee of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe on 21 November 2013. Part of these activities fall under the umbrella of the One UN Programme in Albania.

The UNODC counterparts noted that anti-corruption cooperation with Albania would be useful within all three pillars of UNODC work, including the normative function, the technical assistance and the research role. The latest UNODC report on corruption as experienced by private sector in Albania prepared in cooperation with the Albanian National Statistical Office (INSTAT) as part of the EU-funded programme 'Assessment of Corruption and Crime in the Western Balkans', is about to be launched in Tirana.

The counterparts have agreed to continue maintaining contact through the UNODC Office in Tirana and the UNODC HQ in Vienna.

 

 

UNODC team participates in the 4 th meeting of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe

Ljubjana, 13-14 February 2014: Upon the invitation of the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) based in Ljubjana, Slovenia, a UNODC team participated in the 4 th meeting of the PCC SEE. As part of the established in 2013 dialogue with the PCC SEE Secretariat, the UNODC team discussed common areas for cooperation, in particular the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) operating in the region, and also delivered to the meeting a detailed presentation and a video on the CCP.

                           

 

                       

 

    The UNODC team participated in practical review of various activities delivered under the PCC SEE. Many of the items discussed had a nexus to migrant smuggling and human trafficking between PCC SEE member states and the EU countries. Other law enforcement tools, deriving from the Convention, were analyzed by the meeting participants, including mixed patrols, hot pursuit (involving crossing borders), controlled delivery, etc.

Several of the discussed topics will be further explored by UNODC. Among them are e-learning modules for cross-border police cooperation, a communication system called "Border Sentry" which is soon to be operational and hosted by the PCC SEE Secretariat in Ljubljana and the conduct of train-the-trainer courses focusing on training techniques in cooperation with Switzerland. UNODC will review the relevance of these initiatives to the UNODC work in the region and best ways of cooperation with them.

 

Training course for the Durres Joint Port Unit held

Durres, 10-13 February 2014: Within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme, UNODC Office in Tirana organized a participative risk based training course in order to maximize the preventive and operational effectiveness of the Joint Port Unit .

 The course was designed to illustrate Albania's position vis-à-vis the European and global smuggling of controlled narcotic substances, as well as to describe the organized crime links to the smuggling of other prohibited, restricted and dutiable items. The course was not designed to be remedial, but to highlight the current narcotic smuggling risks, trends and concealment methods and to demonstrate the latest intelligence and enforcement techniques available to the Joint Port Unit in the performance of its daily duties.

 The training course was conducted by the Albanian trainers who had previously benefitted from a risk analysis training of trainers organized by UNODC within the scope of a long-standing UNODC project ALB/G70 which used to support various law enforcement areas in the country.

 The course was also considered a good opportunity for the Joint Port Unit to set closer contacts with the respective risk analysis departments at their respective entities.

                                                                                                                                        

 

UNODC participates in the South Eastern European Regional Steering Group on Small Arms and Light Weapons

Belgrade, 12 February 2014: UNODC participated in the meeting of the South Eastern European Regional Steering Group on Small Arms and Light Weapons. The Regional Steering Group meeting, chaired by the Regional Cooperation Council and UNDP, is a part of the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) governance structure and provides political and strategic guidance and ensures regional ownership.

The UNODC representative made a statement regarding the UNODC Global study on firearms trafficking and provided a short training to the national focal points attending the event on how to access, download, collect, compile and submit data on seized firearms for the purpose of the Study.

The participation of the UNODC representative is in line with the consultations which UNODC held last year with SEESAC and UNDP under the umbrella of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The workplan for 2014 of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe  includes inter alia collection of information from the countries of the region with regard to the UNODC Global study on firearms trafficking in cooperation with the SEESAC.

The preparation of the study is in line with resolution 5/4 of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime entitled "Illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition" and resolution 6/2 entitled "Promoting accession to and implementation of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime".

Pursuant to paragraph 7 of resolution 5/4 and paragraph 7 of the resolution 6/2, UNODC was requested "to conduct a study of the transnational nature of and routes used in trafficking in firearms, based on the analysis of information provided by States on confiscated weapons and ammunition for consideration by the Conference at its sixth session". At its subsequent session, the Conference took note of the information gathered so far by UNODC in carrying out the study and requested UNODC "to improve methodology, in close consultation with Member States, and to complete the study in accordance with the given mandate, for consideration by the Conference at its seventh session". The Conference furthermore called upon States "to participate in and contribute to the study, as appropriate".

 

Launch of the UNODC report on Business, Corruption and Crime in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Skopje, 4 February 2014: The UNODC report "Business, Corruption and Crime in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The Impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise" was launched in the premises of the State Statistical Office in Skopje. The results of the survey were presented by the statistical officers. 

The survey measures the actual experience of corruption and crime through representative sample surveys of businesses in order to provide a more realistic, evidence-based assessment of corruption and crime affecting the business sector. In doing so, it focuses on the extent and pattern of bribery by businesses from five different sectors (accounting for over 69.1 per cent of all businesses in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) in their frequent interactions with the public administration.

According to the survey, business representatives in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia rank corruption as the fifth most significant obstacle to doing business. Around eight out of ten companies had at least one direct contact with a public official or civil servant in the 12 months prior to the survey and the bribery prevalence rate among those businesses who had contact with public officials in that period is 6.5 per cent.

Bribe-paying businesses paid an average of 4.8 bribes to public officials in the 12 months prior to the survey. 52 per cent of bribes are paid in the form of food and drink. When paid in cash, the mean amount paid per bribe is 17,349 Denar which corresponds to 689 EUR-PPP.

On average one out of ten (10.3 per cent) entrepreneurs in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia state that they did not make a major investment in the previous 12 months due to the fear of crime.

The survey reveals that there are some variations in the prevalence of bribery across business sectors in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Building and Construction (11.7 per cent); Wholesale trade and Retail trade (7.5 per cent); Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas and Water supply (5.1 per cent); and Accommodation and Food service activities and Transportation and Storage combined (3.8 per cent).

The survey represents the first attempt to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the actual experience of business bribery in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in order to help identify effective measures to fight it.

As the data pertaining to the perception of corruption reveal, public opinion about corruption in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shows a considerable level of concern about the issue. A window of opportunity is, therefore, open as it is likely that business organizations, as well as their constituent members, would welcome the further implementation of anti-corruption policies.

The research programme resulting into preparation of this and other studies for the region was undertaken by UNODC in co-operation and with the financial support of the European Commission and the Governments in the region. For further information with regard to this research programme, please refer to:

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2013/October/new-unodc-survey-highlights-corruption-as-one-of-the-major-obstacles-to-doing-business-in-the-western-balkans.html

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/publications.html

UNODC Executive Director holds a briefing to Member States on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

Vienna, 28 January 2013: UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov held the annual briefing to Member States on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015). The briefing focused on the results of the UNODC work in the region in 2013 and the plan of work for 2014.

In his opening remarks, the UNODC Executive Director thanked the Governments of the countries of the region for their support and cooperation and outlined the main principles of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe:

  • the Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach;
  • impact orientation;
  • strategic identification of the UNODC niche to avoid duplication and ensure meeting the real needs of the countries, in particular given that so much is done already;
  • focus on practical and operational results; and
  • cost-efficiency.

 

        

      

 

Mr. Fedotov stressed that the Regional Programme represents a tool which can support the EU integration, which is of paramount importance for the region, and assist in building a comprehensive response, which is directed not only to the West, but also to the East. He referred to the latest UNODC estimates which suggest that up to 60-65 tons of heroin flow into South Eastern Europe annually, and also mentioned the challenge increasingly posed by the cannabis cultivation in Albania. Mr. Fedotov noted that a study on drug trafficking routes through South Eastern Europe will be released by UNODC in March 2014.

The team of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe presented the details of work in 2013 and on the workplan for 2014. The main areas of work in the current year will be:

  • anti-drug trafficking and container control;
  • anti-money laundering;
  • anti-human trafficking;
  • anti-corruption; and
  • drug abuse prevention and treatment.

The UNODC Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach to stem drug trafficking from Afghan drug cultivation and production was also presented and the comprehensive response to trafficking along the Northern, Balkan and Southern routes of Afghan heroin were explained.

The Permanent Representatives of the countries of South Eastern Europe delivered their remarks and acknowledged the usefulness, complementarity and effectiveness of the Regional Programme. According to them, the Regional Programme represents an expedient tool in the EU accession process and is not duplicating but complementing the work in this area. All Permanent Representatives thanked UNODC and expressed their support to the Regional Programme, as well as appreciated donor contributions and encouraged continuation thereof.

The Permanent Representatives and diplomats from the donor countries then spoke and expressed their support to the Regional Programme.

 

          

 

UNODC and UNDP sign an inter-Agency contribution Agreement in Support to the Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo*

31 January 2014: UNODC and UNDP have signed an Agreement on the joint implementation of a project entitled 'Support to the Anti-Corruption Efforts in Kosovo (SAEK)'. UNODC will carry out a range of activities aimed at addressing corruption within the judiciary internally and at enhancing the ability of  the judiciary and prosecution services to effectively investigate and prosecute corruption cases in Kosovo.

UNODC's involvement will start with an initial assessment to determine legal, organizational and capacity development needs to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption internally and externally. UNODC will then proceed with the delivery of a series of workshops to increase the capacity of the judiciary to address internal corruption offences and to enhance the personal and institutional integrity of members of the judicial system. UNODC will also develop tailored training materials and deliver specialized training workshops to provide the judiciary with the pertinent skills to investigate corruption cases. UNODC will also provide support to judicial institutions in the production and harmonization of relevant ant-corruption legislation and guidelines in accordance with international standards, as well as deliver workshops aimed at enhancing the capacity of government to conduct their work effectively. The project will further strengthen cooperation and coordination amongst anti-corruption bodies and produce anti-corruption policies and guidelines. The expected outcome of the project is that the ability of the judiciary to fight corruption internally and externally will be increased.

* All references to Kosovo should be understood in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

UNODC fosters cooperation with the South Eastern European Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC)

Zagreb, 24-25 January 2014: A UNODC technical mission visited RACVIAC (the South Eastern European Centre for Security Cooperation) at its premises in Rakitje, near Zagreb, Croatia. One of the main aims of this visit was to explore possibilities for cooperation and partnership between the two bodies in order to build on their added value and achieve synergies, since both deal with security and crime matters from different perspectives. The visit follows the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and RACVIAC on 21 October 2013. 

The RACVIAC management and staff presented the organization's mandates, achievements and capacities for organization of trainings and meetings at its premises. The UNODC delegation was also briefed in details on the RACVIAC's 2014 Working Program for the region and its three pillars: Security Sector Reform, International and Regional Cooperation and Cooperative Security Environment with focus on Arms Control.

The UNODC delegation informed the RACVIAC counterparts on the relevant aspects of work within the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015),  as well as on the UNODC's 'Networking the Networks' initiative under its Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach.

The two sides agreed on the follow up and identified activities to be pursued.

 

UNODC supports civil society in getting trained on the TREATNET Programme

Albania, November-December 2013: The Joint Program of UNODC-WCO on Drug Treatment and Care in cooperation with an Albanian NGO Aksion Plus undertook a series of trainings on TREATNET Programme, Volume A. The trainings were organized in the cities of Shkodra, Vlora, Elbasan and Korca in November-December 2013.

The main objective of the training was to familiarize the healthcare staff from Emergency Units and hospitals of these districts with the concepts and knowledge on substance abuse treatment, in general, and specifically with the screening elements and the short interventions (as serious aspects in the drug abuse treatment); to discuss the implementation of the methods of data gathering and their application in the daily work and to increase knowledge and information among drug users population about Harm Reduction Programme.

120 nurses, doctors, primary heath care professionals and social workers befitted from these training.

UNODC and WHO recommended materials were used during the training. The participants were provided with brochures, leaflets and small books on drug abuse and human rights. The methodology of trainings was interactive and promoted participation and discussion between participants and the trainers leading to sharing of mutual experiences and knowledge. The trainings were conducted by two local trainers who had previously benefitted from a programme "training of trainers" organized by UNODC and WHO.

The filled Pre-test, Post-test and Training Satisfaction Form showed that the participants were very satisfied with the trainings. They stated that they embraced the new knowledge and appeared motivated to apply this knowledge in their daily work with substance abusers.

The training was accredited by the National Center of Continued Education (QKEV). At the end of each training, the participants received a certificate of participation.

 

 

Crime networks pose a threat to every country, says UNODC Chief in Istanbul

Istanbul/Vienna, 13 December 2013: (UN Information Service) - Crime fighting agencies from across the globe met yesterday in Istanbul, at the start of a two-day conference hosted by the Turkish government, to discuss greater coordination of efforts against drug trafficking, and other forms of transnational organized crime.

Speaking at the opening, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said: "This new initiative is about leveraging combined strengths, region to region, to effectively counter drug trafficking networks with stronger, more united networks of our own."

Head of the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department (KOM) of the Turkish National Police, Mehmet Yeşilkaya, in his own statement, welcomed the initiative which, he said, "will contribute to widening the existing dialogue and create a sustainable platform for the relevant international and regional organizations."

Named "Networking the networks" the initiative offers an innovative approach to confronting illicit drugs and crime and will link bodies such as the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Centre (CARICC), the Gulf Criminal Intelligence Centre (GCIC), the Joint Planning Cell (JPC), the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC), the Asia-Pacific Information and Coordination Center for Combating Drug Crimes (APICC), among others, to create better coordination, greater sharing of information and better assistance in tracking criminal proceeds.

The initiative also forms part of an overall inter-regional drug control approach, which was developed to address the challenges stemming from Afghanistan, and is based on shared responsibility outlined under the Paris Pact Initiative - a broad international coalition of over 70 countries united against opiates.

UNODC also presented its latest report on drug trafficking along the Balkan route. Together with the Northern and Southern routes, the Balkan route is one of the main trafficking routes and moves between 60 to 65 tons of heroin from Afghanistan into Western and Central Europe.Global proceeds from illicit drugs are estimated by UNODC to be some US$320 billion annually, some of which comes from opiates. Trafficking in opiates is worth around US$68 billion annually with some 75 per cent of the world's opiate supply coming from Afghanistan.

UNODC's aims in combating these challenges are also supported by regional entities including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the World Customs Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as well as by ASEANAPOL, Europol and Interpol.

 

Anti-Corruption Regional Conference opens in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 9 December 2013: A two-day anti-corruption conference opened today in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to coincide with the International Day against Corruption, 9 December. The meeting is being organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Commission (EC).

The conference brings together anti-corruption experts and civil society representatives from the region to take stock of anti-corruption efforts, policies and strategies to date, and to identify areas for improvement, particularly in light of the European Union (EU) accession process.

UNODC works in the region through its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which has a strong focus on the "Balkan Route" of Afghan opiates and related challenges, including corruption and bribery.

"Corruption fuels and enables transnational organized crime and drug trafficking," said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov in his address to the conference. "UNODC's partnership with the European Commission and with local governments is an important one, and I hope that we can continue to work together on these and related challenges."

"Corruption remains one of the biggest challenges for all societies, including in enlargement countries, but EU Member States are also far from being corruption free", said Joost Korte, Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Enlargement, European Commission (EC).

"An effective fight against corruption is of crucial importance to our country and citizens", said the Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina Fahrudin Radoncic. "Strengthening the rule of law, with full implementation of EU standards and the development of regional cooperation, will ultimately have a key impact on the achievement of long-term stability, democracy and economic development in all countries of South-Eastern Europe, as well as on the fight against poverty," he added.

Corruption also has a severe impact on the economy and increases costs for companies. A recent European Commission-funded UNODC study, " Business, Corruption and Crime in the Western Balkans", showed that that corruption plays a significant role in the daily business of many companies in the western Balkans. On average, across the region, one in ten businesses that had contact with public officials paid bribes over a 12-month period, at a hefty average price of 880 EUR per bribe. 

Ms. Zahira Virani, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP stressed that corruption directly impedes development and deters people from realizing their full potential. "In survey after survey, the UN has found that corruption-related grievances rank amongst the top concerns of citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina," she said. "The UNODC report of 2010 shows that 1 in 5 citizens have paid a bribe. Thus, it is encouraging to see that the countries in this region are committing to liberate themselves from corruption."

 "For continued success, we need the firm commitment of all nations to reject corruption and for all national laws to be in line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption," said Yury Fedotov. "We also need the voices of governments, civil society, academia and the public to join in the condemnation of corruption wherever it arises", he concluded.


 

First draft of National Anti-Corruption Strategy unveiled in Tirana

Tirana, 9 December 2013: The first draft of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy was presented on Monday in an event co-organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania, the Minister of Local Affairs and UN-Albania, on the International Anti-Corruption Day. The strategy is expected to be ready by April 2014.

Addressing the conference, Prime Minister Edi Rama stressed the need for a strong and joint action against corruption. Minister of Local Affairs and National Coordinator on Anti-Corruption, Çuçi presented the draft saying that war against corruption is the key priority of the government. Minister Çuçi said the first round of negotiations has been launched, and the drafting process will be open and the institutions will be represented and heard. According to him, the strategy will be short but efficient.

OSCE urged national counterparts for urgent concrete measures to curb corruption. "Albanian citizens must feel that corruption will be seriously tackled. They have the right to functioning, reliable and efficient public services, including education and health care," the Deputy Head of the OSCE mission said. He also congratulated the Government for tangibly showing its commitment in the fight against corruption and expressed appreciation for the efforts to tackle this issue comprehensively. He added that government cannot tackle corruption on its own, and the involvement of civil society, media, business community and citizens is imperative.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Albania noted that corruption destroys opportunities and creates rampant inequalities, with women and youth being often most affected. She said that the new strategy components will bring new motivation to the entire public administration, business community and people, and stressed that UNDP and UNODC will support the Government in the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Albania stressed the importance of having a realistic strategy. He said that corruption is a disease which damages the institutions. According to him, the war against corruption is an investment for the future of Albania.

The event was supported by UNDP and UNODC and took place under the logo of the United Nations in Albania. 

 

UNODC mission visits Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Banja Luka, 6 - 7 December 2013: A UNODC technical mission visited Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet with Government officials to discuss conditions and requirements for the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in the country. The meeting was organized at the premises of Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina and was attended by the management of this agency and officials from various agencies and ministries.

UNODC informed the Bosnian partners about the methods and terms of participating in the CCP and presented an overview of enrollment of the Programme (including identification of suitable accommodation for the inter-agency container profiling units, establishment of a Steering Committee comprising representatives from the relevant national law enforcement agencies and UNODC, signing of an inter-agency cooperation agreement and operational procedures, etc.).

The parties agreed on the way forward and reiterated that CCP would be useful for Bosnia and Herzegovina and would be of benefit in accelerating the flow of goods and people while simultaneously intensifying the controls and in ensuring better exchange of information between other institutions to the successful fight against illicit trafficking and all other types of customs or tax frauds.

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) has provided funding for the implementation of the CCP in South Eastern Europe, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently, the Programme is being implemented in the Port of Durres, Albania, and the Port of Bar, Montenegro.

               

 

Albanian officers of the Durres Joint Container Control Unit (JCCU) visit the Port of Rotterdam

Rotterdam, 2 - 6 December 2013: UNODC and WCO, supported by the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) / US Embassy in Tirana, organized a study visit for officers of the JCCU from the Albanian Port of Durres to the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The study visit was hosted by the Dutch Customs Authority and focused on operational work (including operative team building, improvement of knowledge through exchange of practices, review of different perspectives and methods of work, building bridges between the two Ports, improvement of language skills of the officers).

During the visit, the Albanian officers were provided with an in-depth comparative analysis of the challenges and success of the Dutch customs in fighting illicit container trade. Different operating models of the Dutch police and customs in advancing their performance by using criminal intelligence and risk assessment, including in the selection of containers, were presented to the Albanian colleagues.

The study visit is assessed by the participants as "impressive, memorable, intense, informative, professional and very well organized".

 
  

Paris Pact Initiative - EUROPOL Expert Working Group to increase actions on diversion of precursor chemicals

The Hague, 28 - 29 November 2013: A two-day Expert Working Group on precursors was held under the auspices of UNODC's Paris Pact initiative was hosted by EUROPOL to discuss the prevention of the diversion of precursor chemicals as one of the four pillars of the Vienna Declaration of the Paris Pact.

Diversification of trafficking routes from Afghanistan is a prominent and current development as organised criminal groups target the European Union as a potential source region for acetic anhydride. In order to increase awareness on this matter, representatives from many countries affected by precursors diversion met at Europol.

Key points arising form the meeting were the need to build upon current achievements including existing frameworks for cooperation as the Regional Intelligence Working Group on Precursors,  which is part of the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries. In particular this model might be replicated to sustain operational interventions in other regions. In view of the increasing inter-regional cooperation approach to stem Afghanistan-originated heroin plague, similar initiatives would facilitate information sharing at country and regional level. This approach will be in line with the new mechanisms envisaged in the Networking the Networks Conference (Istanbul, 12-13 December 2013) to address drug related cross-cutting threats and challenges. The inter-regional dimension efforts were welcome by the participants. South Eastern Europe countries' representatives attended the event as the region stands as strategic bi-directional transit for criminal networks shipping precursors from EU markets to production sites in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood as well as trafficking heroin in the opposite direction. South Eastern Europe countries' efforts will sustain inter-regional dimension through the  UNODC  Regional  Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) by ensuring counter narcotics policies' consistency along the heroin routes.

In the course of the meeting some issues were raised as the need to standardize analytical forensic methodologies to ensure the transfer of results, the strengthening of forensic intelligence and investigative capacities. Changes along trafficking routes with greater exploitation of maritime shipping as well as the emergence of Africa as a trans-shipment hub were stressed.

Stronger regulations at global and regional level to deal with precursors diversion were considered necessary as well as strengthening risk profiling and promote cooperation with the chemical industry as indicated by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

The Expert Working Group was supported by the "Information Networks along the Heroin Route" Project in the context of the European Union's Heroin Route Programme. Furthermore, countries' contributions from Norway, France, the United States of America and the Russian Federation  to the Paris Pact programme have enabled - amongst several other activities - the organization of this meeting.

 

UNODC-WHO Programme on Drug dependence treatment and care in Serbia                        

Belgrade, 27 November 2013: The UNODC carried out a workshop in Belgrade on "Sustained recovery management" under the framework of the UNODC-WHO drug dependence treatment and care programme to support the expansion of drug dependence treatment services in Serbia. This activity targeted practitioners and relevant experts from four regions  of Serbia (Belgrade, Niš, Novi Sad, Kragujevac) aimed to the development of recovery services for drug dependent clients. 

Participants shared challenges they face when dealing with drug dependence matters and were presented with good practices achieved in this field.

During the workshop the drug dependence treatment quality standards assessment report has been presented as a result of cooperation between UNODC and Republican expert committee on prevention and drug abuse control. Two regions Kragujevac and Novi Sad were assessed during the process.

The workshop helped participants to understand the challenges in the field of sustained recovery management and highlighted the examples of good practices both locally and regionally.

        

             

UNODC National Capacity Building Workshop for Criminal Justice Practitioners on Trafficking in Persons held in Montenegro 

Podgorica, 26-27 November 2013 : The UNODC delivered atwo-day multi-disciplinary training workshop on trafficking in persons in Podgorica to enhance national stakeholders capacity for deterring human trafficking affecting the Western Balkans region.

Representatives of investigative law enforcement agencies, judiciary, civil society as well members of the National Coordinator's Unit were exposed to relevant international legal framework and human trafficking dynamics in the region. Importantly, the workshop emphasized also the victims' perspectives through presentations of complex study cases to shed light on the traumas and practical matters faced by trafficked persons. Non criminalization of the victims was a key element of the training which highlighted the critical role played by civil society organizations  to ensure the pursuance of human rights-based policies to address human trafficking.

The growing need to apply a regional approach when dealing with transnational issues  of trafficking in persons was reflected through the training. To support this element of the workshop, , in addition to UNDOC experts, a representative of the Serbian Ministry of Justice and the Director of a Romania-based NGO with expertise in victims trauma contributed to the training. Furthermore, participants from the National Coordinator's Unit of Montenegro illustrated national patterns and responses followed by an actual case of trafficking in the country presented by a prosecutor.

This initiative was implemented under the framework of the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants and the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. During 2014, it will be followed by a regional-level workshop for the central authorities for international legal cooperation to address trafficking in persons and support the development of a regional anti-human trafficking curriculum within the partnership of the judicial training institutions of the South Eastern Europe countries.

 

Fourth meeting of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe 

Vienna, 21 November 2013: the fourth meeting of the Steering Committee of UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) took place in Vienna on 21 November 2013 to assess the Programme's implementation and results achieved in 2013 and to review the priorities for 2014.

                                          

 Programme Steering Committee members and representatives of the countries covered by the Programme (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), the partner country (Croatia) and donor community (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Turkey and the EU) attended the meeting.

Director of the UNODC Division for Operations, addressing the meeting on behalf of the UNODC Executive Director, stressed the guiding principles of the UNODC work in the region: impact orientation, integration, strategic approach, non-duplication, operational and practical approach, cost-efficiency and inter-regional drug control approach. Importance of the European Union integration process was also noted, inter alia, by the Ambassador of the EU to the UN in Vienna.

The Programme Steering Committee members expressed appreciation for the positive results the Regional Programme has achieved in 2013, highlighting the impact made in the region, and endorsed the workplan for 2014 which will continue building up on the results achieved so far and focus next year on the following areas:

  • Countering illicit trafficking (in drugs and human beings);
  • Anti-money laundering;  
  • Anti-corruption;
  • Drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
                                                                                          

Such important initiatives as the Container Control Programme, Studies "Business, corruption and crime in the Western Balkans", Regional Anti-Corruption Conference (Sarajevo, 9-10 December 2014) and follow up thereto, Review of the influence of illicit financial flows on the countries along the Balkan route of heroin trafficking, the UNODC Treatnet programme, the UNODC programme on prevention of drug abuse and strengthening families, cooperation with the Turkish International Academy on Drugs and Organized Crime and "Networking the Networks", were supported by the Programme Steering Committee members. These and other initiatives, including for instance those aimed at countering human trafficking, will be pursued in the remaining month of 2013 and in 2014.

The donor countries have also expressed its support to UNODC in the implementation of the Regional Programme. The representative of the Russian Federation has announced the first financial contribution to the Programme.

The meeting also endorsed the continuation of the ongoing communication, coordination and reporting mechanism and agreed to convene the meeting next time in Vienna in mid-2014.

               

  

UNODC is launching survey reports assessing Corruption and Crime impact in South Eastern Europe

Pristina/Sarajevo, November 2013: Following the launch of the UNODC survey 'Business, Corruption and Crime in the western Balkans: The impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise', UNODC presented reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 designed to assess the impact of corruption on private enterprises.

The survey publication encompassing the whole Western Balkans region revealed that corruption pervades daily routine of countries' private initiatives hugely affecting foreign investments as well as public sector. The most common purpose for paying bribes is to speed up business-related procedures. In particular, 12.2 per cent of the interviewees among buildings and constructions entrepreneurs across the region said they had to bribe public officials. More generally, 18.1 per cent of the survey respondents from the six countries and Kosovo under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 are reported to have paid bribes to "groome" public officials for future interactions.

The publications on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 - where most expensive bribes are being paid - are the first of a series of country/territory reports released.

The entire programme was undertaken by UNODC in co-operation with the European Commission and the Governments in the region, including the Statistical offices. The research addressed various stakeholders from governments agencies, civil society and media giving an opportunity to exchange views with UNODC experts and EU representatives.

Findings of the regional surveys will be illustrated at the South Eastern European Anti-Corruption Conference that will take place in Sarajevo on 9-10 December 2013 marking the 10 th anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Sarajevo Conference will be the first anti-corruption event after the Fifth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention in Panama City (for more on this topic: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2013/November/corruption-is-the-thief-of-economic-and-social-development-says-unodc-chief-at-anti-corruption-opening-in-panama.html?ref=fs3)

UNODC-WCO organize a presentation meeting on Container Control Program in Albania

 

Tirana, 22 October 2013: A presentation meeting on the achievements of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Albania was organized by UNODC and WCO in Tirana to inform the Development Center of Armed Forces (DCAF) based in Geneva, Switzerland, on the main results and challenges of the CCP implementation in the Durres Port in Albania. The meeting was organized jointly with the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Tirana whose contribution to the implementation of the Programme has been instrumental. Apart from the DCAF representatives, the meeting was attended by the Deputy General Director of the Albanian State Police, Deputy General Director of Customs, Deputy General Director of the Border Police and Migration, Chief of the National Anti-Drug Service, UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, representatives of the German and Italian embassies in Tirana and the Head of PAMECA, as well as the UNODC Global CCP Coordinator, UNODC Head of Office in Tirana and the WCO focal point on CCP.

UNODC and WCO informed the participants on the main elements of the CCP, its objectives and strategy. Statistics provided by the speakers taken from the governmental agencies and other well established organizations involved in the matter provided solid information to the audience. The presentations also provided an overview of the challenges that the CCP faces in various countries, including Albania. A video presentation on the work of the joint team operating at Durres Port could add another dimension to the presentations and held the interest of the audience.

The meeting was followed by a field visit to Durres Port where the DCAF representatives could visit the joint refurbished premises and attended a presentation made by the head of the joint team. The team also exercised a control on an identified container. Identification was done by using risk profiling elements.

The Container Control Programme aims at establishing Joint Container Control Units (JCCU) comprising of the Police, Customs and relevant law enforcement authorities in key regional container ports. The members of the JCCUs improve their knowledge and receive equipment under the CCP. Risk-based profiling of containers and improved information exchange at the national, regional and international levels on container crime is introduced. At the start of the programme, the units receive basic training, followed by a more advanced training on more subject specific issues related to security and countering terrorism and trafficking in nuclear materials, weapons and other illicit activities.

As of 1 October 2013, DCAF / the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is generously supporting the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe through providing funding to the Container Control Programme in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Strengthening cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination in combating irregular migration and related transnational organized crime with particular focus on South Eastern Europe

Vienna, 31 October 2013: UNODC, IOM and the OSCE co-organised a Mapping Seminar on the above topic to better structure the understanding and assistance to the South Eastern European countries in their response to illicit migration.

Representatives from the countries of South Eastern Europe and international experts shared their views and discussed ways to increase international action in addressing various aspects of the challenge of smuggling of migrants, including the protection of human rights, implementation of international legal instruments, data collection and others. Improving preparedness of the countries' detection capabilities, implementation of readmission agreements, access to justice for irregular migrants and ways to improve prosecution capacities of crime perpetrators were mentioned as strategic priorities for the region.

In order to support countries' policies to tackle organized crime in this field, the UNODC is continuing its joint efforts with IOM and the OSCE to map irregular migration in South Eastern Europe. As part of these efforts, a desk review will be prepared and a report, presenting current trends of illicit activities profiting over migrants in the region, will be launched in the first half of 2014.

UN Day celebrated in the region of South Eastern Europe. UN-Albania video: We The People 

Link to the video

Tirana, 24 October 2013: Senior government officials, Members of Parliament, representatives of international organization, diplomatic corps, non-governmental organizations, scholars, philanthropists, business, media and citizens joined the United Nations Agencies in Albania to celebrate United Nations Day.This United Nations Day came at a special moment-as Albania has renewed energy in pursuit of two objectives, to complete its unfinished development agenda; and set the country on a path towards EU accession and the global post 2015 development agenda.

The event was greeted by the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ditmir Bushati who amongst other highlighted:"It is a privilege for me, on behalf of the Government, to extend my thanks to the United Nations for their work in promoting peace and security in the world, as well as a more fair society. Also, allow me to extend my gratitude to all those who during these years, with their work, effort and sacrifice, often even risking their lives, have transformed the United Nations Organization in the personification of hope for a better future around the world.

Albania is proud of its achievements in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and its contribution to the reform of the organization, taking active part in the "One UN" program. We want - relying on these achievements - to qualitatively improve our representation within the UN, aiming the membership in the Council for Human Rights (2015-2017) and the Security Council (2022-2023). For the Albanian government, cooperation with the UN is an ongoing process, depending on the objectives and progress of the country in the path of economic development and democratic transformation".

The UN Resident Coordinator in Albania Ms. Zineb Toumi - Benjelloun, who spoke on behalf of the United Nations Agencies in Albania amongst others said: "Tonight, I want to express my gratitude to those often forgotten voices who shared their stories, concerns, expectations and priorities about the world they want for themselves and their children. They clearly voiced their priorities in Albania: they asked for more employment opportunities, better education, and better health services. More importantly, they asked for new and more equitable ways of doing things. Change is inevitable. Leadership makes the difference and I want to pay tribute to our main partner- the Government of Albania for the leadership, vision and drive to action and for the trust they have extended to the United Nations in Albania".

Participants at the event had the opportunity to also watch a video presentation called "We the People of Albania" which highlights some key interventions undertaken by the UN Agencies in Albania and advocates for issues that the UN is strong about such as good governance, environment and social inclusion.

What made the UN Day very special was the United Nations Fair which provided an opportunity for the UN agencies to show their work through several displays. The Fair highlighted UN's work in the area of social inclusion, children, corruption and crime, environment, gender equality, democratic governance, health  and migrants,  human rights, food security, safety at work and many more. It also served to convey strong advocacy messages around those issues.

The UN Day event also served to convey the gratitude to UN's development partners for their cooperation with United Nations Agencies in Albania.

 

Paris Pact Expert Working Group on Effective Drug Demand Reduction Interventions for Children, Adolescents and Families

Vienna, 23 October 2013: During the meeting of the Paris Pact Expert Working Group on Effective Drug Demand Reduction Interventions for Children, Adolescents and Families (Vienna, 22-23 October 2013), a representative of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe gave a presentation on Drug demand reduction activities and challenges in the region.   

A detailed overview on the current situation with regard to drug consumption among the general and young population of each country of the region was presented, including results from different surveys, which were conducted in this field. Furthermore, the presentation pointed out specific approaches and main actors from the six countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, including Kosovo under the UNSCR 1244) active in the field of drug prevention and treatment.

Some of the main challenges of drug demand reduction were described, as well as the UNODC interventions aimed at supporting the countries in addressing these challenges. Inter alia, the topic of interest of Roma children exposed to drugs for the purpose of their exploitation in the region of South Eastern Europe was brought to attention and the participants of the meeting were invited to take this challenge into consideration in the spirit of shared responsibility and future actions.

Finally, the importance of further presence of Paris Pact Initiative activities in the region was underlined.

 

Briefing in advance of the launch of the UNODC report "Business, Corruption and Crime in the Western Balkans: the impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise"

Vienna, 22 October 2013: On 22 October 2013, UNODC undertook a closed-door briefing to the Permanent Missions of the countries of the region in advance of the launch of a new UNODC report "Business, Corruption and Crime in the Western Balkans: the impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise".

The report is the result of the valuable partnership of UNODC with the EU which funded it allowing scientific findings on the impact of bribery on private enterprise across the Western Balkans countries to be built. The EU Ambassador attending the briefing noted the usefulness of the undertaken research and the importance of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe which is complementing the efforts of other actors in the region, including the EU.

The launch of the report will take place in Brussels on 24 October 2013. Additional information will be posted on this page thereafter.

 

UNODC-RACVIAC Memorandum of Understanding to increase regional cooperation against crime in South Eastern Europe  

 

 

Vienna, 21 October 2013: UNODC and the South Eastern European Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) cleared the way for joint activities through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Vienna on 21 st October 2013.  

The MOU represents a framework agreement aimed at results-oriented and practical cooperation in the region taking advantage of the UNODC's and RACVIAC's respective mandates and expertise and complementing each other, thus avoiding duplication. The MOU is part of the efforts for building up networks and partnerships in the region within the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

In accordance with the MOU, the main areas of cooperation between UNODC and RACVIAC are communication and coordination, terrorism prevention and countering its financing, preventing transnational organized crime, including trafficking in persons, illegal migration and illegal firearms, as well as preventing and fighting emerging forms of crime, such as cybercrime. This list is not exhaustive and the two agencies agreed to maintain dialogue on these and other fields for cooperation.

The signing ceremony was followed by expert consultations in the course of which a cooperation workplan for 2013-2014 has been agreed upon. The representatives of both agencies stressed the necessity to facilitate regional joint efforts to address illicit trafficking and security-related matters comprehensively and agreed to pursue joint initiatives in each of the MOU areas mentioned above.

 

UNODC Promotes the International Legal Framework against Terrorism and its Financing in Montenegro

 

A National Workshop on the International Legal Framework against Terrorism and its Financing, organised by the Government of Montenegro with the support of the UNODC, was held in Podgorica from 8 to 10 of October 2013.
The main purpose of the Workshop, which was made possible by the generous financial support of the Government of Slovakia, was to strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice and law enforcement officials of Montenegro to implement the international legal framework against terrorism including the most relevant aspects pertaining to the prevention and suppression of terrorist financing.
During the Workshop, UNODC experts presented the international legal framework against terrorism and its financing. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) addressed the challenges in countering the financing of terrorism in the region, while practitioners from Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain shared their respective national experience in matters related to the investigation and prosecution of cases involving terrorism and its financing.
The support in organizing this Workshop was particularly appreciated by the Government of Montenegro as it was one of the first steps in the implementation of the recently adopted Action Plan for the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, prepared with the assistance of UNODC. Montenegro officials encouraged UNODC to continue providing technical legal assistance on counter-terrorism matters, in particular to judges and prosecutors.

 

UNODC-WCO Container Control efforts

Cooperation achievements under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the Global Container Control Programme (CCP) implemented jointly by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO)

 

 

10 th meeting of the Expert Working Group of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe

UNODC participated in the 10 th meeting of the Expert Working Group of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (Vienna, 16 - 17 September 2013). The meeting was hosted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior under the umbrella of the current Austrian Chairmanship of the PCC SEE.

The meeting discussed preparations to the 10 th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the PCC SEE which is to take place in Bucharest, Romania, on 18 October 2013, reviewed PCC SEE operational and organizational matters, including new initiatives for the police agencies in the region and common operations. The PCC SEE Secretariat briefed participants on its future projects. UNODC will cooperate with the PCC SEE in one of these projects aimed at broadening the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro (funding for this project is provided by Switzerland).

At the side of the meeting, UNODC conducted consultations with the Head of PCC SEE Secretariat, as well as with the Director of the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI) on possible future cooperation.

 

The PCC SEE is founded on the desire of Southeast European countries to join forces and address in a more effective and comprehensive manner the challenges posed to the region by serious and organised crime. The Government of Austria facilitated the process by proposing a multilateral treaty to enhance border security and regional police cooperation. The treaty adopted as the PCC SEE was signed in Vienna on 5 May 2006. It represents a milestone in that it is the first multilateral agreement on sensitive security issues among the signatory countries since the conflicts of the 1990s. The main objectives of PCC SEE are "to cooperate in order to pursue common security interests" and "to effectively combat cross-border threats to public order and security, and international crime." It follows much of the language from the police cooperation provisions contained in the EU acquis in the area of Justice and Home Affairs. Its full implementation will help those signatory countries not members of the EU to accelerate their eventual accession.

The focus of the PCC SEE is on enhancing cooperation and information exchange. The modalities require ongoing exchanges of basic data on criminal activities, joint threat analyses and cooperation with partner law enforcement authorities upon request. Crucial to the successful implementation of the PCC SEE is the establishment of National Central Units, which shall enable an effective exchange of sensitive information in accordance with EU data protection safeguards. The PCC SEE also regulates specific means for cooperation, and includes provisions to undertake hot pursuit, to conduct cross-border surveillance, controlled deliveries and undercover operations, to establish joint investigations teams, common centres, and to conduct mixed patrols along the state borders

 

10 th Annual Meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies of the European region (HONLEA-Europe)

Vienna, 2 July 2013 - The tenth annual meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies of the European region (HONLEA-Europe) has started on 2 July in UNODC Headquarters in Vienna.

The meeting is attended by heads and representatives of national law enforcements agencies and Permanent Missions of the Member States, as well as by international and inter-governmental organizations.

At its 1 st and 2 nd sessions, held on 2 July, the Meeting considered item 3 of the agenda, entitled "Current situation with respect to regional and sub-regional cooperation". Representatives of UNODC introduced the item and gave audio-visual presentations that provided an overview of the support provided by UNODC through its trends in the region and worldwide, as well as through such tools as the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and initiatives in Eastern Europe. The Meeting discussed current drug trafficking trends in Europe and approaches to countering them, with reference to particular cases and important seizures made.

Report of the meeting will be prepared in the course of the coming months and available in the UNODC web-page where other conference materials can be found at: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/HONEUR/01-HONEUR-10-documents.html

 

Marking 26 th June, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, in Albania and Serbia

26 June 2013 - On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, UNODC organized several activities in the region of South Eastern Europe.

In Albania, a series of events has taken place.

1000 copies of the Guide to Treatment Services in Albania were distributed to general population, NGOs and other interested parties on this occasion. The Guide was distributed with the help of NGO Aksion Plus volunteers who were dressed in T-shirts and caps designed especially for this purpose. The volunteers were active in Durres where they organized multiple sports activities on the beach conveying the message of the campaign. The sports activities were supported by UNODC.

Furthermore, Albanian national health professionals were interviewed by the National Television where they spoke about the UNODC-WHO Strengthening Families Programme, with special attention being given to the referral system.

Finally, a brochure providing an overview of treatment services in Tirana was launched. The brochure was produced in the framework of the UNODC-WHO Programme in collaboration with national counterparts, including the specialized treatment service at the university hospital of Mother Theresa, the NGO Aksion Plus, NGO Stop AIDS and Emanuel community - residential treatment and therapeutic community. The brochure is being widely disseminated to national services, polyclinics and health services.

Moving on to Serbia, UNODC participated in the expert meting organized by the Institute of Public Health (IPH) and presented the project and results of UNODC programmes implemented in the country. Special attention was given to the UNODC World Drug Report with a few snapshots related to South Eastern Europe and Serbia. The official message of the UN Secretary General was translated into Serbian and shared at the event. Finally, IPH used the visual identity and theme of the this year's UNODC campaign translated into Serbian.

Furthermore, UNODC participates in the 3 rd Conference of People living with HIV organised by an NGO Youth of JAZAS which is the primary recipient for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Besides UNODC, representatives of the EU Delegation in Serbia, Ministry of Health of Serbia and the GFATM participated in the Conference. Here as well, the message from the UN Secretary General was transmitted to the audience with special emphasis on the HIV issues.

 
Background: By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
 
The end of the first century of drug control (it all started in Shanghai in 1909) coincided with the closing of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs decade (launched in 1998). These anniversaries stimulated reflection on the effectiveness, and the limitations, of drug policy. The review resulted in the reaffirmation that illicit drugs continue to pose a health danger to humanity. That's why drugs are, and should remain, controlled. With this sanction in mind, Member States confirmed unequivocal support for the UN Conventions that have established the world drug control system.
 
The UN General Assembly recognized that despite continued and increased efforts by the international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health, the safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and the national security and sovereignty of States, and that it undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development. It encouraged the Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue their work on international drug control and urged all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to enable UNODC to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities, within its mandates.

 

UNODC organizes a briefing to the Permanent Missions of the Member States to the United Nations in Vienna

Vienna, 21 June 2013 - On the fifth day of the Annual Field Representative Meeting, which is taking place on 17-21 June 2013 in Vienna, UNODC Regional Section for Europe convened a briefing on the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe to the Permanent Mission of Member States to the United Nations in Vienna. The meeting was attended by the Member States from this wide region and other countries.

UNODC updated the Permanent Missions on the recent developments with regard to the delivery of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and ongoing and planned initiatives in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine as well as provided them with an opportunity to share their views.

It was agreed that UNODC continues to meet with the Permanent Missions in Vienna on a regular basis and keep updating them on the work in the region. The participants reiterated their commitment to strengthening partnerships, delivering the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, upgrading the work in Eastern Europe, ensuring further resource mobilisation, identification of new cooperation opportunities and promoting regional and inter-regional dialogue.

 

UNODC and WHO organize a series of national training sessions on drug treatment and care in Albania

Albania, May-June 2013 - During the period May-mid June 2013, 174 professionals from the health care community centres participated in a series of TREATNET training sessions. Different profiles of participants, such as family doctors and nurses, social workers, psychologists, NGOs staff, toxicologists and psychiatrists, attended the trainings organized in the cities of Tirana, Shkodra and Lezha by the UNODC and World Health Organization (WHO) and coordinated in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Albania. Each of the training sessions lasted two days, and was conducted by a pool of local trainers who had previously benefited from the UNODC-WHO Training of Trainers (ToT) held in Zlatibor, Serbia.

The participants were provided with an opportunity to improve their knowledge on drug treatment and care. Participants made questions and shared experiences about their own practices in the community. Training materials in hard copies in Albanian language were disseminated to all participants.

All the participants were eager to gain more knowledge on drug treatment and care interventions, especially on medical treatment, assessment and evaluation of substance abuse. Therefore, more training like these were recommended to be organized in the future.

UNODC and WHO finds particularly important the cooperation with the civil society. Therefore, upon the request of a local NGO active in the area of harm reduction Aksion Plus, a TREATNET training on Volume A was organized on 10-11 June 2013. Professionals working with the local branches of Aksion Plus in the cities of Vlora, Korca, Shkodra and Elbasan also participated in the training.

Certificates of attendance were delivered to all the participants at the end of each training session. Differently from Volume A and B, Volume C is accredited with 9 credits by the Albanian Centre of Continued Education.

 

On its first anniversary, UNODC SEE Regional Programme proves worth, shows road ahead

 

Vienna, 23 May 2013 - Speaking on the first anniversary of the launch of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC Chief Yury Fedotov said: "The positive impact of this integrated programme extends far beyond the borders of South Eastern Europe. The Regional Programme links Europe to UNODC's work in West and Central Asia and is a strong platform for countering the heroin moving along the Balkan corridor from Afghanistan to the markets of Western and Central Europe."

The Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe includes Croatia (as a partner), Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Since its launch, on 23 May 2012, and covering the period up to 2015, UNODC's Regional Programme has undertaken an aggressive range of activities to assist in countering illicit drug trafficking, as well as confronting transnational organized crime, corruption, money laundering and drug abuse. In the Albanian port of Durres, the Programme established a Container Control Unit to apply modern risk assessment methods to increase the detection of illicit trafficking. A similar unit is also being established in the Montenegrin port of Bar.

Anti-corruption is another important focus area for the SEE Regional Programme. With support of the EU, in-depth surveys on corruption have been conducted among the population and businesses community in the region. Support has also been offered on the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Several drug dependence prevention, treatment and care programmes have been offered to the countries of the region. The prevention programme has reached more than 840 families in the region, enabling them to mitigate the risks of drug abuse among children and youth. In addition, some 1,400 practitioners have benefited from a programme promoting advanced treatment standards (known as "TREATNET").

The SEE Regional Programme has been a prime mover in the UNODC core strategy of "networking the networks". By focusing on a series of key bodies both in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, and along the main drug routes out of the country, UNODC is seeking to promote effective and efficient cooperation, joint operations and the sharing of information about illicit trafficking. The networked bodies include both UNODC-led initiatives such as the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre, the Joint Planning Cell of the Triangular Initiative, as well as the South East Law Enforcement Centre and others.
"The underlying principle driving the SEE Regional Programme is shared responsibility among nations, as well as among other bodies and organizations. To successfully counter illicit drugs flowing from Afghanistan, we need to halt the trafficking of drugs, both inside and outside the country, while also offering the necessary treatment and prevention programmes," said Mr. Fedotov.

"I am very grateful to the donors of the SEE Programme. The Programme has taken enormous strides forward over the last twelve months, and it will make an even greater impact in the years to come as it continues to grow its portfolio and deliver on its core activities," Mr. Fedotov continued.
Based on UNODC's estimates, around 60 tons of heroin, worth US$13 billion, moves along the Balkan route to west and central Europe. For this reason, the Balkan route remains one of the main trafficking routes for illicit drugs connecting Afghanistan to European markets.

Source: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2013/May/on-its-first-anniversary-unodc-see-regional-programme-proves-worth-shows-road-ahead.html

 

UNODC-WCO offer training on the Use of Search Equipment

22 May 2013 - Following the donation to the port of Durres in Albania of the search equipment CT-K30 Kits on 20-22May 2013, UNODC organized a three day training on the use of the search equipment for the Joint Container Control Unit established with the UNODC support in Durres.

The training was conducted by two local trainers who had benefited from the UNODC Training Techniques Course in Turkey and Car Search Techniques by HM Revenue Customs in Dover, UK (support by UNODC).

UNODC assisted the trainers with the preparation of their module and oversaw the training. In advance of the training, the trainers prepared a module and issued instructions (in the Albanian language) on the use of specialized equipment, such as endoscope.

In addition to the classroom training, last daily sessions were dedicated to practical exercises at the Container Terminal. The Port authorities also made available the new hydraulic car lift which the students were able to use to examine a vehicle. Instructions were also given on how to use the endoscope, the "Buster" sonic device and other equipment.

The trained personnel have provided very positive feedback and confirmed that the training was very useful for their work and for stopping illicit trafficking in the port of Durres, the method of delivery was excellent, the personnel remained motivated and trainers were well prepared.

Certificates were delivered at the end of the training.

 

Tangible results of the work of the Joint Container Control Unit in the Albanian port of Durres

Durres, 21 May 2013 - Under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) and the Global Container Control Programme (CCP) implemented jointly by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO), a Joint Container Control Unit (JCCU) was established in February 2013 in the port of Durres, Albania. First tangible results of operational work of the JCCU is already visible.

The Regional Anti-Drug Unit in Durres in cooperation with the JCCU conducted an operation of heroin seizure on 21 May 2013. In the course of this operation, a suspect was arrested and a total amount of 7kg 939.75gr of substance resembling heroin was seized. The operational data indicate that the destination country for the drugs was Italy and that the drugs originated from Turkey, were trafficked along the Balkan route and possibly entered Albania either through Montenegro or Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

UNODC expresses sincere appreciation and congratulates the relevant authorities in Albania, including the Customs Administration and State Police, for successfully conducting this operation. UNODC is very pleased with the tangible results of the work of the Joint Container Control Unit, which UNODC and WCO have helped to establish.

 

 

Two new schools in Shkodra offer training on Strengthening Family Programme to parents and children

Shkodra, April-May 2013 - Under the umbrella of the UNODC Global Project on Prevention of Crime, Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS and the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, two new trainings were offered to "Mati Logoreci" and "Deshmoret e Prishtines" Schools in Shkodra city. During the course of the training provided by UNODC, the main message is to help parents and children understand the root causes of drug abuse and to prevent its onset. Drug abuse has serious consequences in our homes, schools and community. Prevention programmes have been scarce in Albania and the UNODC training is considered by the beneficiaries as effective intervention with younger population to prevent risk behaviors before drug abuse occurs. The interaction between parents and children during the sessions of the training is considered an advantage and increases children's responsiveness and openness before the problems becomes more difficult.

The sessions were conducted by six facilitators and monitored by two coordinators per each school who had formerly benefited from a UNODC ToT. Twenty families were trained with a total of 60 parents and children. During the implementation of the Global Project on Prevention of Crime, Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS and the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC has succeeded in covering 20 schools in Tirana and Shkodra cities with a total of 200 families with 600 parents and children.

The training has been well received by the participants. Majlinda Rama, parent from the 'Mati Logoreci' school says: " During the 7 th sessions, I had a very good experience that will contribute to a better education and well-being of my children. I am impressed by the free communication and conversation established between parents and our children. Such training help us communicate with our children in an appropriate way".

 

 

TREATNET Training of Trainers for health professionals from Serbia and Albania

Zlatibor, Serbia, 21 April 2013 - Under the joint global UNODC-WHO Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care, UNODC organized a TREATNET Training of Trainers on Drug Dependence Treatment in Zlatibor, Serbia from 08-21 April 2013. The focus of the training was to educate participants from Serbia and Albania (psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, social workers and nurses) in order to apply the new knowledge and skills in their everyday jobs.

Total number of participants who attended and successfully completed the training was 20 (10 from Serbia, 10 from Albania). Participants of the training were trained on three volumes of the TREATNET educational package - Volume A: Screening, Assessment and Treatment Planning; Volume B: Elements of Psychosocial Treatment; and Volume C: Addiction Medications and Special Populations.

 

 

Continuation of the Strengthening Families Programme in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Skopje, 29 March 2013 - Under the global UNODC Programme "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries", UNODC continues with implementation of the Strengthening Families Programme for Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14) through conducting the second training cycle to a selected group of families recruited from five elementary schools in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Within the second cycle of implementation of the SFP 10-14, a Training of facilitators was organized from 25-29 March 2013 in Skopje, the FYROM, with help of the Ministry of Education and Science and NGO H.O.P.S.

The training was attended and successfully completed by 24 participants from five schools. These elementary schools delegated for the piloting of the programme were provided with the presentational technique (lap tops, projectors and flip charts) in order to support the qualitative implementation of the training sessions and sustainability of the project realization in the future.

 

 

New schools in Albania benefit from UNODC Strengthening Families Programme Trainings

Tirana, February-March 2013 - UNODC activities in regard to Strengthening Families Program (SFP) are being expanded to new schools in Albania. With the primary objective to prevent or delay the use of drugs among adolescents, the seventh sessions of SFP were organized at "Vasil Shanto" and "Edith Durham" schools in Tirana during February - March 2013.

Twenty families with a total number of 58 parents and children were trained by the facilitators previously trained by UNODC. The training demonstrated that drug prevention program works, is cost-effective and efficient, and represents one of the best investments in long term.

Feedback from participants was very positive. Ms. Anila Salihi, Director and Coordinator of the SFP Training at "Vasil Shanto" school said: "At the very beginning, I was concerned about the attendance, especially of the parents, but I was wrong. They all attended the seventh sessions and were thankful to our school for its organization. The parents concluded that prevention leads to reduction of violence, child abuse, injuries, loss of productivity, etc. while one parent stated that "Prevention is not Vaccination but we have to reinforce "the no - use" message to our children consistently".

The same training is presently going on with two new schools in Shkodra city.

 

 

Presentation event on Container Control in Port of Bar, Montenegro

Bar, 26 March 2013 - Customs Administration and Police Directorate organized a presentation event "Border Control Partnership on Montenegro's path to the EU: Container Control" , for representatives of diplomatic core in the port of Bar in Montenegro.

One of the priorities of the accession process of Montenegro to the EU is strengthening the inter-agency cooperation in countering organised crime. In line with this, representatives of Customs Administration and Police Directorate of Montenegro presented the joint operational activities whose aim is to strengthen the border control, as well as to conduct an efficient container control on the basis of risk analysis. Complex container transport industry proved to be appropriate for illicit drugs, arms, goods and humans trafficking. For that reason, the need for constant reinforcement of container traffic control is reiterated once again.

Director of Customs Administration, Mr. Vladan Joković, said that the customs service is responsible for prevention of illicit drug trafficking, trafficking of arms, goods that violate the right to intellectual property and other illegal and prohibited goods. For that reason, Customs Administration is intensively working on reinforcing the operational, administrative and technical capacity in order to harmonize its procedure on the border with the EU regulations and standards, jointly with other state institutions.

Director of Police Directorate, Slavko Stojanović, stressed the determination in creating the strong and uncompromising response to all challenges the Police Directorate is facing with. He emphasised that Police Directorate and Customs Administration are reaching very good results through their joint activities on the border crossings.

In this respect, they presented the attendees their modus operandi, the equipment being used in detecting the illegally trafficked goods, as well as results achieved through joint activities. During 2012 and first two months of 2013, there were 53 cases of detaining the illegal drug trafficking (seized 1359 kg of skunk, 15,5 kg of heroin and 686 grams of cocaine), and discovered and detained smuggling of other types of illegal goods.

Programme Coordinator of UNODC Global Container Control Programme, Mr. Ketil Ottersen, and Chief of UNODC Regional Section for Europe, Mr. Tullio Santini, emphasized that the joint efforts and impressive results of work of two agencies have been recognized and that these successes deserve full attention and readiness for further assistance and support.

At the end of the event, there has been organized a presentation of scanners at the Customs Branch Office in Bar for all diplomatic representatives present at the event.

Source: Website of Customs Administration of Montenegro (link: http://bit.ly/14KgS27).

 

 

UNODC Executive Director Fedotov visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 22 March 2013 - UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov completed a two-day mission today to meet the head and senior officials of ministries and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UNODC's work in the region is delivered through UNODC's Regional Programme for South-Eastern Europe. Launched last year, the regional programme is at the forefront of UNODC's efforts to counter the trafficking of illicit opiates from Afghanistan to the lucrative markets in western Europe via the so-called Balkan route.

During his visit, Mr. Fedotov said: "UNODC is building a coherent response to drugs, crime and terrorism, which views them as global phenomena needing global solutions. To achieve this we are introducing integrated programmes that deliver effective assistance. As we continue with this strategy we will use our core strengths in analysis, technical assistance and helping to build capacities to support the Member States who confront these challenges."

Based on UNODC's estimates, around 60 tons of heroin, worth US$13 billion, moves along the Balkan route to west and central Europe. For this reason, the Balkan route remains the main trafficking route for illicit drugs connecting Afghanistan to Europe. Largely a transit country for illicit drugs, in 2011, the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities reported the following seizures: 10.2 kg of heroin, 444 kg of marijuana, 0.3 kg of cocaine and 9.2 kg of amphetamines.

UNODC provides technical assistance and helps build capacities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a number of areas. Regarding drug prevention, UNODC has provided training for experts from the country, particularly in the use of quality standards. UNODC has also published surveys on corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the region. A new survey on how corruption and crime affects the business sector is currently being drafted.

To help stem the flow of illicit drugs, UNODC is also seeking to extend the joint UNODC/World Customs Organization Global Container Control Programme to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The programme would include a Bosnian port.

Towards the end of the mission, Mr. Fedotov said: "Our goal in South Eastern Europe is to work closely with Member States to counter transnational organized crime, corruption, money laundering, terrorism and drug abuse. I am very glad that Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to be such a strong partner for UNODC in all these areas."

 

 

UNODC and WCO continue to provide capacity building for Joint Container Control Units of Durres Port (Albania) and Bar Port (Montenegro)

Bucharest, March 2013 - A one week basic classroom training to 6 participants from Customs, Border Police and the Anti-drug Police from Dures Port (Albania) and Bar Port (Montenegro) took place at the World Customs Organization (WCO) Regional Training Center in Budapest, Romania on March 04 - 08 and March 18 - 22, 2013.

The training covered various aspects on different types of smuggling via maritime containerized traffic, such as risk analysis on commercial documents, risk indicators, advanced container search techniques, different types of concealments, ContainerComm, as well as practical exercises.

 

 

Ad-hoc meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

Vienna, 15 March 2013 - On the margins of the 56th Session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs, UNODC Regional Section for Europe convened an Ad-hoc meeting of the Programme Steering Committee. The meeting was hosted by the Director-General/Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov. Beside the representatives of Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Vienna and various institutions of participating countries of the Regional Programme, the meeting was attended by representatives of donor countries, partner countries and the European Union.

The meeting was convened to brief all key stakeholders on the developments occurred since the last Programme Steering Committee in December 2012 and to provide them with the possibility of sharing their efforts and views in support of the Regional Programme. After the introduction by the Executive Director and brief statements by delegations of each of participating countries, delegations of donor and partner countries expressed their views and contributions to the Regional Programme, reaffirming once again their political will and commitment to continuous support to the Programme. At the end, Chief of Regional Section for Europe presented the update on the Regional Programme's progress, initial results in and plans for 2013, as well as on the funding situation and ongoing resource mobilisation efforts.

It was agreed that UNODC continues to meet with the Permanent Missions in Vienna on a regular basis and/or keep contact with them. UNODC officers in each of the countries will continue to meet with the PSC members when possible and to keep them informed of any activities under the RP. On the basis of recommendations from the last PSC meeting convened in December 2012, all participants once again reaffirmed its strong commitment to strengthening the partnerships in local resource mobilisation, strengthening the existing partnerships and identification of new partnership opportunities, as well building partnerships with regional and inter-regional agencies.

 

 

UNODC and WCO organize training for the Joint Container Control Units of Durres Port (Albania) and Bar Port (Montenegro)

Vlore, 15 March 2013 - A one week joint training for the 6 participants from Durres Port and 6 participants from Customs, Border Police and the Anti-drug Police from the Port of Bar (Montenegro) was organized in Vlore, Albania on March 11 - 15, 2013 by UNODC and World Customs Organization (WCO).

The training covered various WCO and UNODC conventions, including those on human rights and integrity, International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention (CITES), intellectual property rights (IPR) and precursors.

Likewise, a UNODC expert on Firearms provided training on the global, regional and national legal frameworks for transfer controls on controlled goods; review of the decision making process for issuance or denial of import/export licences and authorizations; licensing control and reporting; overview of the documentation requirements and data relevant to the export/import of controlled goods; and record-keeping for the purposes of investigation and tracing of seized firearms.

 

 

Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

Remarks at the Briefing to Member States on the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

Vienna, March 6 th, 2013

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome this opportunity to brief you on UNODC's Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe-2012 to 2015, which I launched in May last year.

The Regional Programme was created at the request of the Governments in the region.

Its goal is to counter illicit drug trafficking across the Balkans as well as confront transnational organized crime, corruption, money laundering and drug abuse.

At the programme's core is the need to deal with the heroin that flows out of Afghanistan and along the southern corridor towards the European markets.

This illicit flow creates corruption, other forms of crime, drug abuse and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Around 60 tons of heroin, worth US$13 billion in West and Central Europe, is moved along the Balkans route.

Although the amount appears to be decreasing in recent years, it remains the main illicit trafficking route connecting Afghanistan to Europe.

The proceeds from illicit drugs can have a destabilizing effect on the economic and social development in this region and beyond it.

In South-Eastern Europe, there is a risk these threats could hinder countries on the path towards EU accession.

During the intervening months since it was launched, the Regional Programme has achieved much with very little.

The Programme has:

  • Launched the Container Control Programme in the Balkans (Albania and Montenegro) and established a Container Control Unit in the Albanian Port of Durres;
  • Conducted in-depth surveys on corruption, as experienced by the general population and the business sector;
  • Drafted a new national Drug Strategy and a new Action Plan for Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Montenegro;
  • Worked with 317 families from Albania, FYROM and Montenegro in the Prevention of Drug Abuse Programme which helps to strengthen families; and
  • Trained 547 drug abuse treatment and care experts from the region.

And the list does not end here.

The Regional Programme has achieved an implementation rate of over 99 per cent in 2012.

I would like to thank the donors: Germany, Italy , France, Turkey, Belgium, EU, as well as Romania and Russia , who have offered in-kind contributions.

We have done much, but it is not enough, and we have raised considerable expectations in the region, and elsewhere.

I would, therefore, encourage you to remain engaged in the region. I would also like to encourage other donors to come forward.

There are excellent reasons for your continued support.

UNODC's networking, fostering of local ownership, and partnership building in the region, creates added value when combined with the delivery of solutions.

In addition, we must all work to counter the threat of opiates from Afghanistan.

As 2014 and the withdrawal of international forces draws close, we must place ourselves in the strongest possible position to assist and support Afghanistan.

This means working at the country level, at the regional level, and in an integrated manner, across the main routes of drug trafficking.

Such an approach includes South Eastern Europe.

The governments of those countries participating in this process view the Regional Programme as an excellent tool that complements the work of the EU and the OSCE, among others.

Considerable efforts have been made by UNODC to ensure the closest possible coordination with these valuable partners, both on the ground and at our headquarters.

UNODC is an organization that goes beyond national, regional, hemispheric borders.

We deliver our activities based on an integrated response between our different regional and thematic programmes.

The Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe is a key element in that approach.

It offers countries in the Balkans the opportunity to work with partners worldwide.

At present, most of the Programme's funding will end in mid-2013. The Regional Programme has a notional budget of just over US$14 million of which US$2.7 million has been raised. Of this figure, US$1.7 million has been spent leaving US$1 million available for 2013.

Therefore, to succeed, the Regional Programme needs urgent funding and the support of countries in the region. Without this, we will be unable to offer tangible results.

Indeed, after mid-2013, a date which is now close, a review of UNODC's presence in the region will be conducted.

Participating Governments have agreed to approach key donors and advocate for the support of the Regional Programme.

It is also hoped that participating countries can soon provide some concrete contributions to support the implementation of the Regional Programme, especially in financial terms.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The drug and crime problems of the Balkans are not in the past, they are here acting on the present.

Our joint work is to confront these issues now, and in doing so, to help guard the region's future.

A future within the European Union where the countries of the Balkans are the strong partners of the organization's existing members.

I call on all Member States present today to help UNODC turn this vision into a reality.

Thank you.

 

 

Consultations between UNODC and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC)

Vienna, 27 February 2013 - UNODC and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) held a consultation meeting on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two agencies on 4 December 2012 in Bucharest, Romania. Experts from both organisations attended the meeting the purpose of which was to agree on the practical steps for cooperation in particular in the area of countering illicit trafficking.

Ms. Snejana Maleeva, Director for Legal and Internal Affairs, SELEC, presented the SELEC mission, thematic areas, activities, capacity, operation and cooperation on the local, regional and international level. The core of SELEC work represents the Convention of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre, which allows SELEC to:

  • coordinate regional operations and support investigations and crime prevention activities of the Member States in trans-border cases;
  • provide the Member States with the opportunity to exchange information and criminal intelligence and offer operational assistance in a quick and timely fashion;
  • collect, collate, analyze, process and disseminate information and criminal intelligence;
  • produce strategic analysis and threat assessments related to its objective;
  • and establish, operate and maintain a computerized information system, which implies also to ensure the protection of personal data.

The agencies agreed to continue regular contacts and ensure close coordination in order to avoid any duplication of action. UNODC will participate in the meeting of the SELEC Task Force on Drug Trafficking on 21-22 May 2013, as well as in other events that are relevant to the UNODC mandated areas. The agencies will ensure a constant flow of information on ongoing and future initiatives in the region of South Eastern Europe with the goal of assisting the countries of the region in a complimentary manner. UNODC may also consider supporting SELEC in establishing a stronger inter-regional link between the Balkans and the countries and law enforcement institutions in West and Central Asia towards a more comprehensive response to illicit trafficking in Afghan heroin through the region.

 

 

Cooperation between UNODC and Center for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC)

Vienna, 25 February 2013 - Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz, Director, Division for Operations, UNODC, hosted a meeting with the Director of the Centre for Security Cooperation (RACVIAC) Mr. Branimir Mandić.

RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation (Zagreb, Croatia) - is a regional intergovernmental organization established in 2000 by Croatia and Germany with the initial focus on the training of verification experts in order to lay the groundwork for implementing arms control agreements such as the Dayton Agreement, Vienna Document, Open Skies Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention and the Oslo Convention. In this way, RACVIAC significantly contributed to enhancing trust and cooperation among security forces in the region and beyond.

Today RACVIAC has a newly defined mission: to foster dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South Eastern Europe through a partnership between the countries of the region and their international partners. RACVIAC developed into a regional institution with a strong focus on capacity building activities within the area of security cooperation, which are supported by regional organizations and bi-lateral donors.

The Center organizes annually more than 30 regional conferences, which cover three main themes:

  • Security Sector Reform,
  • international relations and cooperation, with a special focus on the Euro-Atlantic integration and
  • the establishment of cooperative security environment, with the focus on arms control.

UNODC and RACVIAC agreed to work together in the future towards result oriented and practical cooperation in the region of South Eastern Europe taking advantage of their respective mandates and expertise and complementing each other, thus avoiding duplication and contributing to more efficient and effective coordination on the regional level.

UNODC Director noted that the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2012-2015) represents a broad and solid basis for future cooperation between the two organizations. This specifically applies to the work in such areas as countering transnational organized crime, prevention of terrorism, fighting against drugs and human trafficking, illegal migration and cybercrime.

RACVIAC Director welcomed the readiness of UNODC to share its expertise with RACVIAC and agreed with the importance of avoiding duplication of work. Mr. Mandić acknowledged good cooperation of RACVIAC with governments in the region and their inclusion in the process of planning from its early stages, giving a priority to identifying and addressing the particular needs of the countries.

It was agreed that the two organizations will maintain regular communication and coordination in order to concretise mutual cooperation, and that they will coordinate between each other on any regional initiative under the above mentioned possible areas of cooperation.

 

 

UNODC donates search equipment to the Customs Branch Office in Port of Bar, Montenegro

Bar, 18 February 2013 - A ceremony of handing over the search equipment for the Customs Branch Office in the Port of Bar, Montenegro, was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in cooperation with the National Coordinator for the UNODC Regional Programme in Montenegro on Monday, 18 February 2013. The search equipment was provided through the Container Control Programme run jointly by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO). A ceremony on the premises of the Customs Branch Office in the Port of Bar was attended by representatives of Police Directorate, Customs Administration and Border Police.

The hand over protocol for the donated equipment was signed by Mr. Vojislav Marković, Police Directorate, Deputy Director of Criminal Police Sector, Mr. Dragan Lučić, Customs Administration, Head of Bar Customs Office Branch, and Ms. Ela Banaj, UNODC National Project Officer in Tirana, Albania.

The Container Control Programme, developed jointly by UNODC and WCO, helps countries to create sustainable law enforcement structures in selected seaports to minimize the exploitation of maritime containers for illicit drug trafficking and other transnational organized criminal activities.

The Programme creates strategic alliances between customs, police, trade and other relevant bodies to prevent criminal organizations from abusing legitimate commercial trade; establishes port control units comprising analysts and search teams from different law enforcement agencies; and introduces new tools and mechanisms for collecting, analyzing and sharing information and optimizing existing human, technical and logistical resources.

At the global level, the Container Control Programme supports enhanced collection, standardization and reporting of data on container crime for use in strategic analysis and information-sharing.

During the ceremony, the Montenegrin counterparts welcomed the Container Control Programme and their willingness to continue working with UNODC in this and other areas of mutual interest. They expressed appreciation to UNODC for the donation of the equipment and noted good cooperation among national authorities operating in the area of border control. Seizure figures have increased in Montenegro, which is a clear indication of a pro-active response to the illicit trafficking of narcotics and smuggled goods. Furthermore, joint operational teams operate at the border control points and various inter-agency agreements have been signed.

Montenegrin counterparts highlighted that technical support and training for the joint container control unit should continue. They underlined that participation of Montenegrin officers from the joint container control units at the regional and global meetings should be considered and supported in future as well.

 

 

Joint Container Control Unit Established at Durres Port, Albania

Durres, 11 February 2013 - A Joint Container Control Unit of six officers from Customs Administration, Border Police and Anti Drug Unit was inaugurated in a ceremony organized at Durres Port, Albania on February 11, 2013. Durres Port, the largest in Albania, is one of the 17 selected ports across the world benefiting from the Global Programme on Container Control run jointly by UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The ceremony was attended by the Albanian Minister of Interior, HE. Flamur Noka, Ambassadress of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tirana, HE. Carola Mueller-Holtkemper, Director General of the Albanian State Police, Director General of the Customs Administration, UN Resident Coordinator, UNODC Senior Programme Coordinator and other dignitaries.

In their greeting speeches, the dignitaries stated that the joint team will contribute to the improvement of the cooperation between customs police and other relevant bodies to prevent criminal organization from abusing legitimate commercial trade, as well as to the creation of new tools and mechanisms for collecting, analyzing and sharing information.

They reiterated that the event was another important milestone in the partnership among police and customs, and expressed their belief that they will continue to work accordingly with the ultimate goal of contributing to the order, security, prosperity and protection of citizens' health and welfare.

The attendees visited the newly refurbished premises, which are fully equipped to enable the joint unit to use risk analysis and other proactive techniques to systematically target high risk containers for scrutiny.

Control of transnational flow of goods along with protection and surveillance duties constitute the core elements of the management of the borders. Nowadays, transport by container is a typical example of a speedy mean of transport, which poses more complex and additional problems for the customs and other border control authorities. Consequently, preventive and specialized search techniques become a necessity.

The opening of the Joint Container Control Unit in Durres was supported by UNODC-WCO, through the financial contribution of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

 

UNODC and SELEC sign Memorandum of Understanding to counter illicit trafficking, crime and money laundering in Southeastern Europe

Bucharest, 4 December 2012 - On 4 December 2012, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at furthering joint cooperation in countering illicit trafficking, crime and money laundering. The MoU is the first cooperation agreement between the two entities and was signed by UNODC Director for Operations, Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz, and SELEC Director-General, Mr. Gürbüz Bahadir.

The MoU constitutes an important partnership-building step for UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe to strengthen cooperation within the Balkans and beyond. Speaking at the signing ceremony, the UNODC Director for Operations said the MoU will promote better coordination and joint initiatives between UNODC and SELEC in years to come, for the benefit of states within and outside Southeastern Europe. He also noted that both SELEC and UNODC understand that serious organized crime problems surfacing in one member state, if unchecked, will have direct negative consequences on states within and outside the region.

SELEC is a regional instrument for cooperation of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It is located in Bucharest, Romania. SELEC is a successor of SECI (Southeast European Cooperative Initiative established in the late 1990's). It consists of 13 member states: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. The primary objective of SELEC is to provide a platform for law enforcement cooperation among member states to prevent and combat transnational crime. Its excellent facilities can deliver trainings, specialized task force meetings and conferences.

 

 

Successfully launched and implemented Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking in Serbia

Every year, only in Europe, criminal groups are involved in trafficking of several hundreds of thousands of people for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation or organ trafficking. Serbia is part of this trafficking chain.

MEXICO - first country In the world to launch the "Blue Heart" campaign against Human trafficking, a pilot project of UNODC.

SERBIA - first country in Europe to launch its own national-led United Nations "Blue Heart" campaign against human trafficking.

On October 17 th, 2010, The European Anti-Trafficking Day, in Belgrade started shooting and promotion of movie "Sisters". The start of shooting on 17 th October, 2010 was marked by a public event, and was attended by Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic; EU Ambassador in Serbia Vincent Degert, and along with more than 20 media representatives.

"Sisters" campaign to prevent human trafficking promotes also the global campaign of the UNODC "Blue Heart". This action wasn't planned at the start of the project, but the project "grew" and accomplished all set objectives:

- Raising awareness of at-risk groups (especially youth);

- Raising awareness of potential clients and exploiters of trafficking victims;

- Raising awareness among parents, teachers and social workers;

- Engaging celebrities in the activities of raising broad public awareness about the issue of trafficking;

- Fulfillment and promotion of the social role of the media.

 

THE PREMIERE

• At the premiere of the film in Belgrade it was explained to all the media what the Blue Heart represent, and that this is a UN campaign. All daily, weekly and monthly newspapers published that information. All TV stations in Serbia, too.

• Monte Royal Pictures produced the 4000 Blue Heart symbols which were pinned at the premiere of the film on 10 th April 2011 to the President of the Serbian Parliament, Serbian Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs and Heads of EU delegations and the IOM, by actress and producer who is at the same time the face of the campaign "Blue Heart".

 

The essence of the campaign is showing the film "Sisters" in Serbian towns and then organizing public discussions on human trafficking, and broadcasting the film on TV.

The campaign is conducted in accordance with the principle of "public-private partnership" so that the main partner of the Ministry of Interior is the production company "Monte Royal Pictures" and the main promoter of a campaign is a well-known actress Bojana Maljević, which is the film's producer as well.

At the end of March 2011, simultaneous campaigns for the announcement of the film "Sisters" started with putting up 3000 posters were stick all over Belgrade, with the logo of MRP, EU, IOM, MUP and the UNODC campaign "Blue Heart".

An English version of posters for the film was made, and also film subtitles in English.

 

PROMO MATERIALS - MRPI PRODUCED:

Two large banners and the 6 roll-ups that follow the projections of"Sisters", panel discussions and in front of which press statements are being made - with the logo of EU, IOM, the Blue Heart and Serbian Government;

1000 information notebooks from the CD with the music from the film;

4000 notebooks of the film, the back side of the information notebook,containing information about the film "Sisters" and basic information on human trafficking problem;

3000 bookmarks with short information.Everyone who sees the film gets a blue heart pin, notebook or a boo k marker, with information, logo of the Blue Heart and contact telephone numbers where people can report cases of trafficking.

10,000 DVD copies of the film "SISTERS" was produced. On the front page of DVD there is a symbol of the Blue Heart, and on 3 movie trailers inside in DVD menu.

DVD copies that are made in order to continue prevention campaigns among young people and professionals, on the principle of "training-trainers" and peer's education, shall be distributed to all schools, local police, social welfare centers, prosecutors, courts, NGOs, the Red Cross and NGO, with the aim to implement prevention activities in local communities.

The main stakeholders who supported the realization of the project and promotion campaign of the film "Sisters" are Government of Republic of Serbia, EU Delegation in Serbia and IOM Country Office.