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UNODC participates in a training on foreign terrorist fighters

12-13 November 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: As part of the regional efforts to counter terrorism and related threats in South Eastern Europe, UNODC took part in the training on addressing the threat from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) organized by OSCE and the OSCE mission in Serbia.

The training was delivered to personnel from various units of the Serbian Border Police responsible for all frontline border management including detection of FTFs. The reviewed topics included FTF history and background; a presentation of FTF current cases, trends and challenges in document security; available Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) and Interpol databases; relevant international and regional legal frameworks; security features of travel documents; risk analysis model applied to FTFs; interview techniques; case studies - behavioral indicators and passenger risk profile and different situations at borders as well as practical exercises.

The participants were exposed to real-life situations in detecting and apprehending FTFs, which contributes to strengthening the capacities of South Eastern Europe in effectively addressing the FTF phenomenon.

The UNODC representative contributed to the discussion by highlighting UNODC initiatives and announcing emerging enhanced presence in the region plus plans to collaboratively work with OSCE across the security and serious and organized crime field.

UNODC contributes to the regional dialogue on addressing foreign terrorist fighters

11-13 November 2019, Rakitje, Croatia: The return home of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) is a matter of growing concern in South Eastern Europe requiring a concerted approach and an effective response among Member States and regional stakeholders. With this in mind, RACVIAC - the Centre for Security Cooperation organized a workshop on "Developing strategies on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of FTFs" in close cooperation with OSCE-Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

The main purpose of the workshop was to discuss the challenges, priorities and lessons learned in this area and explore ways to facilitate the engagement of civil society organizations in the reintegration process of the returning FTFs and their family members into their respective community during and after judicial proceedings, while respecting international human rights law that guarantees the right to privacy.

The discussions focused, among other topics, on the possibilities to develop a national programme addressing the challenges related to the rehabilitation and reintegration process of FTFs and their families, to establish appropriate policies and action plans on the social reintegration of FTFs and ensure that they are effectively bridging the gaps between custodial and noncustodial settings and to ensure an enabling institutional environment for the rehabilitation of FTFs by implementing fundamental reform measures in prison management and prisoner treatment.

UNODC took part in this event and contributed to the discussions with an overview of UNODC initiatives in this area, and the presentation of the recently updated edition of the UNODC Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe in addressing FTFs.

For more information: https://www.racviac.org/

UNODC participates in the 19th Meeting of the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers

7 November 2019, Vienna, Austria: The Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) Secretariat held its 19 th meeting of the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers, its highest statutory body, under the auspices of the Chairmanship-in-Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the last five years preceding this meeting, the PCC SEE implementation process has proven to further advance the cooperation between the Contracting Parties and has further been strengthened with the accession of a new Contracting Party in 2019, the establishment of an EU-modelled legal framework in 2018, as well as a new strategic alignment in the implementation process.

In this light, the event aimed to bring together all the PCC SEE Contracting Parties and other partners to continue to design the cooperation in this unique setting through the contributions of the relevant stakeholders in the region, including CEPOL, DCAF, EUROJUST, GIZ, IOM, RCC, SELEC and UNODC.

UNODC highlighted the excellent cooperation with PCC SEE Secretariat, in line with the signed Memorandum of Understanding (April 2019), which aims to support the joint work in the field of combating transnational organized crime through exchange of information and expertise, as well as implementation of joint activities. Furthermore, UNODC reiterated it will continue its strong partnership with the PCC SEE Secretariat in actively supporting South Eastern Europe, particularly in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 to be launched in late November 2019.

The PCC SEE was signed on the Southeast European countries' intention to address organized and serious cross-border crime issues affecting their region in a more comprehensive and effective manner, as well as with their desire to align their policing standards with those in the European Union and Schengen area.

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

UNODC supports the policymakers of North Macedonia in drug use prevention and treatment

5 November 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of North Macedonia organized a follow up meeting on last year's workshop (September 2018) for policymakers on the nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in North Macedonia.

The representatives from various governmental and non-governmental institutions that contribute to the national drug demand reduction response who, last year, strengthened their capacities and knowledge on the topic with the assistance of UNODC developed a comprehensive inter-ministerial workplan to strengthen the development of a health- and human rights-oriented response to the illicit drug use. The workplan, which was aimed at improving national drug demand reduction policies and promoting and supporting effective strategies compliant with the International Standards and the International Drug Conventions was further reviewed and adapted to the current national context at this year's event attended by representatives from the Ministries of Health, Justice and Interior, drug dependence treatment facilities, prison facilities and non-governmental organizations.

Furthermore, the participants provided an assessment of last year's workshop by completing a follow-up questionnaire, where 91.7% of the participants stated that their attitudes and knowledge was changed as a result of the workshop and 83,3 % said that they are currently using the acquired knowledge in their daily work, which attests of the added value of such initiatives.

Exchange visit of Port Control Unit officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Georgia

29-31 October 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia: As a part of the continuing process of strengthening capacities of customs and border police officers to fight all forms of organized crime and illegal cross-border activities, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) organized an exchange visit for the Port Control Units (PCUs) from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Georgia. This unique opportunity involved officials from the Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina who familiarized themselves with the work of the PCUs in Georgia, established in the framework of CCP. The three-day visit included visits to the PCU in Tbilisi, the Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at Tbilisi International Airport, as well as a visit to the land-border between Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The CCP Regional Coordinator for the Black Sea region, emphasized that "Exchange visits supported by CCP are aimed at facilitating higher levels of cooperation, experience exchanges and discussions on all relevant topics common for the work of the Port Control and Air Cargo Control Units".

During the visit, the officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the procedures and practices regularly performed by the PCUs in Georgia composed of officers from six different law enforcement agencies. The hosts underlined excellent levels of cooperation with other agencies and shared access to available databases and analytical tools of the different law enforcement entities. The participants expressed particular interest in information tracking systems being used by the Georgian Customs, such as an internal SMS alert system designed to facilitate risk profiling and risk assessments performed by customs and other officers. The participants also praised the common approach taken by the Georgian law enforcement agencies to share access to information and support mutual efforts to fight organized crime, the smuggling of goods and other illegal cross-border activities.

Furthermore, the officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina visited the ACCU at Tbilisi International Airport. The guests were briefed on the challenges which occur in the daily work of the Unit and also the significant seizures made since 2017, and learned about specific traffickers' modus operandi in air cargo traffic as recorded by the Tbilisi ACCU. The guest delegation also had the opportunity to observe practical inspections conducted by the Georgian colleagues in the Cargo Centre.

During the third day, the visit was extended to the land-border crossing "Red bridge" between Georgia and Azerbaijan to familiarize the participants with the challenges and threats encountered in the daily work of customs and other law enforcement officers.

The UNODC-WCO CCP was developed to build capacity in countries seeking to improve risk management, supply chain security, and trade facilitation in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods. The creation of dedicated container profiling units, called PCUs or ACCUs, involves the creation of inter-agency teams of officials drawn from various agencies including customs, anti-narcotics police, port authorities and others. In 2019, CCP celebrated its 15 th anniversary.

The implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is generously supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Activities in Georgia are generously supported by the Government of the United States of America - Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme. 

UNODC boosts cooperation in South Eastern Europe in addressing smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons

30 October 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In line with the regional efforts to effectively counter trafficking in persons (TiP) and the smuggling of migrants (SoM) in South Eastern Europe and beyond through a targeted and coordinated approach, UNODC in close cooperation with the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and France organized a regional seminar on Strengthening Cross-Border Cooperation in Investigation and Prosecution of Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons in South Eastern Europe aimed at enhancing cooperation by sharing experiences in trends, challenges and good practices in addressing criminal networks involved in SoM and TiP in France as well as along the migration routes in South Eastern Europe.

The relevant authorities responsible for addressing these threats in South Eastern Europe and France attended the seminar, which further contributed to strengthening the established connections between the relevant actors and boosted cooperation and information sharing for a more effective and efficient response and improved synergy in countering SoM and TiP. 

UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina hold a workshop on recording firearms relevant information

29-30 October 2019, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, together with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a workshop on recording relevant information on firearms.

The workshop was carried out in the framework of UNODC's Monitoring Illicit Arms Flows Initiative, which aims at supporting data collection and analysis on firearms trafficking at national, regional and global levels with a view to monitoring and mapping illicit firearms trafficking flows, fostering effective international cooperation in tracing and information sharing, and combatting illicit trafficking and related crimes.

The overall objective of the workshop was to support the Working Group on Weapons, which was recently formed within the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska, in improving firearms data collection and recording practices and tools. The workshop further aimed at explaining the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire (IAFQ) with a view to facilitating reporting by the Republic of Srpska under this global data collection exercise.

The main sessions covered the topics of defining the scope and time of data to be collected, identifying ways to develop a database on seized firearms, components and ammunition, and sharing data with UNODC via the IAFQ. These sessions were supported by expert presentations, presentations of available tools, a practical exercise and group discussions.

The workshop allowed the Working Group to identify important points for continued discussions, including how a database on seized firearms, components and ammunition should be set up; which of the structures within the Ministry should have access and authors' rights and responsibilities; how to align the scope of the database interface with Standard Operating Procedures that are currently being developed; and how to collect and share the data requested under the IAFQ.

The workshop benefitted from expert contributions of the Public Security Police of Portugal and was financially supported by the Republic of Srpska and the European Union in the framework of the project " Supporting Global Data Collection and Analysis on Firearms Trafficking and Fostering Cooperation and Information Sharing, in particular Among Countries along Major Trafficking Routes to/from the EU".

UNODC further strengthens the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering trafficking in human beings

15-17 October 2019, Vlašić, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the first training on identifying and investigating cases of trafficking in persons (TiP) for the purpose of forced labour last month, UNODC delivered the second multidisciplinary training on the topic to officials addressing TiP and related crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the host country and the Government of the United States of America.

The agenda items included several sessions covering the main aspects of identifying and investigating this type of TiP, including root causes, risk factors and victims' vulnerability, methods of prevention and role of private sector, victim's rights and possibilities of compensation as well as indictment preparation and conduction of a mock trial among others. The participants of the training representing various law enforcement institutions absorbed the extensive information by working in groups to perform real-life scenarios in courts, under the guidance of experts, making the training interactive and a hands-on experience.

At the closing of the session, the experts shared their comments and debriefed the training and exercises to stimulate the exchange amongst all participants and give recommendations to further refine the acquired knowledge and experience in countering TiP for the purpose of forced labour. UNODC will continue this work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region for an effective and comprehensive approach.

UNODC participated in the Steering Committee of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund

14 October 2019, Istanbul, Turkey: UNODC Global Firearms Programme participated in the 2 nd meeting of the Steering Committee of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for the implementation of the Roadmap for countering firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The Trust Fund was created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNODC to support the Western Balkan (WB) jurisdictions in their fight against misuse, illegal possession and illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition. The Steering Committee includes representatives from UNDP, UNODC and interested donor countries. The regional project of UNDP on Small Arms Control in South-Eastern Europe, SEESAC, acts as the Secretariat of the Fund. 

The objective of the meeting was to review the project proposals received within the 1st call for project proposals of the WB Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap MPTF and approve the allocation of funds. The Secretariat of the MPTF presented the status of contributions in MPTF and provided information about the current donor engagement. The Secretariat also presented the project proposals submitted by the MPTF participating organizations, and the conclusions of the administrative and technical assessment, which have been conducted by various experts. UNODC has submitted for consideration by the Steering Committee a regional project that focuses on strengthening the criminal justice responses along the entire penal chain, from detection, to investigation prosecution and adjudication, and to enhance firearms and crime data collection, analysis and operational use in investigations. The Steering Committee will announce in due course the results of the evaluation process.

UNODC completes the training process in Croatia following the expansion of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme

11-13 September, Osijek; 16-18 September, Zagreb; 25-27 September, Rijeka; 30 September-2 October, Zadar; 14-16 October 2019, Split, Croatia: UNODC, in collaboration with the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Training and Education, delivered five capacity development workshops across the country following the expansion of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme in Croatia.

92 professionals from 41 elementary schools were trained and gained extensive knowledge on how to implement the LQSFA programme in their elementary schools in line with the suggested implementation methodology, developed by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, and evaluation protocols.

The LQSFA programme is an evidence-based social and emotional learning tool aimed at preventing drug use among adolescents, which proved to be an effective strategy in reducing substance use and risky behaviors and rightly influencing the normative beliefs of the target groups on substance use in South Eastern Europe.

Based on the programme's encouraging results in the region, the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia considered the LQSFA programme to be beneficial for the further expansion of the prevention strategies in the country with a greater inclusion of Social and Emotional Skills education.

Each training workshop lasted three days and involved a selected group of teachers and pedagogues from the nominated elementary schools, who will further implement the programme over two academic years. In parallel with this implementation cycle, a comprehensive research study will be initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of the project in substance use prevention. More than 2,500 students will be part of the programme in the next two years, half of which will be directly and continuously exposed to it.  

To ensure the sustainability and expansion of the project, two national professionals underwent intensive training designed for the project trainers as part of the capacity development component and have successfully acquired the title of national LQSFA trainers.

The project is jointly funded by UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation.

UNODC supports a study visit of the delegation from North Macedonia to Spain

8-9 October 2019, Madrid, Spain: UNODC, in cooperation with the Spanish authorities and the Embassy of Spain to North Macedonia, organized a study visit for twelve officials representing the law enforcement and justice institutions, including the Ministry of Interior, financial police, customs, anti-money laundering authorities, Basic Public Prosecutor's office, and the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors.

This practical study visit aimed at learning the best practices and reinforcing the exchange of information and collaboration between the law enforcement institutions of Spain and North Macedonia on various matters, including money laundering and terrorist financing, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, corruption, economic crimes and crypto-currencies. The application of a multidisciplinary approach to systematic parallel financial investigations at the outset of the investigations of serious and organized crime and other criminal and money laundering cases was also emphasized during this study visit.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and North Macedonia discuss partnership

7 October 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Executive Director met with the Minister of Justice of North Macedonia to discuss the overall partnership between UNODC and North Macedonia, particularly in the context of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The meeting took place at the margins of the High-Level Conference "Educating for the rule of law: Inspire. Change. Together" held at the Vienna International Centre, that the Minister attended and spoke at.

The meeting focused on the recent developments in North Macedonia, including a major reform undertaken by the Government in the fields of rule of law, anti-corruption, countering organized crime and related areas and the cooperation in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The Minister welcomed the further engagement of UNODC within the new Regional Programme in supporting the country in all areas of UNODC mandate and underlined the relevance of the expertise that UNODC has so far been offering to North Macedonia as well as the appreciated tailor-made approach of the UNODC work in the country that is directly corresponding to its needs.

The counterparts also discussed the recent expansion of the UNODC presence in North Macedonia as part of the UNODC's wider engagement in the South Eastern European region and the opportunities for further cooperation, including the active participation of North Macedonia in the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and in the border control initiatives of UNODC in the region.

The participation of the Minister in the High-Level Conference "Educating for the rule of law: Inspire. Change. Together" was highly welcomed and contributes to promoting the rule of law education in North Macedonia and globally.

For more information:  http://www.pravda.gov.mk/vest/3022

UNODC meets with the national authorities and partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina

2-4 October 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In line with the current developments under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC met with the relevant stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Security, Border Police and the State Investigation and Protection Agency as well as international counterparts and partners based in Sarajevo.

The main purpose of the meetings was two-fold: to discuss the ongoing cooperation and the future initiatives under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023), particularly in the area of border control and illicit trafficking, and in this context introduce the new UNODC Regional Serious and Organized Crime Advisor (and the head of the recently expanded UNODC Programme Office in Skopje). The Advisor will support all jurisdictions in the region in the field of countering serious and organized crime with special emphasis on border control.

The consultations in Sarajevo further build upon the UNODC efforts to support the region in countering drugs and crime in line with UNODC mandates and treaties, the wider UN 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process, particularly in the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaire.

UNODC publishes the Research Brief to improve analysis of organized crime in the Western Balkans

3 October 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC has released the research brief Measuring Organized Crime: Assessment of Data in the Western Balkans, published on 12 September, which aims to improve data availability on organized crime and thus help counter this phenomenon.

"Measuring organized crime is challenging, rendering efforts to combat it ineffectual," said the Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch. A wide range of crimes can be "organized and conventional statistics rarely capture the involvement of organized crime groups in any given criminal act." 

For this reason, UNODC has been working in cooperation with the Western Balkan jurisdictions to assess whether a standard framework for monitoring organized crime could be developed. The results are clear: even when data on crime is available, linkages with organized crime are not. Although in general, there is a large amount of data available regarding crime, most of it is not stored in a way that facilitates making links to organized crime and enabling efficient collection and analysis.

In addition, most jurisdictions do not have databases to record activities of organized crime groups. Development of such statistical systems as well as the Implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS) would greatly improve the availability of organized crime data.

In the process of developing the framework, researchers interviewed a wide range of stakeholders, including customs officers, courts, financial intelligence units and prison administrators, about what type of data is available and what it can tell us about the nature of organized crime in the region. They found that a wide range of information is collected by national statistical authorities but is not structured in a way that facilitates organized crime analysis.

The present technical report about the gathering of the data will be followed in late 2019 by one that looks at the substance: what does the existing data say about organized crime in the Western Balkans, and what can be said about the response? The report will also contain evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, the implementation of SDG 16.A and the EU accession process in the beneficiary jurisdictions.  

Further information:

Research Brief: Measuring Organized Crime: Assessment of data in the Western Balkans

UNODC participates in the Regional Seminar on Combating terrorism and radicalization in the Western Balkans

1-2 October, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in the regional seminar on Combating Terrorism and Radicalization in the Western Balkans, organized by the Government of France and aimed at discussing the threats related to the return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).  

The seminar focused on two main areas, namely the fight against radicalization, the detection of and issues related to the return of FTFs and their families and children. UNODC contributed to the discussion with a presentation on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism leading to terrorism related to FTFs and by actively participating in the round table discussions.  UNODC also presented its initiatives related to preventing violent extremism including the "Foreign Terrorist Fighters Manual for Judicial Training Institutes South-Eastern Europe Updated Edition 2019" to be launched towards the end of 2019 in English, Albanian and Bosnian languages.  

The seminar brought together 43 experts, including law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judicial experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, as well as regional organizations, including the European Law Enforcement Agency (Europol) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). The participants exchanged their views and experiences, perspectives and good practices dedicated to the prevention of radicalization and the rehabilitation of FTFs in the Western Balkans contributing further to addressing the FTF threat in the region.

OSCE, UNODC and ICITAP deliver the training course on countering terrorist financing

23-27 September 2019, Golem, Albania: A five-day training course aimed at further strengthening the capacity of Albania to counter terrorist financing was organized jointly by UNODC, OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, OSCE-Albania and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). Twenty-three participants (including eight women) from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML, the Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit, the State Intelligence Service (SHISH), the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes completed the course.

The training course was conducted to strengthen Albania's compliance with the international standards, in particular the UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) on countering the financing of terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments. It was led by international experts together with five local government officials, who had completed the train-the-trainers course organized by the UNODC and the OSCE in Vienna.

The seminar emphasized the key role of inter-agency cooperation in investigating and disrupting terrorist financing. Based on country- and region-specific scenarios, it included sessions on financial investigation, creating financial profiles, briefings, decision logs, case management and converting financial intelligence into evidence. A separate presentation on international cooperation has been delivered by the Europol liaison officer in Albania.

Over half of the course was dedicated to practical work on exercises highlighting specific instruments and techniques that play an important role in countering the financing of terrorism.

The course was organized with the financial support of the OSCE Presence in Albania and ICITAP and is the third course in the series of courses that form part of a comprehensive multi-annual capacity-building programme to support national efforts to counter terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC supports the authorities of Montenegro in Container Control

23-27 September 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: In the framework of the UNODC-WCO CCP, UNODC delivered the first week of the Strategic Trade and Export Control (STEC) training for 14 officers from the PCU in Bar, Montenegro and other officials from the Customs, Police and the Ministry of Economy. For many of the participants, this was an introduction to the relevant UN conventions and resolutions linked to illicit trafficking and strategic trade. The training was well received as noted through comments and written feedback in the evaluations collected after the training. This training will be followed by two additional course weeks further contributing to strengthening the capacities of Montenegro in countering illicit trafficking. The PCU in Montenegro is funded by the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC participates in the Mirage Task Force Meeting on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal migration 

26 September 2019, Ohrid, North Macedonia: In line with the efforts to strengthen regional cooperation for combatting trafficking in human beings (TiP) and illegal migration, UNODC participated in the Mirage Task Force Meeting on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, organized by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) in cooperation with OSCE-North Macedonia. The Mirage Task Force is a cooperation and coordination platform, piloted by the Government of Romania, which holds regular annual meetings, providing forums of discussion for experts from SELEC Member States and partner countries and organizations.

This year's meeting aimed at evaluating the regional situation on TiP and smuggling of migrants (SoM) in 2018, discussing the undertaken initiatives in this area and planning future related operational activities. The participants represented regional and international organizations addressing TiP and SoM and provided overviews on new trends, modus operandi, routes, investigative methods, case studies and successful joint investigations related to TiP and SoM and held discussions on lessons learned and exchanged experiences in this area. 

The UNODC expert contributed to the discussions by sharing the UNODC activities and experience in countering TiP and SoM, which further contributes to enhancing the regional cooperation in this area in South Eastern Europe.

Fore more information: 

https://www.selec.org/task-forces/%E2%80%A2task-force-mirage-on-countering-trafficking-in-human-beings-and-illegal-migration/

UNODC promotes the Rule of Law through Education on Firearms

24-25 September 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: In the framework of the UNODC Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, which seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels within the Doha Programme, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme in cooperation with the Political Science Faculty of Zagreb organized an expert workshop for lecturers from South Eastern Europe dedicated to the E4J University Module Series on Firearms.

The workshop aimed to bring together university lecturers in order to: (1) enhance their familiarity with the E4J Modules on Firearms; (2) consider effective approaches to teaching the modules in universities in South Eastern Europe, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; (3) strengthen the participants' capacity to teach courses based on the modules; and (4) support the participants in adapting and integrating the modules into existing or new courses.

The event brought together 23 participants from six countries, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. The participants represented academic institutions, law enforcement and military training institutions. Two international experts as well as the UNODC Firearms Focal Point facilitated the workshop by sharing their expertise and presenting available tools and teaching methodology.

As a result of this training, the knowledge of South Eastern Europe on teaching on firearms and other E4J modules was enhanced and the awareness of E4J modules and available tools and materials for the incorporation into the training curricula of academic and specialized training institutions was raised. Additionally, the training provided an opportunity to establish contacts for the further roll-up of E4J modules in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC concluded the 4th series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

17-20 September 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of the ongoing project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations jointly implemented with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), UNODC successfully concluded the 4 th series of trainings, fully delivered by the UNODC certified national trainers.

The training brought together 21 participants who represented various law enforcement and judiciary institutions responsible for addressing organized crime, money laundering and the financing of terrorism issues, including the Police and Judicial Academies, Financial Intelligence Units, Ministry of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, Police and the Prosecutor's Office, who gained extensive knowledge on information sources, international and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

With the training in Skopje, the fifth phase of the UNODC Training-of-Trainers (ToT) course is completed, which resulted in the training of 122 experts from the region. In total, UNODC has trained 373 law enforcement and judiciary officials. The 61 national trainers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 are now certified and fully capable to deliver the trainings on financial investigations to their peers in an autonomous manner. After the fifth phase, the national trainers will go on to deliver trainings in the law enforcement and the judiciary institutions in their respective jurisdictions based on the training curricula initially developed by the UNODC experts and later on adopted to the national contexts.

As part of the sixth phase of the ToT, UNODC experts will attend the trainings provided by the national trainers in each jurisdiction to ensure that the quality of the training remains intact and that the sustainability of the project is secured.

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

UNODC delivered a training on Identifying and Investigating Cases of Human Trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour

17-19 September 2019, Vlašić, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC in cooperation with the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States of America organized a multidisciplinary training on Identifying and Investigating Cases of Human trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour.

The training was attended by officials representing institutions addressing human trafficking and illegal migration including the Prosecutor's Office, the State Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration and the Federal Department for Inspection Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as academia.

During the training, the participants had an opportunity to get extensive knowledge on a variety of topics including the legal concept of trafficking in persons (TiP) with a focus on forced labour from international, domestic and comparative perspectives; identification of victims of TiP for the purpose of forced labour, indicators for identification and interagency cooperation; the phenomenon of TiP for the purpose of forced labour including etiology and root causes, risk factors and victims' vulnerability, methods of prevention and the role of private sector, victims' rights and possibilities of compensation as well as the efficient investigation of cases using a victim-centered approach including a presentation of procedures for interviewing, evidence collection and investigative measures, and crime scene management.

The reviewed topics were illustrated with real-life cases and the participants could practice the studied material through hands-on exercises in working groups under the guidance of experts. The training concluded with recommendations and a ceremony of attendance certificates awarding.

This event further contributes to strengthening the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering TiP for the purpose of forced labour.

UNODC is nearing the finalization of the report on organized crime in the Western Balkans

17-18 September 2019, Herceg Novi, Montenegro: UNODC organized the second regional training under the initiative "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans (MACRO)." The project, funded by European Commission, aims to establish a mechanism to collect available data and develop a standard framework to produce regular evidence-based analytical reports on organized crime in the Western Balkans.

UNODC brought together experts with a wide range of experiences on countering organized crime. The regional training provided an overview on various forms and methods to increase the capacity to collect and share criminal justice data on organized crime.

The first day of the training focused on sharing progress in the implementation of the MACRO project. Panels focused on the recently published Research Brief on assessing the data available to measure organized crime and implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS). The final results of the data collection and the preliminary conclusions of the project were also presented. The second day of the training focused on other forms of data and information that could contribute to measuring organized crime in the beneficiary jurisdictions. Experts from international organizations and national institutions, academia and civil society in the field of organized crime provided their subject-matter expertise to almost 70 representatives of national institutions and thus added value to the final goal of the MACRO project.

At the end of 2019, the MACRO project will produce the final regional report on Organized Crime in the Western Balkans which will describe the trends and patterns observed through collected data and propose evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, implementation of SDG 16.A and further the EU accession process in the beneficiary jurisdictions.

UNODC expands its presence in North Macedonia

16-18 September 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC has expanded its presence in North Macedonia by strengthening the Office resource in Skopje. A larger team has been appointed which will be responsible for a variety of aspects within the UNODC portfolio, with special emphasis on countering organized crime in the region, in particular cross-border crime and illicit trafficking.

Consistent with this important development, UNODC met with relevant stakeholders in North Macedonia, including the senior representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice, the Customs Administration and others, as well as international counterparts based in Skopje. During these meetings, UNODC formally introduced members of the new Programme Office, including the new Head of Office, and discussed future cooperation and partnerships in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023.

The UNODC expanded presence in North Macedonia has been warmly welcomed by counterparts. This paves the way for fruitful collaboration corresponding to the UNODC mandates and treaties, the wider UN 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process in the country, particularly in the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaire.

UNODC builds capacity of South Eastern Europe in countering money laundering and terrorism financing

9-13 September 2019, Moscow, Russian Federation: UNODC in cooperation with the International Training and Methodology Center for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM) and the Government of Russian Federation organized a training on "Capacity building of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and law enforcement agencies in South Eastern European countries in the field of analysis and investigation of financial operations" for officials representing Financial Intelligence Units, State Police and the Ministry of Finance of South Eastern Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The training aimed at enhancing the capacities of the participants in analytical methods and investigative techniques in financial investigations as well as strengthen regional cooperation between the Russian Federation and South Eastern Europe in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). The participants were provided with an introduction on the current AML/CFT national policies and strategies and cooperation and learned valuable information on related topics such as preventives measures, legal systems and operational financial data, countering the financing of terrorism and international cooperation.

In the course of the training, the participants exchanged experiences and learned best practices from their Russian counterparts. The first collaboration between UNODC and ITMCFM in the form of such training took place in April 2017 and reached its objectives aimed at building capacity of South Eastern Europe in countering ML/FT. Accordingly, this year's training is aimed at improving coordination among Financial Intelligence Units, working on preventive measures and regulating legal structures to effectively counter terrorism financing and extremism in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC participates in the OSCE/FRONTEX joint conference on preventing document fraud and cooperation in the Western Balkans 

11-12 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: A coordination conference for the Western Balkans on preventing document fraud was organized by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department in close cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's (FRONTEX) Center of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud.

The conference brought together 60 participants representing the EU member states, regional and international organizations as well as document experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Document and identity fraud remains one of the biggest challenges for the national and international security as it is a key element of various criminal activities, such as trafficking, smuggling and terrorism. FRONTEX and OSCE are actively supporting activities to detect identity and document fraud and prevent and combat cross border crime. For this purpose, the two organizations teamed up to build a comprehensive situational awareness and to identify gaps or overlaps where enhanced coordination among multiple stakeholders is required. The aim of these efforts is also to agree on an effective coordination mechanism to adequately support and complement the two organizations' operations and make an efficient use of the resources in the Western Balkans.

The first day of the conference focused on information sharing, where regional and international organizations, including UNODC, the International Migration Organization (IOM), FRONTEX, the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC SEE) and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) presented their activities and plans for the Western Balkan region. The next day the participants explored the needs of Western Balkan jurisdictions through an active participation in practical exercises on the needs' identification.

"Stability and security in the Western Balkans is an important pre-requisite for border security at the external borders of the EU. Any threat associated with that is our common concern. The Western Balkan region is strategically important to the EU and FRONTEX. For this reason, it is important to try to coordinate our activities in better supporting our Western Balkan partners," said the team leader of the Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud.

"Coordination is our joint responsibility. If we want it to be successful, we all need to take ownership of it," concluded the Programme Manager of the Travel Document Security Programme at the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department.

Original story: 

https://www.osce.org/secretariat/429773

For more information: 

https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-and-osce-come-together-to-help-fight-document-fraud-in-the-western-balkans-E4YSwI

UNODC and CEPOL held the 5th National Focal Points Meeting under the Financial Investigations project in South Eastern Europe

10 September 2019, Budapest, Hungary: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) co-organized the fifth meeting of the national project focal points to discuss the implementation of the joint project activities and coordinate future interventions on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The meeting started with an overview of the completed activities in the second and third quarters of 2019 and focused on the main achievements of the project to date, including the completion of the fifth phase of the Training-of-Trainers (ToT) course by UNODC and the submission of the plans for the institutionalization of the curricula by the training institutions.

The second part of the meeting aimed at presenting the planned activities for the next six months, including the implementation of the sixth ToT phase and the upcoming study visits, and agreeing on the way forward with regard to the project implementation. The participants also discussed the visibility actions of the project, including the release of a video reflecting the project objectives and achievements as well as quarterly newsletters, produced jointly with CEPOL.

This project is funded by the EU and is an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC expanded the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme to Croatia building on its successful results in four other countries of South Eastern Europe

6 September 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: UNODC and the Lions Clubs International Foundation in collaboration with the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and with the technical support of the Croatian Agency for Education and Training, launched the social and emotional prevention programme "Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence" (LQSFA) in Croatia.

The LQSFA programme was initially launched in South Eastern Europe in 2014 and gradually expanded to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia reaching more than 7000 students in over 140 elementary schools across the region. Following a strict evidence-based implementation modality, the programme proved to be effective and showed encouraging results in substance use reduction, the intention to use drugs and dissuasive effects on the engaged students on substance use in their local environment.

Additionally, the results of the LQSFA programme inform and support the UNODC-WHO International Standards on drug use prevention by providing information on programme implementation in low- and middle-income countries. The proved effectiveness of the LQSFA programme builds a case for the future expansion of the programme both regionally and globally.

Owing to the valuable support of the Croatian Agency for Education and Training and the local Lions Clubs office, 50 elementary schools were recommended for the launch of the programme across the country, in various locations surrounding the cities of Osijek, Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Split.

The programme will start with training workshops for educators and trainers involving 100 teachers and two trainer candidates from the above-mentioned cities beginning on 11 September 2019 and will be implemented over the next two academic years with the objective to reach over 2000 students.

Upon delivery of the programme in Croatia, the effectiveness of the strategy will be evaluated and its results included in the final report along with comments on the cultural adaptation, the implementation modality and the material for further consideration of the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Education and Training.

UNODC holds a conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption

3-4 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: In line with its efforts towards the effective implementation of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport adopted by the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), UNODC organized a conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption aimed at discussing and sharing progress on the implementation of this resolution, and where applicable other efforts to safeguard sport as they relate to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport affirms among others the relevance of UNCAC in promoting integrity, transparency and accountability and preventing corruption, also in sport and calls upon States to enhance their efforts in preventing corruption in sports and step up cooperation, coordination and exchange of information, including through robust legislative and law enforcement measures, multi-stakeholder global and national partnerships and the involvement of civil society, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations to raise awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of the challenge posed by corruption to sport.

This conference was organized following the international conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption held in Vienna on 5 and 6 June 2018 to keep the momentum and to serve as the primary global platform for Member States, sports organizations and other relevant stakeholders to continue the dialogue on this issue as it is widely accepted that corruption can undermine the potential of sport and its role in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Representatives from relevant national law enforcement, anti-corruption and government sport organizations in addition to sports organizations and relevant private sector entities attended the event, which consisted of a combination of panel sessions to facilitate presentations and give participants opportunities to engage in broad discussions with a view to exchanging information and clarifying key concepts. 

Among the discussed topics were legal and law enforcement issues around fighting corruption in sport, the role of partnerships in fighting corruption in sport, advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women by fighting corruption in sport and strengthening the governance of sport.

Representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia attended the event, which further contributes to countering corruption in sports in these countries and builds on the previous achievements in addressing the risks posed by this threat, globally and in the Western Balkans.

OSCE and UNODC train Albanian trainers in countering terrorist financing

2-3 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, OSCE-Albania and UNODC delivered a two-day training course to four Albanian officials. The training, which took place on the premises of the OSCE Secretariat, was led by international experts and tailored to the Albanian context, including country- and region-specific scenarios. The participants of this training course will go on to deliver the same training courses to local officials upon their return to Albania, together with the international experts from OSCE and UNODC.

The training programme provided an opportunity to discuss and thoroughly analyse aspects related to financial investigations and case management with the purpose to strengthen the capacity of Albania to identify, investigate and disrupt the financing of terrorism, and enhance inter-agency cooperation.

This training forms part of the train-the-trainer programme and is conducted in the framework of a comprehensive multi-annual OSCE-UNODC capacity-building programme to support the national efforts in countering terrorist financing in Albania and in South Eastern Europe, in line with the international standards and particularly the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019), the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments.

A delegation from Pristina on a study visit to Austria

23-24 July 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, organized a study visit for 14 officials representing the law enforcement and justice institutions of Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, including the tax, customs and anti-money laundering authorities, the Prosecutor's office, the courts and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council.

The first part of the study visit focused on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) and allowed for the participants to get acquainted with the Austrian and European anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) frameworks and international standards. The visit continued with an overview of national practices, the role of the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) in ML/TF prevention and its inspection process, the AML/CFT legislation in the Austrian financial sector as well as the national and international cooperation, which was later consolidated and illustrated with practical examples of predicate offences, investigations and case studies.

In the second part of the visit, the participants presented the AML/CFT regime in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, which was followed by a summary on the organization and tasks of the Austrian Financial Intelligence Units, their roles, the international and inter-agency cooperation at the national level as well as financial investigations. The visit concluded with a presentation on all aspects of the Beneficial Owner Registry, and the experiences of Austria in that context.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC-CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).  

UNODC reviews measuring and assessing crime in South Eastern Europe

18-19 July 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC organized an Expert Group Meeting in the framework of the "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidence-based policy making" (MACRO) project, implemented by UNODC to contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law through the fight against organised crime in the region by improving knowledge about trends and patterns of organised crime.

The meeting aimed at gathering experts in the field of crime and statistics to discuss the preliminary findings of the regional report, including the country and regional analysis and estimates of the illegal markets in view of consolidating the analysis of collected data and further refining the data analysis strategy.

UNODC provided a thorough overview of the specifics of framing data collection on organized crime in the Western Balkan region, as well as the background and current findings and achievements under the MACRO project.

The participants contributed to the event by sharing experiences and best practices with the aim to strengthen the techniques used to analyse large amounts of data.

The project is funded by the European Commission.

13th Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Europe, and data for South Eastern Europe

2-5 July 2019, Lisbon, Portugal: The 13th meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Europe, was held in Lisbon. The agenda of the meeting and all relevant to this event information, including the Note by the Secretariat transmitting the "Report of the Secretariat on the World situation with regard to drug trafficking" and the Report of the Secretariat on regional and subregional cooperation in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe can be found under https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/Subsidiary_Bodies/HONEUR/HONEUR_13.html. The latter report was presented by a representative of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe at the meeting. This presentation in particular highlighted the importance of regional and interregional cooperation and the similarities of the challenges faced by the Balkans and other regions.

According to the Report of the Secretariat on the World situation with regard to drug trafficking, the following are the most prominent recent updates with regard to different types of drugs in South-Eastern Europe:

  • The most commonly used route for transporting Afghan heroin into Europe continues to be the Balkan route, with large amounts of heroin seized in Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Turkey. Iranian authorities reported that 85 per cent of the heroin seized in 2017 had entered the country through Pakistan, while 70 per cent was being trafficked onwards to Turkey and the Caucasus. The amount of heroin seized in South-Eastern Europe reached record levels in 2017, with 18.2 tons, almost triple the 6.4 tons reported in the region in 2016. In 2016, after reaching the lowest value since 2003, at 5.6 tons, the amount of heroin seized in Turkey increased sharply in 2017, to a record 17.4 tons. The amount of heroin seized in Western and Central Europe depicts a decreasing trend, falling from 11.6 tons in 2000 to 3.9 tons in 2016, the lowest level on record since 1990. In 2017, the amount seized in the region increased to 4.9 tons, mainly owing to increases in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland, Italy and Spain, where 1,110 kg, 844 kg, 610 kg and 524 kg were seized, respectively. Networks operating between Pakistan and Europe have become dominant in recent years and are targeting Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for trafficking via the southern route.
  • In South-Eastern Europe, the total amount of cannabis herb seized increased by over 20 per cent in 2017, with Albania and Turkey reporting 78 tons and 94 tons, respectively.
  • In recent years, there has been an increased amount of amphetamine trafficking in South-Eastern Europe, with Turkey reporting the seizure of a record 6.7 tons in 2017, the largest amount reported by a country in Europe in that year.

For more information:

https://undocs.org/E/CN.7/2019/5

https://undocs.org/UNODC/HONEURO/13/3

UNODC continues to support for the marking process of imported firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3 July 2019, Bern, Switzerland: In 2017 the UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) commenced with its assistance to the arms export control authorities of Bosnia Herzegovina in view of harmonizing the national legislation  with the UN Firearms Protocol, and specifically with the provisions on import marking. In this regard, in October 2017, the GFP organized a study visit to the Vienna Proof-House, where the Bosnian officials gained knowledge about the organization of the process of marking imported firearms and the equipment required to run the process. The GFP developed a report on the national best practices in import marking and held a workshop to present the report in December 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Subsequently, in 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina developed and adopted  the following subsidiary legal acts: 1) Book of rules on procedures and methods of marking of weapons and ammunition, and 2) Instruction on the requirements needed to obtain authorization to mark weapons and ammunition, which implements the Law on Marking of Small Arms, Light Weapons and Related Ammunition.

The next stage for regulating the imports of firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the organization and deployment of the record-keeping process, which focuses on the collection and sharing of data on the imported firearms with the law enforcement institutions. The availability of such data depository will assist both domestic and international firearms tracing.

In line with these efforts, on 3 July 2019, the GFP organized a study visit for officials from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Federal Police of Switzerland and to the Bern Cantonal Police. The study visit provided an opportunity for  the officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn about the various types of firearms data  registered by the federal and cantonal authorities and the procedures used for inter-agency data exchange; the organization of the impact marking process including the main actors, duties and timelines; as well as how data on imported firearms is recorded, collected and handled in line with the regulations and obligations for all involved in the process.

The Swiss authorities presented the software, used for managing this information, and demonstrated various options for conducting search queries and obtaining statistical information, which can be used for conducting firearms tracing. The visit to the Weapons Office of the Cantonal Police in Bern allowed the participants  to learn  about the organization of the record-keeping process at the cantonal level.

The knowledge gained during  the study visit will be used for developing the terms of reference for a record-keeping system on imported firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina,  operated by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, and containing  data on markings of all imported firearms to the country. The structure of the database will allow data  entry  on imported firearms at various levels as well as access to the law enforcement agencies both at cantonal and entity levels, based on the approach adopted by the Swiss authorities. This event is in line with the UNODC GFP efforts to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in aligning its national legislation with the UN Firearms Protocol and will further support Bosnia and Herzegovina in this process, including in the implementation of the record-keeping system.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/news/gfp-continues-its-support-for-the-marking-process-of-imported-firearms-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina.html

UNODC continues the consultative process for the development of its new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

27 June 2019, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: In order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated UNODC response to the challenges in South Eastern Europe, UNODC in cooperation and partnership with UNMIK organized two expert working group meetings on the key thematic areas of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 (RP SEE), which brought together some 20 representatives of the local institutions, including judiciary, prosecution, law enforcement, anti-corruption and customs authorities. The participants to the meetings reviewed the work of UNODC in 2016-2019 and discussed the way forward focusing on current trends and challenges in the fields of enhanced border security, firearms control and trafficking in persons, as well as strengthening the fight against transnational organized crime, countering illicit financial flows and preventing and countering corruption and terrorism. The participants had an opportunity to exchange views, hold discussions with counterparts and subsequently provide their comments, which will be incorporated into the component of the new RP SEE focused on Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 in line with the UN rules and regulations.

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in Drug Use Prevention efforts

26-27 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC participated in the national conference on "Challenges and perspectives in the field of drug use prevention" to discuss approaches and suggest effective measures for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the further enhancement of the drug use prevention, organized by the non-governmental organization (NGO) working in drug demand reduction NARKO-NE within the RIPPO NGOs network in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The event focused on drug use prevention, including the importance of the inter-sectoral approach in evidence-based prevention and raising awareness of the general public of the problems of risky behaviours, protective factors and substance use. The participating professionals contributed to the productive discussion on the professionalization and multidisciplinary strategic development in the field of drug use prevention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference also payed particular attention to the cutting-edge scientific approached to drug use prevention, the UNODC-WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, the EU drug prevention quality standards and the European Universal Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) among others. 

The UNODC representative contributed to the conference by presenting an overview of the UNODC-WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and exchanged views with fellow experts on furthering cooperation in this field.

For more information:

www.prevencija.ba

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/event/2019/04/first-expert-conference-about-contemporary-approaches-and-models-work-children-and-youth-bosnia-and-herzegovina-%E2%80%98challenges-and-perspectives-field-addiction-prevention%E2%80%99_sk

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/prevention/prevention-standards.html

http://upc-adapt.eu/

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_218446_EN_TD0113424ENN.pdf

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in countering firearms trafficking

25-27 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme organized trainings on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking for 32 investigators and prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The overall objective of the capacity building activities was to contribute to a more effective criminal justice response to firearms trafficking and facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Firearms Protocols in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

The specific objective of the trainings aimed to enhance the knowledge of the participants in conducting investigations and the prosecution of firearms trafficking cases by understanding how firearms identification and tracing contribute to solving cases of transnational nature. Furthermore, the training allowed to share good practices and lessons learned on using special investigative techniques, discuss joint investigation teams and identify gaps in the existing criminal procedure laws in securing admissible evidence for prosecuting firearms trafficking cases. During the trainings, which were attended by the Police Liaison Officers of Sweden and France, the participants shared their experiences in the detection, investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases and their links to other serious crimes.

UNODC participates in the 21st Meeting of the PCC SEE Expert Working Group

26 June 2019, Vienna, Austria: One of the main tools in countering the world drug problem is through cooperation, coordination and information exchange. As part of this process, UNODC participated in the 21 st Meeting of the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), organized by the PCC SEE Secretariat in cooperation with the Government of Austria.

This event, which brought together over 45 participants representing the law enforcement institutions from South Eastern, Eastern and Western Europe as well as regional and international organizations operating in the region (including CEPOL, EUROPOL, GIZ, IISG Support Group, IOM, ICMPD, MARRI and RAI) created an opportunity to brainstorm on strengthening cooperation and finding synergies to counter drugs and organized crime more efficiently within the PCC SEE process.

The Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat, who co-chaired the meeting, emphasized the importance to scale up efforts in police cooperation, particularly in the area of transnational organized crime, regional law enforcement cooperation, illegal migration and terrorism. He pointed out the current actions of the PCC SEE contributing to an improved cooperation among PCC Partners furthering the common objective of supporting the countries of South Eastern Europe in fulfilling the requirements on their EU accession path.

Moreover, the event provided an opportunity to welcome the Government of Croatia as the new Contracting Party to the Convention since May 2019 and reiterate mutual willingness to strengthen efforts in countering organized crime and addressing security threats.

The meeting concluded with overviews of current activities and priorities presented by each organization. UNODC highlighted the excellent cooperation with PCC SEE Secretariat, in line with the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, which aims to support the joint work in the field of combatting transnational organised crime through exchange of information and expertise, as well as implementation of joint activities. Furthermore, PCC SEE Secretariat is also a strong partner of UNODC, and is actively committed to supporting South Easter Europe, particularly in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is currently in the process of being extended for the period 2020-2023.

Serbian Delegation on a study visit to Spain

17-19 June 2019, Madrid, Spain: UNODC, in cooperation with the Spanish authorities and the Embassy of Serbia to Spain, organized a study visit of ten senior officials from the Serbian law enforcement and judiciary institutions, including the Ministry of Interior, Financial Intelligence Unit, Anti-Corruption Agency, Tax Administration, the Prosecutor's office and the judiciary.

The delegation was received by the Department for International Cooperation of the General Police Directorate of Spain, where the participants got an extensive overview of the current threats related to illicit firearms trafficking and main modus operandi in this area in Spain illustrated by real-life study cases from the recent years; tackling financing of terrorism; investigation methodology in relation to organized crime; as well as preventing and countering money laundering in Spain.

The second part of the visit was focused on the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police of Spain and aimed at deepening the knowledge of the visitors in the areas of drug trafficking, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, crypto-currencies, firearms trafficking and terrorism financing. The session concluded with fruitful discussions and exchanges of experiences, good practices and challenges between Serbian and Spanish counterparts.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC-CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi). The project also contributes to the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Financial Action Task Force and the International Country Risk Guide (FATF/ICRG) action plan related to the removal of Serbia from the FATF "Grey List" of jurisdictions with deficient Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. 

UNODC participates in anti-corruption initiative by the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity Network

12-14 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) took part in a training on "Corruption and State Capture Monitoring, Advocacy and Impact in a World of Hybrid Threats" for civil society organizations (CSOs) working on anti-corruption in Southeast Europe (SEE), which was organized by the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) Network. The training aimed to encourage CSOs, especially grassroot organisations, to engage in anti-corruption initiatives, instruct them on how to apply corruption monitoring methodologies and encourage them to collaborate amongst themselves and with public institutions.

During the opening, a representative from the European Commission's Anti-Corruption Desk underlined the importance of CSOs in bringing out the voices of the public and holding institutions accountable, while also highlighting that the issues with the greatest negative impact should be tackled first.

The training was dedicated to several topics, including SELDI's experience and research methods in anti-corruption, advocacy and policy enhancement; the establishment of civil society-media relations and the benefits to CSOs of working with investigative journalists and improving the current policies, strategies and laws through efficient public-private partnerships.

All participating anti-corruption agencies from SEE and other public organisations tasked with countering corruption confirmed their willingness to work with civil society, especially considering they can better connect with citizens on the ground and have the capacity to provide technical support regarding legislative challenges, evaluate the effectiveness of the current policies and strategies and support the governments in formulating new ones.

Furthermore, the role of civil society as drivers of the EU transformation processes was discussed as well as the importance of CSO networking. The CSOs and grassroots organizations were able to hear best practices from practitioners, experienced in building CSO anticorruption coalitions and achieving policy impact. SELDI members and other partner CSOs also shared their methodologies and good practices, with a focus on the monitoring of public spending and public administration reforms, further inspiring CSOs and grassroots to engage in these areas.

The UNODC CST representative provided an overview of UNODC's work in SEE, and presented the CSO-private sector Outcome Statement, which resulted from three UNODC multi-stakeholder workshops on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism held between 2016 and 2018,which is aimed at strengthening cooperation in the areas of training and knowledge, implementation of the UNCAC and the collective action between entities that have endorsed this document. This achievement builds on continuous efforts in the region in establishing avenues for cooperation with stakeholders in effectively preventing and countering corruption.

For more information:

http://seldi.net/events-and-news/seldi-events-and-news/seldi-cso-training-corruption-and-state-capture-monitoring-advocacy-and-impact-in-a-world-of-hybrid-threats/

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/civil-society-and-private-sector-agree-on-principles-for-partnership-on-addressing-corruption-in-see.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/CN0-anti-corruption-activities.html

UNODC participates in the second Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group Meeting

12-13 June 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In line with the vision of the Berlin Process linked to supporting the Western Balkans on their path to EU membership, the Berlin Process Security Steering Group, an initiative supported by the Government of the United Kingdom and aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and enhancing the collective response to security threats in the region, held its second meeting bringing together speakers from the region as well as regional and international partners. 

The two-day conference focused on the progress of the regional cooperation, information exchange and operational cooperation and the status of current security threats in the Western Balkans, including modern slavery and human trafficking; firearms trafficking; illicit finance and asset recovery; corruption, as well as ways to overcome them. The round table discussions allowed the participants to share experiences and discuss initiatives aimed at supporting the Western Balkans, including developing a Joint Regional Multi-Agency Threat Assessment of cross-border cash and non-cash smuggling; improving real-time information exchange between law enforcement agencies in the region to combat cross-border security threats and strengthening regional cooperation; and the Franco-German "Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024". 

UNODC contributed to the conference with a comprehensive overview on the state of play of the asset recovery process in the Western Balkans and the proposed action in this regard building on the already successful work in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The outcomes of this meeting will be presented to the Poznan Summit in Poland next month.

For more information:

https://www.gov.pl/web/diplomacy/poznan-summit

https://mobile.twitter.com/ukinrnmacedonia/status/1138748293343789061

UNODC participates in a regional workshop for National Firearms Focal points

11-13 June 2019, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme participated in the meeting for National Firearms Focal Points (NFFPs) organized in the framework of the EU action plan against the illicit trafficking of firearms and aimed at supporting the NFFPs from the Western Balkan jurisdictions through the provision of expertise in areas related to countering firearms trafficking.

The meeting addressed topics such as the improvement of information flow, especially using databases; identification of common threats in the EU and the Western Balkans; best practices in the framework of the NFFPs; means to increase cooperation in the field of firearms threats, with special focus on Europol and Interpol; and interconnection of the Focal Points.

The UNODC Global Firearms Programme contributed to the workshop by providing guidance on using the UNODC questionnaire on firearms as well as inputs on the role of the NFFPs in the context of a criminal justice response to countering firearms trafficking.

UNODC on a mentorship mission in Montenegro

10-13 June 2019, Port of Bar, Montenegro: In the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), UNODC carried out a mentorship mission to the Port of Bar aimed at supporting the Port Control Unit (PCU) of Montenegro in performing risk-based profiling of containers and improving information exchange at national, regional and international levels.

At present, the PCU is composed of representatives from Customs, Police and Anti-drug trafficking unit, who received this visit, in which the PCU officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina participated further contributing to a better exchange of information and cooperation between different units.

The UNODC expert made an assessment of the current state of activities of the PCU and provided the recommendations as needed. The PCU in Montenegro is supported with the contribution from the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC supports Albania in countering trade-based money laundering

10-12 June 2019, Tirana, Albania: UNODC in cooperation with the Albanian General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) and the Government of Switzerland organized a workshop on trade-based money laundering (TBML) for representatives from the police, customs, FIU (GDPML), border police, and prosecutors.

The workshop provided an opportunity for 20 participants, working in groups (i.e. multi-agency tasks forces), to get practical knowledge on the ways to identify TBML, as well as to increase their skills in collecting, collating and analysis of trade and financial data. Furthermore, the participants discussed international cooperation and the ways criminals hide true beneficiary ownership across various jurisdictions. The participants could benefit from the presentations and discussions of TBML cases with the invited experts from Hungary and Belgium, who have practical experience in the investigation, including financial investigations, of TBML.

The workshop was conducted in the framework of the UNODC anti-money laundering work for Albania funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

UNODC holds a meeting of national anti-human trafficking coordinators in South Eastern Europe

29-30 May 2019, Bečići, Montenegro: In line with the global efforts to counter human trafficking, UNODC organized a regional meeting of national anti-trafficking coordinators of South Eastern Europe in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in its role as Secretariat of the National Coordinators of South Eastern Europe Network, the Government of France and the Council of Europe to hold discussions on the compensation for the victims of human trafficking, which is one of the key provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (TIP).

The meeting gathered 27 representatives from the offices responsible for countering human trafficking and academia across South Eastern Europe and focused on providing a better understanding of the TIP victimology with a view to propose adequate compensation solutions for the victims of TIP. The participants reviewed the national legal frameworks in South Eastern European jurisdictions and examples of cases of compensation system/scheme in practice; mapped ongoing and planned anti-trafficking activities in the region and discussed the way forward.

These active discussions contributed to identifying good practices and proposing concrete recommendations to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for the victims of TIP as well as procedures for establishing State compensation schemes. Furthermore, the meeting strengthened the partnerships of National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators of South Eastern Europe Network to work together in sharing information and increase cooperation.

UNODC briefing on mandates and areas of expertise

28 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: Upon the request of the Permanent Mission of Serbia, a delegation composed of military officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Serbia visited the Vienna International Centre on a study tour to Vienna. The purpose of the visit aimed at getting familiarized with the functioning of UNODC, in particular in the context of strengthening regional and international safety and security.

The UNODC representatives provided a comprehensive overview on the Office's mandate, intervention areas and nature of support to Member States, as well as the involvement of UNODC in South Eastern Europe and the latest achievements in the region.

The visit concluded with a questions/answers session, at the end of which the delegation acknowledged the usefulness of introducing the non-military UNODC element to the programme of their visit to Vienna.

UNODC continues the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

27-28 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), held the third and last regional meeting as part of the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for 2020-2023.

The meeting focused on Sub-Programme I "Support to law enforcement, enhanced border security and related risks" of the Regional Programme and provided an opportunity to hold active discussions and further consolidate the draft of the new Programme. The event gathered national representatives of various law enforcement and other institutions from across South Eastern Europe, who discussed national, regional and inter-regional law enforcement cooperation, the Container Control Programme and the Airport Communication Project, current challenges and avenues for increased cooperation in firearms control, as well as in human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The meeting was an important element of the regional consultative process held with the Governments of South Eastern Europe aimed at ensuring an integrative approach in the development of the new Regional Programme across South Eastern Europe and its national ownership. The event focused on the specific role that UNODC can play in the region in this regard, based on its added value.

Co-organizing the event with the PCC SEE Secretariat has further supported the complementarity of the planned activities and avoiding duplication. Some of concrete actions to be delivered in cooperation with the PCC SEE Secretariat were included into the plan of work and the practicality of the Convention was underscored. The co-organization of the event with the PCC SEE Secretariat is in line with the signed in April 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies.

The meeting concluded with a common agreement on the way forward for the finalization of the development of the new Regional Programme, which will be launched with the Governments in the region and regional partners during the next meeting of the Programme Steering Committee in late 2019.

Furthermore, in the margins of the event, UNODC representatives met with the national authorities to discuss the possibilities of upscaling the efforts in the area of drug demand reduction and strategies to sustain the current successful cooperation.

UNODC rolls out the fourth series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

21-24 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC initiated the fourth series of trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe, which is part of the two-year EU-funded regional project implemented jointly with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL). The three previous series of trainings prepared 10 trainers in each South Eastern European jurisdiction, who are now well equipped to deliver the training on financial investigations in its entirety to their peers.

A total of 26 representatives from the Police and Judicial Academies, Financial Intelligence Unit, Ministries of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, Police and the Prosecutor's Office attended the training and acquired the skills and knowledge on the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

In addition, the representative from the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC), which supports  the work of UNODC in the region in the area of anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism, contributed to the training by sharing expertise of Turkey in conducting money laundering and financial investigations.

This training is the first in a series of six, which will be conducted in the remaining jurisdictions during the Summer and Fall 2019. After that, the training curricula on financial investigations will be institutionalized in the police and judicial training institutions across the region.

UNODC organized a training for Policymakers on the Nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders

20-22 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: In line with UNODC efforts to support South Eastern Europe in further expanding drug demand reduction programmes, UNODC organized a training for policymakers on the "Nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders" in the framework of the UNODC-WHO initiative on drug dependence treatment and care and in cooperation with the Serbian National Office for Combatting Drugs.

Twenty-five participants from the Ministries of Health, Education and Social Affairs as well as representatives from the civil society organizations attended the event.

The training was based on materials developed by UNODC aimed at:

- increasing the knowledge and understanding of the policymakers on the nature of drug use disorders;

- positively influencing the policymakers' perception of people with drug use disorders by deconstructing the complex mechanisms leading to potential stigma and discrimination;

- finding appropriate responses to drug use prevention by understanding the evidence-based modality of programme utilisation;

- presenting evidence-based drug strategies, programmes and interventions for the prevention of drug use and treatment of drug use disorders and;

- discussing the comprehensive components of continuum of care.

The participants held active discussions on challenges and practices in this area and subsequently prepared action plans tailored to the national priorities for further advancement of the drug demand reduction portfolio. They also stressed the practical value of the training.

This event builds on UNODC continuous efforts in supporting drug use prevention in Serbia and the wider region, including  through building capacity of the law enforcement in preventing drug use and violence among youth, an initiative supported by UNODC and OSCE called "School Police", under which several workshops were held in 2019.

UNODC will continue to support Serbia's efforts in improving drug demand reduction services, including the prevention of drug use disorders through various programmes and initiatives.

Priorities for UNODC work on drug prevention and treatment in South Eastern Europe

16-17 May 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: The programme of work of UNODC in any region of the world is developed in a consultative process together with the concerned Member States. That is why UNODC organised a Regional Consultative Meeting on the Development of the Sub-Programme 3 "Drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders" of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The workshop brought together more than 30 experts and policy makers from the countries of South Eastern Europe who jointly worked to identify priorities for the new UNODC Regional Programme for the period 2020-2023. Priorities related to the prevention of substance use, drug use and other risky behaviours were discussed, as well as the provision of treatment, health care, social protection and rehabilitation services for people with drug use disorders, in the context of an approach to addressing the world drug problem that is based on science, ethical concerns and addressing gender and socio-economic inequalities.

The Skopje meeting is the second of three regional consultations on each of the three Sub-Programmes of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 (the meeting on the Sub-Programme focused on supporting justice, countering illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism has taken place in Montenegro in April 2019, and the meeting on the Sub-Programme aiming to support law enforcement, border control, firearms control and efforts to prevent and counter human trafficking and smuggling of migrants will be held at the end of the month in Belgrade). The consultations are part of the continued UNODC mechanism for ensuring the full inclusion of all relevant counterparts, avoiding duplication, identification of national and regional priorities and safeguarding national ownership.

OSCE, UNODC and ICITAP support Albania in countering the financing of terrorism

15-17 May 2019, Tirana, Albania: The OSCE Transnational Threats Department jointly with the OSCE Presence in Albania, the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and UNODC organized a three-day analysis training course aimed at further strengthening Albania's response to countering terrorist financing.

The training seminar was delivered to 31 Albanian experts and practitioners from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit), the State Intelligence Service, the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes. The participants included seventeen trainees and five local trainers, with nine participants being women.

The training course was aimed at supporting Albania's efforts in countering terrorist financing in line with international standards, in particular the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the standards of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) and the OSCE commitments. International experts from OSCE and UNODC together with the five local government officials previously trained by the mentioned organizations led the course, during which the key role of inter-agency cooperation in disrupting terrorist financing was emphasized. The agenda included topics such as tackling financial intelligence, introduction to financial analysis, vulnerability and network analysis based on country- and region-specific scenarios. Over half of the course was devoted to practical work where participants learned and practiced how to apply a range of analytical techniques to realistic scenarios and use the financial investigation to better assess the threat posed by a terrorist group.

This course is second in a series of six, forming a comprehensive multiannual capacity-building programme to support national efforts to counter terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC and OSCE jointly teaching sports and life-skills in South Eastern Europe

14-16 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The practice of sports is receiving increasing attention as a powerful tool for crime prevention, especially in dealing with the younger generation. For  UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha DeclarationYouth Crime Prevention through Sports has been an active component since 2016, promoting holistic crime prevention policies and raising awareness on the importance of sports-based activities; they aim at keeping youth away from crime and teaching them life skills to help them deal with their circumstances.

As with its various components promoting a culture of lawfulness, UNODC partners with other international organization around the world, and its cooperation with OSCE builds on the Joint Action Plan for 2018-2019. This includes the joint promotion of the two organizations' technical tools in the field of strengthening and improving crime prevention, which is currently being rolled out in South Eastern Europe.

To this end, in consultation with UNODC, OSCE recently organized a round table discussion in Serbia, engaging regional policymakers. The meeting brought together representatives from ministries of education, ministries of sports and youth, ministries of interior, and other state authorities working in the area of public safety and policing; who exchanged experiences and good practices in their respective domains using sports-based prevention and discussed challenges and ways to address them through joint action.

For the Head of the OSCE Mission in Serbia, "that event clearly showed the genuine interest and the commitment of all parties to do more in this area, and to co-ordinate the efforts at both national and regional level." 

This meeting was followed up this month in Belgrade by a joint Regional Training of Trainers on the Global Programme's  Line Up, Live Up curriculum and methodology. Engaging 19 sports trainers from five South Eastern European countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), the training familiarized them with the programme before they piloted it locally, with OSCE support.

The participants were enthusiastic about the training and the programme's tools to help youth.  A teacher of sport-based programs aiming at empowering girls in North Macedonia said this training had helped her think outside the box of their sport regimen: "It helps coaches to see sports as a platform, as a tool to work with youth at another level and to teach them important life skills, like respect, tolerance, and decision making and goal setting." She also noted with interest the programme's focus on promoting gender equality: "I work at the local level on leadership and empowerment for girls, and I know how sports-based initiatives like Line Up, Live Up can help girls build self-confidence and esteem, which are so important for their development."

A public-school teacher in Serbia who also runs his own basketball sport club for youth, commented on the quality of the training of the trainers and on the solid methodology of Line Up, Live Up: "This training is excellent; it is delivered in a very professional manner, which I really appreciate. I have a lot of experience working with youth on sports for prevention, but it is the first time I deal with such a specific training curriculum and methodology ."

As noted by the Head of the OSCE mission in Serbia in his opening address, the Line Up, Live Up initiative builds on OSCE's previous and ongoing youth engagement work in the region, such as its "To success, together" project in Serbia which tackles risky behaviour among schoolchildren through sports and education.

Various UNODC initiatives in the region have also promoted crime prevention and tackled drug use, underlying the necessity of synergies in programmes addressing common risks and protective factors for youth, and building up their resilience.

UNODC's Regional Project Officer in Serbia explained that there was a shift from "say no to drugs" programmes and information sharing sessions, to more structured programmes and strategies such as Line Up, Live Up, whose main goal is to develop relevant skills to rebuff drug use and prevent risky behaviour which includes drugs and crime: "I believe this programme is an excellent answer to the challenging situation that young people are facing today, especially as it gives them something that is very interesting for them while it teaches them new protective skills."

For further information :
Youth Crime Prevention through Sports 
Line Up, Live Up Training Manual

UNODC supports the effectiveness of the Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina

14-16 May 2019, land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019 continued with the VII Mentoring Visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU), which operates within the Programme in the country. The main objective of the mentoring visit was to examine the challenges that PCU officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) and the Border Police are facing when carrying out their daily activities at the land-border site Bijača.

Through detailed insight in the daily work of PCU in carrying out the activities of profiling high-risk container and other shipments, the UNODC trainer provided practical assistance to the Unit members in terms of enhancing their professional skills and knowledge of modalities for reducing the risk of misuse of container shipment for the smuggling of narcotic drugs, precursors as well as preventing other forms of organized crime.

During the three-day mentoring visit, the PCU officers presented various skills, tools and practices that are used during the profiling and risk assessment process of containers and other shipments, that is profiling persons who are potential actors of illicit trade. Special attention was paid to the aspects of cooperation between the ITA and the Border Police at the local and other levels, as well as the use of open sources of information in the profiling process.

Activities at the land-border Bijača resulted with over a dozen of containers and trucks that were entering or leaving the customs territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina profiled and physically inspected. Also, the activities of the Unit focused on passenger traffic, and during the conduct of joint activities, a misdemeanor was issued to a foreign citizen for possession of a small quantity of narcotic drug marijuana at the exit from Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the implementation of these activities, basic and specialized equipment was used, which was donated to the Joint Team by CCP.

The implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina started in 2014 to assist domestic institutions form a sustainable inter-agency joint team in order to reduce the risk of misuse of containers for the purpose of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, the prevention of transnational organized crime and other forms of illegal activities. Furthermore, the Programme's goal is to build capacities for improving the security of the legal economy, standards for enhancing cooperation with private sector and control at state borders.

UNODC participates in a regional seminar on cybersecurity in the Western Balkans

13-15 May 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: In line with the global efforts against cybercrime, UNODC took part in a regional seminar on cybersecurity, organized by the Government of France to discuss the threat posed by cybercrime in the Western Balkans and ways of combating it.

The event was attended by representatives from 14 countries in the South Eastern European region, the Ministries of Interior of the Governments of France and Croatia as well as private sector companies specialized in cybersecurity. The participants discussed the current state of the cybercrime threat in the world and in France and what can be done to address it as well as challenges faced by the law enforcement agencies in countering cybercrime of the Western Balkans and the wider region.

The UNODC expert provided a comprehensive overview on the global threat linked to cybersecurity and the UNODC global counter-cybercrime capacity building activities.

The active discussions held during the meeting contribute to strengthening regional and international cooperation in the field of cybercrime prevention.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/cybercrime/index.html

https://hr.ambafrance.org/Seminaire-regional-sur-la-cybersecurite-dans-les-Balkans-occidentaux

Innovative UNODC evaluation leads to increased accountability when countering drugs, crime and terrorism

10 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Independent Evaluation Section (IES) has carried out its first-ever strategic evaluation of a regional coordination mechanism for security governance, creating a best practice for future strategic interventions while meeting the demands of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Specifically, IES planned, conducted and supported the follow-up of the innovative evaluation for the EU-funded Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance mechanism (WB IISG).  While maintaining the independence of the evaluation process, the evaluation was carried out within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Evaluation couples effectiveness with accountability and transparency, being fully in line with current UN Reforms Initiatives and the Secretary-General pointing to the need of "independent and real-time evaluation with full transparency." UNODC continues to be at the forefront of countering drugs, crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans, and by offering this innovative evaluation, which fully mainstreamed human rights and gender equality, it has added another important dimension to these efforts.

In the context of the negotiations for accession to the EU of the different jurisdictions in the Western Balkans and the changing criminal landscape in the region, the new platform WB IISG was launched to seek to improve capacity-building for and reform of internal security governance in the region. The concept enables a coordinated, aligned and sustainable effort in the fields of internal security governance reform on part of the EU and all relevant international donors of external assistance.

The evaluation carried out by IES together with four senior external evaluators and experts found that the WB IISG is best considered an early-stage entrepreneurial venture that has identified 'the right customer needs', but is yet to develop, establish and institutionalise formal systems and processes.  

Evaluation results also show that there is wide support for the concept of the IISG as a potentially effective tool for regional coordination. Among other things WB IISG's work was recognized as promoting informal collaboration and trust-building among beneficiaries across the region.

The WB IISG Support Group highlighted that "the evaluation process itself has offered space for honest, open dialogue and exchanges, supporting learning and building trust." This space for dialogue and exchange was essential for leading to actionable recommendations.

One of the most innovative aspects of this evaluation is the continuous engagement with the WB IISG also beyond the end of the evaluation, for example through dedicated follow-up workshops, thereby ensuring utility of recommendations. Katharina Kayser, the Chief of IES, highlighted that "the political ownership of this process constitutes a best practice, in particular the endorsement of the evaluation plan and subsequent presentation of results to the Ministers of the region, allowing for future evaluations to build upon this one."

For more information:

Final Evaluation report

Final Evaluation Brief (2-pager)

UNODC Independent Evaluation Section website 

Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance

UNODC holds the Third Advisory Committee Meeting

6 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: In the context of the initiative "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidence-based policy making", UNODC organized the Third Advisory meeting of the European Commission at the Vienna International Centre with the purpose of discussing the project achievements and the way forward.

The meeting, which brought together the National Focal Points and experts on organized crime from South Eastern Europe, provided an opportunity to take stock of the progress of the project, including the launch of the regional repository, the organization of the first and second statistical data collections and undertaking court verdict analysis and field work to gather qualitative information on organized crime as well as the coordination of the first regional training on increasing capacity to collect and share criminal justice data.

Furthermore, given that the project is in its last year, the participants discussed the results of the data and information gathering within the project and the elaboration of the final regional report for the production of evidence-based policy advice for developments in the area of rule of law in the addressed jurisdictions, which entailed discussing and presenting the results of the finalized data collection, the findings of the qualitative information gathering efforts, the outline of the final regional report, and opportunities for provision of further technical assistance under the project.

UNODC Joins the Regional Dialogue on Combatting Trafficking of Cultural Property

6-7 May 2019, Munich, Germany: Combatting organized crime through addressing trafficking in cultural heritage was at the core of the regional conference on combatting trafficking of cultural heritage, organized by the German Development Agency (GIZ). Over 70 participants from the Western Balkan region and other European countries attended the event, including representatives from Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Interior, Police, Prosecution Offices, Ministries of Culture, Ministries of Finance, Border Police, Customs and Courts.

The main goal of the conference was to understand how organized crime groups involved in trafficking of cultural heritage operate. Expert speakers from Oxford University, UNESCO, Europol as well as UNODC shared their knowledge of how criminals are falsifying documents of origin, trafficking them and the impact this has culturally, historically and socially.

UNODC discussed the role of international organizations in supporting the Member States to address cultural property related crime. The information on the relevant international (binding and non-binding) legal instruments was provided, stressing their role and importance in crime prevention and criminal justice response in relation to trafficking in cultural property. Information on UNODC portal for sharing electronic resources and laws on crime and UNODC Campaign against Trafficking in Cultural Property was disseminated and related publications and practical tools were shared with participants.

During the event, experts agreed on the importance of allocating resources, conducting investigations, raising political awareness and increasing information collection and exchange to combat the illicit trade of cultural objects. It was also noted that trafficking trends have changed - from the physical to online market, shifting the exchange of a low volume of high value items to now a high volume of low value items. In conclusion, globalized trade offers a new means of shipment and a wealth of contacts, trafficking material that is not well documented and seemingly at low risk. Investigations often remain on the local level with limited resources, and EU connections are crucial in identifying criminal networks and high-value targets.

The participants held active discussions focused on identifying current gaps in detecting and investigating cases of cultural heritage trafficking, areas for improvement and current initiatives. The conference concluded with discussions on national inter-agency coordination, transnational operational support and information exchange, and international cooperation and harmonization.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro/emerging-crimes/trafficking-in-cultural-property.html

https://cscwb.info/3963/

https://cscwb.info/day-2-more-on-how-to-avoid-the-mismanagement-of-the-past-to-preserve-our-future/

Third phase of the UNODC national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe concluded

23-26 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations moves forward with the successful completion of the sixth national training on financial investigations, which concludes the third phase of the UNODC Training-of-Trainers programme. During this phase, the national trainers of the six jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe, that is to say Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 had an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in two previous series of trainings on conducting financial investigations organized by UNODC and co-deliver the same training to their peers at a 50% rate using the training curricula, which are being developed by UNODC and fully adapted to the national contexts.

This third series of trainings resulted in the training of 124 participants representing law enforcement institutions and the judiciary from South Eastern Europe, including Police Academies, Financial Intelligence Units, Ministries of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, judicial training academies and the Prosecutor's Office, who were able to get extensive knowledge on the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

In the next series of trainings, the national trainers will be fully prepared and deliver the training on financial investigations to their peers in its entirety. The first training will take place in Belgrade, Serbia in May 2019.

This project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) mechanism, particularly its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme further their work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia

12 April 2019, Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15 April 2019, Becici, Montenegro, 17 April 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia and 23 April 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC, in partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation organized four follow-up sessions in the framework of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme (LQSFA). The LQSFA programme is a social emotional and evidence-based programme aimed at preventing the onset of drug use and building resilience skills among students. The discussions, which gathered 64 educators from 29 addressed elementary schools across the three countries, focused on project implementation findings, sharing best practices and challenges faced to improve and adjust the working methodology. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, new material was presented to the participants, who discussed the completion of the first project implementation cycle coinciding with the end of the current academic year in June 2019. During the sessions in Montenegro and North Macedonia, processed pre-test results were presented to the participants to inform on substance use trends, normative beliefs, refusal skills and harmful effects of substances among the addressed students.

Moreover, the events provided opportunities to present the new communication platform in the form of a website reflecting the results of the implementation of LQSFA programme in South Eastern Europe as well as the findings and video material presented in the margins of the 62 nd sessions of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria in March 2019. In Montenegro, the participation of a young delegate from Kotor who has benefited from this programme and shared his experience in the 2019 CND was acknowledged as very positive and beneficial to other students in understanding the value of the programme from a student perspective. This year, two students addressed the CND session - from Montenegro and Serbia, and in 2018 - a student from Bosnia and Herzegovina addressed the respective side-event telling the audience about his experiences with the programme and his belief in its usefulness for him and his schoolmates.

The project implementation cycle in Montenegro and North Macedonia will last two years and will end in June 2020. The next follow-up sessions are planned to take place in October 2019. The results of the programme implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be presented at the LSQFA conference in Belgrade in November 2019.

Port Control Unit at Durres Port completes the Strategic Trade and Export Control Training Cycle

11-18 April 2019 , Tirana/Durres, Albania: As part of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme's (CCP) ongoing efforts to meet the training requirements of the Port Control Unit (PCU) officers at Durres Port and of other law enforcement agencies, UNODC completed the third week of the Strategic Trade and Export Control (STEC) Training. The three one-week long trainings (the two others organized in July and October 2018) addressed many of the national partners' requests by tailoring the courses to meet these specific requirements.  

The third week of the training included the overview of the presentations from previous sessions, presentations by the participants of their "homework" assignment, facilitating positive interactions among the participants and an examination and practical training elements. The examination presented an opportunity for the participants to review and apply their knowledge on subjects related to strategic goods and export control.

The container terminal practical training merged the mentorship visit with the STEC training, which allowed the participants to appreciate the relation of STEC to inspection, detention, seizure and reporting of actual cases.

Through this and continued training opportunities, it is expected that both PCU officers and other Albanian agencies enhance their abilities to ensure cross-border movements of goods comply with the national laws and regulations and recognize that trade controls are essential for both compliance and trade facilitation.

The entire cycle of the STEC training in Albania was supported by the Government of Luxembourg

IPA II Regional Programme coordination meeting hosted by UNODC

12 April 2019, Vienna, Austria: An Informal Coordination Meeting of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II) Regional Programme was hosted by UNODC in Vienna. The participants of the meeting in addition to UNODC and the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission were the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) Support Group, the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Guardia di Finanza, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE).

The meeting was aimed at coordinating the actions in the Balkans by the technical assistance providers in the area of organized crime and related topics, both at strategic and operational levels with the ultimate goal of supporting the Governments in the region on their accession path in the spirit of coordination, cooperation and non-duplication.

The meeting presented an opportunity for an active and open discussion by the mentioned participants to review the results of work in 2018 as well as ongoing and planned activities in 2019 and beyond.

The participants unanimously stressed the importance of continuing collaboration and strengthening the inter-agency cooperation in the framework of the IPA II Regional Programme. The meeting emphasized the need to scale up the efforts in the area of asset recovery to disrupt the criminal activities of the organized crime groups and deprive them from their income. The growing importance of the topic of countering the trafficking in cultural heritage was also pointed out.

The next meeting will take place in late 2019.

OSCE, UNODC and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Programme deliver a training course on countering terrorist financing in Albania

10-12 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: A three-day training course aimed at further strengthening the capacity of Albania to counter terrorist financing was delivered to Albanian experts and practitioners from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) - the Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit, the State Intelligence Service (SHISH), the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes. The course was attended by 34 participants, of which 17 were trainees and five local trainers, including 13 women.

The course was organized jointly by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE Presence in Albania, the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering, and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and hosted by the Security Academy of Albania.

The training course was conducted to strengthen Albania's compliance with international standards, in particular the UN Security Council Resolutions, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments. It was led by OSCE, UNODC and Western Union international experts together with five local government officials, who were previously trained by OSCE and UNODC in a train-the-trainer setting.

The course emphasized the key role of inter-agency cooperation in disrupting terrorist financing.  Based on country- and region-specific scenarios, it included sessions on national, regional and transnational threats, sources of information and money flows. The course was mostly devoted to practical work on exercises and actual case studies, highlighting specific instruments and techniques, which play an important role in countering the financing of terrorism.

The course was organized as part of a comprehensive multi-annual capacity-building programme to support the national efforts in countering terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

For further information: https://www.osce.org/secretariat/417158

UNODC signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe

12 April 2019, Vienna, Austria: In line with the regional efforts in countering drugs and crime in South Eastern Europe, UNODC and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE) reinforced their partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will provide a framework for cooperation between both organizations and ensure mutual support in pursuing common objectives in addressing transnational organized crime and related threats.

UNODC and the PCC SEE Secretariat have been collaborating in the region through promoting international and regional cooperation in criminal matters, in particular in the context of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative and are Lead Partners of its Pillar II on Counter Serious Crime initiative.

This new level of cooperation is aimed to further support coordination and non-duplication of efforts to continue to effectively support the Governments in the region in addressing security threats and fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria on region's path to EU membership.

The signatories of the MoU have agreed on overarching themes, including the exchange of information and relevant expertise, the implementation of joint activities in line with relevant documents, and inviting each other to meetings and events for alignment of areas of interest to avoid duplication of efforts and overlapping. These areas form part of the UNODC mandate and programme of work and have been approved by its governing bodies. They also fall in the overall strategic vision of UNODC spelt out in its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is an important basis for cooperation with the PCC SEE Secretariat and other regional and international partners of UNODC.

Furthermore, UNODC and PCC SEE Secretariat will cooperate on a technical level via bilateral meetings to develop and monitor collaborative activities, initiatives or projects and address priority matters on common interest for the implementation of activities in specific areas, countries and regions.

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

https://twitter.com/YuryFedotov/status/1116622025210990593

UNODC donates equipment to the Albanian State Police

9 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: Drug trafficking represents a major concern in South Eastern Europe as the region is located on the main conduit for illicit opiates to Europe, the "Balkan route". UNODC is actively supporting South Eastern Europe in countering transnational organized crime and drug trafficking and is closely cooperating with the Governments in the region, including in Albania, to effectively address this threat.

As part of this cooperation, UNODC donated drug and precursor identification and weighing equipment to the Albanian State Police, which includes 15 Drug Test Kits and 15 Portable Precision Balances/Weighing Scales, responding to the concrete needs of the Albanian law enforcement officials and supporting their efforts in combatting drug trafficking.

The UNODC test kits, developed and produced by the Laboratory and Scientific Section, are intended to provide law enforcement officers with rapid and simple colour tests for the preliminary field identification of drugs and precursors most commonly encountered in the illicit traffic. The high-end scales have multiple features and are a valuable tool in precision weighing, which is necessary for the precise measurement of the quantity of seized drugs.

This delivery forms a part of the overall donation of equipment by UNODC to the Albanian law enforcement authorities, and is expected to enhance their performance and further strengthen the partnership between UNODC and the Government of Albania.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/scientists/druge-kits-new.html

UNODC initiates the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

4-5 April 2019, Bečići, Montenegro: In the context of the extension of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023, UNODC organized the first of the three regional meetings in South Eastern Europe, initiating the consultative process with the Governments in the region. The meeting focused on Sub-programme II - "Strengthening the fight against transnational organized crime and countering illicit financial" and brought together 27 participants, including representatives from the ministries of interior, ministries of justice, police, financial intelligence units, anti-corruption agencies and customs authorities across South Eastern Europe.

The participants reviewed the work of UNODC in 2016-2019 and discussed current trends and challenges in the fields of money laundering, financing of terrorism and asset recovery, corruption and terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters, as well as ways to address them and the specific role that UNODC can play in the region in this regard, based on its added value. The meeting concluded with a common agreement on the way forward for the finalization of the development of the new Regional Programme.

UNODC will continue the consultative process with two further meetings in the region on Sub-Programmes I (law enforcement and border management) and Sub-Programme III (drug demand reduction), in Belgrade, Serbia and Skopje, North Macedonia respectively. These consultations are aimed at reflecting national and regional priorities, avoiding duplication and ensuring national ownership of the new Regional Programme.

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in countering trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality

3-4 April 2019, Bucharest, Romania: UNODC in partnership with the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (ANITP) of Romania and the Government of France, organized a regional workshop on "Enhancing national and regional capacity on combating trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality in South Eastern Europe" aimed at supporting a coordinated response to trafficking in persons (TIP) in South Eastern Europe in line with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

The event was attended by 32 participants from the police, judiciary and civil society from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia that are countries of origin, transit and destination of victims of TIP for the purpose of forced criminality, as well as regional and international organizations including IOM, SELEC and EUROJUST and NGOs from Romania and France. The regional workshop aimed to identify effective methods and good practices to combat TIP by exchange of experiences and expertise among TIP practitioners and regional and international organizations. The overall objective of the event was to support the efforts of the addressed jurisdictions in dismantling transnational criminal networks while protecting the human rights of the victims through inter-governmental cooperation, information sharing and common approach.

Following a comprehensive review of the current challenges and good practices in the region, the participants identified recommendations that will serve the efforts of the region in effectively countering TIP.

This is the second regional workshop in the framework of the UNODC project on TIP for the purpose of forced criminality in South Eastern Europe (the first one was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2018), funded by the Government of France. The third such event focused on cross-border cooperation in investigation and prosecution of TIP for the purpose of forced criminality is expected to take place in 2020.

Heroin seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Albania

28 March 2019, Durres, Albania: The PCU officers at the Durres port seized 2kg160gr of pure heroin at the ferry terminal. The heroin was taped around the body of the driver of a truck headed to Italy. The seizure took place during a random search. During the interrogation of the driver, the officers noticed uneasiness, anxiety and contradictory statements. The driver is a citizen of Albania and is in custody. The investigation has been initiated.

The PCU was established within the framework of the Container Control Programme.

UNODC supports Serbian police officers in drug use prevention among students

26-28 March 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC in cooperation with the OSCE mission in Serbia and the Ministry of Interior, organized a training workshop for the Serbian police officers on drug use and violence prevention among students and provided relevant information and techniques in the framework of the project "Support for the prevention efforts of the police in schools: protection of students from psychoactive substances and violence", implemented jointly by the Ministry of Interior and OSCE. The project builds on a large-scale prevention intervention initiative "School police", which  started  in 2002  following the agreement between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Ministry of Interior of Serbia.

With 373 police officers strategically located to cover 681 schools across the country, further capacity building will be undertaken for the local police officers, including through the provision of  applicable knowledge and skills on the developmental characteristics of students, communication skills and the prevention of violence and substance use. In addition, the police officers are trained on the current substance use trends, relevant legislation and technical skills related to their day to day work.

Furthermore, UNODC presented the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and highlighted the encouraging results of the strategic interventions in the past eight years in Serbia, particularly in a school setting. This included the Strengthening Family Programme 10-14, directly implemented by the police officers in 10 elementary schools in Belgrade in 2018, demonstrating  the successful implementation of the evidence-based strategy and stressing the need for further efforts in this field.

As a result of the workshop, 20 Serbian police officers were trained. The next training workshop will take place in Belgrade on 9-11 April 2019.

Afghan customs officials visit the Port of Durres in Albania

25-27 March 2019, Durres, Albania: The Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Port of Durres in Albania received a study visit from the Customs Administration of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The delegation consisted of eight officers, including members of the PCUs, led by the Director of the Law Enforcement Department of Afghanistan Customs. The purpose of the visit was for the Afghan officials to become acquainted with the implementation of the Container Control Programme (CCP) at the Port of Durres and to share experiences and challenges faced by the PCUs in both countries in their day-to-day work.

The visit began with meetings with the Deputy Heads of Durres Customs and Border Police, who welcomed and introduced the delegation with briefings on the Durres Customs and the Border Police roles, structures, goals and handling capacities. The officials highlighted the excellent cooperation between customs and police in interdicting illegal goods at the Port of Durres.

The Head of the PCU at the Port of Durres provided a thorough overview of the unit's work and inter-agency, regional and international cooperation. The delegation visited  the container and ferry terminals, closely observing an example of container examination during which techniques introduced by the CCP were demonstrated.

Furthermore, the delegation  visited Tirana and was received by the Director of the Anti-Trafficking Department of Customs and Head of the Monitoring Center. During these meetings, the high demand for relevant and timely risk information to help Customs' achieve their objectives was emphasized.

The Chief of the National Anti-Narcotics Service at the State Police headquarters briefed the delegation on Albania's efforts to combat illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics with focus primarily on heroin trafficking due to the country's position on the "Balkan Route" for heroin originating from Afghanistan.

This visit contributed to enhancing and stimulating working relationships, exchange of information and cooperation between PCUs participating in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

UNODC Finalizes Surveys on Organized Crime in the Western Balkans

26 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC regional research initiative - "Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans" (MACRO) carried out targeted in-depth interviews with prisoners convicted of crimes most often related to organized crime, victims of trafficking in persons and smuggled migrants to obtain their personal and first-hand experience with organized crime as well as to find out more about the modus operandi and structures of organized crime groups. The interviews were held in the period September 2018 - March 2019 in the region. Also, interviews with expert practitioners from law enforcement, criminal justice system, academia and the civil society were carried out to get a deeper insight about organized crime groups (OCGs) and their functioning. The findings of these surveys will supplement the information provided by the statistical framework and by the review of legislation and court judgements and will be published in the final regional report of the MACRO project.

In February, meetings of the National Technical Groups were held in all participating jurisdictions to discuss entry of statistical data related to organized crime into the MACRO online platform, in line with the statistical framework that was developed with participation of the national institutions. The partners discussed their experience and challenges with data entry and also made suggestions for improvement of the platform. One of the positive outcomes of this exercise is that through participation in MACRO project, some national partners have observed gaps in their internal data collection procedures and have initiated the streamlining of the procedures or enforcing the existing ones, as appropriate.

The qualitative interviews and quantitative data collection in the region have been carried out with full commitment and ownership by the participating national institutions.

Fourth National Project Focal Points meeting held under the project on Financial Investigations in South Eastern Europe

20 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in cooperation with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), organized the fourth meeting of the national project focal points to discuss the implementation of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project activities on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The meeting brought together 12 participants - six focal points for each office - and aimed at taking stock of the project achievements in the first quarter of 2019, including the third series of national financial investigations trainings in all Western Balkans jurisdictions, the first study visit to France of the high level delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the results of the conducted evaluation of the project. The agenda of the meeting also included the introduction of the 2019 work plan for the participants' feedback and endorsement as well as the institutionalization of the national curricula on financial investigations in the Western Balkan jurisdictions.

Furthermore, the participants exchanged the lessons learned within the project and agreed on the way forward, which further contributes to a mutual and coherent direction among all stakeholders in the implementation of the project and a better coordination of efforts on the ground.

This project is funded by the EU and is an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and Lions Clubs International Foundation discuss progress in School-based Prevention on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

18 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) organized a side event "Scaling the UNODC - Lions Clubs International Foundation: Global Partnership for School Based Prevention" on the margins of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

UNODC and LCIF jointly implement the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme (LQSFA), a school based social emotional learning intervention targeted at young adolescents to prevent drug use, which produces encouraging results worldwide, including in South Eastern Europe, where the programme is implemented since 2010. The event, which was co-sponsored by the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Montenegro and Serbia, presented the opportunity to provide an overview of the programme achievements to date in South Eastern Europe, Central America and Western Africa and discuss the way forward.

Two young students, Jana and Stefan, who benefitted from the programme in Serbia and Montenegro respectively, shared their stories with the audience on how the programme affected their lives, and the lives of those around them.

In her speech, Jana quoted a proverb: "If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me to fish, then you have fed me for life" to illustrate how the programme helps build the resilience skills of young students in the long term throughout their adolescence but also as young adults. Jana concluded her speech with the strong statement: "It's because of this programme that I started improving my self-esteem and became a stronger person."

Stefan particularly emphasized the benefits of the LQSFA programme in strengthening social and communication skills with peers to understand and cope with the challenges faced during adolescence and stated "There are no strangers, just friends that we haven't met yet. This programme gives us wings to fly over adolescence."

The LQSFA programme implementation is closely monitored and evaluated, and the available results show positive evaluation outcomes on the enhancement of the refusal skills among the students, as well as on the reduction of the reported substance use and intention to use substances among the groups of students. In South Eastern Europe, the programme showed effectiveness with encouraging results in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, where 7,600 students benefitted from the programme in 144 schools across 25 cities in the four countries and 371 teachers were trained. Building on the acquired knowledge from the programme implementation in South Eastern Europe, the programme is further expanding to Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cote d'Ivoire. The LCIF Global Coordinator highlighted in his remarks that the LQSFA programme "contributes to building a positive and safe school climate" for children. The UNODC Chief of Drug Prevention and Health Branch emphasized the impact of the programme on adult-children relations and said the programme contributes to "contaminating adults with positive relationships with children".

The LQSFA programme also provides an added value of connecting the civil society organizations with the relevant Ministries and institutions in the joint implementation and scaling-up of evidence-based drug use prevention interventions. The event further strengthened the UNODC-LCIF partnership and promoted evidence-based intervention as good practice. The represented Governments, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia expressed appreciation to UNODC and LCIF for implementing the programme in their countries and bringing such positive results and overall impact.

Additional resources:

Flyer of the event

Progress of UNODC-LCIF collaboration on piloting LQSFA_Presentation

Video on UNODC-LCIF results in implementing LQSFA in South Eastern Europe

Montenegro Port Control Unit seizes cocaine worth 2.5 million Euro

15 March 2019, Bar, Montenegro: Following the submission for transit of a customs declaration for one container with fresh red onions, the officers of the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Port of Bar in Montenegro, analyzed the risk indicators, such as the country of origin, type of goods etc. and decided to have the suspected contaminated container scanned by using mobile scanner. The scanner images marked a suspicious area in part of the mechanical compartment and after a detailed examination, the officers of the PCU discovered concealed cocaine. The cocaine was packed in 27 packages weighting 31.55 kg with market value of 2,500,000 Euro.

This is the forth case of cocaine seizure by the PCU at the Port of Bar.

The PCU was established within the framework of the Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe and is currently financially supported by the Government of Luxembourg. 

Delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina on a study visit to France

12-15 March 2019, Paris, France:  UNODC, in cooperation with the French law enforcement authorities and the French Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a two-day practical study visit for a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The study visit aimed at reinforcing the operational exchange of information and collaboration between the French and Bosnian law enforcement institutions on money laundering and terrorist financing, drugs and arms trafficking, corruption and tax fraud, crypto-currencies, and the application of a multidisciplinary approach and systematic parallel financial investigations at the outset of serious and organized crime investigations and other criminal and money laundering cases.

The delegation comprised of ten officials/experts from the Police, Prosecution and Financial Intelligence Unit from all levels of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had, during the visit, 13 presentations on the practical aspects of work from four law enforcement institutions in France, namely the French Gendarmerie Criminal Investigations Directorate; French Financial Intelligence Unit (TRACFIN); Central Office for the Fight against Serious Financial Crime (OCRGDF); and the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offences (OCLCIFF).

The visit allowed for the Bosnian delegation to learn the best practices in financial investigations in France, and to study various money laundering, financial crimes, organized crime and tax fraud schemes and terrorist financing matters. The content of the visit was praised several times by the delegation as it addressed its specific needs and was in line with the project objectives. The Director of the Special State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina also had the chance to hand over the SIPA credentials to his counterpart from the French Gendarmerie. 

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

UNODC supports Albania in addressing threats related to cryptocurrencies

5-6 March 2019, Tirana, Albania: UNODC organized a workshop on cryptocurrencies investigations and supervision aimed at building capacity of the Albania Financial Intelligence Unit, law enforcement agencies and financial supervisors in countering money laundering and terrorism financing risks linked to cryptocurrencies.

The training, which brought together 24 participants, alternated theory sessions with practical exercises and introduced a variety of topics, including the main concepts in cryptocurrencies, blockchain explorer tools and darknet; mixing services of cryptocurrencies; typical patterns in cryptocurrency transactions; and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), frauds and scams with crypto-assets. The practical exercises allowed for the group to get hands-on experience and extensive knowledge related to the creation of crypto-wallets and real-life transfers, the size of the market, money laundering, finding cryptocurrency service providers, basic information on bitcoin addresses and the Darknet marketplace, risk assessment and tracing bitcoins, as well as checking the plausibility of a crypto-asset declaration.

The discussions focused on the international cooperation for cryptocurrencies' investigations, the principles of cryptocurrency regulation and supervision, and the keys to successful cryptocurrency investigations, during which the participants shared best practices in cryptocurrency seizures and confiscation. The training concluded with a hand-over ceremony of certificates attesting the successful completion of the course.

The workshop was conducted in the framework of the UNODC anti-money laundering work for Albania funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

UNODC participates in the Regional Steering Group Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

5 March 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) took part in the annual meeting of the Regional Steering Group on SALW, organized by the United Nations Development Programme within its regional project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)". The meeting was attended by 67 stakeholders, including representatives from the National Commissions on SALW from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Serbia as well as international organizations and NGOs, including OSCE, NATO, RACVIAC and HALO Trust.

UNODC GFP presented the results of its work in 2018 and the main priorities for 2019 and 2020, which will focus on supporting the region in meeting their objectives established under the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition in the Western Balkans. UNODC GFP also highlighted its work practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase the knowledge and skills of officials on detecting firearms at land border crossings, regional activities with prosecutors and the on-going review of the national criminal laws.

The event contributed to the further coordination of efforts in countering firearms trafficking in South Eastern Europe.

Air Cargo Control Unit under establishment in Albania

27 February - 8 March  2019, Tirana, Albania: Tirana International Airport hosted the first basic training on Air Cargo Control within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The training brought together thirteen customs and border control officers and civil aviation representatives as part of the training conducted by UNODC and WCO trainers, with the aim of supporting the establishment of a specialized Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at this Airport.

The training introduced different topics mainly focusing on interdiction techniques and risk indicators that can be used at airports to identify and intercept illicit shipments including narcotics.

The training activity was welcomed by the Head of the Airport Customs House and the Chief of the Airport Police Commissariat who emphasized the importance of the Air Cargo Programme for Albania. The counterparts expressed their hope that this new initiative would follow the good example of the Container Control Programme's existing operations at Durres Port.

One session of the two-week training was also attended by the Ambassador of France in Albania. In her address, the Ambassador highlighted the need for an enhanced collaboration and exchange of information between Customs, Aviation and other agencies in order to facilitate trade more effectively and develop collective action to meet the emerging challenges in the air cargo and mail supply chain.

The theoretical part of the training was followed by three practical working days spent at the cargo terminal and the apron. Many practical issues were analyzed together in order to demonstrate that further strengthening of the inter-agency cooperation would help processing the goods in the supply chain faster, safer and more efficiently.

Currently, Tirana Air Cargo Unit is the only one established in South Eastern Europe within the framework of the CCP and is funded by the Government of France.

OSCE and UNODC build capacity of Albania on countering terrorist financing

27 February-1 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: A three-day train-the-trainer course for Albanian participants on countering terrorist financing was organized by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania, and UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering (UNODC/GPML).  

The participants of the course will go on to deliver training courses for local government officials upon their return to Albania, together with the OSCE and UNODC international experts.

The course, which took place in the premises of the OSCE Secretariat, was led by international experts and tailored to the Albanian context. It covered national, regional and transnational threats, sources of information, money flows, tackling financial intelligence, and strategic analysis. More than half of the course consisted of practical exercises, often based on localized scenarios.

The aim of the course was to assist Albania in countering terrorist financing, in line with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, standards of the Financial Action Task Force and OSCE commitments.

The participants deepened their understanding of how improving inter-agency co-operation can help to identify and disrupt terrorist financial networks and how specific instruments and techniques can significantly improve efforts to counter terrorist financing. 

3rd Board Meeting of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) Initiative

26 February 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: Under the auspices of the Brdo Process framework chaired by the Ministry of Interior of Slovenia, the Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia hosted the 3 rd IISG Board meeting.

The event was chaired by the Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission and brought together ministers of interior and security of the IISG countries, Brdo Process Members, and high representatives of the IISG partners, including EU Member States, EU institutions and agencies, the UN and members of the international community.

The ministers discussed current developments in the IISG process and concrete results so far achieved in the three IISG Pillars - the Western Balkan initiatives on Counter Terrorism, Counter Serious Crime and Border Security (WBCTi, WBCSCi, and WBBSi), as presented by the Lead Partners. The Minister of Interior of Slovenia (Co-Lead Partner in WBCTi) presented the achievements of 2018, including the work of the operational Counter-Terrorism Initiative (CTI) Network and the newly established Regional Network of Preventing/Combatting Violent Extremism (P-CVE) National Coordinators (RNNC) established by the EU and the IISG Support Group in mid-2017.

The results of the second pillar (WBCSCi) were presented by the Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat, Co-Lead Partner, acknowledging the achievements of the IPAII 2017 Multi-Country Action "Support to Integrative Internal Security Governance" leaders (GIZ, CILC, UNODC, CEPOL, EUROPOL and the Italian Ministry of Interior). The participants were also familiarised with the IISG ongoing efforts to align the EU-WB engagement in the area of the EU Policy Cycle in the Fight Against Serious Crime, and the ideas of further aligning regional cooperation structures under WBCSCi.

The Director of DCAF Ljubljana, Co-Lead Partner in the third pillar (WBBSi), presented the results of the common operations implemented in 2018, supported by IPAII 2017, and presented the "IISG Response Plan 2018-2019" as a good example of an IISG solution that can provide an aligned, rational and efficient operational response to the occurring concrete security challenges in the region. The Response Plan provides concrete and feasible actions, aligned via the IISG, which will have a direct and tangible impact on the situation on the ground in the field of smuggling of migrants, based on the real needs of the IISG beneficiaries and the key donors/IISG Partners' ability to respond to those needs.

The participants acknowledged the recommendations and findings of the Formative In-Depth Evaluation: Western Balkans Counter-Serious Crime Initiative (WBCSCi) in the context of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) mechanism including the European Union action "Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II/2017) produced by the UNODC Independent Evaluation Section, which took place during 2018. The main findings and recommendations, which were presented, enabled discussions among the participants on the IISG future outlook, and the upcoming interim reflection phase, which is to be launched by the European Commission.

In the concluding part of the meeting, the beneficiaries endorsed the IISG Terms of Reference Interim Amendment, reaffirming the appointments of the IISG Board Chair and the new Head of IISG Support Group. During the interim reflection period, a new IISG Terms of Reference amendment will be prepared together with the beneficiaries, which will ensure further improvements of the IISG supporting structures, in line with our principles of regional ownership and co-ownership of the IISG-wide joint partnership.

For more information:

https://wb-iisg.com/blog/2019/03/08/brdo-process-ministerial-meeting-3rd-iisg-board-meeting-hosted-by-minister-spasovski-reaffirms-strong-support-to-iisg/

UNODC initiates the third series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

12-15 February 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of the UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, UNODC organized the first training delivered at a 50% rate by the UNODC certified national trainers. The training, which launches the third phase of the Training-of-Trainers programme of this project, is conducted in each Western Balkan jurisdiction, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, and will provide the certified national trainers with the first experience in delivering such trainings on financial investigations to their peers. The training curriculum was developed by the UNODC certified national trainers and was fully accustomed to the national context.

The training in Skopje brought together 24 participants, who represented law enforcement institutions, the Ministry of Interior, Financial Intelligence Units, Customs authorities and the Prosecutor's Office and covered such topics as the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

This training further contributes to the development of the national curricula on financial investigations in each Western Balkan jurisdiction with the assistance of UNODC and consolidates the knowledge and expertise of the national trainers ensuring the sustainability of the project.

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

UNODC facilitated a study visit of representatives of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration

12-14 February 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe organized a study tour of the representatives of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration. The visit was aimed to familiarize the Uzbek counterparts with the work of the Command Center in order to apply good practices in establishing a similar Center for Border Monitoring and Interagency Collaboration under the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  

During the visit, the Serbian colleagues briefed the Uzbek counterparts on the liaison role of the Command Center to coordinate border security and management activities of all state agencies. The work of the Center also focuses on collection, analysis, maintenance and dissemination of information on detecting and preventing illegal activities.

The Uzbek counterparts familiarized themselves with the experiences of their Serbian colleagues, including first-hand requirements and procedures for setting up and proper maintenance of the Center and were interested in getting assistance with the development of requirements and specifications for hardware and software and staffing of the Center.

A Senior Officer of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan highlighted the impressive work being carried out in the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration emphasizing its coordination role in monitoring the situation both at the borders and in the country to better identify, asses and manage emerging threats to economic security and public safety.

The Serbian experts expressed very positive views with regard to the preliminary terms of reference, which had been developed by the Uzbek colleagues for establishing a Center with similar functions in Uzbekistan.

The study tour had resulted in further determining the right direction for the establishment of the Center for Monitoring and Interaction under the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, namely with regard to the creation of a mechanism for the Center operations and understanding the technical requirements for equipping and staff selection process.

The visit was implemented by support of UNODC Programme Office in Serbia and within the framework of the UNODC regional initiative «Countering the trafficking of Afghan opiates via the northern route by enhancing the capacity of key border crossing points (BCPs) and through the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs)» of Sub-program 1 on Countering Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Preventing Terrorism of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019, and funded by the Government of Japan.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/centralasia 

UNODC supports Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 in addressing corruption

12-14 February 2019, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC supported UNDP - Pristina in performing a gap analysis of the Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 existing legislative framework and capacities to prevent and fight corruption in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

In preparation of the analysis, local institutions, inter alia the Ministry of Justice, the Anti-Corruption Agency, Prosecution, Police and Customs were invited to fill in self-assessment questionnaires that were provided to the experts in advance.

Relevant local institutions engaged in discussions with the UNODC and UNDP expert team focusing on specific aspects of the implementation of anti-corruption legislation, good practices and possible challenges.

A follow-up round of meetings will take place later this year followed by an outcome report with recommendations to improve the existing legislation.

Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 is not a party to the UNCAC in view of its status and the gap analysis is carried out upon the request of the Kosovo government in line with the UN rules and regulations.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

UNODC participates in the consultations on the EU Enlargement Package

12 February 2019, Brussels, Belgium: UNODC took part in the EU Enlargement consultations, organized by the European Commission in the framework of Neighbourghood and Enlargement Negotiations on the topics of rule of law, justice, corruption, organized crime, migration and other topics with specific focus on the Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaires. These oral consultations, along with the written contributions of the active international partners in the region, including UNODC, will feed into the annual reports prepared by the Commission for each of the Western Balkan jurisdictions and Turkey.

UNODC has pointed out, among other aspects, the active cooperation with the counterparts in the region in areas of countering illicit trafficking, including drug trafficking (and drug demand reduction), trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, firearms control, corruption, terrorism, money laundering and illicit financial flows, organized crime, as well as other related fields.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/brussels/news.html

UNODC and TADOC bulid capacity of South Eastern Europe in Crime Intelligence Analysis

5-8 February 2019, Ankara, Turkey: Building on the success of the previous four-day training on "Crime Intelligence Analysis" which took place in Ankara in December 2018, UNODC in partnership with the Turkish International Academy on against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) conducted a second session of this training for the new group of law enforcement practitioners from South Eastern Europe. The recurrence of the session was due to its significant benefit to the participants and the high demand from the region. This training is part of the long-standing partnership between UNODC and the Government of Turkey in the Balkans and was undertaken at TADOC with the Turkish financial support.

In total, 18 experts from law enforcement institutions in South Eastern Europe, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, took part in this training. In the course of the training, the participants had the opportunity to learn on a number of topics, including different types and the importance of analysis, database management, effective use of integrated data sources, risk analysis, and practice via real case studies on financial and organized crime. This advanced training was specifically tailored for representatives of law enforcement agencies who had previous exposure and experience in criminal data intelligence analysis to achieve optimal results in internalizing the information.

Given the pertinence in addressing today's threats related to financial and organized crime, this training is highly praised by the participants. According to the feedback collected at the conclusion of this event, this training was extremely beneficial in that it equipped the participants with relevant knowledge and skills at both operational and strategic levels, as well as reinforced and promoted regional cooperation.

The trainings at TADOC with partnership of UNODC contribute to enhancing the regional response in addressing drugs and crime in the Balkans in an effective manner and will continue throughout the year.

UNODC supports Civil Society in Preventing Corruption in South Eastern Europe

30 January-2 February 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) organized a follow-up meeting to the multi-stakeholder workshops on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism to work on an outcome document aimed at providing a shared vision for all stakeholders in effectively addressing corruption in South Eastern Europe.

The meeting brought together 10 civil society representatives and six private sector actors from the region, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 as well as other partners from the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, the UNCAC Coalition, which is a global network of over 350 civil society organizations across the world committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring of the UNCAC and the Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) Network.

The participants collaborated on the joint outcome statement, which spells out concrete and practical steps towards a strengthened cooperation in the areas of training and knowledge, implementation of UNCAC and its review mechanism and collective action, and which will be endorsed by all contributors.

This event falls in the follow up phase of two projects implemented by the CST in the region - the "Southeast Europe Regional Programme on Strengthening the Capacity of Anti-corruption Authorities and Civil Society to Combat Corruption and Contribute to the UNCAC Review Process", funded by the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and the project on "Enhancing the Capacity of Civil Society on Anti-Corruption and Good Governance in the Western Balkans", funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), both of which place emphasis on multi-stakeholder initiatives in the fight against corruption.

For further information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/civil-society-and-private-sector-agree-on-principles-for-partnership-on-addressing-corruption-in-see.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/CN0-anti-corruption-activities.html

Results of UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to Member States in Vienna

23 January 2019, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the second formal meeting of the standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC, key aspects of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe in 2018 were presented to Member States.

This meeting, which was addressed by the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, provided a platform for a discussion on strategic matters, including strengthening the UNODC financial situation and governance, the UN reform and its implications for UNODC, mainstreaming a gender perspective into the practices, policies and programmes of UNODC, as well as the geographical representation and gender balance in the composition of its staff.

UNODC presented a detailed overview of achievements in various areas of work under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, highlighting the stable implementation and growth.

In this regard, UNODC pointed out the successful work under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), including an impressive seizure of over 650kg of cocaine with the market value of over €180 million, the broadening of inter-regional exchanges and the launch of the CCP Air Cargo in Albania.

In the area of arms control, UNODC referred to its continued involvement in the policy making in the region, including in the context of the led by Germany and France Regional Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms in the Western Balkans.

It was pointed out that in the area of countering trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM), the UNODC work in 2018 focused on the development of national SOM curricula and capacity building activities on combating TIP for forced criminality and TIP facilitated through the abuse of internet-based technologies.

The UNODC research initiative - the project "Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans" - was also mentioned as good practices, including in the context of completion in 2018 of the database and both quantitative and qualitative data collections.

Another important aspect of UNODC work in South Eastern Europe, namely the efforts against illicit financial flows, was highlighted as a flagship field for engagement. Here, the UNODC-CEPOL regional project on financial investigations was mentioned, including the numerous capacity building activities that took place in 2018. Furthermore, cooperation with the Government of Russia, as well as the Government of Turkey was specifically referred to, including the trainings at the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime.

UNODC referred to its anti-corruption work, in particular in the context of the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the work with civil society and the academia.

The UNODC activities to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorism fighters were also presented.

Referring to the work on prevention and treatment of drug use in South Eastern Europe, UNODC presented multiple successful results in 2018, which are part of the long-term active work of the Office in the region. Within the UNODC's partnership with the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme alone, over 8,500 children were reached to date.

Details of the work in each of the above and other areas are available on this webpage.

In 2019, UNODC will continue its efforts under the current Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe to further consolidate on the achieved results and developed partnerships, and will also develop the new 2020-2023 Regional Programme, for which UNODC has received encouragement from the Governments in the region.

National capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering terrorism supported by UNODC

22-23 January 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: According to the Europol's latest report on the terrorist threat in the European Union TESAT 2018, one of the main threats to the jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe (SEE) is the return home of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs). To help counter this threat in Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNODC organized the second national workshop on challenges related to the return and relocation of FTFs aimed to enhance the national capacities in detecting and intercepting returning FTFs, in particular at borders, as well as improve regional cooperation on this matter.

The event brought together 26 representatives from the national authorities addressing terrorism, including the Ministries of Security, Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs, the Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA), the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), as well as the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNODC.

During the event, upon the request of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, experts from Turkey and France provided an overview of their experiences, challenges and lessons learned related to the detection and interception of FTFs. Regional organizations, including SEE, RACVIAC, SELEC, and INTERPOL provided summaries of their respective engagements in the region and shared their views on improving international and regional cooperation in countering the FTF threat. Other topics addressed during the workshop included the international and national legal framework applicable to the FTF phenomenon, as well as the analysis of real-life cases of returning FTFs.

The workshop was delivered under the UNODC "Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe", funded by the European Union.

Under the project, four national workshops for the beneficiary jurisdictions are scheduled to take place annually until 2020. The first national workshop for Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in Sarajevo, in October 2017, and focused on the normative and administrative challenges related to the FTF threat.

UNODC presents results of work in South Eastern Europe at the Lions Quest Europa meeting

17-19 January 2019, Warsaw, Poland: Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) organized an annual Lions Quest Europa (LQE) meeting with Lions Club Country Directors, Lions Quest trainers from Europe and international partners to discuss the strategic expansion objectives and the results of the programme implementation.

Considering the successful cooperation with the LCIF in the implementation of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in South Eastern Europe and the programme's expansion now to Guatemala, El Salvador and Côte d'Ivoire, UNODC presented the results of the programme's evaluation related to the effectiveness of the delivered interventions on prevention of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use.

The presented positive findings of the evaluation portrayed statistically significant results in terms of substance use and intentions to use substances among the groups of students who participated in the programme during a one-year implementation cycle.

The results were considered as very important and useful as a scientific argument for further dissemination of the programme globally and for additional understanding of the value of substance use prevention and of the social emotional learning interventions.

Additionally, the current expansion of the programme cycle in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with slightly longer implementation modality was presented to the audience as of interest for further evaluation on the effectiveness of the programme. Following the hypothesis that longer implementation modality might attain greater project results, the further evaluation and comparative analysis among various implementation modalities will scientifically demonstrate the comparative advantages, thus availing evidence-based facts for additional consideration of professionals involved in direct implementation and promotion of the programme.

The LQE meeting was attended by 85 participants, 32 Country Directors and coordinators, 50 Lions Quest trainers and 3 international guests and programme partners. The next LQE meeting is scheduled for January 2020 in Kiev, Ukraine.

OSCE and UNODC train Albanian officials to disrupt terrorist financing

18-19 December 2018, Vienna, Austria: A two-day train-the-trainer course aimed at strengthening the capacity of Albania to disrupt the financing of terrorist networks was organized by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department and the UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering (UNODC/GPML), in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania. Attended by seven senior Albanian experts and practitioners, the course was led by OSCE and UNODC experts.

This course was the first of a series of progressively advanced training courses on countering the financing of terrorism for officials of the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering, the Counterterrorism Directorate of the State Police, the Counter Intelligence Analytical Directorate and the Training Centre of the State Intelligence Service (SHISH) as well as from the Prosecutor's Office for Serious Crimes.

The participants were acquainted with complex analytical and operational planning methods through a training process focused on localized scenarios based on real-life cases. They learned how inter-agency co-operation can contribute to disrupting terrorist financial networks and how to strengthen their skills in the use of instruments and techniques for countering terrorist financing.  

The seven participants in the course will deliver training courses for local government officials upon their return to Albania, together with OSCE and UNODC/GPML international experts.

The OSCE-UNODC train-the-trainer course will be followed by more train-the-trainer and training seminars for Albanian officials in 2019.

Third Meeting of the National Project Focal Points on the Implementation of the joint UNODC/CEPOL project on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe successfully concludes

18 December 2018, Budapest, Hungary: The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) in close partnership with UNODC organized the "Third Technical Meeting of the National Project Focal Points on the Implementation of the joint UNODC/CEPOL project on Capacity Building of  South Eastern Europe on financial investigations" at the CEPOL premises.

This event coincided with the end of the first implementation period of the above mentioned joint project and provided an opportunity to take stock of accomplishments of the past year and discuss the way forward for 2019. UNODC and CEPOL counterparts attended the meeting as well as 12 (six for each organization) national focal points from the six Western Balkan jurisdictions.

Each organization presented 2018 results under their component respectively in each Western Balkan jurisdiction and introduced the 2019 work plan for the participant's feedback and endorsement. The discussions also included the development of national curricula on financial investigations in each Western Balkan jurisdiction as well as an overview of the visibility actions by UNODC and CEPOL.

This important event contributed to a better coordination of efforts on the ground and promoted inter-agency cooperation. This project is funded by the EU and is an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative.

UNODC and OSCE hold a regional workshop for high-level policymakers on preventing youth crime and violence

17 December 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: In line with the global efforts to prevent crime and violence committed by young people reiterated in the Doha Declaration, a workshop for around 30 high-level policymakers from South Eastern Europe was jointly organized by UNODC and OSCE.

This event brought together policymakers from the Ministries of Education, Sports and Youth, Health and Internal Affairs of Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, who during discussions exchanged experiences and good practices on youth crime and violence prevention through comprehensive programmes, education and sports as well as challenges and future plans.

During the workshop, Serbia's Assistant Minister of Education highlighted the importance of co-operation on the national, regional and global levels, as well as the role of relevant actors, including civil society organizations, in designing and implementing youth crime prevention activities.

UNODC and OSCE provided a comprehensive overview of respectively developed tools in the areas of youth crime, violence and drug prevention complementing states' efforts in these fields and focusing on the importance of education.

This important event contributes to strengthening the partnership between UNODC and OSCE and allows to further explore avenues for mutual cooperation in promoting crime prevention through a co-ordinated approach in South Eastern Europe.

In the framework of the Doha Declaration, UNODC runs a global initiative that builds on the power of sports as a tool for developing life skills and strengthening the resilience of at-risk youth. OSCE engages and promotes youth activities throughout its politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions of security.

UNODC meets with the European Commission to discuss future cooperation in the Western Balkans

13-14 December 2018, Brussels, Belgium: In line with the ongoing cooperation between UNODC and the European Commission, counterparts from both organizations participated in a series of meetings aimed at further strengthening the current partnership in the Western Balkans.

UNODC is actively engaged in providing support to the Governments of South Eastern Europe in their efforts against drugs and crime through the Regional Programme for South Eastern for the period 2016-2019. A number of activities and projects were undertaken under this programme, including the ongoing project on Building Regional Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Capacity of South Eastern Europe, with the aim of pursuing joint efforts and providing an effective response to drugs and crime and related issues in the region.

The Representative for South Eastern Europe and Chief of UNODC Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia met with European counterparts to discuss priority areas for future collaboration in the Western Balkans with special emphasis on the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe 2020-2023.

This important event further contributes to building a sustainable strategic partnership between UNODC and the European Commission and provides a framework for future collaboration in the Western Balkans.

UNODC and TADOC build capacity of South Eastern Europe in crime intelligence analysis

10-14 December 2018, Ankara, Turkey: Within the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC, in partnership with the Turkish International Academy on Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC), organized a four-day training on "Criminal Data Intelligence and Analysis". The training, which took place at the TADOC premises in Ankara, is in line with the long-standing partnership between UNODC and the Government of Turkey focusing on the Western Balkans.

In total, 19 experts from the law enforcement institutions, Financial Intelligence Units and Ministries of Interior of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 took part in this training, which was financially supported by the Government of Turkey. In the course of the training, the participants had the opportunity develop their knowledge on a number of topics including analysis types, database management, effective use of integrated data sources, risk analysis, share experience referencing real case studies on financial and organized crime. This advanced training was specifically tailored for representatives of law enforcement agencies who had previous exposure and experience in criminal data intelligence analysis.

According to the feedback collected from all participants at the conclusion of this event, this training was extremely beneficial in that it equipped the participants with relevant knowledge and skills at both operational and strategic levels as well as reinforced and promoted regional cooperation. These trainings contribute to enhancing the regional response in addressing drugs and crime in an effective manner, and the provision of such trainings via the partnership with TADOC will continue in 2019.

UNODC delivered a training on countering diversion of arms exports and detection of firearms trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

11-13 December 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC delivered a training for first line responders from the Customs Administration on countering diversion and detection of firearms trafficking at land border crossing points.

The training had four main components: risk assessment, developing local risk indicators, profiling and selection of travellers and vehicles; practical exercises for enhancing skills to identify concealments in vehicles, identification of main points of diversion of firearms from legal to the grey and subsequently to the black market and the final part of the training dealt with the criminal aspects of firearms trafficking, including the procedures to be followed upon detection of firearms trafficking

Investigators and prosecutors from the Prosecutor's Office delivered tabletop exercises and provided case studies on securing evidence material and respecting the rights of the detained suspects in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The participants gained knowledge on the procedures for import, transit and export of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition, and on applying interdiction techniques for preventing diversion.

UNODC participates in a Treptower group meeting to discuss national engagements in the Western Balkans

10-11 December 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC took part in a round table discussion on national engagements in the Western Balkans organized by the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

The meeting brought together representatives from the law enforcement authorities based in the region, in particular the police, from the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. A representative of the European Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) also attended.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide an overview of projects and activities currently implemented in the region with the idea of improving coordination of efforts and promoting cooperation.

UNODC provided a summary of its engagements in the region and contributed to the discussions on supporting South Eastern Europe in their efforts against drugs and crime. The next Treptower group meeting is planned to take place next year in Berlin, Germany.

UNODC participates in a workshop on the inclusion of stakeholders in the review process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

3-5 December 2018, Struga, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) and UNODC organized a multi-stakeholder workshop on the inclusion of the stakeholders in the review process of the UNCAC, which brought together representatives from the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Ministry of Justice and the Economic Chamber.

The discussions focused on the UNCAC implementation and review mechanism relative to Chapters 2 and 5, the involvement of private sector in the fight against corruption, good practices and lessons learned and the second review cycle of the UNCAC. The workshop concluded with group exercises aimed at exchanging on specific topics relative to the implementation of the UNCAC review mechanism in view of outlining challenges and ways to overcome them.

During the workshop, the UNODC expert delivered a presentation providing an overall understanding of the key concept of UNCAC, and actively participated in discussions. This workshop further contributes to the dialogue between relevant stakeholders in the effective implementation of the UNCAC.

UNODC delivered a pilot training for prosecutors from the Western Balkans and Ukraine on identification and tracing of firearms

2-5 December 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC organized a pilot training on identification and tracing of firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition for prosecutors from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia,  and Ukraine in cooperation with the Forensic Science Service (FSS) of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Austria and EUROPOL.

The specific objectives of the event were to enhance the knowledge on conducting investigations and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases through gaining understanding on how firearms identification and tracing can contribute towards solving cases with transnational nature; to share good practices and lessons learned on using special investigative techniques and joint investigation teams; and to identify challenges in the existing criminal procedure law in securing admissible evidence for prosecuting firearms trafficking cases. 

A total of 15 prosecutors with experience in investigating organized crime cases took part in this capacity building event and provided feedback for rolling-out the training at national level within the framework of supporting the implementation of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition in the Western Balkans. 

The training was delivered by experts from UNODC, the Forensic Science Service of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Austria and EUROPOL.

This event contributes towards more effective criminal justice response against firearms trafficking and organized crime in the Western Balkans and Ukraine and facilitates the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Firearms Protocol.

The funding for the event was provided through the generous contribution of the Government of Germany and the in-kind support of the Government of Austria.

UNODC international drug demand reduction practices and programme results in South Eastern Europe presented at a National Conference on drug policies in Ukraine

28-30 November 2018, Kiev, Ukraine: UNODC and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine organized a National Conference on drug policies to promote dialogue and exchange experiences among national professionals and stakeholders on evidence-based approaches related to drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and related strategic policies. The national conference brought together representatives from the line Ministries, local community representatives, relevant public health and social service support institutions, as well as the drug control and law enforcement agencies.

Presentations and discussions on relevant international policies, national drug strategies and public health concerns, drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and appropriate actions, were delivered by the lead local and international experts enabling the productive discussion among participants.

The conference supported reviewing of the current implementation of current national drug strategy resulting in identification of underperformed  activities as well as recognition of best practices thus allowing precise formulation of tailor made action plans to target further national priorities in terms of effective response to challenging situation with substance use.

With regard to the importance of the topic of the  Conference many international and local partners such as UN agencies (UNAIDS, WHO, UNDP), the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the EU Action Against Drugs and Organized Crime programme (EU-ACT), the National Police of Ukraine, All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH, Alliance for Public Health, International Renaissance Foundation, gladly supported the organization of the event and actively contributed to the achieving of the successful outcome of the conference.

The results of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe as well as International Standards for the treatment of substance use disorders and drug use prevention were presented at the conference as best practices.

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

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

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

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

For more information:

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC and CEPOL signed a Working Arrangement today, bringing the current collaboration to a new level of mutual support and trust and contributing to strengthening capacities of the member states including on the law enforcement cooperation.

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

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

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

For more information:

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

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

Albania: identifying foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) at borders

20-21 November 2018, Shkodër, Albania: South Eastern Europe remains exposed to the threat of returning and relocating FTFs. In response to this challenge, UNODC and OSCE-Albania held the second national workshop on challenges related to returning FTFs, which aimed to enhance national capacities in identifying FTFs at borders in compliance with international human rights standards.

The event was attended by the Albanian national coordinator for countering violent extremism (CVE), the head of the Department for Migration from the Albanian State Police, the Prefect of Shkodër, the representatives from the Prosecution Office, border and migration agencies, as well as the United States Department of Justice.

The national CVE coordinators from Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shared their experiences related to the detection of FTFs at border crossing points. Other topics addressed during the workshop included an update on the international legal framework applicable to the FTF phenomenon, the implementation of the advance passenger information system, as well as the analysis and tools to improve procedures for front-line border police officers in profiling, identifying and pre-screening of potential FTFs.

The workshop was delivered under the UNODC initiative on "Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe", and co-financed by the European Union, under which UNODC contribution was funded.

Within the project, four national workshops for the beneficiary jurisdictions are scheduled to take place annually until 2020. The first national workshop for Albania was held in Tirana in November 2017 and focused on the normative and administrative challenges related to the FTF threat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

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

https://twitter.com/ukinmontenegro

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

Start of consultations on the development of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023)

13 November 2018, Vienna, Austria: UNODC conducted a consultative meeting with the Permanent Missions of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia as partner country to secure the support of the roadmap for the development of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023).

The representatives of the Governments welcomed the continuation of the UNODC's work in the region and agreed with the proposed way forward for the formulation of the new RP, which will include the customary for UNODC-SEE approach of involving the Governments in the drafting process. It was decided to hold three regional expert group meetings devoted to the pillars of the RP (law enforcement/border security; organized crime/illicit financial flows; drug demand reduction) in Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. In 2015, similar meetings were held in the three other countries of the region.

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

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

The workshop aimed to provide an overview of the existing policies, programmes, stakeholders and challenges in connection with the role of civil society organizations in the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of returning FTFs and members of their families, especially children, who followed them to and from war zones. The Government officials, international organizations, civil society representatives, academia, media and other partners took part in the event.

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

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

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

Port Control Units from South Eastern Europe on an inter-regional study visit

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

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

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

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

Annual regional discussion held on UNODC - Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme

8-9 November 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: The Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia and UNODC organized a regional workshop on the LQSFA programme implementation with national professionals and Lions Club representatives from South Eastern Europe (SEE) to discuss the programme results and implementation methodology in SEE, as well as potential expansion strategies. The participants, who represented national authorities from the region and local Lions Clubs, held active discussions and exchanged on best practices related to the programme implementation.

The LQSFA programme was launched in SEE in 2014 in Serbia and has expanded to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. Considering the cultural and technical specificities during the programme implementation, mostly in view of the structure of the national educational system and its readiness to integrate and sustain programme implementation, the programme was extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina with a suggested longer implementation modality of two years. Following the expansion strategy, the initially involved countries in the programme pilot including the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continued implementing the programme over a two-year period in 10 additional elementary schools per country. The LQSFA programme will be offered to Croatia following the suggested innovative implementation modality.

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

To evaluate the results of the programme, UNODC conducted a scientific analysis of the collected pre-/post-test data sets, which showed positive outcomes on substance use and the intention to use substances (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) in the following 3 months. The evidence-based results confirm the effeciency of the implemented programme on students who took part in the programme.

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

More resources available at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC supports countering trafficking in persons facilitated through abuse of internet-based technologies

31 October - 2 November 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria: In collaboration with the Governments of France and Bulgaria, UNODC held a regional workshop on "Improving capacities in addressing trafficking in persons (TIP) facilitated through abuse of internet-based technologies in South Eastern Europe (SEE)".

The misuse of digital technologies by organized criminal groups with the purpose of facilitating the process of recruitment and payment via the use of cryptocurrencies poses a serious risk and threat for potential victims of TIP. With this in mind, the connection between cybercrime and organized crime is placed at the forefront of the national, regional and international agendas aimed at effectively countering TIP.

The workshop gathered criminal justice practitioners of origin, transit and destination jurisdictions from the Western Balkans, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania; representatives of social media and digital platforms; OSCE, Interpol, Europol and SELEC. The workshop allowed the sharing of various perspectives around the issue of TIP through the lens of abuse of internet-based technologies.

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

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

Operational capacities of the Bosnian Port Control Unit supported

29 October - 2 November 2018, Land-border crossing point Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Container Control Programme (CCP) carried out its 6th mentorship visit to the PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an element of the advanced level support to PCUs and aims to help strengthen already existing operational capacities, skills and knowledge of the PCU staff. This contributes to minimization of risks of the exploitation of maritime containers for all forms of illegal activities.

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

In September 2018, the Bijača PCU staff attended a UNODC-WCO regional training on environmental crimes, and the mentorship visit was used to further extend the knowledge of officers performing regular risk analyses of the goods imported to the country as a follow up to this activity. As part of the mentorship visit, the PCU staff visited the Customs Terminal in Mostar and observed the use of available equipment for the control of gases in accordance with the Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air. The mentorship visit also included review of other challenges the PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina encounters in performing its regular activities.

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

UNODC builds capacity of Macedonian teachers through the life skill based programme reaching over 100 trained teachers

29-31 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The Ministry of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and UNODC successfully expanded the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the inclusion of 10 additional elementary schools and the organization of a training for educators.

20 educators received training on the programme material and teaching skills to implement the LQSFA programme with students in elementary schools from November 2018 to June 2020. The participants from Skopje, Veles, Kumanovo and Bitola have successfully completed the training workshops increasing the current number of trained teachers in the country to 104.

The LQSFA programme is an evidence-based intervention, developed by the LCIF and based on the methodological approach to develop social and emotional competences of students with the purpose of establishing good practices to prevent and delay the onset of drug use.

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

Meeting of the Southern Eastern European Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (SEE ACAD)

26-28 October 2018, Ljubljana, Slovenia: 3rd SEE ACAD meeting was held with the support of UNODC and the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC) Geneva.

UNODC launched the ACAD Initiative in 2011. ACAD's goal is to produce comprehensive anti-corruption academic support tools to be used by universities and academic institutions, in their existing programmes, such as the Model Academic Course on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which in 15 units covers global corruption, good governance and the Convention itself. The participants also discussed the educational materials developed by UNODC under the Education for Justice initiative, particularly the University Modules on Integrity and Ethics and the forthcoming University Modules on Anti-Corruption.

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

The meeting in Ljubljana was the 3rd one for South Eastern Europe, following the previous event in November 2016 in Tirana, Albania, and the meeting in May 2015 in Doha, Qatar, where South Eastern European representatives have participated for the first time.

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

25-27 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC and the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) have been implementing the LSQFA programme in South Eastern Europe (SEE) since 2014 including Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with encouraging results on the reduction of substance use and intentions to use substances (alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis) among the groups of students who participated in the programme.

As part of its collaborative agreement and expansion strategy, the LQSFA programme is reaching additional elementary schools in SEE with a new two-year implementation cycle for the purpose of collecting additional data on the effectiveness of the programme intervention.

The Lions Clubs Europa Forum is an annual event, which allows the LCIF representatives and the Lions Clubs members to discuss the outcomes of the humanitarian activities conducted globally.

During this year's event, which focused on Europe, UNODC presented the results of the LQSFA programme in SEE, which allowed the participants to understand its applicability and benefits, particularly for the primary beneficiaries. Furthermore, the challenges and best practices related to the implementation methodology were discussed with the purpose of further expansion and scaling-up of the programme in SEE and other regions.

UNODC certifies first group of national trainers on financial investigations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC participates in Coordination Meeting on Firearms Trafficking in the Western Balkans

18 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC took part in the last meeting of the local coordination groups on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The meeting is part of a process for developing national action plans for the implementation of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.

The Roadmap represents the consensus reached among all stakeholders in the region about the current challenges, the overall targets to be reached, and contains a timeline of actions to be taken. UNODC participates in this process through contributions towards the formulation of the national action plans and identification of support for the countries in the Western Balkans to strengthen their criminal justice response in countering trafficking in firearms.

UNODC visits Montenegro

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

One of the important meetings during the visit was held with the State Secretary of Internal Affairs, who pointed out that UNODC contributed to a better resolution of complex issues faced by the Montenegrin law enforcement agencies through the exchange of best practices, training and technical assistance, and highlighted the results achieved in the areas of container control, conducting financial investigations, combating money laundering, foreign terrorist fighters, trafficking in human beings, illicit arms and drugs. The State Secretary also expressed the readiness to pursue the Government's active engagement in the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe in its next phase (2020-2023), in line with the progress of reforms and the accession process, with particular attention to Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis.

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

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

For more information:

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

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

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

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

Franco-German initiative to address unregistered firearms in the Western Balkans

16 October 2018, Vienna, Austria: The side event on the Franco-German initiative on small arms and light weapons in the Western Balkans, organized on the side-lines of the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), discussed more than four million unregistered firearms circulating in the Western Balkans (WB), with the risk that illegal trafficking of these weapons fuels terrorism and violent crime in the region and beyond.

To accelerate action against this threat, WB authorities, in cooperation with the Governments of France, Germany and other partners, developed the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.

The Roadmap is aimed to reinforce the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, which supplements the UNTOC and is guided by the vision of the WB as a safer region and an exporter of security with seven goals and 14 key performance indicators to monitor progress.

At the event, Executive Director of UNODC Yury Fedotov, commented on the Roadmap and the sustainable approach to countering trafficking of firearms and noted that simply seizing illicit weapons is not sufficient, since this allows the trafficking networks to continue their criminal activities unabated.

He added, "if the international community is to effectively address the threats to security and development posed by illicit firearms trafficking, then law enforcement action must go further. We must seek to detect and disrupt flows, dismantle the responsible criminal groups and bring the kingpins to justice".

UNODC supports member States in implementing the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition under UNTOC, which offers a firm foundation for providing coherent criminal justice responses, while safeguarding the licit market.

For more information:

UNODC Global Firearms Programme: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/index.html

The Firearms protocol: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/the-firearms-protocol.html

Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024: http://www.seesac.org/f/docs/News-SALW/Roadmap-for-sustainable-solution.pdf

Programme and additional information about the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties to UNTOC: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CTOC/CTOC-COP-session9.html

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro/conference-of-the-parties.html

UNODC expands the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme in Montenegro

08-10 October 2018, Kotor, Montenegro: The Ministry of Education of Montenegro and UNODC expanded the LQSFA programme in Montenegro with the inclusion of 11 additional elementary schools and the organization of a training for 23 educators, including teachers and psychologists to learn on the programme implementation as well as relevant workshop techniques.

The LQSFA programme is an evidence-based intervention developed by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, based on a methodological approach to develop social and emotional competences of students with the purpose of establishing good practices to prevent and delay the onset of drug use.

The programme was launched in South Eastern Europe in 2014 and is now implemented in four countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, with over 130 elementary schools reaching more than 4,000 students. From 2014-2016 the programme was implemented in 17 Montenegrin elementary schools reaching 1,300 students.

Building on the positive results of the LQSFA programme on substance use and refusal skills during the pilot phase of the programme, the additional elementary schools from Kotor, Bijela, Bar, Tivat, Ulcinj, Budva, Herceg Novi and Prcanj are offered to possibility to extend the implementation period from one to two academic years for an enhanced impact, which will be systematically measured to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme.

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

Smuggled cigarettes seized at the Montenegrin Port of Bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies held in Pristina

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC and regional practitioners address trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality

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

The regional workshop gave an opportunity for the representatives of the countries of origin, transit and destination, including the EU, to exchange good practices in the legislative framework, discuss early identification guidelines, inter-institutional coordination, protection and assistance measures, the participation of victims in criminal proceedings, cross-border cooperation, and share experiences on the new trends in recruitment of human trafficking victims for the purpose of forced criminality. The focus was put on minors as victims, as well as on the protection of all TIP victims by avoiding secondary victimisation through victim-centered investigative and prosecution approaches.

This regional workshop is the first in the new cycle of three regional expert group meetings (REGM) in South Eastern Europe and focused on forced criminality to raise awareness on TiP for the purpose of forced criminality. The second and third REGMs will be focused respectively on investigation and prosecution of traffickers while protecting victims of TiP and enhancing cross-border cooperation in investigation and prosecution of TiP offenses for the purpose of forced criminality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC and OSCE support regional conference of Heads of Financial Intelligence

3-4 October, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC in cooperation with OSCE and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a two-day regional technical conference of the Heads of the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) from the following seven countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

The conference, also attended by the representatives of Moneyval, CEPOL and the Support Group of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), aimed at exchanging the information on the current money laundering and terrorist financing risks in the region, underlining current trends, challenges and proactive interventions and cooperation between the regional FIUs in addressing these risks. Policy responses to such challenges as virtual currencies, illegal migration in the region and foreign terrorist fighters were also discussed.

The representative of the Moneyval also made a presentation on the process of the 5th round of Mutual evaluation (MER) of the AML/CFT systems in the region and provided an overview and explained in detail the new requirements related to the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) and the way forward for the Western Balkan jurisdictions. The conference concluded with a revision of the conference protocol and identification of the aligned joint approaches to the regional threats posed by organized crime, money laundering and terrorist financing.

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

UNODC participates in regional seminar on Combating Small Arms and Light Weapons and Explosives in the Western Balkans

2-3 October 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UNODC participated in the regional seminar on Combating Illegal Trafficking of Firearms and Explosives in the Western Balkans: Modern Technology as a Tool in the Fight against Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Explosives Trafficking. The event was organized by the Government of France with the goal to share information and experiences on the use and challenges posed by modern technology in countering trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives.

UNODC delivered a presentation describing current activities to counter firearms trafficking at global and regional levels. UNODC's intervention focused on updates in regulatory, policy and operational fields and provided concrete examples of the use of modern technology for prevention and detection of firearms trafficking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC empowers Southeast European Civil Society Organizations to fight corruption

24-27 September 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: Corruption affects all countries and undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. To train civil society, private sector and government representatives from Southeast Europe to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only international legally-binding anti-corruption instrument, UNODC organized a regional multi-stakeholder workshop in Serbia from 24 to 27 September.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

UNODC Activities with Civil Society in the fight against corruption

UNODC's Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism

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

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

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

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

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

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

The workshop was financially supported by Luxembourg.

UNODC participates in Coordination Meeting to Counter Firearms Trafficking in the Western Balkans

20 September 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) took part in the meeting of the local coordination group on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans.

The meeting is part of a process for developing national action plans for the implementation of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.

The Roadmap represents the consensus reached among all stakeholders in the region about the current challenges, the overall targets to be reached, and contains a timeline of actions to be taken. UNODC GFP participates in this process through contributions towards the formulation of the national action plans and support for the countries in the Western Balkans to strengthen their criminal justice response in countering trafficking in firearms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC held first trainings on financial investigations in Serbia and Albania

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Border Police Chiefs of the region meet in Tirana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

UNODC continues crime research work in the Balkans

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

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

The objectives of the workshop were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC and Turkey further expand cooperation in South Eastern Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albania joins the UNODC campaign "Listen First"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cocaine seized at the Port of Bar in Montenegro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC supports national capacities in countering terrorism in Montenegro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC participates in technical assistance and donor coordination meeting in Montenegro

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

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

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

UNODC supports national capacities in addressing smuggling of migrants in Serbia

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC participated in the Society for Prevention Research Annual meeting

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

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

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

UNODC and CEPOL joint Training Needs Assessment missions successfully concluded

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

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

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

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

UNODC holds a regional practitioners meeting on firearms control

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC supports national capacities in addressing smuggling of migrants in Skopje

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Heads of PCUs adopted the following initiatives:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC continues implementation of evidence based prevention strategies in Serbia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC and IOM launch new initiative to counter migrant smuggling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Durres Port Control Unit hosts a mentorship mission

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

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

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

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

UNODC participates in a regional meeting on SALW

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

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

Second Board Meeting of the Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smuggling of migrants training curriculum drafting continued with Macedonian professionals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional resources:

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

Video material:

https://youtu.be/olyHCPVz90M

https://youtu.be/aH4WU4Hni4s

Power point presentations:

Lions_Quest_SFA_Implementation_process_in_SEE.ppt

Experience_of_the_Lions_Quest_school-based_prevention_program.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_-Results_Montenegro.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_Research_Results_and_Policy_Implications.pptx

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The largest haul of cocaine seized at Durres Port in Albania

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

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

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

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

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

 

UNODC, CEPOL and Western Balkans Partners Held First Coordination Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC trained Macedonian professionals on smuggling of migrants training delivery techniques

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC delegation visits Pristina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to diplomats in Vienna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UNODC advances efforts to measure organized crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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