Japan contributes nearly $23 million to support UNODC work in Afghanistan and region
5 March 2012 - The Government of Japan is to supplement its voluntary funding to projects in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries by $13.6 million as part of its "Aid to Afghanistan" initiative. This follows some $9 million donated from Japan's Peacebuilding Grant in January to strengthen the Afghan criminal justice system, bringing the country's overall funding to UNODC to roughly $23 million.
Thanking the Government of Japan during a meeting today with Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "This is a most generous contribution and I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the long-standing support shown by your country." He also noted the timeliness and importance of the contribution, coming so soon after the launch of the 2011- 2014 UNODC regional programme for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, which is designed to boost coordinated counter-narcotics efforts and regional stability.
At a recent high-level conference in Vienna to address drug trafficking from Afghanistan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon highlighted that "fighting the drugs trade is essential to our work to reduce poverty and raise standards of human well-being."
In view of the planned withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan in 2014, Mr. Fedotov has stressed that the international community will increasingly look to the United Nations to shoulder additional responsibilities in support of Afghanistan. "The focus must shift to the non-military aspects of transition - development, governance and strengthening civilian authority," said the Executive Director, adding that the Japanese grants would help UNODC to bolster support for those areas.
The projects will range from law enforcement, research and advocacy to criminal justice and health. While most target Afghanistan, many will be implemented over a vast area, including Central Asia. In Afghanistan, counter-narcotics capacities will be strengthened, for example, with support for a forensic laboratory within the counter-narcotics police and mobile detection teams. Significant funding will also go towards comprehensive drug treatment and interventions and providing alternative livelihoods for subsistence opium poppy farmers.
Greater cooperation will be forged between border liaison offices in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan to stem the flow of precursor chemicals, which are used to manufacture drugs. On the northern trafficking route, the expertise of officers at the Tajik and Kyrgyz border will be enhanced. In another example, selected schools in Kazakhstan will receive information on drug abuse prevention.
The Executive Director commended the Japanese Government for its commitment to building and consolidating peace in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that other donors would follow suit.
In a separate development, Japan pledged $2 million to the Trust Fund to Support the Initiatives of States to Counter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which brings to $3.5 million the total contributed by Japan to the Trust Fund since 2010.