Regional ownership necessary for long-term success of Central Asia drug coordination centre, says UNODC Executive Director
ALMATY/VIENNA, 29 November 2010 - Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today visited the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Centre, which began operations in 2007, was established with the support of UNODC to improve cooperation in counter-narcotics between national and regional law enforcement agencies.
According to UNODC estimates, 95 tonnes of heroin are trafficked annually from Afghanistan via Central Asia. Only around 5 per cent is seized in the region and another 7 tonnes is locally intercepted. CARICC is part of efforts to strengthen law enforcement cooperation among countries on the front line of drug trafficking from Afghanistan - the five Central Asian States (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) Russia and Azerbaijan. CARICC also plays a significant role in strengthening operational cooperation with countries beyond the region and international organizations such as Interpol, Europol and the World Customs Organisation.
Mr. Fedotov praised the results achieved since the Centre officially opened last year - the cooperation enabled by CARICC has already disrupted more than 20 trafficking channels, and resulted in seizures of more than 250 kg of heroin and over 115 kg of opium.
The Centre facilitates information and intelligence exchange and analysis, and also helps to coordinate operations against the trafficking in chemicals used in the illegal manufacture of heroin.
Mr. Fedotov underlined the need for closer ties, saying: "UNODC would like to help CARICC play a more active role in the intelligence-led approach to tackling drug trafficking. We would also like to see CARICC cooperating more closely with the Tehran-based Joint Planning Cell of the Triangular Initiative created by Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Working together would exponentially increase their ability to support operations against the illicit drug trade."
Announcing that UNODC would launch a new Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries in early 2011, Mr Fedotov urged CARICC to share knowledge with the new programme, which would enable more effective, integrated actions to counter transnational threats.
Mr. Fedotov's visit to CARICC is part of his larger trip to Central and West Asia, where he has met with senior government officials in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to discuss ways in which regional cooperation can help address the problem of drug trafficking .
For further information:
Representative: Regional Office for Central Asia
(+998-71) 120-8050 or (+998-93) 388-8171
Head of UNODC Programme Office in Kazakhstan (Almaty)
Sr. Coordinator (CARICC project)
(+7.727) 258.26.37 extension 1507 or (+ 7.777) 705.64.08
Public Information Officer