Acknowledgement of the NATO-Russia Training Project's Success

NATO-Russia Council representatives and the NRC Counter Narcotics Training Project's participant countries marked the project's achievements and looked to future development at a high level steering meeting in Tashkent.

High-level representatives of members of  the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) counter-narcotics training initiative gathered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday 26 June, to chart the future course of the project. The meeting opened with a drugs burning ceremony to mark the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. 1,650 tons of drugs, including 499 kilos of heroin and 597 kilos of opium, seized by graduates of the NRC training initiative, were burned in the ceremony organized by the Uzbek government. Foreign Embassy  Representatives took part in the ceremony.

The sixth high-level steering session was attended by representatives of the NRC project's donor countries and Ukraine, and the beneficiary countries such as Afghanistan,  Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan - as well as NATO UNODC representatives.  "It was a valuable opportunity to mark our achievements, but more importantly to chart our course going forward," says Radoslava Stefanova, Chair of the Executive Steering Committee. "We need to ensure that this important project maintains its momentum and builds upon the strong foundation we have created for strengthening counter-narcotics capacity across the region".

The meeting provided an opportunity for the member states to evaluate results of the  training provided by the NRC project. This is important for NRC donors to understand where the project is fulfilling real needs, and where it can do more.

As of October 2011, 82 training courses have been conducted in total and 2000 officers have received the trainings. More than 90 of these officers have been promoted to executive positions and some of the largest seizures in the project area are reported to have been made by officers trained under the project.