Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units under the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme expands to Azerbaijan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia actively promotes regional approach and practical collaboration among countries of the region on identifying and suppressing high-risk consignments under UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Programme (CCP).

The foundation for a unique inter-regional cooperation platform was laid on 22 May 2019, when the Heads of Customs Authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the Republic of Uzbekistan have reinforced their joint commitment to further fostering the inter-regional cooperation by signing the Memorandum of Understanding on the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (IREN Network) during the CCP Sixth Annual Inter-Regional Meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Memorandum – in its turn – has set up a regular, efficient, and secure information exchange mechanism among participating countries through the establishment of the IREN Network.

On 06 August 2021, Colonel-General Safar Mehdiyev, the Chairperson of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan has signed the Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (IREN Network) and thus Azerbaijan became a full-fledged Party to CCP inter-regional cooperation initiative and the tenth country joining the Memorandum of Understanding on IREN Network.

Since the launch of the IREN Network, the participating countries have carried out significant work to ensure its the practical and effective operation. Thus, collaborative actions and information exchange between CCP National Focal Points of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, made it possible for PCU Osh in Kyrgyzstan to seize 2,274 packs or 127,344 pieces (pills) of REGAPEN (Pregabalin) pharmaceutical drug. In June 2021, Customs authorities and other law-enforcement agencies of IREN member countries have successfully conducted the inter-regional operational activity aimed at interception of smuggled consignments of goods with particular focus on illicit drugs, psychotropic substances, new synthetic drugs, and precursor chemicals.

At the Expert-Level Debriefing Meeting, held on 28-29 July 2021 in Tbilisi, Georgia, IREN member countries reiterated their strong commitment towards continuing practical collaboration and joint operational activities within this initiative and adopted list of recommendations that will guide IREN Network’s activities.

The CCP Regional Segment for Central Asia is funded by the Government of Japan and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme.


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