Japan and UNODC Support Interagency Mobile Teams on Countering Illicit Drug Trafficking in Uzbekistan

Tashkent, 25 June 2018 - Interagency Mobile Teams on countering illicit trafficking of drugs in Uzbekistan were launched during the official ceremony which took place in the Uzexpocenter Exhibitions Centre. Six Interagency Mobile Teams (IMTs) are being established comprised of the officers of the Ministry of Interior, the State Security Service and the State Customs Committee. To ensure the effective work of the IMTs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia, handed over 30 vehicles and a range of specialized equipment to the national beneficiaries financed by the Government of Japan. The initiative is supported at the highest-level through the Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan adopted in June 2017 dedicated to implementation of the activities.

Well equipped, the six IMTs will conduct joint patrolling and operations all over the territory of Uzbekistan and combat drug trafficking. Overall coordination of these teams will be supervised by the Operations Coordination Team located in Tashkent based on the National Information-Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

During the ceremony handover documents were signed between high-level officials from the abovementioned agencies and Ms. Ashita Mittal, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Representative for Central Asia. The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Olim Narzullaev, Director of the National Information-Analytical Center on Drug Control, H.E. Mr. Nobuaki Ito, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Uzbekistan and members of the diplomatic community.

On the occasion of the ceremony Mr. Olim Narzullaev, Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control noted that "Today's ceremony is a testament to the continuity of the ongoing efforts of the Republic aimed at illicit drug trafficking, as well as it is an intermediate result of the implementation of the "Roadmap for further development of cooperation of Uzbekistan with UN Office on Drugs and Crime in 2017-2019."

Drug trafficking along the so-called "Northern route" which passes through the countries of Central Asia remains a serious concern due to the persisting high levels of opiate production in Afghanistan. Moreover, it is observed that drug traffickers are starting to apply new methods and technologies. In this context every action taken against fighting the scourge of illicit drug trafficking in the region and, in particular, in Uzbekistan, which stands in the centre and on the crossroads of the region, acquires special importance. Enhancing communication, coordination and cooperation between different law enforcement agencies by employing new approaches in countering drug trafficking becomes even more relevant.  

UNODC supports initiatives of Uzbekistan in this direction. Component on "Countering Trafficking of Afghan Narcotics in Uzbekistan through the Establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams" in the framework of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia for 2015-2019 is a notable example of cooperation between the Government of Uzbekistan and UNODC. Implemented with financial support of the Government of Japan, the activity component aims to address the challenges of countering narcotics in Uzbekistan and facilitate enhancement of the law enforcement capacity of the country by providing technical assistance in establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams, creating required institutional and legal frameworks, procurement of equipment, delivering training courses and workshops.

Ambassador Mr. Nobuaki Ito noted: "The total value of the equipment to be procured is around 1.1 million USD, including 30 vehicles and the machinery with most advanced technology. I sincerely hope these goods to be utilized effectively and efficiently by those prominent officials who were selected to be the members of the Interagency Mobile Teams"

Since the start of the implementation of the component in December 2016, involved ministries and agencies of the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNODC worked intensively to prepare legislative and institutional framework for the Interagency Mobile Teams and completed most of the planned procurement.

The launch of operational activities by the Interagency Mobile Teams marks the new phase in implementation of the component. In the new phase UNODC will further support national counterparts in organization of joint and simultaneous inter-agency operations on countering drug trafficking and increasing technical capacities of the officers selected for the teams by providing training courses on analytical, operational and technical tools.

Commending the commitment of all national stakeholders and expressing gratitude to the Government of Japan, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, noted that "UNODC has been long standing and reliable partner for Uzbekistan ever since establishment of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia in Tashkent in 1993. But the recent commitments made by the Government of Uzbekistan and UNODC during the meeting of the honourable President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the Executive Director of UNODC Mr. Yury Fedotov on 1st November last year and translation of the outcomes of the meetings into the Roadmap on Further Development of Cooperation of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the UNODC raises the level of cooperation and outlines clear goals."


For additional information

Please contact Mr. Muzaffar Tilavov,

UNODC National Programme Officer

Phone (+998 71) 120-80-50

Email: muzaffar.tilavov[at]un.org