The First Interagency Dialogue Platform on Forensics in Turkmenistan

13 June 2019, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - UNODC Programme Office in Turkmenistan with its national counterparts gathered together for the first interagency dialog platform on forensic within the 'Strengthening Forensic Services in Turkmenistan' initiative of UNODC. The dialogue platform involved all relevant stakeholders in the country, including representatives from law enforcement and judicial bodies, forensic laboratories under the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Ministry of Health (MOH), legislative bodies and relevant training centers. The event aimed to introduce the national partners with the planned activities, main objectives and expected results of the project.

The platform served to raise awareness on international standards, requirements for accreditation of forensic services and available UNODC publications and tools, as well as discuss activities, priorities and needs of forensic labs of the MOI and MOH.

During the event, Mr. Conor Crean, Scientific Affairs Officer of the UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section, presented the UNODC forensic publications and tools, and the International Collaborative Exercise (ICE) - exercises allowing laboratories, from all over the world, to continuously monitor and improve their performance in drug testing, including analyses of drugs in seized materials and biological specimens. "Participation of laboratories in the ICE exercise is an essential part of the accreditation process of the labs" noted Mr. Crean. Given that the ultimate goal of the Turkmen labs is to obtain an international accreditation, they were encouraged to take an active part in the next rounds of ICE exercises.

The national counterparts appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues and to look at the available resources suggested by UNODC to improve forensic services. Participants of the meeting also exchanged their experience, challenges faced and achievements in forensics.

During the dialogue between the national experts, law enforcement and representatives of the legal system, national counterparts put forward a number of practical recommendations and needs of national institutions for the improvement of forensic services in Turkmenistan.

This project is implemented under the Sub-program 2 "Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention and Integrity" of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia for 2015-2019. UNODC supports Turkmenistan's efforts to strengthen the forensic services with funding provided by the US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

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