UNODC Research Capacity Building Training

Islamabad, 7 December 2018. UNODC Country Office Pakistan, in collaboration with the Afghan Opiate Trade Project (AOTP) UNODC Vienna, organised a five day training from 3 to 7 December 2018 at the Serena Hotel, Islamabad. The main objective of the training was to introduce the participants to core concepts of research methodology, with specific focus on drug-related research issues; including design, data collection, analysis, report writing, and data analysis. The training was likewise one of the deliverables under the Japan funded Project.

 The first day opened with addresses from Mr. Erwin Versteeg, International Law Enforcement Advisor UNODC and Mr. Michael Osman, Project Manager AOTP. They welcomed the participants, highlighting the significance of this training with respect to the need for systematic, comprehensive, and consolidated analytical information on trends in the global illicit Afghan opiate trade, to support the international response to the drug trafficking issue. 

The global trade in illicit Afghan opiates has become one of the world's greatest transnational drug and crime threats: with severe consequences for health, governance, and security at national, regional, and international levels. Illicit Afghan opiates are trafficked to almost every continent in the world, especially along three broad routes: the Balkan route, the northern route, and the southern route. Given the severity of the problem, UNODC and the international community have identified the analysis and monitoring of Afghan opiate trade as a priority. 

 The AOTP Project aims to enhance the drug research capacity of those countries most affected by Afghan opiates, and increase awareness of the data and information needs to support research on the opiate trade. Mr. Michael Osman and Ms. Elia Susanna, as facilitators from UNODC, delivered presentations during the five days. These covered inter alia: the basics of research, how to develop a theoretical background, the differences between quantitative and qualitative data, how to develop questionnaires, and how to write research reports.  Throughout, the theoretical background was related to practical drug related issues.

 During the closing session of the training Mr. Cesar Guedes Representative UNODC, along with Mr. Yuji Tokita Counsellor Economic Section Embassy of Japan, in their concluding remarks greatly appreciated the training deliberations. Mr. Tokita acknowledged the important role of the Pakistan law enforcement officers, and stated that the ongoing capacity building initiatives would certainly contribute to strengthen the capacity of the narcotics control authorities in Pakistan. He assured the meeting that the Government of Japan would continue supporting the Government of Pakistan through various projects in the anti-narcotics and counter- terrorism sector. 

This training provided to the Pakistani law enforcement officials the necessary basis to collect and analyze drug-related data, with the aim of delivering information for (regional) trends on 'the modus operandi and infrastructure of criminal networks' in the near future. The training was attended by 21 officers - including one woman officer - of Pakistan Customs and the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

 On completion of the course, the participants were awarded Certificates; and expressed their appreciation to UNODC, AOTP, and the Government of Japan for organizing this instructive training. The training was enabled by the support of the Afghan Opiate Trade Project and the Government of Japan.