Central Asian Professionals Discuss Data Collection, Analysis and Managing the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ)

Statistical data on drugs is a crucial element in the overall strategy to address the drug problem. UNODC provides support to the Member States to strengthen national capacities to produce, collect, disseminate and analyze data, as well as in improvement of the reliability and comparability of data.

On 7-9 November 2018 UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia conducted a 3-day regional workshop on Strengthening national capacity for producing, collecting and reporting drug related statistics in Central Asia.

Experts from the UNODC Data Development and Dissemination Unit facilitated the workshop for some 33 specialists from statistics, law enforcement, prosecutor's offices, and healthcare of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

"The purpose of the workshop is to discuss issues related to drug statistics. This direction is one of important components of effective monitoring and development of measures to respond to the changing drug situation. Data collection and analysis allow not only determining the measures on improvement of national drug-related policies, but also evaluating the tendencies in relation to the drug situation in other countries of the region." - said Mr. Shukhrat Gulomov, Head of Department for Coordination of Drug Control, National Information and Analytical Center on Drugs Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

At the reconvened 53 rd  session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in December 2010, Member States adopted a revised Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ) to enable the monitoring of and the biennial reporting to the Commission on the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, as well as for the reporting to the Commission mandated by the three international drug control conventions. The first reports resulting from the revised ARQs were considered by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its 55 th session in 2012.

The ARQ consists of four parts: Legislative and Institutional Framework; Comprehensive Approach to Drug Demand Reduction and Supply; Extent and Patterns of Drug Use; Extent and Patterns of Trends in Drug Crop Cultivation and Drug Manufacture and Trafficking.

The workshop participants discussed improving data collection, analysis and reporting on drugs with respect to content and process. They reviewed data availability, quality and use, and discussed challenges and difficulties faced by the national focal points in the process of managing ARQ (Annual Report Questionnaire) administration.

"UNODC reconfirms its strong commitment to cooperate and support in improving research and analytical capacity in Central Asia to enhance effectiveness of collective response to drugs and crime related challenges at national, regional and international levels." - highlighted Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia.

The workshop also provided an opportunity to discuss with the national counterparts how UNODC could further support strengthening national drug-related data collection and management system through capacity building and technical assistance.

The regional workshop was organized within the framework of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019, Sub-Programme 4 "Research and Trend Analysis". The event was funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

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