International Cooperation on Countering Modern Threats and Challenges

Briefing for the Heads of diplomatic missions organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tajikistan, in Close Cooperation with UNODC

Briefing for the Heads of Diplomatic Missions "International cooperation on countering modern threats and challenges" was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan in close cooperation with the UNODC Programme Office in Tajikistan on 17 March 2015 in the Ministry.

Lt. General Rustam Nazarzoda, Director of the Drug Control Agency (DCA), briefed participants on the drug control situation in Tajikistan and presented DCA's Review for 2014. He shared that in 2014 in close cooperation with the law enforcement agencies of Afghanistan, the DCA conducted its first ever operations using control delivery methods. He underlined that the DCA has its Drug Liaison Officers present in Afghanistan for more than 9 years. Over 12 tons of drugs were seized with their support in this period and over 50 refining labs were destroyed jointly with Afghanistan counterparts. He stressed that the international community should enhance the cooperation in the counter narcotics area considering the existing threats in the region. Mr. Nazarzoda proposed to conduct research on purity of heroin seized in the Northern Route from Afghanistan (from the country of production to the consumption markets).He also informed the group that the Government of Tajikistan is planning to organize a "High Level International Conference on Counter Narcotic Cooperation" on 27 May 2015 in Dushanbe. This Conference will be attended by heads of counter narcotic agencies from Central Asian states and the wider region.

Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia delivered a presentation on the drug situation in the region. She informed the participants of the security issues affecting Central Asian region including drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, and the emerging challenges of radicalization. She briefed the group on the heroin seizures statistics along the Northern route through Central Asia to the Russian Federation highlighting possible reasons for trafficking of illicit drugs. In 2014, of the over 300,000 ha of global opium cultivation, 70% was estimated to have been cultivated in Afghanistan.  The global demand for opiates has been largely stable. In Afghanistan in 2014 only about 3% opium and opiates produced were seized.  The Southern routes, the Balkan route and the Northern Route continue to constitute the primary trajectories for Afghan heroin.

In Central Asia the drug seizures in 2014 dropped but there was  an increase in seizures in Russia and Southern Caucuses. These could be attributed to the  possible changes in routes, methods and techniques deployed by traffickers. Given the vulnerability and proximity of Central Asia to the largest opiate producing country, Afghanistan, it is a shared responsibility of the countries in the region and the international community to further strengthen the cooperation and capacities in this region to address drugs, transnational crime and terrorism. Knowing the  communities and reducing risk factors and strengthening the protective factors are central to this response. In this context an integrated, three tier approach is important at a country, regional and inter regional levels.  Ms. Mittal shared that the UNODC will be launching a new Programme for 2015-2019 in Central Asia, covering the areas of rule of law including drug control, anti- money laundering, other related transnational crimes, strengthening the criminal justice system, prison reform and juvenile justice as well as increasing access, availability and acceptability of evidence based drug and HIV prevention, treatment and social reintegration services for drug users. Improving evidence through research and advocacy for effective policy development will be an integral part of this strategy. Additionally, the Ninth meeting of the MoU between the five Central Asian countries, Russia, Azerbaijan and the Agha Khan Development Network will be taking place in May 2015 in Ashgabat.  

Ms. Nodiri Shahnoza Anvar, Deputy Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan made speech covering the Government policy in the area of legal reform; achievements and future reform agenda in the area of criminal justice; main pillars of the newly adopted Programme for Judicial -Legal for 2015 - 2020; areas of potential cooperation with diplomatic missions and international organizations. She asked for assistance in support to the Juvenile Justice system by developing strategic plan for 2015 -2020 in line with international norms and standards. She requested donors support in establishment of the electronic Data Base to better coordinate and monitor the Ministry of Justice activities/initiatives. Ms. Nodiri noted that donors support is required to implement accepted recommendations in improving the system of Prison Reform including provision of trainings and equipment supply.

The presentations were followed by the exchange of views and opinions in the area of drug control and crime prevention.