About UNODC in Central Asia

UNODC began its presence in Central Asia in 1993 with the establishment of Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Today, ROCA supports the five countries in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to reduce abuse and trade of illicit drugs, counter transnational organized crime and corruption, and prevent terrorism.

UNODC ROCA has five Programme Offices in the region – Astana and Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Ashgabat (Turkmenistan).

UNODC focuses on the following five prime areas of activity:

  1. Strengthening member states’ capacities to confront threats from transnational organized crime.
  2. Supporting member states in implementing a balanced, comprehensive and evidence-based approach to the world drug problem that addresses both supply and demand.
  3. Strengthening crime prevention and building effective criminal justice systems.
  4. Tackling corruption and its catastrophic impact on societies.
  5. Countering terrorism, including through implementation of the 19 international legal instruments against terrorism.

UNODC presence in Central Asia is built around a traditional emphasis on technical assistance to the law enforcement agencies, healthcare and criminal justice in the region. Some of the current UNODC activities include efforts to counter cybercrime and anti-money laundering; assistance to respective national drug control agencies on capacity development through training, infrastructure, and intelligence-led policing. Further support is being provided to improve prevention of evidence-based drug use, treatment, and rehabilitation programmes. Support is being provided for forensics, strengthening of criminal justice system, and crime prevention. Prevention of violent extremism and radicalization, as well as, legislative reforms related to terrorism prevention are an integral part of UNODC’s work in the region. All these efforts are carried out in close cooperation with the local governments, international partners and donors. 

Although opiates trafficked along the Northern route through Central Asia, to the Russian Federation and beyond are one of the largest threats to the region, there are also challenges posed by home grown drugs such as cannabis, and the increasing use of synthetic drugs which are trafficked from other countries. The transnational and organised criminals involved in the narcotics trade often traffic more than illicit drugs and their cargos include contraband, weapons, natural resources and even humans. The resulting illicit economy that emanates from drug trafficking has a destabilising effect on local economies; it feeds corruption and weakens the State’s ability to function. Drugs extract a high human cost. Drug use is on the rise and so to the resulting health and social issues associated with their use. Furthermore, Central Asian states face an ever present threat of terrorism, both internally and externally from those returning from other conflicts. In the modern world these multiple threats are both physical and virtual. The transnational and evolving nature of these threats coupled with modern communications necessitates a reinvigorated and collective response across the Central Asian States.


Key achievements of UNODC ROCA in 2019-2020


Key Areas of Technical Assistance

List of Initiatives and Programmes