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Border cooperation between Myanmar and China set to expand

Myitkyina, Kachin State (Myanmar), 25 October 2019 - The Government of Myanmar, Kachin Administration and UNODC held a joint mission and strategic meeting at the Myitkyina Border Liaison Office (BLO) Friday, focussing on the need for improving border management and security efforts in the area. Regional strategies for reducing illicit trade, particularly of illicit drugs and precursors, along with other forms of transnational crime including human, wildlife and timber trafficking were discussed. The meeting concluded with agreement to expand cooperation, particularly through facilitating greater cross-border intelligence sharing with neighbouring Yunnan China, capacity building of Kachin based law enforcement, and increasing support for drug prevention and treatment services in Kachin's internally displaced person camps where drug use has reached alarming levels.

"With the continued expansion of synthetic drug production here in Myanmar, and recent shifts of trafficking routes out of Shan, it is apparent to everyone here that the situation on the ground can change quickly and dramatically. Drug trafficking routes are likely to be redirected again, including towards Kachin in the west and northwest, and precursors will continue to be accessed through Kachin. Border crossings and internal checkpoints need to be ready to respond," said UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas following the meeting. "But while the drug situation is the most dramatic and urgent, I am particularly pleased we are helping to address other forms of transnational crime including human trafficking, and wildlife and timber trafficking - they all need attention."

"Transnational organized criminal groups are a significant and growing threat to Kachin, and we need to take action to counter their growing presence. Illicit trafficking of drugs, precursors and people have been a particularly big challenge for us, and drug use is on the rise," said Police Colonel Myo Thura Naung, Kachin Chief of Police ai. "BLOs are helpful for reducing illicit trafficking, and we have had success partnering with UNODC in the past to open and operate BLOs, and to cooperate with other countries. We are particularly pleased the BLO helped us work with China this year to rescue four woman that were trafficked, and we are hoping to further improve our Myitkyina BLO so it operates at maximum capacity."

The Myitkyina BLO, which helps Myanmar and China cooperate to address transnational crime, is helping improve border management along China and Myanmar's 2,192km shared border. The plan to support BLOs on the Kachin Yunnan border are part of a border management initiative that supports the region to address transnational crime. Efforts have expanded across the ASEAN region as the Government of Thailand and UNODC have advanced a strategic partnership on border management under Thailand's ASEAN 2019 Chairmanship.

In addition to border management, UNODC is expanding its operational footprint in Myanmar, with an increasing focus on Kachin. "We are planning to open a Myitkyina office in early 2020 to address the drug and crime situation, and to help with cross border cooperation" said UNODC Myanmar Country Manager Troels Vester. "UNODC has never had an office in Kachin, but the Government of Myanmar and our international partners have asked if we could establish a presence here. We are developing plans now to make sure everything is in place in early 2020."


UNODC's border management programme is a central part to efforts to reduce illicit trafficking and to improve border management across the Mekong region. UNODC now supports more than 70 BLOs throughout Southeast Asia, providing them with a combination of training, tools, systems and equipment.

Click here for more information on UNODC's Regional Programme and Strategy for Southeast Asia.

Click here for more information on UNODC's Myanmar Country Programme.

Click here for more information on the UNODC's work on border management and BLOs.

Click here for more information on UNODC's work on drugs and health and alternative development.