Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

The Regional Programme holds its 8th Programme Steering Commitee in Almaty

Almaty, 24 July 2019

The Eighth Programme Steering Committee (PSC) meeting of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (ANC) was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Almaty on 24 July 2019. The PSC meeting was opened by Mr. Mark Colhoun, UNODC Regional Representative for the Afghanistan Country Programme and  Regional Programme ANC, and Mr. Nurtay Abilmazhinov, Deputy Head of the Department on Counteracting Drug-related Crimes, Ministry of Internal Affairs.The meeting was attended by senior representatives from Drug Control Agencies, Ministries of Interior, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Missionsfrom eight countries of the Regional Programme (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan) as well as donor countries and CARICC.

The UNODC Regional Representative for the Afghanistan Country Programme and Regional Programme ANC, Mr. Mark Colhounthanked the members states and donors of the programme for their constant support in implementation of the 2nd Phase and stressed the need to build on gains made and further intensify cooperation within the region and beyond to counter drugs and associated trans-national organised crimes. He emphasized that the fight against drugs has to address all aspects of the problem, including, among other areas,  disruption of illicit financial flows, seizing and confiscating of illegal assets, promoting Alternative development initiatives as well as providing prevention and treatment services to vulnerable drug users.

Mohammad Hashim Aurtaq, Deputy Minister of Interior, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan called on the regional countries and donors to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan to fight against illicit poppy cultivation, its transformation into illicit drug production and the associated crimes emanating from it, as the effect is not national but regional as well as global. Additionally, Mr Aurtaq emphasised the importance of communication among the regional countries and appreciated the role of the Drug Liaison officers (DLO) supported by UNODC Regional Programme.

Mr. Jeremy Milsom Senior Programme Coordinator of Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries noted an increasing trend towards building regional solutions in support of Afghanistan. He went on to highlight the work and achievements of the Regional Programme and how countries had been able to strengthen concrete operational cooperation in many areas through the mechanisms, workshops and activities supported through the programme. 

The participants of the steering committee meeting reviewed the implementation of Programme in 2018-19, discussed and agreed on operational priorities for 2019 as well as the extension of second phase from 2016-2020 in the wake of on-going UN reforms.