Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries facilitates exchange of information on precursors among member-states

On 19 October 2020, an online meeting of the Regional Working Group on Precursors (RWGP) was convened within the framework of the Sub-Programme 1 “Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation” of the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries (Regional Programme).

The RWGP meetings bring together precursor control authorities of the eight member states to review recent developments with respect to seizures in the West and Central Asia region, identify cases for back-tracking investigations, and outline national priorities to set a regional response including strategies and action plans.

“We know that despite the significant challenges of COVID-19, drug and precursor trafficking are continuing. There have been changes in drug types, trafficking methods and routes, an increase in the production of synthetic drugs and the smuggling of chemical precursors. Keeping precursor chemicals away from drug trafficking organizations is an effective way to reduce illicit drug production. Diversion of precursors is a worldwide problem that requires a global solution. Considering that some of the chemicals are used for legitimate purposes, the country systems must facilitate licit trade while enabling prevention or detection of diversions. Controlling the interface between the legitimate market for these chemicals and illicit drug manufacturing is an internationally recognized responsibility and international cooperation is essential. In this regard it is important to share information, have a common approach and response, and continue our work within the RWGP”, said Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Senior Programme Coordinator & UNODC Representative in Pakistan, during his opening speech.

40 senior officials of law-enforcement agencies from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the working group meeting, making presentations on the situation in their respective countries, discussing recent seizures, and making recommendations.

Experts from CARICC, INCB and Paris Pact Initiative also shared their experience on precursors, information exchange and interregional cooperation, and elaborated on the instruments and databases available to support Member States, and indicated interest in supporting activities and initiatives agreed by the Member States.

Following the meeting’s discussions, participants drafted recommendations on further cooperation including identification of target cases for back-tracking investigations at regional level, supporting the next phase of Operation Substitute, analysis of seizures, drafting a regional precursor control strategy, capacity building programs, procurement of equipment to detect precursor chemicals, information sharing through official communication channels and real-time communication platforms.

UNODC thanks the Government of Finland and the European Union for financing and support in running the RWGP platform.