Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

UNODC supported platform of forensic experts and law enforcement officers develops regional response to NPS and strengthens drug analysis and investigations in West and Central Asia  

The 4 th meeting of the Regional Working Group on Forensic Capacity and Illicit Drugs was convened in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on 11 and 12 June 2019 within the framework of the UNODC Regional Program for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries (Regional Programme). The forum brought together senior forensic experts and law enforcement officials to share best practices in drug analysis and investigations as well as plan regional operations and develop joint regional investigations of drug cases. The meeting was attended by 20 experts and officials from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC).

At the meeting participants shared information on the illicit drug situation in 2018-2019 and major drug seizures, briefed on activities of national forensic laboratories and drug tests conducted, and also on technical aspects and problems in forensic examination of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

As a result of the meeting, countries made proposals on further strengthening of regional cooperation in forensic analysis and countering illicit drugs, expressed their interest in joining the UNODC International Collaborative Exercise (ICE) and Early Warning Advisory on NPS as well as to conduct a Drugs Case Meeting (DCM) on major drug seizure cases in the region. Participants stressed the importance and successes of the now annually conducted operation "Reflex" on countering NPS and synthetic drugs, which is coordinated through CARICC

 and supported by the UNODC Regional Programme and agreed to run the next phase of the operation in September-October 2019. Furthermore, countries emphasized the need for advanced forensic training courses. During the meeting, an introductory visit to the Bureau of Forensic Medicine of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan was organized that allowed the participants to get acquainted with capacity of the laboratories and the types of sophisticated equipment used. The forensic laboratory of Kazakhstan expressed its interest in establishing closer cooperation with Bureau of Forensic Medicine through exchange visits and best practice sharing.

The UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries thanked the European Union and Finland for funding this event.