Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Establishing an Asset Recovery Inter-agency Network (ARIN) in the West and Central Asia Region

3 - 4 October 2017, Islamabad, Pakistan 

International cooperation is indispensable to eradicate the corrosive effects of corruption. The process of tracing, freezing, confiscating and returning stolen assets to their country of origin is usually a complex and lengthy one, involving multiple jurisdictions and often complicated by technical, legal or political barriers. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) offers a strong framework for the States to engage in international cooperation at both the informal and formal levels to address this challenge.

Mutual legal assistance requests are the cornerstones of international cooperation in asset recovery/confiscation. Networks of practitioners have proven effective in fostering international cooperation. Over the past fifteen years, a number of regional networks which enhance the recovery of assets by providing a platform for on-going and informal dialogue between parties have been established. The achievements of these networks have been remarkable and have led to major increases in arrests, prosecutions and asset seizures.

Currently, no platform exists in the region covered by West and Central Asia thus making asset tracking and recovery even more challenging. In light of these factors, UNODC though its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries is supporting the countries from the region to get together and lay the basis for the establishment of an Asset Recovery Inter-agency Network (ARIN) in the West and Central Asia Region.

Building on UNODC experience in this area, an inter-regional workshop was arranged on International Cooperation in Asset recovery and Confiscation in Islamabad from 3-4 October 2017 by Sub-Programme 2 "International/regional cooperation in Legal Matters" of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries jointly with Sub-Programme 2 of the Country Programme in Pakistan "Criminal Justice and Legal Reform" in collaboration with the National Accountability Bureau in Pakistan.

The event was hosted in Pakistan and drew officials from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan in addition to Pakistan as well as experts from UNODC Global Programme against Money-Laundering (GPML) and experts from the Asset Recovery Networks of Europe (CARIN) and South Africa (ARINSA). Officials agreed on the need to establish a network in the region and further agreed to a series of steps to work towards this goal.

UNODC thanks the Government of Sweden for funding the event.