Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Inter-regional workshop on Understanding and Disrupting Illicit Financial Flows Associated with the Southern Route for Opiate Trafficking

03 March 2017, Stone Town, Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania  


Drug trafficking is a global business that generates huge profits. The illicit financial flows that sustain this business undermine the economies of the Member States, while also heightening the perceived and actual risks to direct foreign investment and the confidence of international development efforts. Heroin trafficking on the 'Southern Route' also creates a permissive environment for organised crime, drives corruption and is also believed to be a key source of funding for the Taliban, which poses a threat to regional security and stability.

Financial investigation into illicit financial flows is an important activity which provides critical information to support law enforcement operations. Likewise, financial investigations can also lead to freezing and returning illicit proceeds into the Member States' budgets. In view of this, UNODC works on building networks between countries and regions so that they can better conduct investigations into transnational organised crime networks and on their means of financing.

In this regard, representatives from the Triangular Initiative (TI) countries - Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan - recently joined efforts for the first time with representatives from Africa and Indian Ocean states - Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania - the UAE and Colombia, to share experiences and best practices at the inter-regional level on how to detect, investigate and disrupt the financing of activities of transnational organised crime groups. The meeting was supported by partners from the United Nations Security Council Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida, and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities, UNDP, the EU Cocaine Route Programme (CRIMJUST), the EU Heroin Route (Phase 3), ARINSA, Interpol, Canada, France, Japan and UK.

The inter-regional workshop, entitled "Understanding and disrupting illicit financial flows associated with the Southern Route for opiate trafficking" was convened in Stone Town, Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. The outcomes of this event will support UNODC's ongoing technical assistance activities and the delivery of the objectives of the 'Southern Route' and the 'Paris Pact' initiatives.

The event was attended by 65 financial investigation experts from law enforcement agencies, Financial Intelligence Units, prosecuting authorities, customs agencies, central banks and Ministries of Foreign Affairs. During the four day event, the topics for discussion included: lessons from investigating cocaine trafficking networks; the drugs-terrorism nexus; developing and retaining financial investigation experts; multi-commodity networks (namely, cocaine and heroin); asset recovery networks; enhancing the National AML/CFT Risk Assessments; and, strategic planning for the financial disruption of organised crime networks.

Within the margins of the workshop, a number of operational planning meetings took place and experts also identified the priority areas where information-sharing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were required to be signed.

Due to the success of this workshop, experts recommended that it should be repeated on a six-month basis to allow them to share updated details of the current money laundering threats, new methods for financial disruption of organised crime networks and priorities for technical assistance. 

The event was delivered with a 'One-UN approach' by experts from UNODC's Global and Regional Programmes and Country Offices as part of UNODC's efforts to bring the countries of these regions together to develop strategies and build cooperation in countering drugs, crime and terrorism. 


These include:

·         Global Programme against Money Laundering

·         Global Maritime Crime Programme

·         Global Container Control Programme

·         EU Cocaine Route programme (CRIMJUST)

·         Regional Office East Africa

·         Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

·         Regional Office South Africa

·         Sub-Regional Office for the GCC Region

·         Country Office Tanzania