Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Recovering ill-gotten funds remains a top priority for UNODC and West and Central Asian countries

The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network West and Central Asia (ARIN-WCA) continues to be operational despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 environment.

The third meeting of the ARIN-WCA Steering Group (SG) of 2020 was convened on 25 September by the Network’s Secretariat under the chairmanship of the Office of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kyrgyzstan which holds the  ARIN-WCA Presidency, and with technical support provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.

Focal points from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan met virtually to discuss the plan of activities for the 4th quarter of 2020 to ensure the continuity of ARIN-WCA operations.

Abror Akbutaev, from the Networks Secretariat, thanked UNODC and the Regional Programme for the support provided to develop the Network webpage, which will be ready to be launched by the end of the year and will create a secure, password protected space to share resources and information.

UNODC experts presented two new initiatives on asset management and beneficial ownership that will be implemented in 2020. In this regard, Danilo Campisi, Criminal Justice Advisor to the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, expressed satisfaction for the work done and the commitment of all stakeholders to achieve the objective of piloting these two activities, “…I am extremely happy to announce that in a very short time we managed to meet the requests put forward by this group and develop a new strategic package of integrated activities. This newly conceptualised package of strategic activities which will combine desk review exercises, on-line questionnaires and interaction among all participants through simultaneous virtual breakout groups sessions and table-top exercises facilitated and supported in real time by our experts” he added.

This newly conceptualised package of strategic interventions will allow Network business continuity and relevance regardless of the challenges posed by the pandemic. “We are grateful to UNODC and thrilled to participate in, and benefit from the events, said Uygun Nigmadjanov, Deputy Director of the Uzbek Academy of the General Prosecutor's Office.

Discussions on membership to the network and its Steering Group took place and a set of decisions were taken in this regard and submitted to the plenary which will take place in November.

UNODC expressed appreciation to the government of Finland and the European Union for providing financial support to this meeting.