Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network in West and Central Asia is becoming real

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 4-5 July

West and Central Asia as all regions of the world is affected by the global problem of money laundering and all the offences linked to it. National responses are essential but insufficient. Broader and more coordinated actions are needed.

Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Networks (ARINs) are a powerful instrument in this context, as they facilitate effective criminal asset identification and recovery through a cooperative approach, but also because ARINs serve as a catalyst at national level encouraging virtuous practices such as the establishment of national asset recovery offices, asset forfeiture funds or the development of practices and systems of asset recovery (e.g. civil forfeiture).

UNODC, through its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries is promoting a regional response in West and Central Asia by supporting the establishment of an Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network in the region.

After two Practitioners Meetings, in which the eight regional jurisdictions discussed on the need to establish an ARIN in West and Central Asia as well as its functions and structure, a third regional "Drafting Committee Meeting" took place on 4-5 July in Ashgabat Turkmenistan.

This drafting Committee Meeting represented the second phase in the process of establishing an ARIN in the West and Central Asia and the main objective was to draft a comprehensive document outlining the membership and functioning of the network, based on the outcomes of the two Practitioner Meetings held in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Practitioners from six regional jurisdictions: Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan sat together for 2 days, drafted and agreed upon the Statement of Intent (SoI) which can be considered the founding document of the Network.

In the same meeting participants also agreed on the official name (ARIN-WCA), the rules governing the rotation of the Presidency, the membership of the network, the frequency of the annual general meeting and steering committee meetings and nominated the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan as the Secretariat of the Network.

Mr. Toyly Batyrov, Senior Legal Adviser of the Law and International Relations Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan welcomed the extremely positive outcome of the meeting and stated "I am sure the Asset Recovery Network in West and Central Asia will be successful as time is mature for such an initiative and, I thank the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries and the whole UNODC for supporting it"

As agreed by all participants, the network will be officially launched on the first week of November and, will be hosted by the country that will assume the first Presidency of ARIN-WCA.

Mr Danilo Campisi, Regional Coordinator of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries, in his closing remarks said that "the Regional Programme will make all possible efforts to support the Network in the coming years until it will be self-sustainable, and to provide technical support to the Presidency and the Secretariat as needed".

UNODC thanked the European Union for funding this important activity.