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Steering Committee Meeting of the Container Control Programme in Albania and Montenegro

8 May 2018, Tirana, Albania: The joint Steering Committee Meeting of the Container Control Programme in Albania and Montenegro (CCP) took place. The CCP Global Programme Coordinator welcomed the attendance of the Director General of the Albanian Customs Administration, Director General of the Anti-Organized Crime Department, Director General of the Border Police and Migration of Albania, and the Head of the Risk Assessment Department of the Customs Administration of Montenegro who also co-chaired the meeting.

Over 30 participants took part in the meeting, among them, in particular, officials from the customs, border police and anti-narcotics services of Albania and Montenegro, officers of both Port Control Units (PCUs), as well as the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, representatives of the international organizations and foreign diplomatic missions in Albania.

The report on the CCP achievements in 2017 and the workplan for 2018 were presented. Besides that, presentations by the Heads of the PCUs in Albania and Montenegro were made, and discussions on the current situation of the Programme implementation, its perspectives and priorities took place.

Heads of Port Control Units in SEE met to discuss enhanced cooperation and exchange of information

26 April 2018, Budva, Montenegro: The Heads of the Port Control Units (PCUs) in South Eastern Europe (SEE) met to discuss new developments and further cooperation. The meeting, which brought together nine officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, was a good opportunity to get an update on the daily work of each PCU in the region, including the achievements and challenges they face. Each participant made a presentation offering examples of best practices by pointing out the challenges and recommendations to overcome them. The discussions echoed the key points of the presentations on the use of criminal intelligence, risk profiling, exchange of information, cooperation with private sector and potential undertaking of joint regional operations.

The Heads of PCUs adopted the following initiatives:

  • Continued PCUs capacity building through joint training, transfer of know-how and participation in joint activities and operations;
  • Continue to make use of the information exchange tools available for PCUs members to better facilitate analysis in drug trafficking and contraband cases;
  • Foster the trust between the PCUs with other domestic and international partners;
  • Strengthen PCUs capacities to provide effective regional and international cooperation in interdicting illicit drug trafficking and contraband of goods with the purpose of enabling timely interventions;
  • Issue an updated list of indicators for identifying suspicious consignments and share it among the PCUs in the region.

The PCUs in SEE are established through the assistance of UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). These units are uniquely positioned to cooperate and support both national and international efforts within the broader border control and anti-organized crime initiatives in their respective countries. The Programme is being generously supported by the Government of Luxembourg.

Anti-Money Laundering Capacity Building Course Held for South Eastern European Experts in Moscow

23-27 April 2018, Moscow, Russian Federation: The International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM) of the Russian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) - the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmontoring) - organized a training on "Analytical methods in conducting financial investigations in the field of anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism".

The training was held under the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and gathered participants from the FIUs and law enforcement agencies from this region.

The emphasis of the training was put on building capacity of FIUs' and law enforcement agencies' officers in investigating financial crimes and enhancing cooperation between the Russian Federation and South Eastern European countries in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In this regard, participants' knowledge of new techniques used by drug traffickers, such as the use of electronic payment systems and the use of cryptocurrencies in relation with drug trafficking among others, was further enhanced.

Improving international and inter-agency cooperation was also part of the agenda, in which South Eastern European participants and their Russian counterparts were able to share experiences and have fruitful discussions on financial crime investigative techniques.

The first ITCFCM/Rosfinmontoring-UNODC collaboration under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe took place in April 2017. Both training courses were productive and achieved the set goals in capacity building in the field of AML/CFT and in strengthening inter-regional cooperation.

Future cooperation will focus on countering illicit drug trafficking, deconstructing the financial aspect of illicit drug trafficking, countering financing of terrorism as well as transnational organized crime in the countries of South Eastern Europe.

UNODC holds Workshop on normative and administrative challenges relating to the FTF threat in Pristina

18-19 April 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The continuing and evolving threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) constitutes and ongoing challenge to peace and security. United Nations Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) defines FTFs as individuals who travel or attempt to travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality "for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training."

The threat of FTFs has led UNODC to launch a Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union. The specific objective of this project is to enhance the criminal justice response to FTFs of beneficiary jurisdictions, fully incorporating the rule of law and respect for human rights.

In order to meet this objective and to enhance the capacity of local stakeholders to handle terrorist cases involving FTFs, UNODC conducted a workshop on normative and administrative challenges relating to the FTF threat in Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 on 18 and 19 April 2018, with the support of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Welcoming remarks were delivered by the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Zahir Tanin, and by UNODC.

Members of the Judiciary, Prosecution Service, Kosovo Academy of Public Safety, Kosovo Police, Financial Intelligence Unit and EULEX attended the workshop, and had the chance to exchange experiences in the handling of cases involving FTFs. International experts from Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands also shared their practice on the subject. Presentations were also delivered on the international legal framework applicable to FTFs, international and regional cooperation on FTFs, and countering the financing of terrorism in relation to FTFs.

UNODC participates in a coordination meeting to counter firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans

18 April 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) took part in the Meeting of the local coordination group on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The meeting was attended by H.E. Ivica Dacic, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Nevojsa Stefanovic, Minister of Interior, H.E. Frederic Mondolini, French Ambassador to Serbia and H.E. Axel Dittmann, German Ambassador to Serbia.

The meeting is a part of the process for developing a Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkans by 2025. The purpose of the Roadmap is to serve as a guiding and consensual document, which is developed and owned by the countries in the region. The overall objective of the Roadmap is to achieve a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms and its ammunition in the Western Balkans. The document will represent the consensus reached among all stakeholders in the region about the current challenges, the overall targets to be reached, and timeline of actions to be taken. The Roadmap will serve also as a foundation for the development of National Action Plans.

UNODC GFP participates in this process and contributes towards the formulation of the goals and targets of the Roadmap with substantive inputs in the area of criminal justice and crime prevention.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme follow-up sessions successfully completed in Bosnia and Herzegovina

16 April 2018, Bijeljina - 17 April 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, initiated the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in  March 2017. The programme is scheduled for the implementation until June 2019 in 29 elementary schools in Tuzla, Mostar, Sarajevo and Bijeljina reaching out to more than 700 students in total.

Following the approved implementation methodology, the follow-up sessions are organized to collect relevant data from programme educators in order to get better understanding of the effectiveness of the programme delivery, as well as to report on best practices and experienced challenges of the programme utilization. This implementation modality was strategically developed for programme implementation in South East Europe and had shown excellent results in Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as an evidence informed activity.

As part of the comprehensive evaluation strategy, the follow-up sessions also availed the opportunity for programme educators to discuss the findings of the pre-test results conducted with the intervention groups on substance use, normative believes, refusal skills and intention to use substances.

Representatives from the relevant Ministries, both on entity and federal level, applauded the initiative and highlighted the value of the implementation of evidence-based programmes that are closely in line with the International Standards on drug use prevention.

The next follow-up sessions will be organized next year, whereby the group will have an opportunity to discuss preliminary results of comparative analysis of pre-post test results among the intervention groups of the programme on relevant epidemiological indicators that are targeting substance use.

 

UNODC organized a training  for Policymakers on the Nature, Prevention and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Bosnia and Herzegovina

11-13 April 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNODC organized a national training of policymakers on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders.

The training was delivered by UNODC using a specifically prepared technical tool addressing relevant topics, including appropriate legislation, strategies, programmes and interventions aimed at preventing drug use and providing comprehensive systems of care for persons with drug use disorders.

The training included representatives from different institutions of the national drug response system: policymakers from the Ministries of Security and Justice and law enforcement officers, as well as officials from the Ministries of Social Affairs and Education, the Institute of public health and the civil society organizations. The participants represented the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brčko district. This diverse combination of participants was important for the successful delivery of the training in view of the fact that appropriate drug demand reduction strategies require a multi-sectoral and comprehensive approach.

The main goal of the training was to assist policymakers in improving national drug demand reduction policies by strengthening their capacities to develop, promote and support effective strategies, compliant with the International Standards and the International Drug Conventions.

As a result of the training, the policymakers are additionally equipped to build a health- and human rights-oriented response to the problem of illicit drug use and to reduce the burden caused by problematic drug use and its associated health and social consequences. With the acquired knowledge on the nature, prevention and treatment of drug use disorders, policymakers are able to precisely identify the missing programmes and services. Moreover, this approach could inform the further development of the action plan of the current national drug strategy.

UNODC and CEPOL successfully partner in training needs assessment mission to Pristina

10-12 April, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: Experts from UNODC and CEPOL successfully completed a joint training needs assessment mission to Kosovo. The mission aimed at outlining the particular needs of local authorities engaged in financial investigation. To that end, the experts met with representatives of Kosovo Financial Intelligence Unit, police, tax administration, customs, and prosecution service.

The mission was a part of a 24-month project on increasing the capacities of national actors to conduct financial investigations and is a part of the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Imitative (IISG).

As a follow-up to the assessment, a tailored training plan will be prepared for Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 institutions with particular focus on reinforcing national capacity by implementing training of trainers approach. Furthermore, UNODC will be able to respond to the specific requirements of the local training institutions by offering support to developing national curricula.

UNODC continues implementation of evidence based prevention strategies in Serbia

2-5 April and 13 April 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: Following the results of the pilot intervention of the UNODC Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 (SFP 10-14), implemented since 2010 in the South Eastern European region, UNODC embarked on a new collaborative venture with the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

Upon the request of the Ministry of Interior to further advance the drug use prevention work undertaken on a regular basis in elementary schools in Serbia, the UNODC SFP 10-14 was identified as the most beneficial intervention for young adolescent population in such schools. This methodology, with its active engagement of law enforcement officers, has great potential to avail the evidence-based interventions to a great number of elementary schools in Serbia as it is using the well-established cooperation between Ministry of interior and Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development as part of the national drug use prevention strategic approach.

The first training workshop for 15 law enforcement officers on the SFP 10-14 implementation methodology was followed by the workshop on trainers' skills. The latter was organized by UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development and aimed to build up trainers' capacities to deliver the programme in the future.

The trained professionals from the Ministry of Interior will proceed with the direct pilot programme implementation of SFP 10-14 in 12 selected elementary schools in three municipalities in Belgrade (Stari Grad, Vračar and Voždovac).

It is expected that 130 families in total will be trained on family and parenting skills, family relationships and techniques to reduce problem behaviours, positioning the family values and protective factors as crucial response mechanism to prevent or delay the onset of drug use.

International and Regional Partners Strengthen Cooperation in the Field of Asset Recovery

28 March 2018, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI) and the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) Centre held a Regional Conference on Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Asset Recovery, which is a part of a project "Combating corruption in the Western Balkans and strengthening regional cooperation in the field of asset recovery" implemented with support of the UK Government and the OSCE. The project analyzes the effectiveness, efficiency and adherence to human rights in criminal justice systems of South Eastern Europe in relation to seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

The objective of the Conference was to present the findings of the Study prepared by the AIRE Centre and the RAI Secretariat concerning search, seizure and confiscation of illegally obtained assets, with emphasis on final court judgments in corruption cases in South Eastern Europe. The event also serves as an opportunity for establishing a common dialogue about the identified challenges and determination of future actions at the regional level, which will address the recommendations resulting from the Study.

In addition, practices on asset recovery in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and Romania were discussed to explore potential for cooperation of these countries with the Western Balkans region. The Conference also highlighted key international and European instruments and discussed best practices in asset seizure and confiscation in the UK and Italy.

The UNODC Regional Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism Advisor presented the Office's work in the subject area and referred to the international regulations and good practices from around the world.

For more information on the conference: http://rai-see.org/models/regional-conference-on-strengthening-cooperation-in-the-field-of-asset-recovery/

Furthermore, on 29 March 2018, in Vienna, Austria, UNODC and OSCE conducted consultations on the future work in the field of asset recovery and agreed to coordinate their work in the future in this field. Both agencies are striving to avoid duplication and ensure maximum impact for the jurisdictions in South Eastern Europe. With this in mind, agreement was reached with regard to the identification of capacity building needs and subsequent delivery of trainings, including training-of-trainers. As next steps, the two agencies will share their findings and meet also at field level.

UNODC and IOM launch new initiative to counter migrant smuggling

28 March 2018, Vienna, Austria: Two United Nations agencies are joining forces to combat migrant smuggling. Today at the UN in Vienna, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, and UNODC organized an event centring on a Joint Platform on Countering Migrant Smuggling.

Opening the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "We must work together to deny criminals the means and opportunity, to protect the lives and safety of people, and end the impunity of smugglers."

He welcomed this joint initiative to pool and leverage the expertise and experience of both organizations in the fight against migrant smuggling, saying: "UNODC is committed to expanding our work and exploring ways of bringing UN agencies together, including to ensure that criminal justice responses to migrant smuggling are part of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches".

Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM's Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia said: "As Ambassador Swing, our Director General has often stated, there is no lack of political will or legal protection for migrants, the gap is in implementation. The smuggling of migrants across borders is a transnational crime and requires transnational cooperation. We need action. Too many lives are being lost, and too much suffering is being endured."

During these journeys, migrants face abuse and exploitation, inhumane treatment and sexual violence.

On a global level and through its regional and country offices IOM has contributed towards preventing and combatting migrant smuggling for many years. In 2016, it adopted a Comprehensive Approach to Counter Migrant Smuggling which defines four key pillars of work: protection and assistance; addressing the causes; enhancing States' capacity to disrupt the activities of migrant smugglers; and promoting research and data collection

UNODC is the guardian of the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants under the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Through global, regional and national programmes managed from Vienna and a network of field offices, UNODC is supporting States in countering migrant smuggling through legislative assistance and capacity building to investigate and prosecute smuggling-related offences as well as dismantle organized criminal groups, protect the rights of smuggled migrants and strengthen international cooperation.

UNODC has also produced a series of tools and policy papers, including the web-based Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal, and has led public campaigns against migrant smuggling in different parts of the world. In 2018, UNODC will publish a Global Study on the Smuggling of Migrants.

The new IOM-UNODC initiative encourages the main stakeholders to join forces against the smuggling of migrants. This may include joint research; reinforcing Member States' capacities - upon request - to dismantle criminal networks engaging in migrant smuggling; enhancing assistance to smuggled migrants; or supporting the development of prevention strategies and action plans.

Durres Port Control Unit hosts a mentorship mission

19-23 March 2018, Durres, Albania: With the goal of maintaining the highest standards of professional skills of the front-line officers, a mentorship mission took place at Durres Port in Albania. During one week, the mentor assessed Durres Port Control Unit's strengths and weaknesses, drafted a plan to develop further its strong points and improve those requiring assistance, set achievable and measurable goals for improvement, and tracked progress.

The mentor's mission followed the seizure of the largest quantity of cocaine ever made in Albania by the PCU in February. As stated by the PCU officers, the recent seizure was also a result of the valuable advice, coaching and teaching offered by the mentor during previous missions. The mentees demonstrated commitment to further developing their skills and are open to new ways of accomplishing their tasks. 

During the mission, the mentor held meetings with the Heads of Customs and Border Police for Durres district, which encompassed an exchange of ideas on how to better support PCU work.

The PCU at Durres Port is established under the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is being generously supported by the Government of France.

UNODC participates in a regional meeting on SALW

23 March 2018, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme took part in the Regional Steering Group Meeting on small arms and light weapons (SALW), organized by the United Nations Development Programme's project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)". The meeting was attended by representatives from the National Commissions on SALW from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Officials from several international organizations, including the OSCE, NATO, CELEC, RACVIAC, and the Regional Cooperation Council also participated in the meeting.

During the meeting, UNODC briefed the participants on the main activities of the Global Firearms Programme, presented its work in the Western Balkan countries in 2017 and shared the plans for activities in 2018. UNODC highlighted its data collection efforts as an overarching theme and the focus on supporting further the community of practitioners in the region. UNODC stressed also that it will provide added value towards the on-going efforts to combat firearms trafficking through its work on detection of trafficking at land border crossings and working with criminal justice practitioners on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases.

Second Board Meeting of the Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative

16 March 2018, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The President of the Republic of Slovenia, H. E. Mr. Borut Pahor, opened the ministerial conference of the Brdo Process, which hosted the Second Board Meeting the of Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (IISG).

Ministers of Interior and Security of the Western Balkan region - members of the IISG Board - were joined by EU, UN and other international partners in the Board Meeting chaired by the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission.

The Ministers endorsed the Integrative Plans of Action of the three IISG Pillars (WB Counter-Terrorism Initiative, WB Counter Serious Crime Initiative and WB Border Security Initiative) for the period 2018-2020. The Integrative Plans of Action include inputs of all IISG partners, providing therefore for the minimization of duplication and enhancing coordination and better awareness of the ongoing and planned work in the region in the respective fields. The aim of these three living documents is to provide guidance to IISG in the upcoming 3-year period, in line with the IISG Terms of Reference. Each Plan of Action will be continually updated, in order to include all relevant partners' activities and support the main IISG goals. The Plans are available on the IISG webpage.

The meeting also received the report of the WB Counter-Terrorism initiative (WBCTi) Integrative Plan of Action for the period 2015-2017.

UNODC was appointed in the course of the meeting to be a lead partner of the Pillar II of the IISG together with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC has also made a presentation of the evaluation of the Pillar II of the IISG. This important function is led, within the IISG, by UNODC and is aimed to ensure that impact is measured, results are accounted for and the lessons learnt are used in the future.  The results of the formative evaluation of the Pillar II of the IISG will be presented to the next, third, meeting of the IISG Board.

For more information: http://wb-iisg.com/

18 th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe

15 March 2018, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The 18 th meeting of the highest PCC SEE statutory body - the Committee of Ministers - was held under the auspices of the Slovenian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office. The Committee of Ministers reviewed the developments in the five PCC SEE core clusters, mainly focusing on the establishment of an EU Prüm-inspired framework for automated exchange of DNA, dactyloscopic and vehicle registration data in the PCC SEE region. In this light and as one of its key priorities, the Slovenian Chairmanship is committed to invest special effort in continuing the process of integrating Prüm decisions into the partnership of the Contracting Parties and seeing the negotiations of the new EU Prüm-inspired legal framework successfully concluded in May 2018 and subsequently signed in September 2018 on the occasion of a conference to be held under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency to the Council of the EU.

The expansion of the European area of free movements of goods and services brings on the one hand advantages, however also opens to the door to international crime. Criminal police authorities need to take up complicated and complex investigations of criminal offences and, in doing so, shape partnerships with other countries. Time is of crucial importance, especially having in mind that special investigation measures are limited in time and subject to statutory time limitations. In this respect, the main topic of discussion among the Contracting Parties was the enhancement of operational cooperation in the area of ​​special investigative measures, aimed primarily at sharing training approaches and exchanging experience on tactics and methods used in investigating various types of crime and strengthening synergies for an intensified long-term cooperation. The Committee of Ministers supported the Slovenian proposal on the way ahead in this important area, thus recognising the Chairmanship's efforts to better combat the most complex forms of international crime.

The UNODC delegation to the event has pointed out the importance of shared responsibility and joint address to the contemporary challenges and threats to security and offered international good practices in these areas.

For more information: http://www.pccseesecretariat.si/

Smuggling of migrants training curriculum drafting continued with Macedonian professionals

15-16 March 2018, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on developing materials for case based-simulation, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants, was held in the premises of the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" in Skopje.

The TOT was organized within the context of the project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', funded by the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants of UNODC.

This TOT workshop marks a further step in the process of SoM curriculum development, in partnership with the said Academy in Skopje. The members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, as well as US ICITAP representative, continued their previous work from February 2018 on drafting and testing training material and deciding on thematic areas for the training curriculum, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of blended learning and problem-oriented education.

A pilot training will be held in May 2018, in order to allow the Expert Group to pilot test the draft curriculum on SoM materials and approaches developed, with participation of a selected control group, and make final modifications before the initial training planned for June 2018.

Impact of life skills education programmes on drug use prevention in South East Europe presented on the margins of the 61 st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

14 March 2018, Vienna, Austria: Lions Club International Foundation in collaboration with UNODC organized a side event "Impact of life skills education programmes in schools on prevention: Experience in South East Europe and Latin America" on the margins of the 61 st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The event was co-sponsored by the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and presented the positive effects of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme as piloted in South East European region since 2010 as well as the plans to replicate this positive experience in Central America.

In South East Europe, to date, over 350 teachers were trained on, and over 6,000 students received Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence support in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.

The impact of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme was clearly documented showing positive outcomes on reducing prevalence of current use as well as intention to continue using alcohol, tobacco or cannabis in the intervention compared to the control group of students who did not receive the programme.

Further to the documented scientific evidence, representatives from the Ministry of Education of Montenegro presented the values attributed to the Lions Quest programme for the targeted groups from their experience in the 17 selected elementary schools. It was highlighted that the programme managed to gather substantive information on cultural adaptation specificities, which will enable more productive expansion of the programme across the country.

The event also featured the voices of stakeholders at the ministerial and school administration and education level, parents and students benefiting from the programme in South East Europe through an especially made video documentary.

Most valuably, a student from an elementary school in Bosnia and Herzegovina (arguable the youngest CND panelist to date), who personally benefited from the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in his school, shared his views with the audience stating that the benefits of the programme are evident in helping students "avoid and overcome stressful situations, peer pressure, family difficulties and even more". The student emphasized the negative role of media and the impact on substance use as aggressive. He however pointed out that this programme and similar programmes are strategically developing prevention skills and are identified as crucial. The student recapped in his closing remarks: "It's your responsibility to implement the programmes that make differences, and I say this is one of them".

Additional resources:

https://www.lions-quest.org/

Video material:

https://youtu.be/olyHCPVz90M

https://youtu.be/aH4WU4Hni4s

Power point presentations:

Lions_Quest_SFA_Implementation_process_in_SEE.ppt

Experience_of_the_Lions_Quest_school-based_prevention_program.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_-Results_Montenegro.pptx

Lions_Quest_SFA_Research_Results_and_Policy_Implications.pptx

UNODC and Serbian professionals drafted a training curriculum on smuggling of migrants 

7-9 March 2018, Vrdnik, Serbia: The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held within the context of the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe'. The project is funded by U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented in Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by UNODC through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants, in close cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The aim of the project is to develop specialized training capacity on countering SOM, through delivering customized training materials on migrant smuggling and making it available for training of different target groups of criminal justice practitioners operating in relevant areas. Within the same project, expert group members will develop and pilot-test the materials and proposed methodology, while using UNODC e-learning modules on migrant smuggling that will be localized into Serbian language and made available to the competent training institution in March 2018.

This TOT workshop in Vrdnik was a follow-up to another such event on training delivery techniques held on 4-8 December 2017 in Arandjelovac, Serbia, and a further step in the process of curriculum development. The members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, consisting of 16 experts, including prosecutors, law enforcement offices, representatives of protection services, academia and civil society, as well as US ICITAP, worked together to test case-based simulation methodology, in order to check and shape the contents and decide on thematic areas of the training curriculum, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of problem-oriented education.

The Expert Group for the development of the SOM training curriculum in Serbia decided to use a combination of e-learning modules and case-based simulation activities as core elements of the SOM training curriculum. The process of developing a draft training curriculum, including a lessons plan, case materials and training aids engaged all members of the Expert Group in different phases of the TOT workshop.

In the weeks following this training workshop, the project activities will focus on building the structure of the case simulation and creating the necessary training materials related to the case (evidence, leads for trainees, tasks, tools, forms, visuals, etc.). The Expert trainers will revise the methodology ensuring sequencing and other necessary technical features are well-designed for optimal learning. Selected parts of the UNODC in-depth training manual on SOM will be translated and used as a background reader. Suggested dates for the pilot training workshop are 21-25 May 2018.

 

UNODC and CEPOL Joint Training Needs Assessment Mission Successfully Concluded in Albania

6-8 March 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) undertook a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) mission to identify key technical and training needs for the staff of the Albanian law enforcement agencies involved in fight against serious and organized crime and financial investigations. Based on the outcomes of the mission, the national training plan on financial investigations will be developed.

During the TNA mission, the experts from UNODC and CEPOL held a series of meetings with the Albanian law enforcement sector, law enforcement training institutions and the EU as well as the international community in order to ensure that the needs and priorities of the Albanian law enforcement institutions in the area of financial investigations are addressed and that the project activities are complimentary to the existing capacity building efforts provided by the international community on the ground.

This TNA mission was organized in the framework of the recently launched joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building initiative on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Combatting Serious and Organized Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

Joint OSCE-UNODC regional training course on cryptocurrencies, darknet and open-source investigations concludes in Tirana

5-9 March 2018, Tirana, Albania: Enhancing the knowledge and skills of criminal justice practitioners from South Eastern Europe in investigating cryptocurrencies and the darknet and using open-source intelligence methods was the focus of a one-week training course jointly delivered by the OSCE and UNODC from 5 to 9 March 2018 at the Albanian Security Academy in Tirana.

The course, which was jointly organized by the OSCE Secretariat's Transnational Threats Department and the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering, with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Albanian Security Academy, was attended by 19 members of various criminal justice institutions from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The training course provided participants with a comprehensive overview of key issues related to the criminal use of cryptocurrencies and the darknet. The main concepts and current questions linked to compliance, regulation and seizure of cryptocurrencies were discussed. Trainees had the opportunity to operate with real Bitcoin transactions and to practice Bitcoin tracing. The second part of the course focused on investigating the darknet using open-source intelligence. Participants were given a broad and detailed picture of criminal activities on Tor marketplaces and gained hands-on experience by using several open-source resources for investigative purposes.

Since this course is a part of a larger OSCE regional capacity-building initiative to enhance training capacities of beneficiary countries in combating cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime, one day was also dedicated to further developing the training skills of those participants who will serve as national trainers in the next phases of the project.

The course was the fourth in a series of regional training activities, taking place from January until the end of April this year, within this project. The project is a collaborative endeavour of the OSCE Secretariat's Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE field operations in South Eastern Europe, and their respective host authorities.

The project's implementation is steered by a co-ordination board which selects and nominates participants for each regional training activity and will later monitor and evaluate local training activities run by the beneficiaries themselves in the second part of the project.

The largest haul of cocaine seized at Durres Port in Albania

28 February 2018, Durres, Albania: Carrying out a coordinated joint operation, the Port Control Unit (PCU) at Durres Port, Albania, seized 613kg.35gr. of cocaine. The PCU officers working on the basis of risk indicators deployed themselves to the container terminal where four containers of bananas originating from Colombia were expected to arrive. The officers monitored the shipment trip to the Port of Durres and waited for ten days for the local company to collect the shipment. 

Supported by the scanner images, the officers drilled in a double layer floor of one of the containers where more than half a ton of cocaine was concealed.

It is reported that the seized cocaine has a market value of 180 million Euro.

This has been the most successful and team-spirited operation since the establishment of the PCU at Durres Port in 2013 under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

This largest seizure in the history of Albania has been hailed by the Government of Albania and the international community as an indication of Albania's commitment in the combat against international drug trafficking.

 

UNODC, CEPOL and Western Balkans Partners Held First Coordination Meeting

23 February 2018, Budapest, Hungary: The first technical meeting of the UNODC National Project Focal Points and the National Contact Points of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 was successfully concluded at the CEPOL premises in Budapest, Hungary.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform the regional participants of the project activities and to raise awareness and enhance the visibility of the project's activities on the ground, in addition to the dissemination and exploitation of the prospective project results.

This meeting was the first partnership meeting held in the framework of the recently launched joint UNODC and CEPOL two-year capacity building initiative on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe. The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) process, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkans Combatting Serious and Organized Crime initiative (WBCSCi). The initiative is part of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The objective of this initiative in the region is two-fold:

  • enhance the ability of the regional participants to detect, deter and prosecute money laundering, financing of terrorism, including foreign terrorist fighters, in order to degrade organized crime and terrorism threats, and
  • enhance the ability of the regional participants for interagency and international cooperation on anti-money laundering, combating terrorism financing and asset recovery, so as to reduce threats of transnational organized crime and terrorism.

UNODC undertakes the second training with Macedonian officials on smuggling of migrants

20-21 February 2018, Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A training of trainers (TOT) workshop on case based-simulation techniques, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held in the premises of the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" in Skopje.

The TOT workshop was organized within the context of the project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', and was a follow-up to the TOT workshop held on 7-8 February in Mavrovo, and a futher step in the process of curriculum development, explained in the respective article below.

The current event is another element in the comprehensive process of the development of the curriculum and building capacity of the national criminal justice systems in the region of South Eastern Europe. A follow up TOT with the Expert Group on substantive aspect of developing the curriculum on smuggling of migrants will be held in Skopje on 15-16 March 2018.

UNODC providing integrated support for justice, security in South Eastern Europe, says Executive Director

16 February 2018, Vienna, Austria: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is advancing real-time, integrated cooperation to address justice and security challenges in South Eastern Europe, said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov today.

"We are operating in complex times, with new threats arising as we deal with continuing security challenges. I am proud to say that the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe is responding to them in a solid manner," he said.

Speaking at the opening of the Ninth Steering Committee Meeting on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the UNODC Chief highlighted work to address challenges posed by drugs, as well as smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and returning foreign terrorist fighters.

A 2015 UNODC study found that the estimated value of illicit opiates trafficked along the Balkan route was US$28 billion annually.

Mr. Fedotov said UNODC had taken a number of comprehensive steps in South Eastern Europe including enhancing the region's UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Programme, intercepting illicit financial flows, and preventing and treating drug use.

He also emphasized UNODC initiatives to strengthen real-time cooperation between law enforcement authorities, including through its Inter-Regional Drug Control Approach, and the One UNODC Concerted Approach to Europe, West and Central Asia.  

Thanks to its innovative, flexible framework, UNODC's Regional Programme is helping countries fulfil obligations with respect to UN Conventions and the decisions of UN organs, as well as their own national priorities, including to meet European Union requirements, he noted.

The Regional Programme, in 2017, joined the newly established Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative, a political platform designed to promote effectiveness in countering terrorism, fighting serious and organized crime, and strengthening border control.

Participants at the Ninth Steering Committee included ambassadors, donors and partners, as well as UN Resident Coordinators of countries in the region.

UNIS press release: http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2018/uniscp1031.html

Port Control Unit at Durres Port Seizes over 11 kg of Heroin

10 February 2018, Durres, Albania: 11.395 kg of heroin concealed in a truck loaded with garments were seized at the Port of Durres by the Port Control Unit (PCU) established in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The truck, with an Albanian driver, was heading to Ancona, Italy. Upon inspection, the PCU officers decided to take the truck to the scanner terminal. Following the scan, which provided non-intrusive images, the officers exercised a second inspection and discovered an adopted compartment in the driver's cabin where heroin was found.

The case is turned over to the Prosecution Office for further investigation.

CCP in South Eastern Europe is currently generously supported by the Governments of France and Luxembourg.

UNODC trained Macedonian professionals on smuggling of migrants training delivery techniques

7-8 February 2018, Mavrovo, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Migrant smuggling is a transnational crime that has been expanding significantly in the past few years affecting an increasing number of countries. Intelligence indicates that most flows directed towards the EU transiting through the Western Balkans are managed by organized criminal groups. Criminal networks vary in size: regional and smaller networks operate autonomously and rely on freelancers who act as drivers, recruiters, document falsifiers or organizers.

While pressure on the borders has considerably diminished after the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Statement in March 2016, the use of the Western Balkan route for smuggling migrants has remained constant or has reportedly increased for certain groups.

The training of trainers (TOT) workshop on training delivery techniques, within the context of developing a curriculum on the smuggling of migrants was held in Mavrovo on 7-8 February 2018. The TOT was organized under the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants (SOM) in South Eastern Europe', funded by the U.S. Department of State and its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and implemented in Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The project is implemented through the Global Programme against Smuggling of Migrants, in close cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

With this project, UNODC provides technical assistance to the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors "Pavel Shatev" to develop a multi-disciplinary training curriculum for The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through the project, customized training materials on SOM are being developed, pilot-tested and made available for the multi-disciplinary target groups of practitioners from the criminal justice and protection sectors.

This first TOT workshop was a stepping stone in the process of curriculum development: members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group, consisted of 12 experts as judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, academia and civil society, started working together to shape the contents of the training curriculum and discussed training methods, in line with the latest international training approaches in this field and the methodology of problem-oriented education.

The multi-disciplinary composition of the expert group is meant to facilitate a comprehensive process in terms of curriculum development and capacity building, taking into account the criminal justice and the protection aspects of the phenomenon. A follow up TOT with the Expert Group on substantive aspect of developing the curriculum on smuggling of migrants will be held in Skopje on 20-21 February 2018.

UNODC delegation visits Pristina

5-7 February 2018, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The UNODC Chief of Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, accompanied by delegation and the UNODC Rule of Law Advisor at UNMIK, visited Pristina.

The mission agenda included meetings with UNMIK, senior officials, international partners and the UN Development Coordinator. The main purpose of the mission was to discuss the efforts to tackle organized crime, including illicit financial flows and illicit trafficking. The mission also had a particular focus on the new areas of cooperation within the framework of the EU-led Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG), of which UNODC is an active participant and implementing agency. The mission was also an opportunity to introduce the newly appointed UNODC Rule of Law Advisor, who will work in particular on anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism issues, to the counterparts in Pristina and to brief them on the respective workplan with specific emphasis on Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. The activities in this field are being and will continue to be undertaken in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans reviewed

5-6 February 2018, Tirana, Albania: UNODC participated in a conference of the Global Counterterrorism Forum: "Nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism Initiative". The conference was the second regional meeting (focused on Western Balkans) under the initiative led by the Netherlands and in partnership with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. The objectives of the event were:

  • to raise awareness, identify needs and resources, better understand the nexus;
  • expand and tailor the toolkit for dealing with the different aspects of the nexus, including information sharing, criminal justice, border controls, soft target protection, and address the life cycle of radicalization from prevention to intervention to rehabilitation and reintegration; and
  • develop a set of internationally recognized, non-binding good practices, which can serve as the basis for international engagement, assistance, and training to address the potential challenge posed by the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime, and which can help authorities at global, national, and local levels solve this problem.

In the meeting, extensive discussions took place concerning the mechanisms of coordination of donors, the regional counter-terrorism initiative, and border management. The meeting reviewed the topic of the foreign terrorism fighters in the region and addressed the topic of weapons trafficking across the region and their deployment for terrorist activities.

UNODC highlighted the capacity building activities of UNODC concerning the nexus and presented the outputs of the project entitled "Strengthening Research and Evaluation Capacity on Linkages between Organized Crime and Terrorism within Tertiary Institutions Globally", a component of the Education for Justice project. This project seeks to provide tertiary education institutions with a guide to develop education modules on the nexus, and to strengthen the body of available academic research on existing or emerging linkages between organized crime and terrorism. UNODC presented the December 2017 draft of the "Educational Issues Paper" and its associated literature review.

UNODC also described the capacity building activities of UNODC projects in South Eastern Europe: "Strengthening the legal regime against emerging terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters", "Normative and administrative challenges relating to the foreign terrorist fighters threat", and "EU-UNODC global initiative on FTF in Middle East and North Africa and South Eastern Europe".

More attention is paid to trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the region

2 February 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC took part in a meeting of the Coordination group on illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The Group is an initiative launched by the Governments of France and Germany to promote a more integrated and coordinated action to tackle small arms proliferation in the region.

The meeting in Podgorica provided an opportunity to discuss existing programmatic activities in Montenegro, define the gaps and needs in the country, draw up recommendations for national authorities, and identify promising initiatives and opportunities for further collaboration between donors.

In the course of the meeting, the Government of Montenegro presented the national efforts in the fight against the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW), achievements and remaining challenges. The South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of SALW (SEESAC) gave a brief overview of the current national situation.

The meeting reviewed the roadmap in the subject area, which would include elements of cross-border control; legislative and regulatory frameworks; management and exchange of data and information; SALW collection and destruction and other topics.

The UNODC Global Firearms Programme and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme participated in the event and briefed the participants on the Office's possible role within the new roadmap, as well as the long experience in implementing capacity-building programmes and presence in the region of South Eastern Europe.

Heads of Border Police agencies review the way forward in the Western Balkans

31 January - 2 February 2018, Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC joined the Meeting of the Border Police Chiefs organised under the auspices of the Border Security Programme of the DCAF-Ljubljana.

The DCAF Border Security Programme contributes to the raising of efficiency of border management authorities in Southeast Europe and fosters mutual cooperation to successfully mitigate modern and occurring security threats to regional and European border integrity. It aims to enhance the security of citizens and support the free movement of people, goods and ideas.

The Trebinje meeting focused on the review of progress within the DCAF Border Security Programme in 2017 and addressed recent developments relating to the security in the Western Balkan region. The event also particularly focused on the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (IISG), and specifically its Pillar III - Western Balkan Border Security initiative (WBBSi).

The participants of the event exchanged views and approaches on addressing contemporary security challenges and discussed the way forward for the period 2018-2020.

For more information: http://www.dcaf-ljubljana.si/ and http://wb-iisg.com/

UNODC and OSCE Secretariat sign new 2018-2019 joint action plan

31 January 2018, Vienna, Austria: A plan for joint action by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretariat for the period 2018-2019 was signed by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna.

The OSCE Secretariat-UNODC Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 reflects the two organizations' contributions to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and allows for more streamlined technical collaboration in twelve subject areas. These areas include combating transnational organized crime, preventing and countering violent extremism leading to terrorism, combating trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants, anti-money-laundering activities, and security sector governance and reform.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "I welcome UNODC's ongoing cooperation with the OSCE, which is one of our key strategic partners. When taken together, the Joint Action Plan, regular expert consultations and staff talks provide an effective foundation for action against the challenges of drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism, and support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

The signing of the Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 was accompanied by presentations from UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat, which illustrated the distinct benefits and added value of closer collaboration between the two organizations.

"This joint action plan has emerged from a genuine culture of cooperation between our organizations," said OSCE Secretary General Greminger. "It is based on the profound understanding that only by drawing from our respective comparative advantages can we be effective in countering transnational threats to security."

The Joint Action Plan 2018-2019 contains four new subject areas on security sector governance and reform; preventing and combating violence against women; combating cybercrime; and combating trafficking in cultural property that reinforce the evolving nature of the threats faced by the international community.  

Official collaboration between UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat on the basis of joint action plans was first established in 2011, and the current plan is the fourth of its kind. Subject to the availability of funding and within the framework of each organization's mandate, the plans allow for greater coordination and the implementation of joint programmes and activities. This includes coordination and cooperation through the exchange of best practices, the organization of joint workshops, joint technical assistance and sharing resources.

UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to diplomats in Vienna

22 January 2018, Vienna, Austria: Update on the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe was presented to the first in 2018 formal meeting of the Standing Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC (FinGov) under its fifth mandate.

The UNODC representatives presented the results of work in South Eastern Europe in 2017, including the update on the work of the three centres of expertise in the region (in Tirana, Albania; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Belgrade, Serbia), as well as the increased presence in the region. The principles and the general coordination arrangements of the Regional Programme were highlighted.

In presenting the work by Sub-Programme, UNODC pointed out the successful work of the Port Control Units in the region, the capacity building activities that took place within the Container Control Programme, and the seizures made. It was mentioned that, in the spirit of inter-regional cooperation, a visit of officials from Afghanistan was organized to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Specified were also the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming and the Award of Excellence received by two Albanian officers from the Port Control Unit.

The progress of the initiative on "Measuring and Assessing Organised Crime in the Western Balkans" was presented. The results of work in the arms control were highlighted, in particular with regard to the important for the region topics of identification, tracing of firearms and ammunition, their marking and detection of firearms trafficking. The initiatives on countering forest crime and an assessment of the cannabis cultivation were mentioned.

The inter-regional forensic cooperation was pointed out, in particular two exchange visits, which took place between forensic institutions of Serbia and Kyrgyzstan.

It was noted that within the UNODC programmes on countering trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, in addition to four regional and national events, in 2017, for the first time in this region, held two cross-sectoral events on cross-border investigation and prosecution of smuggling of migrants, including through cross-border financial investigations and disrupting illicit financial flows.

An important area of the Regional Programme on anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism was presented. It was pointed out that, in addition to the technical assistance at regional and national levels (four events and daily work), in 2017, UNODC has entered into a new partnership with the EU Directorate General for Neighbourhood Policies and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) on the new Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG). UNODC is an active member of the WB IISG.

UNODC pointed out that within the initiative on anti-corruption and cooperation with civil society, a large-scale regional seminar was organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina for business leaders and business associations on voluntary and compliance-based approaches to addressing corruption in the private sector, including private to private corruption.

Within two UNODC initiatives on foreign terrorism fighters (FTF), UNODC has developed a Manual for Judicial Training Institutions in South Eastern Europe and held a total of twelve national and regional workshops and events.

Under the Sub-Programme III of the Regional Programme, and within the UNODC Global programmes on prevention and treatment of drug use, active work has continued in 2017, being quite evenly distributed between the countries of the region, and included the implementation of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme, a new national programme "Strong Families" which works on refugee and migrant drug use prevention, as well as various national initiatives on drug dependence treatment, including drug dependence treatment quality standards.

The presenters thanked the UNODC colleagues, as well as donors and partners of the Regional Programme for their support and cooperation.

Active implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe will continue in 2018.

UNODC advances efforts to measure organized crime

17 January 2018, Vienna, Austria:  A comprehensive understanding of the nature and extent of organized crime is lacking in almost every region of the world. With a view to addressing this challenge, UNODC initiated the development of a framework for measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans.

Measuring progress at the regional and national levels has proved to be a difficult one given the lack of comparable data analysis on the dynamics of organised crime. In this regard, UNODC's new framework will present a clear way forward for States to assess the volume of organized crime and their responses to it.

The framework will focus on a set of indicators to collect and analyse data on activities and modus operandi of organized criminal groups; organized crime enablers such as corruption, obstruction of justice and technology; States' responses; and the size of illegal markets. The analysis of such data will lead to more focused prevention methods and monitoring of policy interventions.

"The beneficiary countries have the opportunity to participate in this important initiative and lead the way in terms of progress," said Angela Me, UNODC's Head of Research and Trend Analysis Branch, speaking about the framework.

For sustainable and efficient development of the framework, UNODC is working closely with national statistical offices. The Office has recently completed data availability assessments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

Funded by the European Commission, the framework will contribute to the beneficiaries' national priorities, in particular the European Union (EU) integration process. The outcome will complement the Commission's annual progress report, focusing on Chapter 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, freedom and security).

The framework will be followed by a series of data collections starting mid-2018 and capacity building activities on data collection and reporting. A final analytical report on organized crime in the Western Balkans will be produced in 2019.

UNODC launches manual on investigation and prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters

19 December 2017, Vienna, Austria: Foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) continue to pose a threat to the international community, with South Eastern Europe having been identified as one of the regions that remains most vulnerable to the phenomenon.

Acknowledging that coordination across borders is key to identify the most appropriate criminal justice responses, UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch developed a new training manual entitled, " Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Manual for Judicial Training Institutes, South-Eastern Europe".

The manual seeks to provide guidance on international legal instruments against FTF activities and techniques for digital investigation and evidence collection, especially concerning global financial transactions and social media activity. While it is tailored for judicial training institutes in South Eastern Europe, it can be utilized in any jurisdiction seeking resources to address the FTF threat.

Dolgor Solongo, Officer-in-Charge of the Implementation Support Section 1 of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, said: "UNODC developed this training manual with practitioners, for practitioners, and we hope to adapt it for other stakeholders needing practical guidance in investigating and prosecuting foreign terrorist fighter cases."

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, said: "These recommendations are aimed at assisting Member States to establish and enhance policies, laws and institutional capacity to provide improved outcomes for victims, while fully respecting the rule of law and rights of accused persons."

The manual is the product of a multi-year project to build the specialized legal capacity of judicial and prosecutorial training institutes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Funded by the United States, the publication of the manual and project activities were conducted under the Branch's Global Project on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Terrorism.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2017/December/unodc-launches-manual-on-investigation-and-prosecution-of-foreign-terrorist-fighters.html

Training in Serbia on identification and tracing of firearms and ammunition

19-20 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) and the United Nations Development Programme's regional project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)" organized in Belgrade, Serbia, a sub-regional training for 17 police officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia on identification and tracing of firearms and ammunition. Germany provided financial support for the organization of the event.

The objective of the training was to enhance the knowledge and skills of first line responders to identify trafficked firearms, collect and record relevant data and successfully participate in international information exchange.

The first session examined the international framework on firearms tracing and provided the participants with detailed knowledge on the categorization of firearms, record-keeping, evidence collection, and the methods for tracing. Several cases studies on firearms were discussed and examples provided on diversion of firearms from licit to the illicit market. The second session introduced details about the firearms, their parts and components, and working mechanisms. The topic of conversion was highlighted with several case studies. The third session presented to the participants information on new technologies, including 3D printed firearms, modular firearms and smart guns.

The following sessions provided police officers with the opportunity to receive additional information on markings on firearms and ballistic identification of ammunition. Examples were discussed about markings at the time of manufacture, post manufacturing markings, including import, deactivation, proof house's symbols, and ammunition identification.

UNODC GFP and SEESAC focused in the organization of the training on transmitting practical skills and knowledge - all participants were provided with laptops and were able to practice with tools for identification of firearms and ammunition. Specifically, the police officers used the Firearms Reference Table and Cartwin Pro software to identify firearms and ammunition. They participated in tracing simulations and received first-hand experience in working with the European Union tracing manual, INTERPOL iArms, and information on the use of the E-Trace system of USA.

In 2018, UNODC GFP and SEESAC will continue providing specialized training for criminal justice practitioners from the Western Balkan countries on detection, identification, and tracing of firearms and ammunition.

Workshop on firearms marking held in Belgrade

14 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme held a workshop with the members of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia on marking of firearms and ammunition.

In the course of the event, UNODC presented a report on best practices of marking of imported firearms and ammunition. The report provides examples for import marking from the legislation and practice of countries from the European Union, as well as Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America. It contains legislative provisions and administrative guidelines on the organization of the marking process, the technical requirements for marking and record-keeping. The report presents also the Technical Guidelines, Standards and Best Practices on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition developed by UNODC. The Chair of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons presented the draft Law on Testing and Marking of Firearms and Ammunition, in which the national authorities have incorporated UNODC's recommendations. The draft Law will be submitted for approval by the Parliament in January 2018.

The Serbian officials presented also the Regulation on deactivation of firearms, which foresees among others placing a specific mark on the deactivated firearms. The Regulation establishes the procedure, conditions and methods for deactivation. The adopted Regulation brings Serbian legislation in compliance with the international obligations of the country stemming from the ratification of the UN Firearms Protocol and from process of accession to the European Union.

Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 2.5kg of Heroin

16 December 2017, Durres , Albania: Heroin worth 90,000 Euro was seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU) at Durres Port, Albania.

The seizure of 2kg. 568gr. occurred when a trailer loaded with pellet (wood for fire) destined for Italy entered the first line of control.  The heroin was hidden in the driver's cabin and the seizure was a result of a coordinated effort between the scanner team and PCU officers.

The case is turned over to the Serious Prosecution Office for further investigation.

This recent seizure takes the total number of kilos of heroin seized at Durres Port by the PCU to 59.5 kg.  The Port Control Unit at Durres Port is established in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Regional meeting of firearms control practitioners community in Belgrade

12-13 December 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) organized a regional meeting for criminal justice practitioners from the Western Balkan countries on exchange of good practices and experiences in combatting illicit firearms trafficking. Germany provided financial support for the organization of the regional event.

During the two-day meeting, prosecutors and border police officers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia presented cases on trafficking in firearms from their practice. They exchanged information on trafficking routes, profiles of traffickers, methods of concealment, evidence gathering, law enforcement and judicial co-operation. UNODC GFP presented an initiative on developing a Digest of Illicit Firearms Cases, with the objective to compile and analyse practical experiences, including concrete legal techniques, common protocols and operational norms, new and emerging forms of criminality.

The regional meeting is part of the UNODC's efforts to foster the exchanges of good practices and experiences and to develop a "Community of Practitioners" (CoP) in accordance with the recommendations of the Working Group meeting. The CoP is a space for building knowledge, innovation and efficiency by bringing together professionals who share a common work activity with a view to deepening their knowledge and expertise by interacting on an ongoing basis. Peer-to-peer learning lies at the core of this knowledge management tool, which helps practitioners explore and identify joint solutions to common problems, facilitates the exchange of information on news, events and/or topics of shared interest, promotes professional development and generates useful knowledge and skills that individual members can apply in their daily work.

Enhancement of efficiency of border control in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported

4-6 December 2017, Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The fifth Mentorship visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Bijača Border Crossing Point, working within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) was organized. The implementation of the knowledge received during capacity building events is regularly evaluated through such Mentoring events. The visits also aim at measuring the effectiveness of the CCP Units and at solving practical challenges and barriers, as well as at identification of necessary additional training needs and other required support.

To ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the PCU at Bijača, the Mentorship visit gave particular attention to conducting profiling and risk assessment of containerized shipments transiting land-border point Bijača, as well as broadening cooperation with the private sector entities, especially forwarding agents. Furthermore, the Mentorship visit reviewed other challenges that the PCU meets in performing its regular activities, suggested possible improvements and offered solutions aimed at enhancement of the Unit's capacities.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014. Throughout 2017, the Programme's implementation in the country is conducted with the generous support of the Government of the United States of America - Export Control and Border related Security (ERXBS) Programme.

Workshop on marking of firearms and ammunition in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 December 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a workshop with the Working Group on the implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition. The workshop was organized with financial support from Germany.

UNODC presented the UNODC's report on the Implementation of Import Marking Requirements for Firearms and Ammunition. Detailed explanation was provided on the international and regional regulatory frameworks. UNODC GFP reviewed examples for import marking from various countries in the European Union, including Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, and Lithuania. The members of the Working Groups discussed also examples of national regulations from Switzerland, USA and Canada.

The second session of the workshop was devoted to the review of the technical guidelines, standards and best practices on marking of firearms and ammunition. UNODC GFP presented the solutions envisaged by the Technical Guide for the implementation of the UN Firearms Protocol and elaborated over practices of some Member States in marking of ammunition, including Brazil. The participants discussed the various methods for marking of firearms and reflected upon the experience gained during the study visit to the Vienna Proof House, organized by UNODC GFP in October 2017.

The Working Group presented the draft regulation on marking of imported firearms and ammunition, which has incorporated various best practices from the international and national legal frameworks, based on the UNODC's report. The participants discussed the record-keeping process and the exchange of information between the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and the Ministries of Interior of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srbska for conducting tracing in firearms trafficking cases. Several options for operational data exchange were considered and proposals for the development of relevant software solutions were made. The participants discussed also the technical requirements for the implementation of the marking process and briefed UNODC GFP on the procedures envisioned for marking firearms and on the data, which will be collected and recorded for the purposes of firearms tracing.

The regulation for implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms and Ammunition will be presented for adoption by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the end of 2017.

Training on Detection of Firearms Trafficking at Land Border Crossing Points

28-30 November 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with UK Border Force Skills Academy and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a training for 20 customs officers on detection of firearms trafficking at land border crossing points. The capacity building event was support through a generous contribution from the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNODC's Global Firearms Programme provided information on the international instruments on arms control, including the UN Convention on Organzied Crime, UN Firearms Protocol, Arms Trade Treaty, International Tracing Instrument and UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control, and presented updated information on the existing arms embargos. The participants received a briefing on the links between organized crime and terrorism, on the use of firearms in terrorist attacks at regional and global levels, on firearms trafficking from the Western Balkans, and on foreign terrorist fighters from the countries in the region. Further, UNODC discussed investigations of firearms trafficking and provided overview of the procedures for domestic and international tracing, marking, record-keeping and exchange of information at national and international levels.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the national legal framework on arms import and exports, provided updates on the recent changes and informed about forthcoming legislative initiatives. Moreover, the Ministry's officials explained in detail the implementation of the existing regulations, reviewed the required documentation and analyzed the relevant procedures. The participants received answers on the application of the national legislation, on the incorporation of the relevant EU acquis and its impact on the national practices for arms control, discussed specific cases and developed various scenarios.

WCO provided detailed overview of the concept of risk assessment and management. First, the participants received information about the Kyoto Convention and the WCO framework. They obtained knowledge on the risk management process, required documentation and the organizational priorities. Later, they reviewed several examples of the risk management process and learned about available tools, which can support their work.

The representative of the UK Border Force Skills Academy acquainted the customs officials with the process of profiling vehicles and passengers, including the use of indicators and relevant methodology. The participants learned about concealment methods and detection practices. A practical exercise on detecting firearms took place at the premises of the Customs Administration where the participants used a training vehicle and received hands-on experience on locating possible concealments for firearms trafficking.

In 2018, UNODC's Global Firearms Programme will continue working with authorities from the Western Balkan countries and support their activities in detecting and investigating firearms trafficking.

UNODC and OSCE compare notes on their work

27 November 2017, Vienna, Austria: UNODC and the OSCE Secretariat held consultations on the development of the new Joint Action Plan for the period 2018-2019. The Action Plan is a key document that supports the coordination efforts of the two agencies in the various fields of their work all over the OSCE region. The Action Plan covers such topics as: countering illicit drug trafficking; transnational organized crime; violent extremism leading to terrorism; criminal justice reform; countering firearms and small arms trafficking; human trafficking and smuggling of migrants; anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism, and others. The Action Plan is an effective mechanism to coordinate work, ensure non-duplication of efforts, support communication channels, formalize cooperation where necessary, and at the same time, facilitate the partnership in a strategic and yet practical manner.

UNODC supports raising the capacity to disrupt financial flaws for terrorist activities in South Eastern Europe

21-23 November 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Regional Seminar "Countering Financing of Terrorism: Disruption of the Financial Flaws of Terrorist Networks in South Eastern Europe" was jointly organized by the UNODC's Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the Embassy of Republic of France in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The seminar brought together practitioners in the subject field from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Slovenia and responded to the central role of the region in the modus operandi of organized crime groups, in particular those related to drug trafficking and money laundering. Furthermore, in the framework of the event, it was reiterated that trafficking of drugs along the Balkan route remains one substantial revenue source of terrorist groups.

This initiative served as a forum for exchange of counter-terrorism experiences among key regional stakeholders - Financial Intelligence Units, state agencies, national police and investigation services, tax authorities and public prosecution offices.

The participants had the opportunity to share their professional experiences, in particular related to the most recent typologies and trends in their countries. The seminar also included a tailored programme consisting of practical exercises on various methods for gathering financial intelligence and disruption of financial flows delivered by an UNODC expert. Finally, participants exchanged views on the regional challenges pertinent to combatting financing of terrorism and disruption the financial flows of terrorist network and concluded that the successful outcome of their actions depends on strong regional cooperation, harmonization of policies and protocols, improved capacities of relevant stakeholders and interaction with the private sector.

In the closing discussions, participants and experts agreed on the value of the initiative and the need of further strengthening the technical capacities in the region.

Paris Pact Initiative Discusses Illicit Financial Flows

21-22 November 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Paris Pact Expert Working Group (EWG) on Illicit Financial Flows was held by UNODC in the building of the former National Assembly of Serbia in Belgrade. The event was attended by nearly 60 participants, representing 19 countries and 5 international organizations.

The EWG on Illicit Financial Flows was directly related to the Pillar II of the Vienna Declaration, adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners in February 2012, which serves as the roadmap to guide all partner actions in support to the Initiative and guiding Paris Pact partners' actions throughout its Phase IV.

The EWG meeting was structured around the "Understand-Disrupt-Develop" approach which formed three main thematic items that were discussed with the guidance of UNODC. The participants were updated on the latest opiate trafficking trends with a focus on the South Eastern Europe, as well as on activities by the European Union, UNODC and the national Financial Intelligence Units from Afghanistan, Russian Federation and others. The experts also presented some topical studies on crypto-currencies, national risk assessment, SOCTAs and discussed anti-corruption strategies for financial investigation teams as well as other issues.

Based on the discussions and inputs provided by the meeting participants, the Expert Working Group was concluded with the formulation of draft recommendations, to be endorsed at the forthcoming Paris Pact Policy Consultative Group Meeting.

The EWG was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Serbia. Both Republic of Serbia and OSCE are partners to the Paris Pact Initiative.

Further information is available at www.paris-pact.net.

UNODC delegation visits Tirana

20-22 November 2017, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC Chief of Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia and UNODC Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe, accompanied by the UNODC Regional (South Eastern Europe) Advisor on Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-Financing of Terrorism visited Tirana.

The mission agenda included meetings with senior Albanian Government officials, international partners and the UN. The main purpose of the mission was to discuss the efforts of the Government of Albania to tackle organized crime, including the vision of the recently established Task Force "Power of Law". The mission also had a particular focus on the new areas of further productive cooperation with Albania within the framework of the EU-led Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG), of which UNODC is an active participant and implementing agency. The mission was also an opportunity to introduce the newly appointed UNODC Regional Advisor on anti-money laundering / counter-financing of terrorism issues to the counterparts in Tirana and to brief them on the respective workplan with specific emphasis on Albania, which meets the country's specialized needs in a targeted manner. The activities in this field are being and will continue to be undertaken in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

COSP7: Opportunity to showcase government-civil society cooperation in the UNCAC review 

10 November 2017, Vienna, Austria: This week's Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (COSP) continues to be a platform for civil society organizations and Governments to share best practices in its review mechanism.

On the margins of the Conference (6-10 November), the UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) organized a side event, bringing together various stakeholders to discuss best practices in the UNCAC review. Organized in partnership with the UNCAC Coalition, the event showcased the results of successful cooperation between Mauritius and Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities and their civil society counterparts.

In her opening remarks, Petra Schirnhofer from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) said: "The role of civil society in fighting corruption is more effective when their respective governments listen to them."

A representative from the Civil Society Network against Corruption in Mauritius underscored the importance of involving different groups of civil society, including religious leaders, in anti-corruption efforts. In response, the representative of the Mauritius Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) said that the Government and civil society organizations are integral partners in fighting corruption. Given the country's multicultural nature, it is critical to have structured and well-coordinated anti-corruption efforts across various societal groups, he emphasized.

Also participating, a representative of Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina talked about positive experiences gained from  the UNODC multi-stakeholder workshop, which took place in Sarajevo in September 2017. The event provided a learning opportunity for the representatives of the Bosnian authorities and led to a constructive dialogue with civil society during the second review cycle of the UNCAC implementation.

On that point, the representative of the Bosnian Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the Coordination of the Fight against Corruption (APIK) underlined that "considering the complex environment in the country, it would have been impossible to implement our anti-corruption plans without civil society's participation."

During the event, participants exchanged ideas on means to strengthen civil society organizations' engagement with Member States for future country reviews.

Also took place was the launch the UNCAC Coalition's Africa Region Anti-Corruption Platform, which presents civil society organizations' related work in the region.

More than 340 civil society representatives attended the COSP. 11 side events were organized by or with civil society.

The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is the main donor of CST's anti-corruption activities. With its financial support, anti-corruption activities will continue running until 2021.

Further Information:

Seventh session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNODC Engagement with Civil Society on Drug and Crime Prevention

UNODC and Macedonian counterparts discuss challenges of smuggling of migrants

1-2 November 2017, Ohrid, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: An Expert Group Meeting was held in the context of the UNODC work on strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe - an initiative funded by the Government of USA. The aim of the initiative is to develop specialized training capacity on countering smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through this project, customized training materials on migrant smuggling will be developed and made available for training of different target groups of criminal justice practitioners operating in relevant areas in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. Furthermore, expert group members will take part in training of trainers (TOT) sessions and then pilot-test the materials and the proposed methodology delivering training sessions to other groups of officials. UNODC e-learning modules on migrant smuggling will be localized and made available to the competent training institutions.

Judges, public prosecutors, lawyers, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Interior, Faculty for Security of the University "Sv. Kliment Ohridski", Bitola, the National commission on human trafficking and illegal migration, the Macedonian Young lawyers association and the civil society members from the NGO "Open Gate La Strada" have actively participated in the two-days Meeting.

The main goal of the Meeting was to set up priority thematic areas and methodology for future smuggling of migrants curriculum in the country. Migrant smuggling as challenge in the fight against the dispersion of organized crime, countering this phenomenon, the latest trends in the cases of migrant smuggling in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were discussed in the course of the event. The Meeting also reviewed, including through case studies, the problem of the jurisdiction of smuggling of migrants cases.

Developing smuggling of migrants curricular with the Academy for judges and prosecutors will continue with an aim to integrate it into the regular programme of education, and the next activity in this process will be the TOT tentatively planned for February 2018.

Customs and Police officers trained on use of HazMatID 360

31 October - 3 November 2017, Durres, Albania: A four-day training course for the Albanian Port Control Unit (PCU) officers and six other officers from the Albanian Customs and State Police aimed at increasing their operational capacities to use the HazMatID 360 machine was organized at Durres Port. The training course provided an in-depth knowledge about the manufacturing of the machine, its specifications as well as instructions on handling the machine in a scientific and professional way.

Conducted by a forensic expert from the Federal Criminal Police of Germany, the training included theoretical aspects and focused specifically on practical elements of work. The latter part of the training was carried out at the container terminal of Durres Port.

The equipment worth USD 65,000 is the latest version of the portable and rugged HazMatID chemical identification system, which provides fast and comprehensive in-field analysis of unknown solids, gels and liquids, including illicit narcotics. This is the first machine of this kind provided to the Albanian Customs and State Police and it is expected to mark a new stage in the work of the Port Control Unit in applying advanced technologies to the fight against illicit trafficking in narcotics and smuggling of hazardous substances.

 

UNODC and Serbia work in support of drug dependence treatment facilities

30 October 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: In collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, UNODC organized a training seminar on mapping of drug dependence treatment facilities with experts from over 35 treatment institutions across the country. The mapping of treatment facilities aims to collect relevant information on available resources to assist national counterparts in more precise strategic orientation of drug dependence treatment and care system.

The training event gathered representatives of the institutions in Serbia dealing with substance use disorders who had were informed about the envisaged activities, got acquainted with the culturally adapted UNODC-WHO mapping instrument and suggested data collection methodology.

Following the recommendations gathered during the first cycle of treatment facility mapping in Serbia, in September 2016, a new data collection methodology was proposed and arranged as an on-line platform for further use. Beside serving as the carrier for data collection instrument, the on-line platform will promote necessary information on drug dependence treatment and care and hence serve as a capacity building platform for broader audience and experts. Moreover, it will serve as a resource data base for applicable diagnostic therapeutic protocols and related legislative acts.

The occasion was co-facilitated by the representatives from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, as well as from the Clinical Center of Vojvodina, Department of Dependence Diseases of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Clinical Center Kragujevac, Clinic for Psychiatry.

Mapping of the treatment facilities will commence shortly with 37 treatment facilities and institutions across the country, including therapeutic communities, private sector and low threshold treatment programme organizations.

    

Award of Excellence bestowed to two Port Control Unit female officers

30 October 2017, Tirana, Albania: Two female officers of the Port Control Unit at Durres Port in Albania received the Award of Excellence in a ceremony organized on the occasion of the United Nations Day. The ceremony which took place at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania was attended by the Minister, Ambassador of Sweden in Albania, the UN Resident Coordinator, representatives from the diplomatic corps, ministries, academia, UN agencies and civil society. Two officers were awarded for their outstanding contribution as champion safe-keepers of the Albanian borders.

The award was bestowed to the PCU female officers by the Ambassador of Sweden, who in his remarks stated that he was honoured to give the award to two women who have committed themselves to the fight against organized crime, in particular, to the fight against illicit trafficking in narcotics. 

During the ceremony, five other Albanian women were honoured with the award. These women are active in the area of diplomacy and civil society, are survivors of the domestic violence, and women from Roma and Egyptian minority.

This year, in Albania, the UN Day theme was dedicated to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 - Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.  

The main product of this event was the documentary on women "who work behind the scenes", women who never make it on TV or other media, but who are the "silent heroes" who work across the country, including in law enforcement area, and make a big difference every day. The awards related to UN work in the area of gender equality.

The award is another milestone in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) where empowerment of the women's role remains a priority. The recent award adds up to the UNODC-WCO efforts in mainstreaming gender in the CCP implementation. 

 

UNODC and WCO support operational cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries

26-29 October 2017, land-border crossing point Gradiška, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Continuing to build cooperation between customs administrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, joint operational activity focused on prevention of illicit trafficking and other smuggling activities at the land-border Gradiška.

This activity represents continuation of ongoing efforts throughout 2017 aimed to identify illegal activities of organized crime exploiting maritime containers, interception of such consignments and psychical inspection of high-risk containers. During activity, a number of containerized shipments have been inspected on the basis of risk analyses and work conducted jointly by customs officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

In addition to this, activities of joint operations aimed to further develop interagency cooperation, including between and with customs, and cooperation with neighboring countries with the overall objective to increase levels of safety and security of the international supply chain, as well as overall border security.

Implementation of the joint activity took place within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme. Under the CCP framework, activities in Bosnia & Herzegovina were launched in 2014 to assist the host government to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, at the same time to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders. 

Paris Pact Initiative discusses precursor control

23-24 October 2017, Bucharest, Romania: The Paris Pact Expert Working Group (EWG) on Precursors was organized by UNODC at the Headquarters of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) in Bucharest. The event was attended by more than 60 participants, representing 21 countries and 8 international organizations.

The EWG on Precursors was directly related to the third law enforcement pillar - on precursors - of the Vienna Declaration, adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners in February 2012, which serves as the roadmap to guide all partner actions in support to the Initiative and guiding Paris Pact partners' actions throughout its Phase IV.

The EWG meeting reviewed a variety of topics, including the update on latest trends, routes and techniques used to smuggle precursor chemicals destined for use in heroin production, as well as operational elements of work, including international investigations into trafficking of precursors, identification and prevention of diversion of acetic anhydride, information sharing between regional centres, alignment of legal frameworks to improve the use of special investigative techniques, controlled deliveries, exchange of intelligence and parallel/joint investigations, and many others.

The EWG adopted draft recommendations which will be eventually presented for endorsement at the 14 th Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCGM), tentatively scheduled for February-March 2018.

Further information is available at http://www.selec.org/  and  www.paris-pact.net .

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in firearms tracing through implementation of firearms import marking

23 October 2017 , Vienna, Austria: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organized a study visit for five officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina and two officials from Serbia to Vienna Proof-House. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are in the process of developing and implementing procedures for marking of imported firearms, which improves their capacity to conduct domestic tracing. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina has established an inter-departmental Working Group for the implementation of the Law on Marking of Firearms, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior. Currently the Working Group is drafting the regulations, which will implement Law's provisions. Serbia has also initiated the process for drafting a Law on Marking of Firearms and formed a Working Group under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior.

The goal of the visit was to acquire information about the procedures and methods used by Vienna Proof-House to mark firearms, which are imported in Austria. During the course of the visit, the officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia received information about the organization of the marking process, including the responsibilities of the parties involved in the process, the cooperation with industry, the resources and organizational structures required to implement the marking of firearms. Further, the delegations learned about the methods of marking and testing of firearms at the Vienna Proof-House and witnessed several demonstrations. They took note of the various marks applied by the Vienna Proof-House and the procedures for record-keeping of information on marked firearms. The Head of Vienna Proof-House demonstrated the equipment for marking and testing of firearms and provided thorough information on the technical specifications, follow-up modifications and adjustments, which have improved the efficiency of the marking process and have made it cost-effective.

UNODC GFP will follow up on this activity by organizing two workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to present a report on regulations and best practices of import marking for the purpose of tracing firearms. The report summarizes the national experiences from countries with legislation on import marking, and provides further examples and recommendations. The study visit was organized with the generous support of the Government of Germany. 

For more information please refer to: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/index.html

UNODC leads the third regional dialogue on cross-border investigation and disrupting illicit financial flows from smuggling of migrants

18-20 October 2017, Split, Croatia: UNODC held the third Regional Expert Group Meeting on smuggling of migrants as it relates to illicit financial flows in South Eastern Europe. The event has gathered representatives of transit and destination countries in the region, Turkey, EU, as well as regional and international organizations.

The primary objective of the meeting was to support a coordinated response to smuggling of migrants across borders within the wider region of South Eastern Europe, and hence to assist in the implementation of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The specific goal of the event was to raise awareness on parallel and joint investigations, as well as the use of special investigative techniques and financial investigations by mapping the latest trends, identifying the needs, challenges and priorities of the South Eastern European countries and jurisdictions in combating smuggling of migrants.

Criminal justice practitioners, financial investigators and specialised prosecutors tasked with investigating and prosecuting migrant smuggling and organized crime through financial investigations were the main focus group of the event. The participants gained a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the issues involved in preventing and combating the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe through cross-border investigations and prosecutions. They also had an opportunity to review the benefits of a 'joined up' national and regional approach to detecting and intercepting criminal networks behind the migrant smuggling in order to bring them to justice in full compliance with international protection and assistance obligations.  Regional cooperation between respective law enforcement agencies and judiciary in the investigation of transnational criminal networks engaged in migrant smuggling was also an important topic of the meeting.

Following the session on regional and international organizations' role and perspectives on cross-border cooperation in combating smuggling of migrants, experts exchanged practical experiences concerning cross-border cooperation and use of special investigative techniques in combating smuggling of migrants. In particular, practitioners from the region provided operational examples of good practices, challenges and lessons learnt in cross-border cooperation and use of special investigative techniques. Given the centrality of the principle "follow the money" for effectively combating the smuggling of migrants as form of organized crime, a session was dedicated to the role of private sector, the role of Hawalas and other similar service providers (HOSSPs) and practical experiences in SEE (concrete cases from Croatia, Bulgaria, France and Serbia) in detecting and disrupting illicit financial flows in combating smuggling of migrants. The last sessions were dedicated to drafting and validating a model of protocol for cooperation in combating smuggling of migrants, which will be prepared by the UNODC as an outcome of three REGMs.

The meeting was implemented by the UNODC's Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe in cooperation with the State Attorney General's Office of Croatia and with the generous contribution of the Government of France.

 Strong Families prevention programme for Afghan refugee families successfully initiated in Serbia

18-20 October 2017, Vranje, Serbia: In partnership with Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, UNODC initiated piloting of "Strong Families" programme for the prevention of drugs, crime and violence on Afghan refugee families currently stranded in refuge reception centers in Republic of Serbia.

The "Strong Families" is a family skills programme developed as part of a global project on prevention of the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of Drug Prevention and Health Branch for families living in challenged situations (including the refugees, the internally displaced, those in conflict/post conflict situations and those in rural settings).

The programme is designed for families with children aged between 7 and 14 with the aim of improving parenting skills, child well-being and family mental health. More specifically, the pilot programme intends to normalize and manage stress within the families who went through conflict and displacement, to develop positive parenting strategies as well as to improve communication and relationship among family members. As it is designed to be implemented for families in low resource settings, it is composed of three (1 hour) sessions (one pre-session for caregivers only and two additional sessions for the family). "Strong Families" programme is also currently being piloted in Afghanistan and Tanzania.  

The "Strong Families" programme pilot in Serbia kicked off with the training of 27 facilitators who will implement with the refugee families in the selected camps. These facilitators were delegated from local organizations who actively support the refugee response on the field: Indigo, Caritas, Belgrade Centar for Migration, SOS Children Villages, Danish Refugee Center and Save the Children. The facilitators will implement the "Strong Families" programme in three refugee reception centers in Bujanovac, Presevo and Vranje. The intervention will last for three weeks (at a rate of one session per week) and will be implemented with the selected group of Afghan families/caregivers and children under their care aged between 7-14.

"Strong Families" programme pilot in Serbia will be closely monitored and assessed at the level of process feasibility and effectiveness. The indicators to assess are on the level of improving family skills outcomes and caregiver mental health, to analyze the extent of families' attendance and to explore the cultural and contextual acceptability of programme for families and practitioners in Serbia. The lessons learned through the Serbia pilot assessment will carry important implementation value for the local Serbian counterparts as well as on the global level for many other interlocutors engaged with families going through similar circumstances.

 

UNODC mission visits Serbia

16-18 October 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe and West/Central Asia / Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and delegation visited Serbia for consultations with the national and international counterparts in Belgrade. In particular, the mission met with the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering of the Ministry of Finance and other national and international actors.

The mission was focused in particular on the topic of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism and the ongoing and future cooperation between UNODC and the Government of the Republic of Serbia in this field.

Exchanges on the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative 

11 October 2017, Brussels, Belgium: Chief of the UNODC Regional Section for Europe, West and Central Asia / Regional Representative for South Eastern Europe and Chief of the UNODC Independent Evaluation Unit met in Brussels with the representatives of EU DG NEAR and other partners, including the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the innovative partnership UNODC has entered into with the EU (in particular with DG NEAR) within the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance Initiative (WB IISG) which foresees capacity building activities in the area of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.

The UNODC involvement also aimed at undertaking formative evaluation of the effectiveness of the approaches of the EU and its partners in the Western Balkan region in order to further improve the delivery of assistance as well as complementarity of actions by different actors, within and outside the EU umbrella.

The meeting was aimed to make the final review of the workplan prior to the technical launch of the WB IISG in Vienna on 1 December 2017.

UNODC and CEPOL will work on financial investigations in the Balkans

6 October 2017, Budapest, Hungary: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) held consultations on the implementation details of the joint UNODC-CEPOL action on financial investigations which will take place as of early 2018 under the new EU Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance initiative (WB IISG).

The two agencies met to discuss areas of mutual interest and cooperation and to finalize the joint workplan which will be part of the Western Balkan Counter-Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi) - the second pillar of the WB IISG. This pillar is aimed to respond to the threats of Serious and Organized Crime in the Western Balkan region by merging the efforts of all relevant security actors, EU and international donors of external assistance in this area of policy - in an efficient and sustainable manner.

For more information: http://wb-iisg.com/  

UNODC conducts a country visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of reviewing the implementation of UNCAC

5-7 October 2015, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC conducted a country visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the context of reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in that country (first year of the second review cycle on the implementation of the Convention).

The discussions in the context of this country visit were held in Sarajevo, involving the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Trinidad and Tobago as reviewing States parties and UNODC as the Secretariat of the Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of UNCAC.

The objective of the country visit was for the reviewing States parties to engage in direct dialogue on the review of implementation of the Convention (Chapter II on Preventive Measures and Chapter V on Asset Recovery) with the relevant experts and representatives from national institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As a result of the country visit and based on the exchange of information and views between the competent national authorities and the reviewing experts, a country review report will be drafted. The report will identify successes, good practices and challenges and make recommendations for the implementation of the Convention. The executive summary of the report will be translated in all United Nations official languages and will be made available online. The country review may also be published, if the country under review decides to make it available in the public domain.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/implementation-review-mechanism.html

Drug and Precursors Training for Port Control Units Takes Place in Sarajevo

2-4 October 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Advanced Drug and Precursors Training for officers of the Port Control Units (PCUs) in South Eastern Europe was organized within the framework of the UNODC - WCO Container Control Programme. The training objective was to enhance capacities of the PCU officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro to identify and conduct interdiction of drugs and precursors trafficking through the South Eastern European region.

The PCUs' staff received advanced training focused on risk-based profiling of containers and improved information exchange at national, regional and international levels on container crime. A total of 24 officials from customs, border police, anti-narcotic units and other relevant institutions of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro attended the training course.

An interactive training event, led by WCO expert, comprised of lectures and practical exercises, complemented by interactive discussions, was focused on up-to-date identification and interdiction of drugs and precursors trafficking. The participants also discussed on the overall and prevalent drug situation in the region with special emphasis on the diversion of precursor chemicals. 

Advanced Drug Precursors Training was organized through the generous support of the Government of United States and France.

 

UNODC assists Bosnia and Herzegovina in its efforts to identify and interdict the illicit use of cash couriers

27-29 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe with support of the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the generous contribution of the Government of Turkey organized an interactive workshop on enhancing technical skills of some 30 law enforcement officers in controlling cross-border transportation of cash. The workshop took place in Sarajevo and brought together participants from law enforcement agencies of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brcko District.

This three-day workshop allowed the participants to enhance their technical skills in identification and interdiction of the illicit use of cash couriers and further investigation of illicit cash flows. The officers, analysts and investigators exchanged experience on how to apply risk assessment in creating a profile of cash couriers to perform cash controls at the border. The participants also shared their real-time examples of cash smuggling and learned about the application of the cash seizure procedures.

It is expected that this training will result in an enhanced cooperation between various law enforcement agencies in this area and in an increased number of case-related investigations. In addition, the participants learned about the application of the FATF Recommendation 32 on having a proper system and instruments in place necessary for restraining a cross-border transportation of cash in relation to terrorist financing, money laundering or predicate offences or that is falsely disclosed or declared.

 First multi-stakeholder workshop on UN Convention against Corruption in South Eastern Europe

26 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC is hosting this week the first multi-stakeholder workshop on the United Nations Convention against Corruption and its Review Mechanism in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As the first such workshop to be held in Southeast Europe, the event aims to develop capacities of around 60 participants across the region to contribute to the implementation of the Convention and its Review Mechanism.

Speaking at the event, Assistant Director of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and the Coordination of the Fight Against Corruption, underscored the importance of cooperation to tackle this phenomenon worldwide. He said: "Without the help from international partners and civil society, we are blind and cannot do anything in our efforts to fight corruption."

At the first review cycle, approximately 85 per cent of Governments involved civil society organizations in their country visits, building momentum to uphold their treaty obligations. The workshop, in this regard, reiterates the importance of this practice during the second review cycle, especially in the Southeast Europe region. It also aims to promote collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.

Pointing to the 2030 Agenda, UNODC's Civil Society Team Leader, said: "All Sustainable Development Goals can be hampered if corruption prevails. The fight against this peril is deeply rooted in Goal 16, which aims to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."

Supported by the Austrian Development Agency through the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the training will inform participants about the methodology and tools for country reviews and build their capacity to reproduce workshop sessions at the national and regional levels. Participants will engage in a constructive dialogue by sharing their experiences, lessons learned and good practices, as well as undertaking practical exercises.

The UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by 182 States, is the only legally binding, universal, anti-corruption instrument. Its far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to global corruption issues.

To date, 286 civil society organizations from across the world have been trained under the UNODC Civil Society Programme. It aims to provide them with the necessary tools to work with Governments and the private sector in implementing the Convention.

 

Further Information:

United Nations Convention against Corruption

UNODC and the Civil Society

UNODC's work on corruption

UNODC works with the Government of Montenegro on anti-human trafficking

24-29 September, Bijela, Montenegro: UNODC delivered a training workshop on combating human trafficking to a group of judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and civil society professionals from Montenegro. The workshop, entitled "In-depth training on identification, investigation and proving of trafficking in persons cases and respect of victims' rights in criminal proceedings", was organized by UNODC in close cooperation with the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro, under the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Montenegro. The workshop was implemented under the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and with the generous contribution of the Government of the USA.

In September 2015, UNODC successfully conducted a Multi-disciplinary training workshop, entitled "Protection of human trafficking victims in criminal proceedings". The workshop took place in Budva, Montenegro and reached 31 professionals and practitioners, from law enforcement, prosecution, courts, diplomatic representation, international organisations and civil society.

In March 2017, UNODC received a request from the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro to conduct a follow-up training on the prosecution of human trafficking cases and the protection of the rights of trafficking victims in Montenegro.

In accordance with the needs and priorities defined by the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings of Montenegro that were addressed to the UNODC, this latest week-long multidisciplinary training workshop for practitioners was held in order to improve efficiency of criminal prosecution and sanctioning of human trafficking in Montenegro.

The multi-disciplinary training workshop was successfully organised for more than 30 professionals and practitioners, from law enforcement, prosecution, courts and civil society with a focus on issues related to protection of victims of trafficking in persons in the criminal proceedings.

At the opening ceremony, the US Ambassador in Montenegro, the General Director of the Directorate for Judiciary of the Ministry of Justice, the National Coordinator for Combating Human Trafficking of Montenegro and the UNODC staff delivered welcoming remarks.

The UNODC Anti-human trafficking manual for criminal justice practitioners and the Case Digest on Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases were used as a basis for the workshop, as well as the selected cases from the UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database.

The Case Digest on Evidential Issues in Trafficking in Persons Cases was translated into Montenegrin language and used for conducting Mock Trial during the training.  

Follow up activities to the event will take place in spring 2018.

 

UNODC, IOM, OSCE zoom into tackling migrant smuggling in the Balkans

19-20 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The third Regional Seminar on "Moving Forward in Addressing Migration-related Crimes in South-Eastern Europe" was jointly organized by the OSCE, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNODC, in co-operation with the OSCE's Office of the Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the Office of the Co-ordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Over the past few years, the flow of migrants, originating especially from the Middle East and North Africa, has been a challenge for European States, in particular for Southern European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Considering the complexity and the permanence of the situation, the responsibility placed on countries of origin, transit and destination is immense and entails a substantially pressing obligation to react not only to human rights violations and security challenges, but also to criminal organizations making large profits from migrants' and refugees' vulnerable situation.

The seminar aimed at strengthening co-operation between criminal justice, law enforcement and relevant public and private actors, in order to address irregular migration-related crimes, such as migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings, in South Eastern Europe. The objective of the event was to identify gaps, challenges and good practices, as well as to strengthen information sharing networks between countries of origin, transit and destination using a multidisciplinary approach, paying also attention to the issue of vulnerability of migrants.

Specific sessions of the seminar focused on

  • recent developments and challenges of human mobility in South Eastern Europe;
  • modus operandi of criminal groups operating along migration routes on smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings;
  • criminal justice co-operation within the region and through Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes to Europe.
  • vulnerability of individual migrant or group of migrants, and the resources and capacities needed to resist or recover from their vulnerability, and other topics.

The seminar has also broke into group work and review of case studies on practical aspects of detecting organized criminal groups; related financial investigations; cross-border investigations and prosecutions; and other important topics.

The seminar has issued recommendations and finding which will be basis for the future work in the region and beyond.

UNODC and Serbia focus on sustainable approaches to smuggling of migrants

14-15 September 2017, Vrdnik, Serbia: UNODC organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Curriculum Development for the Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants. The event is part of the UNODC project 'Strengthening the capacity to fight the smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe', funded by the Government of the USA, and implemented by UNODC in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Within this project, UNODC is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Interior and Republic Public Prosecutor's Office/Permanent Task Force on Combating Smuggling of Migrants in Serbia to develop specialized training capacity on smuggling of migrants, using interactive methodologies based on case law and e-learning modules. Through this project, customized training materials will be developed/adapted and made available for multi-disciplinary target groups of criminal justice practitioners. The proposed methodology foresees the use and adaptation of a broad range of existing materials such as the translation of three UNODC e-learning modules on smuggling of migrants, UNODC training manuals, analysis of recent court cases from the two countries (2015-2017), and other relevant materials.

The EGM devoted its attention in particular to:

  • mapping the specific needs of Serbian professionals;
  • identifying existing training programs that are related to migrant smuggling and organized crime to ensure complementarity;
  • analysing court cases and jurisprudence on smuggling of migrants and determining what cases are suitable for training purposes;
  • exchanging information on emerging trends, operational tools and instruments.

The process is designed on the basis of a genuine participatory approach. The role of the EGM in defining the training priorities, selecting content, designing materials and ultimately shaping the process that will lead to the development of the smuggling of migrants curriculum. The EGM will be followed by further meetings in the region led by UNODC.

A series of UNODC events is organized in South Eastern Europe on criminal justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters

12-13 September 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 20-22 September, Podgorica, Montenegro; 29-31 October, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch held a series of national workshops for some of the countries of the region on normative and administrative challenges related to the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) threat. 

The events brought together judges, prosecutors, representatives from the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice, and the Financial Intelligence Unit. Experts from the region as well as from other countries, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the European Union and INTERPOL shared their experiences relevant to cases involving or related to FTFs. The events aimed to respond to one of the needs identified during the first regional event for South Eastern Europe organized in Vienna in February 2017, to efficiently investigate and prosecute FTF cases.

The workshops provided a platform that facilitated an important exchange of ideas as well as a debate on practical solutions to common challenges faced by different national institutions in investigating and prosecuting FTF cases. By the end of 2017, UNODC will have carried out similar tailor-made workshops in other South Eastern European jurisdictions.  

The workshops were organized with the support of the national Governments and members of the Steering Committee of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The workshops were implemented within the framework of UNODC's Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union. The project aims to assist beneficiaries in improving their criminal justice responses to FTFs, in compliance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/276 and United Nations Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014).

UNODC organizes national consultations on foreign terrorist fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina

6-7 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Within the UNODC project supported by the USA Government, the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a national workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 'Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF)'. The workshop was organized with the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Public Institution Center for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Republika Srpska and the Judicial Commission of the Brcko District. The workshop was the final in the series of events in all jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe in 2017.

The objectives of the workshop included the following:

i) Discuss the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF, which UNODC is developing within the project in questions;

ii) Enhance the understanding of the international and regional legal framework dealing with FTFs;

iii) Familiarize participants with and discuss the criminal offenses under CETS dealing with FTF;

iv) Discuss special investigative techniques in FTF cases;

v) Review the financial components of FTF related investigations;

vi) Analyse online investigations and collection of e-evidence;

vii) Promote and support the use of rule of law-based strategies and compliance with international human rights standards to strengthen the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism related offences.

The event brought together national officials representing the relevant institutions, including (the police, prosecutorial services and judges as well as international representatives, including the staff of the Embassies of the USA in the region). The workshop included discussions of several topics included in the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF. The workshop covered FTF related offences, the international and European legal framework, the collection of e-evidence and financing of terrorism investigation in FTF related cases, as well as case studies based on a real investigations conducted. The event generated an important exchange of ideas among the participants and gave rise to a valuable debate in terms of practical solutions to key practical challenges faced by criminal justice officers when investigating and prosecuting FTF related cases.

The Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF will be launched in Vienna in late October 2017.

Container Control mentorship support to Albania and Montenegro

28 August - 5 September 2017, Durres, Albania, and Bar, Montenegro: Throughout its implementation in South Eastern Europe, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) has established mentorship missions primarily staffed with experts who help to ensure that CCP introduced techniques and methods are applied effectively.

For two weeks, the Port Control Units (PCUs) at the Port of Durres, Albania, and the Port of Bar, Montenegro, hosted mentorship missions which encompassed exchange of ideas, monitoring of the day-to-day practices, including applied search techniques, creation of risk profiles, information on new trends of illicit trafficking and smuggling through containerized shipments; use of open and confidential sources of information, etc.

The missions offered a hands-on combination of international and local expertise ensuring that efficient container control methodologies are put in place and applied.

UNODC holds consultations to address dirty money in the Balkans

11-14 September 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC held consultations with the national and international counterparts in Bosnia and Herzegovina with regard to the work in the priority area of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe - anti-money laundering/counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

The Regional AML/CFT Advisor based in Sarajevo servicing entire South Eastern Europe, provides policy advice, technical guidance and specializes tailored support to further improve the effectiveness of the UNODC work in this important area, benefitting from the global good practices and contemporary methods of tackling challenges related to money laundering and terrorism financing.

UNODC is working in this thematic area on a basis of a multi-year workplan with support of the EU, Turkey, Russia and other donors.

Ministers of the Western Balkans launch an innovative EU initiative - the IISG

8 September 2017, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia: The Board of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG), the highest-level monitoring body within the initiative's implementation process, was convened for the first time in the framework of the hosting Brdo Process, a regional ministerial-level initiative led by the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior.

The Ministers of the Western Balkan countries and other Brdo Process members expressed their full support and endorsed the establishment of the IISG framework together with the Terms of Reference to guide its operation and division of tasks. Mr. Rajko Kozmelj, Programme Manager at DCAF Ljubljana was appointed Chair of the IISG Support Group upon the proposal of the European Commission. The IISG Support Group involving Lead Partners and other Partners in the respective IISG Pillars will be hosted by DCAF Ljubljana. The director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) Ambassador Thomas Gürber has expressed a full commitment to the task of hosting the IISG Support Group and gratitude for the trust vested on part of the countries and the international community. Regional, EU and international IISG Partners expressed their strong support for the IISG and DCAF as the hosting actor.

The IISG Board also appointed Lead Partner functions in Pillar I (Western Balkan Counter-Terrorism Initiative), Pillar II (Western Balkan Counter-Serious Crime Initiative) and Pillar III (Western Balkan Border Security Initiative). The Lead Partners are to act as the "first among equals" and are taking over the task of continuous coordination of activities within each Pillar and the implementation of the respective multi-annual comprehensive Integrated Plans of Action (iPAs).

UNODC is an active member of the IISG, in particular its Pillar II.

UNODC joins the 17 th PCC SEE Committee of Ministers

7 September 2017, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia:  The Committee of Ministers of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE) met in Brdo pri Kranju for the 17 th time in its statutory capacity of the highest PCC SEE decision-making body. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Serbian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office, in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the PCC SEE Secretariat as co-chairs, and the Slovenian Ministry of Interior as the host.

Ministers of home affairs and authorised representatives from the Contracting Parties acknowledged the new strategic alignment of the PCC SEE implementation process - PCC SEE Plus, which paves the way for the implementation of the five PCC SEE core clusters dedicated to data protection, information exchange, operational cooperation, countering terrorism, and automated exchange of data.

The presented strategic document with concrete action plans is set to be a living document, updated regularly following the progress and identification of needs by the Contracting Parties.

The Committee of Ministers further discussed the steps ahead in the establishment of an EU Prüm-inspired framework in the PCC SEE region, which is seen to bring a new dimension to the Contracting Parties' fight against serious and organised cross-border crime, as well as terrorism. By utilising EU Prüm methodology in the PCC SEE region, the Contracting Parties will be enabled to implement automated exchange of data years before all Contracting Parties will become EU Member States. In view of timely starting with the official negotiations of this future framework, the Committee of Ministers supported to kick-off the process with a dedicated preparatory meeting by the end of 2017. The Contracting Parties also expressed their expectations as to which of the three data fields - DNA, dactyloscopic, vehicle registration data - they consider to first achieve the practical implementation of automated exchange of data. In this regard, the PCC SEE Secretariat will support the building of necessary capacities, following the specific progress, priorities and needs of the Contracting Parties.

For more information: http://www.pccseesecretariat.si/

  The Second Public - Private Partnership Consultation held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

6 July 2017, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Further facilitating cooperation with the private sector stakeholders, the Second Public-Private Partnership Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme framework was organized jointly by the Indirect Taxation Authority and UNODC.

The Workshop gathered representatives of the forwarding agents and other private sector subjects following activities initiated in 2016 and ongoing effort to support the legitimate trade supply chain.

Containerized shipments represent an important part of the growing international trade supply chain, measuring up to approximately 90% of the world's cargo. The roles of private actors as well as law enforcement agencies in establishing effective trade security and is vital. The Workshop aimed to continue building relationships with key private sector stakeholders in particular forwarding agents and transport operators. In addition, the Workshop discussed ongoing plans of the Indirect Taxation Authority, such as establishment of the National Cargo Transit System (NCTS) that should further facilitate trade in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently in the phase of preparation, the NCTS should be implemented at the beginning of 2018. The Workshop also looked into risk analyses and pre-arrival information and provided recommendations for the future work of the Indirect Taxation Authority.

The Public-Private Partnership initiative will be continued throughout 2017 within the Container Control Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Afghan officials visit South Eastern Europe

5-15 July 2017, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro: Fourteen officials from the Afghanistan Port Control Units attended an eight-day study visit to South Eastern Europe (SEE) as part of the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The goal of the visit which included the Port of Durres, Albania, Port of Bar, Montenegro, and the Border Crossing Point of Bijaca (BCP), Bosnia and Herzegovina, was to enhance sharing of best practices on security related systems and processes, commercial operations, automation, management models and other trade enforcement activities.

The CCP is closely working with the Governments of the three countries in SEE and the Government of Afghanistan to build the capacity of customs and border police through several initiatives, including the establishment Port Control Units. Regional and inter-regional initiatives are also an important element of the CCP.

The visit offered a range of sites and meetings with senior officials from the three countries of SEE. These meetings gave the participants first-hand experience on customs control cargo and vehicle at the Ports and BCP and demonstrated the possibilities for improvement and modernization of customs practices in particular when it comes to export, import and transit procedures. The meetings also familiarized the Afghan officials with the customs risk management and investigation techniques; electronic clearance methodologies, best practices in detecting and managing the movement of illegal goods; import and export restrictions.

Particular attention during the meetings was paid to strengthening the cooperation between border authorities, trust building and establishment of a more effective information exchange at national and regional level aiming at keeping a good balance between security and trade facilitation.

Seizures in Afghanistan (several shipments of ammonium nitrate) and in SEE countries (various types of drugs and IPR) are a clear indication of the interdiction efforts contributing to the improved safety of the borders in the respective countries. 

The visit presented a good experience in sharing of knowledge and lessons learned through effective coordinating mechanisms between Port Control Units and achieving the CCP goals globally.

UNODC joins the dialogue on arms control in Bosnia and Herzegovina

4-6 July, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC delegation visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess possibilities to engage the authorities in activities related to regulating, preventing and combatting illicit trafficking in firearms, as well as to attend the Arms Symposium in South Eastern Europe organized by the Centre for Security Cooperation in South East Europe (RACVIAC).

The main focus of the mission was to identify areas of cooperation and counterparts among Bosnian authorities for the implementation of UNODC activities in regulating, preventing and combatting illicit trafficking in firearms, as well as raise awareness among the regional member states about the work of UNODC in arms control. In particular, meetings were held with senior representatives of the Ministry of Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

In addition to that, UNODC presented the synergies between the Arms Trade Treaty, the Firearms Protocol and other international instruments that contribute to countering illicit trafficking in firearms, at the Arms Symposium organized by RACVIAC. Special focus was made on the issue of the criminal justice response to illicit trafficking - a topic which is not covered regularly in this forum and therefore was well received by the participants. The issue of end user certificates was highlighted as one of the main challenges, particularly enforcing their legal use.

UNODC will step-up its cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of arms control in the course of 2017.

 

  Hands-on support to countering illicit trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3-5 July 2017, Land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized the IVth Mentorship visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) working within the framework of the Programme. The mentorship visit activity is designed to address challenges faced by the Unit in implementation of the daily work at the CCP designated land-border site Bijača.

Working closely with the PCU staff, a UNODC Mentor considered standard and other practices of the PCU composed of law enforcement officers from Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police working on profiling of high-risk cargo containers to minimize risk of exploiting them for smuggling of narcotic drugs, weapons, precursor chemicals and other organized crime activities.

During the three-day mentorship visit the PCU members presented to the Mentor different tools and practices used to conduct profiling and risk assessment of the cargo containers, both for goods and persons involved in the trade supply chain. Particular attention was given to the existing Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police databases as well as to the use of open sources of information used to complement the profiling process. Additionally, mentorship discussed existing legal and other challenges tackling the work of the Unit and possible solutions that might contribute to improving particular circumstances.

"Mentorship visits are essential to improving the Unit's knowledge and practice in daily work," said the PCU Coordinator, "It is a great opportunity for the Unit's staff to test own knowledge and discuss particular challenges faced individually and by the Unit as a whole", he said.

Implementation of the UNODC-WCO CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in 2014 to assist the host government create sustainable inter-agency PCU to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. As well, CCP's mission is to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders. 

Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe launched

3 July 2017, Tirana, Albania: UNODC launched the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the WCO-UNODC Container Control Programme (CCP) in South Eastern Europe (SEE).

In its implementation in SEE, the CCP is paying particular attention to the gender aspect of law enforcement professions, including the work of the Port Control Units (PCUs). The programme has set up the CCP Women's network which brings together the gender focal points operating within the Customs and Police structures, PCU female officers, female senior managers from law enforcement authorities and CCP staff.

Furthermore, UNODC and WCO developed the Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in the CCP making SEE the first region to undertake such an initiative on country specific level. The aim of the Guidelines is to assist SEE countries in the CCP network to effectively integrate the gender perspective into all aspects of work, from planning strategic tools, developing normative standards, designing and delivering thematic and regional programmes and working through the project cycle.

During the launch meeting which was attended by the gender focal points of the Albanian State Police, Customs administration, PCU female officers, UNDP and UNWOMEN, a UNODC-WCO consultant offered gender analysis focused on examining public policies and their outcomes through a gender lens; the disaggregated data; recommendations and proposed activities to promote women's role in the container control area.

The stakeholders' inputs were an integral part of the Guidelines drafting process. It enabled an UNODC-WCO assessment from a view point of those who are responsible for, as well as those who are affected by the policy decisions, practices or design of services. These inputs were obtained through focus groups, interviews and surveys as part of the approved methodology.

In line with the National Strategies on Gender Equality which call for gender-mainstreaming structures within all ministries, departments and agencies as mechanisms to implement and monitor national laws and policies and regional and global commitments for gender equality and women's empowerment, the newly approved Guidelines are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is expected that the Guidelines will contribute to improve the design, delivery and implementation of gender oriented policies in the law enforcement area and shift the targets from the designers of gender-oriented policies to operational managers and female staff who are the actual actors in question.

The CCP gender related activities in SEE, including the drafting of the Guidelines, are generously supported by One UN - Albania.

UNODC results in South Eastern Europe presented to over 30,000 people in the Lions Clubs Centennial convention

1-4 July 2017, Chicago, USA: The results of the UNODC and LCIF partnership under the global programme for prevention and its significant impact in preventing substance use as documented through clinical trials in South Eastern Europe was presentedto the Lions Clubs Centennial convention. The event represented an important scientific and political occasion to highlight the UNODC efforts in the field of prevention of drug use, as well as the excellent cooperation with the Governments in South Eastern Europe.

The results of the UNODC-LCIF pilots of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence were presented in a special session during the convention, which included an intervention by Dr. Yamada (outgoing President of the Lions Clubs International) commending the positive collaboration with UNODC.  Further to this session, several meetings were held with the Lions Clubs representatives of countries engaged in this collaboration, the Lions Clubs liaisons to the United Nations and more importantly with the leadership of Lions Clubs International.

UNODC was invited to attend a meeting of the Lions Clubs liaison to the UN discussing 2016 results and planning for the Lions Clubs UN-days to come, the collaboration with UNODC was presented as a model to present in Lions UN Days (in the presence of Bob Corlew president elect to Lions Clubs International) .

The convention was attended by well over 30,000 Lions Clubs members and the plenary session featured several high level key note speakers including the former US VP Al Gore, the former UN SG Ban Ki Moon and many others.

Most valuably a video of the partnership with UNODC (produced by UNODC) was featured in the plenary session when Mr. Ban Ki Moon was speaking. The outcomes of this collaboration continue to be positively received.

UNODC continues to implement the partnership programme with the LCIF in South Eastern Europe.

 

Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of Europe meet in Vienna

27-30 June 2017, Vienna, Austria: The Twelfth Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies of the countries in Europe has taken place in Vienna. The meetings of HONLEA European Region take place once every two years. Membership is open to any State that is a member of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). Other United Nations Members States may be invited as observers at their request. HONLEA European Region was established by an ECOSOC resolution and is a subsidiary body of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The documents for the session are available at https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/Subsidiary_Bodies/HONEUR/HONEUR_12-documentation.html

The Secretariat has, inter alia, prepared a comprehensive report on drug trafficking trends in Europe and worldwide. According to this report, one of the main developments of the two recent years for the region of South Eastern Europe is that here seizures of amphetamine and "ecstasy"-type substances reached record levels in 2015.

Europe accounts for significant proportions of global seizures of cannabis resin, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and "ecstasy"-type substances. While cannabis resin and cocaine seizures within the region are almost exclusively concentrated in Western and Central Europe, South Eastern Europe represents between 30 and 50 per cent of European seizures of cannabis herb and amphetamine-type stimulants. This sub-region also accounted for over 50 per cent of heroin seizures that took place in Europe in 2015. East Europe represented between 10 and 20 per cent of cannabis herb and heroin European seizures in 2015.

Compared with seizures of opium and illicit morphine, heroin seizures occur in a much wider range of countries, in particular around the larger markets in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Each of these three markets is mostly supplied by a different producing region. While East and South East Asia are supplied in the main by production in Myanmar and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, most of Europe is supplied by Afghan heroin through the "Balkan route" and the "southern route" through Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan and, increasingly, countries in Africa. In South Eastern Europe, heroin seizures declined sharply in 2015, while remaining stable in Eastern Europe.

The Secretariat has also prepared a report on current situation with respect to regional and sub-regional cooperation. The report points out that in South Eastern and Eastern Europe, recent developments such as the active integration processes in the region, advances in technology, transport and travel and the on-going emergence of new psychoactive substances can, as a side effect, pose new challenges and facilitate cross-border crime, requiring new approaches. A robust response is needed to counter the serious challenges posed by the links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Current UNODC approaches are interdisciplinary and dynamic and aim to provide consistency in the objectives, policy approaches and management arrangements across UNODC. Emphasis is placed on integrated, multi-component programmes that are fully aligned with Governments' priorities, on more effective and transparent cooperation and planning, involving other UN entities, and on leading the effective mainstreaming of UNODC mandate areas within the UN system.

The report describes the efforts of UNODC with its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the cooperation with the jurisdictions in the region, as well as their vigorous efforts in countering contemporary challenges and threats.

UNODC initiates training workshop on treatment of drug use disorders on the occasion of the observance of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Montenegro

26-27 June, Podgorica, Montenegro: United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime is annually marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with tactically developed campaign drawing the attention of the general public to the importance of evidence based interventions and strategies in terms of reducing the drug supply and demand. This year's theme of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is "Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe" focusing the campaign attention to evidence based drug use prevention as the integrative and crucial segment of the comprehensive and systematic drug response.

The International campaign is fundamentally supported with the analytically produced World Drug Report 2017 ( https://www.unodc.org/wdr2017/) on the new trends and facts related to the illicit drug use, burden of disease from drug use, drug market developments and policy implications. This year Report estimates a quarter of a billion people, or around 5 per cent of the global adult population to used drugs at least once in 2015 with 29.5 million of persons with drug use disorders. 12 million people inject drugs with reported fatal and no fatal consequences such as HIV and Hepatitis C infection with reported 6,1 million of people who live with Hepatitis C, 1,6 Million who live with HIV and 1,3 million of people who live both with Hepatitis C and HIV. These worrisome data are showing a clear picture on a heavy burden of the disease from drug use, furthermore additionally challenging fact is that only 1 in 6 persons with drug use disorders globally is able to receive the necessary treatment.

Following the intention and dedication of the Government of Montenegro - Ministry of Health - to support and mark the International campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking a two-day seminar for national experts on treatment of drug use disorders and associated co-morbidity was organized in Podgorica with 26 psychiatrists from various treatment facilities across the country. National professionals discussed the diagnostic therapeutic protocols both for the drug use disorders and associated co-morbidities and had a chance to be acquainted with the state of the art drug use disorders treatment modalities and best practice studies. Prior the onset of the expert part of the training workshop, the main facts on statistics and trends of the World Drug Report 2017 along with the list of recommendations and policy implications were showcased to the group.

The training workshop was officially opened by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of Montenegro underlining the necessity and importance of the application of evidence based interventions and strategies in line with the International Standards and developed practices.

UNODC joins INTERPOL's work to address smuggling of migrants

26 June 2017, Belgrade, Serbia:  UNODC took part in a INTERPOL Specialized Operational Network against People Smuggling (ISON) Specialized Training under an INTERPOL Project to Support Regional Counter-Migrant Smuggling Capacity Building Programs which took place in Belgrade on 26-30 June 2017. The activity included several countries in the region of South Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia), as well as ISON members from associated countries and presenters from regional and international organizations and institutions.

A UNODC expert delivered a training session on 26 June entitled "Bringing Smuggling Cases to Court" which focused on the following topics:

- international legal framework surrounding the smuggling of migrants;

- protection and assistance issues and determining the victim's status;

- witness protection and assistance and the role of the UNODC Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal https://www.unodc.org/cld/en/v3/som/

UNODC and INTERPOL actively cooperate in the field of smuggling of migrants and areas of their respective mandates  in the region and will continue this partnership in the future.

Serbian forensic expertise shared with Kyrgyzstan

19-23 June 2017, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Ujice, Goc - Serbia: Representatives of the Kyrgyz State Forensic Centre under the Ministry of Justice of Kyrgyzstan visited facilities of the Forensic Centre of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

The main goal of the visit was to exchange experience in the international accreditation process according to the ISO 17025 standard, and to review the work of five laboratories in Serbia - on the expertise of drugs, luminescent substances, ballistics, documents and handwriting. The Kyrgyz delegation also visited the Training Centre for Remediation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories in Goc used by the Serbian Interior Ministry to train its staff on identification of illegal drug laboratories. Additionally, an agreement on bilateral cooperation was discussed.
The study visit was organized in the framework of a project on strengthening the State Forensic Centre under the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic implemented by the UNODC Programme Office in Bishkek, with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The Serbian Forensic Centre was chosen to be visited due to their membership in the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and membership in the Networks Working Groups developing standards for forensic institutes all over the world.

The Kyrgyz delegation had a chance to get acquainted with the work of different laboratories and was introduced to the Quality Management System that is being used by their Serbian colleagues. The partners from both countries exchanged experience in conducting expertise and shared contacts which will allow them to cooperate on a daily basis in the future.

According to the Deputy Head of the Forensic Centre in Belgrade, based on the good results of the visit, further cooperation between the Kyrgyz State Forensic Centre and the Serbian National Criminalistic-Technical Centre is expected, as well as between UNODC and NCTC. The members of the Kyrgyz delegation were very satisfied and the study visit reached its goals.

The activity is in line with the UNODC Concerted Approach to Europe, West and Central Asia.

UNODC work in Europe, West and Central Asia presented to Member States

16 June 2017, Vienna, Austria: Within the annual UNODC Field Representatives Meeting, the heads of UNODC Field Offices reported to the member states about the progress achieved and challenges met in the past year. Within the respective regional briefing, the work in Europe and West/Central Asia was presented with a particular emphasis on the integrated and concerted interregional approach that UNODC is executing. More about this approach under the link:   http://www.unodc.org/documents/rpanc/Brochure_One_UNODC_Concerted_Apparoach.pdf

911 kg of marijuana and cannabis herb seized in Albania

7-9 June 2017, Durres, Albania: The Port Control Unit at Durres Port, Albania, seized 911 kg of Marijuana in two separate events.

The first seizure (7 June 2017) occurred when a Macedonian citizen arrived at the ferry terminal, second line of control, for further inspection. The behavior of the driver made the officers take the truck to the scanner area whose images alerted to an area of the truck where bags containing green, leafy substances which tested positive to marijuana. The drugs of 705 kg were heading to Bari, Italy, with the final destination in Holland.

The second seizure of Cannabis Herb took place on 9 June 2017 when a bus with tourists was referred for additional inquiries about their planned visit to Florence, Italy. 206 kg of Cannabis Herb were found by the PCU officers during the inspection of the bus.

Both cases were turned over to the Prosecution Office for further investigation.

The seizures were a result of the hard work by the PCU officers utilizing good interviewing techniques in identification items forbidden from entering and leaving the country. The PCU at Durres Port has demonstrated continued vigilance.

HazMatID 360 donated to Durres Port Control Unit

5 June 2017, Durres, Albania: The handover ceremony of HazMatID 360 equipment, a donation of the US Embassy in Tirana (EXBS Programme), officially marked the transfer of the useful equipment to the Port Control Unit operating at the Durres Port. The Export Control and Border Security Programme (EXBS) is a strong supporter of UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in the last three years of its implementation in South Eastern Europe. The equipment worth USD 65,000 Is the latest version of portable and rugged HazMatID chemical identification system, which provides fast and comprehensive in-field analysis of unknown solids, gels and liquids, including illicit narcotics. 

At the ceremony, which was attended by the Deputy Director General of Customs Administration, Director of Border Police and Migration Department of Durres district, Head of Durres Customs, EXBS Advisor to Albania and UNODC it was underlined that integrated border management remains a priority for Albania. Satisfaction was expressed over the increased coordination between border control entities in the country in the fight against drug trafficking.

It is expected that donation of this modern equipment will enhance the performance of the PCU officers to an up-to-date level. It is a new and concrete step towards a more integrated approach in the common fight of the concerned law enforcement agencies. Training opportunities on the use of the equipment will be offered by UNODC-WCO so as to enhance officers' knowledge, minimize risks or mistakes, and help duty-specific skills and knowledge.

The Port Control Unit at Durres Port is established through the assistance of the UNODC -WCO Container Control Programme for South Eastern Europe.

 

UNODC organizes a series of national events on Foreign Terrorist Fighters in South Eastern Europe

27-28 April 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 17-18 May, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244; 1-2 June 2017, Durres, Albania; 22-23 June, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC organized a series of National Workshops on the 'Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in South Eastern Europe'. The events were organized as part of a regional project supported by the Government of the USA.

The events were typically attended by the heads and experts from the national academies for judges and public prosecutors, representatives of the US Embassies as the donor country, and UNODC experts. The workshops included a detailed review of the international legal framework on the FTF topic, FTF offences and their investigation, including financial components, as well as foreign financial intelligence and information, mutual legal assistance, analysing financial information and evidence, and parallel financing of terrorism investigations. They typically gathered around 25 practitioners in each jurisdiction, including prosecutors, judges and magistrates and other specialists.

The objectives of the workshops included the following:
i) Discuss the Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe on FTF;
ii) Enhance the understanding of the international and regional legal framework dealing with FTFs;
iii) Familiarize participants with and discuss the criminal offenses under CETS dealing with FTF;
iv) Discuss special investigative techniques in FTF cases;
v) Review the financial components of FTF related investigations;
vi) Analyse online investigations and collection of e-evidence;
vii) Promote and support the use of rule of law-based strategies and compliance with international human rights standards to strengthen the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism related offences.

The workshops were concluding with a review session in which the participants applied what they learnt during the event by discussing a case study based on a real investigation. The workshop generated an important exchange of ideas among the participants and gave rise to a valuable debate in terms of practical solutions to key practical challenges faced by criminal justice officers when investigating and prosecuting FTF related cases.

The project will continue until the end of October 2017 and will produce a training module on FTF for all jurisdictions in the region.

UNODC joins an EU-led talk on terrorism and violent extremism

17-18 May 2017, Ljubljana, Slovenia: UNODC participated in the "Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism Regional Conference" for countries of the EU-led Western Balkans Counter Terrorism Initiative (WBCTi), organized by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the George C. Marschall European Center for Security Studies, and the Slovenian Police.

The conference included an active exchange of views and presentations by representatives of participating states and academics, interactive plenary discussions, and small-group breakout sessions. The latter sessions served as a forum to discuss counter-terrorism and prevention/countering of violent extremism policy options for individual countries in Western Balkans and the region as a whole, as well as cooperation with the civil society.

The event provided an opportunity to inform participating delegations of the UNODC work in the region, in particular with respect to addressing the topic of foreign terrorism fighters.

Government of the Republic of Serbia and the UN Country Team in Serbia launch new country Development Partnership Framework 2016 - 2020

30 May 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Karla Robin Hershey, signed today the Development Partnership Framework between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Country Team for the period 2016 to 2020. This document presents a comprehensive basis for the cooperation and assistance of the UN system, including 19 UN agencies, funds and programmes, aimed at encouraging and improving the overall economic, social and environmental development of the Republic of Serbia. The Development Partnership Framework is fully aligned with the national development priorities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, as well as with the process of accession negotiations of the Republic of Serbia and the European Union and the UN Agenda for sustainable development by 2030. Estimated value of the programme activities for a five-year period covered by the Development Partnership Framework, amounts 170 million dollars (USD).

With its five pillars and nine outcomes to be achieved by 2020, Development Partnership Framework is a kind of road map for the further promotion of good governance and the rule of law, development of social and human resources, economic development, growth and employment, environmental protection, fight against climate change and building resilient communities, and integrating culture into the overall process of sustainable development. At the signing ceremony, both sides have expressed expectations that the five-year Development Partnership Framework will give a new impetus to the joint efforts to further promote cooperation between the Republic of Serbia with the UN system.

First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic thanked the UNCT, represented by the Resident Coordinator Karla Robin Hershey, for the persistent and dedicated work on the Development Partnership Framework, as well as the expectation that through the joint work of our ministries, offices and agencies of the UN system, Framework will be successfully put into practice in the interest of the prosperity of all citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

For more information please refer to: http://rs.one.un.org/content/unct/serbia/en/home/presscenter/government-of-the-republic-of-serbia-and-un-country-team-in-serb.html

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia work jointly on smuggling prevention in maritime containers

29-31 May 2017, Land-border crossing Gradiska, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Officers of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Customs Administration of Croatia conducted joint operational activity focused on prevention of illicit drug trafficking and other smuggling activities that exploit maritime containers transported to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as through the region.

Joint efforts of the customs and other offices of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia aimed to identify criminal activities exploiting maritime containers, intercept such consignments and psychically inspect high-risk containers. Furthermore, activities of this joint operation focused on establishing functional exchange of information between law enforcement agencies, primarily customs, contributing to increased levels of the safety and security of the international supply chain as well as overall border security. Furthermore, this activity contributed to the facilitation of cooperation between the custom and police agencies of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia building upon ongoing cooperation.

Implementation of the joint activity was supported by UNODC within the framework of the UNODC-WCO (World Customs Organization) Container Control Programme (CCP) which was launched in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014 to assist the government in creating sustainable inter-agency Port Control Unit (PCU) to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity. As well, CCP's mission is to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina to build a capacity to improve trade security, facilitation standards and controls at the national borders.  In 2017, CCP continues to support implementing agencies - Indirect taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementation of activities within the Programme's framework and agreed Work Plan.

UNODC supported the treatment quality standard assessment in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

26 May 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: In collaboration with the Inter-ministerial state commission for combating illegal production, trafficking and abuse of drugs of the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, UNODC supported the execution of Treatment Quality Standards Assessment in the period of August - December 2016.

The Assessment measured the quality of treatment and care for people with drug use disorders by applying the internationally recognized methodology closely in line with the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders. The aim of the Assessment was to identify the available drug dependence treatment and care services along with the acknowledgement of strengths and weaknesses in order to formulate future supportive strategies and recommendations.

The methodological approach applied during the Assessment was based on the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data from treatment facilities and institutions across the country. Data was collected using the structured interviews, focus groups, observation, and further analysis of available resources.

The results of the Assessment were reported against the seven basic principles of the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders which makes the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the first country in the South Eastern European region to field-test the recently published International Standards and benefit from the offered guidelines.

The Treatment Quality Standards Assessment was acknowledged by national stakeholders as the first assessment in the country with such a broadly set research framework that gathered variety of information on drug dependence treatment and care, not only from the health care system but also from other relevant sectors. The inter-sectoral approach of the Assessment produces precise networking strategies aimed at strengthening the multidisciplinary approach in drug dependence treatment and may ensure the continuum of care of persons with substance use disorders.

Presentation of the results was organized by UNODC together with the Inter-ministerial state commission for combating illegal production, trafficking and abuse of drugs and the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the participation of high governmental and UN representatives.

The General Assembly of the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) held in Sarajevo

23 May 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina:  The General Assembly meeting of the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) was hosted by the Federal Police Administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which currently chairs the Association. The Assembly meeting was successfully completed during which the Republic of Moldova officially joined the Association.

In addition, the members of SEPCA agreed upon the guidelines for future activities of the Association, and adopted conclusions. Activities to strengthen the position of strategic central points in the field of police and security cooperation in Southeast Europe have been agreed, with the aim of effectively combatting terrorism, radicalism, violent extremism, migration, human trafficking, organised crime and other security challenges with the intention of continuous strengthening and improvement of relations, coordination and joint work.

The importance of the MIS (Management Information System) necessary for the development of the strategic document SEPCA has been highlighted and activities to be undertaken in the coming period for the development of the strategic document have been specified. In addition, with the support of international partners SEPCA will launch an initiative for the establishment of a single database of forensic data in the coming period.

UNODC presented current programmatic activities implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina and South Eastern Europe underlining very good cooperation with police authorities and other law enforcement agencies in the region at all levels. UNODC also expressed support to SEPCA forum conclusions on improving operational cooperation and information exchange among the agencies of participating countries.

Parliamentarians working to fight human trafficking in the Western Balkans

17 -18 May 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Human Trafficking Foundation United Kingdom, in partnership with the Committee of Human and Minority Rights of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, has invited UNODC to participate as a panellist at the international workshop "European Parliamentarians working in Cooperation to fight Human Trafficking in the Western Balkans", which was held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

The aim of the workshop was to promote more comprehensive and effective fight against human trafficking by gathering Members of Parliament from UK, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, with attendance from the representatives of national institutions (Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Human and Minority Rights Office, Ombusman etc.) and NGOs representatives.

The workshop was also aiming to encourage parliamentarians of the region for collaboration and to take steps to address the problem by establishing a sub-committee on trafficking in their own parliaments to help improve the national response. A similar meeting was hosted in Romania in 2016. The dialogue will also continue in the future. UNODC maintains working contacts with the UK counterparts on the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015 and other topics related to human trafficking.

Additional round of Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" training organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina

15-17 May 2107; 18-20 May 2017; 22-24 May 2017, Bijeljina, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Advancing the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, additional training workshops for educators and trainers were organized in Bijeljina. The workshops were held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of Republic of Srpska in close coordination with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The training workshops are the initial capacity development step for further implementation of Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in the selected elementary schools with group of students of 10-14 years of age. With the inclusion of 12 schools from Bijeljina, the project is now reaching 27 elementary schools across Bosnia and Herzegovina and has provided skills and relevant knowledge to over 85 teachers to directly implement the programme in the following two academic years in their settings.

The pilot programme delivery in elementary schools is aiming to field-test the programme material, acknowledge working modalities in schools and report on potential challenges during the piloting phase. The programme implementation will be closely monitored with the organization of several follow up sessions where all teachers who are actively engaged in the programme delivery shall contribute with their suggestions and recommendations to further enhancement of the programme material and the implementation modality.

Prior to commencing the pilot phase, a selected group of students (both case and control group) will be interviewed to acquire information on substance use, normative beliefs, refusal skills and intention to use substances which will be contrasted with the post-test results thus assessing changes for the set of indicators and obtaining more information on the efficiency of the implemented intervention.

The pilot programme will commence in Bijeljina in Republic of Srpska in September 2017 with the expected duration until June 2019.

UNODC and EMCDDA mapped substance use treatment facilities in South Eastern Europe

3-5 May 2017, Tirana, Albania: As part of the UNODC-WHO Drug Dependence Treatment and Care Programme in collaboration with the UNODC Regional Programme for South East Europe, a substance abuse treatment facility mapping exercise was conducted in Serbia with the aim to assist the national counterpart to map the available resources for the treatment of substance use disorders. The substance abuse treatment facility questionnaire is comprised of five sections, which aim to collect administrative details, background information about the facilities and the treatment services provided in addition to details of the facility's resources.

In parallel, European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) initiated the European Facility Survey Questionnaire - EFSQ in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 with the same objective.

The intent of the Tirana meeting was to discuss the similarities among collected data, the reporting templates and further presentation of the results. What regards the obtained data, it was acknowledged that both surveys have respectively acquired valuable information which would serve relevant national institutions to better understand substance use trends and available physical and human resources.

In agreement with EMCDDA, further presentation of the survey results from Serbia would be showcased using the agreed EFSQ reporting format which would allow additional comparison of the results among the countries of the South Eastern Europe region.

UNODC will further explore the presentation of the survey results together with the Ministry of Health of Serbia using the web platform which would enable national professionals, clinicians and decision makers to explore available resources and substance use treatment trends.

The next EMCDDA meeting is scheduled for September 2017 in Bosnia and Herzegovina where final country reports on survey results will be presented.

Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina Seized 10.5 kg Marijuana

3 May 2017, Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Port Control Unit (PCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina seized 10.5 kg of lab-grown marijuana implementing its regular activities within the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

Marijuana was discovered in a private vehicle coming from Montenegro, crossing Bijača intending to enter Croatia. The persons involved in the attempted smuggling were citizens of Montenegro. The drugs were intended for EU market.

Suspicious behaviour of the driver and passenger led the PCU to the use of the specialized search equipment for preliminary search of the vehicle. Traces of alterations made in the vehicle undercarriage were discovered leading further to full physical search of the vehicle and discovery of concealed marijuana. The total of 10.5 kg was discovered divided to 36 hermetically sealed packs.

PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to successfully contribute to further strengthening of the country's security through application of the specialized profiling techniques and methodologies, focusing on risk analysis, data profiling and analyses of pre-arrival information of containers and other means of transportation in the legal trade supply.

 

UNODC Alternative Development Mission Visits Albania

2-4 May 2017, Tirana, Albania: Following a request of the Government of Albania, the UNODC Sustainable Livelihoods Unit, with the support of the UNODC Programme Office in Albania, conducted a mission to Albania to assess the possibility to provide assistance to the Albanian authorities in shaping a new long-term vision and developing a focused drug control strategy.

The mission included meetings with the Albanian Minister of Interior, members of the diplomatic community, local authorities and a visit to a cannabis producing site.

Based on the information received during the mission, the UNODC team will draft a report to the Government of Albania based on international best practices and the UN Guiding Principles on Alternative Development as related to the specifics of the situation in Albania.

Academia reviews opportunities of prevention of financing and recruitment of terrorism

1-5 May 2017, Dubrovnik, Croatia: The University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law, Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Programme, Architectur des Sichercheits and Max-Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law organized a seminar on the topic "Fight against terrorism through prevention of financing and recruitment". The academia representatives from around the wide region as well as experts from international and regional organizations exchanged views on a variety of topics related to the theme of the seminar, including preventing radicalization, de-radicalization, rehabilitation, fair trial, the role of social media, cybercrime, as well as human rights. Different approaches to addressing these topics in countries across the region were discussed and examined along with good practices and challenges.

A UNODC expert presented the International framework for foreign terrorism fighters, including its implementation and challenges associated with it. UNODC is currently implementing two regional programmes addressing the phenomenon of foreign terrorism fighters, within the overall context of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Follow the Money: Experts Meet in the Balkans to Address the Financial Profits from Migrant Smuggling 

26-28 April 2017, Budva, Montenegro: UNODC conducted a Regional Expert Meeting that gathered law enforcement practitioners and prosecutors from 14 countries, together with experts from civil society organisations, regional and international organisations. This meeting, the second of the kind under the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants, within the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, aimed at discussing and share experience related to the use of special investigative techniques and financial investigations in cross-border investigations in the area of smuggling of migrants.

The opening of the meeting was an opportunity for the Special State Prosecutor of Montenegro, the National Anti-human trafficking Coordinator of Montenegro, the Ambassador of France and UNODC to highlight the importance of cooperation as a prerequisite for dismantling the organized crime groups and networks that often are behind the smuggling of migrants to remind participants of the vulnerability of smuggled migrant to being trafficked. Emphasizing that it takes a network to fight a network, the role of informal networks and strong inter-institutional cooperation in this endeavour was repeatedly referred to.

Practitioners around the room shared their direct experience in investigating and prosecuting migrant smuggling in the region through concrete cases which illustrated the importance, yet difficulty to follow the money by removing the profit from the crime, breaking the business model of smugglers by seizing, freezing and confiscating the assets and proceeds of crime. Representatives of specialized agencies from France such as TRACFIN (Financial Intelligence Unit) and AGRASC (Agency for the Recovery and Management of Seized and Confiscated Assets) as well as the private sector: MoneyGram and Western Union, shared examples of good practices which could help in pursuing these efforts. Yet, migrant smuggling being largely a cash based crime, experts also emphasized the challenges posed by the detection of the illicit financial flows and why it was essential to use a financial analysis at the beginning of the investigation to trace the destination of the proceeds from these criminal activities.

Participants supported the format of the meeting which allowed for a hands on exchange of experience, including on ways and means to address smuggling networks in South Eastern Europe with the tools available to tackle organized crime, such as special investigative techniques. The third Regional Expert Meeting, to take place in the autumn 2017, will be supported by the Government of France which has accompanied UNODC in project since the first meeting in the region in November 2016.

Regional Steering Group on SALW holds its annual meeting

24 April 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: The Regional Steering Group (RSG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) held its annual meeting with the participation of over 50 experts, including SALW focal points or their representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as SEESAC's partners (including UNODC) and representatives of the donor community, co-chaired by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The goal of the annual meetings is to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the SEE Regional Implementation Plan on Combatting the Proliferation of SALW.

SEESAC Coordinator presented its results from 2014 to 2016 and shared plans for the next phase covering 2017 to 2019. SEESAC promotes regional cooperation, knowledge exchange and information-sharing, leading to evidence based, effective and efficient arms control polices. RSG meetings are an essential part of the SEESAC governance structure. SEESAC receives its political and strategic guidance and key indigenous support from the RSG which is composed of representatives of the governments from the states concerned, the EU, the RCC, UNDP, and observers from relevant international and regional institutions and civil society.

SEESAC - the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons - was launched on 8 May 2002 and was given a mandate by the UNDP and the Stability Pact for South East Europe (later succeeded by the RCC) to function as a component of the Regional Implementation Plan on Combating Proliferation of SALW formulated and adopted by the Stability Pact in November 2001 and revised in 2006 and in 2014.

For more information: http://www.seesac.org/News_1/Regional-Steering-Group-on-SALW-holds-its-annual-meeting_1/

Talks in Skopje on the Curriculum for smuggling migrants

10-12 April 2017, Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: A UNODC delegation visited Skopje to discuss with the national authorities migration policies, related to them human rights and countering migrant smuggling, with special focus on criminal justice systems. The primary goal of the UNODC mission was to promote compliance with the Protocol against smuggling of migrants to the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention and to help the visited country in its efforts towards the effective implementation of the Protocol. In particular, the mission focused on the preparation of a new Curriculum for smuggling migrants.

The UNODC delegation met with a large group of counterparts in Skopje, including the Director and other officials of the Academy for judges and public prosecutors, a judge from Primary Court, visited the National Coordination Centre for Integrated border management and met with the National Coordinator for IBM, as well as with the National Coordinator for the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration. The delegation also met with the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and public prosecutors from the Primary Public Prosecutor's Office for prosecution of organized crime and corruption.

As a result of this fact finding mission, in partnership with the Judicial Academy, priorities were identified and modalities for the development of the Curriculum for smuggling migrants have been laid forward. It was agreed to nominate a team of national experts to assist the Academy and UNODC in developing and piloting the national Curriculum. 

Balkan and Russian law enforcers review financial investigations of money laundering and terrorism financing

3-7 April 2017, Moscow, Russian Federation: The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation - International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring - in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, held an Advanced training for representatives of national systems of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) of the partner countries of the Russian Federation from South Eastern Europe. The training was entitled "Analytical methods and special techniques of financial investigations in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism".

The goal of the training was to improve qualifications of the personnel of the FIUs and law enforcement agencies of the countries of South Eastern Europe in the field of analytical methods and technologies of financial investigations, as well as to strengthening inter-regional cooperation in the field of AML/CFT. The participants of the training were 19 representatives of FIUs and law enforcement agencies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

In the course of the training, the following topics were reviewed:

  • Russian system of AML/CFT and international cooperation in the field of AML/CFT;     
  • financial investigations of cases of ML;
  • the use of companies registered in offshore jurisdictions to layer and integrate proceeds of crime;
  • ML typologies;
  • the use of electronic payment systems in drugs payments schemes;
  • inter-agency cooperation with regard to identification and investigation of financing of international terrorist organizations; and others.

As part of the training, a specialized Round table was held on the topic "Exchange of experience towards improving the effectiveness of international cooperation against illicit production and trafficking in drugs" with the participation of the representatives of other Russian law enforcement agencies.

It is foreseen to continue active cooperation with the Russian Federation in the AML/CFT field.

 Parliamentarians form the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe review  implementation of UNSC resolutions on terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters

30-31 March 2017, Rome, Italy: UNODC and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) organized in close consultation with the United Nations Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and upon the generous contribution of the European Union (EU), the conference entitled "Evaluation of implementation by national parliaments of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Terrorism and Foreign Terrorist Fighters". The conference was generously hosted by the Italian Senate.

The conference was organised within the framework of the EU-funded UNODC - EU joint Initiative aimed at Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and South Eastern Europe.

This initiative follows and complements the activities jointly organized by UNODC and PAM in recent years, notably the seminar "The oversight of law enforcement and security services in the fight against terrorism" (Rome, Italy, 26-27 February 2015) and the "Workshop on the challenges posed by a preventative criminal justice response to terrorism and to Foreign Terrorist Fighters" (Bucharest, Romania, 8-9 October 2015). More recently, UNODC has also organised, with IPU and in cooperation with PAM, the conference on "The challenges posed by extremism leading to terrorism and preventive criminal justice responses" (Aswan, Egypt, 31 January - 2 February 2017).

The purpose of the present conference was to discuss the status of the implementation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions by national parliaments, and national Counter-Terrorism strategies along with the lessons learned and present best practices in order to facilitate the smooth implementation by all PAM Member parliaments. At the request of CTED, the national parliaments of the Central Asian states were invited to join the national parliaments of the PAM region for this important discussion, as the present event fell immediately after the Parliamentary conference on combating international terrorism organised jointly by the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly on 28 March 2017 in St. Petersburg. The event also welcomed representatives of South Eastern European and several Western European parliaments. 

Container Control Programme continues to support Bosnia and Herzegovina

30 March 2017, Bijaca, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In 2017, UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) continues to support the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enhance its capacities to fight against illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and other forms of black market activity in selected land-ports. CCP maintains its support to sustainable inter-agency Port Control Units (PCUs) in selected sea and dry ports to minimize the risk of shipping containers being exploited for illegal activities.

Regular monitoring visits (latest on the above date) to the Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police officers, aim to help stakeholders and beneficiaries to reflect on and learn from their actions and practice and to help inform the development of good practice in support to the Programme implementation.

 

The Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina is operational since January 2015 and regularly engages in risk analyses and profiling of all risky containerized shipments imported/exported to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UNODC supports national capacities of Serbia to address challenges related to foreign terrorist fighters

22-23 March 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC held a National Workshop on the "Investigation and Adjudication of Cases Involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in South Eastern Europe". The Workshop is part of the UNODC project "Strengthening the Legal Regime Against Emerging Terrorist Threats, Including FTF in South Eastern Europe (Training Module Development)".

The objective of the project is to support specialized training modules on the prosecution of FTFs for criminal justice sector practitioners from the jurisdictions in the region. Among the goals of the project are:

  • strengthening the capacity of national jurisdictions in light of the increasing flow of international recruits to terrorist organizations, as identified by the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council;
  • development of the capacity of criminal justice training institutions in the region to provide training on the specific legal and technical aspects related to countering FTF at the national and regional levels through the tailor-made FTF training modules which include best practices and key practical case-law resources;
  • enhancing regional and sub-regional cooperation concerning specialized counter-terrorism aspects related to FTF between and among national jurisdictions in the region, especially through the support to the relevant training institutions.

In sum, the project, funded with the generous contribution of the US Government, aims at addressing the FTF phenomenon and its global and regional risks by developing a training curriculum to enhance counter-terrorism criminal justice capacity of beneficiary jurisdictions to counter the FTF phenomenon in compliance with the rule of law.

The Belgrade Workshop included reviews of the relevant international legal frameworks as well as an expert discussion on recruitment of FTFs, their training, travelling, financing and organizing. Special investigative techniques, analysis of financial information, evidence and e-evidence were also addressed.

Similar workshops will be undertaken in all jurisdictions of the region by the end of 2017.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" training for trainers and educators organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina

20-22 March 2107, Tuzla; 23-25 March 2017, Sarajevo; 27-29 March 2017, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the programme inception meeting organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo in December 2016, first project activities have started in Tuzla, Sarajevo and Mostar.

In particular, trainings for trainers and educators were successfully organized with a group of nominated experts from 15 elementary schools from Tuzla, Mostar and Sarajevo with the aim to capacitate the schools' teachers with the comprehension on the programme material and suggested implementation mechanism in order to continue with the direct project implementation in their schools. The trainings were organized with the support of Ministry for Security and local cantonal and federal Ministries for Education and supervised by the Lions Quest international trainer coach.

Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme is an evidence based programme targeting school population by means of addressing the developmental factors with groups of adolescents. It addresses the strengthening of the social emotional skills with groups of students in order to develop the resiliency to rebuff and delay the onset of drug use. The programme implementation in South Eastern Europe is an outcome of the cooperation of UNODC with the Lions Club International Foundation with tangible results already achieved with large groups of students in Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro in terms of reduction of substance use, supporting refusal skills and strengthening normative beliefs and intention to use them.

The programme will continue with the organization of the trainings of trainers in Bjeljina, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in May 2017, involving 15 additional schools and thus allowing the expansion of the programme across the different parts of the country. The programme will result in the developed national capacities by having 90 teachers from 30 elementary schools and 4 trainers educated on programme material  who will serve further to assist the programme expansion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The programme will extend its reach to Albania in the second half of 2017, consequently involving all countries of South Eastern Europe in its implementation.

UNODC and partners from South Eastern Europe unite in the efforts to prevent drug use

14 March 2017, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the 60 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UNODC organised a special side event on prevention of drug use articulated in two back to back panels.

The first panel was entitled "New Initiative in Prevention: Strengthening the Global Prevention Response" co-sponsored by the governments of Singapore, France and Norway, the UNODC Justice Section and the Vienna and New York NGO Committees.

The second panel was entitled "Schools as Valuable Social Institutions for Prevention and to Build Socio-emotional Skills" and it was co-organised with Lions Clubs International Foundation and co-sponsored by the Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, as well as UNESCO and the Vienna and New York NGO Committees.

This special event was opened by the Chair of the 60 th session of the CND and UNODC deputy Executive Director in presence of over 150 senior and expert level representatives of different governmental and non-governmental delegations to the CND.

The panel on schools featured the collaboration between UNODC and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), particularly in adapting and piloting Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) in South East Europe. LQSFA is a programme that focuses on strengthening socio-emotional skills in youth aged 12-15 years. The programme is in line with UNODC International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.

 

The panel podium covered interventions from UNODC and LCIF as well as from delegations from South Eastern Europe highlighting:

  • the positive value and impact of the programme that has been piloted on 5,000 students (intervention and comparison groups), so far, in over 80 elementary schools from Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, showing a significant impact on substance use initiation (alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana), as well as skills to refuse and to challenge the normative belief and to alter the perception of harm of these 3 substances;
  • the plans of expansion of this initiative to cover during the coming year Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • the high level of satisfaction and affinity on the positive and added value of the programme on the ongoing positive expansion and strengthening of evidence based prevention interventions in South Eastern Europe.

As schools are one of the most common, and one of the most effective, settings for prevention (including substance use prevention), applying evidence based prevention in schools carries several benefits. On the one hand, preventing substance use tackles a serious threat to well-functioning schools and, on the other hand, evidence based prevention that addresses vulnerabilities linked to substance use initiation, leads to the improved academic performance and functioning of the schools in general (over and beyond preventing substance use).

This experience in South Eastern Europe was presented as an exemplary model for other countries to follow, particularly within the context of the recently developed UNODC-WHO-UNESCO guidance document on prevention for the education sector entitled "Education sector responses to the Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs" that was presented during the event, and on the same podium by UNESCO.

UNODC Training on Cash Couriers: How to Detect Cash Smugglers, Investigate Money Laundering, and Destroy Criminal Networks

13-15 March 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Regional Program for South Eastern Europe together with the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering organized a training course in Sarajevo for 32 national customs officers, police investigators and anti-money laundering analysts from 15 different authorities on combatting cash smuggling.

During the first day of the event, UNODC and national experts visited the airport of Sarajevo and reviewed the existing cash control procedures in order to ensure that the training course fully corresponds to the needs of practitioners.

The following two training days focused on the practical skills. The practitioners met in the Council of Ministers' building to share their personal experiences and specific expertise on cash couriers. They learnt the latest international and regional trends of cash smuggling, applied crime mapping skills, analyzed cash flows and practiced the methods of control, detection and seizure of cash. The training was highly interactive and included multiple practical exercises. The participants actively contributed to the discussions, provided their real-life examples of cash smuggling, and tested the new skills in realistic scenarios. The UNODC experts from Germany and Hungary illustrated the course with their own experience with regard to countering cash smuggling involving several countries and provided a regional perspective. In view of the fact that combating cash couriers and money laundering requires cooperation of all law enforcement agencies, the training paid significant attention to the interagency cooperation.

Feedback of one of the senior Bosnian counterparts on the outcome of the training is as follows: "I had the pleasure of participating at the UNODC workshop on cash couriers held in Sarajevo. The workshop fully met my expectations and expanded my knowledge on the subject."

The training is a part of a long-term strategic partnership between UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina identified combating cash smuggling as one of the top priorities in 2015 in its statement to the Council of Europe and the FATF. Criminals move cash across the borders to pay for drugs and other illegal goods, to hide criminal profits, launder money, and to finance terrorism.   

UNODC commenced Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in Albania

23 February 2017 Tirana, Albania: Scaling up the results of the prolific cooperation with the Lions Club International Foundation on the piloting of the Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, UNODC has embarked on the programme expansion mission extending the programme offer to Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Within the scope of the International Standards on drug use prevention and following the outstanding results with the implementation of the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 in the South East European region, additional evidence based drug use prevention programme was presented to Ministry of Education and Sport of the Government of Albania for its further piloting and evaluating its effectiveness as one of the anticipated results of the pilot programme.

The Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" is a school-based life skill programme targeting young people to develop skills, to accept the responsibility, to learn how to communicate effectively and make health decisions, as well as to resist pressure to use alcohol and drugs.

The inception meeting was conveyed together with the Ministry of Education and Sport of Albania inviting the representatives of relevant institutions engaged in the drug use prevention to discuss the programme material and the suggested programme implementation outline.

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Institute of public health, local communities from Tirana and representatives from the 'Save the children' organization and local Lions Clubs actively contributed to the dialog with their comments and suggestions in view of the national adaptation of the programme implementation mechanism.

The Programme would commence in the next months with the organization of the training sessions for the educators who will continue with the direct implementation of the programme in the nominated elementary schools across the country.

Illicit drug challenge remains "formidable", UNODC Chief tells Tehran audience

28 February 2017, Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran: The value of opiates trafficked out of Afghanistan is "staggering", UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, told an audience at a high-level conference in Tehran, on 27 February.

Taking the Balkans route as an example, the illicit proceeds of trafficked Afghan opiates amounts to $28 billion said the UNODC Chief. This figure exceeded not just the gross domestic product of Afghanistan, but it was also only one of the three main trafficking routes flowing out of the country. Mr. Fedotov told the audience that a UNODC report on opium grown in Afghanistan published in 2016 showed that poppy cultivation had increased by 10 per cent to 201,000 hectares. Production, driven by the high opium yield, had risen also by 43 per cent to 4,800 tonnes.

UNODC was responding, Mr. Fedotov said, by working with regional and international partners to build greater cooperation against transnational organized crime and terrorism threats, as well as refining regional drug control coordination. Known as the "One UNODC Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia", activities included efforts under the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, and South Eastern Europe, the Programme for Central Asia, and the Country Programmes for Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

Underpinning these activities were a number of other integrated initiatives. One such programme, the Triangular Initiative, brought together Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan to share information and good practices on law enforcement, and to conduct  joint operations against the traffickers founded on the intelligence of a Tehran-based Joint Planning Cell. Mr. Fedotov said UNODC was planning to complement these activities by setting up a regional anti-money laundering network in Tehran to counter regional terrorism financing.

Another important activity within the "One UNODC approach" is the Networking the Networks initiative to build bridges between law enforcement bodies along the major opiate trafficking routes. Organizations involved in this process included: the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) , the Joint Planning Cell and the Doha-based Gulf Criminal Information Centre for Combatting Drugs, among others.

The broad range of UNODC's activities in the region, Mr. Fedotov said, were undertaken to also support the outcome document of last April's UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016). He stressed that last October's Brussel's Conference on Afghanistan had also reinforced the need to focus on illicit drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism in the region. But, Mr. Fedotov said, "high level political commitment and pledges must be backed by the required support, including financial resources."

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the Tehran International Conference on Cooperation against Illicit Drugs and related Organized Crime, which brought together Ministers, ambassadors, experts and others from Central Asia and beyond to discuss drugs and crime.

At the end of the conference, organizers issued conclusions commending UNODC and recognizing that "Afghanistan and the transit countries in the region continue to face multifaceted challenges, and reaffirm[ing] the continuing need for cooperation and support, including the provision of technical assistance to, inter alia, enhance their capacities to effectively address and counter the  drug problem".

Commenting on the conclusions, Mr. Fedotov said, "The Conference's conclusions are useful inputs for the forthcoming 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the ongoing post-UNGASS 2016 implementation efforts." As part of his overall mission to Tehran, the UNODC Executive Director also met with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Minister of Interior and Secretary General of Drug Control Headquarters.   

Further Information:

Conclusions: "Tehran International Conference on Cooperation against Illicit Drugs and related Organized Crime"

Afghanistan Opium Survey 2016

One UNODC Concerted Approach for Europe, West and Central Asia

Triangular Initiative

UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem

UNODC Promotes International and Regional Cooperation in Criminal Matters involving Foreign Terrorist Fighters in South Eastern Europe

14-16 February 2017, Vienna, Austria: UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a regional workshop for South Eastern Europe on strengthening international and regional cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, with a focus on foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). The event was funded by the European Union in the context of the EU-UNODC Global Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe.

The workshop brought together senior level criminal justice officials, including judges and prosecutors,  from the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo under United Nations Security Council resolution 1244), as well as representatives from Italy, Spain, the Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), INTERPOL, OSCE, Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe (PCC SEE), Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

Participants exchanged experiences, challenges, lessons learned and good practices on strengthening international and regional cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism, with a focus on FTFs.  The event provided a forum to present real cases participants had dealt with in their respective jurisdictions, and to have in-depth discussions on relevant national legislation and the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. The sessions generated a rich debate on how the challenges faced by South Eastern Europe in this field have been addressed and how the existing good cooperation could be further enhanced.


Paris Pact Initiative supports the review of the situation at Afghan opiates trafficking routes, including the Balkan route

1-2 February 2017, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe presented the results of work in the region at the 13 th Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCMG) of the Paris Pact Initiative. The event, attended by senior representatives and experts from the vast region where Paris Pact is operating, was, inter alia, debriefed on the Expert Working Groups (EWGs) that took place since the last PCMG, including their recommendations and conclusions. These were:

  • Expert Working Group on Law Enforcement Training in Support to Cross-border Cooperation (INTERPOL General Secretariat, Lyon, 8-9 November 2016) - in support of Pillar I of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Illicit Financial Flows Deriving from the Trafficking of Opiates Origination in Afghanistan (UNODC Vienna, 17-18 January 2017) - in support of Pillar II of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Precursors (EUROPOL HQ, The Hague, 1-2 December 2016) - in support of Pillar III of the Vienna Declaration;
  • Expert Working Group on Integrating Drug Dependence Treatment and Care in the Public Health System (OSCE Mission to Serbia, Belgrade, 10-11 October 2016) - in support of Pillar IV of the Vienna Declaration.

It was particularly stressed that the latter was the first Paris Pact EWG that took place in South Eastern Europe, and the support and cooperation of the OSCE Mission to Serbia was underscored in this regard.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/paris-pact-initiative.html

https://www.paris-pact.net/

Port Control Unit at Durres Port seizes 430 kg of Cannabis herb

30 January 2017, Durres, Albania: A major haul of contraband, 430 kg of Cannabis herb, worth Euro 645,000 was seized from a truck in Durres Port.

The Port Control Unit (PCU) succeeded in seizing the consignment of the narcotics as they exercised a routine control and interviewing techniques to the driver of the truck.

The truck was filled with empty fruit cases and belonged to an Albanian company doing fruit business with the province of Trento in Italy. The PCU officers carefully examined the vehicle, undertaken scanner control, and followed with further examination, having eventually detected that the sides of the empty cases were filled with Cannabis herb. The driver of the truck, the company owner and the manger were detained and more details are expected to be cleared after the continuation of the investigation. A case under relevant sections of Durres Anti-Narcotic Section has been registered in this connection.

The PCU at Durres Port is established in the framework of the implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe. Since its establishment, the PCU has succeeded in seizing around 8 tons of Cannabis herb (2013-2016).

UNODC participates at the Lions Quest Europe meeting in Finland

12-15 January 2017, Hyvinkää, Finland: Resulting from the cooperation with the Lions Club International Foundation, UNODC has piloted the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in the South East European (SEE) region: first in Serbia in 2014, later in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. Currently, the outstanding results of the programme are expanding to Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme is a school based social emotional learning intervention which is strongly scientifically evaluated as the efficient drug use prevention programme. 

The Lions Club International Foundation together with the local Lions Clubs are annually organizing Lions Quest European meetings with the aim to discuss the best practices observed in the European region as a result of  the implementation of various Lions Quest programmes (Skills for growing, Skills for Adolescence and Skills for Action). Furthermore, new social emotional learning programmes developed for the specific target groups such as refugee groups and sport society at large are presented as anticipated interventions for further development and piloting.

The topic of the Lions Quest European meeting was strongly focused on the evaluation of the efficiency of the implemented programmes whereby UNODC actively contributed with the presentation of the evaluation results of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme  from three countries in the SEE region. The results were decisive in presenting the positive changes in view of the four indicators evaluated: substance use, intention to use substances, refusal skills and normative beliefs among the targeted the groups of the students in more than 80 elementary schools who were exposed to the programme.

The meeting was well attended with the participation of the Lions Club Country Directors and Senior trainers from 24 European countries.

The next Lions Quest European meeting is scheduled for January 2018 in Georgia.

Related articles:

http://www.aamuposti.fi/artikkeli/475297-elamisentaitoja-lionseilta-saksalainen-kokousedustaja-kehui-suomen-kouluja

https://www.lions-quest.org/

 

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