South-Eastern Europe tackles drug trafficking

9-13 May 2022, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) organized a regional training on “New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), synthetic drugs and precursors”.

Building on the outcomes of the regional event and exchange program that took place in Rome in November/December 2021, 11 experts of the Italian Central Directorate for the Anti-drug Services led the technical sessions aimed at raising the awareness and the interdiction capabilities for 31 officers from Serbia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina currently engaged in the establishment of AIRCOP/CCP inter-agency groups at the airports in Belgrade, Skopje and Sarajevo.

The effective cooperation with the Italian Central Directorate for the Anti-drug Services, as well as with the EU law enforcement agencies represents an asset for the technical assistance provision in South Eastern Europe aimed to enhance the capacity of the law enforcement agencies in addressing cross-cutting threats targeting borders.

The expert-led sessions presented the overall aspects of the NPS, synthetic drugs and precursors, including production techniques, routes, trends, chemical aspects, handling dangerousness, as well as the international cooperation related tools against the spreading of trafficking of synthetic drugs and precursors as an embedded and significant component of the illicit business generated by the international crime organizations.

The regional workshop on NPS, synthetic drugs and precursors has been carried out in the framework of the joint EU-UNODC action on promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports, funded by the EU and implemented by AIRCOP and UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly SDG 16.a on strengthening relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.