UNODC-OSCE Meeting on Addressing Illicit Financial Flows Linked to Afghan Opiates

30-31 May 2022, Vienna, Austria: The Paris Pact Expert Working Group meeting on “Detecting and blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates originating in Afghanistan” (Pillar II of the Vienna Declaration) - hosted by OSCE - was joined in person and online by over 130 participants, representing 33 partner countries and 11 international and regional partner organizations.

During the meeting newly emerged challenges for countering illicit financial flows along the three main opiates trafficking routes (northern, Balkan and southern) from Afghanistan were discussed, and operational best practices for effective responses identified and shared.

The participants also discussed the security situation in Afghanistan, opiate trafficking, money and service transfer services (Hawala), inter-agency and international co-operation. They also examined challenges and developments to counter money laundering and asset recovery initiatives. Moreover, participants considered technical assistance needs and new capabilities, which can enhance the understanding and disruption of illicit financial flows.

UNODC and national experts from South Eastern Europe participated in the event with interventions on the discussed topics. The UNODC expert made a presentation on the “UNODC Support to Asset Recovery in South Eastern Europe from the perspective of the Paris Pact Initiative Priority Recommendations”, a programme implemented within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. Additionally,  the Serbian Ministry of Justice spoke about the “Financial Investigations Linked to Illicit Traffic of Narcotics in the Practice of the Ministry of Interior, Courts and Public Prosecutor’s Offices in the Republic of Serbia” and the expert from the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented  “The Role of the Financial Intelligence Department in Prevention of Money Laundering”.

The meeting concluded with the drafting of recommendations emanating from the Expert Working Group discussions. The recommendations are to be endorsed at the 16th Policy Consultative Group Meeting (PCGM), scheduled to be organized on 24-25 November 2022, in Vienna.

The Paris Pact Initiative is a broad international coalition made up of 58 partner countries and 23 organizations, for combatting illicit traffic in opiates originating in Afghanistan.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly Target 16.4 on significantly reducing illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime.