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UNODC joint the EMPACT meeting on Tackling Illegal Waste Disposal and Shipment

19 November 2020, online: UNODC participated in the Operational Meeting of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) on Tackling Illegal Waste Disposal and Shipment, organized by the Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service and the Embassy of France in Vienna.  

The event brought together the relevant experts from Western and South Eastern Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 as well as representatives from EUROPOL, INTERPOL, OSCE, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNODC. The UNODC expert provided an overview of the Office’s mandate and ongoing initiatives in the relevant area, such as the development of a legislative guide on illegal waste, as well as the UNODC approach in addressing other crimes that have an impact on the environment, i.e. wildlife, forest and fisheries crime.

The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime are jointly exploring possibilities to support the Governments of South Eastern Europe in preventing and countering wildlife and forest crime and waste trafficking through strengthening their national capacities and promoting cooperation.

UNODC builds capacities of the border control officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

16-18 November 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina/Montenegro: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) delivered a Joint Condensed Refresher Training for the officers of the Port Control Units (PCUs) at the port of Bar and the land border crossing/customs point Bijača. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the training was conducted in a hybrid manner using an online platform combined with in-person attendance of participants at locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

The three-day course presented to the PCU officers included topics related to smuggling modus operandi, updates related to container tracking, drug precursors and inter-agency and international cooperation. A specific segment was dedicated to the issue of dangerous goods storage and security lessons learned from the ports in Tianjin, China and Beirut, Lebanon, and the devastating consequences in the case of latter.

The training was also used to discuss future training prospects for both PCUs and joint activities to be implemented over the course of 2021, carried out under 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 European Union and conducted in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC introduces the Strong Families programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina and scales up drug use prevention

9-12 November 2020, online: In partnership with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the NGO Narko-Ne, UNODC supported the organization of an online training for educators in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the UNODC Strong Families programme.

The Strong Families Programme is a family skills programme for challenged settings, that provides an evidence-informed prevention response, building family skills that benefits the health and safe development of children. The main component of this programme is to strengthen the family structure and functions to help families prevent drug use, violence and other negative social consequences in their children. The Programme was developed by the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section in collaboration with international experts as a low cost, adaptable and easy-to-use prevention intervention.

Once trained, the professionals will be asked to test the effectiveness of the online training approach with the application of the Strong Families programme directly with the chosen group of families. This pilot initiative will allow additional cultural adaptation of the training materials to the national context and customization of the implementation methodology of the programme accordingly.

The group of professionals trained online will be invited to the in-person trainings, once the COVID-19 situation allows for it, to talk about their experience and support further development of the Strong Families programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This initiative is financially supported by the UNDP office in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Norwegian Embassy in Sarajevo with the overall support of the NGO Narco-Ne and UNODC Programme Office in Serbia. 

PCC SEE Secretariat and UNODC convene a regional dialogue in support of Joint Investigation Teams in South Eastern Europe

3-4 November 2020, online: UNODC and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) held the PCC SEE 6th Meeting of the Thematic Working Group on Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) Expert Network for Southeast Europe under the auspices of the Croatian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office and in cooperation with the former Bulgarian PCC SEE Chairmanship-in-Office.

The field of JITs remains a central priority for the operational cooperation of the PCC SEE Contracting Parties. This JIT Expert Network represents the working group, established to facilitate the setting up and organization of JITs in practice and discuss relevant practical and legislative issues pertaining to the cooperation among the EU and non-EU Contracting Parties to the PCC SEE.

The meeting brought together the PCC SEE Contracting Parties and the relevant stakeholders in the region, including CILC, EUROJUST JITs Network Secretariat, EUROPOL, Guardia Civil, SEESAC, SELEC and others to discuss the countering illicit trafficking and use of firearms as well as controlled deliveries.

The first day of the event focused on the cooperation within the EU and beyond and allowed the EU agencies and other partner organizations to present their activities in the field of JITs. Emphasis was also placed on achievements and lessons learnt by the PCC SEE Contracting Parties. The next day's first session was dedicated to the criminal justice response to countering illicit trafficking and use of firearms. UNODC briefed the participants on fighting trafficking in firearms, their illicit possession and use. The second session, focused on the controlled deliveries, was facilitated by UNODC and other partners.

The event provided an opportunity for fruitful discussions on the practical and operational ways of further improving cooperation in the field of JITs with specific emphasis on firearms and control deliveries. The participants shared their experience, discussed the legislative and operational challenges in practice and the importance of partnerships.

According to the Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat “JITs have become a reality not only in the EU, but also in the non-EU Contracting Parties to the PCC SEE. Taking into consideration the advancements that have been achieved in this prominent field with the strong support of relevant EU agencies and partners present in this meeting, and the new experience on part of the PCC SEE Contracting Parties, the discussions in this working group have visibly moved towards addressing very specific opportunities and challenges in setting-up and operating JITs. All in all, a joint success story.”

The activity is co-funded by a PCC SEE project granted by the Royal Norwegian Government. The event is in line with the 2020 annual workplan of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC-PCC SEE Secretariat Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 2019.

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

Coordination meeting with UNODC counterparts in Serbia

3 November 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a project coordination meeting with the national authorities of Serbia including the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs, the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, the High Judicial Council the Customs Administration.

The meeting presented an opportunity for the GFP to discuss its contribution towards countering the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms in Serbia and the wider region, in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC regional project on “Criminal Justice Response against Arms Trafficking”. The GFP efforts in Serbia were welcomed by the authorities and concrete suggestions were discussed to ensure effective implementation of the planned activities.

In the upcoming period, the specific activities and the scope of engagement of the GFP in Serbia will be defined in cooperation with the national authorities.

The activities in Serbia are supported under the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/news/2020/Jan/coordination-meeting-with-unodcs-counterparts-in-serbia.html

AIRCOP participates in the 4th OSCE-wide Seminar on Passenger Data Exchange

29-30 October 2020, online: The UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) participated in the 4th OSCE-wide Seminar on Passenger Data Exchange organized jointly by the OSCE and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). The event was held to discuss ways to responsibly use passenger data and promote the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2396 (2017), which focuses on preventing the return of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) by mandating States to adopt and use both Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data systems.

The objective of the event was to further support the States in developing passenger data collection tools and provide opportunities to identify potential partnerships by focusing on several thematic areas, such as use of API/PNR for public health in times of crisis; building a Passenger Information Unit (PIU); collecting and analyzing the data along with collaboration with the CT Travel Programme and the related goTravel software.

The seminar brought together over 150 passenger data experts and representatives from international organizations and the private sector who stressed the importance of information sharing, interagency cooperation and the adoption of a risk-based approach aimed at fully integrating the civil aviation requirements with law enforcement needs in terms of border clearance.   

Several experts briefed the participants on legislative considerations and provisions for collecting and using passenger data for public health purposes. The event enabled the exchange of experience and best practices with the OSCE and other partners with regard to the UNODC ​mandate in this area in South Eastern Europe (SEE).  AIRCOP also contributed to the seminar by presenting its activities on border control at global level, including the action in SEE, aimed at strengthening the capacities of international airports to detect and intercept drugs, other illicit goods and high-risk passengers.

The AIRCOP Project is expanding in South Eastern Europe since 2020 under the EU-funded action on border control in the region, with the objective to promote the rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at airports in the region.    

The joint efforts of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme and the AIRCOP Project aim at strengthening the capacities of international airports, ports and land border crossing points to target and intercept high-risk passengers, cargo and mail, as a contribution to the fight against illicit drugs and other illicit commodities (such as wildlife products or falsified medical products), terrorism-related threats (such as arms or potential foreign terrorist fighters), trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. It also aims at facilitating communication and coordination between origin, transit and destination countries to disrupt cross-border illicit flows and criminal networks.   

UNODC organized training on Strategic Trade and Export Control in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

26-29 October 2020, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 2-5 November 2020, Bar, Montenegro: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) delivered Strategic Trade and Export Control Training (STECT) for frontline officers of the Port Control Units (PCUs) at the land border crossing Bijača in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Port of Bar in Montenegro.

The STECT is an intense training that explores the risk of non-state actors exploiting the containerized supply chain, as is regularly seen with drugs and other illicit commodities, to traffic or deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their component parts, comprising chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materialsAs part of the integral CCP training cycle for PCUs participating in the Programme, the STECT contributes to exploring the relationship between effective profiling of containers and its implications for the economy, and aims at building the capacity of PCUs to detect illicit trade within the containerized supply chain through the detailed examination of pre-arrival information.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to the officers of PCU Bijača, the training was also attended by a number of customs and law enforcement officers involved in the Working Group on strategic and dual-use goods within the Indirect Taxation Authority, which was established to facilitate the work of frontline customs and other relevant officers by providing guidance and support in matters related to strategic and dual-use goods.

In Montenegro, the event was used to review topics and content introduced in the first STECT delivered in 2019 and also present new topics related to the proliferation of CBRN materials and explosives, as well as other challenging subjects, such as military hardware identification.

These two four-day trainings, delivered by a team of experienced UNODC trainers, were carried out under 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 European Union and conducted in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC meets with the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss cooperation in criminal justice response against arms trafficking

21-23 October 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) met with the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Chief Prosecutor, the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and the Director of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Center to discuss the implementation in the country of the UNODC regional project on Criminal Justice Response against Arms Trafficking. The scope of the discussions included the applicable legal framework to arms trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the identification of trainings and capacity building needs for judges and prosecutors. Through this project, UNODC GFP aims at tackling the immediate needs of the national authorities, building on past and ongoing efforts and initiatives carried out in the Western Balkan region in countering illicit firearms trafficking and organized crime.  

During the discussions, the counterparts welcomed the support of UNODC GFP in Bosnia and Herzegovina while agreeing on future cooperation focusing on training and capacity building. 

Strengthening the capacity of national authorities in the Western Balkans to detect, investigate and prosecute firearms trafficking and its links to other serious crimes is recognized to be very important as it contributes to the reinforcement of the rule of law. The importance of harmonization of national legislation with the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes and its Protocols has been emphasized as it is an essential pre-requisite for effective and sustainable efforts to effectively control firearms and prevent the diversion and trafficking.

Currently, the UNODC GFP is implementing two projects in South Eastern Europe: 

  • HALT – aimed at enhancing the capacities of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina to better combat illicit arms trafficking through development of standard operating procedures, provision of training, and procurement of specialized equipment for the detection of smuggled firearms.  
  • A regional project on Criminal Justice Response against Arms Trafficking, aimed at supporting the six Western Balkan jurisdictions in strengthening their criminal justice response to firearms related criminality, particularly illicit arms trafficking. 

The financial support for these projects is provided under the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway. 

UNODC held the first Steering Committee Meeting of the border control action

22 October 2020, online: UNODC organized the first Steering Committee Meeting of the joint EU and UNODC action promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and seaports in South Eastern Europe (border control action). The action supports the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. It is aimed at enhancing the capacities of authorities in the Western Balkans to fight organized crime, by supporting more effective and coordinated responses to illicit trafficking by border law enforcement at land and port border crossing points and international airports in the region. The action is funded by the European Union (EU) and is implemented by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The meeting was held online due to the COVID-19 restrictions, and was attended by key stakeholders of the action, including the Focal Points of the action, senior representatives from the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR); implementing partners of the action (WCO and INTERPOL) and the European Union Delegations in the region.

This first session of the action’s Steering Committee Meeting was moderated by UNODC and addressed by UNODC and EU senior officials in its opening session. In his opening remarks, the Head of Western Balkans Regional Cooperation of the DG NEAR provided the context for the EU engagement in the region, particularly in terms of economic convergence and stressed that economic development in the Western Balkans requires strong rule of law and that this joint action is instrumental in that respect. 

Subsequently, UNODC provided an overview of the objectives and goals of the action, as well as an update on the implementation and status of activities including the impact on (border) security, foreign trade and its repercussions in the areas of international and regional cooperation; inter-institutional agreements; information exchange and dialogue between national stakeholders and partners to share good practices and experience; and cooperation with other relevant national stakeholders, donors and the private sector.

The Governments’ perspectives were heard with the addressed jurisdictions’ updates on progress, successful operations in the framework of cooperation with UNODC and next steps within the action, specific to each jurisdiction and allowing to target priorities and tailor the project activities accordingly.

Finally, the action workplan for 2021 was discussed and is to be endorsed by end of 2020 by the national and local authorities of the region as well as the EU to ensure coordination and synergy of efforts in the upcoming action implementation. The meeting concluded with an overview of the action’s visibility work to date and future undertakings.

The action’s Steering Committee is aimed at providing specific guidance and support to the action as it allows for all the stakeholders to meet and discuss key issues aimed at reviewing the progress of the action and deciding on future undertakings. In doing so, the national ownership of the governments in the region is ensured leading to greater coordination and coherence in the action implementation. The action Steering Committee meetings will be held annually.

For more information: 

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC supports the regional efforts in countering trafficking in cultural property in South Eastern Europe

20-21 October 2020, Venice, Italy/online: UNODC attended a sub-regional impact-assessment meeting on the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property organized by UNESCO. The event was organized in the context of the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 25th anniversary of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, and brought together the main UNESCO partners in this field, including the Italian Carabinieri TPC (Department for the Protection of Cultural heritage), INTERPOL, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and UNODC as well as representatives from the relevant authorities from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Romania.

The meeting was aimed at taking stock of the results following the approval of the Regional Strategy for Cultural Cooperation (Ohrid Strategy) by the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe – Enhancing Culture for Sustainable Development in 2014, that included the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property as a priority and called for reinforced regional action on capacity-building, knowledge sharing and awareness raising; as well as the five training workshops organized at country level for the benefit of the present countries and Moldova in the period running from 2014 to 2018.

During the first session of the event, the participants provided insights on national experiences in countering the illicit trafficking of cultural property, describing the challenges and putting forward proposals while the second session focused on the endeavors that have been undertaken by the international organizations to tackle this issue. A number of measures that could help counter this crime were highlighted, including the appointment of focal points in each relevant agency, the importance of legislative harmonization, capacity building, database development and digitalization, protection of sites, greater control of auction houses and law sensitivity and awareness of the public and relevant institutions.

The UNODC expert presented elements of the UNODC criminal justice response in South Eastern Europe to address transnational organized crime, including trafficking in cultural property, in the region as well as the tools available for this purpose, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the International Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The main UNODC programmes working in this direction in the region were also mentioned, including the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) currently involved in the joint EU-UNODC action on enhanced border control in South Eastern Europe in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. Finally, UNODC emphasized the importance of partnership to achieve a comprehensive, sustainable and measurable action in effectively countering the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering illicit firearms trafficking

20 October 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) held a meeting with the Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the activities under the joint UNODC – UNDP project on Halting arms and lawbreaking trade (HALT). The counterparts discussed the importance of raising awareness in the private sector on prevention of arms trafficking and the organization of two workshops by the end of 2020 for the private transportation and parcel deliveries sectors to help improve their procedures, increase cost savings and reduce operational risks. This will result in more efficient, smooth and closer cooperation of the Government with the private sector.  

Currently, the UNODC GFP is implementing two projects in South Eastern Europe: 

  • HALT – aimed at enhancing the capacities of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina to better combat illicit arms trafficking through development of standard operating procedures, provision of training, and procurement of specialized equipment for the detection of smuggled firearms; and
  • a regional project on Criminal Justice Response against Arms Trafficking, aimed at supporting the six Western Balkan jurisdictions in strengthening their criminal justice response to firearms related criminality, particularly illicit arms trafficking. 

The financial support for these projects is provided under the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway. 

UNODC meets with the new Ambassador to the European Union in North Macedonia 

20 October 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: In line with the continued UNODC-EU dialogue in the region, the Head of the UNODC Programme Office in North Macedonia met with the new Ambassador of the European Union in the country to discuss the cooperation in the region, including in the context of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the EU-funded joint EU-UNODC action on enhanced border control in the region, as well as other UNODC initiatives. 

UNODC briefed the Ambassador on the overall framework of the UNODC-EU partnership and the progress and implementation of the said action to date. The Ambassador acknowledged the UNODC commitment to delivery at such a difficult time and pledged his support to the UNODC efforts in North Macedonia. The Ambassador also expressed interest in maintaining a strong cooperation, and potentially considering expanding it to other areas within other UNODC programmes.  

UNODC joins RACVIAC's Advisory Group meeting

20 October 2020, Rakitje, Croatia/online: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe virtually participated in the 44th Multinational Advisory Group (MAG) Meeting of the Centre for Security Cooperation in South Eastern Europe (RACVIAC) held in a hybrid format in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, the members of RACVIAC reiterated the importance of the regional cooperation and expressed their commitment to supporting it, including through the regional organizations promoting dialogue and cooperation on security issues in South Eastern Europe. They underlined that, despite the ongoing pandemic, it is important to remain committed to continued efforts aimed at practical results. The results of work in 2020 and plans for 2021 were presented, along with the new RACVIAC Strategy for 2021-2026 which aims to further deepen the security cooperation and strategic dialogue between countries in the region, build stronger ties with regional and international organizations as well as enhance the exchanges with the civil society and academia.

The members approved MAG Chairmanship by North Macedonia for the next year, while expressing appreciation to Montenegro for their MAG Chairmanship during these demanding times. The next MAG meeting is planned to take place in North Macedonia in April 2021.

Cooperation between UNODC and RACVIAC is based on the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 2013, stipulating that the parties will join efforts in supporting the region in their respective mandated areas and strengthen cooperation and effectiveness to achieve the common objectives in the field of rule of law and security.

UNODC supports Serbia in treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders

15 October 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC supported the development of a guiding document on “Mapping of services for the treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders” in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Serbia, the national Expert Committee for Addiction Diseases and with the support of international experts in the field of treatment of substance use disorders. 

This tool, which was released in English and Serbian, is providing further analysis on the national capacities of treatment services for persons with substance use disorders in Serbia, including their availability and variety. It also identifies the areas for improvement in the treatment of adolescent groups and effective care using a comprehensive approach to treatment involving all relevant actors. 

Following the release of this guiding document, evidence-based treatment modalities were suggested for consideration by the Ministry of Health of Serbia with a view to improve and further strengthen the national treatment system in line with the International Standards for the treatment of persons with drug use disorders. 

The next steps should entail the development of a national Action Plan along with the identification of key partners, institutions, technical documents and timelines to scale up treatment services for adolescents with substance use disorders on the basis of the identified recommendations.

For more information: 

The results of study: Mapping of services for the treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders (English)

The results of study: Mapping of services for the treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders (Serbian)

UNODC participated in the webinar on Southeast Europe / Mediterranean Border Challenges 

14 October 2020, online: The UNODC Regional Serious and Organized Crime Advisor participated in a webinar on Border Challenges in the Southeast Europe-Mediterranean Region in the Context of Counter-Terrorism and Related Transnational Organized Crime organized by World Border Security Congress and United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT). 

The UNODC representative briefed the participants on the regional border control challenges and provided an overview on UNODC involvement and its efforts in the region in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, as well as the EU and UNODC joint action promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports. 

The event brought together counter-terrorism coordinators, border and law enforcement experts and practitioners, as well as experts from international, regional and sub-regional organizations to share their experience and ideas for addressing the existing challenges. 

The event aimed to virtually delve into the region-specific context and explore threat landscapes, border security and management challenges, as well as discuss response measures and mechanisms related to countering terrorism and transnational organized crime. 

The discussions included presentations from key experts from the region, with particular focus on current threats, the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism, main gaps and challenges for border management, and the need for border security strategies, plans of action, and processes that incorporate counter-terrorism components as well as crisis and risk management mechanisms within the current pandemic context. 

UNODC assesses the Belgrade airport to support enhanced border control in Serbia

5-9 October 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP), in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), conducted a technical assessment of the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport in view of the establishment of the joint team composed of a Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) and an Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU). The mission, which was previously postponed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, has been carried out given the recent lifting of some of the COVID-19 restrictions and provided an opportunity to discuss the progress and future steps within the border control action during the meetings with the Ministry of Interior, Customs Administration, Ministry of Communication and Infrastructure and Directorate for Civil Aviation of Serbia as well as international stakeholders, including the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the OSCE.

The meetings with the national and international counterparts in association with the technical assessment of the Belgrade airport helped establish a commitment to the action and presented an opportunity to better address the foreseeable implementation steps, discuss administrative details and build relationships installing confidence on both sides and enhancing the cooperation at international level. 

This assessment was carried out under 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 European Union and implemented by CCP and AIRCOP in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

UNODC joins the OSCE-wide conference on Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors: Strengthening Effective Prevention of Drug Use among Youth through Community Policing

6 October 2020, Vienna, Austria and online: Under the auspices of the Albanian 2020 OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Secretariat, the 2020 OSCE-wide Conference on Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors: Strengthening Effective Prevention of Drug Use among Youth through Community Policing, was held in a hybrid format and provided a platform for experts of OSCE participating States and Partners for Cooperation, including UNODC, to discuss collective responses, including by means of community policing, to prevent youth from drug use and abuse, and to reduce the risk of them getting involved in criminal networks engaged in drug trafficking, supply and/or distribution.

Substance use and its negative consequences can have a profound damaging impact on the development of youth, and compromise their educational paths, work life and contribution to society. Police alone cannot provide the sole solution to the drug problems our communities face. Cooperation and coordination between the police, the public and private sector, and civil society lie at the heart of strong partnerships, including community policing. These partnerships complement traditional drug law enforcement and strengthen effective measures to prevent and reduce drug problems in the long-term. The best way to fight against the use of illicit drugs by young people is to prevent it. While traditional policing focuses on supply reduction and increasing the cost of drug use, community policing can embrace a broader, more effective approach that links supply and demand reduction by including prevention and treatment efforts.

The conference targeted experts from national drug control structures, representatives of relevant international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including youth.

A senior UNODC official addressed the event and highlighted the importance of the evidence based response system to effectively address vulnerability to use substances during different ages of development. Moreover, in line with the envisaged multifaceted approach to substance use prevention among youth, Law Enforcement and Community Policing are playing constructive role in addressing these vulnerabilities. Implementation and enforcement of effective laws and policies on drug prevention and promoting a healthy and safe community environment that protects adolescents against substance use are contributing elements to effective prevention outcomes.

UNODC counterparts from the region of South Eastern Europe participated at the conference’s session on preventing youth narcotism and recidivism through community policing and collective partnerships.

For more info: https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/464676

UNODC continues cooperation with the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans

6 October 2020, online: UNODC has contributed to the Fourth Conference of the Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group (SCSG) held under the joint presidency of Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The meeting followed up on the outcomes and discussions of the previous SCSG conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, in January 2020, reported by UNODC earlier this year.

Within the event’s first session, which focused on the progress on regional initiatives agreed under the auspices of the Berlin Process, UNODC briefed the participants on its work within the Regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap, where UNODC acts as the independent secretariat, leading the Roadmap’s development and implementation.

The initiative aims to build and foster partnerships and create the Regional Roadmap to fast-track the implementation of existing anti-corruption and illicit finance commitments, including the United Nations Convention against Corruption, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 16. The overall objective of the Roadmap is to accelerate the effective implementation of these commitments by leveraging regional capacities and knowledge, assisting jurisdictions and development partners to fast-track existing commitments, including UNCAC implementation priorities (also GRECO, MONEYVAL, etc.), and carrying out activities that serve to achieve tangible results in advancing jurisdictions’ efforts to implement anti-corruption and illicit finance commitments.

The work of the Regional Roadmap is in line with the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and compliments the large-scale new UNODC project in the asset recovery area, which is being launched in the region of South Eastern Europe. The UNODC’s engagement in the Regional Roadmap is supported by the Governments of the UK and Germany and the work on asset recovery – by the Government of the UK. 

UNODC efforts highlighted in the United Nations Annual Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization 2020

1 October 2020, online: The UN released the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization 2020, which showcases how the United Nations Secretariat translates resources into impact. This year’s edition draws on data, infographics, maps and imagery to highlight progress of the past year as well as the collective work to drive the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, amplify climate action, promote gender equality, protect human rights, advance peace and security, coordinate humanitarian assistance, promote international justice and law, further disarmament, increase drug control, crime prevention and combat international terrorism, and accelerate and consolidate United Nations Reform.

For the first time, it also provides a sampling of the work of the broader United Nations family as well as the system-wide efforts to help respond to COVID-19 and to build a more inclusive and sustainable world.

Among the examples, UNODC work in the area of anti-corruption was highlighted, particularly the eighth session of the Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) held in 2019, where the UNODC Civil Society Team, as part of an all-woman panel, presented ideas and best practices in collective action initiatives for the implementation of UNCAC in South Eastern Europe in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). During the event, UNODC had mentioned conducting three multi-stakeholder workshops in South Eastern Europe and training over 70 CSOs, 40 private sector entities and governments on the Convention and on the way to make good governance more effective. The workshops proved to be instrumental in fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration in the region. The panel was a follow-up to the UNODC project in South Eastern Europe to support the anti-corruption work of civil society organizations.

UNODC work in South Eastern Europe is conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

For more information:

https://www.un.org/annualreport/files/2020/09/Annual-report-SG-2020-EN-Chapter-0.pdf

https://www.un.org/annualreport/files/2020/09/Annual-report-SG-2020-EN-Chapter-8.pdf

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/December/fight-corruption-to-achieve-sustainable-development-progress_-un-convention-against-corruption-conference-begins-in-abu-dhabi.html?ref=fs5

UNODC donates equipment to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

October 2020, Sarajevo/Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC handed over IT, basic search and protective equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the inter-agency Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at Sarajevo International Airport and the Port Control Unit (PCU) of the Gradiška land border crossing, consisting of members of the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The donation is part 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 European Union and conducted in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. It is also part of the continuous support of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina aimed to assist domestic institutions in establishing a sustainable inter-agency joint team working to reduce the risk of container misuse for the purpose of illicit commodities, organized crime and other forms of illegal activities. UNODC strives to build capacity of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a view to improve security in the licit economy, promote cooperation with the private sector and strengthen controls at state borders. 

UNODC expands legal framework for cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the border control action

July-October 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In the framework of the joint EU-UNODC border control action launched in January 2020, the activities of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina were broadened to include new locations for the Programme’s implementation in the country. Consequently, UNODC developed an Addendum to the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the CCP and national authorities to establish the relevant legal foundation. The original MoU was signed between UNODC and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina represented by the Ministry of Security in 2014, to launch the implementation of the CCP activities in the country, i.e. the establishment of the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the land border crossing Bijača at the border with Croatia.

Consultations on the Addendum to the existing MoU with the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the Ministry of Security, the Border Police and the Indirect Taxation Authority, were initiated in March 2020, and ensured the national ownership and focus on priority areas for future action implementation.

In July 2020, the parties finalized and signed the Addendum, thus providing for the establishment of the second PCU in the country – at the land border crossing Gradiška – and an Air Cargo Control Unit at Sarajevo International Airport, which will both contribute to effectively countering illicit cross-border activity and enhance the border security in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. The establishment of both units is well underway.

This work falls under 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 in South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union and implemented by CCP and AIRCOP in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.  

UNODC supported the second training on treatment of persons with drug use disorders in Albania

28 September-2 October 2020, Tirana, Albania: UNODC supported the organization of the second Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) walkthrough training workshop for 25 national professionals and academic experts from Albania and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. 

The training was facilitated by two certified national UTC trainers. The participants, who took part in the first training on drug dependence treatment and care covering modules 1-4 of the UTC programme in February 2020, went over modules 5-8 focusing on intake, screening, assessment, treatment planning and documentation; case management; crisis intervention and ethics for addiction professionals.

The aim of the training series is to reduce the significant health, social and economic problems associated with substance use disorders by building international treatment capacity through training, and so expanding the professional global treatment workforce.  

The five-day walkthrough training was funded by the Drug Advisory Programme (DAP) of the Colombo Plan - Chilean Office and coordinated by the University of California San Diego. It uses the UTC training package, as the internationally certified compendium of the evidence-based services and information for the skill development of treatment professionals. This work is supported by the Government of the USA. 

UNODC meets with the Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia

30 September 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: The Head of the UNODC Programme Office in North Macedonia and the UNODC Regional Anti-Corruption and Asset Recovery Advisor held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia in Charge of Fight Against Corruption and Crime, Sustainable Development and Human Resources, as well as the Head of the National Coordination Center for Border Management.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the UNODC involvement and its efforts in the region in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, to give a thorough overview of the ongoing action on enhanced border control, funded by the European Union, as well as to update the national counterparts on the UNODC ongoing and upcoming activities in the areas of asset recovery and anti-corruption in the region, supported by the Governments of the UK and Germany. The Government of North Macedonia is and will continue to be actively involved in the implementation of the UNODC Regional Programme, including the mentioned thematic areas. The meeting, thus, presented an opportune moment to discuss the modalities of this involvement and good practices thereof.  

The Deputy Prime Minister welcomed the continuation of the UNODC‘s efforts in the country and expressed the Government’s full support for the implementation of the ongoing activities and further cooperation. UNODC expressed its appreciation for the excellent cooperation with North Macedonia and pledged its future engagement.

New OSCE training programme on countering terrorist financing initiated in Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with UNODC

28-30 September 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and online: The OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department started a new online train-the-trainer course on countering terrorist financing in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNODC. The course is aimed at highlighting national and regional terrorist threats, introducing the participants to financial investigations and terrorist network analysis techniques, in order to more effectively disrupt terrorist networks. The participants of the training session were senior experts and practitioners from the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other security sector bodies at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The training programme is specifically focused on increasing the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to enhance the terrorist financing aspects of its National Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism Risk Assessment, and to detect and combat terrorist financing and strengthen compliance with international standards in this area. This includes the UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - terrorism financing, the relevant Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)’s standards, the UN norms and the OSCE commitments to promote human rights-based approaches in countering terrorist financing. Among other topics, the train-the-trainer course emphasized the key role of inter-agency and international cooperation and of multi-stakeholder approaches in countering terrorist financing. The train-the-trainer methodology provides for sustainability of the efforts beyond the involvement of the international organizations.

For more information:

http://www.sarajevotimes.com/osce-held-training-programme-on-countering-terrorist-financing-in-bih/

UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina discuss partnership

22 September 2020, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Executive Director met with the Deputy Chair of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the overall partnership between UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the areas of mutual cooperation, including ongoing and future activities implemented in the context of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, such as the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP), the UNODC-led work on firearms control, anti-corruption and asset recovery, countering financing of terrorism, drug demand reduction as well as various other areas of UNODC’s mandate.  

The counterparts also discussed the expansion of UNODC presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the UNODC's wider engagement in the South Eastern European region and agreed on further cooperation. The Deputy Chair and Minister expressed her appreciation for the UNODC’s efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the work of the Programme Office in Sarajevo, and welcomed the opportunities for further partnership.  

UNODC participated in the webinar on Firearms Trafficking in the EU, Eastern and South Eastern Europe

21 September 2020, online: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) regional team for South Eastern Europe (SEE) and Ukraine participated in a webinar for frontline officers, who will take part in the Joint Action Day (JAD) – an international operation of law enforcement agencies on countering illicit firearms trafficking. The webinar was organized by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) and the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).

The meeting was attended by members of law enforcement agencies from the EU, Moldova, Ukraine and the Western Balkans. Representatives from FRONTEX, EMPACT, EUROPOL, UNDP/SEESAC, INTERPOL and UNODC delivered presentations on subjects relevant to the JAD operation. They provided a situation summary on the illicit firearms trafficking between EU and the SEE jurisdictions, including modus operandi and trafficking routes. In addition, FRONTEX introduced the Handbook on Detection of Firearms for Border Guards and Customs officers, which is a useful tool for provision of capacity building activities.

The UNODC GFP expert provided an overview on illicit firearms trafficking to, across and from the EU, including examples on how the efforts of the frontline officers contribute to the development of analytical tools used for operational and political decision making as well as an overview of the activities in support of data collection and analysis under the UNODC regional project for the Western Balkans “Criminal Justice Response to Arms Trafficking”. These activities are supported under the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme completed the basic training cycle for the Port Control Unit at the land border crossing Gradiška

16-18 September 2020, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) delivered part two of the Online Basic Theoretical Training designed for appointed officers of the newly established Port Control Unit (PCU) at the land border crossing/customs point Gradiška. The training falls within the CCP training curriculum that follows the“Crawl-Walk-Run” approach, which is a staged training cycle delivered to PCUs worldwide. 

During the three-day program, the training revisited some of the previously introduced topics and presented new ones,such as risk analyses, modus operandi of container concealment, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), use of closed and open sources of information, and others. The trainees from the Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed satisfaction with the high professional standards of the training delivered by experienced international experts from the WCO and UNODC.

The training was carried out under 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 European Union and conducted under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC holds the Second Joint Online Basic Theoretical Training in Bosnia and Herzegovina

14-18 September 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) jointly organized the second Online Basic Theoretical Training for airport inter-agency officers of the newly established Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) and the Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) to be established at Sarajevo International Airport and comprised of the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indirect Taxation Authority, the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Directorate for Civil Aviation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first part of the training was dedicated to the AIRCOP agenda, focusing on the criminal intelligence and information collection for analytical purposes, sources and formats of passenger information, extraction of data from passenger manifests, electronic tickets and Passenger Name Records (PNR) data. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to enhance their expertise in the area of drug extraction and production methodologies, as well as expand their knowledge on different products produced from the raw materials.

The second part of the training was focused on the CCP component, covering topics such as profiling and targeting shipments and their examination. Particular emphasis was placed on drug smuggling, abandoned shipments and insider threats. The training will be further complemented by intermediate and advanced training events during the course of programme implementation.

The five-day training was delivered by experienced international experts from the WCO, INTERPOL and UNODC and was carried out under 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 European Union and implemented by CCP and AIRCOP in cooperation with the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC and the European Commission hold a joint regional webinar on firearms

17 September 2020, online: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme jointly with the European Commission organized a regional webinar on “Firearms Trafficking: Policy Implications and Responses in Europe”. The event brought together over 180 participants representing international and regional organizations as well as Members States and provided the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the global efforts against firearms trafficking.

The first session of the meeting allowed to present the research findings and policy responses on firearms trafficking in the world and in Europe, and to take stock of the knowledge and insights on firearms trafficking globally and within Europe resulting from two major research works developed by UNODC under the joint EU/UNODC Project on Monitoring illicit firearms trafficking in particular to, from and through the European Union (EU), and the EU response to this threat. These works include the UNODC Global Firearms Study 2020 and Regional Analysis Report, as well as the EU Action Plan on Firearms Trafficking.

The second session of the webinar focused on the policy conclusions and responses, and recommendations for further actions that emanate from the research findings. Presenters and panellists exchanged views with a pool of experts and representatives from key international and regional organizations, civil society organizations as well as national actors, engaged in countering illicit firearms trafficking. Several experts made reference to the ongoing UNODC Global Firearms Programme activities in the Western Balkans, specifically to the legislative gap analysis report in Serbia and shared their views on how legislative challenges could be overcome. The legislative gap analysis in Serbia is an activity supported under under the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/eu-unodc-webinar.html 

Representatives of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina contributed to the development of a technical guidance to address substance use disorders in humanitarian settings

8-10 September 2020, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in cooperation with WHO and UNHCR organized an expert consultation on Developing Technical Guidance to address drug use, drug use disorders and associated health and social consequences in Humanitarian Settings attended by experts from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, among others.

Displaced persons are seriously affected by substance use disorders for a variety of reasons, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress triggered by pre/post-migration trauma, loss of home and livelihoods, violence, torture, family separation and even the stress of adapting to a new setting. With over 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide (UNHCR, 2018), there is a clear and immediate need for action.

In the event, over 100 experts from 32 countries, regional and international organizations and academia were brought together to share good practices, discuss challenges and needs in humanitarian settings and thus contribute to the development of a technical guidance tool to address substance use disorders in humanitarian settings. The envisaged technical guidance document will address vulnerabilities, strengthen prevention and ultimately increase access to treatment for displaced persons with substance use disorders.

By participating in the consultation, experts from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to contribute to the global efforts by sharing their knowledge on mental health issues in humanitarian settings during COVID-19, and highlighting practices and specific needs to prevent substance use disorders in low resource settings.

The technical guidance tool will be developed based on the knowledge and recommendations gathered via this consultation process.

UNODC holds a Working Group meeting on countering illicit arms trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

9 September 2020, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme held a meeting the with the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the implementation of the Halting Arms and Law Breaking Trade (HALT) project initiated in March 2020 by UNDP and UNODC, aimed at better combating illicit arms trafficking through development of standard operating procedures, provision of training, and procurement of specialized equipment for the detection of smuggled firearms.

During the meeting, the UNODC experts presented the Gap and Need Analysis (GNA) report developed by UNODC. The GNA process and the report are the first part of an analytical progression that will act as a foundation for the detailing and fine-tuning of UNODC implemented activities along with further analysis in the areas of training, equipment and cooperation. In light of this, UNODC presented two additional reports, a Trainings Need Analysis and an Equipment Need Analysis focusing on the detection of firearms, their parts, components and ammunition in postal and courier parcels. This initial discussion allowed for all stakeholders to establish the basis for implementation of the project.

As the next step, UNODC will translate the reports into the local language and submit to the national authorities for approval. The GNA process covers only UNODC supported areas of postal and courier traffic and the trafficking of firearms, parts and ammunition and explosives. 

The meeting also provided an opportunity to introduce the new National Project Officer for Firearms who will support the implementation of the HALT project in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The financial support for this activity is provided under the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme supports the Customs Authorities in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244

7-9 September 2020, Priština, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: In response to the needs identified during the joint planning process, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) delivered a “refresher” theoretical training for 20 officers of Kosovo Customs. Given the COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the training was held online. This capacity building event is part of a training cycle initiated in 2019 for the officers of Kosovo Customs and will be further complemented with practical and advanced training events during programme implementation.

The training covered topics such as container identification, risk analysis, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hazardous goods, and scanner images and was delivered by experienced international experts from WCO and UNODC. Future training activities will be designed to further assist the front-line and other officers of Kosovo Customs in effectively addressing cross-border criminality, including the smuggling of drugs and other illegal activities.

The training was carried out under 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 European Union and conducted under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and was held in line with UNSCR 1244.

Border Control in Bosnia and Herzegovina supported through monitoring and provision of equipment

7-8 September 2020, Bijača land border crossing, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) carried out a monitoring visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) of Bijača land border crossing to observe the activities of the PCU officers and exchange on daily challenges and successes of the unit. During the visit, a container shipment presenting unclear information on documentation was inspected. A thorough check-up was performed by the PCU officers allowing for the shipment to be cleared. 

The PCU officers are regularly trained by the programme through mentorship sessions to stay up to date on the latest inspection techniques and cross-border crime trends improving thereby their capacities in countering illicit cross-border activity. 

The visit also served as an opportunity to deliver IT equipment, as well as tools used in containers’ search and office equipment to the Unit. During the handover, the officers of the PCU expressed satisfaction with being equipped with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they received previously from UNODC as part of the support to the national authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak in maintaining their daily activities.

The monitoring visit and the delivery of IT equipment (as well as of PPE previously) were 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 European Union and conducted under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

An Albanian NGO receives support through the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking in Persons

29 August 2020, Vlore, Albania: UNODC administers the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UNVTF), established by the UN General Assembly in 2010, within the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The UNVTF aligns with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as the first global international legal framework to protect and assist victims of trafficking with respect for their human rights. The UNVTF is supported by a five-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary-General for a three-year term.

Of the 26 NGOs globally receiving grants from UNVTF in 2020, one NGO is from Albania – Qendra Psiko-Sociale Vatra (Vatra Psycho-Social Center). The NGO is receiving support in the amount of USD 60,000 for the period of September 2020 to November 2022 under sub-programme two of the UNVTF fourth call for proposals. Reporting is undertaken at the end of the project activities.

In the past, the NGOs “Institute for Democracy” (Moldova) and “Atina” (Serbia) have received grants from the Trust Fund from 2018 to 2020. Likewise, NGO “Different and Equal” (Albania) received a UNVTF award from 2015 to 2018. 

For more information: 

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking-fund.html 

UNODC attends online meetings on Illicit Financial Flows in South Eastern Europe

27 August - 3 September 2020, online: During the COVID-19 times and the related travel restrictions, remote participation in the meetings is a useful tool to stay in touch with counterparts and maintain a dialogue. In this spirit, UNODC continuously attends online events and meetings with other counterparts. Among those, two recent events focused on illicit financial flows. A launch of a research report “Illicit Financial flows in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia: Key Drivers and Current Trends” by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime provided some insights on the scale of illicit financial flows, corruption levels, transparency and accountability among other topics. UNODC is active in these fields and monitors the work of various partners in this regard, including civil society organizations.

UNODC also joined a virtual “Global Forum on Illicit Financial Flows and Sustainable Development” organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The forum brought together stakeholders across the international development landscape to discuss innovative national approaches at a regional level and foster peer-to-peer learning between countries and regions. The event covered many aspects of the UNODC mandates, and revolved around five main themes, which were illicit financial flows in the digital age - threats and opportunities for developing countries; de-risking - balancing regulation and financial inclusion; shrinking space - impact of counter-terrorism financing policies on civil society; global asset recovery - responsibilities of developed and developing countries; and rethinking participation - the inclusive development and evaluation of international standards.  

UNODC expands presence on firearms control in South Eastern Europe

July/September 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia: UNODC completed the formation of the new team in the region working on firearms control, with three national project officers and a project assistant now having joined UNODC in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia to support the implementation of two new projects in the area criminal justice response on countering firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans.

The selected projects are:

  • Halting Arms and Lawbreaking Trade (HALT) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, implemented by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNODC.
  • Criminal Justice Response Against Arms Trafficking (regional project), implemented by UNODC. 

The UNODC national project officer for Firearms in Sarajevo will be involved in the Halting Arms and Lawbreaking Trade (HALT) project, aimed at enhancing the capacities of the Indirect Taxation Authority (i.e. the Customs Authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina) to better combat illicit arms trafficking through development of standard operating procedures, provision of training, and procurement of specialized equipment for the detection of smuggled firearms.

In North Macedonia and Serbia, the national project officers will be involved in the regional project aimed at supporting the six Western Balkan jurisdictions in strengthening their criminal justice response to firearms related criminality, particularly illicit arms trafficking.

The new team has already initiated projects’ related activities including meetings with the national authorities and other events. The financial support is provided under the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

UNODC supports North Macedonia in harmonizing the draft Criminal Code with UN Firearms Protocol provisions

27 August 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) participated in the Working Group on amending the Criminal Code in North Macedonia and contributed to the discussion on the harmonization of the Code with the criminalisation provisions of the UN Firearms Protocol.

The meeting was held online and the members of the Working Group reviewed the amended text of Article 396 of the Criminal Code on criminalizing the possession and use of firearms. The Working Group discussed UNODC’s proposal for harmonization and provided opportunity to UNODC’s experts to elaborate further on the latest version of the proposed changes. UNODC GFP also prepared and shared the legal briefs containing detailed analysis of the proposed provisions with the Working Group.

This activity is part of the UNODC regional project on Criminal Justice Response against Firearms Trafficking. The financial support is provided under the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund supported by Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

UNODC meets with the national counterparts in North Macedonia to discuss partnership

10-13 August 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC held a series of meetings with the national authorities in North Macedonia including the Ministry of Interior, the National Coordination Center for Border Management, the Customs Administration, and the National Coordination Center against serious and organized crime.

The meetings presented an opportunity for UNODC to discuss its involvement and efforts in the region in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and give an overview on the ongoing action on enhanced border control, funded by the European Union.

UNODC efforts in the country were welcomed by the authorities, who demonstrated readiness to be actively involved in the upcoming UNODC activities. In this context, concrete suggestions and measures were discussed to ensure effective implementation of the planned activities within the border control action, rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and the national authorities, as well as the assessment of the Skopje International Airport. During the meeting with the Minister of Interior, the Minister assured his full support while emphasizing the need for further consultations and coordination with the relevant services.

In addition to the border control action, UNODC also provided an update on its upcoming activities in the areas of asset recovery, anti-corruption and firearms in the region.

For more information:

https://mia.mk/interior-minister-nuhiu-meets-head-of-unodc-programme-office-in-north-macedonia/?lang=en

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC took part in the civil society conference for vulnerable populations in South Eastern Europe

6 August 2020, online: UNODC HIV/AIDS section presented UNODC initiatives on HIV among people who use drugs and people in prisons and other closed settings at the virtual Donor conference for vulnerable populations in South Eastern Europe organized by the Drug Policy Network South East Europe and supported by the UNODC Programme Office in Serbia. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has a devastating effect on general population around the world as well as on people who use drugs and other vulnerable groups. These populations may have limited access to health services and social benefits. The current situation multiplies these obstacles and adds new ones.

The conference aimed to present the needs and potential projects of vulnerable populations in South Eastern Europe and establish better communication, coordination and cooperation between service providers and public and private programmes. The event further contributed to strengthening cooperative ties between potential project implementers from different sectors and increased knowledge of available public and private funding sources.

The participants had an opportunity to discuss the sustainability of services for vulnerable populations and their emerging needs. Particular emphasis was placed on quality assurance in service providing, bridging funds for emergency situations, children living in families with drug use history or responding to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UNODC’s involvement into the event is in line with the continued dialogue with civil society in the region of South Eastern Europe.  

AIRCOP conducts online assessments and discussions with national and international stakeholders in North Macedonia and Serbia on border control action

27-29 July 2020, North Macedonia, Serbia: With the financial support of the European Union and under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, AIRCOP conducted assessment missions in the form of online meetings to initiate AIRCOP activities in Serbia and North Macedonia in the framework of the EU and UNODC joint action promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in South Eastern Europe. After Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia are the second and third target countries for the implementation of AIRCOP activities in South Eastern Europe within the project. The objective of the online assessment was to present the project more in detail to the relevant authorities and conduct an initial evaluation of the law enforcement agencies’ role, tasks, duties and potential margins of improvement in the targeted airports. An additional evaluation of the airport premises, availability of office space for the future Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF), airport procedures and law enforcement agencies’ methodology and technology in place is to be conducted once the COVID-19 situation allows it. 

The meetings with Serbian counterparts, held on  27 July, brought together representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Border Police, the Criminal Police Directorate, the Section for Cooperation with the EU, the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure and the Customs Authority of Serbia. 

In North Macedonia, the meetings held on 29 July gathered representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Border Affairs and Migration, the Department for the fight against Serious and Organized Crime, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication,  the Customs Authority and the National Border Management Coordination Center of North Macedonia. 

The discussions provided the opportunity for AIRCOP to share future plans and establish steps for coordination with the national counterparts, who shared their enthusiasm and commitment to integrate the AIRCOP network.

In parallel to the assessments, AIRCOP also held discussions with the international stakeholders in both countries to ensure coordination in the implementation of AIRCOP activities in South Eastern Europe. The online meetings were attended by the EU Delegations in Serbia and North Macedonia, OSCE, US Embassies, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) to engage with  key actors in the region and prevent overlapping and foster cooperation and synergy of efforts. 

The online assessments and discussions with the national and international stakeholders marked the first official steps of AIRCOP activities in Serbia and North Macedonia as part of the implementation of the border control action in South Eastern Europe. 

UNODC and OSCE sign the 2020-2022 Joint Action Plan

17 July 2020, Vienna, Austria: UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly and OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger signed a plan of joint action for the period 2020-2022 today at UNODC in Vienna.

The OSCE-UNODC Joint Action Plan 2020-2022 reflects the contributions of both organizations to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and allows for a more streamlined cooperation in nine subject areas. These areas include combating transnational organized crime and corruption, preventing and countering violent extremism leading to terrorism, combating trafficking in human beings, illicit drugs and cybercrime, security sector governance and reform, and border security and management. The action plan also envisages joint and concrete actions in newly identified strategic areas, such as advancing gender equality, crime prevention and youth engagement.

The signing of the Joint Action Plan was preceded by a meeting, where representatives of UNODC and OSCE discussed and highlighted the distinct benefits and added value of closer cooperation between the two organizations. Official collaboration between UNODC and OSCE on the basis of joint action plans was first established in 2011, and the current plan is the fifth of its kind.

The plans allow for a greater coordination and the implementation of joint programmes and activities in line with the respective mandates of both organizations. This includes coordination and cooperation through the exchange of best practices, the organization of joint activities, joint technical assistance and sharing resources.

AIRCOP: National workshop on analysis and profiling at airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina

14-16 July 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With the financial support of the European Union and under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, AIRCOP hosted a three-day national workshop on analysis and profiling at airports through its e-learning platform. The multi-faceted workshop encompassed presentations on the working methodology, techniques, trends and results from both the Belgian Passenger Information Unit (PIU) and the Brazilian Customs. The training brought together officers from the Border Police, Indirect Taxation Authority, the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies and the Directorate for Civil Aviation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The experts from Belgium presented the EU legislation on Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) data, the Belgian PIU, characteristics of API/PNR data, examples of targeting rules and risk indicators and their respective efficiency as well as challenges of risk analysis and rule-based targeting.

The expert from Brazilian Customs outlined the perspective of a source country of drugs, including the risk, routes, trends, and recent concealment methods detected for different drugs, particularly cocaine. He illustrated the transnational nature of organized crime and the need for international collaboration by mentioning common cases of illicit trafficking between Brazil and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Upon the end of the meeting, the participants confirmed the value they saw in taking part in the AIRCOP activities within the project and their interest in further contributing to international cooperation within the AIRCOP network (currently rich of 36 countries and 41 airports). The three-day online workshop is part of a series of workshops aiming to strengthen the implementation of AIRCOP activities in the framework of the EU-UNODC action on promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in South Eastern Europe, funded by the European Union.

UNODC supports Serbia with personal protective equipment for the Border Police

10 July 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Border Police of the Republic of Serbia at the Belgrade International Airport as part of the COVID-19 response within the support to the national authorities in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (RP SEE).

The donation included masks, gloves and hand sanitizing gels and was handed over in a formal ceremony with the presence of the Commander of the Border police station of the Belgrade International Airport.

During the ceremony, UNODC had the opportunity to reiterate their support to the national authorities, who expressed appreciation and welcomed UNODC’s efforts, mentioning their readiness to further expand the cooperation with UNODC in the coming months.

This donation is part of the UNODC initiative on enhanced border security in South Eastern Europe aimed at promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports conducted under the RP SEE and funded by the European Union.

UNODC participates in the 3rd Regional Coordination Meeting on the SALW Roadmap in South Eastern Europe

3 July 2020, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC took part in the third Regional Coordination Meeting on the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024, held online and hosted by the European Union, Germany, France, UNDP and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

Over 120 participants attended the event representing the national and local authorities from the region and international partners, including the EU institutions (EEAS, DG HOME, DG NEAR and EUROPOL), INTERPOL, NATO, OSCE, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) as well as the Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

The meeting followed a series of national coordination meetings and aimed to review the status of implementation of the Roadmap, including challenges, progress and plans at the regional level.

The UNODC’s Global Firearms Programme (GFP) contributed to the meeting with interventions highlighting the 15th anniversary of the UN Firearms Protocol to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its significance for the criminal justice response to counter firearms trafficking in the region.

In addition, the UNODC GFP provided updates on its cooperation with the national authorities and planned activities in the region. The financial support for UNODC GFP’s activities is provided under the SALW Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

AIRCOP: National workshop on the use of air passenger information (API/PNR) in analysis and investigation framework

2 July 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With the financial support of the European Union and under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, AIRCOP hosted a national workshop on the use of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) in analysis and investigation framework. Building on the first training event held on 4 June 2020, the workshop brought together representatives from the Ministry of Communications and Transport, the Directorate for Civil Aviation, the Border Police, the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Through this training activity, AIRCOP developed a stronger understanding of the counterparts of the use of API/ PNR by presenting  data capturing and processing along with practical case studies. The inter-active session demonstrated that the participants are determined to apply the acquired knowledge in effectively addressing cross-border threats as well as increase inter-agency cooperation. AIRCOP will be monitoring the application of the gained skills as the programme will be further implemented in the country.

UNODC supports Montenegro with Personal Protective Equipment for Customs Administration and Ministry of Interior

30 June 2020, Bar, Montenegro: UNODC donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to officers of the Montenegro Customs Administration and the Ministry of Interior as part of the COVID-19 response provided to the national authorities in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (RP SEE).

The donation, handed over today in Podgorica, included masks, gloves and hand sanitizing gels. With this donation, UNODC is directing its resources to assist the law enforcement authorities of Montenegro in maintaining business continuity and safeguarding communities from illicit trade, while keeping the frontline officers safe from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in their daily work.

This donation is part of the UNODC initiative on enhanced border security in South Eastern Europe aimed at promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports, conducted under the RP SEE and funded by the European Union. 

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC is part of the regional dialogue on small arms and lights weapons

17 June 2020, Tirana, Albania; 24 June 2020, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244; 26 June 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC participated in the third series of the Local Coordination Meetings on the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024 developed as part of the Franco-German initiative. The meetings were hosted by the national SALW commissions and held online with the presence of representatives from France, Germany, United Kingdom and the European Union as well as from the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the national counterparts representing the relevant ministries.

The main objective of the meetings was to review the status of implementation of the Roadmap by various partners involved into this process, including in the challenging times of COVID-19, whereby remote working protocols were put in place. The partners confirmed that the overall implementation has moved forward successfully, and the remote cooperation has demonstrated not only challenges but also the high level of coordination, opportunities and lessons learnt for the future. The multi-agency coordination triggered by the Roadmap and the relevant national counterparts contributes to addressing firearms related offenses and mirrors the aims and objectives of UNODC efforts in the region. 

The participants provided a strategic overview of the advancement of the Roadmap and discussed technical aspects of its implementation. UNODC provided an update to the national commissions on the status of its activities and the way forward. A regional meeting on the Roadmap will be held in July 2020 to review its advancement on the regional level.

AIRCOP holds a national online workshop on risk assessment as a holistic approach for the law enforcement agencies of Bosnia and Herzegovina

25 June 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With the financial support of the European Union and under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) hosted a national workshop through its e-learning platform on the risk assessment as a holistic approach for the law enforcement agencies. The training, conducted by an expert of the Bulgarian Customs, brought together officers from the Border Police, the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The main objective of the workshop was to enhance the awareness of law enforcement agencies on the benefits of a risk-based approach at all levels, including in terms of support to the decision-making process, operational effectiveness and resource management. Several key topics were presented including the fundamentals of risk assessment, the rational procedures to assess threats and countermeasures through the risk-based approach, the indicators and rules of risk analysis, information management and the intelligence cycle to assess threats at airports. The proactivity of the participants enabled fruitful discussions and demonstrated the determination of the law enforcement agencies to engage actively with the AIRCOP activities. This workshop is the first of a series of workshops that will support the implementation of AIRCOP in South Eastern Europe.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

CCP delivers online mentorship in the Albanian Port Control Unit

15-19 June 2020, Durres, Albania: Despite the challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UNODC – WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Albania resumed its activities and returned to a more regular schedule of the Programme implementation. Making the health and safety of the Port Control Unit (PCU) officers, partners and trainers a priority, CCP introduced a series of online training and mentorship sessions which CCP national counterparts can access remotely.

The PCU officers at Durres Port attended a one-week online mentoring session, aimed at measuring the effectiveness of the PCU, solving practical challenges and identifying future training needs to assist the Unit. During the mentorship session, the topics covered included cigarettes smuggling, methods of concealment, rip-on/rip-off phenomenon, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and risk analysis. Themes of particular interest to the officers were the illicit disposal of waste and the new innovative modus operandi used in cocaine smuggling. The Port of Durres is seriously affected by this crime and in the recent years several cocaine seizures were conducted by the PCU.

In addition, the ongoing WCO operation "Stop" aiming at detecting fake medicines and protective equipment related to the current COVID -19 situation was also raised. The operational plan was discussed, and the reference code list was provided with the tariff codes and description of the commodities to be targeted as a priority. Such mentorship sessions are designed to offer a blend of international expertise with the local one ensuring that an efficient container control workforce is being developed.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Albania is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of France. This work is complementary with the CCP/Airport Communication Project activities in other jurisdictions of the region conducted under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Union.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme launches training cycle for the Air Cargo Control Unit at Sarajevo International Airport

15-19 June 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Responding within COVID-19 emergency circumstances, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) organized an Online Basic Theoretical Training for officers of the newly established Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at the Sarajevo International Airport. This training represents the start of the first phase of the tailored training cycle of the CCP, to be further complemented with intermediate and advanced training events during the course of the Programme implementation.

The training covered topics such as risk indicators, profiling and targeting, air cargo safety and other relevant matters concerning air cargo shipments. In addition to officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the training was also attended by the representatives of the Directorate for Civil Aviation, Sarajevo Airport Authority and representatives of the private sector entities active in air cargo operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The training was delivered by experienced international experts from the WCO and UNODC.

Since January 2020, UNODC is implementing a joint action promoting rule of law and good governance through border control measures at ports and airports. As part of this action, UNODC will for the first time establish a joint CCP ACCU and an Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) at the Sarajevo International Airport  to support more effective responses of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also in North Macedonia and Serbia through the respective joint teams by means of a comprehensive and strategic approach to preventing and combating organized crime in cargo and passenger traffic at air border crossings, including trafficking in drugs, firearms and persons, as well as smuggling of migrants, countering the financing of terrorism, money laundering and other economic crimes, and corruption. The initiative also seeks to enhance efforts concerning crime prevention, criminal justice reform, law enforcement, border management, and international cooperation.

The above CCP activities  are conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and are funded by the European Commission to support the region in the implementation of UN conventions on drugs and crime, as well as the EU Acquis, notably Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC holds online sessions on the impact of COVID-19 on the drug supply chain and migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons in South Eastern Europe

16 June 2020, Belgrade, Serbia; 26 June 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia:  UNODC organized two online sessions to present the findings of UNODC reports on “COVID-19 and the drug supply chain: from production and trafficking to use” and “Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons to Europe and North America”. More than 35 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia took part in the first session, representing the national institutions, including the Police, Customs, Ministry of Security, civil society organizations working on security issues, drug use prevention and smuggling of migrants (SoM) and trafficking in persons (TiP). The second session was attended by 20 participants from Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 from the same institutions as well as Courts and the Ministry of Health. International organizations including the International Organization for Migration, the Council of Europe and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also attended the sessions.

The UNODC experts presented detailed information prepared by the UNODC Research and Analysis Branch on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the drug supply chain and SoM/TiP in the region, including with a snapshot of heroin seizures along the Balkan Route and the most recent statistics on migrants’ movements.

The materials of the sessions were shared with the participants, who provided positive feedback on the sessions stating that they were interesting and useful. These informative sessions contributed towards an increased understanding and knowledge by the national authorities of the impact of COVID-19 on drug supply chain and SoM/TiP and the related emerging trends.

For more information:

Research Brief: COVID-19 and the drug supply chain: from production and trafficking to use 

Research Brief: How COVID-19 restrictions and the economic consequences are likely to impact migrant smuggling and cross-border  trafficking in persons to Europe and North America 

UNODC to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in detection of firearms in postal and courier shipments 

9 June 2020, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC and the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina held a meeting to launch the needs assessment in the area of the detection of firearms, their parts, components and ammunition in postal and courier shipments. UNODC provided detailed explanations on the various stages and steps of the training and equipment provision, the development of Standard Operating Procedures and conducting joint operations.

The meeting resulted in the approval of the scope of the Terms of Reference for the needs assessment and of the questionnaire to identify gaps and needs, as well as the agreement to complete and share with UNODC the questionnaire and to conduct assessment visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina in July – August 2020, subject to the travel possibilities.

This activity is part of the joint UNODC – UNDP project on countering arms trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The financial support is provided under the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap Multi-Partner Trust Fund by Germany, UK, Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway.

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina with Personal Protective Equipment for the Indirect Taxation Authority and the Border Police

6 June 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC continues to support the law enforcement agencies of South Eastern Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic and donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Border Police and the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the COVID-19 response and support to the national authorities.

The donation included masks, gloves, protective goggles, and hand sanitizing gels and was handed over in a formal ceremony with the presence of ITA Head of Law Enforcement Sector, Regional Center Sarajevo, the Head of the Sarajevo Airport Unit of the Border Police, the liaison officers from both agencies, officers of the Port Control Unit at Bijača land border crossing, as well as other officers and representatives from both organizations. During the ceremony at the Sarajevo International Airport, UNODC had the opportunity to reiterate their support to the national authorities, who expressed appreciation and welcomed the effort, mentioning their willingness to resume cooperation with UNODC in the coming months.

This donation is part of the UNODC initiative on enhanced border security in South Eastern Europe aimed at promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports, conducted under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Union.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ccp/index.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/AIRCOP/1-aircop-home.html

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC AIRCOP discusses the framework, collection and analysis of air passenger information with counterparts of Bosnia and Herzegovina

4 June 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With the financial support of the European Union for the borders action conducted under the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, the UNODC Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) hosted a videoconference with the Ministry of Communication and Transport, Border Police and the Directorate for Coordination of Police bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting aimed at presenting the framework, collection and analysis of air passenger information (API /PNR) along with the outlooks for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the meeting, several key topics were discussed, including the importance of air passenger data to target and intercept known and unknown high-risk passengers; the general framework and regional perspective on the gathering and analysis of passenger information; the benefits and perspectives for Bosnia and Herzegovina; existing and required capabilities for related operational activities in the country; and the role of the future Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) to be established by AIRCOP at the Sarajevo International Airport. The proactivity of the participants enabled fruitful discussions which build a strong foundation for future collaboration in the implementation of the AIRCOP activities in South Eastern Europe and their sustainability.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC takes part in a discussion on countering trafficking in persons in the Western Balkans with Stanford University

3 June 2020, Stanford, United States: UNODC took part in a presentation called “An Action Plan for the International Community on Countering Human Trafficking in the Balkans”, which was part of a larger virtual discussion on human trafficking entitled “300 Days of Sun, How Many More Days of Slaves?” organized by Women Forward International, a global platform for systemic change in international affairs education, reorienting research towards the principles of unity, collaboration, and service.

The event revolved around a study called “Recommendations for The International Community: Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for Sexual Exploitation in the Western Balkans” produced by a group of students from Stanford University and aimed at examining the role of international organizations in combating trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation in the Western Balkan region, and presenting proposals for interventions for the international community to address the issue.

The event was attended by a diverse audience representing both international organizations and the private sector, including the Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Committee of the State of Qatar, the Special Representative for Women Peace and Security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and UNODC as well as representatives from the academia and arts sectors.

UNODC’s intervention focused on answering the questions from the student team as to how their study is and can be beneficial to the current efforts and strategies in this field. The UNODC expert highlighted that the study presented valid points, particularly on the specifics of trafficking in persons in the Western Balkans and the need for a concerted action. Moreover, the UNODC expert pointed out some current initiatives and efforts in countering trafficking in persons including a new approach to training with case-based simulations and blended adult learning as well as e-learning; support to the victims by promoting the non-punishment for acts they were forced to commit; and the importance of educating the youth to prevent trafficking in persons, including by using the free of charge educational material on the rule of law developed by UNODC under the Education for Justice Initiative for this purpose.

Finally, UNODC welcomed the opportunity to provide direct feedback to this study and thus contribute to the global efforts in this field.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/tertiary/trafficking-in-persons-smuggling-of-migrants.html

UNODC donates personal protective equipment to the Customs and Border Police of North Macedonia

28 May 2020, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Border Police and Customs officers of North Macedonia at the Skopje International Airport as part of the COVID-19 response and support to the national authorities.

The donation included masks, gloves and hand sanitizing gels and was handed over in a formal ceremony with the presence of the Head of the Skopje International Airport Customs Office, the Head of the Skopje Customs Office, the Liaison Officer from the national coordination center of Integrated Border Management of the Customs Administration as well as a senior representative from the Border Police in Skopje and other representatives from both organizations.

During the ceremony, UNODC had the opportunity to reiterate their support to the national authorities, who expressed appreciation and welcomed the effort, mentioning their willingness to resume cooperation with UNODC in the coming months.

This donation is part of the UNODC initiative on enhanced border security in South Eastern Europe aimed at promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports, conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Union.

For more information:

https://un.mk/unodc-donates-personal-protective-equipment-to-the-customs-and-border-police-of-north-macedonia/

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC provides e-learning courses on trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants in South Eastern Europe

22 May 2020, Podgorica, Montenegro; Skopje, North Macedonia: During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNODC continued to support the regional law enforcement agencies of South Eastern Europe by offering free access to the UN e-learning modules in the area of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The offer included free access to the platform for three months; three 60-minute modules on smuggling of migrants translated in the local languages and additional modules on trafficking in persons in English. 

UNODC e-learning courses are developed by leading international experts, enabling law enforcement officers and other professionals to expand their knowledge and stay up to date with the international practices in the fight against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism  in line with the United Nations standards and norms and other relevant international instruments.

In total, 44 officers representing the relevant national authorities of Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 welcomed the opportunity and took part in the online training. UNODC will continue to support the law enforcement agencies in the region through e-learning and other tools during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/elearning/

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme in Albania donates Personal Protective Equipment to Border Police

21 May 2020, Durres/Tirana, Albania: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) has provided the second delivery of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for border and migration police officers as part of COVID-19 preparedness and response. The main beneficiaries of the donation are the officers of the Port Control Unit at the Durres Port, the Air Cargo Control Unit at the Tirana International Airport, and frontline officers at the Border Crossing Points at the eastern green border of Albania. The delivery includes gloves, multi-use protective FFP2 face masks, protective goggles and hand sanitizers.

Some of the donated PPE is CCP branded. At the handover ceremony, the Director of the Department for Border and Migration stated that “those who protect the citizens need protection themselves”. The Police senior officials commended UNODC-WCO for the donation and assured that equipment and supplies were going to be put to good use. The donation is funded by Germany and France.

The CCP work in Albania is part of the global and regional efforts aimed at building capacity to improve risk management, supply chain security, and trade facilitation in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods.

Port Control Unit in Bar, Montenegro achieved a notable result during COVID-19 response activities

20 May 2020, Bar, Montenegro: Following the online mentorship support by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) provided on 29 April - 6 May 2020, the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Bar, Montenegro successfully profiled and interdicted a container shipment containing illicit goods. The illicit shipment containing three hand pistols and 2480 pieces of ammunition of various calibers was detected during detailed physical search of a shipping container, following PCU officers’ regular risk analyses and profiling performance.

In cooperation with the national stakeholders of Montenegro, CCP successfully uses technical platforms to provide continuous capacity-building programming and support to its counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to the economies across the globe, affecting economic activity through both demand and supply channels. UNODC-WCO CCP customized its activities to better support the governments through COVID-19 with tailor-made interventions for capacity building and other support.

CCP activities in Montenegro are currently funded by the European Commission as well as other donors and support the region in the implementation of UN conventions on drugs and crime, as well as the EU Acquis, notably Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC AIRCOP supports Bosnia and Herzegovina with e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

14 May 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) hosted a videoconference with Border Police and the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the borders action funded by the European Union and conducted under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The meeting aimed at advancing the project activities in the region by integrating complementary e-learning training support during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, the officers of the law enforcement agencies of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to access online training modules on risk management, risk assessment, criminal intelligence and analysis.

The AIRCOP e-learning program for Bosnia and Herzegovina has been tailored and structured around three consecutive phases to fit the needs of the national law enforcement agencies. The program is designed with a blend of e-learning modules and thematic webinars, which allow discussions with experts from over 15 countries in the European Union and in Latin America and the Caribbean through live sessions, serving as an effective support to the learning programme. The first phase of the program will take place in June in the form of a national workshop entitled “The risk assessment as a holistic approach for law enforcement agencies”, which is a milestone in the implementation of analysis processes as a response against emerging threats in the airports.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme continues to support stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro during the COVID-19 pandemic

29 April–8 May 2020, Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bar, Montenegro: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) continues to implement activities through online sessions and other e-learning tools in South Eastern Europe aimed at enhancing technical and operational capacities of the customs and police officers engaged in the  Port Control Units (PCUs) established under the programme.

The online mentoring sessions provided to the PCUs of the Port of Bar and the land-border crossing Bijača represent CCP’s continued support to the law enforcement agencies of the Member States aimed at strengthening the law enforcement capabilities, in particular in the context of the  COVID-19 outbreak.

During this period, a number of container shipments, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, were profiled. For those identified as high-risk consignments, full physical searches were carried out by the PCU officials, and further appropriate actions were implemented. Online mentoring support was provided by experienced WCO trainers through online platforms and tools in real time.

Furthermore, in April 2020, CCP facilitated access to more than 30 e-learning courses from the UNODC’s Global learning platform goLEARN and the WCO Customs Learning and Knowledge Community (CLiKC) platform, for customs officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro as part of the COVID-19 response provided through the CCP framework to the beneficiary administrations in South Eastern Europe.

CCP activities in South Eastern Europe are currently funded by the European Commission and other donors, and support the region in the implementation of the UN conventions on drugs and crime, as well as the EU Acquis, notably Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in facing the COVID-19 pandemic

24 April 2020, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC continued to support the jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe during the COVID-19 outbreak as part of the preparedness and response to the pandemic.

In early April, UNODC equipped the frontline law enforcement officers of the Port Control Unit (PCU) of the Durres Port and the Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) of the Tirana International Airport with protective equipment to face the COVID-19 outbreak, which included gloves, face masks, googles and hand sanitizers. Protective equipment is also being delivered to the PCU of the border crossing point Bijaca in Bosnia and Herzegovina while UNODC is further consulting with the other units of the region on their needs on the ground.

In addition, UNODC initiated the procedure to provide COVID-19 protective equipment to the law enforcement officers of the international airports of Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje, which are part, along with the Bijaca and other PCUs in the region, of a UNODC initiative on promoting the rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in the region, funded by the European Union.

Furthermore, at this time of increased use of the internet for use as a ‘digital office’, shopping online, joining online forums and webinars, UNODC sought to support the Governments of the region through offering assistance in addressing cybercrime as the significantly increased risk of cyber criminality becomes well documented and the risk of exposure to such crime grows correspondingly.

UNODC support to the regional law enforcement agencies has increased further with the offer of free access to UN e-Learning modules for operational staff in the area of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Finally, as part of its prevention programme, UNODC has disseminated information on parenting during COVID-19 to support the families of the region in coping with the situation. For better outreach, the materials were translated in the local languages. Link to the materials below:

https://www.unodc.org/listenfirst/en/covid_parents.html

Similarly, UNODC distributed to its counterparts and partners various technical guidance documents on how to ensure the continuity and sustainability of health services addressing the needs of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure an adequate response to substance abuse during COVID-19 outbreak.

As the situation unfolds, UNODC continues to monitor the situation on the ground in cooperation and coordination with its counterparts to provide the necessary assistance to the Governments of South Eastern Europe.

UNDP and UNODC join forces in support of the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap

13 March 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: Four new projects in the area of small arms and light weapons (SALW) control will be initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 and UNODC to tackle the illicit possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms in the Western Balkans.

The projects are implemented in the framework of the Roadmap for SALW Control in the Western Balkans and are funded by the Governments of Germany, France, UK, Sweden and Norway through the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund, established by UNDPUNODC and the MPTF Office, in support of the implementation of the Roadmap. The projects will support the efforts of the Western Balkan jurisdictions in achieving the goals of the Roadmap and a sustainable solution to the illicit possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

The projects, amounting to USD 5.3 million, were selected within the first call for project proposals launched in 2019, and addressed to the UNODC and UNDP Offices in the Western Balkans.

Overview of selected projects:

Halting Arms and Lawbreaking Trade (HALT) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, implemented by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNODC. The project will enhance the capacities of the Indirect Taxation Authority to better combat illicit arms trafficking through development of standard operating procedures, provision of training, and procurement of specialized equipment for the detection of smuggled firearms. The project will also contribute to strengthened cooperation and information exchange between the Indirect Taxation Authority and other institutions at the national and regional levels through joint trainings, working visits, and cross-border operations. The Border Police, postal agencies, private companies and the criminal justice sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be engaged throughout the project for increased sustainable results.

Support to Combating Illicit Arms Trafficking in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 for Criminal Police (CPIAT), implemented by UNDP Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. Through the provision of specialized training and equipment, the project will support the Kosovo Police in strengthening their capacities to better detect and increasingly confiscate firearms, components and ammunition, and improve the quality of investigations.

Criminal Justice Response Against Arms Trafficking (regional project), implemented by UNODC, will support the six Western Balkan jurisdictions in strengthening their criminal justice response to firearms related criminality, particularly illicit arms trafficking. Specifically, the project will support the Western Balkans’ authorities in the harmonization of the national firearms legislation and relevant criminal and procedural law provisions with the UN Firearms Protocol. The project will also work with the Western Balkans’ authorities in strengthening their capacities to detect, investigate and prosecute firearms trafficking and its links to other serious crimes, through improved guidelines and standard operating procedures, specialized training, information exchange and regional cooperation.

Urgent Action on Ammunition Destruction - Project EXPLODE+, implemented by UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project will support the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the destruction of 91 tons of unsafe ammunition, contributing to reduced stockpiles of surplus ammunition and thus to higher safety and security for storage facilities and local communities nearby.

UNODC assesses the border control situation in Serbia

11-13 March 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC conducted the second scoping mission in the framework of the recently launched project on enhanced border control in South Eastern Europe. The UNODC project team met with the national authorities, including the Ministries of Interior, Transport,  Communication and Infrastructure (Civil Aviation), the Customs Administration, the Border Police Directorate and the Criminal Police Directorate to formally introduce the project and discuss future implementation, in particular the air cargo aspect of the Container Control Programme project component. The UNODC project team also visited the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport and carried out a technical assessment through further discussion with customs and border police structures on site.

This initiative, conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Commission, will support the region in the implementation of the UN Conventions on drugs, crime and terrorism, as well as the EU Acquis, notably the Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC continues to support the expansion of drug use prevention interventions in Croatia

3 March, Osijek; 10 March, Zadar; 11 March 2020, Split, Croatia: UNODC together with the Lions Clubs International Foundation expanded the reach of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme to Croatia thus availing the programme to five countries in South Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). This intervention is a school-based programme delivered by teachers and aimed at improving the social and life skills of students in order to prevent a variety of risk factors related to drug use. To date, the programme reached 41 elementary schools across Croatia, with the involvement of 90 teachers, reaching more than 2500 students, for the envisaged period of two academic years.

As a part of the monitoring process, the first follow-up sessions were held in three cities in Croatia, namely Osijek, Zadar and Split. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, the follow-up session in Rijeka (initially planned for 16 March) and Zagreb (planned for 17 March) were postponed until further notice.

The follow-up sessions brought together more than 40 teachers from Osijek, Zadar and Split. The teachers had an opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of the programme and discuss the faced challenges to mitigate them and carry on with an effective implementation.

Additionally, the pre-test results collected at the beginning of the pilot training in Croatia were presented to the group covering topics such as knowledge, attitudes and students’ behavior towards substance use, identifying the baseline data for further tracking and comparative analysis.

The next follow-up session is planned for Fall 2020 subject to the normalization of the current global situation linked to COVID-19 outbreak.

UNODC remains active in the regional efforts on small arms and light weapons

4 March 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) attended the Regional Steering Group meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which provided an opportunity for all actors in the field of firearms control in South Eastern Europe to provide updates on their projects and plans for activities in 2020.

The meeting was attended by 63 participants, including representatives from the Western Balkan jurisdictions, UNDP regional and country offices, OSCE Missions, EMPACT (European Union 4-year policy cycle to fight serious and organized crime) Firearms, EU Delegation, and other bilateral counterparts.

UNODC GFP focused its intervention on the criminal justice response to countering firearms trafficking and informed the audience about the office’s on-going activities in the region, including the support for the harmonization of criminal laws with the UN Firearms Protocol, capacity building for criminal justice practitioners, support for joint investigation teams and data collection among others. UNODC also provided an overview of planned activities under the Multi-Donor Trust Fund in support of the Roadmap for a sustainable Solution to the Illegal Possession, Misuse and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their Ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.

Following the regional meeting, on 5 March UNODC held coordination meetings with the representatives of Customs, the Prosecutor’s Office and Ministry of Trade, Telecommunications and Tourism to brief them on UNODC activities for 2020.

UNODC and LCIF promote drug demand reduction through school-based prevention strategies

4 March 2020, Vienna, Austria: UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) jointly organized a side-event on "School-based prevention strategies that work: the global UNODC-LCIF partnership" in the margins of the 63 rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

The event served as a platform for promoting the effective drug demand reduction initiative through the prism of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme implemented since 2014 in Central America, West Africa and South Eastern Europe as a result of collaboration between UNODC and LCIF.

The LQSFA programme is structured around social emotional learning skills as important skills to prevent and/or delay the onset of drug use among young adolescents. The LQSFA programme is closely monitored and evaluated globally and in the region of the South East Europe and shows positive results particularly related to the improved refusal skills and the overall reduction of substance use along with the reduction of the intention to use substances among students. Following the excellent results achieved in South Eastern Europe previously, in 2019, the programme expanded to Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cote d'Ivoire where capacity building activities were delivered to teachers to ensure dissemination of the programme curricula in the selected schools.

During the event, the LCIF programme coordinator provided a thorough overview of the programme achievements to date and the way forward.

Moreover, a local LQSFA trainer from the Education and Teacher Training Agency, which is piloting the programme in Croatia, took part in the event to share her experience with the programme and explain how the programme is beneficial to the participants and the national education system. The teacher emphasized the importance of using drug use prevention evidence-based strategies and praised the added value of the LQSFA programme, which is used globally and is built on international recognition. She described the LQSFA programme to be "designed to respond to the changing world of children and their families by helping to create the meaningful experiences, opportunities and relationships children need in order to become caring, capable and contributing members of society".

Furthermore, the teacher pointed out the benefits of the LSQFA programme on youth as it addresses basic life skills, character development, prevention of behavior disorders and relationship-centered learning in the classroom and school, and concluded with an overview of the current and future implementation of the programme in Croatia.

This event builds on the efforts to promote evidence-based interventions as good practices and further strengthens the UNODC-LCIF partnership in South Eastern Europe.

For more information: 

Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence - LCIF

Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence -  Education and Teacher Training Agency

Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence - UNODC

https://lqsfa-see.net/en/

Policy level side event "Prevention without borders" highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to drug use

3 March 2020, Vienna, Austria: In the margins of the 63 rd session of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs, the Government of North Macedonia in cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the "Green Crescent" and UNODC organized a side event on "Prevention without Borders: Effective Drug Policy in the context of the Balkans".

The countries of the region were represented at the Ambassador's, Deputy Minister and State Secretary level and were complemented by the subject matter experts, the representatives of the national chapters of the "Green Crescent" civil society organization and UNODC.

The discussion revolved around the current drug demand reduction initiatives and policies in the region, successful results achieved so far and the way forward. The participants of the event focused on the need to put special emphasis on children and environment in which they grow up. The importance of public oriented drug policies and impact was underscored by the participants, who also noted the need for continuous education of different groups in the society. The connection of the successful drug prevention policies to the EU accession path was also underscored by several participants, including from the civil society. The participants noted that the topic of drug use prevention cannot be addressed in isolation but rather in connection to the rule of law, countering trafficking in drugs and other forms of crime, securing borders, implementing youth oriented programmes, as well as making available treatment of drug use, rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users. The panel included various sectors of the Governments, civil society and UNODC thus allowing for a discussion covering different angles of the topic.

The UNODC-led Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme was cited as good practice of a school-based social emotional learning initiative to prevent or delay the onset of drug use among young adolescents with encouraging results in South Eastern Europe, where the programme is implemented since 2014 by UNODC and the Lions Club Foundation, having reached to date 7,700 children, 472 educators/trainers in 185 schools over 5 countries and 40 cities and municipalities in the region. Furthermore, UNODC supports the countries of the region in drug demand reduction through capacity building events and other initiatives aimed at strengthening the overall response to drug use. For example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina the UNODC family skills initiative - Strong Families programme, will be implemented in collaboration with the Community Service Organization (CSO) "Celebrate the Recovery" (Proslavi Oporavak) in Sarajevo starting in May 2020. In Albania, UNODC supported the organization of the first Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) "walkthrough" training workshop in early 2020, aimed at strengthening the national system of treatment of substance use disorders in line with the international practices and will continue this work.

The side event, attended by over 90 people, concluded with a discussion on the ways to increase cooperation in the field of drug demand reduction and the importance of pursuing efforts in this field.

Container Control Programme supports cooperation of customs administrations in South Eastern Europe

3 March 2020, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Cooperation between the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Customs Administration of the Republic of Serbia via efficient information exchange represents one of the most important activities in preventing cross-border criminal activities and increasing efficiency of revenue collections for both states.

With the support of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), ITA and the Serbian Customs Administration organized a technical level meeting to discuss the continuation of cooperation aimed to facilitate detections and successful interdictions of various forms of cross-border criminal activities. Such meetings aim to further enhance functional professional links between officials of the partner customs administrations.

The meeting resulted in several conclusions concerning future points of cooperation. This initiative, conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Commission, supports the region in the implementation of UN conventions on drugs and crime, as well as the EU acquis, notably Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC supports the Albanian State Police

28 February 2020, Tirana, Albania: As part of the cooperation between UNODC and the Government of Albania in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC donated evidence containers to the Albanian State Police. The donation of this equipment further strengthens the capacities of the Albanian law enforcement to address drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime and carry out the related investigations and proceedings. 

This delivery forms a part of the overall donation of equipment by UNODC to the Albanian law enforcement authorities and is expected to enhance their performance and further strengthen the partnership between UNODC and the Government of Albania.

Container Control Programme provides on the job mentoring in region's ports

25-27 February 2020, Bar, Montenegro and Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) performed an initial series of monitoring visits to the Port Control Units (PCUs) in South Eastern Europe, during which the PCUs maintain their regular activities and present the daily work conducted at their respective seaports and land-border/customs points.

The CCP concept of monitoring visits is based on partnerships with customs administrations of member states, through the principles of mutual cooperation and responsibility, as well as sharing of knowledge on new experiences and approaches to specific themes in the fight against transnational organized crime. During the visits, the CCP used the opportunity to present activities planned throughout 2020 for the PCUs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Amongst other topics, discussions were also held concerning current challenges faced by PCU staff in their daily work.

This initiative is supported by the European Commission and conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

Container Control Programme launches the work in a new location in South Eastern Europe

14-18 February 2020, Gradiška, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme (CCP) has successfully conducted a technical assessment mission of the land border/customs terminal at Gradiška, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This activity represents a continuation of the excellent cooperation between the CCP and the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) and the Border Police, the main stakeholders in the implementation of the CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This initiative is part of a wider UNODC project supported by the European Commission aimed at promoting the rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in South Eastern Europe.

The Border Inspection Point (BIP) at Gradiška is an important entry point to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s customs territory, with some of the highest volumes in the traffic of goods and passengers. BIP Gradiška has been selected as a designated site for the establishment of a Port Control Unit (PCU), which will be a joint effort between the CCP and the national authorities towards strengthening border security and countering transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking.

In preparation to the establishment of the PCU, UNODC met with the management and other senior officials of the ITA and Border Police and visited BIP Gradiška to familiarize with the current situation of the recently relocated customs terminal, as well as to review the general state of affairs was regards major threats, challenges and prospects of goods trafficked through this BIP between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Furthermore, UNODC observed the work of frontline officers in conducting documentary profiling and risk-analyses, as well as physical risk controls, including x-ray scanning of cargo.

The technical assessors and officials of the ITA and the Border Police discussed the establishment of the PCU, its operationalization and the follow-up arrangements for cooperation between the national stakeholders of the Programme.

This initiative, conducted in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the European Commission, supports the region in the implementation of UN conventions on drugs and crime, as well as the EU acquis, notably Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC initiates the  6 th phase of the project on financial investigations

11-14 February, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 25-28 February, Tirana, Albania; and 25-28 February 2020, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC, in cooperation with the national and local authorities, completed the first three UNODC mentored quality assurance trainings forming the 6 th phase of the Train-the-Trainer (ToT) programme on financial investigations.

The purpose of this programme was to provide the national authorities of the addressed jurisdictions with a unified approach in conducting financial investigations at the outset of all investigations linked to serious and organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing matters as well as to reinforce the regional and cross-border cooperation amongst the law enforcement and judiciary institutions of the Western Balkan region.

During the implementation of the project, UNODC certified ten trainers in each Western Balkan jurisdiction, who developed, with support of UNODC, six national curricula on financial investigations tailored to their contexts and legal frameworks and based on the practical case-studies from the national law enforcement and judiciary institutions. Further to this cycle, UNODC organized five meetings for the project's focal points from six Western Balkan jurisdictions to discuss the project achievements and the way forward in addition to four series of trainings on financial investigations conducted during the programme, which received positive feedback from the participants and were described as relevant to all institutions contributing to the advancement of the rule of law in the jurisdictions.

The final three trainings in the remaining jurisdictions will be held in March 2020.

This work is part of the joint UNODC/CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on conducting financial investigations, funded by the European Commission.

UNODC supports Serbia-Belarus drug use prevention dialogue

20-21 February 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC in cooperation with the Serbian Office for Combating Drugs supported a study visit for the national professionals and policymakers from Belarus to Serbia. The delegates represented institutions addressing drug demand reduction, particularly among youth, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior and the General Prosecutor's Office.

The study visit aimed to present the good practices in the field of drug use prevention, enhance communication and facilitate exchange between the participants and the relevant entities for an improved response to drug use prevention in Belarus.

During the study visit, the participants got acquainted with the national coordination mechanism of the Office for Combating Drugs, the interventions and policies implemented in the local community and schools by the counterpart institutions in Serbia and discussed the evidence-based drug use prevention interventions and their application at the municipality level using the example of the Belgrade township Zvezdara.

Other initiatives in this area were also presented, including the "Line up Live Up" programme, recently launched in South Eastern Europe by UNODC and the OSCE mission in Serbia.

In addition, a strong emphasis was placed on the importance of the evidence-based approaches and of the recurrent use of the UNODC-WHO International Standards on drug use prevention as one of the key documents for achieving progress in drug demand reduction. The guests found the presented materials useful and adaptable to their national context.

The study visit was supported by the Ukrainian UNFPA, UNICEF and UNAIDS Offices under the overall guidance of the UNODC.

UNODC supports the Berlin Process in addressing some of the key challenges in South Eastern Europe

20 February 2020, Vienna, Austria: Within the framework of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans, UNODC, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) met to discuss the possible cooperation in the future.

The meeting follows in the footsteps of 3 rd Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group meeting addressing key security threats in the Western Balkans held in January 2020 in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the participants discussed ways to address illicit finance and anti-corruption, firearms trafficking, irregular migration, modern slavery and human trafficking in South Eastern Europe and emphasized the importance of regional and international cooperation in this regard.

The main objective of the consultation was to provide a step-by-step overview of the process aimed at strengthening anti-corruption and related areas in the region and agree on the objectives and principles that will be guiding the process as well as the immediate next steps. The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and RAI will ensure the national ownership of the work to be done by the national authorities from the region, along with an integrative approach, an increased synergy of efforts and stronger impact.

UNODC holds consultations with DG NEAR amid the launch of new enhanced border security project in South Eastern Europe

17 February 2020, Vienna, Austria: UNODC briefed the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations in light of the recent launch of the border control component of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, via a project on promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in the region, funded by the European Commission.

The UNODC project team briefed the donor on the advancement of the project, including the coordination meetings with internal and external stakeholders such as the European Union Law Enforcement Agency (EUROPOL) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the roll-out of the scoping missions to Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia in the first quarter of 2020, the preparations for the first project Steering Committee meeting scheduled to take place in mid-2020 and the visibility and reporting arrangements to date.

The meeting participants concluded the session reiterating mutual support in the successful delivery of the project.

The cooperation with relevant EU institutions continues to be in the focus of the attention of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe with the next contact and expression of readiness to join forces with FRONTEX to take place on 20 February 2020 in Vienna on the occasion of an expert visit from FRONTEX.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC supports global efforts in addressing foreign terrorist fighters

12 February 2020, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the Joint Regional High-Level Conference on "Foreign Terrorist Fighters - Addressing Current Challenges" convened by the OSCE, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and Switzerland in co-operation with the 2020 Albanian OSCE Chairmanship, UNODC organized a side event on Training Guides on the investigation and prosecution of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) through the sharing of electronic evidence.

The event aimed at promoting sustainable capacity building and the use of UNODC training tools including the recently updated UNODC Manual on FTFs for the Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe, which was translated into the local languages of the region. Around 30 participants were present at the event, and discussed topics such as enhancing international cooperation in sharing electronic evidence; use of information sharing mechanisms and training tools and sustainable capacity building to investigate and prosecute FTFs cases.

The event was opened by the Executive Director of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (UNCTED) and the Chief of UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch. The Heads of the training institutions in South Eastern Europe, including the Director of the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Director of the Pavel Shatev Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors in North Macedonia, presented their training programmes, particularly the ones currently using the UNODC tools. This event further contributes to the UNODC efforts in addressing the FTF phenomenon in South Eastern Europe and beyond.

UNODC supported the organization of the first training on treatment of persons with drug use disorders in Albania

3-7 February 2020, Tirana, Albania: UNODC supported the organization of the first Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) "walkthrough" training workshop for 25 national professionals and academic experts from Albania and Kosovo under the UNSCR  1244.

The training was facilitated by three certified local UTC trainers and represents the first in a series of two walkthrough workshops on drug dependence treatment and care, focusing on psychology and pharmacology for addiction professionals; treatment of substance use disorders and continuum of care; common co-occurring mental and medical disorders and basic counselling skills.

Upon the completion of the training, certified educators created a precise workplan to share the acquired knowledge with students and service providers and, in doing so, strengthened the national system of treatment of substance use disorders in line with the international practices.

The next walkthrough training will be organized in April 2020 with the same participants to further enhance their knowledge of the remaining UTC modules.

The five-day walkthrough training was funded by the Drug Advisory Programme (DAP) of the Colombo Plan - Chilean Office and coordinated by the University of California San Diego. It uses the UTC training package, as the internationally certified compendium of the evidence-based services and information for the skill development of treatment professionals. This work is supported by the Government of the USA.

Air Cargo Control Unit opens in Tirana

6 February 2020, Tirana, Albania: The official opening of the Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) took place at the Tirana International Airport. The event was organized in the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), supported by the Governments of France and Germany, and implemented in partnership with the Albanian State Police and Customs Administration.

The event was attended by the senior officials representing the Ministry of Interior, the State Police and the Customs Administration, as well as other partners including the European Union, France, Germany and the United States. The Albanian officials emphasized that this segment of the CCP would further enhance the security and resilience of the global supply chain through a risk-based and multi-layered approach to cargo security and harmonisation of national and international standards. This would also enhance the partnership with other countries with the purpose of developing and adopting cargo security policies and measures that are practical and operable.

In addition, the ceremony marked the signing of the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) on the functioning of the Air Cargo Control Unit by the Directors General of Customs and Police. The document supports cooperation and coordination among all actors involved in border security and standardizing relevant procedures and practices.

The Albanian, UNODC and WCO officials, together with other participants, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the unit's premises located at the cargo terminal of the Tirana International Airport.

The CCP work in the Tirana International Airport is complementary to the large-scale border control intervention supported by the EU, whereby ACCUs and Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs) are established in three other airports in the region, and other CCP work is implemented throughout the Western Balkans.

Prior to the launch of the ACCU and on the occasion of the visit to the region, the Senior CCP Programme Coordinators from UNODC and WCO visited Pristina and met with senior management of the Customs of Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244) and other counterparts on 5 February, to discuss the programme's implementation in Kosovo to date and the way forward, as well as to provide positive feedback on the progress made so far.

UNODC participates in the DG NEAR consultations on 2020 Enlargement package

5 February 2020, Brussels, Belgium: UNODC  joined consultations of the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) on the 2020 Enlargement package, which sets out the way forward and takes stock of the situation in the candidate countries and potential candidates.

The package is in line with the new European Union methodology for enlargement released on the same date which provides for more resources and more scrutiny of the EU accession processes in the Western Balkan.

UNODC, including its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, remains one of the active actors in the Western Balkans as it supports the Governments of the region in their efforts towards the fulfillment of the Copenhagen criteria, particularly in the areas of Chapters 23, 24 and 28 of the EU acquis communautaire.

For more information: 

Enhancing the accession process - A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans

https://www.unodc.org/brussels/news.html

UNODC takes part in the IPA 2017 Counter Criminality Awards Conference on stability and cooperation in the Western Balkans

31 January 2020, Naples, Italy: UNODC participated in the Counter Criminality Awards Conference organized in the framework of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) 2017 project on Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans. The event was organized by the lead partners of the project - the Ministry of Interior of Italy, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC).

The event provided a platform for a high-level discussion on the Western Balkans as an area of stability for European security, policy, new challenges and police cooperation. Among the 400 stakeholders present, Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Interior of the Western Balkan jurisdictions, Heads of Police from the wider region and other senior law enforcement officials joined the discussion along with the representatives of international and regional organizations. The latter included the Secretary General of INTERPOL, the Executive Director of EUROPOL, the Head of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) Secretariat, the Director of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), representatives of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission, and the Coordinator of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (RP SEE).

The UNODC delegate presented the key principles of the Office's work in the region, namely ownership and partnerships; policy and strategy; and impact and results. The event also provided an opportunity to present the RP SEE - the framework of the UNODC work in the region, where the above principles are applied, and the main tools that UNODC uses to support the Governments of the Western Balkans in their efforts towards increased stability and security.

UNODC participates in the 3 rd Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group meeting

28-29 January 2020, Sofia, Bulgaria: UNODC participated in the 3 rd Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group meeting addressing key security threats in the Western Balkans. International and regional stakeholders, including the Governments of Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (chairing the event) as well as the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) Secretariat, the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC), the Regional Anti-Corruption initiative (RAI) and UNODC were present at the event to share views and be part of productive discussions on law enforcement information exchange and addressing the regional security threats. The meeting is part of this year's chairmanship of the Berlin process by Bulgaria and North Macedonia, latter being the first Western Balkan country in this function.

The delegates discussed the current situation in the areas of illicit finance and anti-corruption, firearms trafficking, irregular migration, modern slavery and human trafficking as well as ways to address them. 

UNODC is a strong supporter and an implementing partner of the Berlin Process, in particular through its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

UNODC further strengthens preparedness for cooperation with the EU

23-24 January 2020, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Brussels's Liaison Office (BRULO) delivered a seminar on "How to build and sustain a successful partnership with the EU". The audience included primarily HQ and field staff of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and was aimed to ensure the best implementation of the EU contribution agreement in the region. The seminar was designed to provide the UNODC staff a further enhanced understanding of the most relevant rules and procedures facilitating smooth cooperation with the EU. 

The training focused on the latest political and policy developments, background to the EU-UN partnership, the evolution of the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA), EU-UNODC cooperation and policy priorities, the EU role on the international scene, the dialogue with the EU Delegations, the Instrument for Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and other topics.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/brussels/news.html

UNODC kicks off the initiative on enhanced border control in South Eastern Europe

20-23 January 2020, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (RP SEE) 2020-2023, UNODC has successfully initiated a project aimed at promoting rule of law and good governance through targeted border control measures at ports and airports in South Eastern Europe.

The project is a joint action involving the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and the UNODC-WCO-INTERPOL Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) under the umbrella of the RP SEE and will be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244.

The CCP has been present in the region since in 2013 with Port Control Units (PCUs) established in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, while AIRCOP is new to the region. All these jurisdictions will continue to be supported in the future.

The specific objectives of the project are:

(i) to support more effective national and international responses to illicit trafficking through strengthening the current PCUs in the region and establishing new similar control units, and 

(ii) to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement agencies active at international airports of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Skopje, North Macedonia and Belgrade, Serbia to detect and intercept high risk passengers in an effort to counter international organized crime and illicit drug trafficking and prevent terrorism.

In this context, UNODC conducted the first assessment mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, during which the UNODC project team met with the national authorities, i.e. Ministry of Security, Ministry of Communications and Transport, Indirect Taxation Authority, Border Police, Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies, State Investigation and Protection Agency, Service for Foreigners' Affairs, and Directorate for Civil Aviation, to formally introduce the project and its objectives and discuss the coordination of activities. The UNODC project team also met with the Sarajevo Airport Authority and carried out a technical assessment of this airport.

The next step will be the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and the national authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will set the framework for the future implementation of the project.

The next assessment missions, to North Macedonia and Serbia, are planned to take place in March 2020.

This initiative is funded by the European Commission and will support the region in the implementation of the UN Conventions on drugs, crime  and terrorism, as well as the EU Acquis, notably the Chapters 23 and 24 addressing serious organized crime, rule of law, good governance and security.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC and FRONTEX step up cooperation in South Eastern Europe

17 January 2020, Warsaw, Poland: UNODC organized senior level consultations with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) on the future cooperation in South Eastern Europe in line with the UNODC  Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023). The consultations are directly following the overall strategy line of the UNODC - European Commission relations, which encourages a closer dialogue between the Office and relevant EU institutions.

The talks in Warsaw focused in particular on the potential cooperation in the area of border control, including in the context of the recently launched UNODC joint action promoting border control measures at ports and airports in the region of South Eastern Europe, which brings together the operations of two key UNODC global programmes - the Container Control Programme (CCP) and the Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP). CCP has been present in the region since 2013 and AIRCOP is starting the work in South Eastern Europe as of 2020 through the mentioned action.

UNODC and FRONTEX agreed to step up coordination, exchange of information and mutual engagement into practical work in South Eastern Europe and beyond.

For further information about FRONTEX:  https://frontex.europa.eu/

For further information about the action: 

https://www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope/en/border-control-action-resources.html

UNODC co-hosts event on collective action initiatives against corruption in South Eastern Europe

18 December 2019, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: In the midst of the eighth session of the Conference of the State Parties (CoSP8) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the UNODC Civil Society Team, in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), held a special event to present ideas and best practices in collective action initiatives for the implementation of UNCAC in South Eastern Europe.

The event also reiterated a strong commitment to the Belgrade Outcome Statement that lays out concrete and practical steps towards cooperation on anti-corruption.

The panel was moderated by a representative from the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption of North Macedonia, who stressed the valuable contributions that civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector entities made to the second review cycle of UNCAC implementation in the country. Among the entities involved in the review was the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation. A representative of the organization noted that the Platform of Civil Society Organizations in the Fight Against Corruption, established five years ago, is highly active in supporting the drafting of anti-corruption laws and policies, further adding that the Ministry of Justice has been strong champions of cooperation with CSOs.

A representative of the UNCAC Coalition said that "Collective action needs to be seen in a broader sense and not only as a CSO and government cooperation, the broader definition of collective action asks for participation of all actors in a society. Even the CoSP is a collective action where officials, experts and CSO representatives are debating different solutions and possibilities for the implementation of the Convention".

UNODC, through three multi-stakeholder workshops in South Eastern Europe, trained over 70 CSOs, 40 private sector entities and governments on the Convention and on the way to make good governance more effective. The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Albania, observed how useful these workshops have been in identifying local and regional partners and how they contributed to the birth of fruitful initiatives such as the Week of Integrity: the Conference on Integrity and Anti-corruption, scheduled to take place in Albania in early 2020. Notably, the workshops have been instrumental in fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration, and so is the eighth session of the COSP, which is attended by over one hundred CSOs.

In January 2020, UNODC and EBRD will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to institutionalize partnership in the area of good governance and recognize joint commitment towards collective action in preventing corruption.

For more information:

Conference website of UNODC

Conference website of the Host Country

UNODC's Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

UNODC Engagement with Civil Society on Drug and Crime Prevention

Fight corruption to achieve sustainable development progress: UN Convention against Corruption conference begins in Abu Dhabi

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in addressing the foreign terrorist fighters' phenomenon

16-18 December 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC held a regional (South Eastern Europe) workshop on foreign terrorist fighters' (FTF) cases and the related Manual for Judicial Training Institutes.

The workshop was organized in light of the recent update of the Manual, which is aimed at supporting South Eastern Europe in effectively addressing the FTF phenomenon and was translated into the languages of the region. The event focused on the exchange of experiences in addressing the return of the FTFs and their families, as well as the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies, social media and online investigations tools, including practices on obtaining electronic evidence across borders and curricula development for the judicial/police training institutes based on the updated Manual on FTFs.

In total, 24 officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 took part in the workshop, including investigators, prosecutors and representatives of the judicial/police training institutions and criminal justice authorities who actively participated in the session supported by six international experts in addition to UNODC, among them representatives of INTERPOL and EUROPOL. 

The workshop provided an opportunity to officially launch the updated version of the Manual and contributed to improving the regional cooperation on this matter, as well as supported the capacity of the relevant institutions to effectively address FTFs. This activity was conducted under the EU-funded project on addressing FTFs in Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe.  

UNODC and CEPOL successfully hold the regional conference of national trainers

17 December 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC, in cooperation with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), organized and co-chaired the regional conference of the UNODC certified national trainers on financial investigations and CEPOL's national focal points from the six Western Balkan jurisdictions at the UNODC headquarters in Vienna.

The conference is an integral part of the comprehensive UNODC Train-the-Trainer course on financial investigations, which brought together over 75 experts from the law enforcement and judicial institutions of the six Western Balkan jurisdictions. The conference provided the opportunity for both UNODC and CEPOL project management teams to report on the 2018-2019 project results to the beneficiaries. The purpose of the conference was to exchange best practices and share experience and lessons learned on financial investigations amongst the experts from the law enforcement and judicial institutions of the entire Western Balkan region. The conference served as an excellent platform for the reinforcement of regional cooperation on addressing such transnational threats as money laundering, organized crime, the financing of terrorism and drug trafficking.

The delegations expressed their appreciation for the quality mentorship and training activities delivered by UNODC and CEPOL in the framework of this project and reconfirmed the strong commitment of their authorities on the further implementation of the planned project activities, which will finish on 31 March 2020.

This conference was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on conducting financial investigations, funded by the European Commission.

Durres Port Control Unit Officers visit Port of Vlora

16-17 December 2019, Vlora, Albania: Supported by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), the officers of the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Durres Port accompanied by the senior officials of the Albanian Customs Administration and UNODC paid a visit to the Vlora Port. The purpose of the visit was to share the good experience and practices of the CCP with the authorities of the Port of Vlora and to assess the possibility of making the Vlora Port a part of the Programme.

The Port of Vlora in the south-west of Albania is the second largest in the country and comprises a cargo - ferry port, one petroleum port and a fishing harbor. Though the Port is not a container one, it occupies an important location in terms of countering cross-border crime and contraband due to its geographical position, including in view of its proximity to Italy and the increased trade with other ports in the region.

During the visit the officials met with the Head of the Vlora Customs, the Regional Director of Border Police and Migration Directorate and the Chief of the Port Commissariat. The counterparts provided overviews of the respective entities, volume of trade, typology of cross-border crime and inter-agency cooperation.

A number of important observations were made and some opportunities were identified, including a proposal for a new and specialized assistance to the Vlora Port. The detailed findings of the mission will be part of a separate report but the visit was designed to identify and report any gaps between the actual situation at the Vlora Port and the recommendations of the CCP which is currently being delivered at the Durres Port. 

It was concluded that the Standard Operating Procedures implementable at the Durres Port could be relevant to the context of the Vlora Port.

The visit was supported by the generous financial contribution of the Government of Germany in the framework of the CCP in Albania.

UNODC and Russia review opportunities for further cooperation

16 December 2019, Moscow, Russia: In the spirit of inter-regional cooperation, the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (RP SEE) cooperates with the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation (Rosfinmonitoring) in supporting the law enforcement and other authorities in South Eastern European in the field of anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism and related areas.

In this context, RP SEE held consultations in Moscow with the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and the Rosfinmonitoring to review the ongoing cooperation and the future engagement in the period 2020-2023, which corresponds to the new cycle of the RP SEE. The parties confirmed the mutual usefulness of this collaboration and discussed possible new areas of work in the future.

An important element of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe is complementarity towards operational and practical results. With this in mind, the agenda of the new training courses at the Training Centre of Rosfinmonitoring will be formulated for 2020 and beyond.

Furthermore, the ongoing cooperation is seen as best practice and will be applied by Rosfinmonitoring in other regions.

For additional information:

https://www.facebook.com/MIDRussia/posts/2162392100526886?__xts__[0]=68.ARCVjnZl4ztZvSW7-iE_VUUPAY0urf-g6vDYapIYQM6m143iTpIG6PTcKidvO9WcK95F0VHocnWGYOMwozppzzmcV8giPdTjTMazwdReQtIqqQDv4-K731LopPmlEt7MOxQRKxaCCjYGIBFCnfbWA3O0c6KGDyhvoOxxsrDbWHoS-WIrPybP9jcwqOMIdT6t15_JzvEqBcw7XiNHWM3chnkte_oB7oes0RUwz10gsra21uHUd0SjPl-Q8RSrQ-RViKbi9nNan7stJBGnpsjcb6e6hNz9rSRIOYydFRfg3_XL-7k46xIF-9Okj96Lq27BoLTePWPOhuSuW7pKuZcpY9UV1A&__tn__=-R

https://twitter.com/mfa_russia/status/1206839322021904384

UNODC holds a workshop on the implementation of the Key Performance Indicator 5 of the Western Balkans Roadmap

16 December 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP), in cooperation with EMPACT (European Union 4-year policy cycle to fight serious and organized crime) Firearms organized a workshop on the implementation of the Key Performance Indicator 5.

The workshop was held in the framework of the " Roadmap for a sustainable Solution to the Illegal Possession, Misuse and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and their Ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024" ( Roadmap). The overall objective of the workshop was to discuss the operationalization of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 5 for monitoring Goal 3 of the regional Roadmap, aiming at " significantly reducing illicit flows of firearms, ammunition and explosives (FAE) into, within and beyond the Western Balkans". Goal 3 of the Roadmap is measured by several KPIs, including KPI 5, focusing on the " Number of reported cases of FAE seized at the borders of the European Union and traced to the Western Balkans, compared to the number of FAE seized throughout the European Union and traced to or diverted from the Western Balkans."

The objectives of the Roadmap and its monitoring framework based on the KPIs were described by an expert of the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC). The Head of the Global Firearms Programme then placed the monitoring of the Roadmap in the general context of UNODC's Global Data Collection Initiative and demonstrated how the EU Member States could collect and report data under KPI 5, using UNODC's Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire (IAFQ).

The discussions among the national experts helped to identify the challenges faced by countries when collecting and reporting seizure data. The participants shared their national practices and were committed to provide the information required under KPI 5 in order to allow the Western Balkans to assess the progress of the implementation of the Roadmap. The participants concluded that the existing IAFQ can be an important tool to collect and report data under KPI 5.

The workshop brought together 23 representatives of national firearms focal points, law enforcement, customs and prosecutorial services as well as of ministries of foreign affairs from 13 Member States of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. It was further supported by experts from international and regional organizations, including the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), Interpol, SEESAC and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The activity was made possible by the contribution from the Government of Germany.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/news/workshop-on-kpi5.html

UNODC reinforces the capacity of Albania in effective risk-based anti-money laundering supervision 

12-13 December, Tirana, Albania: UNODC organized a two-day technical workshop for 14 representatives of the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Bank of Albania and the Financial Supervisory Authority as well as compliance officers of the currency exchange offices. The workshop was dedicated to the effective risk-based supervision of the exchange offices and designated non-financial businesses and professions.

The workshop aimed at sharing the best international practices and conducting simulation exercises on the detection of the money-laundering and terrorist financing schemes in the exchange offices and money transfer systems. The UNODC experts also provided a detailed overview of the anti-money laundering and counter-financing obligations of the compliance officers and the role of the Bank of Albania and the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) as Albania's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in licensing, risk management, on-site and off-site inspections, and the risk-based supervision of the exchange offices. The workshop concluded with the moderated discussions on practical solutions and lessons learned in this area in light of the ongoing 5 th round of the mutual evaluation of Albania by the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL).

This workshop is part of the ongoing UNODC project on "Capacity Building of Albania in the AML/CFT area", which is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

UNODC supports a study visit of the delegation from Montenegro to Portugal

12-13 December 2019, Lisbon, Portugal: UNODC, in cooperation with the Policia Judiciaria, the national criminal investigation police agency of Portugal, organized a study visit for eight senior officials representing the law enforcement and judicial institutions of Montenegro. The study visit aimed at sharing the best practices and reinforcing cooperation on countering serious and organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, cyber and financial crime, and money laundering.

During this two-day practical study visit the participants enhanced their knowledge and gained practical experience from the renowned representatives of the Prosecution and the Central Criminal Investigation Court (TCIC) of Portugal on prosecution and adjudication of complex cases of serious and organized crime, money laundering, anti-corruption, and financing of terrorism. In addition, the delegation acquired the best practices from the experts of the Policia Judiciaria on conducting parallel financial investigations into organized crime and drug trafficking cases, on assets freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime, virtual currencies and payment methods linked to these crimes, as well as the importance of the national and international cooperation in these areas. Additionally, the study visit provided the opportunity for the delegation to visit the facilities of the Policia Judiciaria, including its tactical training centre, situation room, helipad and the forensic lab.

This study visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on conducting financial investigations, funded by the European Commission.

UNODC assesses the causes of recidivism in Albania

9-13 December 2019, Tirana/Fier/Peqin, Albania: Albania was the first country to participate in a UNODC pilot rapid assessment of the causes of recidivism. In line with the prior consultations with the relevant authorities of Albania, UNODC met with the senior management of prisons in Tirana, before conducting a series of 13 focus group interviews with repeat offenders in three prisons: Ali Demi Women's Prison in Tirana, Fier Prison, and Peqin Maximum Security Prison. These interviews were followed with a written questionnaire capturing the reasons why the recidivists themselves believed they had returned to prison. 

The results of this research will be used to refine the approach used in subsequent national studies, including in Thailand (January 2020) and the Czech Republic (February 2020). These national findings and a comparative review of the three countries will be presented at the Kyoto Crime Congress in April 2020. Discussion of additional national studies is underway. This work represents the first research conducted by UNODC on criminal justice matters and could become the basis for a global study on prisons.

UNODC supports countering firearms trafficking through postal shipments in Montenegro 

10-11 December 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: In 2019, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) launched its project on detection of firearms in postal shipments and initiated cooperation with the Montenegrin Customs Administration. The first training for customs officers was delivered in Podgorica in November 2019.

Following this training, the UNODC GFP supported the Customs Administration in analyzing and mapping the processes of border control related to postal and express parcels shipments, and the use of these methods to traffic firearms, their parts and explosives. UNODC conducted several expert group meetings with the Customs staff from the Postal Office, Podgorica Airport and the Risk Analysis section, focusing on the methods used to detect firearms and the challenges that exist.

The GFP project on detection of firearms in postal shipments is supported by the generous contribution from the Government of Germany and addresses the increasing use of postal and express parcels to traffic illegal firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition.

UNODC consolidates its legislative analysis of Montenegrin Criminal Law addressing firearms trafficking

10 December 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) and the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro co-organized an expert group meeting to review the report reflecting the UNODC legislative analysis for harmonization of the criminal law and criminal procedure law with the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Firearms Protocol.

The UNODC GFP presented the main findings of the report and highlighted the differences between the provisions of the national criminal legislation with the international instruments. The experts analyzed Article 5 of the UN Firearms Protocol on Criminalization and the relevant provisions from the Montenegrin Criminal Code. The discussions also focused on the linkages between the firearms offences with the provision of the Criminal Procedure Code. Based on the findings of the UNODC report, the experts recommended including the subject of firearms as a topic for consideration by the Working Group for amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Criminal Code in Montenegro. 

UNODC meets with the national authorities and partners in Serbia

5-6 December 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: Following the launch of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe 2020-2023 and the current related developments in the region, UNODC met with the relevant stakeholders and counterparts in Serbia, including the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, the Customs Authority as well as international partners.

The meetings provided an opportunity to thoroughly discuss the upcoming activities in the area of border control and illicit trafficking as well as the related involvement of UNODC in the country and to identify areas of increased cooperation. In this context, UNODC formally introduced the Regional Serious and Organized Crime Advisor and Head of the enhanced UNODC Programme Office in North Macedonia, who will be involved in the coordination of the borders project with the national authorities in the region.

The consultations in Belgrade further build upon the UNODC efforts to support the region in countering drugs and crime in line with UNODC mandates and treaties, the wider UN 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process, particularly in the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaire.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme continues to support operational cooperation of customs administrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia

3 December 2019, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia continued to strengthen cooperation and mutual support in customs matters related to the prevention of the smuggling of goods and other forms of customs offenses, as well as the detection and sanctioning of other forms of cross-border crime. Supported by the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP), the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) and the Customs Administration of Serbia conducted several bilateral meetings and, subsequently, implemented a joint operation in November 2019 aimed at identifying, profiling and inspecting risky container shipments, including monitoring the movement of containers and other shipments from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and vice versa.

In November 2019, a joint operation facilitated the exchange of information between the Port Control Unit (PCU) and other ITA structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Customs Administration of Serbia. During the operation, the two customs administrations exchanged a total of 32 sets of information on the movement of containers and other shipments between the two countries.

"Such forms of cooperation are in the common interest of the both countries as they endeavour to fight cross-border criminality, and, with that interest in mind, we conducted this activity", said a representative of the Customs Administration of Serbia at the post-operational briefing.  An ITA representative added that considering the recent trends and modus operandi in smuggling, future cooperation between customs administrations will bring encouraging results.

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme will continue to support the efforts of the two customs administrations in 2020, aiming to facilitate cooperation and mutual assistance with a focus on enhancing supply chain security, improving border controls and facilitating legitimate trade at their seaports, land border crossings, dry ports and airports.

The implementation of this joint activity was generously supported by the Government of Luxembourg. 

Working Group meeting on the Criminal Code of North Macedonia

2 December 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia:  The UNODC Global Firearms Programme presented the findings and recommendations of the legislative review on harmonizing the national legislation with the UN Convention against Organized Crime and UN Firearms Protocol to the Working Group tasked with review and proposing amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The meeting focused on discussing the offences on firearms trafficking; illicit firearms manufacturing; falsifying or illicitly obliterating, removing or altering the markings on firearms, and the special investigative measures under the Criminal Procedure Code. The Working Group took note of the recommendations for harmonization with the UN Firearms Protocol and decided to include in its agenda the review of the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code.

UNODC launches Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023

29 November 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023) was launched today at the 10th meeting of the Programme's Steering Committee in Vienna. 

UNODC's overall objectives in the region are to reduce transnational organized crime and related threats, increase safety and expand coverage of treatment and prevention of drug use and dependence. It also aims to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies in line with the broader EU accession priorities as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The meeting opened with remarks from UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, in which he pointed out the strategic importance of South Eastern Europe in the work of UNODC in the regional and international contexts linked to contemporary global challenges.

Mr. Fedotov said: "The Regional Programme stands as an example of how much can be achieved through effective partnerships and with UNODC's integrated support to the implementation of relevant conventions and treaties. And this further helps with other national priorities in these countries. Our "One UNODC" response brings together global, regional and thematic operations, ensuring coordination and an optimized use of resources. The effectiveness of our operations is further guaranteed by our reliance on independent evaluation to inform and improve our programmes."

The UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023) was developed with the Governments of the region to ensure national ownership and maximum impact. It aims to deliver outcomes through targeted, integrated work in three sub-programmes: (1) Support to law enforcement, enhanced border security and related topics; (2) Strengthening the fight against organized crime and countering illicit financial flows; (3) Drug use prevention and treatment of drug use disorders, and a cross-cutting pillar (4) on strengthening research capacity, policy and monitoring, with respect for human rights and a gender perspective, as well as co-operation with civil society, and other emerging thematic areas.

The Programme aims to meet the specific national needs of the countries in the region, articulated in an inclusive, participatory process, while also ensuring that national activities are part of a coordinated, harmonized regional and inter-regional approach in line with UNODC global principles and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The launch event was complemented by the presentation of the outcome of a new UNODC regional report produced under the EU-funded regional UNODC project "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans (MACRO)". The report describes the trends and patterns observed through collected data and proposes evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.4 and further the EU accession process of the addressed jurisdictions.

The event was attended by the members of the Steering Committee, Ambassadors and senior representatives from the countries of the region, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, partner countries and the donor community supporting the UNODC work in the region.

Among the senior European Union representatives were officials of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Regional and international organizations attending the event included the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC SEE) among others. The UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia and the Head of the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Montenegro also attended the event. The broad representation of these and other partners allowed for the strategic exchange of views in the context of the new UNODC Regional Programme and the outlook for the future.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme supports the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

28-29 November 2019, land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) conducted a regular mentoring visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The PCU is composed of Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police officers. The mentoring visits serve a spectrum of purposes, such as assessing the status of findings following the previous mentoring visits, discussing a range of issues with the PCU staff relevant to the Programme implementation, and identifying and addressing challenges for facilitation of the implementation of planned activities.  

During 2019, a number of mentoring visits to the PCU at the land-border of Bijača were conducted in the framework of CCP generating reports which provide an opportunity for the Programme toassess the efforts of the implementing partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina related to achieving programmatic objectives and fulfilling the annual workplans.

In 2019, the PCU in Bosnia and Herzegovina was generously supported by the Governments of Germany and Luxembourg.

UNODC joins international efforts in combating trafficking in human beings

28 November 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: With an estimated 40.3 million victims trafficked every year (figures from the International Labour Organization), trafficking in human beings remains a matter of serious concern globally, including in South Eastern Europe. According to the latest UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Human Beings , the vast majority of all human trafficking victims (71 per cent) are women and girls.

In line with the global efforts against this threat, NATO is reviewing its Policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (2004) , which reiterates that trafficking in human beings constitutes a serious abuse of human rights, especially affecting women and girls and fuels corruption and organized crime, particularly as this phenomenon has grown with intensity since the adoption and revision of the NATO's policy.

In this context, a regional conference on addressing human trafficking was organized by NATO and the Government of Montenegro, which continues to face this threat as a country of origin, transit and destination and particularly in the light of the recent increase in the number of potential victims identified as being at risk of forced illegal marriage and sexual exploitation. The conference was aimed at fostering exchange of best practices and lessons learned on initiatives to combat trafficking in human beings among international organizations, governments from the region as well as civil society.

The conference, which was attended by representatives from the governments and civil society in the region as well as international organizations, including the European Union and the Organization for the Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), provided a platform for a fruitful exchange of ideas on the topic, boosted discussions and networking for an increased cooperation and better impact. The UNODC expert contributed to the discussions with an overview on the role of international organizations in combating human trafficking, in particular the work of UNODC in the area to seek synergies between all relevant stakeholders. The findings of the conference will serve as a baseline for the revision of the NATO Policy on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings as well as to provide a useful foundation for the Member States to address this global issue.

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in investigation and prosecution of illicit firearms cases

26-28 November 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MoFTER) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Economy (ME) of Montenegro and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications (MTTT) of Serbia, organized a training on illicit arms trade for 44 prosecutors, law enforcement and customs officials and arms export control authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia.

The specific objectives of the workshop were to enhance the knowledge on conducting investigations on and prosecution of illicit trade in firearms, to identify challenges in the existing criminal laws and criminal procedure laws, and to share good practices and lessons learned. The workshop was divided in three parts: legal framework and procedures for arms trade, prosecution of illicit arms trade and case studies.

The participants received information about the current regimes of arms transfers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and gained knowledge on the actors engaged in arms transfers, type of activities associated with arms transfers and the documents required to conduct arms transfers. The second part of the training provided an overview of the applicable criminal provisions and details about the methods of investigation, identification and collection of evidence and relevant procedural measures. The participants applied the gained knowledge in specific scenarios for investigations on illicit arms transfers and identified challenges and solutions under the legislations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

The substantive topics in the workshop were presented by experts from MoFTER, ME, MTTT, UNODC and prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. The activity contributed to an increased overall capacity of the relevant countries in addressing illicit firearms trafficking and was made possible through the generous contribution by the Government Germany.

UNODC participates in the regional meeting on the Emergence of New Psychoactive Substances in South Eastern Europe

26-27 November 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC took part in the regional meeting on the Emergence of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), as a Global Challenge and Threat to the Safety and Health of Societies organized by the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Montenegro. 

The meeting brought together representatives of relevant state institutions (ministries of health and law enforcement agencies) and non-governmental organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as experts from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), OSCE and UNODC.

The event is in line with supporting Montenegro's efforts in creating a multisector approach to combatting the NPS threat. The UNODC expert contributed to the meeting by presenting an overview of the Early Warning Advisory on NPS including the international regulatory framework on illicit drugs along with the scheduling mechanism related to the relevant International Conventions.

UNODC supports the national professionals and academic experts in a comprehensive approach to the treatment of substance use disorders

18-22 November 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC co-organized, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Serbia, the first Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) walkthrough training for the national professionals. The walkthrough training is technically supported by the University of California San Diego and funded by the Drug Advisory Programme (DAP) of the Colombo Plan - Chilean Office and is comprised of two five-day long consecutive training workshops. The training is using the internationally certified training package - Universal Treatment Curriculum, which provides a series of training materials for knowledge and skill development of treatment professionals. The aim of the training series is to reduce the significant health, social and economic problems associated with substance use disorders by building international treatment capacity through training, and so expanding the professional global treatment workforce.  

The training in Belgrade was facilitated by four local certified UTC trainers and covered the following topics: psychology and pharmacology for addiction professionals; treatment of substance use disorders and continuum of care; common co-occurring mental and medical disorders and basic counseling skills.

In total, 26 professionals and academic experts from four regional university centers in Serbia, namely Nis, Kragujevac, Belgrade, Novi Sad as well as the Military Medical Academy attended the training and discussed the innovative scientific interventions and strategies as well as their benefits and application in the daily work. The acquired knowledge will further be disseminated by the trained professionals their peers in line with the priority plans foreseen by the Ministry of Health.

The next walkthrough trainings will be organized in the first quarter of 2020.

UNODC participates in the regional meeting of the Roadmap for countering firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans  

20-21 November 2019, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) participated in the 2nd Regional Coordination Meeting on the implementation of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024.

The meeting brought together representatives of SALW Commissions from the Western Balkans, responsible for the Roadmap's implementation, representatives of international organizations engaged in arms control in the region, as well as the key donors in the area. The participants reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Roadmap in the period January-June 2019 and identified key challenges. The forum provided an opportunity to inform and coordinate activities within the specific goals of the Roadmap, to present the baseline data as collected by the authorities on the Roadmap's Key Performance Indicators, to discuss contributions from the international organizations, and to identify donor support for the initiative.

The UNODC GFP provided an overview of its role in the implementation of the Roadmap, highlighted the results achieved to date, including legislative assistance and capacity building. The UNODC GFP also identified its priorities for each jurisdiction in the region under the Roadmap and briefed its partners on the planned activities for 2020.

UNODC shares expertise on terrorism prevention in South Eastern Europe

19-21 November 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In line with the efforts to advance the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 2341 (2017) and 2396 (2017), UNODC participated in the Regional Expert Workshop in South Eastern Europe on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks organized by the OSCE in close partnership with the UN Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and with the expert assistance of the OSCE participating States as well as regional and international organizations.

The UN Security Council resolution 2341 (2017) calls upon Member States to address the danger of terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure and invites States to consider possible preventive measures in developing national strategies and policies. The UN Security Council resolution 2396 (2017) urges Member States to strengthen their efforts to stem the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) through measures on border control, criminal justice and information‑sharing and counter-extremism.

To further strengthen awareness, knowledge and capabilities of Member States on the measures that should be taken to address terrorist threats against critical infrastructure, the OSCE promotes the UN Compendium of Good Practices in the respective area. This Compendium, developed within the framework of the Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Working Group on Emerging Threats and Critical Infrastructure Protection (WG) and launched in June 2018, provides reference materials and guidance on the development and strengthening of risk-reduction strategies, focusing on, inter alia, prevention, preparedness, mitigation, investigation, response and recovery.  

The Compendium was presented to the participants along with other items on the agenda, including discussions around the international legal framework to protect vulnerable targets; understanding the challenge of the terrorist threat to critical infrastructure; sharing experience through developing national strategies for reducing risks to critical infrastructures and building and designing the national architecture.

As an important partner of recent initiatives undertaken within the WG's framework, UNODC took part in this major event and shared its expertise in the field of terrorism prevention and provided an overview of current UNODC terrorism prevention initiatives in the region further contributing to a comprehensive global response to terrorist threats in South Eastern Europe and beyond.

UNODC participated in the first Regional Forum on Drug Addiction and Recovery in the Balkan region

19-20 November, Belgrade, Serbia:  UNODC took part in the first regional forum on drug addiction and recovery organized in view of the partnership between the World Federation Against Drugs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from the Balkan region.

Over 170 national professionals and CSO members attended the event to discuss the recovery services and other possibilities to address substance use disorders, where international experts particularly outlined medically assisted treatment and drug policies.

UNODC experts showcased the importance of evidence-based drug use prevention by discussing the family-based programmes and their results in South Eastern Europe, the UNODC-WHO International Standards on Treatment of Drug Use Disorders and the global and regional substance use trends. Furthermore, the participants discussed the recovery management services, providing more information to the audience on the relevance, benefits and results of such initiatives in addressing the psycho-social challenges faced by persons with drug use disorders.

One of the outcomes of the regional forum was the suggestion to form a regional steering committee to address the recovery of persons with drug use disorders more effectively. Considering the risk factors of falling into drug use, including the availability of illicit substances and the lack of appropriate policies and communication, a regional strategic approach is suggested for an appropriate response mechanism to this issue.

UNODC traditionally welcomes the dialogue with Civil Society Organizations, which is also recognized as one of the key principles of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. 

UNODC participates in the regional dialogue in security in the Western Balkans

15 November 2019, The Hague, The Netherlands: Following the series of informal coordination meetings in Sarajevo, Budapest and Vienna with the presence of representatives from various initiatives to fight cross-border organized crime in the Western Balkans conducted under the Instrument for the Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), UNODC participated in the latest informal coordination meeting under the IPA Regional Program Western Balkans at the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC) Headquarters

Regional and international organizations, including the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the European Union Law Enforcement Agency (EUROPOL), the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) Secretariat, the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC SEE) and UNODC attended the event to discuss the advancement of the respective initiatives and the planned activities in the remaining cycle of the IPA 2017.

While exchanging information on the status of different projects, potential future synergies were identified and good examples of concrete cooperation among partners and stakeholders were presented as best practices. The European Commission and the Western Balkan partners strongly encourage this type of cooperation, which could be used as a model by other regions or sectors in relation with the technical assistance provision.

In addition, on the occasion of this visit, UNODC met with counterparts from EUROPOL to discuss future cooperation in the areas of border control and illicit trafficking in South Eastern Europe.

For more information:

https://www.cilc.nl/western-balkans-a-concerted-approach-to-fight-against-organized-crime/#!

UNODC completes the second round of follow-up sessions of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in South Eastern Europe

4 November, Skopje, North Macedonia; 11 November, Budva, Montenegro; 15 November, Belgrade, Serbia: In the framework of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme conducted by UNODC in partnership with the Lions Quest Foundation, three follow-up sessions were organized with elementary school teachers to assess the current implementation of the programme and address potential challenges and gaps that could result in the process.

Given that the LQSFA programme is currently in its second piloting cycle with a two-year implementation period, it is critical to monitor the main actors of the programme, namely teachers in view of supporting them and strengthening their training skills.

The follow-up sessions not only provided an opportunity to collect data and make assessments but also to discuss issues linked to the social emotional learning considered as important by young adolescents, including the influence of social media and its potentially negative effects on the user.

The LQSFA programme is a social emotional and evidence-based programme aimed at preventing the onset of drug use and building resilience skills among students. Its implementation in South Eastern Europe is the result of the successful cooperation between UNODC and the Lions Quest Foundation and is currently in its fifth year of implementation in the following countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Upon conclusion of the current piloting cycle and the related assessment, a comparative analysis will be made to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme based on either a one-year or two-year cycles and provide relevant recommendations accordingly for the further implementation of the programme. The next follow-up sessions are planned to take place in April 2020.

UNODC supports Montenegro in countering firearms trafficking

12-14 November 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme organized a training for first line officers from the Customs Administration on detection of firearms trafficking in postal shipments and at land border crossing points. The event was conducted in cooperation with the Customs Administration, the Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro. The Customs Administration carefully selected the participants for the training and ensured representation of its investigation and analytical units.

The training focused on risk assessment, developing local risk indicators, as well as profiling and selection of suspicious packages for examination. It included practical exercises for enhancing skills to identify concealments through various methods including X-ray analysis.

The participants gained knowledge on the procedures for import, transit and export of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition. The training addressed also the criminal aspects of firearms trafficking, including the procedures to be followed upon detection of illicit firearms.

The activity was made possible with the generous contribution of the Government of Germany. 

UNODC participates in a training on foreign terrorist fighters

12-13 November 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: As part of the regional efforts to counter terrorism and related threats in South Eastern Europe, UNODC took part in the training on addressing the threat from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) organized by OSCE and the OSCE mission in Serbia.

The training was delivered to personnel from various units of the Serbian Border Police responsible for all frontline border management including detection of FTFs. The reviewed topics included FTF history and background; a presentation of FTF current cases, trends and challenges in document security; available Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR) and Interpol databases; relevant international and regional legal frameworks; security features of travel documents; risk analysis model applied to FTFs; interview techniques; case studies - behavioral indicators and passenger risk profile and different situations at borders as well as practical exercises.

The participants were exposed to real-life situations in detecting and apprehending FTFs, which contributes to strengthening the capacities of South Eastern Europe in effectively addressing the FTF phenomenon.

The UNODC representative contributed to the discussion by highlighting UNODC initiatives and announcing emerging enhanced presence in the region plus plans to collaboratively work with OSCE across the security and serious and organized crime field.

UNODC contributes to the regional dialogue on addressing foreign terrorist fighters

11-13 November 2019, Rakitje, Croatia: The return home of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) is a matter of growing concern in South Eastern Europe requiring a concerted approach and an effective response among Member States and regional stakeholders. With this in mind, RACVIAC - the Centre for Security Cooperation organized a workshop on "Developing strategies on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of FTFs" in close cooperation with OSCE-Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

The main purpose of the workshop was to discuss the challenges, priorities and lessons learned in this area and explore ways to facilitate the engagement of civil society organizations in the reintegration process of the returning FTFs and their family members into their respective community during and after judicial proceedings, while respecting international human rights law that guarantees the right to privacy.

The discussions focused, among other topics, on the possibilities to develop a national programme addressing the challenges related to the rehabilitation and reintegration process of FTFs and their families, to establish appropriate policies and action plans on the social reintegration of FTFs and ensure that they are effectively bridging the gaps between custodial and noncustodial settings and to ensure an enabling institutional environment for the rehabilitation of FTFs by implementing fundamental reform measures in prison management and prisoner treatment.

UNODC took part in this event and contributed to the discussions with an overview of UNODC initiatives in this area, and the presentation of the recently updated edition of the UNODC Manual for Judicial Training Institutes in South Eastern Europe in addressing FTFs.

For more information: https://www.racviac.org/

UNODC supports Pristina in anti-corruption efforts

10-12 November 2019, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: The closing event of the project "Support to performing the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Gap analysis in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244", implemented by UNODC in cooperation with UNDP, was held in Pristina. The participants were acquainted with the findings of the project and had an opportunity to provide feedback on the final Gap Analysis report and on the process.

The UNODC/UNDP project aimed to support the fight against corruption by building capacity for gaps identification in the legislative framework, by analyzing the existing legislation and regulatory practices and by suggesting improvements in the existing policy framework to address the identified gaps, using the UNCAC implementation review methodology.

Representatives of different institutions expressed their satisfaction with the project outcomes and their conviction that it will provide a useful reference for the future anti-corruption efforts in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244. The anti-corruption field remains an important priority of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023).

UNODC participated in the second series of national coordination meetings on the regional Roadmap to counter firearms trafficking in South Eastern Europe  

29 October, Skopje, North Macedonia; 1 November, Tirana, Albania; 4 November 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro; 7 November, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 9 November 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) participated in the 2 nd series of National Coordination Meetings on the implementation of the Roadmap for countering firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans.

The objective of the meetings was to review the progress achieved under the Roadmap, outline existing challenges and inform national counterparts, partners and donors about future activities to support the implementation of the Roadmap.

The UNODC GFP presented the legislative gap analyses for Montenegro, which will assist the national authorities to harmonize the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code with the provisions of the UN Firearms Protocol. The report has received a positive feedback from the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice and its recommendations will be reviewed and discussed by the Working Group for amending the Criminal Code of Montenegro. Upcoming activities were also discussed.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UNODC GFP discussed the activities of UNODC in supporting the criminal justice response against arms trafficking and highlighted its cooperation with the Customs Agency and the delivery of specialized trainings on detection of firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition at land border crossing points. The UNODC GFP underlined the comprehensive approach to this topic and the inclusion of representatives from the Prosecutor's Office and the national arms export control authorities. The UNODC GFP informed about the continuous cooperation with the Prosecutor's Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the various activities on investigation and prosecution of arms trafficking and analysis of firearms trafficking cases. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UNODC GFP has also provided support for the establishment the primary and secondary legislation on regulating firearms import marking.

The UNODC GFP conducted this work in the same format in Albania and Serbia. These events are contributing towards a better control of firearms in South Eastern Europe through a successful implementation of the Roadmap in the region, which will be thoroughly discussed at the upcoming Regional Coordination Meeting to be held later in November 2019. 

UNODC participates in the 19th Meeting of the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers

7 November 2019, Vienna, Austria: The Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) Secretariat held its 19 th meeting of the PCC SEE Committee of Ministers, its highest statutory body, under the auspices of the Chairmanship-in-Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the last five years preceding this meeting, the PCC SEE implementation process has proven to further advance the cooperation between the Contracting Parties and has further been strengthened with the accession of a new Contracting Party in 2019, the establishment of an EU-modelled legal framework in 2018, as well as a new strategic alignment in the implementation process.

In this light, the event aimed to bring together all the PCC SEE Contracting Parties and other partners to continue to design the cooperation in this unique setting through the contributions of the relevant stakeholders in the region, including CEPOL, DCAF, EUROJUST, GIZ, IOM, RCC, SELEC and UNODC.

UNODC highlighted the excellent cooperation with PCC SEE Secretariat, in line with the signed Memorandum of Understanding (April 2019), which aims to support the joint work in the field of combating transnational organized crime through exchange of information and expertise, as well as implementation of joint activities. Furthermore, UNODC reiterated it will continue its strong partnership with the PCC SEE Secretariat in actively supporting South Eastern Europe, particularly in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 to be launched in late November 2019.

The PCC SEE was signed on the Southeast European countries' intention to address organized and serious cross-border crime issues affecting their region in a more comprehensive and effective manner, as well as with their desire to align their policing standards with those in the European Union and Schengen area.

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

UNODC supports the policymakers of North Macedonia in drug use prevention and treatment

5 November 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of North Macedonia organized a follow up meeting on last year's workshop (September 2018) for policymakers on the nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in North Macedonia.

The representatives from various governmental and non-governmental institutions that contribute to the national drug demand reduction response who, last year, strengthened their capacities and knowledge on the topic with the assistance of UNODC developed a comprehensive inter-ministerial workplan to strengthen the development of a health- and human rights-oriented response to the illicit drug use. The workplan, which was aimed at improving national drug demand reduction policies and promoting and supporting effective strategies compliant with the International Standards and the International Drug Conventions was further reviewed and adapted to the current national context at this year's event attended by representatives from the Ministries of Health, Justice and Interior, drug dependence treatment facilities, prison facilities and non-governmental organizations.

Furthermore, the participants provided an assessment of last year's workshop by completing a follow-up questionnaire, where 91.7% of the participants stated that their attitudes and knowledge was changed as a result of the workshop and 83,3 % said that they are currently using the acquired knowledge in their daily work, which attests of the added value of such initiatives.

UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme continues to support operational cooperation of customs administrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia

September-October 2019, Port of Rijeka, Croatia; land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Supported by the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Customs Administration of Croatia conducted joint activities related to the control of container shipments from the Port of Rijeka to Bosnia and Herzegovina. These activities were aimed at identifying, profiling and inspecting risky container shipments, including monitoring the movement of container shipments from the Port of Rijeka to Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to prevent smuggling of goods and other forms of customs offenses, as well as to detect and sanction other forms of cross-border crime.

During the operation, the Bosnian Port Control Unit (PCU) and other ITA structures, together with the Customs Administration of Croatia recorded significant results by seizing a large quantity of undeclared goods, particularly goods violating the intellectual property rights. ITA recorded irregularities and subsequently seized over 1,000 items of various goods that were not reported to customs when imported into the customs territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the postoperative phase, particular irregularities were identified as a result of the previous exchange of information on suspected recipient companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, resulting in the seizure of 10,000 pieces of toys, that are protected intellectual property rights in the EU. The total estimated value of the goods seized by the Croatian counterparts is over 250,000 Euro.

Furthermore, during the operation, the two customs administrations exchanged a total of 42 pieces of information on the movement of container and other shipments from and to the Port of Rijeka, and additionally two pieces of information on the movement of consignments from the Port of Ploče towards the customs territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

These activities build on the cooperation initiated in 2017 and 2018 in the framework of the CCP. To date, ITA and the Customs Administration of Croatia planned and implemented several joint operational activities related to container shipments moving from the Port of Rijeka to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides identifying and profiling high risk container shipments and the prevention of other forms of cross-border crime, these activities also aimed to further develop inter-agency cooperation with the overall objective to increase the level of safety and security in the international supply chain, as well as the overall border security.

Following the implementation of these joint activities, in mid-October officers of the PCU of Bosnia and Herzegovina together with other ITA colleagues visited the Port of Rijeka where participants had an opportunity to discuss all relevant issues with colleagues from the Port of Rijeka Risk Analysis Center. Additionally, the guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina met with the port authorities and representatives of the container terminal concessioner International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI).

The implementation of this joint activity was supported with the generous support of the Government of Germany. 

Exchange visit of Port Control Unit officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Georgia

29-31 October 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia: As a part of the continuing process of strengthening capacities of customs and border police officers to fight all forms of organized crime and illegal cross-border activities, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) organized an exchange visit for the Port Control Units (PCUs) from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Georgia. This unique opportunity involved officials from the Indirect Taxation Authority and Border Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina who familiarized themselves with the work of the PCUs in Georgia, established in the framework of CCP. The three-day visit included visits to the PCU in Tbilisi, the Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at Tbilisi International Airport, as well as a visit to the land-border between Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The CCP Regional Coordinator for the Black Sea region, emphasized that "Exchange visits supported by CCP are aimed at facilitating higher levels of cooperation, experience exchanges and discussions on all relevant topics common for the work of the Port Control and Air Cargo Control Units".

During the visit, the officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the procedures and practices regularly performed by the PCUs in Georgia composed of officers from six different law enforcement agencies. The hosts underlined excellent levels of cooperation with other agencies and shared access to available databases and analytical tools of the different law enforcement entities. The participants expressed particular interest in information tracking systems being used by the Georgian Customs, such as an internal SMS alert system designed to facilitate risk profiling and risk assessments performed by customs and other officers. The participants also praised the common approach taken by the Georgian law enforcement agencies to share access to information and support mutual efforts to fight organized crime, the smuggling of goods and other illegal cross-border activities.

Furthermore, the officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina visited the ACCU at Tbilisi International Airport. The guests were briefed on the challenges which occur in the daily work of the Unit and also the significant seizures made since 2017, and learned about specific traffickers' modus operandi in air cargo traffic as recorded by the Tbilisi ACCU. The guest delegation also had the opportunity to observe practical inspections conducted by the Georgian colleagues in the Cargo Centre.

During the third day, the visit was extended to the land-border crossing "Red bridge" between Georgia and Azerbaijan to familiarize the participants with the challenges and threats encountered in the daily work of customs and other law enforcement officers.

The UNODC-WCO CCP was developed to build capacity in countries seeking to improve risk management, supply chain security, and trade facilitation in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods. The creation of dedicated container profiling units, called PCUs or ACCUs, involves the creation of inter-agency teams of officials drawn from various agencies including customs, anti-narcotics police, port authorities and others. In 2019, CCP celebrated its 15 th anniversary.

The implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is generously supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Activities in Georgia are generously supported by the Government of the United States of America - Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Programme. 

UNODC boosts cooperation in South Eastern Europe in addressing smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons

30 October 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In line with the regional efforts to effectively counter trafficking in persons (TiP) and the smuggling of migrants (SoM) in South Eastern Europe and beyond through a targeted and coordinated approach, UNODC in close cooperation with the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and France organized a regional seminar on Strengthening Cross-Border Cooperation in Investigation and Prosecution of Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons in South Eastern Europe aimed at enhancing cooperation by sharing experiences in trends, challenges and good practices in addressing criminal networks involved in SoM and TiP in France as well as along the migration routes in South Eastern Europe.

The relevant authorities responsible for addressing these threats in South Eastern Europe and France attended the seminar, which further contributed to strengthening the established connections between the relevant actors and boosted cooperation and information sharing for a more effective and efficient response and improved synergy in countering SoM and TiP. 

UNODC and Bosnia and Herzegovina hold a workshop on recording firearms relevant information

29-30 October 2019, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, together with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a workshop on recording relevant information on firearms.

The workshop was carried out in the framework of UNODC's Monitoring Illicit Arms Flows Initiative, which aims at supporting data collection and analysis on firearms trafficking at national, regional and global levels with a view to monitoring and mapping illicit firearms trafficking flows, fostering effective international cooperation in tracing and information sharing, and combatting illicit trafficking and related crimes.

The overall objective of the workshop was to support the Working Group on Weapons, which was recently formed within the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Srpska, in improving firearms data collection and recording practices and tools. The workshop further aimed at explaining the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire (IAFQ) with a view to facilitating reporting by the Republic of Srpska under this global data collection exercise.

The main sessions covered the topics of defining the scope and time of data to be collected, identifying ways to develop a database on seized firearms, components and ammunition, and sharing data with UNODC via the IAFQ. These sessions were supported by expert presentations, presentations of available tools, a practical exercise and group discussions.

The workshop allowed the Working Group to identify important points for continued discussions, including how a database on seized firearms, components and ammunition should be set up; which of the structures within the Ministry should have access and authors' rights and responsibilities; how to align the scope of the database interface with Standard Operating Procedures that are currently being developed; and how to collect and share the data requested under the IAFQ.

The workshop benefitted from expert contributions of the Public Security Police of Portugal and was financially supported by the Republic of Srpska and the European Union in the framework of the project " Supporting Global Data Collection and Analysis on Firearms Trafficking and Fostering Cooperation and Information Sharing, in particular Among Countries along Major Trafficking Routes to/from the EU".

UNODC supports member states in Strategies for the Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Persons Allegedly Associated with Terrorist Groups

22-23 October 2019, Vienna, Austria: The current international developments linked to the global terrorist threat have led a large numbers of people associated with terrorist groups being incarcerated in prisons, military or administrative detention facilities, or in camps for internally displaced persons. Moreover, a some of the individuals associated with these groups, including from South Eastern Europe, have gone back or are returning to their countries of origin or relocating to other countries.

Member States have adopted different approaches to deal with these challenges as a result of their immediate needs or situation. In many cases, these efforts have resulted in progress, but also have included summary trials of individuals associated with terrorist groups; placing persons suspected of association with terrorist groups in protected administrative detention; developing rehabilitation programmes focused on de-radicalization; as well as allowing persons who voluntarily disengage from terrorist groups to return to their communities without having been subjected to the criminal justice process.

Addressing these complex challenges requires the development and implementation of comprehensive and coherent strategies for the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of persons associated with terrorist groups ("PRR strategies"). It is against this backdrop that UNODC organized a major Expert Meeting on Strategies for the Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Persons Allegedly Associated with Terrorist Groups.

The objective of the Expert Group Meeting that took place in Vienna on the above dates was to discuss existing practice and challenges relevant to the requirement for comprehensive and tailored PRR strategies and to assist UNODC and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in compiling information on existing practice and relevant standards to assist member states in the development and implementation of comprehensive and tailored PRR strategies. The information gathered at the Expert Group Meeting will feed into a working paper on PRR that UNODC and CTED will make available to Member States in the first half of 2020.

The Expert Group Meeting brought together over 40 experts who are experienced in the development, implementation and/or assessment of PRR-related strategies, policies and measures and represented national government authorities, academic research institutions, civil society organizations, United Nations entities and other international and regional organizations. Experts from South Eastern Europe took part in this important event contributing to the discussion and more generally to enhancing the capacities of South Eastern Europe in developing and implementing PRR strategies.

UNODC further strengthens the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering trafficking in human beings

15-17 October 2019, Vlašić, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Following the first training on identifying and investigating cases of trafficking in persons (TiP) for the purpose of forced labour last month, UNODC delivered the second multidisciplinary training on the topic to officials addressing TiP and related crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the host country and the Government of the United States of America.

The agenda items included several sessions covering the main aspects of identifying and investigating this type of TiP, including root causes, risk factors and victims' vulnerability, methods of prevention and role of private sector, victim's rights and possibilities of compensation as well as indictment preparation and conduction of a mock trial among others. The participants of the training representing various law enforcement institutions absorbed the extensive information by working in groups to perform real-life scenarios in courts, under the guidance of experts, making the training interactive and a hands-on experience.

At the closing of the session, the experts shared their comments and debriefed the training and exercises to stimulate the exchange amongst all participants and give recommendations to further refine the acquired knowledge and experience in countering TiP for the purpose of forced labour. UNODC will continue this work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region for an effective and comprehensive approach.

UNODC participated in the Steering Committee of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund

14 October 2019, Istanbul, Turkey: UNODC Global Firearms Programme participated in the 2 nd meeting of the Steering Committee of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for the implementation of the Roadmap for countering firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans. The Trust Fund was created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNODC to support the Western Balkan (WB) jurisdictions in their fight against misuse, illegal possession and illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition. The Steering Committee includes representatives from UNDP, UNODC and interested donor countries. The regional project of UNDP on Small Arms Control in South-Eastern Europe, SEESAC, acts as the Secretariat of the Fund. 

The objective of the meeting was to review the project proposals received within the 1st call for project proposals of the WB Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap MPTF and approve the allocation of funds. The Secretariat of the MPTF presented the status of contributions in MPTF and provided information about the current donor engagement. The Secretariat also presented the project proposals submitted by the MPTF participating organizations, and the conclusions of the administrative and technical assessment, which have been conducted by various experts. UNODC has submitted for consideration by the Steering Committee a regional project that focuses on strengthening the criminal justice responses along the entire penal chain, from detection, to investigation prosecution and adjudication, and to enhance firearms and crime data collection, analysis and operational use in investigations. The Steering Committee will announce in due course the results of the evaluation process.

UNODC completes the training process in Croatia following the expansion of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme

11-13 September, Osijek; 16-18 September, Zagreb; 25-27 September, Rijeka; 30 September-2 October, Zadar; 14-16 October 2019, Split, Croatia: UNODC, in collaboration with the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Training and Education, delivered five capacity development workshops across the country following the expansion of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme in Croatia.

92 professionals from 41 elementary schools were trained and gained extensive knowledge on how to implement the LQSFA programme in their elementary schools in line with the suggested implementation methodology, developed by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, and evaluation protocols.

The LQSFA programme is an evidence-based social and emotional learning tool aimed at preventing drug use among adolescents, which proved to be an effective strategy in reducing substance use and risky behaviors and rightly influencing the normative beliefs of the target groups on substance use in South Eastern Europe.

Based on the programme's encouraging results in the region, the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia considered the LQSFA programme to be beneficial for the further expansion of the prevention strategies in the country with a greater inclusion of Social and Emotional Skills education.

Each training workshop lasted three days and involved a selected group of teachers and pedagogues from the nominated elementary schools, who will further implement the programme over two academic years. In parallel with this implementation cycle, a comprehensive research study will be initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of the project in substance use prevention. More than 2,500 students will be part of the programme in the next two years, half of which will be directly and continuously exposed to it.  

To ensure the sustainability and expansion of the project, two national professionals underwent intensive training designed for the project trainers as part of the capacity development component and have successfully acquired the title of national LQSFA trainers.

The project is jointly funded by UNODC and the Lions Club International Foundation.

UNODC supports a study visit of the delegation from North Macedonia to Spain

8-9 October 2019, Madrid, Spain: UNODC, in cooperation with the Spanish authorities and the Embassy of Spain to North Macedonia, organized a study visit for twelve officials representing the law enforcement and justice institutions, including the Ministry of Interior, financial police, customs, anti-money laundering authorities, Basic Public Prosecutor's office, and the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors.

This practical study visit aimed at learning the best practices and reinforcing the exchange of information and collaboration between the law enforcement institutions of Spain and North Macedonia on various matters, including money laundering and terrorist financing, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, corruption, economic crimes and crypto-currencies. The application of a multidisciplinary approach to systematic parallel financial investigations at the outset of the investigations of serious and organized crime and other criminal and money laundering cases was also emphasized during this study visit.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and North Macedonia discuss partnership

7 October 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Executive Director met with the Minister of Justice of North Macedonia to discuss the overall partnership between UNODC and North Macedonia, particularly in the context of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The meeting took place at the margins of the High-Level Conference "Educating for the rule of law: Inspire. Change. Together" held at the Vienna International Centre, that the Minister attended and spoke at.

The meeting focused on the recent developments in North Macedonia, including a major reform undertaken by the Government in the fields of rule of law, anti-corruption, countering organized crime and related areas and the cooperation in the framework of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. The Minister welcomed the further engagement of UNODC within the new Regional Programme in supporting the country in all areas of UNODC mandate and underlined the relevance of the expertise that UNODC has so far been offering to North Macedonia as well as the appreciated tailor-made approach of the UNODC work in the country that is directly corresponding to its needs.

The counterparts also discussed the recent expansion of the UNODC presence in North Macedonia as part of the UNODC's wider engagement in the South Eastern European region and the opportunities for further cooperation, including the active participation of North Macedonia in the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and in the border control initiatives of UNODC in the region.

The participation of the Minister in the High-Level Conference "Educating for the rule of law: Inspire. Change. Together" was highly welcomed and contributes to promoting the rule of law education in North Macedonia and globally.

For more information:  http://www.pravda.gov.mk/vest/3022

UNODC meets with the national authorities and partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina

2-4 October 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: In line with the current developments under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC met with the relevant stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Security, Border Police and the State Investigation and Protection Agency as well as international counterparts and partners based in Sarajevo.

The main purpose of the meetings was two-fold: to discuss the ongoing cooperation and the future initiatives under the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe (2020-2023), particularly in the area of border control and illicit trafficking, and in this context introduce the new UNODC Regional Serious and Organized Crime Advisor (and the head of the recently expanded UNODC Programme Office in Skopje). The Advisor will support all jurisdictions in the region in the field of countering serious and organized crime with special emphasis on border control.

The consultations in Sarajevo further build upon the UNODC efforts to support the region in countering drugs and crime in line with UNODC mandates and treaties, the wider UN 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process, particularly in the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaire.

UNODC publishes the Research Brief to improve analysis of organized crime in the Western Balkans

3 October 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC has released the research brief Measuring Organized Crime: Assessment of Data in the Western Balkans, published on 12 September, which aims to improve data availability on organized crime and thus help counter this phenomenon.

"Measuring organized crime is challenging, rendering efforts to combat it ineffectual," said the Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch. A wide range of crimes can be "organized and conventional statistics rarely capture the involvement of organized crime groups in any given criminal act." 

For this reason, UNODC has been working in cooperation with the Western Balkan jurisdictions to assess whether a standard framework for monitoring organized crime could be developed. The results are clear: even when data on crime is available, linkages with organized crime are not. Although in general, there is a large amount of data available regarding crime, most of it is not stored in a way that facilitates making links to organized crime and enabling efficient collection and analysis.

In addition, most jurisdictions do not have databases to record activities of organized crime groups. Development of such statistical systems as well as the Implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS) would greatly improve the availability of organized crime data.

In the process of developing the framework, researchers interviewed a wide range of stakeholders, including customs officers, courts, financial intelligence units and prison administrators, about what type of data is available and what it can tell us about the nature of organized crime in the region. They found that a wide range of information is collected by national statistical authorities but is not structured in a way that facilitates organized crime analysis.

The present technical report about the gathering of the data will be followed in late 2019 by one that looks at the substance: what does the existing data say about organized crime in the Western Balkans, and what can be said about the response? The report will also contain evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, the implementation of SDG 16.A and the EU accession process in the beneficiary jurisdictions.  

Further information:

Research Brief: Measuring Organized Crime: Assessment of data in the Western Balkans

UNODC participates in the Regional Seminar on Combating terrorism and radicalization in the Western Balkans

1-2 October, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC participated in the regional seminar on Combating Terrorism and Radicalization in the Western Balkans, organized by the Government of France and aimed at discussing the threats related to the return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).  

The seminar focused on two main areas, namely the fight against radicalization, the detection of and issues related to the return of FTFs and their families and children. UNODC contributed to the discussion with a presentation on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism leading to terrorism related to FTFs and by actively participating in the round table discussions.  UNODC also presented its initiatives related to preventing violent extremism including the "Foreign Terrorist Fighters Manual for Judicial Training Institutes South-Eastern Europe Updated Edition 2019" to be launched towards the end of 2019 in English, Albanian and Bosnian languages.  

The seminar brought together 43 experts, including law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judicial experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, as well as regional organizations, including the European Law Enforcement Agency (Europol) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). The participants exchanged their views and experiences, perspectives and good practices dedicated to the prevention of radicalization and the rehabilitation of FTFs in the Western Balkans contributing further to addressing the FTF threat in the region.

OSCE, UNODC and ICITAP deliver the training course on countering terrorist financing

23-27 September 2019, Golem, Albania: A five-day training course aimed at further strengthening the capacity of Albania to counter terrorist financing was organized jointly by UNODC, OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, OSCE-Albania and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). Twenty-three participants (including eight women) from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML, the Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit, the State Intelligence Service (SHISH), the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes completed the course.

The training course was conducted to strengthen Albania's compliance with the international standards, in particular the UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) on countering the financing of terrorism, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments. It was led by international experts together with five local government officials, who had completed the train-the-trainers course organized by the UNODC and the OSCE in Vienna.

The seminar emphasized the key role of inter-agency cooperation in investigating and disrupting terrorist financing. Based on country- and region-specific scenarios, it included sessions on financial investigation, creating financial profiles, briefings, decision logs, case management and converting financial intelligence into evidence. A separate presentation on international cooperation has been delivered by the Europol liaison officer in Albania.

Over half of the course was dedicated to practical work on exercises highlighting specific instruments and techniques that play an important role in countering the financing of terrorism.

The course was organized with the financial support of the OSCE Presence in Albania and ICITAP and is the third course in the series of courses that form part of a comprehensive multi-annual capacity-building programme to support national efforts to counter terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC supports the authorities of Montenegro in Container Control

23-27 September 2019, Podgorica, Montenegro: In the framework of the UNODC-WCO CCP, UNODC delivered the first week of the Strategic Trade and Export Control (STEC) training for 14 officers from the PCU in Bar, Montenegro and other officials from the Customs, Police and the Ministry of Economy. For many of the participants, this was an introduction to the relevant UN conventions and resolutions linked to illicit trafficking and strategic trade. The training was well received as noted through comments and written feedback in the evaluations collected after the training. This training will be followed by two additional course weeks further contributing to strengthening the capacities of Montenegro in countering illicit trafficking. The PCU in Montenegro is funded by the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC participates in the Mirage Task Force Meeting on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal migration 

26 September 2019, Ohrid, North Macedonia: In line with the efforts to strengthen regional cooperation for combatting trafficking in human beings (TiP) and illegal migration, UNODC participated in the Mirage Task Force Meeting on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, organized by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) in cooperation with OSCE-North Macedonia. The Mirage Task Force is a cooperation and coordination platform, piloted by the Government of Romania, which holds regular annual meetings, providing forums of discussion for experts from SELEC Member States and partner countries and organizations.

This year's meeting aimed at evaluating the regional situation on TiP and smuggling of migrants (SoM) in 2018, discussing the undertaken initiatives in this area and planning future related operational activities. The participants represented regional and international organizations addressing TiP and SoM and provided overviews on new trends, modus operandi, routes, investigative methods, case studies and successful joint investigations related to TiP and SoM and held discussions on lessons learned and exchanged experiences in this area. 

The UNODC expert contributed to the discussions by sharing the UNODC activities and experience in countering TiP and SoM, which further contributes to enhancing the regional cooperation in this area in South Eastern Europe.

For more information: 

https://www.selec.org/task-forces/%E2%80%A2task-force-mirage-on-countering-trafficking-in-human-beings-and-illegal-migration/

UNODC promotes the Rule of Law through Education on Firearms

24-25 September 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: In the framework of the UNODC Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, which seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels within the Doha Programme, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme in cooperation with the Political Science Faculty of Zagreb organized an expert workshop for lecturers from South Eastern Europe dedicated to the E4J University Module Series on Firearms.

The workshop aimed to bring together university lecturers in order to: (1) enhance their familiarity with the E4J Modules on Firearms; (2) consider effective approaches to teaching the modules in universities in South Eastern Europe, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; (3) strengthen the participants' capacity to teach courses based on the modules; and (4) support the participants in adapting and integrating the modules into existing or new courses.

The event brought together 23 participants from six countries, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. The participants represented academic institutions, law enforcement and military training institutions. Two international experts as well as the UNODC Firearms Focal Point facilitated the workshop by sharing their expertise and presenting available tools and teaching methodology.

As a result of this training, the knowledge of South Eastern Europe on teaching on firearms and other E4J modules was enhanced and the awareness of E4J modules and available tools and materials for the incorporation into the training curricula of academic and specialized training institutions was raised. Additionally, the training provided an opportunity to establish contacts for the further roll-up of E4J modules in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC concluded the 4th series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

17-20 September 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of the ongoing project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations jointly implemented with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), UNODC successfully concluded the 4 th series of trainings, fully delivered by the UNODC certified national trainers.

The training brought together 21 participants who represented various law enforcement and judiciary institutions responsible for addressing organized crime, money laundering and the financing of terrorism issues, including the Police and Judicial Academies, Financial Intelligence Units, Ministry of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, Police and the Prosecutor's Office, who gained extensive knowledge on information sources, international and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

With the training in Skopje, the fifth phase of the UNODC Training-of-Trainers (ToT) course is completed, which resulted in the training of 122 experts from the region. In total, UNODC has trained 373 law enforcement and judiciary officials. The 61 national trainers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 are now certified and fully capable to deliver the trainings on financial investigations to their peers in an autonomous manner. After the fifth phase, the national trainers will go on to deliver trainings in the law enforcement and the judiciary institutions in their respective jurisdictions based on the training curricula initially developed by the UNODC experts and later on adopted to the national contexts.

As part of the sixth phase of the ToT, UNODC experts will attend the trainings provided by the national trainers in each jurisdiction to ensure that the quality of the training remains intact and that the sustainability of the project is secured.

This project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi). 

UNODC delivered a training on Identifying and Investigating Cases of Human Trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour

17-19 September 2019, Vlašić, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC in cooperation with the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States of America organized a multidisciplinary training on Identifying and Investigating Cases of Human trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour.

The training was attended by officials representing institutions addressing human trafficking and illegal migration including the Prosecutor's Office, the State Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration and the Federal Department for Inspection Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as academia.

During the training, the participants had an opportunity to get extensive knowledge on a variety of topics including the legal concept of trafficking in persons (TiP) with a focus on forced labour from international, domestic and comparative perspectives; identification of victims of TiP for the purpose of forced labour, indicators for identification and interagency cooperation; the phenomenon of TiP for the purpose of forced labour including etiology and root causes, risk factors and victims' vulnerability, methods of prevention and the role of private sector, victims' rights and possibilities of compensation as well as the efficient investigation of cases using a victim-centered approach including a presentation of procedures for interviewing, evidence collection and investigative measures, and crime scene management.

The reviewed topics were illustrated with real-life cases and the participants could practice the studied material through hands-on exercises in working groups under the guidance of experts. The training concluded with recommendations and a ceremony of attendance certificates awarding.

This event further contributes to strengthening the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering TiP for the purpose of forced labour.

UNODC is nearing the finalization of the report on organized crime in the Western Balkans

17-18 September 2019, Herceg Novi, Montenegro: UNODC organized the second regional training under the initiative "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans (MACRO)." The project, funded by European Commission, aims to establish a mechanism to collect available data and develop a standard framework to produce regular evidence-based analytical reports on organized crime in the Western Balkans.

UNODC brought together experts with a wide range of experiences on countering organized crime. The regional training provided an overview on various forms and methods to increase the capacity to collect and share criminal justice data on organized crime.

The first day of the training focused on sharing progress in the implementation of the MACRO project. Panels focused on the recently published Research Brief on assessing the data available to measure organized crime and implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS). The final results of the data collection and the preliminary conclusions of the project were also presented. The second day of the training focused on other forms of data and information that could contribute to measuring organized crime in the beneficiary jurisdictions. Experts from international organizations and national institutions, academia and civil society in the field of organized crime provided their subject-matter expertise to almost 70 representatives of national institutions and thus added value to the final goal of the MACRO project.

At the end of 2019, the MACRO project will produce the final regional report on Organized Crime in the Western Balkans which will describe the trends and patterns observed through collected data and propose evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, implementation of SDG 16.A and further the EU accession process in the beneficiary jurisdictions.

UNODC expands its presence in North Macedonia

16-18 September 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, UNODC has expanded its presence in North Macedonia by strengthening the Office resource in Skopje. A larger team has been appointed which will be responsible for a variety of aspects within the UNODC portfolio, with special emphasis on countering organized crime in the region, in particular cross-border crime and illicit trafficking.

Consistent with this important development, UNODC met with relevant stakeholders in North Macedonia, including the senior representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice, the Customs Administration and others, as well as international counterparts based in Skopje. During these meetings, UNODC formally introduced members of the new Programme Office, including the new Head of Office, and discussed future cooperation and partnerships in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023.

The UNODC expanded presence in North Macedonia has been warmly welcomed by counterparts. This paves the way for fruitful collaboration corresponding to the UNODC mandates and treaties, the wider UN 2030 Agenda and the EU accession process in the country, particularly in the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaire.

UNODC builds capacity of South Eastern Europe in countering money laundering and terrorism financing

9-13 September 2019, Moscow, Russian Federation: UNODC in cooperation with the International Training and Methodology Center for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM) and the Government of Russian Federation organized a training on "Capacity building of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and law enforcement agencies in South Eastern European countries in the field of analysis and investigation of financial operations" for officials representing Financial Intelligence Units, State Police and the Ministry of Finance of South Eastern Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The training aimed at enhancing the capacities of the participants in analytical methods and investigative techniques in financial investigations as well as strengthen regional cooperation between the Russian Federation and South Eastern Europe in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). The participants were provided with an introduction on the current AML/CFT national policies and strategies and cooperation and learned valuable information on related topics such as preventives measures, legal systems and operational financial data, countering the financing of terrorism and international cooperation.

In the course of the training, the participants exchanged experiences and learned best practices from their Russian counterparts. The first collaboration between UNODC and ITMCFM in the form of such training took place in April 2017 and reached its objectives aimed at building capacity of South Eastern Europe in countering ML/FT. Accordingly, this year's training is aimed at improving coordination among Financial Intelligence Units, working on preventive measures and regulating legal structures to effectively counter terrorism financing and extremism in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC participates in the OSCE/FRONTEX joint conference on preventing document fraud and cooperation in the Western Balkans 

11-12 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: A coordination conference for the Western Balkans on preventing document fraud was organized by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department in close cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency's (FRONTEX) Center of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud.

The conference brought together 60 participants representing the EU member states, regional and international organizations as well as document experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Document and identity fraud remains one of the biggest challenges for the national and international security as it is a key element of various criminal activities, such as trafficking, smuggling and terrorism. FRONTEX and OSCE are actively supporting activities to detect identity and document fraud and prevent and combat cross border crime. For this purpose, the two organizations teamed up to build a comprehensive situational awareness and to identify gaps or overlaps where enhanced coordination among multiple stakeholders is required. The aim of these efforts is also to agree on an effective coordination mechanism to adequately support and complement the two organizations' operations and make an efficient use of the resources in the Western Balkans.

The first day of the conference focused on information sharing, where regional and international organizations, including UNODC, the International Migration Organization (IOM), FRONTEX, the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC SEE) and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) presented their activities and plans for the Western Balkan region. The next day the participants explored the needs of Western Balkan jurisdictions through an active participation in practical exercises on the needs' identification.

"Stability and security in the Western Balkans is an important pre-requisite for border security at the external borders of the EU. Any threat associated with that is our common concern. The Western Balkan region is strategically important to the EU and FRONTEX. For this reason, it is important to try to coordinate our activities in better supporting our Western Balkan partners," said the team leader of the Centre of Excellence for Combating Document Fraud.

"Coordination is our joint responsibility. If we want it to be successful, we all need to take ownership of it," concluded the Programme Manager of the Travel Document Security Programme at the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department.

Original story: 

https://www.osce.org/secretariat/429773

For more information: 

https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-and-osce-come-together-to-help-fight-document-fraud-in-the-western-balkans-E4YSwI

UNODC and CEPOL held the 5th National Focal Points Meeting under the Financial Investigations project in South Eastern Europe

10 September 2019, Budapest, Hungary: UNODC and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) co-organized the fifth meeting of the national project focal points to discuss the implementation of the joint project activities and coordinate future interventions on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The meeting started with an overview of the completed activities in the second and third quarters of 2019 and focused on the main achievements of the project to date, including the completion of the fifth phase of the Training-of-Trainers (ToT) course by UNODC and the submission of the plans for the institutionalization of the curricula by the training institutions.

The second part of the meeting aimed at presenting the planned activities for the next six months, including the implementation of the sixth ToT phase and the upcoming study visits, and agreeing on the way forward with regard to the project implementation. The participants also discussed the visibility actions of the project, including the release of a video reflecting the project objectives and achievements as well as quarterly newsletters, produced jointly with CEPOL.

This project is funded by the EU and is an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC expanded the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme to Croatia building on its successful results in four other countries of South Eastern Europe

6 September 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: UNODC and the Lions Clubs International Foundation in collaboration with the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and with the technical support of the Croatian Agency for Education and Training, launched the social and emotional prevention programme "Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence" (LQSFA) in Croatia.

The LQSFA programme was initially launched in South Eastern Europe in 2014 and gradually expanded to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia reaching more than 7000 students in over 140 elementary schools across the region. Following a strict evidence-based implementation modality, the programme proved to be effective and showed encouraging results in substance use reduction, the intention to use drugs and dissuasive effects on the engaged students on substance use in their local environment.

Additionally, the results of the LQSFA programme inform and support the UNODC-WHO International Standards on drug use prevention by providing information on programme implementation in low- and middle-income countries. The proved effectiveness of the LQSFA programme builds a case for the future expansion of the programme both regionally and globally.

Owing to the valuable support of the Croatian Agency for Education and Training and the local Lions Clubs office, 50 elementary schools were recommended for the launch of the programme across the country, in various locations surrounding the cities of Osijek, Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Split.

The programme will start with training workshops for educators and trainers involving 100 teachers and two trainer candidates from the above-mentioned cities beginning on 11 September 2019 and will be implemented over the next two academic years with the objective to reach over 2000 students.

Upon delivery of the programme in Croatia, the effectiveness of the strategy will be evaluated and its results included in the final report along with comments on the cultural adaptation, the implementation modality and the material for further consideration of the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Education and Training.

UNODC holds a conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption

3-4 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: In line with its efforts towards the effective implementation of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport adopted by the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), UNODC organized a conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption aimed at discussing and sharing progress on the implementation of this resolution, and where applicable other efforts to safeguard sport as they relate to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport affirms among others the relevance of UNCAC in promoting integrity, transparency and accountability and preventing corruption, also in sport and calls upon States to enhance their efforts in preventing corruption in sports and step up cooperation, coordination and exchange of information, including through robust legislative and law enforcement measures, multi-stakeholder global and national partnerships and the involvement of civil society, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations to raise awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of the challenge posed by corruption to sport.

This conference was organized following the international conference on Safeguarding Sport from Corruption held in Vienna on 5 and 6 June 2018 to keep the momentum and to serve as the primary global platform for Member States, sports organizations and other relevant stakeholders to continue the dialogue on this issue as it is widely accepted that corruption can undermine the potential of sport and its role in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Representatives from relevant national law enforcement, anti-corruption and government sport organizations in addition to sports organizations and relevant private sector entities attended the event, which consisted of a combination of panel sessions to facilitate presentations and give participants opportunities to engage in broad discussions with a view to exchanging information and clarifying key concepts. 

Among the discussed topics were legal and law enforcement issues around fighting corruption in sport, the role of partnerships in fighting corruption in sport, advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women by fighting corruption in sport and strengthening the governance of sport.

Representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia attended the event, which further contributes to countering corruption in sports in these countries and builds on the previous achievements in addressing the risks posed by this threat, globally and in the Western Balkans.

OSCE and UNODC train Albanian trainers in countering terrorist financing

2-3 September 2019, Vienna, Austria: OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, OSCE-Albania and UNODC delivered a two-day training course to four Albanian officials. The training, which took place on the premises of the OSCE Secretariat, was led by international experts and tailored to the Albanian context, including country- and region-specific scenarios. The participants of this training course will go on to deliver the same training courses to local officials upon their return to Albania, together with the international experts from OSCE and UNODC.

The training programme provided an opportunity to discuss and thoroughly analyse aspects related to financial investigations and case management with the purpose to strengthen the capacity of Albania to identify, investigate and disrupt the financing of terrorism, and enhance inter-agency cooperation.

This training forms part of the train-the-trainer programme and is conducted in the framework of a comprehensive multi-annual OSCE-UNODC capacity-building programme to support the national efforts in countering terrorist financing in Albania and in South Eastern Europe, in line with the international standards and particularly the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019), the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments.

A delegation from Pristina on a study visit to Austria

23-24 July 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC, in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, organized a study visit for 14 officials representing the law enforcement and justice institutions of Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, including the tax, customs and anti-money laundering authorities, the Prosecutor's office, the courts and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council.

The first part of the study visit focused on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) and allowed for the participants to get acquainted with the Austrian and European anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) frameworks and international standards. The visit continued with an overview of national practices, the role of the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) in ML/TF prevention and its inspection process, the AML/CFT legislation in the Austrian financial sector as well as the national and international cooperation, which was later consolidated and illustrated with practical examples of predicate offences, investigations and case studies.

In the second part of the visit, the participants presented the AML/CFT regime in Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, which was followed by a summary on the organization and tasks of the Austrian Financial Intelligence Units, their roles, the international and inter-agency cooperation at the national level as well as financial investigations. The visit concluded with a presentation on all aspects of the Beneficial Owner Registry, and the experiences of Austria in that context.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC-CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).  

UNODC reviews measuring and assessing crime in South Eastern Europe

18-19 July 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC organized an Expert Group Meeting in the framework of the "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidence-based policy making" (MACRO) project, implemented by UNODC to contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law through the fight against organised crime in the region by improving knowledge about trends and patterns of organised crime.

The meeting aimed at gathering experts in the field of crime and statistics to discuss the preliminary findings of the regional report, including the country and regional analysis and estimates of the illegal markets in view of consolidating the analysis of collected data and further refining the data analysis strategy.

UNODC provided a thorough overview of the specifics of framing data collection on organized crime in the Western Balkan region, as well as the background and current findings and achievements under the MACRO project.

The participants contributed to the event by sharing experiences and best practices with the aim to strengthen the techniques used to analyse large amounts of data.

The project is funded by the European Commission.

13th Meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Europe, and data for South Eastern Europe

2-5 July 2019, Lisbon, Portugal: The 13th meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Europe, was held in Lisbon. The agenda of the meeting and all relevant to this event information, including the Note by the Secretariat transmitting the "Report of the Secretariat on the World situation with regard to drug trafficking" and the Report of the Secretariat on regional and subregional cooperation in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe can be found under https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/Subsidiary_Bodies/HONEUR/HONEUR_13.html. The latter report was presented by a representative of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe at the meeting. This presentation in particular highlighted the importance of regional and interregional cooperation and the similarities of the challenges faced by the Balkans and other regions.

According to the Report of the Secretariat on the World situation with regard to drug trafficking, the following are the most prominent recent updates with regard to different types of drugs in South-Eastern Europe:

  • The most commonly used route for transporting Afghan heroin into Europe continues to be the Balkan route, with large amounts of heroin seized in Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Turkey. Iranian authorities reported that 85 per cent of the heroin seized in 2017 had entered the country through Pakistan, while 70 per cent was being trafficked onwards to Turkey and the Caucasus. The amount of heroin seized in South-Eastern Europe reached record levels in 2017, with 18.2 tons, almost triple the 6.4 tons reported in the region in 2016. In 2016, after reaching the lowest value since 2003, at 5.6 tons, the amount of heroin seized in Turkey increased sharply in 2017, to a record 17.4 tons. The amount of heroin seized in Western and Central Europe depicts a decreasing trend, falling from 11.6 tons in 2000 to 3.9 tons in 2016, the lowest level on record since 1990. In 2017, the amount seized in the region increased to 4.9 tons, mainly owing to increases in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland, Italy and Spain, where 1,110 kg, 844 kg, 610 kg and 524 kg were seized, respectively. Networks operating between Pakistan and Europe have become dominant in recent years and are targeting Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for trafficking via the southern route.
  • In South-Eastern Europe, the total amount of cannabis herb seized increased by over 20 per cent in 2017, with Albania and Turkey reporting 78 tons and 94 tons, respectively.
  • In recent years, there has been an increased amount of amphetamine trafficking in South-Eastern Europe, with Turkey reporting the seizure of a record 6.7 tons in 2017, the largest amount reported by a country in Europe in that year.

For more information:

https://undocs.org/E/CN.7/2019/5

https://undocs.org/UNODC/HONEURO/13/3

UNODC continues to support for the marking process of imported firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina

3 July 2019, Bern, Switzerland: In 2017 the UNODC Global Firearms Programme (GFP) commenced with its assistance to the arms export control authorities of Bosnia Herzegovina in view of harmonizing the national legislation  with the UN Firearms Protocol, and specifically with the provisions on import marking. In this regard, in October 2017, the GFP organized a study visit to the Vienna Proof-House, where the Bosnian officials gained knowledge about the organization of the process of marking imported firearms and the equipment required to run the process. The GFP developed a report on the national best practices in import marking and held a workshop to present the report in December 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Subsequently, in 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina developed and adopted  the following subsidiary legal acts: 1) Book of rules on procedures and methods of marking of weapons and ammunition, and 2) Instruction on the requirements needed to obtain authorization to mark weapons and ammunition, which implements the Law on Marking of Small Arms, Light Weapons and Related Ammunition.

The next stage for regulating the imports of firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the organization and deployment of the record-keeping process, which focuses on the collection and sharing of data on the imported firearms with the law enforcement institutions. The availability of such data depository will assist both domestic and international firearms tracing.

In line with these efforts, on 3 July 2019, the GFP organized a study visit for officials from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Federal Police of Switzerland and to the Bern Cantonal Police. The study visit provided an opportunity for  the officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn about the various types of firearms data  registered by the federal and cantonal authorities and the procedures used for inter-agency data exchange; the organization of the impact marking process including the main actors, duties and timelines; as well as how data on imported firearms is recorded, collected and handled in line with the regulations and obligations for all involved in the process.

The Swiss authorities presented the software, used for managing this information, and demonstrated various options for conducting search queries and obtaining statistical information, which can be used for conducting firearms tracing. The visit to the Weapons Office of the Cantonal Police in Bern allowed the participants  to learn  about the organization of the record-keeping process at the cantonal level.

The knowledge gained during  the study visit will be used for developing the terms of reference for a record-keeping system on imported firearms in Bosnia and Herzegovina,  operated by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, and containing  data on markings of all imported firearms to the country. The structure of the database will allow data  entry  on imported firearms at various levels as well as access to the law enforcement agencies both at cantonal and entity levels, based on the approach adopted by the Swiss authorities. This event is in line with the UNODC GFP efforts to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in aligning its national legislation with the UN Firearms Protocol and will further support Bosnia and Herzegovina in this process, including in the implementation of the record-keeping system.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/news/gfp-continues-its-support-for-the-marking-process-of-imported-firearms-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina.html

UNODC continues the consultative process for the development of its new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

27 June 2019, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: In order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated UNODC response to the challenges in South Eastern Europe, UNODC in cooperation and partnership with UNMIK organized two expert working group meetings on the key thematic areas of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 (RP SEE), which brought together some 20 representatives of the local institutions, including judiciary, prosecution, law enforcement, anti-corruption and customs authorities. The participants to the meetings reviewed the work of UNODC in 2016-2019 and discussed the way forward focusing on current trends and challenges in the fields of enhanced border security, firearms control and trafficking in persons, as well as strengthening the fight against transnational organized crime, countering illicit financial flows and preventing and countering corruption and terrorism. The participants had an opportunity to exchange views, hold discussions with counterparts and subsequently provide their comments, which will be incorporated into the component of the new RP SEE focused on Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 in line with the UN rules and regulations.

UNODC supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in Drug Use Prevention efforts

26-27 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC participated in the national conference on "Challenges and perspectives in the field of drug use prevention" to discuss approaches and suggest effective measures for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the further enhancement of the drug use prevention, organized by the non-governmental organization (NGO) working in drug demand reduction NARKO-NE within the RIPPO NGOs network in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The event focused on drug use prevention, including the importance of the inter-sectoral approach in evidence-based prevention and raising awareness of the general public of the problems of risky behaviours, protective factors and substance use. The participating professionals contributed to the productive discussion on the professionalization and multidisciplinary strategic development in the field of drug use prevention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference also payed particular attention to the cutting-edge scientific approached to drug use prevention, the UNODC-WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, the EU drug prevention quality standards and the European Universal Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) among others. 

The UNODC representative contributed to the conference by presenting an overview of the UNODC-WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and exchanged views with fellow experts on furthering cooperation in this field.

For more information:

www.prevencija.ba

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/event/2019/04/first-expert-conference-about-contemporary-approaches-and-models-work-children-and-youth-bosnia-and-herzegovina-%E2%80%98challenges-and-perspectives-field-addiction-prevention%E2%80%99_sk

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/prevention/prevention-standards.html

http://upc-adapt.eu/

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_218446_EN_TD0113424ENN.pdf

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in countering firearms trafficking

25-27 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme organized trainings on investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking for 32 investigators and prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The overall objective of the capacity building activities was to contribute to a more effective criminal justice response to firearms trafficking and facilitate the implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Firearms Protocols in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

The specific objective of the trainings aimed to enhance the knowledge of the participants in conducting investigations and the prosecution of firearms trafficking cases by understanding how firearms identification and tracing contribute to solving cases of transnational nature. Furthermore, the training allowed to share good practices and lessons learned on using special investigative techniques, discuss joint investigation teams and identify gaps in the existing criminal procedure laws in securing admissible evidence for prosecuting firearms trafficking cases. During the trainings, which were attended by the Police Liaison Officers of Sweden and France, the participants shared their experiences in the detection, investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking cases and their links to other serious crimes.

UNODC participates in the 21st Meeting of the PCC SEE Expert Working Group

26 June 2019, Vienna, Austria: One of the main tools in countering the world drug problem is through cooperation, coordination and information exchange. As part of this process, UNODC participated in the 21 st Meeting of the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), organized by the PCC SEE Secretariat in cooperation with the Government of Austria.

This event, which brought together over 45 participants representing the law enforcement institutions from South Eastern, Eastern and Western Europe as well as regional and international organizations operating in the region (including CEPOL, EUROPOL, GIZ, IISG Support Group, IOM, ICMPD, MARRI and RAI) created an opportunity to brainstorm on strengthening cooperation and finding synergies to counter drugs and organized crime more efficiently within the PCC SEE process.

The Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat, who co-chaired the meeting, emphasized the importance to scale up efforts in police cooperation, particularly in the area of transnational organized crime, regional law enforcement cooperation, illegal migration and terrorism. He pointed out the current actions of the PCC SEE contributing to an improved cooperation among PCC Partners furthering the common objective of supporting the countries of South Eastern Europe in fulfilling the requirements on their EU accession path.

Moreover, the event provided an opportunity to welcome the Government of Croatia as the new Contracting Party to the Convention since May 2019 and reiterate mutual willingness to strengthen efforts in countering organized crime and addressing security threats.

The meeting concluded with overviews of current activities and priorities presented by each organization. UNODC highlighted the excellent cooperation with PCC SEE Secretariat, in line with the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, which aims to support the joint work in the field of combatting transnational organised crime through exchange of information and expertise, as well as implementation of joint activities. Furthermore, PCC SEE Secretariat is also a strong partner of UNODC, and is actively committed to supporting South Easter Europe, particularly in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is currently in the process of being extended for the period 2020-2023.

Serbian Delegation on a study visit to Spain

17-19 June 2019, Madrid, Spain: UNODC, in cooperation with the Spanish authorities and the Embassy of Serbia to Spain, organized a study visit of ten senior officials from the Serbian law enforcement and judiciary institutions, including the Ministry of Interior, Financial Intelligence Unit, Anti-Corruption Agency, Tax Administration, the Prosecutor's office and the judiciary.

The delegation was received by the Department for International Cooperation of the General Police Directorate of Spain, where the participants got an extensive overview of the current threats related to illicit firearms trafficking and main modus operandi in this area in Spain illustrated by real-life study cases from the recent years; tackling financing of terrorism; investigation methodology in relation to organized crime; as well as preventing and countering money laundering in Spain.

The second part of the visit was focused on the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police of Spain and aimed at deepening the knowledge of the visitors in the areas of drug trafficking, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, crypto-currencies, firearms trafficking and terrorism financing. The session concluded with fruitful discussions and exchanges of experiences, good practices and challenges between Serbian and Spanish counterparts.

This visit was organized in the framework of the joint UNODC-CEPOL project on building capacity of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, funded by the European Commission and constituting an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi). The project also contributes to the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Financial Action Task Force and the International Country Risk Guide (FATF/ICRG) action plan related to the removal of Serbia from the FATF "Grey List" of jurisdictions with deficient Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. 

UNODC participates in anti-corruption initiative by the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity Network

12-14 June 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) took part in a training on "Corruption and State Capture Monitoring, Advocacy and Impact in a World of Hybrid Threats" for civil society organizations (CSOs) working on anti-corruption in Southeast Europe (SEE), which was organized by the Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) Network. The training aimed to encourage CSOs, especially grassroot organisations, to engage in anti-corruption initiatives, instruct them on how to apply corruption monitoring methodologies and encourage them to collaborate amongst themselves and with public institutions.

During the opening, a representative from the European Commission's Anti-Corruption Desk underlined the importance of CSOs in bringing out the voices of the public and holding institutions accountable, while also highlighting that the issues with the greatest negative impact should be tackled first.

The training was dedicated to several topics, including SELDI's experience and research methods in anti-corruption, advocacy and policy enhancement; the establishment of civil society-media relations and the benefits to CSOs of working with investigative journalists and improving the current policies, strategies and laws through efficient public-private partnerships.

All participating anti-corruption agencies from SEE and other public organisations tasked with countering corruption confirmed their willingness to work with civil society, especially considering they can better connect with citizens on the ground and have the capacity to provide technical support regarding legislative challenges, evaluate the effectiveness of the current policies and strategies and support the governments in formulating new ones.

Furthermore, the role of civil society as drivers of the EU transformation processes was discussed as well as the importance of CSO networking. The CSOs and grassroots organizations were able to hear best practices from practitioners, experienced in building CSO anticorruption coalitions and achieving policy impact. SELDI members and other partner CSOs also shared their methodologies and good practices, with a focus on the monitoring of public spending and public administration reforms, further inspiring CSOs and grassroots to engage in these areas.

The UNODC CST representative provided an overview of UNODC's work in SEE, and presented the CSO-private sector Outcome Statement, which resulted from three UNODC multi-stakeholder workshops on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism held between 2016 and 2018,which is aimed at strengthening cooperation in the areas of training and knowledge, implementation of the UNCAC and the collective action between entities that have endorsed this document. This achievement builds on continuous efforts in the region in establishing avenues for cooperation with stakeholders in effectively preventing and countering corruption.

For more information:

http://seldi.net/events-and-news/seldi-events-and-news/seldi-cso-training-corruption-and-state-capture-monitoring-advocacy-and-impact-in-a-world-of-hybrid-threats/

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/civil-society-and-private-sector-agree-on-principles-for-partnership-on-addressing-corruption-in-see.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/CN0-anti-corruption-activities.html

UNODC participates in the second Berlin Process Security Commitments Steering Group Meeting

12-13 June 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In line with the vision of the Berlin Process linked to supporting the Western Balkans on their path to EU membership, the Berlin Process Security Steering Group, an initiative supported by the Government of the United Kingdom and aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and enhancing the collective response to security threats in the region, held its second meeting bringing together speakers from the region as well as regional and international partners. 

The two-day conference focused on the progress of the regional cooperation, information exchange and operational cooperation and the status of current security threats in the Western Balkans, including modern slavery and human trafficking; firearms trafficking; illicit finance and asset recovery; corruption, as well as ways to overcome them. The round table discussions allowed the participants to share experiences and discuss initiatives aimed at supporting the Western Balkans, including developing a Joint Regional Multi-Agency Threat Assessment of cross-border cash and non-cash smuggling; improving real-time information exchange between law enforcement agencies in the region to combat cross-border security threats and strengthening regional cooperation; and the Franco-German "Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024". 

UNODC contributed to the conference with a comprehensive overview on the state of play of the asset recovery process in the Western Balkans and the proposed action in this regard building on the already successful work in the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The outcomes of this meeting will be presented to the Poznan Summit in Poland next month.

For more information:

https://www.gov.pl/web/diplomacy/poznan-summit

https://mobile.twitter.com/ukinrnmacedonia/status/1138748293343789061

UNODC participates in a regional workshop for National Firearms Focal points

11-13 June 2019, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC Global Firearms Programme participated in the meeting for National Firearms Focal Points (NFFPs) organized in the framework of the EU action plan against the illicit trafficking of firearms and aimed at supporting the NFFPs from the Western Balkan jurisdictions through the provision of expertise in areas related to countering firearms trafficking.

The meeting addressed topics such as the improvement of information flow, especially using databases; identification of common threats in the EU and the Western Balkans; best practices in the framework of the NFFPs; means to increase cooperation in the field of firearms threats, with special focus on Europol and Interpol; and interconnection of the Focal Points.

The UNODC Global Firearms Programme contributed to the workshop by providing guidance on using the UNODC questionnaire on firearms as well as inputs on the role of the NFFPs in the context of a criminal justice response to countering firearms trafficking.

UNODC on a mentorship mission in Montenegro

10-13 June 2019, Port of Bar, Montenegro: In the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), UNODC carried out a mentorship mission to the Port of Bar aimed at supporting the Port Control Unit (PCU) of Montenegro in performing risk-based profiling of containers and improving information exchange at national, regional and international levels.

At present, the PCU is composed of representatives from Customs, Police and Anti-drug trafficking unit, who received this visit, in which the PCU officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina participated further contributing to a better exchange of information and cooperation between different units.

The UNODC expert made an assessment of the current state of activities of the PCU and provided the recommendations as needed. The PCU in Montenegro is supported with the contribution from the Government of Luxembourg.

UNODC supports Albania in countering trade-based money laundering

10-12 June 2019, Tirana, Albania: UNODC in cooperation with the Albanian General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) and the Government of Switzerland organized a workshop on trade-based money laundering (TBML) for representatives from the police, customs, FIU (GDPML), border police, and prosecutors.

The workshop provided an opportunity for 20 participants, working in groups (i.e. multi-agency tasks forces), to get practical knowledge on the ways to identify TBML, as well as to increase their skills in collecting, collating and analysis of trade and financial data. Furthermore, the participants discussed international cooperation and the ways criminals hide true beneficiary ownership across various jurisdictions. The participants could benefit from the presentations and discussions of TBML cases with the invited experts from Hungary and Belgium, who have practical experience in the investigation, including financial investigations, of TBML.

The workshop was conducted in the framework of the UNODC anti-money laundering work for Albania funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

UNODC holds a meeting of national anti-human trafficking coordinators in South Eastern Europe

29-30 May 2019, Bečići, Montenegro: In line with the global efforts to counter human trafficking, UNODC organized a regional meeting of national anti-trafficking coordinators of South Eastern Europe in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in its role as Secretariat of the National Coordinators of South Eastern Europe Network, the Government of France and the Council of Europe to hold discussions on the compensation for the victims of human trafficking, which is one of the key provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (TIP).

The meeting gathered 27 representatives from the offices responsible for countering human trafficking and academia across South Eastern Europe and focused on providing a better understanding of the TIP victimology with a view to propose adequate compensation solutions for the victims of TIP. The participants reviewed the national legal frameworks in South Eastern European jurisdictions and examples of cases of compensation system/scheme in practice; mapped ongoing and planned anti-trafficking activities in the region and discussed the way forward.

These active discussions contributed to identifying good practices and proposing concrete recommendations to facilitate and guarantee access to compensation for the victims of TIP as well as procedures for establishing State compensation schemes. Furthermore, the meeting strengthened the partnerships of National Anti-Trafficking Coordinators of South Eastern Europe Network to work together in sharing information and increase cooperation.

UNODC briefing on mandates and areas of expertise

28 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: Upon the request of the Permanent Mission of Serbia, a delegation composed of military officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Serbia visited the Vienna International Centre on a study tour to Vienna. The purpose of the visit aimed at getting familiarized with the functioning of UNODC, in particular in the context of strengthening regional and international safety and security.

The UNODC representatives provided a comprehensive overview on the Office's mandate, intervention areas and nature of support to Member States, as well as the involvement of UNODC in South Eastern Europe and the latest achievements in the region.

The visit concluded with a questions/answers session, at the end of which the delegation acknowledged the usefulness of introducing the non-military UNODC element to the programme of their visit to Vienna.

UNODC continues the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

27-28 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE), held the third and last regional meeting as part of the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for 2020-2023.

The meeting focused on Sub-Programme I "Support to law enforcement, enhanced border security and related risks" of the Regional Programme and provided an opportunity to hold active discussions and further consolidate the draft of the new Programme. The event gathered national representatives of various law enforcement and other institutions from across South Eastern Europe, who discussed national, regional and inter-regional law enforcement cooperation, the Container Control Programme and the Airport Communication Project, current challenges and avenues for increased cooperation in firearms control, as well as in human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The meeting was an important element of the regional consultative process held with the Governments of South Eastern Europe aimed at ensuring an integrative approach in the development of the new Regional Programme across South Eastern Europe and its national ownership. The event focused on the specific role that UNODC can play in the region in this regard, based on its added value.

Co-organizing the event with the PCC SEE Secretariat has further supported the complementarity of the planned activities and avoiding duplication. Some of concrete actions to be delivered in cooperation with the PCC SEE Secretariat were included into the plan of work and the practicality of the Convention was underscored. The co-organization of the event with the PCC SEE Secretariat is in line with the signed in April 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies.

The meeting concluded with a common agreement on the way forward for the finalization of the development of the new Regional Programme, which will be launched with the Governments in the region and regional partners during the next meeting of the Programme Steering Committee in late 2019.

Furthermore, in the margins of the event, UNODC representatives met with the national authorities to discuss the possibilities of upscaling the efforts in the area of drug demand reduction and strategies to sustain the current successful cooperation.

UNODC rolls out the fourth series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

21-24 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC initiated the fourth series of trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe, which is part of the two-year EU-funded regional project implemented jointly with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL). The three previous series of trainings prepared 10 trainers in each South Eastern European jurisdiction, who are now well equipped to deliver the training on financial investigations in its entirety to their peers.

A total of 26 representatives from the Police and Judicial Academies, Financial Intelligence Unit, Ministries of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, Police and the Prosecutor's Office attended the training and acquired the skills and knowledge on the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

In addition, the representative from the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC), which supports  the work of UNODC in the region in the area of anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism, contributed to the training by sharing expertise of Turkey in conducting money laundering and financial investigations.

This training is the first in a series of six, which will be conducted in the remaining jurisdictions during the Summer and Fall 2019. After that, the training curricula on financial investigations will be institutionalized in the police and judicial training institutions across the region.

UNODC organized a training for Policymakers on the Nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders

20-22 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: In line with UNODC efforts to support South Eastern Europe in further expanding drug demand reduction programmes, UNODC organized a training for policymakers on the "Nature of drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders" in the framework of the UNODC-WHO initiative on drug dependence treatment and care and in cooperation with the Serbian National Office for Combatting Drugs.

Twenty-five participants from the Ministries of Health, Education and Social Affairs as well as representatives from the civil society organizations attended the event.

The training was based on materials developed by UNODC aimed at:

- increasing the knowledge and understanding of the policymakers on the nature of drug use disorders;

- positively influencing the policymakers' perception of people with drug use disorders by deconstructing the complex mechanisms leading to potential stigma and discrimination;

- finding appropriate responses to drug use prevention by understanding the evidence-based modality of programme utilisation;

- presenting evidence-based drug strategies, programmes and interventions for the prevention of drug use and treatment of drug use disorders and;

- discussing the comprehensive components of continuum of care.

The participants held active discussions on challenges and practices in this area and subsequently prepared action plans tailored to the national priorities for further advancement of the drug demand reduction portfolio. They also stressed the practical value of the training.

This event builds on UNODC continuous efforts in supporting drug use prevention in Serbia and the wider region, including  through building capacity of the law enforcement in preventing drug use and violence among youth, an initiative supported by UNODC and OSCE called "School Police", under which several workshops were held in 2019.

UNODC will continue to support Serbia's efforts in improving drug demand reduction services, including the prevention of drug use disorders through various programmes and initiatives.

Priorities for UNODC work on drug prevention and treatment in South Eastern Europe

16-17 May 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: The programme of work of UNODC in any region of the world is developed in a consultative process together with the concerned Member States. That is why UNODC organised a Regional Consultative Meeting on the Development of the Sub-Programme 3 "Drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders" of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

The workshop brought together more than 30 experts and policy makers from the countries of South Eastern Europe who jointly worked to identify priorities for the new UNODC Regional Programme for the period 2020-2023. Priorities related to the prevention of substance use, drug use and other risky behaviours were discussed, as well as the provision of treatment, health care, social protection and rehabilitation services for people with drug use disorders, in the context of an approach to addressing the world drug problem that is based on science, ethical concerns and addressing gender and socio-economic inequalities.

The Skopje meeting is the second of three regional consultations on each of the three Sub-Programmes of the new UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023 (the meeting on the Sub-Programme focused on supporting justice, countering illicit financial flows, corruption and terrorism has taken place in Montenegro in April 2019, and the meeting on the Sub-Programme aiming to support law enforcement, border control, firearms control and efforts to prevent and counter human trafficking and smuggling of migrants will be held at the end of the month in Belgrade). The consultations are part of the continued UNODC mechanism for ensuring the full inclusion of all relevant counterparts, avoiding duplication, identification of national and regional priorities and safeguarding national ownership.

OSCE, UNODC and ICITAP support Albania in countering the financing of terrorism

15-17 May 2019, Tirana, Albania: The OSCE Transnational Threats Department jointly with the OSCE Presence in Albania, the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and UNODC organized a three-day analysis training course aimed at further strengthening Albania's response to countering terrorist financing.

The training seminar was delivered to 31 Albanian experts and practitioners from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit), the State Intelligence Service, the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes. The participants included seventeen trainees and five local trainers, with nine participants being women.

The training course was aimed at supporting Albania's efforts in countering terrorist financing in line with international standards, in particular the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the standards of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) and the OSCE commitments. International experts from OSCE and UNODC together with the five local government officials previously trained by the mentioned organizations led the course, during which the key role of inter-agency cooperation in disrupting terrorist financing was emphasized. The agenda included topics such as tackling financial intelligence, introduction to financial analysis, vulnerability and network analysis based on country- and region-specific scenarios. Over half of the course was devoted to practical work where participants learned and practiced how to apply a range of analytical techniques to realistic scenarios and use the financial investigation to better assess the threat posed by a terrorist group.

This course is second in a series of six, forming a comprehensive multiannual capacity-building programme to support national efforts to counter terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

UNODC and OSCE jointly teaching sports and life-skills in South Eastern Europe

14-16 May 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The practice of sports is receiving increasing attention as a powerful tool for crime prevention, especially in dealing with the younger generation. For  UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha DeclarationYouth Crime Prevention through Sports has been an active component since 2016, promoting holistic crime prevention policies and raising awareness on the importance of sports-based activities; they aim at keeping youth away from crime and teaching them life skills to help them deal with their circumstances.

As with its various components promoting a culture of lawfulness, UNODC partners with other international organization around the world, and its cooperation with OSCE builds on the Joint Action Plan for 2018-2019. This includes the joint promotion of the two organizations' technical tools in the field of strengthening and improving crime prevention, which is currently being rolled out in South Eastern Europe.

To this end, in consultation with UNODC, OSCE recently organized a round table discussion in Serbia, engaging regional policymakers. The meeting brought together representatives from ministries of education, ministries of sports and youth, ministries of interior, and other state authorities working in the area of public safety and policing; who exchanged experiences and good practices in their respective domains using sports-based prevention and discussed challenges and ways to address them through joint action.

For the Head of the OSCE Mission in Serbia, "that event clearly showed the genuine interest and the commitment of all parties to do more in this area, and to co-ordinate the efforts at both national and regional level." 

This meeting was followed up this month in Belgrade by a joint Regional Training of Trainers on the Global Programme's  Line Up, Live Up curriculum and methodology. Engaging 19 sports trainers from five South Eastern European countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), the training familiarized them with the programme before they piloted it locally, with OSCE support.

The participants were enthusiastic about the training and the programme's tools to help youth.  A teacher of sport-based programs aiming at empowering girls in North Macedonia said this training had helped her think outside the box of their sport regimen: "It helps coaches to see sports as a platform, as a tool to work with youth at another level and to teach them important life skills, like respect, tolerance, and decision making and goal setting." She also noted with interest the programme's focus on promoting gender equality: "I work at the local level on leadership and empowerment for girls, and I know how sports-based initiatives like Line Up, Live Up can help girls build self-confidence and esteem, which are so important for their development."

A public-school teacher in Serbia who also runs his own basketball sport club for youth, commented on the quality of the training of the trainers and on the solid methodology of Line Up, Live Up: "This training is excellent; it is delivered in a very professional manner, which I really appreciate. I have a lot of experience working with youth on sports for prevention, but it is the first time I deal with such a specific training curriculum and methodology ."

As noted by the Head of the OSCE mission in Serbia in his opening address, the Line Up, Live Up initiative builds on OSCE's previous and ongoing youth engagement work in the region, such as its "To success, together" project in Serbia which tackles risky behaviour among schoolchildren through sports and education.

Various UNODC initiatives in the region have also promoted crime prevention and tackled drug use, underlying the necessity of synergies in programmes addressing common risks and protective factors for youth, and building up their resilience.

UNODC's Regional Project Officer in Serbia explained that there was a shift from "say no to drugs" programmes and information sharing sessions, to more structured programmes and strategies such as Line Up, Live Up, whose main goal is to develop relevant skills to rebuff drug use and prevent risky behaviour which includes drugs and crime: "I believe this programme is an excellent answer to the challenging situation that young people are facing today, especially as it gives them something that is very interesting for them while it teaches them new protective skills."

For further information :
Youth Crime Prevention through Sports 
Line Up, Live Up Training Manual

UNODC supports the effectiveness of the Port Control Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina

14-16 May 2019, land-border Bijača, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The implementation of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019 continued with the VII Mentoring Visit to the Port Control Unit (PCU), which operates within the Programme in the country. The main objective of the mentoring visit was to examine the challenges that PCU officers from the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) and the Border Police are facing when carrying out their daily activities at the land-border site Bijača.

Through detailed insight in the daily work of PCU in carrying out the activities of profiling high-risk container and other shipments, the UNODC trainer provided practical assistance to the Unit members in terms of enhancing their professional skills and knowledge of modalities for reducing the risk of misuse of container shipment for the smuggling of narcotic drugs, precursors as well as preventing other forms of organized crime.

During the three-day mentoring visit, the PCU officers presented various skills, tools and practices that are used during the profiling and risk assessment process of containers and other shipments, that is profiling persons who are potential actors of illicit trade. Special attention was paid to the aspects of cooperation between the ITA and the Border Police at the local and other levels, as well as the use of open sources of information in the profiling process.

Activities at the land-border Bijača resulted with over a dozen of containers and trucks that were entering or leaving the customs territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina profiled and physically inspected. Also, the activities of the Unit focused on passenger traffic, and during the conduct of joint activities, a misdemeanor was issued to a foreign citizen for possession of a small quantity of narcotic drug marijuana at the exit from Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the implementation of these activities, basic and specialized equipment was used, which was donated to the Joint Team by CCP.

The implementation of CCP in Bosnia and Herzegovina started in 2014 to assist domestic institutions form a sustainable inter-agency joint team in order to reduce the risk of misuse of containers for the purpose of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, the prevention of transnational organized crime and other forms of illegal activities. Furthermore, the Programme's goal is to build capacities for improving the security of the legal economy, standards for enhancing cooperation with private sector and control at state borders.

UNODC participates in a regional seminar on cybersecurity in the Western Balkans

13-15 May 2019, Zagreb, Croatia: In line with the global efforts against cybercrime, UNODC took part in a regional seminar on cybersecurity, organized by the Government of France to discuss the threat posed by cybercrime in the Western Balkans and ways of combating it.

The event was attended by representatives from 14 countries in the South Eastern European region, the Ministries of Interior of the Governments of France and Croatia as well as private sector companies specialized in cybersecurity. The participants discussed the current state of the cybercrime threat in the world and in France and what can be done to address it as well as challenges faced by the law enforcement agencies in countering cybercrime of the Western Balkans and the wider region.

The UNODC expert provided a comprehensive overview on the global threat linked to cybersecurity and the UNODC global counter-cybercrime capacity building activities.

The active discussions held during the meeting contribute to strengthening regional and international cooperation in the field of cybercrime prevention.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/cybercrime/index.html

https://hr.ambafrance.org/Seminaire-regional-sur-la-cybersecurite-dans-les-Balkans-occidentaux

Innovative UNODC evaluation leads to increased accountability when countering drugs, crime and terrorism

10 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC Independent Evaluation Section (IES) has carried out its first-ever strategic evaluation of a regional coordination mechanism for security governance, creating a best practice for future strategic interventions while meeting the demands of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Specifically, IES planned, conducted and supported the follow-up of the innovative evaluation for the EU-funded Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance mechanism (WB IISG).  While maintaining the independence of the evaluation process, the evaluation was carried out within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.

Evaluation couples effectiveness with accountability and transparency, being fully in line with current UN Reforms Initiatives and the Secretary-General pointing to the need of "independent and real-time evaluation with full transparency." UNODC continues to be at the forefront of countering drugs, crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans, and by offering this innovative evaluation, which fully mainstreamed human rights and gender equality, it has added another important dimension to these efforts.

In the context of the negotiations for accession to the EU of the different jurisdictions in the Western Balkans and the changing criminal landscape in the region, the new platform WB IISG was launched to seek to improve capacity-building for and reform of internal security governance in the region. The concept enables a coordinated, aligned and sustainable effort in the fields of internal security governance reform on part of the EU and all relevant international donors of external assistance.

The evaluation carried out by IES together with four senior external evaluators and experts found that the WB IISG is best considered an early-stage entrepreneurial venture that has identified 'the right customer needs', but is yet to develop, establish and institutionalise formal systems and processes.  

Evaluation results also show that there is wide support for the concept of the IISG as a potentially effective tool for regional coordination. Among other things WB IISG's work was recognized as promoting informal collaboration and trust-building among beneficiaries across the region.

The WB IISG Support Group highlighted that "the evaluation process itself has offered space for honest, open dialogue and exchanges, supporting learning and building trust." This space for dialogue and exchange was essential for leading to actionable recommendations.

One of the most innovative aspects of this evaluation is the continuous engagement with the WB IISG also beyond the end of the evaluation, for example through dedicated follow-up workshops, thereby ensuring utility of recommendations. Katharina Kayser, the Chief of IES, highlighted that "the political ownership of this process constitutes a best practice, in particular the endorsement of the evaluation plan and subsequent presentation of results to the Ministers of the region, allowing for future evaluations to build upon this one."

For more information:

Final Evaluation report

Final Evaluation Brief (2-pager)

UNODC Independent Evaluation Section website 

Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance

UNODC holds the Third Advisory Committee Meeting

6 May 2019, Vienna, Austria: In the context of the initiative "Measuring and assessing organized crime in the Western Balkans: supporting evidence-based policy making", UNODC organized the Third Advisory meeting of the European Commission at the Vienna International Centre with the purpose of discussing the project achievements and the way forward.

The meeting, which brought together the National Focal Points and experts on organized crime from South Eastern Europe, provided an opportunity to take stock of the progress of the project, including the launch of the regional repository, the organization of the first and second statistical data collections and undertaking court verdict analysis and field work to gather qualitative information on organized crime as well as the coordination of the first regional training on increasing capacity to collect and share criminal justice data.

Furthermore, given that the project is in its last year, the participants discussed the results of the data and information gathering within the project and the elaboration of the final regional report for the production of evidence-based policy advice for developments in the area of rule of law in the addressed jurisdictions, which entailed discussing and presenting the results of the finalized data collection, the findings of the qualitative information gathering efforts, the outline of the final regional report, and opportunities for provision of further technical assistance under the project.

UNODC Joins the Regional Dialogue on Combatting Trafficking of Cultural Property

6-7 May 2019, Munich, Germany: Combatting organized crime through addressing trafficking in cultural heritage was at the core of the regional conference on combatting trafficking of cultural heritage, organized by the German Development Agency (GIZ). Over 70 participants from the Western Balkan region and other European countries attended the event, including representatives from Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Interior, Police, Prosecution Offices, Ministries of Culture, Ministries of Finance, Border Police, Customs and Courts.

The main goal of the conference was to understand how organized crime groups involved in trafficking of cultural heritage operate. Expert speakers from Oxford University, UNESCO, Europol as well as UNODC shared their knowledge of how criminals are falsifying documents of origin, trafficking them and the impact this has culturally, historically and socially.

UNODC discussed the role of international organizations in supporting the Member States to address cultural property related crime. The information on the relevant international (binding and non-binding) legal instruments was provided, stressing their role and importance in crime prevention and criminal justice response in relation to trafficking in cultural property. Information on UNODC portal for sharing electronic resources and laws on crime and UNODC Campaign against Trafficking in Cultural Property was disseminated and related publications and practical tools were shared with participants.

During the event, experts agreed on the importance of allocating resources, conducting investigations, raising political awareness and increasing information collection and exchange to combat the illicit trade of cultural objects. It was also noted that trafficking trends have changed - from the physical to online market, shifting the exchange of a low volume of high value items to now a high volume of low value items. In conclusion, globalized trade offers a new means of shipment and a wealth of contacts, trafficking material that is not well documented and seemingly at low risk. Investigations often remain on the local level with limited resources, and EU connections are crucial in identifying criminal networks and high-value targets.

The participants held active discussions focused on identifying current gaps in detecting and investigating cases of cultural heritage trafficking, areas for improvement and current initiatives. The conference concluded with discussions on national inter-agency coordination, transnational operational support and information exchange, and international cooperation and harmonization.

For more information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro/emerging-crimes/trafficking-in-cultural-property.html

https://cscwb.info/3963/

https://cscwb.info/day-2-more-on-how-to-avoid-the-mismanagement-of-the-past-to-preserve-our-future/

Third phase of the UNODC national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe concluded

23-26 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: The UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations moves forward with the successful completion of the sixth national training on financial investigations, which concludes the third phase of the UNODC Training-of-Trainers programme. During this phase, the national trainers of the six jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe, that is to say Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 had an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in two previous series of trainings on conducting financial investigations organized by UNODC and co-deliver the same training to their peers at a 50% rate using the training curricula, which are being developed by UNODC and fully adapted to the national contexts.

This third series of trainings resulted in the training of 124 participants representing law enforcement institutions and the judiciary from South Eastern Europe, including Police Academies, Financial Intelligence Units, Ministries of Interior, Customs and Tax authorities, judges, judicial training academies and the Prosecutor's Office, who were able to get extensive knowledge on the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

In the next series of trainings, the national trainers will be fully prepared and deliver the training on financial investigations to their peers in its entirety. The first training will take place in Belgrade, Serbia in May 2019.

This project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) mechanism, particularly its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme further their work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia

12 April 2019, Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15 April 2019, Becici, Montenegro, 17 April 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia and 23 April 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: UNODC, in partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation organized four follow-up sessions in the framework of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme (LQSFA). The LQSFA programme is a social emotional and evidence-based programme aimed at preventing the onset of drug use and building resilience skills among students. The discussions, which gathered 64 educators from 29 addressed elementary schools across the three countries, focused on project implementation findings, sharing best practices and challenges faced to improve and adjust the working methodology. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, new material was presented to the participants, who discussed the completion of the first project implementation cycle coinciding with the end of the current academic year in June 2019. During the sessions in Montenegro and North Macedonia, processed pre-test results were presented to the participants to inform on substance use trends, normative beliefs, refusal skills and harmful effects of substances among the addressed students.

Moreover, the events provided opportunities to present the new communication platform in the form of a website reflecting the results of the implementation of LQSFA programme in South Eastern Europe as well as the findings and video material presented in the margins of the 62 nd sessions of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria in March 2019. In Montenegro, the participation of a young delegate from Kotor who has benefited from this programme and shared his experience in the 2019 CND was acknowledged as very positive and beneficial to other students in understanding the value of the programme from a student perspective. This year, two students addressed the CND session - from Montenegro and Serbia, and in 2018 - a student from Bosnia and Herzegovina addressed the respective side-event telling the audience about his experiences with the programme and his belief in its usefulness for him and his schoolmates.

The project implementation cycle in Montenegro and North Macedonia will last two years and will end in June 2020. The next follow-up sessions are planned to take place in October 2019. The results of the programme implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be presented at the LSQFA conference in Belgrade in November 2019.

Port Control Unit at Durres Port completes the Strategic Trade and Export Control Training Cycle

11-18 April 2019 , Tirana/Durres, Albania: As part of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme's (CCP) ongoing efforts to meet the training requirements of the Port Control Unit (PCU) officers at Durres Port and of other law enforcement agencies, UNODC completed the third week of the Strategic Trade and Export Control (STEC) Training. The three one-week long trainings (the two others organized in July and October 2018) addressed many of the national partners' requests by tailoring the courses to meet these specific requirements.  

The third week of the training included the overview of the presentations from previous sessions, presentations by the participants of their "homework" assignment, facilitating positive interactions among the participants and an examination and practical training elements. The examination presented an opportunity for the participants to review and apply their knowledge on subjects related to strategic goods and export control.

The container terminal practical training merged the mentorship visit with the STEC training, which allowed the participants to appreciate the relation of STEC to inspection, detention, seizure and reporting of actual cases.

Through this and continued training opportunities, it is expected that both PCU officers and other Albanian agencies enhance their abilities to ensure cross-border movements of goods comply with the national laws and regulations and recognize that trade controls are essential for both compliance and trade facilitation.

The entire cycle of the STEC training in Albania was supported by the Government of Luxembourg

IPA II Regional Programme coordination meeting hosted by UNODC

12 April 2019, Vienna, Austria: An Informal Coordination Meeting of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II) Regional Programme was hosted by UNODC in Vienna. The participants of the meeting in addition to UNODC and the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission were the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Western Balkans Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) Support Group, the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Guardia di Finanza, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe (PCC SEE).

The meeting was aimed at coordinating the actions in the Balkans by the technical assistance providers in the area of organized crime and related topics, both at strategic and operational levels with the ultimate goal of supporting the Governments in the region on their accession path in the spirit of coordination, cooperation and non-duplication.

The meeting presented an opportunity for an active and open discussion by the mentioned participants to review the results of work in 2018 as well as ongoing and planned activities in 2019 and beyond.

The participants unanimously stressed the importance of continuing collaboration and strengthening the inter-agency cooperation in the framework of the IPA II Regional Programme. The meeting emphasized the need to scale up the efforts in the area of asset recovery to disrupt the criminal activities of the organized crime groups and deprive them from their income. The growing importance of the topic of countering the trafficking in cultural heritage was also pointed out.

The next meeting will take place in late 2019.

OSCE, UNODC and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Programme deliver a training course on countering terrorist financing in Albania

10-12 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: A three-day training course aimed at further strengthening the capacity of Albania to counter terrorist financing was delivered to Albanian experts and practitioners from the General Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering (GDPML) - the Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit, the State Intelligence Service (SHISH), the Albanian State Police, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Office for Serious Crimes. The course was attended by 34 participants, of which 17 were trainees and five local trainers, including 13 women.

The course was organized jointly by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, the OSCE Presence in Albania, the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering, and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and hosted by the Security Academy of Albania.

The training course was conducted to strengthen Albania's compliance with international standards, in particular the UN Security Council Resolutions, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)'s standards and OSCE commitments. It was led by OSCE, UNODC and Western Union international experts together with five local government officials, who were previously trained by OSCE and UNODC in a train-the-trainer setting.

The course emphasized the key role of inter-agency cooperation in disrupting terrorist financing.  Based on country- and region-specific scenarios, it included sessions on national, regional and transnational threats, sources of information and money flows. The course was mostly devoted to practical work on exercises and actual case studies, highlighting specific instruments and techniques, which play an important role in countering the financing of terrorism.

The course was organized as part of a comprehensive multi-annual capacity-building programme to support the national efforts in countering terrorist financing in South Eastern Europe.

For further information: https://www.osce.org/secretariat/417158

UNODC signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe

12 April 2019, Vienna, Austria: In line with the regional efforts in countering drugs and crime in South Eastern Europe, UNODC and the Secretariat of the Police Cooperation Convention for South Eastern Europe (PCC SEE) reinforced their partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will provide a framework for cooperation between both organizations and ensure mutual support in pursuing common objectives in addressing transnational organized crime and related threats.

UNODC and the PCC SEE Secretariat have been collaborating in the region through promoting international and regional cooperation in criminal matters, in particular in the context of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative and are Lead Partners of its Pillar II on Counter Serious Crime initiative.

This new level of cooperation is aimed to further support coordination and non-duplication of efforts to continue to effectively support the Governments in the region in addressing security threats and fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria on region's path to EU membership.

The signatories of the MoU have agreed on overarching themes, including the exchange of information and relevant expertise, the implementation of joint activities in line with relevant documents, and inviting each other to meetings and events for alignment of areas of interest to avoid duplication of efforts and overlapping. These areas form part of the UNODC mandate and programme of work and have been approved by its governing bodies. They also fall in the overall strategic vision of UNODC spelt out in its Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, which is an important basis for cooperation with the PCC SEE Secretariat and other regional and international partners of UNODC.

Furthermore, UNODC and PCC SEE Secretariat will cooperate on a technical level via bilateral meetings to develop and monitor collaborative activities, initiatives or projects and address priority matters on common interest for the implementation of activities in specific areas, countries and regions.

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

https://twitter.com/YuryFedotov/status/1116622025210990593

UNODC donates equipment to the Albanian State Police

9 April 2019, Tirana, Albania: Drug trafficking represents a major concern in South Eastern Europe as the region is located on the main conduit for illicit opiates to Europe, the "Balkan route". UNODC is actively supporting South Eastern Europe in countering transnational organized crime and drug trafficking and is closely cooperating with the Governments in the region, including in Albania, to effectively address this threat.

As part of this cooperation, UNODC donated drug and precursor identification and weighing equipment to the Albanian State Police, which includes 15 Drug Test Kits and 15 Portable Precision Balances/Weighing Scales, responding to the concrete needs of the Albanian law enforcement officials and supporting their efforts in combatting drug trafficking.

The UNODC test kits, developed and produced by the Laboratory and Scientific Section, are intended to provide law enforcement officers with rapid and simple colour tests for the preliminary field identification of drugs and precursors most commonly encountered in the illicit traffic. The high-end scales have multiple features and are a valuable tool in precision weighing, which is necessary for the precise measurement of the quantity of seized drugs.

This delivery forms a part of the overall donation of equipment by UNODC to the Albanian law enforcement authorities, and is expected to enhance their performance and further strengthen the partnership between UNODC and the Government of Albania.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/scientists/druge-kits-new.html

UNODC initiates the consultative process for the development of the new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe

4-5 April 2019, Bečići, Montenegro: In the context of the extension of the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe for the period 2020-2023, UNODC organized the first of the three regional meetings in South Eastern Europe, initiating the consultative process with the Governments in the region. The meeting focused on Sub-programme II - "Strengthening the fight against transnational organized crime and countering illicit financial" and brought together 27 participants, including representatives from the ministries of interior, ministries of justice, police, financial intelligence units, anti-corruption agencies and customs authorities across South Eastern Europe.

The participants reviewed the work of UNODC in 2016-2019 and discussed current trends and challenges in the fields of money laundering, financing of terrorism and asset recovery, corruption and terrorist threats, including foreign terrorist fighters, as well as ways to address them and the specific role that UNODC can play in the region in this regard, based on its added value. The meeting concluded with a common agreement on the way forward for the finalization of the development of the new Regional Programme.

UNODC will continue the consultative process with two further meetings in the region on Sub-Programmes I (law enforcement and border management) and Sub-Programme III (drug demand reduction), in Belgrade, Serbia and Skopje, North Macedonia respectively. These consultations are aimed at reflecting national and regional priorities, avoiding duplication and ensuring national ownership of the new Regional Programme.

UNODC supports South Eastern Europe in countering trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality

3-4 April 2019, Bucharest, Romania: UNODC in partnership with the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (ANITP) of Romania and the Government of France, organized a regional workshop on "Enhancing national and regional capacity on combating trafficking in persons for the purpose of forced criminality in South Eastern Europe" aimed at supporting a coordinated response to trafficking in persons (TIP) in South Eastern Europe in line with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

The event was attended by 32 participants from the police, judiciary and civil society from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia that are countries of origin, transit and destination of victims of TIP for the purpose of forced criminality, as well as regional and international organizations including IOM, SELEC and EUROJUST and NGOs from Romania and France. The regional workshop aimed to identify effective methods and good practices to combat TIP by exchange of experiences and expertise among TIP practitioners and regional and international organizations. The overall objective of the event was to support the efforts of the addressed jurisdictions in dismantling transnational criminal networks while protecting the human rights of the victims through inter-governmental cooperation, information sharing and common approach.

Following a comprehensive review of the current challenges and good practices in the region, the participants identified recommendations that will serve the efforts of the region in effectively countering TIP.

This is the second regional workshop in the framework of the UNODC project on TIP for the purpose of forced criminality in South Eastern Europe (the first one was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2018), funded by the Government of France. The third such event focused on cross-border cooperation in investigation and prosecution of TIP for the purpose of forced criminality is expected to take place in 2020.

Heroin seized by the Port Control Unit (PCU) in Albania

28 March 2019, Durres, Albania: The PCU officers at the Durres port seized 2kg160gr of pure heroin at the ferry terminal. The heroin was taped around the body of the driver of a truck headed to Italy. The seizure took place during a random search. During the interrogation of the driver, the officers noticed uneasiness, anxiety and contradictory statements. The driver is a citizen of Albania and is in custody. The investigation has been initiated.

The PCU was established within the framework of the Container Control Programme.

UNODC supports Serbian police officers in drug use prevention among students

26-28 March 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC in cooperation with the OSCE mission in Serbia and the Ministry of Interior, organized a training workshop for the Serbian police officers on drug use and violence prevention among students and provided relevant information and techniques in the framework of the project "Support for the prevention efforts of the police in schools: protection of students from psychoactive substances and violence", implemented jointly by the Ministry of Interior and OSCE. The project builds on a large-scale prevention intervention initiative "School police", which  started  in 2002  following the agreement between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Ministry of Interior of Serbia.

With 373 police officers strategically located to cover 681 schools across the country, further capacity building will be undertaken for the local police officers, including through the provision of  applicable knowledge and skills on the developmental characteristics of students, communication skills and the prevention of violence and substance use. In addition, the police officers are trained on the current substance use trends, relevant legislation and technical skills related to their day to day work.

Furthermore, UNODC presented the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and highlighted the encouraging results of the strategic interventions in the past eight years in Serbia, particularly in a school setting. This included the Strengthening Family Programme 10-14, directly implemented by the police officers in 10 elementary schools in Belgrade in 2018, demonstrating  the successful implementation of the evidence-based strategy and stressing the need for further efforts in this field.

As a result of the workshop, 20 Serbian police officers were trained. The next training workshop will take place in Belgrade on 9-11 April 2019.

Afghan customs officials visit the Port of Durres in Albania

25-27 March 2019, Durres, Albania: The Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Port of Durres in Albania received a study visit from the Customs Administration of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The delegation consisted of eight officers, including members of the PCUs, led by the Director of the Law Enforcement Department of Afghanistan Customs. The purpose of the visit was for the Afghan officials to become acquainted with the implementation of the Container Control Programme (CCP) at the Port of Durres and to share experiences and challenges faced by the PCUs in both countries in their day-to-day work.

The visit began with meetings with the Deputy Heads of Durres Customs and Border Police, who welcomed and introduced the delegation with briefings on the Durres Customs and the Border Police roles, structures, goals and handling capacities. The officials highlighted the excellent cooperation between customs and police in interdicting illegal goods at the Port of Durres.

The Head of the PCU at the Port of Durres provided a thorough overview of the unit's work and inter-agency, regional and international cooperation. The delegation visited  the container and ferry terminals, closely observing an example of container examination during which techniques introduced by the CCP were demonstrated.

Furthermore, the delegation  visited Tirana and was received by the Director of the Anti-Trafficking Department of Customs and Head of the Monitoring Center. During these meetings, the high demand for relevant and timely risk information to help Customs' achieve their objectives was emphasized.

The Chief of the National Anti-Narcotics Service at the State Police headquarters briefed the delegation on Albania's efforts to combat illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics with focus primarily on heroin trafficking due to the country's position on the "Balkan Route" for heroin originating from Afghanistan.

This visit contributed to enhancing and stimulating working relationships, exchange of information and cooperation between PCUs participating in the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme.

UNODC Finalizes Surveys on Organized Crime in the Western Balkans

26 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: The UNODC regional research initiative - "Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans" (MACRO) carried out targeted in-depth interviews with prisoners convicted of crimes most often related to organized crime, victims of trafficking in persons and smuggled migrants to obtain their personal and first-hand experience with organized crime as well as to find out more about the modus operandi and structures of organized crime groups. The interviews were held in the period September 2018 - March 2019 in the region. Also, interviews with expert practitioners from law enforcement, criminal justice system, academia and the civil society were carried out to get a deeper insight about organized crime groups (OCGs) and their functioning. The findings of these surveys will supplement the information provided by the statistical framework and by the review of legislation and court judgements and will be published in the final regional report of the MACRO project.

In February, meetings of the National Technical Groups were held in all participating jurisdictions to discuss entry of statistical data related to organized crime into the MACRO online platform, in line with the statistical framework that was developed with participation of the national institutions. The partners discussed their experience and challenges with data entry and also made suggestions for improvement of the platform. One of the positive outcomes of this exercise is that through participation in MACRO project, some national partners have observed gaps in their internal data collection procedures and have initiated the streamlining of the procedures or enforcing the existing ones, as appropriate.

The qualitative interviews and quantitative data collection in the region have been carried out with full commitment and ownership by the participating national institutions.

Fourth National Project Focal Points meeting held under the project on Financial Investigations in South Eastern Europe

20 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in cooperation with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), organized the fourth meeting of the national project focal points to discuss the implementation of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project activities on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The meeting brought together 12 participants - six focal points for each office - and aimed at taking stock of the project achievements in the first quarter of 2019, including the third series of national financial investigations trainings in all Western Balkans jurisdictions, the first study visit to France of the high level delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the results of the conducted evaluation of the project. The agenda of the meeting also included the introduction of the 2019 work plan for the participants' feedback and endorsement as well as the institutionalization of the national curricula on financial investigations in the Western Balkan jurisdictions.

Furthermore, the participants exchanged the lessons learned within the project and agreed on the way forward, which further contributes to a mutual and coherent direction among all stakeholders in the implementation of the project and a better coordination of efforts on the ground.

This project is funded by the EU and is an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC and Lions Clubs International Foundation discuss progress in School-based Prevention on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

18 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) organized a side event "Scaling the UNODC - Lions Clubs International Foundation: Global Partnership for School Based Prevention" on the margins of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

UNODC and LCIF jointly implement the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence Programme (LQSFA), a school based social emotional learning intervention targeted at young adolescents to prevent drug use, which produces encouraging results worldwide, including in South Eastern Europe, where the programme is implemented since 2010. The event, which was co-sponsored by the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Montenegro and Serbia, presented the opportunity to provide an overview of the programme achievements to date in South Eastern Europe, Central America and Western Africa and discuss the way forward.

Two young students, Jana and Stefan, who benefitted from the programme in Serbia and Montenegro respectively, shared their stories with the audience on how the programme affected their lives, and the lives of those around them.

In her speech, Jana quoted a proverb: "If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me to fish, then you have fed me for life" to illustrate how the programme helps build the resilience skills of young students in the long term throughout their adolescence but also as young adults. Jana concluded her speech with the strong statement: "It's because of this programme that I started improving my self-esteem and became a stronger person."

Stefan particularly emphasized the benefits of the LQSFA programme in strengthening social and communication skills with peers to understand and cope with the challenges faced during adolescence and stated "There are no strangers, just friends that we haven't met yet. This programme gives us wings to fly over adolescence."

The LQSFA programme implementation is closely monitored and evaluated, and the available results show positive evaluation outcomes on the enhancement of the refusal skills among the students, as well as on the reduction of the reported substance use and intention to use substances among the groups of students. In South Eastern Europe, the programme showed effectiveness with encouraging results in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, where 7,600 students benefitted from the programme in 144 schools across 25 cities in the four countries and 371 teachers were trained. Building on the acquired knowledge from the programme implementation in South Eastern Europe, the programme is further expanding to Croatia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Cote d'Ivoire. The LCIF Global Coordinator highlighted in his remarks that the LQSFA programme "contributes to building a positive and safe school climate" for children. The UNODC Chief of Drug Prevention and Health Branch emphasized the impact of the programme on adult-children relations and said the programme contributes to "contaminating adults with positive relationships with children".

The LQSFA programme also provides an added value of connecting the civil society organizations with the relevant Ministries and institutions in the joint implementation and scaling-up of evidence-based drug use prevention interventions. The event further strengthened the UNODC-LCIF partnership and promoted evidence-based intervention as good practice. The represented Governments, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia expressed appreciation to UNODC and LCIF for implementing the programme in their countries and bringing such positive results and overall impact.

Additional resources:

Flyer of the event

Progress of UNODC-LCIF collaboration on piloting LQSFA_Presentation

Video on UNODC-LCIF results in implementing LQSFA in South Eastern Europe

Montenegro Port Control Unit seizes cocaine worth 2.5 million Euro

15 March 2019, Bar, Montenegro: Following the submission for transit of a customs declaration for one container with fresh red onions, the officers of the Port Control Unit (PCU) at the Port of Bar in Montenegro, analyzed the risk indicators, such as the country of origin, type of goods etc. and decided to have the suspected contaminated container scanned by using mobile scanner. The scanner images marked a suspicious area in part of the mechanical compartment and after a detailed examination, the officers of the PCU discovered concealed cocaine. The cocaine was packed in 27 packages weighting 31.55 kg with market value of 2,500,000 Euro.

This is the forth case of cocaine seizure by the PCU at the Port of Bar.

The PCU was established within the framework of the Container Control Programme in South Eastern Europe and is currently financially supported by the Government of Luxembourg. 

Delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina on a study visit to France

12-15 March 2019, Paris, France:  UNODC, in cooperation with the French law enforcement authorities and the French Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a two-day practical study visit for a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the framework of the joint UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations.

The study visit aimed at reinforcing the operational exchange of information and collaboration between the French and Bosnian law enforcement institutions on money laundering and terrorist financing, drugs and arms trafficking, corruption and tax fraud, crypto-currencies, and the application of a multidisciplinary approach and systematic parallel financial investigations at the outset of serious and organized crime investigations and other criminal and money laundering cases.

The delegation comprised of ten officials/experts from the Police, Prosecution and Financial Intelligence Unit from all levels of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had, during the visit, 13 presentations on the practical aspects of work from four law enforcement institutions in France, namely the French Gendarmerie Criminal Investigations Directorate; French Financial Intelligence Unit (TRACFIN); Central Office for the Fight against Serious Financial Crime (OCRGDF); and the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offences (OCLCIFF).

The visit allowed for the Bosnian delegation to learn the best practices in financial investigations in France, and to study various money laundering, financial crimes, organized crime and tax fraud schemes and terrorist financing matters. The content of the visit was praised several times by the delegation as it addressed its specific needs and was in line with the project objectives. The Director of the Special State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina also had the chance to hand over the SIPA credentials to his counterpart from the French Gendarmerie. 

The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) initiative, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC supports Albania in addressing threats related to cryptocurrencies

5-6 March 2019, Tirana, Albania: UNODC organized a workshop on cryptocurrencies investigations and supervision aimed at building capacity of the Albania Financial Intelligence Unit, law enforcement agencies and financial supervisors in countering money laundering and terrorism financing risks linked to cryptocurrencies.

The training, which brought together 24 participants, alternated theory sessions with practical exercises and introduced a variety of topics, including the main concepts in cryptocurrencies, blockchain explorer tools and darknet; mixing services of cryptocurrencies; typical patterns in cryptocurrency transactions; and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), frauds and scams with crypto-assets. The practical exercises allowed for the group to get hands-on experience and extensive knowledge related to the creation of crypto-wallets and real-life transfers, the size of the market, money laundering, finding cryptocurrency service providers, basic information on bitcoin addresses and the Darknet marketplace, risk assessment and tracing bitcoins, as well as checking the plausibility of a crypto-asset declaration.

The discussions focused on the international cooperation for cryptocurrencies' investigations, the principles of cryptocurrency regulation and supervision, and the keys to successful cryptocurrency investigations, during which the participants shared best practices in cryptocurrency seizures and confiscation. The training concluded with a hand-over ceremony of certificates attesting the successful completion of the course.

The workshop was conducted in the framework of the UNODC anti-money laundering work for Albania funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

UNODC participates in the Regional Steering Group Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

5 March 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: UNODC's Global Firearms Programme (GFP) took part in the annual meeting of the Regional Steering Group on SALW, organized by the United Nations Development Programme within its regional project "South-East European Clearinghouse for Small Arms Control (SEESAC)". The meeting was attended by 67 stakeholders, including representatives from the National Commissions on SALW from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Serbia as well as international organizations and NGOs, including OSCE, NATO, RACVIAC and HALO Trust.

UNODC GFP presented the results of its work in 2018 and the main priorities for 2019 and 2020, which will focus on supporting the region in meeting their objectives established under the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition in the Western Balkans. UNODC GFP also highlighted its work practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina to increase the knowledge and skills of officials on detecting firearms at land border crossings, regional activities with prosecutors and the on-going review of the national criminal laws.

The event contributed to the further coordination of efforts in countering firearms trafficking in South Eastern Europe.

Air Cargo Control Unit under establishment in Albania

27 February - 8 March  2019, Tirana, Albania: Tirana International Airport hosted the first basic training on Air Cargo Control within the framework of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP). The training brought together thirteen customs and border control officers and civil aviation representatives as part of the training conducted by UNODC and WCO trainers, with the aim of supporting the establishment of a specialized Air Cargo Control Unit (ACCU) at this Airport.

The training introduced different topics mainly focusing on interdiction techniques and risk indicators that can be used at airports to identify and intercept illicit shipments including narcotics.

The training activity was welcomed by the Head of the Airport Customs House and the Chief of the Airport Police Commissariat who emphasized the importance of the Air Cargo Programme for Albania. The counterparts expressed their hope that this new initiative would follow the good example of the Container Control Programme's existing operations at Durres Port.

One session of the two-week training was also attended by the Ambassador of France in Albania. In her address, the Ambassador highlighted the need for an enhanced collaboration and exchange of information between Customs, Aviation and other agencies in order to facilitate trade more effectively and develop collective action to meet the emerging challenges in the air cargo and mail supply chain.

The theoretical part of the training was followed by three practical working days spent at the cargo terminal and the apron. Many practical issues were analyzed together in order to demonstrate that further strengthening of the inter-agency cooperation would help processing the goods in the supply chain faster, safer and more efficiently.

Currently, Tirana Air Cargo Unit is the only one established in South Eastern Europe within the framework of the CCP and is funded by the Government of France.

OSCE and UNODC build capacity of Albania on countering terrorist financing

27 February-1 March 2019, Vienna, Austria: A three-day train-the-trainer course for Albanian participants on countering terrorist financing was organized by the OSCE's Transnational Threats Department, in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania, and UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering (UNODC/GPML).  

The participants of the course will go on to deliver training courses for local government officials upon their return to Albania, together with the OSCE and UNODC international experts.

The course, which took place in the premises of the OSCE Secretariat, was led by international experts and tailored to the Albanian context. It covered national, regional and transnational threats, sources of information, money flows, tackling financial intelligence, and strategic analysis. More than half of the course consisted of practical exercises, often based on localized scenarios.

The aim of the course was to assist Albania in countering terrorist financing, in line with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, standards of the Financial Action Task Force and OSCE commitments.

The participants deepened their understanding of how improving inter-agency co-operation can help to identify and disrupt terrorist financial networks and how specific instruments and techniques can significantly improve efforts to counter terrorist financing. 

3rd Board Meeting of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) Initiative

26 February 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: Under the auspices of the Brdo Process framework chaired by the Ministry of Interior of Slovenia, the Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia hosted the 3 rd IISG Board meeting.

The event was chaired by the Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission and brought together ministers of interior and security of the IISG countries, Brdo Process Members, and high representatives of the IISG partners, including EU Member States, EU institutions and agencies, the UN and members of the international community.

The ministers discussed current developments in the IISG process and concrete results so far achieved in the three IISG Pillars - the Western Balkan initiatives on Counter Terrorism, Counter Serious Crime and Border Security (WBCTi, WBCSCi, and WBBSi), as presented by the Lead Partners. The Minister of Interior of Slovenia (Co-Lead Partner in WBCTi) presented the achievements of 2018, including the work of the operational Counter-Terrorism Initiative (CTI) Network and the newly established Regional Network of Preventing/Combatting Violent Extremism (P-CVE) National Coordinators (RNNC) established by the EU and the IISG Support Group in mid-2017.

The results of the second pillar (WBCSCi) were presented by the Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat, Co-Lead Partner, acknowledging the achievements of the IPAII 2017 Multi-Country Action "Support to Integrative Internal Security Governance" leaders (GIZ, CILC, UNODC, CEPOL, EUROPOL and the Italian Ministry of Interior). The participants were also familiarised with the IISG ongoing efforts to align the EU-WB engagement in the area of the EU Policy Cycle in the Fight Against Serious Crime, and the ideas of further aligning regional cooperation structures under WBCSCi.

The Director of DCAF Ljubljana, Co-Lead Partner in the third pillar (WBBSi), presented the results of the common operations implemented in 2018, supported by IPAII 2017, and presented the "IISG Response Plan 2018-2019" as a good example of an IISG solution that can provide an aligned, rational and efficient operational response to the occurring concrete security challenges in the region. The Response Plan provides concrete and feasible actions, aligned via the IISG, which will have a direct and tangible impact on the situation on the ground in the field of smuggling of migrants, based on the real needs of the IISG beneficiaries and the key donors/IISG Partners' ability to respond to those needs.

The participants acknowledged the recommendations and findings of the Formative In-Depth Evaluation: Western Balkans Counter-Serious Crime Initiative (WBCSCi) in the context of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) mechanism including the European Union action "Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II/2017) produced by the UNODC Independent Evaluation Section, which took place during 2018. The main findings and recommendations, which were presented, enabled discussions among the participants on the IISG future outlook, and the upcoming interim reflection phase, which is to be launched by the European Commission.

In the concluding part of the meeting, the beneficiaries endorsed the IISG Terms of Reference Interim Amendment, reaffirming the appointments of the IISG Board Chair and the new Head of IISG Support Group. During the interim reflection period, a new IISG Terms of Reference amendment will be prepared together with the beneficiaries, which will ensure further improvements of the IISG supporting structures, in line with our principles of regional ownership and co-ownership of the IISG-wide joint partnership.

For more information:

https://wb-iisg.com/blog/2019/03/08/brdo-process-ministerial-meeting-3rd-iisg-board-meeting-hosted-by-minister-spasovski-reaffirms-strong-support-to-iisg/

UNODC initiates the third series of national trainings on financial investigations in South Eastern Europe

12-15 February 2019, Skopje, North Macedonia: In the framework of the UNODC and CEPOL project on capacity building of South Eastern Europe on financial investigations, UNODC organized the first training delivered at a 50% rate by the UNODC certified national trainers. The training, which launches the third phase of the Training-of-Trainers programme of this project, is conducted in each Western Balkan jurisdiction, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, and will provide the certified national trainers with the first experience in delivering such trainings on financial investigations to their peers. The training curriculum was developed by the UNODC certified national trainers and was fully accustomed to the national context.

The training in Skopje brought together 24 participants, who represented law enforcement institutions, the Ministry of Interior, Financial Intelligence Units, Customs authorities and the Prosecutor's Office and covered such topics as the planning of, information sources and national cooperation in financial investigations; tools and techniques of financial data and its transformation into evidence; analysis and visualization of links, connections and relationships; complex money laundering schemes; tax evasion and money laundering as well as the legal and illegal use of legal structures.

This training further contributes to the development of the national curricula on financial investigations in each Western Balkan jurisdiction with the assistance of UNODC and consolidates the knowledge and expertise of the national trainers ensuring the sustainability of the project.

The project is funded by the European Commission and constitutes an integral part of the Integrative Internal Security Governance (IISG) mechanism, namely its Pillar II on the Western Balkan Counter Serious Crime initiative (WBCSCi).

UNODC facilitated a study visit of representatives of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration

12-14 February 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia with support of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe organized a study tour of the representatives of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration. The visit was aimed to familiarize the Uzbek counterparts with the work of the Command Center in order to apply good practices in establishing a similar Center for Border Monitoring and Interagency Collaboration under the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  

During the visit, the Serbian colleagues briefed the Uzbek counterparts on the liaison role of the Command Center to coordinate border security and management activities of all state agencies. The work of the Center also focuses on collection, analysis, maintenance and dissemination of information on detecting and preventing illegal activities.

The Uzbek counterparts familiarized themselves with the experiences of their Serbian colleagues, including first-hand requirements and procedures for setting up and proper maintenance of the Center and were interested in getting assistance with the development of requirements and specifications for hardware and software and staffing of the Center.

A Senior Officer of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan highlighted the impressive work being carried out in the Command Center under the Serbian Customs Administration emphasizing its coordination role in monitoring the situation both at the borders and in the country to better identify, asses and manage emerging threats to economic security and public safety.

The Serbian experts expressed very positive views with regard to the preliminary terms of reference, which had been developed by the Uzbek colleagues for establishing a Center with similar functions in Uzbekistan.

The study tour had resulted in further determining the right direction for the establishment of the Center for Monitoring and Interaction under the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, namely with regard to the creation of a mechanism for the Center operations and understanding the technical requirements for equipping and staff selection process.

The visit was implemented by support of UNODC Programme Office in Serbia and within the framework of the UNODC regional initiative «Countering the trafficking of Afghan opiates via the northern route by enhancing the capacity of key border crossing points (BCPs) and through the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs)» of Sub-program 1 on Countering Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Preventing Terrorism of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019, and funded by the Government of Japan.

For more information: https://www.unodc.org/centralasia 

UNODC supports Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 in addressing corruption

12-14 February 2019, Pristina, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244: UNODC supported UNDP - Pristina in performing a gap analysis of the Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 existing legislative framework and capacities to prevent and fight corruption in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

In preparation of the analysis, local institutions, inter alia the Ministry of Justice, the Anti-Corruption Agency, Prosecution, Police and Customs were invited to fill in self-assessment questionnaires that were provided to the experts in advance.

Relevant local institutions engaged in discussions with the UNODC and UNDP expert team focusing on specific aspects of the implementation of anti-corruption legislation, good practices and possible challenges.

A follow-up round of meetings will take place later this year followed by an outcome report with recommendations to improve the existing legislation.

Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 is not a party to the UNCAC in view of its status and the gap analysis is carried out upon the request of the Kosovo government in line with the UN rules and regulations.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/index.html?ref=menuside

UNODC participates in the consultations on the EU Enlargement Package

12 February 2019, Brussels, Belgium: UNODC took part in the EU Enlargement consultations, organized by the European Commission in the framework of Neighbourghood and Enlargement Negotiations on the topics of rule of law, justice, corruption, organized crime, migration and other topics with specific focus on the Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis communautaires. These oral consultations, along with the written contributions of the active international partners in the region, including UNODC, will feed into the annual reports prepared by the Commission for each of the Western Balkan jurisdictions and Turkey.

UNODC has pointed out, among other aspects, the active cooperation with the counterparts in the region in areas of countering illicit trafficking, including drug trafficking (and drug demand reduction), trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, firearms control, corruption, terrorism, money laundering and illicit financial flows, organized crime, as well as other related fields.

For more information: http://www.unodc.org/brussels/news.html

UNODC and TADOC build capacity of South Eastern Europe in Crime Intelligence Analysis

5-8 February 2019, Ankara, Turkey: Building on the success of the previous four-day training on "Crime Intelligence Analysis" which took place in Ankara in December 2018, UNODC in partnership with the Turkish International Academy on against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) conducted a second session of this training for the new group of law enforcement practitioners from South Eastern Europe. The recurrence of the session was due to its significant benefit to the participants and the high demand from the region. This training is part of the long-standing partnership between UNODC and the Government of Turkey in the Balkans and was undertaken at TADOC with the Turkish financial support.

In total, 18 experts from law enforcement institutions in South Eastern Europe, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244, took part in this training. In the course of the training, the participants had the opportunity to learn on a number of topics, including different types and the importance of analysis, database management, effective use of integrated data sources, risk analysis, and practice via real case studies on financial and organized crime. This advanced training was specifically tailored for representatives of law enforcement agencies who had previous exposure and experience in criminal data intelligence analysis to achieve optimal results in internalizing the information.

Given the pertinence in addressing today's threats related to financial and organized crime, this training is highly praised by the participants. According to the feedback collected at the conclusion of this event, this training was extremely beneficial in that it equipped the participants with relevant knowledge and skills at both operational and strategic levels, as well as reinforced and promoted regional cooperation.

The trainings at TADOC with partnership of UNODC contribute to enhancing the regional response in addressing drugs and crime in the Balkans in an effective manner and will continue throughout the year.

UNODC supports Civil Society in Preventing Corruption in South Eastern Europe

30 January-2 February 2019, Belgrade, Serbia: The UNODC Civil Society Team (CST) organized a follow-up meeting to the multi-stakeholder workshops on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism to work on an outcome document aimed at providing a shared vision for all stakeholders in effectively addressing corruption in South Eastern Europe.

The meeting brought together 10 civil society representatives and six private sector actors from the region, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 as well as other partners from the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, the UNCAC Coalition, which is a global network of over 350 civil society organizations across the world committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring of the UNCAC and the Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) Network.

The participants collaborated on the joint outcome statement, which spells out concrete and practical steps towards a strengthened cooperation in the areas of training and knowledge, implementation of UNCAC and its review mechanism and collective action, and which will be endorsed by all contributors.

This event falls in the follow up phase of two projects implemented by the CST in the region - the "Southeast Europe Regional Programme on Strengthening the Capacity of Anti-corruption Authorities and Civil Society to Combat Corruption and Contribute to the UNCAC Review Process", funded by the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and the project on "Enhancing the Capacity of Civil Society on Anti-Corruption and Good Governance in the Western Balkans", funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), both of which place emphasis on multi-stakeholder initiatives in the fight against corruption.

For further information:

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/civil-society-and-private-sector-agree-on-principles-for-partnership-on-addressing-corruption-in-see.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/corruption/

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ngos/CN0-anti-corruption-activities.html

Results of UNODC work in South Eastern Europe presented to Member States in Vienna

23 January 2019, Vienna, Austria: On the occasion of the second formal meeting of the standing open-ended intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC, key aspects of the UNODC work in South Eastern Europe in 2018 were presented to Member States.

This meeting, which was addressed by the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, provided a platform for a discussion on strategic matters, including strengthening the UNODC financial situation and governance, the UN reform and its implications for UNODC, mainstreaming a gender perspective into the practices, policies and programmes of UNODC, as well as the geographical representation and gender balance in the composition of its staff.

UNODC presented a detailed overview of achievements in various areas of work under the Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe, highlighting the stable implementation and growth.

In this regard, UNODC pointed out the successful work under the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP), including an impressive seizure of over 650kg of cocaine with the market value of over €180 million, the broadening of inter-regional exchanges and the launch of the CCP Air Cargo in Albania.

In the area of arms control, UNODC referred to its continued involvement in the policy making in the region, including in the context of the led by Germany and France Regional Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms in the Western Balkans.

It was pointed out that in the area of countering trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM), the UNODC work in 2018 focused on the development of national SOM curricula and capacity building activities on combating TIP for forced criminality and TIP facilitated through the abuse of internet-based technologies.

The UNODC research initiative - the project "Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans" - was also mentioned as good practices, including in the context of completion in 2018 of the database and both quantitative and qualitative data collections.

Another important aspect of UNODC work in South Eastern Europe, namely the efforts against illicit financial flows, was highlighted as a flagship field for engagement. Here, the UNODC-CEPOL regional project on financial investigations was mentioned, including the numerous capacity building activities that took place in 2018. Furthermore, cooperation with the Government of Russia, as well as the Government of Turkey was specifically referred to, including the trainings at the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime.

UNODC referred to its anti-corruption work, in particular in the context of the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the work with civil society and the academia.

The UNODC activities to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorism fighters were also presented.

Referring to the work on prevention and treatment of drug use in South Eastern Europe, UNODC presented multiple successful results in 2018, which are part of the long-term active work of the Office in the region. Within the UNODC's partnership with the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme alone, over 8,500 children were reached to date.

Details of the work in each of the above and other areas are available on this webpage.

In 2019, UNODC will continue its efforts under the current Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe to further consolidate on the achieved results and developed partnerships, and will also develop the new 2020-2023 Regional Programme, for which UNODC has received encouragement from the Governments in the region.

National capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering terrorism supported by UNODC

22-23 January 2019, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: According to the Europol's latest report on the terrorist threat in the European Union TESAT 2018, one of the main threats to the jurisdictions of South Eastern Europe (SEE) is the return home of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs). To help counter this threat in Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNODC organized the second national workshop on challenges related to the return and relocation of FTFs aimed to enhance the national capacities in detecting and intercepting returning FTFs, in particular at borders, as well as improve regional cooperation on this matter.

The event brought together 26 representatives from the national authorities addressing terrorism, including the Ministries of Security, Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs, the Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA), the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), as well as the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNODC.

During the event, upon the request of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, experts from Turkey and France provided an overview of their experiences, challenges and lessons learned related to the detection and interception of FTFs. Regional organizations, including SEE, RACVIAC, SELEC, and INTERPOL provided summaries of their respective engagements in the region and shared their views on improving international and regional cooperation in countering the FTF threat. Other topics addressed during the workshop included the international and national legal framework applicable to the FTF phenomenon, as well as the analysis of real-life cases of returning FTFs.

The workshop was delivered under the UNODC "Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe", funded by the European Union.

Under the project, four national workshops for the beneficiary jurisdictions are scheduled to take place annually until 2020. The first national workshop for Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in Sarajevo, in October 2017, and focused on the normative and administrative challenges related to the FTF threat.

UNODC presents results of work in South Eastern Europe at the Lions Quest Europa meeting

17-19 January 2019, Warsaw, Poland: Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) organized an annual Lions Quest Europa (LQE) meeting with Lions Club Country Directors, Lions Quest trainers from Europe and international partners to discuss the strategic expansion objectives and the results of the programme implementation.

Considering the successful cooperation with the LCIF in the implementation of the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme in South Eastern Europe and the programme's expansion now to Guatemala, El Salvador and Côte d'Ivoire, UNODC presented the results of the programme's evaluation related to the effectiveness of the delivered interventions on prevention of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use.

The presented positive findings of the evaluation portrayed statistically significant results in terms of substance use and intentions to use substances among the groups of students who participated in the programme during a one-year implementation cycle.

The results were considered as very important and useful as a scientific argument for further dissemination of the programme globally and for additional understanding of the value of substance use prevention and of the social emotional learning interventions.

Additionally, the current expansion of the programme cycle in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with slightly longer implementation modality was presented to the audience as of interest for further evaluation on the effectiveness of the programme. Following the hypothesis that longer implementation modality might attain greater project results, the further evaluation and comparative analysis among various implementation modalities will scientifically demonstrate the comparative advantages, thus availing evidence-based facts for additional consideration of professionals involved in direct implementation and promotion of the programme.

The LQE meeting was attended by 85 participants, 32 Country Directors and coordinators, 50 Lions Quest trainers and 3 international guests and programme partners. The next LQE meeting is scheduled for January 2020 in Kiev, Ukraine.

 

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