29 February 2012 - UNODC convened a meeting of the International Forensic Strategic Alliance in Vienna on 28 and 29 February to encourage international cooperation in forensic science. Specifically, the meeting of the alliance of forensics networks was aimed at advocating for quality standards in forensic science, promoting the sharing of expertise between member networks and assisting in the development of new regional forensic science networks.
Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime. New developments both in forensic science and in policing practices are making such techniques known worldwide. Forensic science services play a fundamental role in the criminal investigation and prosecution process, including in relation to crimes that transcend international borders. Knowledge transfer, access to information and standardization of procedures through cooperation and partnerships is crucial to ensuring that all Member States benefit equally from developments in forensic science.
"UNODC welcomes recent discussions between UNODC and the International Forensic Strategic Alliance (IFSA), which have led to the identification of drug trafficking, crime scene investigation and forensic document examination as priority areas for collaboration," said Sandeep Chawla, UNODC Deputy Executive Director.
Through its global forensic and scientific programme, UNODC seeks to ensure that Member States have access to, and use of, quality forensic science services in support of their efforts against drugs, crime and terrorism.
Formed in 2007, IFSA is an alliance of forensics networks representing 82 countries and more than 550 forensic institutions worldwide. The contribution of IFSA member networks to UNODC activities, including the development of forensic best practice guidelines and technical assistance, is crucial in helping UNODC to ensure that all Members States use internationally accepted standards and services.
UNODC has previously collaborated with established forensic science networks, including the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes, the American Society of Crime Lab Directors and Senior Managers of Australian and New Zealand Forensic Laboratories.
UNODC has also been instrumental in the formation of new networks, including the Asian Forensic Sciences Network and the Southern Africa Regional Forensic Science Network.
At the conclusion of the meeting in Vienna, an agreement was reached to adopt, review and promote the use of a minimum standard that guarantees an acceptable level of quality and interoperability. IFSA seeks to address crime scene examination and evidence management as the starting point of all forensic processes; the proper collection, analysis and interpretation of DNA-based evidence, which is critical for the exclusion of suspect(s); and drug analysis to obtain accurate drug data for effective policy decisions.