6 May 2015 - Cooperation and coordination are essential to counter the problem of illicit drugs in Central Asia, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said in Turkmenistan, at an event - the renewing of a regional anti-drug trafficking pact known as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - hosted by the Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashid Meredov.
"No country can tackle the threats of drugs and crime alone, and revitalizing this Memorandum of Understanding is an important step towards promoting integrated national, regional and inter-regional responses and strengthening drug control cooperation in Central Asia," said Mr. Fedotov.
The UNODC Chief delivered his remarks to foreign ministers, deputy ministers and heads of drug control agencies at the Ninth meeting of the MOU on Sub-regional Drug Control Cooperation, held 4-5 May 2015 in Ashgabat. Discussing UNODC's own contribution to these collective efforts, Mr. Fedotov said, "UNODC has been working with the countries of the region to strengthen national drug control agencies and other law enforcement bodies as part of a comprehensive, balanced approach to addressing the challenges posed by illicit drugs."
Mr. Fedotov also stressed the need for an integrated approach to meet the challenges of illicit drugs and crime. "[UNODC's] inter-regional drug control and 'networking the networks' approaches linking country, regional and global programmes that operate along the Afghan opiate routes offer a further platform for enhancing connectivity to confront the challenges of illicit drug trafficking," he said.
The Ninth meeting adopted a Declaration that stressed the importance and continued relevance of the Memorandum of Understanding on Sub-regional Drug Control Cooperation in contributing to enhanced regional and international cooperation to better counter trafficking of drugs and related illicit financial flows, especially within the framework of shared responsibility. It also reiterated the commitment of the MOU Parties to highlight the importance of robust regional and international cooperation as a contribution to consultations taking place worldwide in the context of the preparatory process leading up to the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS).
The MOU was signed in May 1996 in Tashkent by the Governments of the five Central Asian states and UNODC. The Russian Federation and the Aga Khan Development Network joined the pact in 1998, followed by Azerbaijan in 2001. Annual MOU meetings have previously been held in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.