1 November 2017 - With one quarter of Afghan opium trafficked through the Central Asian region, participants at the 10th Review Meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation agreed on the need for greater cooperation and a common strategy to confront this fluid challenge. The meeting was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and opened by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
In his speech at the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said cooperation is fundamental to address threats such as illicit financial flows and terrorism financing, precursor trafficking and the spread of new psychoactive substances.
Mr. Abdrakhmanov called for joint efforts towards building a society free from use of narcotics. "This year Kazakhstan has become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and is strongly committed to international and regional cooperation in combating terrorism, extremism, and drug trafficking," said Mr. Abdrakhmanov.
"There is a shared global responsibility for this problem, with billions of dollars in profits from opiate trafficking to major consumer markets worldwide, and hundreds of tons of precursor chemicals being diverted from licit international markets to Afghanistan," he said.
The event brought together senior officials from the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan), Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and the Aga Khan Development Network to discuss the numerous challenges and threats to the region posed by drug trafficking.
This year, the meeting focused on the decade of activities undertaken by the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), and its sustainability.
In his address, Grigory Pustovitov, Director of CARICC, assured that the Centre and the Council of National Coordinators will make every effort to preserve and multiply the results achieved by the former leadership of the Centre.
The meeting included the adoption of a declaration recognizing the importance of the MoU on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation in contributing towards enhanced regional and international cooperation to counter trafficking of drugs.
This declaration was called a "roadmap" to combine the efforts of the Central Asian States. It is a political commitment that shapes the implementation of the efforts to strengthen border and drug control, and related law enforcement agencies.
In 1996, the five Central Asian states and UNODC signed the original MoU in Tashkent. The Russian Federation and the Aga Khan Development Network joined two years later in 1998, and were followed by Azerbaijan in 2001.
MoU meetings have previously been held in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. The UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019), signed by all countries of the region in May 2015 in Ashgabat, is the main vehicle for activities under the MoU.