UNODC and Japan host Conference on Facilitating Trade While Interdicting Unwanted Flows between Afghanistan and Pakistan

UNODC co-hosts Conference on Facilitating Trade While Interdicting Unwanted Flows between Afghanistan and PakistanTokyo (Japan), 2 December 2019 - A two-day high-level conference bringing together the counter-narcotics and law enforcement authorities from Afghanistan and Pakistan was facilitated and hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan from 26-27 November 2019.

Senior officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan focused on three thematic areas: illicit trafficking of drugs and precursor chemicals; trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants; and smuggling of commercial goods and contraband items. They brainstormed current and emerging challenges and shared successful experiences.

The officials also recommended an Action Plan for promoting regional cooperation against various transnational criminal elements and their nexus that generates an illegal economy which can potentially fuel instability and terrorism. A Joint Statement was agreed and considered to be adopted, upon approvals by the respective national authorities.

Katsuhiko Takahashi, Assistant Minister and Director General of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau and Japan's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: "While we stand committed to support Afghanistan and Pakistan in their endeavors against various forms of illicit trafficking and transnational organized crime, we consider regional cooperation to be a key to success. We look forward to developing a joint strategy with UNODC for addressing common challenges, as identified at this landmark conference", he said.

Jeremy Milsom, UNODC Representative in Pakistan highlighted that many initiatives were underway for improving connectivity, as well as boosting trade and commerce between Afghanistan and Pakistan. "While all of this is important and welcomed, an increase in trade volumes at the crossing points warrants additional counter-measures, for mitigating the risks of illicit trafficking. It necessitates development of a comprehensive strategy encompassing provision of required resources, improved interagency coordination and streamlined procedures for quickly handling the commercial consignments", said Mr. Milsom.

Mohammad Hashim Aurtaq, the Deputy Minister of Counter-narcotics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan said "Afghanistan has been combating the menace of poppy cultivation and drug trafficking since a long time, and at a great cost. We want to find workable solutions for addressing common challenges, in close collaboration with our brotherly country Pakistan".

Amjad Javid Saleemi, Federal Secretary from the Ministry of Narcotics Control of Pakistan highlighted the challenges of illicit drug trafficking, as well historical relationship between the two neighboring countries. "Pakistan is a transit and destination country for the drugs being produced in Afghanistan. It is also faced with increased trafficking of psychotropic substances and synthetic drugs. The two countries have strong bonds, based on social and cultural heritage and a blood relationship. Therefore, Pakistan looks forward to strengthening regional partnerships, and supporting Afghanistan in drug supply reduction. Facilitating trade while interdicting unwanted flows will improve the quality of life of those living below the poverty line".

The event was organized by the UNODC Country Office Pakistan under an ongoing project funded by the Government of Japan, entitled "Secured Borders with reduced illicit drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime". It aims to contribute towards strengthening the rule of law, stability, human rights and effective governance, under the Sustainable Development Goal 16: "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions".

Further Information:

UNODC Office Pakistan