Tashkent, 3 May 2019 - Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has called for stronger, balanced regional cooperation on drug control to ensure a healthy, secure and sustainable future for Central Asia.
Speaking at the Eleventh ministerial meeting of the States Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding on Sub-regional drug control cooperation (MoU), hosted by the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Fedotov congratulated the State Parties to the MoU on the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration and welcomed their joint commitment to addressing illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse.
"The MoU continues to provide a strong platform for discussing drug control in the region and beyond, and to identify priorities for cooperation in addressing drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime," said Mr. Fedotov.
Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, host of the event, said: "This historic document has become a solid foundation for the development and implementation of specific joint measures in response to the threat of drug trafficking in the region. It paved the way for a number of important practical initiatives, including the establishment of the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center (CARICC) and the implementation of UNODC technical assistance programs aimed at supporting the parties to the Memorandum."
He also noted that "to make further progress in the field of drug control, it is important to reinforce the focus on strengthening border and customs control aimed at identifying and suppressing drug trafficking channels; improve the forms and methods of cooperation between law enforcement agencies of states in combating illicit drug trafficking; and study and implement modern achievements of forensic science for the investigation and prevention of crimes in the field of illicit drug trafficking."
The meeting of the parties brought together a number of high-level officials, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin; the First deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdi; the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov; the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic Azizbek Madmarov; the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan Ovezdurdy Hojanyyazov; the Chief Executive Officer, Health Services, the Aga Khan Development Network Mahbat Bakhromov; the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Vladimir Norov, as a special guest, as well as donors and international organizations.
Underscoring UNODC's support for the MoU parties' efforts, Mr. Fedotov said: "UNODC remains committed to working with you, to provide technical assistance, enhance cooperation and mobilize international support based on the principle of common and shared responsibility. I am very pleased that the Ministerial Declaration reiterates the commitment of the MoU Parties to strengthen multilateral cooperation within the framework of the MoU, in close coordination with UNODC."
UNODC delivers technical assistance in the region through the Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019) and the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (2016-2019). The Ministerial Declaration has welcomed the achievements of these programmes, which will be entering their next phase in 2020.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Sub-regional drug control cooperation (MoU) was signed in 1996 in Tashkent and promotes drug control cooperation between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).