ISTANBUL/VIENNA, 13 December 2013 - Crime fighting agencies from across the globe met yesterday in Istanbul, at the start of a two-day conference hosted by the Turkish government, to discuss greater coordination of efforts against drug trafficking, and other forms of transnational organized crime.
Speaking at the opening, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said: "This new initiative is about leveraging combined strengths, region to region, to effectively counter drug trafficking networks with stronger, more united networks of our own."
Head of the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department (KOM) of the Turkish National Police, Mehmet Yeşilkaya, in his own statement, welcomed the initiative which, he said, "will contribute to widening the existing dialogue and create a sustainable platform for the relevant international and regional organizations."
Named "Networking the networks" the initiative offers an innovative approach to confronting illicit drugs and crime and will link bodies such as the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Centre (CARICC), the Gulf Criminal Intelligence Centre (GCIC), the Joint Planning Cell (JPC), the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC), the Asia-Pacific Information and Coordination Center for Combating Drug Crimes (APICC), among others, to create better coordination, greater sharing of information and better assistance in tracking criminal proceeds.
The initiative also forms part of an overall inter-regional drug control approach, which was developed to address the challenges stemming from Afghanistan, and is based on shared responsibility outlined under the Paris Pact Initiative - a broad international coalition of over 70 countries united against opiates.
UNODC also presented its latest report on drug trafficking along the Balkan route. Together with the Northern and Southern routes, the Balkan route is one of the main trafficking routes and moves between 60 to 65 tons of heroin from Afghanistan into Western and Central Europe.
Global proceeds from illicit drugs are estimated by UNODC to be some US$ 320 billion annually, some of which comes from opiates. Trafficking in opiates is worth around US$ 68 billion annually with some 75 per cent of the world's opiate supply coming from Afghanistan.
UNODC's aims in combating these challenges are also supported by regional entities including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the World Customs Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as well as by ASEANAPOL, Europol and Interpol.
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