On 18 October, UNODC’s Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA) organized a side event “UNODC integrated border management and countering terrorism portfolio in Central Asia” on the margins of the high-level conference “International and Regional Border Security and Management Cooperation to Counter Terrorism and Prevent the Movement of Terrorists” held on 18-19 October 2022 in Dushanbe.
The event brought together representatives from the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, government agencies and civil society organizations from other countries, diplomatic missions, international development partners, UN agencies, and media, among others.
“Promoting regional cooperation and strengthening border management and security is an important pillar of the UNODC technical cooperation programme in Central Asia. There is a need for concerted action and appropriate solutions, based on solid experience and best practices, to mitigate risks and threats to safety and security posed by organized cross-border crime in the region,” said Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, in her opening remarks.
Mr. Masood Karimipour, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch, UNODC Headquarters, noted that “UNODC recognizes the challenges that states face in addressing these threats and we have recently launched a new Global Programme on Preventing and Countering Terrorism which will guide our work to support the Member States, and which increasingly takes a people-centered, inclusive and preventative approach. We look forward to supporting the states in Central Asia to address their complex and transnational challenges related to terrorism at their request.”
UNODC ROCA team briefed the participants on the UNODC’s current programme portfolio, expertise and knowledge resources on counterterrorism, integrated border management, prevention of violent extremism and other dimensions of cross-border cooperation to prevent the movement of terrorists.
The briefing also provided a presentation of the newly launched project “Enhancing border management and security in response to terrorist threats in Central Asia”, funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
“Terrorism does not stop at borders, and it is, therefore, crucial that border management is strengthened. It is key to protect the Central Asian states against a possible spillover of terrorists from Afghanistan and to prevent the deterioration of security, stability, and human rights in the area,” noted Dr. Andreas Prothmann, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Tajikistan.
The event provided a platform for discussions of organized cross-border crime threats and challenges and ways to address them effectively.
Ms. Ashita Mittal reiterated UNODC ROCA’s commitment to continue and expand its programmes in the region in partnership with the governments, civil society and all other bilateral and multilateral stakeholders.
UNODC has been present in the Central Asian region since 1993. It supports the five Central Asian countries in addressing the trafficking of illicit drugs, people, firearms and commodities, preventing and countering organized crime, corruption, violent extremism and terrorism, as well as promoting drugs and crime prevention and criminal justice and rule of law reforms.
On the margins of the high-level international conference, UNODC organized an exhibition to showcase its work and achievements in border management and security and countering terrorism in Central Asia.