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On 11 November and 19-20 November 2020 Mr. R.Miralizoda, Director of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC), and other representatives participated in the 33rd Plenary Meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) via videoconference.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Yu.Chikhanchin (Russian Federation), Chairman of EAG, and Mr. F.Bilolov (Republic of Tajikistan), Vice-Chairman of EAG.
The event was attended by representatives of 9 EAG Member States (Republic of Belarus, Republic of India, Republic of Kazakhstan, People's Republic of China, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan), the FATF Secretariat along with 13 states and 18 organizations - observers of the Group.
During the meeting participants noted that despite restrictive measures associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, EAG member states continue to work together to strengthen national AML/CFT systems. Significant attention is being paid to identifying, analyzing and mitigating risks of ML/FT in the Eurasian region, which is becoming particularly important due to trends emerging in the pandemic. To this end, additional technical assistance is being provided to EAG member states.
The meeting considered amendments to the Procedures for the 2nd round of mutual evaluations.
By decision of the meeting, evaluation cycle of EAG remains suspended with the possibility to apply reasonable flexibility in its renewal. A new schedule for evaluation of India has been approved together with a schedule of EAG Plenary Sessions.
Participants heard reports of the Secretariat on implementation of pilot project on coordination of technical assistance to the Republic of Tajikistan as well as on provision of technical assistance to the Republic of Kazakhstan. Also approved was a concept note on establishment of EAG experts pool, which should facilitate effective and timely selection of the most qualified candidates for short-term and urgent projects in the field of AML/CFT.
The meeting agreed on concept of preparing a document on conducting financial investigations in the Eurasian region, which was discussed on 11 November 2020 during a meeting of the Working Group On Typologies And Countering Financing Of Terrorism And Crime (WGTYP).
Ms. T.Evdokimova, CARICC representative, informed the WGTYP on implementation of the Regional Programme “DISRUPTION”, CARICC studies and possible assistance in preparation of documents on financial investigations.
The Plenary adopted a report on the EAG Secretariat activities in intersessional period and endorsed the EAG Work Plan for 2021.
It was mentioned that the EAG member states carry out significant work on identification and analysis of new methods of ML/FT in the region, contribute to raising awareness among public authorities, private sector on the latest global trends and emerging risks, and take active steps to strengthen international cooperation to enhance national AML/CFT systems.
34th EAG Plenary will be hosted in May 2021 in the Republic of Tajikistan.
Work of subsidiary bodies of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption was carried out via videoconference between 16 and 20 November 2020, such as the second resumed session of the Implementation Review Group, the fourteenth session of the Working Group on Asset Recovery, the ninth Open-ended Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on International Cooperation and the second intersessional meeting on the preparation for the special session of the General Assembly against corruption.
CARICC employees took part in these events remotely online as observers.
These events focused on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation in this area.
Delegates gave priority to asset recovery and to intensifying synergies as well as consolidating efforts of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
In addition, CARICC employee participated in a meeting of the Steering Committee of the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport on November 16 this year also remotely as an observer. This is an initiative that aims to bring together international sports organizations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate corruption and promote a culture of good governance in and around sport.
Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors in conjunction with the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries held a video-conference de-briefing on results of the regional operation “REFLEX-2019” on 18 November 2020, which was joined by representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The regional operation “REFLEX-2019” was carried out on the territory of the above mentioned participating states during the period from 21 October to 21 November 2019 and was aimed, like the previous two (“REFLEX-2017”, “REFLEX-2018”), at combating proliferation of new psychoactive substances, psychotropic substances and other synthetic drugs.
CARICC performed overall coordination of the operation at the regional level, while national drug control bodies of participating states were in charge at the national level. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime provided organizational and financial support for events related to the operation.
National coordinating and competent authorities of participating states as a result of “REFLEX-2019” seized 6 tons 682 kg 758 g and 53242 tablets of new psychoactive substances and other synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances as well as 19 tons 947 kg of precursors, which is at least 4% more than the previous operation in weight (excluding tablets and precursors) and 19% more than seizures during “REFLEX-2017”.
In addition to investigating and prosecuting persons suspected of drug crimes involving the seizure of illicit substances, participating states conducted a wide range of legislative, organizational, informational, analytical and methodological actions at the national level, which will undoubtedly serve to increase capacity of drug control entities, states involved in the operation to combat distribution of new psychoactive substances and other synthetic drugs.
Major-General Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, CARICC Director, opened the online de-briefing. He expressed gratitude to all participants of the regional operation and partners from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and noted the importance of consolidated joint efforts of participating states to combat new psychoactive substances and other synthetic drugs both in the region and worldwide. He also indicated the Centre’s willingness to provide full support to initiatives in this direction.
During the event CARICC presented a regional report on results of RO “REFLEX-2019” in Russian and English with analysis, conclusions and recommendations for use by competent authorities of participating states to further improve efficiency of work in countering NPS.
Participants of de-briefing presented relevant information on drug situation in countries in their country reports, and, pointing out the importance and effectiveness of joint work to reduce drug threat in the region, came to a consensus on the need to continue regional operation “REFLEX” in future.
Following results of de-briefing, participants made a number of recommendations to improve further joint work in this direction and stated their readiness to plan and implement further measures in the nearest future.
On 3 and 4 November 2020, a webinar was held by videoconference for middle and senior law enforcement officials of the Republic of Kazakhstan on: “Law enforcement based on intelligence and use of computer software” organized by the “Drug law enforcement systems for collection, analysis and exchange of intelligence and other information and intelligence led policing” Component and Border Cooperation Component of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia in conjunction with CARICC.
Mr. Rasoul Rakhimov, Manager of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia, and Mr. Naweed Riaz, Head of the UNODC Programme Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan, made welcoming remarks.
During two days of work to enhance capacity of law enforcement agencies in collection of intelligence for detection of drug crimes and law enforcement based on intelligence, the participants were shown presentations by UNODC experts Mr. Naweed Riaz and Mr. Denis Toichiev, as well as by CARICC staff members Ms. Alevtina Tiurina, IAP senior analyst, and Ms. Tatiana Evdokimova, IAP analyst.
It was mentioned by the participants that such trainings contribute to improvement of professional level of competent authorities' employees and spread best practices of intelligence use.
Mr. Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, CARICC Director, joined and addressed participants of the Fifth Steering Committee Meeting of the UNODC Regional Programme for Central Asia in a videoconference on 4 November 2020.
In his speech, CARICC Director highlighted that over the years of implementation of the Regional Programme, the Centre has become a major platform for exchange of experience, expertise and research to counter transnational organized crime, and informed the meeting participants about the most significant aspects of CARICC activities.
The meeting was attended by Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, delegations of national competent authorities of the Programme Member States, coordinators of UNODC international programmes, as well as representatives of donor countries and partners. More than 100 people in total took part in the event.
The meeting discussed results of implementation of the Programme for 2015-2020, reviewed a working plan for 2021, as well as proposals for a new phase of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia for 2021-2025.
Representative of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors participated in an online meeting of the Regional Working Group on Forensic Capacity and illicit Drugs (RWGFD) on 22 October 2020 convened under the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries, organized by the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia.
The meeting was attended by delegations from the Regional Programme countries (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan) and experts from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), CARICC and UNODC global programmes.
The event discussed the latest trends related to narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their analogues and precursors in the region of West and Central Asia, as well as organization of forensic examination. Delegations from countries participating in the Regional Working Group also provided information on national priorities in this area.
A representative of CARICC made a presentation at the online meeting on “CARICC work on regional coordination of efforts to combat drug trafficking”.
Online meeting of the Regional Working Group resulted in recommendations containing regional responses, including a strategy and plans for joint action.
Participants stressed the importance of cooperation by expanding international cooperation, sharing good practices and conducting events in this format in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Annual Thematic Discussions of the CND 2020 (thematic discussions) were held on October 19-21, 2020 in Vienna during the 3rd inter-sessional meeting of the CND.
The event of 2020 under COVID-19 conditions was held at the Vienna International Center in a hybrid format (with partial personal participation of delegates combined with virtual participation via videoconference).
Representatives of CARICC took part in the thematic discussions as observers in videoconference mode.
Annual thematic debates share best practices, challenges and lessons learned by Member States in implementing all international drug policy commitments and are a key part of the forward-looking process led by the CND.
In the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, Member States, while recognizing the tangible progress made over the past decade, noted with concern the persisting and emerging challenges posed by the world drug problem and committed to accelerating the response to meet all commitments, operational recommendations and set goals.
In the analytical part of the 2019 Declaration, Member States identified a number of challenges to effective implementation of international commitments, and in discussions held in 2020 they brought them to the attention of delegates. The Commission's thematic discussions were preceded by opening speeches and presentations by UNODC representatives.
The three-day format of the event, designed to reach a global audience, included discussions with participation of experts from each regional group, experts from other relevant United Nations organizations, international organizations and specialized agencies, including representatives of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as experts from civil society.
In particular, they discussed drug treatment, increasing number of deaths from drug use, adverse health effects and risks associated with new psychoactive substances (NPS) that have reached alarming levels worldwide, etc.
The discussion touched upon the topic of mechanisms and deadlines for establishing international control over NPS. The necessity of introducing mechanisms for early warning of the properties and harm of the first-time detected NPS, introduction of accelerated methods of collection, analysis of relevant information and development of methodologies for their research was especially emphasized.
Speakers and delegates stressed the need to strengthen mechanisms for cooperation and speedy information exchange, to establish and expand public-private partnership mechanisms at national and international levels, to make efforts to address problematic issues in a timely manner and to remove obstacles to practical interaction.
On 19 October 2020, a staff member of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors joined an online meeting of the Regional Working Group on Precursors hosted by the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia, which is held on a regular quarterly basis as part of the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries.
The meeting was attended by delegations from the Regional Programme countries and experts from the International Narcotics Control Board, CARICC and UNODC global programmes such Paris Pact initiative.
The event discussed recent trends in precursor control in the West and Central Asia region and national priorities in this area.
CARICC staff member made a presentation on “Information on situation with illicit trafficking of precursors in CARICC Member States”.
The Regional Working Group concluded with a decision to develop a regional response, including a strategy and joint action plans.
Participants highlighted the importance of events in this format and opportunity to share information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major-General Rustam Miralizoda, Centre Director, met with Mr. Michael Nowacoski, Assistant Regional Director of the US DEA Middle East Region Office on 2 October 2020 in CARICC.
In the course of the meeting the parties discussed current topics of the Center's work in the context of coronavirus infection pandemic and assistance in implementation of joint counter-narcotics operations.
Furthermore, the parties highlighted the importance of developing international and regional cooperation despite difficult situation with coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to organize similar meetings at least once a quarter.
Second regional working meeting of Steering Committees established under the Border Component of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia was held on September 30, 2020 within the framework of the Sub-Programme 1 “Countering Transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and preventing terrorism” of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia.
The meeting was moderated by Mr. Yusuf Kurbonov, UNODC International Programme Coordinator. In her opening speech, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative, thanked all beneficiaries of the regional project for their strong commitment and expressed her readiness for a continued partnership in combating drug trafficking in the region.
Project beneficiaries from all participating countries in Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, who took part in the working meeting, presented update on achieved results, as well as planned activities under the Border Component.
CARICC was represented at the online meeting by Mr. Yury Chikalov, Acting Head of IAP. In accordance with agenda, he delivered a presentation on “Illicit trafficking of drugs in Central Asia before and during COVID-19 pandemic” and provided details on the Centre's engagement in implementation of the component in recent years.
During the meeting, national programme managers and UNODC partners from each member country informed the meeting about the progress made so far in implementing the project amidst the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the region and in countries. They also touched upon the project work plan, which needs to be reviewed with regard to quarantine restrictions. In addition, project team drew participants' attention to national and regional events and trainings planned for October-December 2020.
Mr. Rustam Miralizoda, CARICC Director, and Mr. Eser Çengel, Director of the Regional Office for Institutional Development of the Regional Office for Capacity building for the World Customs Organization Europe Region (ROCB Europe), met on September 24, 2020 in the format of videoconference.
The meeting was also attended by staff members of the regional centers, Mr. Naweed Riaz, UNODC international coordinator and CARICC project coordinator, and authorized representatives of national competent authorities of CARICC Member States.
During the meeting parties made presentations on following topics: “CARICC as a platform for international and regional cooperation” and “Foundation, mission, focus areas and activities of the Regional Office for Capacity building for the World Customs Organization Europe Region”.
After learning about goals, objectives and work of organizations it was decided to strengthen cooperation and practical interaction.
CARICC plans to implement this direction of action within the framework of the UNODC initiative on “Networking the Networks" - to establish and expand ties between regional organizations.
On 19 September 2020 the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors hosted a meeting of Major-General R. Miralizoda, Director, with Lieutenant-General Ye.Turgumbayev, Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The meeting discussed practical cooperation in combating drug trafficking, information exchange, international joint operations, and challenges related to CARICC work.
Mr. R.Miralizoda expressed his gratitude to the Kazakh side for the support provided to the Centre, including financial, and also stated his hope for further support in addressing matters of development of the Organization's activity.
In his statement, the Minister of Internal Affairs remarked that “Kazakhstan attaches the utmost importance to CARICC efforts. Today the Centre is a unique project that has not only achieved certain results, but also has great prospects in expanding counter narcotics. We firmly believe in effectiveness of CARICC as a regional anti-drug entity. Therefore, Kazakhstan has assumed responsibilities of a host country and is making voluntary contributions to CARICC”.
Mr. Ye.Turgumbayev also added that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan is an active user of the CARICC Central Database and uploads essential information regularly.
The meeting concluded with agreements reached on further development of constructive and balanced international cooperation in combating drug trafficking.