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Monday, 14 September 2020 12:24

CARICC staff participate in Inter-regional Expert Meeting

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An online expert meeting was hosted within the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (Inter-regional Network) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organization Global Container Control Programme on 10-11 September 2020.

The meeting brought together representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, CARICC, the World Customs Organization, diplomatic missions of donor countries and other international organizations, and customs authorities and customs control services of member countries of the Inter-regional Network (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and the Republic of Uzbekistan), and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which expressed its interest in joining the Network.

Foundation of the Inter-regional Network, established upon signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on Network foundation by heads of customs administrations on May 22, 2019 in Tashkent, contributed to establishment and strengthening of practical interaction between customs services of the mentioned countries. A simplified mechanism of information exchange between national focal points of customs services and port control units is implemented within the Inter-regional Network.

Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, Mr. Ketil Ottersen (Vienna), Senior Coordinator of UNODC Global Container Control Programme, and Mr. Peter Timmermans (Brussels), WCO Technical Expert, addressed the meeting with welcome remarks.

The event was moderated by Mr. Batyr Geldiyev, Regional Programme Coordinator, and Mr. Peter Timmermans, and key speakers included international coordinators of UNODC programmes in Central Asia and representatives of customs authorities and customs control services of the countries participating in the Inter-regional Network.

Ms. Tatiana Evdokimova, CARICC representative, presented a report on the Center's work under international and regional cooperation in combating illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. Participants were introduced to results of a study on the use of container transportation for cross-border drug trafficking in 2018-2020 that was performed by CARICC Information and Analytical Unit personnel. Moreover, the CARICC representative emphasized the importance of analytical efforts aimed at addressing challenges of operational and strategic response to drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.

Participants underscored the need to strengthen mechanisms for cooperation and rapid information exchange, to establish and expand links, to address in a timely manner problematic aspects of practical interaction between national customs contacts and port control units of the countries participating in the Inter-regional Network, and to share information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the results of the UNODC meeting, recommendations will be developed for the countries participating in the Interregional Network.

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