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On 12 May 2021, Major-General R.A. Miralizoda, Director of the Centre, met with Colonel U. Sultanov, Head of the Drug Control Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. Mr. D. Toichiev, representative of the UNODC Programme Office in the Kyrgyz Republic, also took part in the meeting.
During the event they discussed areas of joint activities and directions of cooperation between the SBNON MVD of Kyrgyzstan and CARICC in countering drug trafficking and further development of collaboration within the mandate of the Centre, which to date is an effective mechanism for coordinating efforts of competent authorities of CARICC Member States in combating transnational drug crime.
In addition, discussions highlighted the UNODC's continued support towards the Centre and appreciation for efforts of competent authorities of CARICC Member States in seeking new coordinated, comprehensive and concerted ways and opportunities to tackle drug trafficking in the region.
Major-General R.A. Miralizoda, Director of CARICC, and Mr. Naweed Riaz, Head of the UNODC Programme Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan, met with H.E. Mr. John Mikal Kvistad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to the Republic of Kazakhstan, via videoconference on 29 April 2021.
This event was a continuation of dialogues that took place during bilateral meetings in Nur-Sultan from 20 to 26 April this year with heads of diplomatic missions and embassies of foreign countries, to discuss expansion of cooperation with CARICC and to assist in seeking additional funding for its activities.
During the meeting, Director of CARICC informed Mr. Ambassador that CARICC is one of the largest and most significant projects of UNODC and has 7 Member States and 17 Observer countries. The Centre under its mandate promotes, coordinates and supports efforts of countries in combating drug trafficking not only in the region, but also far beyond it, and carries out important analytical work.
Mr. Kvistad's attention was drawn to the potential of the Centre, not only in combating drugs, but also in countering international organized crime, terrorism, human trafficking and corruption.
In turn, Mr. Ambassador underscored the importance of CARICC and confirmed the need for increased cooperation. At the same time, it was suggested that part of funding allocated by Norway to UNODC for counter-terrorism programmes could be used for this purpose.
Conversation was open and constructive.
CARICC and UNODC delegation headed by Major-General R.A. Miralizoda, Director of the Centre, participated in bilateral meetings with heads of diplomatic missions and embassies of foreign countries in Nur-Sultan from 20 to 26 April 2021.
Visits were made to embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Sweden, the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Meetings were aimed at discussing expanded cooperation with CARICC and assistance in seeking additional funding for the Centre's activities.
Mr. R.A. Miralizoda, Director of CARICC, presented the Centre as one of the largest and most significant UNODC projects in Central Asia.
Importance of its establishment by the region's 7 heads of state was highlighted, as well as its 17 observer countries.
Main goals and objectives of the Centre were outlined, including assistance, coordination and support of regional countries in combating drug trafficking, combating drug trade to Europe and countries of South and East Asia.
Touching upon results of the Centre's work in operational segment over the past years, CARICC Director briefed about seizure of hundreds of tons of dangerous drugs, dismantling a significant number of drug channels of Afghan opiates all over the world. Significance of work carried out by liaison officers from all CARICC Member and Observer States in this direction was underlined.
Presentation also provided information on analytical work of CARICC, drug situation monitoring and forecasting, based on which countries of the region develop national anti-drug strategies and drug policies.
Attention of heads of diplomatic missions was drawn to the possibility of using potential of the Center not only in the fight against drugs, but also in countering international organized crime, terrorism, human trafficking and corruption.
Meetings were held in a constructive dialogue on full range of topics previously addressed at the 20 April 2021 donor conference.
20 April 2021 a donor conference on funding the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC) was held via videoconference.
The conference was supported by the Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It was attended by heads and representatives of diplomatic missions, international organizations accredited in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The purpose of the event is to discuss matters of mutual interest in view of CARICC's mandate in combating illicit drug trafficking, to use its potential, experience and resources, and to seek new cooperation arrangements in supporting the development of the Centre and its funding.
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Mr. Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, Director of CARICC, Mr. Akan Rakhmetullin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Arystangani Zapparov, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs, and Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia.
In his speech, Mr. R.A. Miralizoda briefed on results of the Centre's performance, its achievements, potential, and development prospects.
It was mentioned that the states of the region and permanent partners of the Centre regard it as an effective element of regional security, an effective platform for coordination of efforts on anti-drug track in Central Asia.
Over the years, CARICC has become an organization that provides a productive forum for Member States to shape appropriate responses to contemporary challenges and threats.
In turn, resource base of the Centre and experience of its staff members defines great prospects in expanding counteraction not only to drug trafficking and coordination of anti-drug work, but also in tackling transnational organized crime, terrorism, and human trafficking.
In conclusion, Mr. R.A. Miralizoda called on potential donors to review the possibility of providing financial support to the Centre for the most effective and qualitative performance of its tasks.
Ms. A. Mittal also highlighted CARICC's achievements and results, and stressed importance of the Centre on counter narcotics track in the Central Asian region.
She also identified as an important priority the need for adequate funding for the Centre, which is essential for its development and is in line with main directions of UNODC's core programmes in the region.
The Kazakhstani side reaffirmed its commitment to the main priorities of international cooperation in the anti-drug sphere, while noting the leading role of CARICC as a UNODC project uniting the joint efforts of 7 participating states and 17 observer countries.
During the meeting, the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. William Moser, also made a speech, who said that further donor assistance to the Center would be considered by the US Government after agreeing on the priority issues for the American side. These include the entry of Afghanistan and Turkey into the Center, the signing of the Agreement on the exchange and protection of classified information, as well as the formation of the position of the participating states on making voluntary contributions to its budget.
The conference was moderated by the Head of the UNODC Program Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Navid Riaz, who during the event made a presentation on the CARICC strategy and the efficiency of using its resources in the Central Asian region in countering not only drug trafficking, but also transnational organized crime. terrorism, human trafficking corruption.
In conclusion, Mr. Rustam Aziz Miralizoda, Director of CARICC thanked the participants and expressed hope that donor countries will find additional opportunities to finance the Center for its sustainable development.
On 14 April, CARICC jointly with the UNODC Programme Office in Almaty organized and conducted a side event entitled “CARICC: a leading platform for regional and international cooperation in countering drug trafficking and cross-border drug crime” during the 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).
The event was opened by Major-General R.A. Miralizoda, Director of CARICC. In his speech, he underscored that the Centre remains a fully functioning organization, fulfilling its tasks and playing a critical role in supporting CARICC Member States and partners in effectively combating transnational organized drug-related crime.
Mr. Naweed Riaz, Head of the UNODC Programme Office, in his welcoming address, pointed out the importance of mutual practical cooperation in the fight against organized crime, but also the need for donors to support the CARICC project financially.
Main session of the side event featured a video summarizing CARICC's work and a presentation outlining the Centre's potential to support efforts to counter transnational drug-related crime.
Authorized representatives of national coordinating bodies of CARICC Member States and liaison officers from Observer States participated in the meeting. Also, high-ranking officials from law enforcement agencies and international organizations - UNODC, OSCE, CSTO, SCO RATS, CIS ATC and other Centre's partners - took part online in the event. More than 90 participants joined the side event.
A webinar on “Priorities for Strengthening International Cooperation in the Fight Against Smuggling” convened by the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) of the World Customs Organization Europe Region took place on 16 March 2021 via videoconference with participation of representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for Combating Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC), Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) and European countries customs authorities.
Mr. Eser Çengel, Director of the ROCB, delivered opening remarks.
In their presentations, the SELEC representative outlined challenges and solutions of modern customs control, the UNODC representative mentioned significance of criminal justice cooperation in post-seizure cross-border drug investigations, and the ROCB representative also gave a presentation on methods of concealment in containers, unauthorized interference with filling device and manipulation of seals.
Ms. Tatiana EVDOKIMOVA, CARICC IAP analyst, shared results of a study on the use of container transportation for cross-border drug trade in 2018-2020 carried out by CARICC's Information and Analytical Unit.
Participants engaged organizers and international experts with questions, stressing the importance of online events and opportunities to share information in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 10-11 March 2021 CARICC together with UNODC held an expert working meeting with representatives of the General Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Financial Monitoring Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on development of national, interagency, cross-border cooperation mechanism effectively disrupting financial foundation of organized crime.
The event was organized to expand capacity of responsible authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan in carrying out parallel financial investigations and detection of financial flows derived from illicit drug trafficking, to strengthen and develop interagency and regional cooperation, and to upgrade skills in performing financial investigations.
The meeting reviewed international experience in combating money laundering, international standards requirements for conducting parallel financial investigations, trends in legalization of proceeds generated by illicit drug trafficking.
It was stated that interagency and cross-border mechanism of interaction between law enforcement, fiscal authorities and financial intelligence units plays a key role in disrupting financial resources of criminal groups.
Second seminar of the training course “Use of specialized software for data collection and analysis” was held in Nur-Sultan from 9 to 13 March 2021.
Training was delivered by experts of CARICC Information and Analytical Unit and research and liaison officer of the Paris Pact Initiative of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia to officers of the Situation Center of the Border Service of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
During practical sessions participants gained skills in processing and analyzing large data arrays and constructing dashboards in Microsoft Excel.
This training course is part of Border Cooperation Component of Sub-Programme 1 “Countering transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and preventing terrorism” of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia. This component is funded by the Government of Japan.
The training course was fully consistent with functional responsibilities of employees and was highly constructive and useful in their daily work. Participants of the training mentioned high level of organization of the event, professionalism of instructors and support provided by CARICC.
Mr. Rustam Miralizoda, CARICC Director, was on a meeting with Mr. Erkebek Ashirhodjaev, Deputy Minister of Interior, in Bishkek on 3 March 2021 during his working trip to the Kyrgyz Republic.
Also present at the meeting were heads of key units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. E. Ashirhodjaev thanked CARICC leadership for long-term cooperation, mentioning that the Centre has made a significant contribution to efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking in the region and has gained high prestige in the international arena.
CARICC Director informed the Kyrgyz side about successful operations seizing large consignments of drugs and stated the need for further fruitful cooperation in this area.
The parties discussed further development of mutual relations within the framework of joint efforts of responsible authorities of CARICC Member States in countering transnational drug crime. Additionally, they recognized efforts of competent authorities of CARICC Member States in identifying new coordinated, comprehensive and concerted ways and opportunities to build reliable barriers against large-scale drug penetration in the region.
Mr. Rustam Miralizoda, CARICC Director, met with Mr. Nuran Niyazaliev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, in Bishkek on 3 March 2021.
During the meeting CARICC Director briefed the Kyrgyz side on current situation in the Centre, prospects for enhanced bilateral and multilateral cooperation and joint collaboration within regional and international organizations in effectively countering illicit drug trafficking in the region and beyond. Successful interaction with competent authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic was mentioned, especially 14 anti-drug operations, starting from 2016 up to the present time.
The parties underscored the necessity to develop mechanisms of interaction of Kyrgyzstan relevant authorities with CARICC and other participants, international organizations and partners on current projects and programmes.
Plenary Meeting of the Network of Prosecutors and Central Authorities from Source, Transit and Destination Countries in response to Transnational Organized Crime in Central Asia and the South Caucasus (CASC Network), attended by representatives of CARICC, took place on 25 and 26 February 2021 via videoconference.
CASC Network is a UNODC initiative in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which aims to help improve international cooperation in criminal cases under investigation and to coordinate and establish contacts between prosecutors' offices of participating countries and prosecutors' offices of countries that are not members of the Network.
More than 50 participants were registered for the meeting, representing 8 member countries of the CASC Network, 10 invited countries as well as 7 international organizations and UNODC projects.
Mrs. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, delivered welcome remarks, noting the importance of developing international cooperation in countering crime.
The meeting discussed further steps for cooperation within the CASC Network and work plan for 2021, expanding interregional cooperation on criminal cases under investigation, sharing best practices and views on specific issues, including human trafficking, drug trafficking, asset recovery, and other relevant topics.
Centre employees offered a presentation on “CARICC: a Platform for International and Regional Cooperation”, which, among other things, demonstrated the Centre's existing capacity to assist in criminal investigations related to countering transnational organized crime.
Staff member of CARICC Information and Analytical Unit and a research and liaison officer of the Paris Pact Initiative of the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia delivered a training on “Use of specialized software data collection and analysis” to personnel of the Situation Center of the Border Service of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 16 to 19 February 2021. The training course was held in a hybrid format and included lecture and practical sessions.
During practical sessions participants improved their skills in Microsoft Excel, which will be used in their analytical work in the future.
The training was conducted under Border Cooperation Component of Sub-Programme 1 “Countering transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and preventing terrorism” of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia. The component is funded by the Government of Japan.