The Government of Japan provided a new funding in the amount of 263 million Japanese Yens (approximately 2,500,000 USD) to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme “Countering Trafficking of Afghan Narcotics in Uzbekistan through the Establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams”. The official signing ceremony of the Exchange Notes between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) took place today at the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia. The Exchange Notes were signed by H.E. Mr. Nobuaki Ito, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia in the presence of Mr. Ahmed Mansurov, Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Drug trafficking through Central Asia and the Southern Caucuses, including through the Northern route remains a concern due to the persisting high level of opiate production in Afghanistan. Communication, coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies are key elements in countering drug trafficking.
On this occasion, Ambassador Mr. Nobuaki Ito stressed that Japan attaches importance to the cooperation with UNODC and Uzbekistan in the field of border control and countering trafficking of narcotics, as is declared in the Joint Communiqué issued during the official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe to Uzbekistan in October 2015. Moreover, he emphasized that the signed programme, aiming for a capacity building of Uzbekistan’s authorities concerned, would render the trilateral cooperation and mutual trust between Japan, Uzbekistan and UNODC much deeper and stronger, as well as wished great success with the programme.
The programme activities are planned to be conducted within the framework of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019). Taking into account the continued relevance of the two factors – the common border with Afghanistan and attempts of the cross border drug traffickers to use the territory of Uzbekistan and its neighbouring countries in drug transit, creation of Interagency Mobile Teams (IMTs) will facilitate enhancement of the law enforcement capacity of the country. The programme activities will address the challenges in countering narcotics in Uzbekistan, and strengthen the capacities through procurement of equipment, setting up infrastructure, conducting training courses and workshops.
Mr. Akhmed Mansurov, Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control said: “Today’s signing ceremony of the Exchange Notes for the allocation of the grant for implementation of the Programme “Countering Trafficking of Afghan Narcotics in Uzbekistan through the Establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams” is a demonstration of the continuity of joint efforts to combat drug trafficking. I am confident that the implementation of the agreements reached will contribute to more effective addressing of the challenges we face; bring tangible benefits to our countries; and have a positive impact on the welfare, health, and safety of the region’s population”.
The planned activities will be implemented in coordination with the National Information Analytical Center on Drug Control (NCDC) and with involvement of the Uzbek law enforcement agencies including the National Security Service, the State Customs Committee and the Ministry of Interior. The Interagency Mobile Teams will also be cooperating with the other local law enforcement agencies to detect the traffickers along the railways. These teams will be established, trained as well as equipped with modern specialized equipment. The IMTs will work in close contact with the Operation Coordination Team and will evaluate the risks as well as identify the passengers that can transport illicit drugs.
While thanking the Government of Japan for its contribution and the Government of Republic of Uzbekistan for its continuing cooperation and partnership, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, emphasised the need for an integrated, harmonised and comprehensive strategic approach for prevention of drug trafficking. She emphasised that effective counter narcotics and transnational organized crime strategies are central to peace, stability, and effective governance based on the rule of law, to ensure sustainable development. It is a shared responsibility to prevent drug trafficking for the strong rule of law and a healthy society. UNODC is committed to support the efforts of the Government.