An OSCE-organized regional training workshop on countering illicit trafficking of drugs and new psychoactive substances concluded on 29 March 2023.
Implemented in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the two-day event aimed to share effective ways to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs at the border. The regional event brought together, online and in-person, around 100 officials from relevant border and anti-drugs agencies of the five Central Asian countries.
In his opening speech, John MacGregor, Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, referred to the 2012 OSCE Permanent Council’s Decision No. 1048 on the OSCE Concept for Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and the Diversion of Chemical Precursors, which stated that the world drug problem “remains a common and shared responsibility that requires effective and increased international co-operation and demands an integrated, multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing and balanced approach.”
“Notably, the regional workshop facilitates the exchange of best practices on drug policy responses among border security and law enforcement officials from Central Asian countries,” he said.
“It is our hope that the workshop will provide a platform for greater international and regional co-operation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on regional security, stability and economic prosperity,” added MacGregor.
In the course of the event, representatives from five Central Asian countries presented national experiences of combating the new challenges of the drug threat in their respective countries. Experts from Turkiýe, Italy and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre addressed a broad spectrum of issues, focusing on existing regional mechanisms for countering illicit drug trafficking, law enforcement and legislative measures, and modern border control systems for the identification of new psychoactive substances. The existing mechanisms of cross-border co-operation among law enforcement agencies in information sharing were also discussed.
The workshop is a good example of multi-stakeholder partnerships. Representatives from the UNODC, the OSCE Secretariat’s Transnational Threats Department, the Border Management Programme in Central Asia as well as the Central Asia Drug Action Programme, presented their ongoing programmatic activities, aimed at the expansion of regional and international mechanisms in the fight against new drug threat challenges.
The regional training workshop is organized within the framework of the Centre’s extrabudgetary multi-donor project “Strengthening State Border Service Capacities of Turkmenistan” and supported financially by the Government of Japan.