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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime.

UNODC is the umbrella organization for the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), founded in 1991, and the Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP), established in 1997. It also includes the Terrorism Prevention Branch and the Global Programs against Money Laundering, Corruption, Organized Crime and Trafficking in Human Beings.

UNODC has approximately 350 staff members worldwide. Its headquarters are in Vienna and it has 22 Field Offices as well as Liaison Offices in New York and Brussels. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from governments, for 90 per cent of its budget.

Kyrgyzstan is covered by UNODC’s Regional Office for Central Asia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In Bishkek, there is a sub-office which liaises with the Government of Kyrgyzstan as well as other international organizations, and coordinates UNODC’s activities in the country.

UNODC works to educate the world about the dangers of drug abuse. It aims to strengthen international action against drug production, trafficking and drug-related crime through alternative development, law enforcement, crop monitoring, and anti-money laundering programs. UNODC also provides accurate statistics under the Global Assessment Programme and helps to draft legislation and train judicial officials as part of its Legal Assistance Programme.

The Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) is the United Nations office responsible for crime prevention, criminal justice and criminal law reform. The CICP works with Member States to strengthen the rule of law, promote stable and viable criminal justice systems and combat the growing threat of transnational organized crime.

Both components act as centers of expertise on these issues, and provide information on best practice to member states and other organizations.


Within the framework of the UNODC’s global mandate, the organization implements specific areas of action in Kyrgyzstan which include:

  • Increasing investigative capacities
  • Strengthening border control
  • Coordinating regional action
  • Monitoring of production and trafficking of precursors
  • Facilitating information sharing
  • Situational assessment on drug abuse
  • Preventative measures in the field of HIV/AIDS
  • Partnership with mass media
  • Advisory services in improving and/or drafting legislation on drugs and organized crime
  • Review and evaluation of drug-related legislation and infrastructures
  • Provision of judiciary training
  • Assessment of trends related to organized crime and trafficking in human beings

UNODC takes a drug control approach which balances supply reduction related projects with demand reduction and public awareness goals. Projects build on best practice as well as a thorough needs analysis, and are specifically targeted. UNODC’s approach has been designed in a way which promotes regional and broader international cooperation.

UNODC has been operating in Kyrgyzstan since 1994. The first project in the country targeted “Institution Building and Improvement of Control Measures in Kyrgyzstan,” and was completed in 2000. UNODC also participated in the implementation of two other projects – “Promotion of Community Based Development for Poverty Reduction in Kyrgyzstan” and “Prevention of HIV/AIDS Transmission among Drug Users”, completed in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

In 1997-2000 UNODC successfully implemented in Kyrgyzstan, along with neighboring Central Asian countries, a regional project on “Mapping the Extent of Illicit Cultivation in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.” The project precisely identified areas of drug cultivation. Also, it produced high quality, modern maps of the locality and scope of cultivation. However, its major achievement was the development of a national capacity to continue monitoring drug cultivation.

On the law enforcement side, there was the so-called ‘Osh-Knot’ project, dedicated to strengthening law enforcement in the Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Uzbek areas of the Ferghana Valley. This activity was instrumental in building interdiction capacities in one of the hotspots of trafficking in Central Asia, the Kyrgyz Osh oblast. Law enforcement agencies in southern provinces, most exposed to drug trafficking, were provided with vehicles as well as communication, drug testing and some other types of equipment. A considerable number of officers went through extensive training in the areas of drug control techniques and in the use of modern equipment. Closer cooperation between the Kyrgyz law enforcement units and their counterparts in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan could be considered as the most valuable output of the project implementation.

The overall amount of funds disbursed through the above projects in Kyrgyzstan in 1994-2000 was about USD 1,800,000.

Currently, Kyrgyzstan is benefiting from several projects that UNODC is implementing on a regional scale. The largest among them concerns “Precursors Control in Central Asia.” This project is part of the overall efforts to suppress illicit drug trafficking and goes in line with international drug control conventions, which require States to apply effective control measures to prevent the diversion of precursors from legitimate sources for illicit production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

On 8 May 2001, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic officially requested assistance from UNDCP in setting up a Drug Control Agency. The plans for the Agency are based on the very successful establishment of a similar body in Tajikistan. Indeed, establishing DCAs was recommended as a key tool for drug control in Central Asia by the independent evaluation of the UNODC project supporting the Tajik Drug Control Agency. The evaluators reported very positively on the DCA, and explicitly suggested considering the establishment of similar entities in other Central Asian countries. The project document of the establishing of the Drug Control Agency in the Kyrgyz republic was signed on between the UNODC and the Kyrgyz Government on July 17, 2003. The project is aimed at addressing the ever-increasing inflow of drugs, mainly opiates originating from Afghanistan, into Kyrgyzstan, and the need to support Kyrgyzstan in the combating of organized crime and terrorism. As a consequence of a difficult transition period, Kyrgyzstan retains a structure of various, sometimes ill-coordinated, or competing law enforcement agencies. The establishment of a single coordinating agency, equipped with the adequate enforcement mandate, authority and resources, will correct this situation.

The project also addresses the issue of corruption, against which all Central Asian countries have established decisive policies, so as to address massive corruption problems that also resulted from the socio-economic hardship faced faced by most people.

Moreover, UNODC provides legal assistance to lawyers, journalists, judges, parliamentarians, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders so that they can more effectively deal with the issues of drugs and crime. UNODC also strives to collect information on the extent and nature of the drug abuse and drug related problems as well as to set up a sustainable data collection and dissemination capacity and system.

Kyrgyzstan, which is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000, has also signed the related project on the “Assessment of Organized Crime in Central Asia,” which was implemented in 2001 and 2002. This action oriented research project was aimed at identifying trends and patterns in organized crime across the region, known not only to involve illicit drug trafficking, but also smuggling and trafficking of people, firearms, explosives, etc.

UNODC supports the efforts of the Kyrgyz Government to counter laundering of criminal assets in the country. The UNODC’s Global Programme Against Money Laundering has conducted two workshops in Kyrgyzstan in November 2002 and April 2003. A draft law against money-laundering is currently being examined in Kyrgyzstan.

UNODC’s current portfolio of national and regional projects in Kyrgyzstan comes to a total budget of over USD $ 8 million.

UNODC is a main facilitator of Foreign Anti-Narcotics Community (FANC) informal association of Central Asia. FANC is an informal and unofficial association of professionals consisting of members of designated embassies or missions who are dedicated to the suppression of illicit trafficking in narcotics and dangerous drugs. Regular meetings are held to exchange information of mutual interest regarding narcotic control, as well as law enforcement issues related to the field. Countries and organizations represented at FANC are Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Interpol, Italy Norway, U.K., U.S.A., and UNODC Regional Office in Central Asia.

The “Mini” Dublin Groups

The Mini Dublin Groups is an association of officials representing countries that are active in combating illicit drug trafficking and abuse. The Dublin Group was set up as a forum for donor countries to coordinate drug-related activities and is based in Brussels. Currently, there are “Mini” Dublin Groups in countries around the world designated to be more effective at working ‘on the ground’. Countries and organizations represented at the Bishkek meeting were the EU, Italy, Germany, Turkey, U.S.A., Russia, Japan, Swiss Cooperation Office, Netherlands, UN Resident Coordinator and the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia.

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