The 10th Review Meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation took place in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on October 31. 

The event brought together senior officials from the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan), Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to discuss the numerous challenges and threats to the region posed by drug trafficking.

This year, the meeting reportedly focused on the decade of activities undertaken by the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC), and its sustainability.

In his speech at the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said cooperation is fundamental to address threats such as illicit financial flows and terrorism financing, precursor trafficking and the spread of new psychoactive substances.

In his address, Grigory Pustovitov, Director of CARICC, assured that the Center and the Council of National Coordinators will make every effort to preserve and multiply the results achieved by the former leadership of the Center.

Speaking at the meeting, Director of the Tajik Drug Control Agency (DCA), Sherkhon Salimzoda, hailed the role of CARIC in strengthening the regional drug control capacity, Khoushnoud Rahmatulloyev, a spokesman for Tajik counter narcotics agency, told Asia-Plus in an interview.   

According to him, Tajik drug control chief, in particular, noted that CARIC has made significant contribution to strengthening of control of production, abuse and trafficking of narcotic drugs. 

DCA director also reported on the current drug situation in Tajikistan and measures being taken by the government to combat drug trafficking, Rahmatulloyev said.  

According to the UNODC press center, the meeting included the adoption of a declaration recognizing the importance of the MoU on Sub-Regional Drug Control Cooperation in contributing towards enhanced regional and international cooperation to counter trafficking of drugs.

This declaration was called a "roadmap" to combine the efforts of the Central Asian States. It is a political commitment that shapes the implementation of the efforts to strengthen border and drug control, and related law enforcement agencies.

In 1996, the five Central Asian states and UNODC signed the original MoU in Tashkent.  The Russian Federation and the Aga Khan Development Network joined two years later in 1998, and were followed by Azerbaijan in 2001.

MoU meetings have previously been held in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.  The UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019), signed by all countries of the region in May 2015 in Ashgabat, is the main vehicle for activities under the MoU.