Joint Regional Conference on Counter Terrorism and Counter Narcotics held in Almaty
22nd July 2019
The Joint Regional Conference on Counter Terrorism and Counter Narcotics under the framework of the two Confidence Building Measures of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Organized jointly by the Directorate General of Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the conference started with welcoming remarks of Mr. Dastan Eleukenov, Director of the International Security Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and opening remarks of Mr. Idrees Zaman, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan and Mr. Mark Colhoun, Regional Representative for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries of the UNODC. The conference was participated by Senior Officials of the participating countries, supporting countries and supporting organizations.
During his opening statement, Deputy Foreign Minister Zaman thanked the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan for their offer to host the conference in Almaty. He talked about the interlinkages between the plagues of terrorism and narcotics and how narco-finance compliments terrorist activities. During his statement DFM Zaman emphasized on strengthening cooperation in the region in order to combat terrorism and the flow of narcotics. The opening statements were followed by the three panels where specific topics were discussed.
The first panel under the title of “The Current Situation on Illicit Drugs and Terrorism in the Heart of Asia Region and Regional Efforts to Combat this Threat” was moderated by the Russian Federation and had presentations from Afghanistan, Turkey and OSCE where presenters talked about the current efforts on countering-terrorism and illicit drug trafficking, and existing challenges and opportunities for regional efforts in countering terrorism and illicit trafficking of drugs.
Participants of the conference discussed related topics in details and emphasized on further strengthening the cooperation between the concerned government bodies of the Heart of Asia Region.
The second panel was moderated by the Afghanistan under the title of “Countering Illicit Financial Flows and Financing of Terrorism and Prospects for a Regional Strategy”. Representatives of Afghanistan, CARICC, CICA and UNODC gave presentations including on the establishment of convergence between counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts, collaborative mechanisms to enhance regional cooperation in detection, investigation and disruption of illegal usage of Money Value Transfer System (MVTS), and defining mechanisms for the initiation of a regional counter narcotics strategy.
Participants of the conference stressed on a regional approach to better control illicit financial flows and work together on a regional counter narcotics strategy.
The third panel, moderated by the Turkish side and titled “Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Countering Terrorism and Illicit Drug Trafficking” had presentations from Russian Federation, UNODC and the US.
Participants discussed the review of the relevant UN Resolutions and other regional cooperation mechanisms, the Heart of Asia Confidence Building Measures on Counter-Terrorism and Narcotics and how these can be utilized to improve coordination and cooperation between the countries in the Heart of Asia Region, priority areas of these two CBMs’ Implementation Plans and development of practical mechanisms and measures for implementation of them, and identification of ways for improved coordination on awareness raising activities in respect to counter terrorism and drug trafficking amongst the media of the Heart of Asia Region.
During the three panels of the conference, the participants mainly focused on the national efforts of their countries and how they can complement regional efforts, digital counter-terrorism efforts, role of regional organizations in fighting terrorism and narcotics, and cooperation between the Heart of Asia Region for initiation of a regional strategy for counter narcotics.