From the event

22-23 Oct 2007

Russia hosts meeting
on NRC counter-narcotics training project

Russia hosted the second high-level steering meeting on the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) counter-narcotics training project for Afghan and Central Asian personnel on 22 and 23 October.

The meeting took place at the Domodedovo Centre near Moscow, which has to date conducted seven training courses for mid-level officers from the project’s beneficiary countries - Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Speaking at the opening of the event, NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security Cooperation and Partnership, Robert Simmons, praised the project as "one of the most significant successes of NATO-Russia cooperation".

The Pilot Project for Counter-Narcotics Training of Afghan and Central Asian Personnel was launched by NRC foreign ministers in December 2005. Its purpose is to contribute to other international efforts aimed at fostering security in and around Afghanistan by helping address the threats posed by the trafficking in narcotics.

In June 2007, at the NRC Anniversary meeting in Moscow, ambassadors agreed to extend the project for an additional two years beyond the pilot phase, which runs till the end of this year.

Building local capacity

Graduates of the seventh training course at Domodedovo receive certificates at a ceremony on 22 October.

The initiative seeks to build local capacity and to promote regional networking and cooperation by sharing the combined expertise of NRC member states with mid-level officers from Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) acts as the pilot project’s executive agent.

By the end of the project’s pilot phase, over 330 officers will have been trained at training centres in Russia and Turkey as well as through courses conducted by mobile training teams in the region. In addition to substantial in-kind contributions from NRC countries, over US$925 000 have been raised to date for the initiative. In 2007, the NRC agreed to accept Finland's offer to contribute instructors to the NRC training sessions, opening up the pilot project to the first Partner country.

The steering meeting gathered high level officials from the pilot project's donor and beneficiary countries, the UNODC, as well as instructors and trainees, who had been closely involved in the Project's activities.  Participants focused on lessons learned from the project’s first cycle (2006-2007) based on feedback from donors and beneficiary states.

They also reviewed the training needs of the countries in the region with a view to adjusting the curriculum if necessary and looked ahead to the organization of work for the projects’ next cycle (2007-2008). In particular, they discussed the need to develop more mobile training courses aimed at training trainers in the regions concerned, so as to maximise the impact of the initiative.