Donors discuss counter narcotics training
Counter-narcotics officers during forensic investigations training.
Donor nations of the NATO-Russia Council Counter Narcotics Training Project met in Brussels to take stock of progress in one of the NRC’s most successful and longstanding initiatives, on 2 October. Representatives from the NRC training institutions in Russia, Turkey and the US as well as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia (UNODC ROCA) were in attendance for the important annual meeting. The UNODC is the body responsible for implementing the yearly NRC counter narcotics training programme, which has to date provided training for around 3000 counter narcotics officers from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan.
A key part of the day was dedicated to taking stock of the counter narcotics training courses implemented to date in 2013 and plans for 2014. With over 40 courses taking place yearly both at the training institutions as well as on location in the region, the project management role of the UNODC is vital to ensure the organisation of courses goes smoothly.
More importantly, the UNODC plays a vital role in ensuring the NRC training meets the region’s needs in terms of building capacity against illegal narcotics trafficking. NRC donors and Afghanistan, Central Asian nations and Pakistan also come together during the Project’s High Level Steering Sessions to exchange views on counter narcotics training requirements. A particular development in training in recent years has been the growing need for specialised training courses, for example in subjects such as clandestine laboratories and forensic investigations.
Looking at the broader situation in terms of counter narcotics training capacities in the region, on 2 October the donors and UNODC considered the impact of this long term project against the illegal narcotics trafficking stemming from Afghanistan, which continues to pose serious challenges for societies across NRC nations. Tools to assess the project’s success in developing regional capacity to combat this include a new trainee database which tracks the career progression of counter narcotics officers trained by the NATO-Russia Council.