[pullquote]The Government of Japan and UNODC Country Office in Pakistan (COPAK) sign project aimed at strengthening border security against illicit drug trafficking and related transnational organised crime in Pakistan[/pullquote]
Islamabad, 10 March 2016 – The UNODC Country Office in Pakistan and the Embassy of Japan have signed a UNODC project aimed at strengthening border security against illicit drug trafficking and related transnational organised crime at Marriott Hotel. High officials from the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control and the Economic Affairs Division were present at the occasion. The envisaged project is to be implemented under the UNODC Country Programme for Pakistan (2016-2019) through the financial support of the Government of Japan. In total, the generous contribution of the Japanese government for the duration of the project will amount to about 6.5 million USD.
During his opening remarks, Mr. Cesar Guedes, the UNODC Country Office Representative in Pakistan, highlighted that through the financial support of the Government of Japan, the project will contribute to the vision of creating “A safer community, free from the threats posed by illicit narcotics trafficking and transnational organised crime.” “It is, therefore, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) and other law enforcement agencies to effectively interdict illicit narcotics entering or leaving the country through air, land and sea by way of effective border management. This will be done through the provision of essential operational equipment, positioning the ANF more strategically, implementation of specialist training programmes and other capacity building measures,” he added.
Mr. Muhammad Hafeez, Joint Secretary of the Narcotics Control Division (Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control), thanked the UNODC for its broad-based capacity-building initiatives in Pakistan. “The counter-narcotics and law enforcement officials from the concerned Pakistani ministries and law enforcement agencies will directly and indirectly benefit from this project,” he said.
Mr. Junya Matsuura, Charge d’Affaires and Interim Minister of Japan reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to help Pakistan eradicate all types of transnational organised crime including illicit drug trafficking. Mr. Matsuura stated that the Government of Japan stands committed to combating international criminal syndicates, which through their illicit activities hinder the economic development and prosperity of the Pakistani people. He noted Japan supports projects on border security between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as this region is the key for a stable Pakistan. He added that Japan is also funding other UN agencies assisting FATA returnees and rehabilitation of FATA in order to support the efforts of Government of Pakistan (GoP) to bring peace and stability to border region.
The UNODC is leading global efforts against drug trafficking and is the sole guardian of all international conventions on drugs and transnational organised crime. The UNODC Country Office in Pakistan has been active for over 35 years and works in close collaboration with GoP. Its mandate is to empower the Government in its efforts to overcome the challenges associated with transnational organised crime, thereby contributing towards the nation’s stabilisation and development.