3 February 2005

UNODC and Kazakhstan Agree on New Anti-Drug Projects

VIENNA, 3 February (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Kazakhstan signed five new regional drug demand reduction and drug control projects in Almaty last week. Zautbek Turysbekov, Minister of Interior, represented the Government of Kazakhstan, and James Callahan, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, signed on behalf of Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC.

UNODC will provide technical assistance to Kazakhstan in the areas of drug intelligence analysis, controlled deliveries, precursor chemical controls, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention. UNODC will also provide policy advice to the Kazakh, and other Central Asian governments. The value of the projects amounts to US$9 million for the entire Central Asian region. The UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia is also designing a new project to establish a regional drug treatment training center (ARTICA) in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan.

UNODC is also partnering with the World Bank office in Almaty as a regional advisor for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. A UNODC advisor will assist governments in the region to strengthen legislation in these areas and establish effective enforcement tools against money-laundering.

In his statement at the signing ceremony, Minister Turysbekov expressed his gratitude for UNODC’s support and noted that “these projects will increase the Ministry of Interior’s activities to fight against illicit drug trafficking”. He also highlighted the problem of cannabis cultivation in the Chui Valley and the need for international assistance to help in eradication. Mr. Callahan stressed the importance of close cooperation, given the continued and increasing threat to the region from heroin trafficked from Afghanistan, and added that the aforementioned projects would allow UNODC to expand its activities in Kazakhstan.

Kazakh law enforcement bodies seized approximately 20 tons of drugs, including 300 kg of heroin in 2004. Kazakhstan has a domestic source of wild cannabis with a potential annual production of 150,000 tons. With an estimated prevalence of 23 per 100,000 population, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kazakhstan is considered to be the most serious in Central Asia. Over 70 per cent of new HIV/AIDS cases are reported among injecting drug users.

So far, UNODC has completed two national projects in Kazakhstan for a combined value of US$1,207,900. Among other things, these projects focused on institution building and improvement of drug control measures. In addition, UNODC has been implementing a regional project on diversification of HIV prevention and drug treatment services for injecting drug users.


For more information, contact:

Kathleen Millar
Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
Tel: (+43 1) 26060-5228
Mobile: (+43 ) 6991459 5629
email: unodcpress@unodc.org