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The Paris Pact Research and Liaison Officers


1. Who are they and what do they do?
In support of the Paris Pact Coordination Unit based in UNODC Vienna, the Research and Liaison Officers (RLOs - formerly: National Strategic Analysts) are placed in partner countries along the opiate trafficking routes. They are national staff currently based in the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan, the Central Asian Republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia covering the Balkan region. Within the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia in Uzbekistan, Paris Pact staff are part of the Coordination and Analysis Unit (CAU) - the pioneers in the field of digital mapping of data.

The RLOs are responsible for: (1) liaison with national counterparts; (2) data collection, research and analysis; and (3) capacity building on data collection, analysis and geo-information systems for national counterparts. This three-pronged approach to the work of the network allows them to contribute to addressing knowledge gaps along major trafficking routes. The network represents a valuable mechanism that can be adapted and extended to respond to shifts in opiate trafficking including along the southern route.

The RLOs are the Paris Pact’s link to national Governments and regional organizations. Their achievements in establishing strong rapport and good working relations with counter-narcotics agencies are fostered by the willingness of partners to share information.

The Research and Liaison Officer network offers unique support to UNODC – being positioned as a cross-reference point among UNODC Divisions enables them to facilitate the work of multiple programmes covering a variety of inter-thematic issues. With regards to the research function of the RLOs, all work is under the technical guidance of the Drugs Research Section (DRS)/Afghan Opiate Trade Project (AOTP).
2. Data Collection, Liaison and Capacity Building
a. Liaison and Support to National Counterparts

The RLOs strengthen the connection between the global partnership and the country/regional level (this is known as the ‘Liaison function’). The RLOs function as a primary point of contact in the field on behalf of the Paris Pact on the four pillars of the Vienna Declaration.

Furthermore, RLOs provide assistance to national counterparts in completing UNODC’s mandated annual data collection systems, including the Annual Reports Questionnaire (ARQ), and Individual Drug Seizures (IDS) and the Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS).


b. Data Collection - Country Factsheets

The Country Factsheets represent a compact extract of the data collected by the RLOs. The sequencing of the factsheets' publication is aligned with the UNODC World Drug Report cycle, with the annual update published at the beginning of the year and a mid-term update at the time of the launch of the World Drug Report. A strategy for standardizing of certain data indicators with the WDR was developed together with the Drugs Research Section and the Data Development and Dissemination Unit of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch.
The factsheets can be viewed and downloaded under “Reference” or by clicking here.

The RLOs also contribute with data from their respective countries to various studies led by the Research and Trend Analysis Branch (RAB).

3. Capacity Building

Since 2003, the Paris Pact and Afghan Opiate Trade Project co-funded Coordination and Analysis Unit (CAU), located in the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, has developed into a centre of excellence for data management and analysis and serves as a pool for drug and crime related data in Central Asia. As experts in geographic information system (GIS) and database software, the Paris Pact staff based in the CAU as well as in Kyrgyzstan continuously provide specialized GIS trainings in Central Asian countries and beyond, for instance in Azerbaijan and Pakistan, enabling staff of law enforcement agencies to work with geo-databases when designing thematic maps.

In support of UNODC’s institutional strategy to law enforcement capacity building, the RLOs located in Central Asia also deliver data management and analysis training to strengthen law enforcement practitioners’ research capacity in collaboration with multiple UNODC global, regional and country programmes active in West and Central Asia. The aim of the training activities is two-fold: to produce evidence for policy-making purposes and to use research as a means to enhance the operational objectives of other UNODC projects and programmes.

4. The Drugs Monitoring Platform (DMP)
Particular attention is devoted by the CAU to the visualization of the collected data, transforming statistics into more easily comprehensible maps and graphical information. The Drugs Monitoring Platform,, is the latest undertaking of the CAU, initiated jointly by the Paris Pact Initiative, the Afghan Opiate Trade Project and the Regional Office for Central Asia, with the aim to create a globally accessible web application merging statistics and interactive maps to summarize worldwide trends in drug trafficking and inter-state crime. This pioneering tool has the capacity to support law enforcement agencies, policy makers and competent authorities by providing a centralized communications platform for the sharing of relevant information and seizure results.
The Drugs Monitoring Platform provides real-time information and analysis on the illicit global trade in opiates, including details on cultivation, production and trafficking. This information includes up-to-date drug and precursor seizure news, details of drug and precursor prices and data related to poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. The Platform also contains details of border crossing points, drug treatment centres and counter-narcotics training centres, with a focus on West and Central Asia. Currently, over 190,000 drug seizure cases are registered on the Platform, all with geographic coordinates to pinpoint their location. In addition, the database also features Drug Seizure Profiles which provide users with a global overview of all recorded drug and precursor seizures available through government and open sources including official websites of law enforcement agencies.  

Further information on the Drugs Monitoring Platform:
DMP brochure Eng.pdf (8.79 Mb)
DMP_leaflet_upd_4 Nov 2016.pdf (3.22 Mb)