Source: Paris Pact
Geographical area: West and Central Asia
Date: 11 May 2022
Networks of practitioners have proven effective in fostering international cooperation and abling swift identification of areas in need of improvement. The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (ARIN) in West and Central Asia (WCA), ARIN-WCA, launched in 2018 under the framework of the Regional Programme of UNODC for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (RPANC), is an informal network of practitioners for cooperation on a multi-agency basis in tackling the proceeds of crime and depriving criminals of their illicit profits more efficiently. Nowadays, the membership of the network stands at 11 jurisdictions. Eight jurisdictions from the region are members of ARIN-WCA (Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). UNODC, CARIN, ARIN Asia Pacific, ARIN South Africa, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine are Observer members of the ARIN-WCA.
Within the region and beyond, ARIN-WCA has significantly strengthened regional cooperation on illicit financial flows and anti-money laundering/ counter terrorism financing (e.g. information requests are now processed in less than ¼ of the time compared to the processing time without support provided by ARIN-WCA).
As concluded by the 2019 Annual General Meeting of ARIN-WCA, the legal and institutional asset recovery capacities of ARIN-WCA member states to confiscate assets would be periodically peer reviewed with involvement of external experts. After completion of the peer review of the asset recovery capacities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2021, Tajikistan volunteered to be peer reviewed in 2022. The peer review in Tajikistan is currently underway. In April 2022 all relevant stakeholders were interviewed with the help of UNODC experts and with Pakistan serving as an observer.
These efforts are guided by the second Pillar of the Vienna Declaration and in consonance with the ongoing work of the Paris Pact Initiative (PPI) on detecting and blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates to undermine organized crime networks. PPI, under its Pillar II, provides support in enhancing the exchange of information and provision of effective mutual legal assistance; encouraging further monitoring and research on ways and means to detect and block illicit financial flows; exchanging best practices and strengthening cooperation along the Northern, Balkan, and Southern routes of trafficking of opiates originating in Afghanistan.