A delegation from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) attended the 57th session of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) between 18 and 20 March 2014 in Vienna, Austria.
Commodore Daryl Bates AM Royal Australian Navy, Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, briefed delegates from a large number of UN member nations on the CMF mission, operations and successes, focusing on the topic, ‘Countering illicit narcotics trafficking in the Indian Ocean.’
The speaking engagement built on the relationship CMF and the UNODC established during a January meeting between Under-Secretary General Yury Fedotov, head of the UNODC, and Vice-Admiral John Miller USN, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces.
Commodore Bates said: “This was a great opportunity to present the CMF on a global stage, and grow CMF’s relationship with the UNODC. I hope that this presentation has achieved its aim of educating nations about the efforts of CMF and the challenges it faces, particularly in the counter-narcotic sphere.”
Mr Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC Director for the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs said: “I congratulate CMF on its successes in the Indian Ocean, and thank you for your ongoing efforts to suppress the trade of narcotics across the Indian Ocean.”
Mr Hakan Demirbuken, Programme Management Officer for UNODC Afghan Opiate Trade Project said: “I am very pleased that CMF was able to participate in the CND conference and bring to an international audience the vital work you are doing in the Indian ocean to suppress the trade of Afghan-originated narcotics – your hard work and success has conclusively proved that the Indian Ocean is used by transnational criminal groups to transport large quantities of drugs, greatly assisting with the drive to establish a global response.”
In a follow-up workshop on Afghan opiate trafficking through the southern route on 24 and 25 March, Captain Bill Nault USN, CMF Chief of Staff, led the delegation. The workshop examined trends in opiate seizures, trafficking and concealment methods and profiles of known smugglers.
Captain Nault said: “Our visit this week with the UNODC was a great success. It was a unique and rewarding opportunity to share the CMF ‘story’ with a large group of international professionals who themselves are dedicated to the counter-narcotics mission. I think that I can say with confidence that the past two weeks have laid significant ground work for an enduring relationship with the UNODC moving forward.”