Ken Ozawa (Japan) is a UN Volunteer with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Central Asia, in Uzbekistan. His assignment, as part of a Japan-funded programme on regional cross-border cooperation, is focused on countering transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and terrorism.
Having earned a master’s degree in Migration Studies, Ken thought that the UN project dealing with border control issues was strongly relevant to his interest. Now, as a UN Volunteer, he is contributing to meaningful changes in this area.
As part of his assignment, which involves countering narcotics, Ken supports assessment and monitoring in the beneficiaries’ field office, drafting mission reports and preparing related team events.
I support cooperation of the project team across states. The issue we are tackling is not an issue of a single country and requires international cooperation” -- Ken Ozawa, UN Volunteer, UNODC's Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA)
When cross-border cooperation increases , it also provides transnational criminals and terrorists with the opportunity to expand their interests and networks. This has been happening in Central Asia.
Central Asia is located on the so-called 'Northern Route' of the established global trafficking routes of Afghan opiates. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a significant increase in seizures of psychotropic substances, according to the Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC). Tajikistan, for example, reported an increase in seizures of methamphetamines compared to 2019.
Based on official data submitted to UNODC ROCA, the UNODC project targets interaction between authorities dealing with border control and capacity building - procurement of equipment and training for police authorities, security services and national drug control agencies.
We are happy to have Ken in our team. Competent and highly professional, he is eager to make the most of new opportunities and brings an innovative approach to our work. Ken has become a valuable member of our team with extraordinary vision and solutions in a short time." -- Yusuf Kurbonov, International Programme Coordinator, UNODC ROCA
Ken is instrumental in supporting cooperation among National Project Officers for further integration of the project team.
This opportunity also gives me the chance to work at a duty-station with diversified culture and language. It has taught me how important it is to understand and respect the local population to make the project efficient. I learn it from my team" -- Ken Ozawa, UN Volunteer, UNODC ROCA
The project is contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Ken explains: "What I find the most captivating is the broad impact of the project across the region. For example, if the border crossing procedure works faster, it eventually contributes to regional economic growth."
 UNODC (2015), “Program for Central Asia: A partnership framework for impact related to action in Central Asia”: https://www.unodc.org/documents/centralasia/MOU/programme_for_central_asia_2015-2019_en.pdf