The Security Council today celebrated the role of the United Nations regional office in assisting countries in Central Asia confront a range of threats, from terrorism to trans-national drug trafficking, and reaffirmed the importance of conflict prevention tools in contributing effectively to the maintenance of international peace and security. In a statement to the press, the Council welcomed the recent briefing on 21 January by the Head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), Miroslav Jenča, on the Centre’s work over the past seven months and “acknowledged” UNRCCA’s role in providing support to Central Asian States to address regional challenges “by encouraging and facilitating closer cooperation, identifying and tackling potential sources of tension before possible escalation, responding to domestic and transnational threats to peace and by supporting the sustainable development of the region.” The UNRCCA was established in 2007 in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. It assists and supports the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in finding solutions for emerging problems and eliminating potential threats. In addition, the Council also commended the Centre’s “ongoing efforts” to assist the Central Asian States in modernising the legal framework for regional trans-boundary water management – an issue which has been a source of frequent tension between countries in the region. To this point, the statement added, the Council “further encouraged the Centre to continue to facilitate regional dialogue and encouraged all States in the region to engage constructively in consultations to reach agreement on how to meet energy and water resource challenges across the region.” At the same time, Council members also expressed support for UNRCCA’s role in regional counter-terrorism activities, including through its support for the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action on implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia as well as through recent efforts aimed at engaging the media in the fight against terrorism, raising awareness, capacity building and promoting information sharing. In their statement, the members of the Security Council underlined that illicit drug production, trade and trafficking remained a threat to international peace and stability in the region and, as a result, the UN body also highlighted the importance of “close coordination” between the Central Asian States and Afghanistan while also commending UNRCCA’s efforts, in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, to help the Central Asian States address this problem. Moreover, recognizing the regional security concerns generated by the post-2014 scenario in Afghanistan and the drawdown of ISAF troops in Afghanistan, the Council also commended UNRCCA’s work, in cooperation with the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA), in facilitating the bilateral and multilateral engagement of the Central Asian States with Afghanistan and encouraged enhanced cooperation and coordination between them. The Council also noted that, to date, the situation in Afghanistan had not led to any major security implications in Central Asia. Nonetheless, it encouraged “increased cooperation and coordination” between the Central Asian States, UNRCCA and relevant regional organizations, in order to further strengthen the region’s capacity “to overcome challenges to peace, stability and sustainable development.”