Learning about the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ)

Description

The main goal of the program is to hold regional and global training and annual meetings for ARQ Focal Points, jointly between UNODC and relevant regional organizations. Ideally, 5 regional meetings workshops would be held: Americas, Europe, Africa, West and Central Asia, and South, Southeast, East Asia and the Pacific. In addition, a global meeting will be held with subsets of countries representing each of the regions. These meetings will focus on: a) providing Focal Points with training on how to report data to the ARQ, particularly in relation to synthetic drugs; b) working closely with countries inputting data into the ARQ, c) working closely with regional organizations to streamline data collections taking place in teach region and promote data sharing, d) encourage exchange of information and best practices between countries with relation to the collection of synthetic drugs data. 

Background

The ARQ is the main global data collection on drugs, mandated by the International Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988. It is the main source of information for the World Drug Report. The ARQ was recently reviewed, and a new version of the questionnaire was endorsed by the CND and launched in 2021. The reporting of data on synthetic drugs is particularly challenging due to different terminology and multitude of substances. More information.

Accomplishments to Date

UNODC has organized in-person subregional workshops on an ad-hoc basis (subject to funding) training countries in reporting to the ARQ. Countries are asked to bring data to the event and UNODC assists them in filing out the questionnaire in a hands-on manner. As a result of these trainings in West Africa, the number of countries reporting in the region more than doubled in 2022 and 2023. UNODC also organizes series of annual regional virtual workshops, in which over 1000 national focal points and data providers have participated over the last two years, but experience show that these don’t have the same impact as in-person trainings.

UNODC has started discussions with OAS and African Union on the streamlining of data collections, as these two organizations have their own data collection tools. With African Union, there have been some progress in terms of aligning contents of the questionnaires, but further work is needed to properly establish a data sharing mechanism and streamline data collections to decrease the reporting burden on Member States. A side event to the 2022 CND on this issue was co-organized by UNODC and the African Union: Joining efforts to make better data on drugs in Africa a reality. 

Project Activities
  1. For 2025 and 2026, hold a global meeting and 5 regional meetings workshops of ARQ Focal Points, covering Americas, Africa, Europe, West and Central Asia, and South, East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
  2. In the context of each regional meeting, hold a workshop with selected countries (where reporting is lacking) to provide direct support in reporting data through the web-based platform of the ARQ.   
  3. Conduct a technical assessment and write a proposal on how to effectively:
    1. align contents of ARQ and regional data collections, 
    2. align focal points for the different data collections, and 
    3. streamline the questionnaires to decrease response burden in Member States. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Increase in the number of countries reporting data internationally through the ARQ 
  • Improvement in geographical coverage for ARQ reporting in key regions 
  • Improvement in the quality of data reported by Member States 
  • More effective data sharing between international organizations 
  • More effective use of resources currently utilized for data collections which can result in more resources available for capacity building 
  • Improvement in sharing of national best practices with regards to data collection 
National Level Outcomes
  • Increased coordination across national institutions and facilitate a national repository of drug-related data   
  • Increased exchange of good practices in data collection between countries 
  • Improved skills in the collection and compilation of drugs-related data 
  • Decrease in the reporting burden for Member States and more effective use of limited national and international resources 

Current State Participants

125 countries submitted the ARQ in 2022. While participation has increased notably since the revision of the ARQ in 2021, there are still gaps in certain regions: Africa (especially East and Central), parts of Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, where between 10 and 50 percent of countries submit the ARQ annually.

Contact

Hernan Epstein, UNODC, Hernan [dot] Epstein [at] un [dot] org (Hernan[dot]Epstein[at]un[dot]org)