14 December 2001


VIENNA, 14 December (UN Information Service) -- Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), has informed the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (the governing body for the UN Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)) at its reconvened forty-fourth session held in Vienna from 12-13 December 2001, that, in agreement with the UN Secretary-General, he is relinquishing his duties with effect from January 1, 2002.

During Mr. Arlacchi’s four-year tenure, ODCCP has enhanced its role and visibility. Two major events in particular have strengthened the office's role in global drug control and crime prevention efforts: the 1998 General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem and the 2000 United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime held in Palermo, Italy.

Approving UNDCP's budget for the next two years, Member States expressed their support for the ongoing management reforms within the office, including the new collaborative procedures and transparency in project approval process, as well as a greater staff involvement in all phases of project implementation.

Some of the successes in implementing the global drug control strategy include efforts to eradicate opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, effective alternative development projects replacing drugs cultivation in a number of countries - including Bolivia, Peru, and the Lao People's Democratic Republic - as well as consolidation of previous results in Pakistan and Thailand.

UNDCP is planning to reopen its Kabul office in order to work more effectively with new Afghani authorities in sustaining the drug control achievements of this year in which, following the Taliban ban on opium poppy cultivation, areas under cultivation have been reduced by 91 per cent and production by 94 per cent.

The Commission, concluding its two-day meeting in Vienna, supported ODCCP's efforts to create more synergy between its drug control and crime prevention programmes with the possibility of developing more joint projects using available resources.

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