Press Releases

    11 March 2002


    VIENNA, 8 March (UN Information Service) – Drug control efforts in Afghanistan and the role of the Vienna-based United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in assisting the Afghan authorities and all international bilateral and multilateral partners in establishing effective law enforcement and drug control agencies and mechanisms were discussed in Vienna.

    Representatives of eighteen donor countries, the European Commission, the Afghan Interim Administration (AIA), the countries surrounding Afghanistan, as well as other countries from the region affected by the drug trafficking from Afghanistan recognized the importance and the urgency of the fight against drugs in Afghanistan.

    The Chairman, Ambassador Tom Grönberg, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations (Vienna), summarized the meeting:

    "The most recent UNDCP Opium Poppy Pre-assessment Survey (conducted in February 2002 in drug-producing areas of Afghanistan) has confirmed previous indications that - following effective implementation of the ban in 2001 - the cultivation of opium poppy has resumed throughout the country at relatively high level.

    The international drug control community strongly supports the decree issued by the Chairman of the AIA, Dr. Hamid Karzai, banning not only opium poppy cultivation but also processing and illicit use, smuggling and trafficking of illicit drugs.

    The challenge the international community faces is to assist the Afghan authorities in establishing law enforcement and drug control capacities to implement the ban.

    The aim is to make sure that the ODCCP/UNDCP projects and activities are consistent with the priorities set by the AIA and the UN Assistance Mission and implemented in close coordination with both the Afghan authorities and the UNAM.

    This meeting confirmed an emerging consensus in the international community that the effective long-term drug control in Afghanistan can only be established on two basic pillars:

    • development of effective law enforcement and drug control agencies and mechanisms; and
    • parallel to that and of equal importance, implementation of the sustainable community development strategy to free Afghan farmers from dependency on opium poppy cultivation.

    At the same time, the participants stressed the importance of continued efforts to assist countries neighboring Afghanistan to strengthen their capacity to prevent drug trafficking over their borders and territories."

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