19 October 2005
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to Open Office in Beijing
Chinese Government Enthusiastic about Future Partnerships, Signs Memorandum of Intent
VIENNA, 19 October (UN Information Service) -- The Government of China, represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) which paves the way for the establishment of a UNODC programme in Beijing, China.
UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa and MFA Assistant Minister Shen Guofang also discussed possible strategies to further reduce the impact of illicit drugs in the region. Both officials agreed that a balanced approach, focusing on both prevention and control, is critical in the campaign to eliminate drugs and crime.
China's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed great satisfaction about the high level of cooperation between the Chinese Government and UNODC. According to Shen Guofang, the Chinese Government hopes that the signing of the MOI will lead to the early completion of the project and even greater cooperation with UNODC.
Mr. Costa was positive as well, saying, "This MOI is tangible evidence that the Chinese Government is both serious and forward-looking regarding the drug and crime problems it faces. China recognizes the need for international cooperation to counter non-traditional security threats -- drug production and trafficking in particular."
Mr. Costa added, "China is taking the lead, meeting these threats head-on, and in many cases, stopping drugs even before they cross that nation's borders. The Government is also sharing best practices in drug control with its neighbours -- exactly the kind of outreach we need to see in Asia right now."
China has been partnering with UNODC for some time on projects designed to counter drug addiction and trafficking, as well as other criminal activities. The new Programme Office, slated to open in 2006, will focus initially on the threat of HIV/AIDS, which is spreading via injecting drug use, and, in some cases, through a lack of awareness regarding sexual transmission. The UNODC Office in Beijing will also target the fast expanding trafficking and consumption of amphetamines, control of precursor chemicals, illicit manufacture and trafficking in drugs, as well as drug prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
"China's enthusiastic welcome for a new UNODC Programme Office in Beijing holds great promise for our partnership against illegal drugs. UNODC can advise nations committed to countering drugs, and offer technical assistance, but we cannot do it alone," said Mr. Costa.
He added, "There's an old saying, 'actions speak louder than words,' and China's willingness to take this very important step bodes well for everyone involved. UNODC looks forward to working with the Chinese Government, to turning plans into progress, and to getting the new Office in Beijing up and running as quickly as possible."
For further information, contact:
Nicotera, Programme Expert, UNODC
Tel. + (8610) 8532 2226 Ext. 122
UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific
Tel. +(66-2) 281-2129