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    13 October 2016

    Remarks of the UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov

    OSCE event on UNGASS 2016: road map for tackling the world drug problem

    VIENNA, 13 October (UN Information Service) - I would like to thank the OSCE for hosting this very useful discussion on the follow up to the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem.

    The session in April and its outcome document have done much to advance balanced, integrated and rights-based approaches to international drug control.

    Consensus is an important founding principle here at the OSCE.

    The success of UNGASS also stems from the fact that over the course of a thorough, inclusive and comprehensive preparatory process, Member States were able to build consensus on how to address complex, sensitive drug control challenges.

    The outcome document reinforces the global commitment to the three international drug conventions, and recognizes that the conventions allow for flexibility in their implementation.

    It highlights the importance of prevention and treatment, as well as other priorities such as improving access to controlled medicines for pain relief, and mainstreaming issues of gender and youth into drug related policies and programmes.

    At the same time, the outcome document focuses on supply reduction, and the need for criminal justice and law enforcement responses that adhere to principles of proportionality and the rule of law.

    It also emphasizes that the world drug problem is closely interlinked with development challenges, and promotes alternative development, in line with the 2030 Agenda, that is sustainable and truly responds to the needs of communities.

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is already engaged in a comprehensive, inclusive and dynamic follow up to UNGASS. UNODC is supporting this momentum.

    UNODC is uniquely positioned to help countries address demand and supply reduction, the public health and criminal justice aspects of drug challenges.

    Our country, regional, inter-regional and global programmes are informed by extensive on-the-ground experience and research expertise.

    We promote responses, based on the conventions on drugs, corruption, transnational organized crime and terrorism, as well as the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice, to:

    ·           Ensure access to controlled drugs to relieve pain and suffering;

    ·           Promote evidence- and rights-based prevention and treatment of substance abuse and HIV;

    ·           Prevent and counter illicit cultivation, production and trafficking; and

    ·           Disrupt related organized crime, money-laundering and illicit financial flows.

    We undertake this work in close cooperation with our UN and other partners, including the OSCE.

    The UNODC-OSCE joint action plan has been very useful in helping us to leverage our respective strengths. 

    We have established a positive partnership through UNODC's regional programmes in Central Asia and South Eastern Europe, as well as for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, to strengthen national law enforcement capacities to counter organized crime and drug trafficking.

    As I emphasized at the Brussels Conference last week, Afghanistan continues to be the major producer of heroin and opium in the world, a situation that poses grave challenges to security, development and health in the country, the region and beyond.

    The annual Afghan opium survey will be released later this month, and unfortunately, preliminary results suggest that illicit cultivation has increased well above two hundred thousand hectares, with the production of opiates expected to follow the same upward trend.

    In order to confront these challenges we need long-term resources, strong political commitment and the continued engagement of the Afghan government and international community. 

    We also need strengthened regional cooperation, and I am glad to count the OSCE as a partner in these efforts.

    Another important area of our joint work is supporting international cooperation through the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.

    The Convention has achieved near universal adherence with 187 States parties, and provides an essential framework for confronting organized crime, including drug-related crime.

    The Conference of Parties to the UNTOC will be holding its eighth session next week in Vienna, and I hope the meeting will help to further strengthen effective implementation and action.

    UNGASS came at a very important moment, helping to unite and take forward collective efforts to address the world drug problem.

    The many challenges posed by drugs continue to evolve and emerge.

    I believe the outcome document provides a responsive and comprehensive road map for balanced, integrated rights-based approaches that can help to protect and promote the health, safety and security of people across the OSCE region and the world.

    It goes without saying that you have the support of UNODC in all these endeavours.

    Thank you.

    * *** *

    For further information please contact:

    David Dadge
    Spokesperson, UNODC
    Phone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
    Email: david.dadge[at]