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Myanmar drug policy consultations conclude in Nay Pyi Taw, the stage is set for 2017

Olivier Lermet United Nations UN UNODC Myanmar drug policy

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 8 December 2016
- The third and final round of drug policy consultations convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Myanmar Police Force (MPF) Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), concluded this week in Nay Pyi Taw, laying the foundation for a new drug policy and related legal reforms in 2017. The final session closes a process which began with high-level meetings between a Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (the Myanmar Parliament) committee, the Ministry of Home Affairs, MPF and the UNODC Regional Representative and Country Manager in late June, followed by rounds of consultation with staff and experts from government ministries, agencies and civil society in October, November and December.

Olivier Lermet United Nations UN UNODC Myanmar drug policy

The drug challenges facing Myanmar are significant, including areas of opium poppy cultivation and heroin production, increasing methamphetamine production and trafficking, cross-border precursor chemical trafficking, and increasing drug use and associated harms. Given the situation, the three rounds focussed heavily on reviewing and considering data, what has been done or not done, and what is needed. To ensure relevance and so that no aspects would be missed, CCDAC structured the sessions to follow themes of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) of April this year, including law enforcement and justice, supply reduction and alternative development, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and cross cutting issues including human rights. Discussions also emphasised regional cooperation to respond to the transnational nature of the drug problem and associated organised crime - Myanmar is a key player in the Mekong MOU on Drug Control which facilitates cooperation and collaboration between countries of the region.

During the closing, Brigadier General Kyaw Win, Commander of the Drug Enforcement Division and Joint Secretary of CCDAC, called on stakeholders to consider drug control part of the larger development discourse of the country. "The drug problem requires all parts of the Government of Myanmar, civil society and our partners UNODC to work together," he said. "CCDAC will contribute to safety and security focusing on organised crime, trafficking and regional cooperation, while also guiding aspects of policy, but we will need the Ministry of Health to take a lead on drug treatment and providing services at the community level, the Ministry of Education to become involved in prevention, local and planning authorities to promote and support alternative development, and our civil society partners to play a constructive role advocating and offering services. What I am describing is a broad strategic approach that draws on all the relevant parts of the Government and society. We look forward to finalising our report of the process and submitting it to the Chief of the MPF and Minister of Home Affairs."

Olivier Lermet United Nations UN UNODC Myanmar drug policy

Troels Vester, UNODC Country Manager for Myanmar, congratulated the Government of Myanmar, the Ministry of Home Affairs, MPF and CCDAC led by Brigadier General Kyaw Win, for leading an inclusive and participatory process with UNODC inspired by UNGASS recommendations. "It is time for a new approach to drug policy in the country, and there is an opportunity to start rethinking how we address the regional dimension in particular with our Mekong neighbours through the MOU on Drug Control," he said. "While this is a process owned and led by the Ministry and CCDAC, our Myanmar team and experts from the Regional Office will continue to support the Ministry going forward, and we will ensure our programmes and activities match the needs and policies of the country while supporting reform."

Click here to learn more about the Myanmar Country Programme

Click here to learn more about the Mekong MOU on Drug Control