Actions to combat illicit trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan identified by Paris Pact Initiative at Beijing meeting

Actions to combat illicit trafficking of opiates from Afghanistan identified by Paris Pact Initiative at Beijing meeting

20 November 2018 - Opium originating in Afghanistan is a threat to safety and security in Asia and beyond. Among other things it fuels organized crime, helps finance terrorism, and endangers health in Afghanistan and in all countries to which these drugs are trafficked.

The Paris Pact Initiative (PPI), a broad international coalition dedicated to countering the threats linked to illicit traffic in opiates from Afghanistan, identified eight key recommendations to advance its work during a high-level expert group meeting held from 13 to 15 November in Beijing, China, hosted by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The eight recommendations outlined at the meeting include, among others, a call for enhanced and strengthened exchange of information at strategic, operational and tactical levels between Paris Pact partners, to ensure understanding of the latest trends in illicit drug trafficking.

This understanding can then provide the basis for intensified cooperation to dismantle illicit drug supply chains and related illicit financial flows, and to prevent drug-related financing of terrorism.

Enhancing regional initiatives and cross-border cooperation against drug-crimes is the focus of Pillar I of the Vienna Declaration, which serves as the road map for the Paris Pact partnership, and was highlighted as a crucial element in the fight against opiate trafficking by several speakers.

"Many countries are taking actions independently against drug crimes, but much more can be achieved if they can cooperate," said Mark Colhoun, Representative of the UNODC Country Office in Afghanistan.

Rashid Alimov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), said that "This expert working group has attracted leaders from 19 countries and will serve as a platform to exchange information on cross-border drug crimes."

Liu Yuejin, Deputy Minister of Public Security, said that "Cracking down on rampant drug trafficking in Afghanistan is a responsibility that should be shared by nations worldwide."

The 2018 Afghanistan Opium Survey, which was released on 19 November, underscores the importance of the Paris Pact Initiative's work. The survey shows that the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan remains at very high levels, despite a mainly drought-related decrease by 20 per cent compared to 2017.

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The Paris Pact Initiative represents the international community's determination to combat the trafficking in opiates originating in Afghanistan in a balanced and comprehensive manner. Since its inception in Paris in 2003 it has grown to 58 partner countries and 23 partner organizations, including UNODC, which also serves as PPI's secretariat. 

At the 3rd Ministerial Conference in 2012, the partnership adopted its road map, the Vienna Declaration, which centres on four areas for enhanced cooperation: regional initiatives; financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates; preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals; and reducing drug abuse and dependence.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) hosted a Paris Pact Initiative meeting for the first time. This also underlines the increasing role given to regional organisations in following up on the implementation of the key Paris Pact recommendations.

Further information:

Paris Pact Initiative

UNODC on Drug Trafficking

Sharp drops in opium poppy cultivation, price of dry opium in Afghanistan, latest UNODC survey reveals

Shanghai Cooperation Organization