MEDIA ADVISORY

Afghan drug routes in focus at Moscow ministerial conference next week

VIENNA, 23 June (UNODC) - Drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan and the damaging effects of the opium trade on European and Asian countries will be the focus of a high-level conference in Moscow next week.

The Second Ministerial Conference on drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan "Paris 2 - Moscow 1," organized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will review ways of strengthening international efforts to reduce the flow of heroin  and related drugs from Afghanistan.

The conference will take place in the Congress Hall of the International Trade Center, Moscow, from June 26 to 28.

The global illicit heroin trade has grown to unprecedented proportions. Up to 90% of the heroin found in Europe is produced in Afghanistan. As many as half a million people are believed to be involved in the trade in Afghan opiates, turnover in which is estimated at over $40 billion per year. The implications of this trade are devastating both in Afghanistan and in the transit states.

Over 50 countries will be represented at the conference, including all G8 members, as well as more than 20 international organizations, including Interpol, Europol, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, NATO, the OSCE, WHO, UNAIDS and the World Customs Organization.

The first Ministerial Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe took place in Paris in 2003. Participants agreed the Paris Pact as an international framework for concerted action to limit the illicit trafficking in opiates from Afghanistan through and to West & Central Asian and European countries.

UNODC launched the Paris Pact Initiative to facilitate counter-narcotics enforcement cooperation and coordination among countries seriously affected by Afghan opiates trafficking.

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa will address the Moscow conference and will also present UNODC's 2006 World Drug Report.

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Murphy
Chief, Advocacy Section
Telephone: +43 1 26060 5761
richard.murphy@unodc.org

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