Director General/Executive Director
Opening Remarks of the Executive Director UNODC at the Launch of the Country Programme for Afghanistan 2012-2014
28 May 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you today at the launch of the Country Programme for Afghanistan 2012 to 2014.
Today marks another important milestone in combating drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the region.
In February of this year, the Paris Pact Partners adopted the Vienna Declaration which stated that severing financial flows, halting the movement of precursor chemicals, reducing drug dependence and severing financial flows are vital if the movement of illicit drugs are to be countered.
These approaches remain key, and I am pleased that Afghanistan's Country Programme offers a strong link to the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.
This link is essential. Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of illicit opium and heroin.
As a result, illicit drugs from Afghanistan fuel local instability and insurgency, transnational organized crime, global drug consumption and HIV/AIDS.
It is within Afghanistan itself that many of the challenges are clearly visible. The alarming growth in the abuse of illicit drugs causes human misery, and represents a challenge for society.
With more than 1 million drug users and 5 percent of the population involved in the cultivation of drugs, Afghanistan continues to pay an extremely high cost for the illicit drug problem in the country.
Given the complex reality of Afghanistan: weak governance, corruption, and weak human health and security; there is a need for a comprehensive programme that is both effective and efficient.
Our response to this environment is the UNODC Country Programme for Afghanistan which has arisen from a series of detailed consultations with the relevant ministries in the country.
The Country Programme addresses key aspects of the drug and crime situation in Afghanistan through advocacy in the policy arena and through implementation in the field.
These efforts include countering the country's illicit drug economy, strengthening the rule of law, developing alternative livelihoods, that target households dependent on illicit cultivation for survival, and providing assistance to people affected by drug use and dependence.
The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre-CARICC-and the Joint Planning Cell of the Triangular Initiative will support this work through joint operations and the sharing of information.
Another crucial initiative is the STOP programme aimed at bringing together law enforcement and alternative development through the Regional Programme but also with firm links with the Country Programme.
The Country Programme's strategy is to bring the mission of UNODC, to make "A world safer from the threats posed by organised crime, drug use and terrorism" to the people of Afghanistan.
However, this can only be achieved by strengthening Afghanistan's capacity and ensuring that the reduction of drugs and crime in the country is viewed as a priority.
With a total budget of 117 million USD, the Country Programme is UNODC's largest donor funded Country Programme. Our portfolio in Afghanistan now accounts for as much as 15 percent of UNODC's global activities.
To ensure an integrated, comprehensive, and sustainable response to the challenges, we jointly face, the programme will also promote enhanced coordination and cooperation with the Afghan government and civil society as well as with international partners.
But, while it is important for the international community to acknowledge its own responsibilities on the basis of shared responsibility, we seek a complementary approach from the Afghan government.
I recognize the hard work undertaken by government ministries; however, there is much more work that needs to be done. By everyone.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The clock is ticking. It is not in our favour. The time period of the Country Programme: 2012 to 2014, was not decided by chance.
UNODC recognizes that it must align its work to the withdrawal of international military forces in order to ensure that we do not lose momentum.
To achieve this, we must ensure a proper integration between the different elements of our work.
At the political level, there needs to be a joining of hands between the international community and the Afghan government.
On the ground, we need to promote effective connections between the Country Programme, the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and other initiatives.
At the thematic level, we need to ensure that we counter every aspect of the criminal networks that traffic illicit drugs from Afghanistan, through the drug trafficking routes and onto the countries of consumption.
Overall, I envisage a compact among equals with shared responsibility as its foundation.
Let us work together to achieve this.