Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-Operation and Permanent Council on "Challenges linked to Afghanistan after 2014"
Vienna, 9 October 2013
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to address this FSC-PC meeting on "Challenges linked to Afghanistan after 2014".
UNODC is strongly engaged in working with Afghanistan and neighbouring countries as well as with our international partners to counter the illicit drug problem, which represents one of the major post-2014 challenges, we must collectively face.
Let me be clear: we cannot talk about the security and stability of Afghanistan and its neighbours without addressing the interconnected threats of drugs, crime and corruption.
Afghanistan remains by far the leading cultivator and producer of opium in the world.
Poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates threaten the health and well-being of people in the region and beyond. They fuel crime and corruption, undermine stability, and can be used to finance terrorist activity.
We face a sobering situation as we approach 2014.
Afghanistan's Ministry of Counter Narcotics has devised policy guidelines as well as monitoring mechanisms to include relevant benchmarks and indicators on counter-narcotics in the country's national priority programmes.
Seizures, arrests and eradication have increased year on year.
But unfortunately these efforts have not been nearly enough to stem the tide, as you will see in UNODC's 2013 Afghanistan opium survey, which is being released this month.
Therefore in preparing for the 2014 transition it is essential to further build capacity in the field of counter narcotics. This requires the commitment not only of national stakeholders but the international community.
UNODC is actively engaged in the transition process through close cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan on an integrated, comprehensive response to counter the drug problem and strengthen counter-narcotics institutions at the national and provincial levels.
We are also supporting the Ministry of Interior in border management and other areas, and we are helping to promote rule of law and build the foundations of sustainable development.
This includes first and foremost promoting alternative livelihoods to end dependence on illicit poppy cultivation for survival, and helping the many people who have been hurt by drug use and addiction.
We are also fostering regional cooperation between Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to improve border and law enforcement coordination to interrupt drug trafficking routes.
We have, moreover, initiated a new inter-regional approach, connecting UNODC initiatives for the regions affected by drugs from Afghanistan, including West and Central Asia, South-Eastern Europe, the Gulf region and East Africa.
This inter-regional approach aims to foster enhanced exchange of intelligence, upgraded training capacities, more effective action against drug-related financial flows and money laundering, and expanded maritime cooperation.
The OSCE, with its comprehensive approach to security and inclusive membership, remains an important partner, particularly in Europe and West and Central Asia.
UNODC and OSCE have jointly organized two Regional Workshops on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters in Astana and Almaty, which provided important opportunities for countries in the region to strengthen cooperation in criminal justice-related matters.
We have also worked together, along with other international partners, on coordinating efforts in the area of border management, including through the Central Asia Border Security Initiative.
I also welcomed the OSCE Secretary General's initiative to hold a "Security Days" event on the international engagement with Afghanistan and Central Asian states earlier this year.
It was a useful opportunity to address evolving security priorities and needs in the region, and it contributed to raising awareness of the importance of these issues in the context of the 2014 transition.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It would be a grave mistake to underestimate the impact, the illicit drug economy has on the political, economic and social prospects of Afghanistan.
We must ensure that our work, to end the drug economy's stranglehold on Afghanistan, continues as a fundamental part of the international community's support to address transition challenges towards and beyond 2014.