Director General/Executive Director
Remarks of the Executive Director at the meeting of the Security Council on UNAMA
27 June 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to address the Security Council.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to brief you on UNODC's latest activities designed to interrupt the flow of drugs and crime in the region.
The recent Report of the Secretary General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, specifically recognizes the threat of drugs and crime.
Indeed, Afghanistan produces around 90 per cent of the world's opiates, and the southern part of the country is the world's largest opium producing region.
Total global opium production amounted to around 7,000 tons in 2011. In Afghanistan, opium production increased from 3,600 metric tons in 2010 to 5,800 metric tons in 2011.
The country's poppy free provinces may also be falling for the second year running. Down from 17 to 15.
UNODC estimates that trafficking in opiates is a US$68 billion business for the criminals.
These drugs are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people throughout the world every year.
But Afghanistan also suffers from the highest rates of opiate prevalence in the world, as well as HIV/AIDS.
And, drug trafficking undermines stability in the region, fuels organized crime and corruption, increases drug consumption, and spreads HIV/AIDS.
As we move towards 2014, we cannot allow a vacuum to form that would further encourage the production of opium.
This view has been affirmed by my own recent visit to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
When meeting President Karzai, I stressed the need for the Afghan government, at every level, to express its commitment to addressing the drug problem, as a national priority. The President agreed to that.
My visit to opium poppy fields in Badakshan province showed that eradication efforts must be more vigorously supported by alternative development programmes.
Afghan Counter-Narcotics' authorities are demonstrating their own commitment to combating poppy cultivation. But much more needs to be done.
As of 19 June, a total of 11,000 ha of poppy fields has been eradicated. The figure is a 173 per cent increase when compared to 2011. However, it represents less then 10 % of the total poppy cultivation area.
Food zones, for example in Helmand Province, are contributing to the decline in poppy cultivation in some areas. But more funds are needed to support such projects.
Landowners are being targeted by a new law that criminalizes the use of their land for poppy cultivation. Now, we look forward to meaningful implementation of this law.
There are also signs that a plant disease may blight this year's crop, as it did in 2010. But, plant disease offers no solution to the problem of Afghan's opiates and stockpiles may well exist.
Therefore, we cannot afford to take our foot off the accelerator.
At the political level, we are building political momentum through the Paris Pact initiative, while developing integrated regional programmes.
UNODC 's US$117 million dollar Country Programme for Afghanistan was launched in May. The programme is closely linked to the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.
Together these programmes form part of UNODC's overall strategy to provide a coherent field response to drug trafficking, as well as closer co-operation among regional and international actors.
Strengthened border controls are also an essential element of this strategy.
Both programmes are connected to such bodies as the Triangular Initiative, CARICC and Operation Tarcet, which targets the precursor chemical necessary to produce heroin.
There are also three new initiatives that are linked to the Regional Programme:
- The Criminal Assets Southern Hub (CASH) will target criminal profits by offering advice to national authorities.
- The Southern Trafficking Operational Plan (STOP) will couple alternative livelihoods, while also maximizing law enforcement and interdiction efforts, and
- The Maritime Regional Security Initiative (MaReS). This initiative will address the movement of trafficking into the seas between Iran and Pakistan.
In May, we started a new Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe that complements these activities by concentrating on Afghan heroin flowing through Central West Asia and then on through the Balkans.
UNODC is also helping to create inter-agency partnerships. One such example is the United Nations Task Force on transnational and organized crime and drug trafficking, established by the Secretary-General in 2011.
In Dushanbe, on 1 June, I co-chaired the first regional meeting of the Task Force in Central Asia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This thematic debate is timely. We stand midway between another key set of milestones in the international community's journey to support and assist Afghanistan.
On 14 June, the Kabul Ministerial Conference was held, and on 7 July, the international conference on Afghanistan in Tokoyo will begin.
There are many challenges in Afghansitan, but I would encourage Member States to do everything possible to communicate the message that illicit drugs and crime are capable of undermining attempts to promote economic and social development in the country.
Our work is in the interests of Afghanistan and the victims of illicit drugs, but it is also in the common interests of the international community.