The World Drug Day Commemoration in Afghanistan

Photo: UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein: UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov (right), with Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan at the launch of the Afghanistan Country Programme in Kabul

June 2012 - The Ministry of Counter Narcotics organized the World Drug Day commemoration in Amani High School in Kabul on 20 June. A number of high level national and international stakeholders gathered at the High School, where traditionally every year the World Drug Day is observed.

"We need to increase the precursors control and enhance our counter-narcotics response in the region and internationally", said H.E. Zarar Ahmad Moqbil Osmani, the Minster of Counter Narcotics.

In 2011, Afghanistan returned to high levels of opium production. Global opium production amounted to 7,000 tons in 2011, up from the low levels of 2010, when plant diseases wiped out almost half the crop yields and triggered steep price rises in Afghanistan.  The amount of opium produced in Afghanistan increased by 61 per cent, from 3,600 tons in 2010 to 5,800 tons in 2011.

"Today we should commemorate those who gave their lives during eradication efforts that were remarkable this year - over 10,000ha", said Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, the UNODC Regional Representative.

Mr. Lemahieu pointed out that more political will is needed to address the wide spread problem of narcotics-trade in Afghanistan. He also emphasized the importance of the Counter Narcotics Monitoring Mechanism for the National Priority Programme.

The Counter Narcotics Monitoring Mechanism was endorsed at the meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, a high-level governing body and overarching mechanism between government and the international community, held on 26 June in Kabul.

This Monitoring Mechanism will enable the Ministry of Counter Narcotics to be represented at the JCMB and Standing Committees meetings, or any other relevant Kabul Process meetings. The primary task of this mechanism is to map out counter narcotics related activities within existing NPPs; as well as activities within existing NPPs that have relevance on the counter narcotics outcomes. The work and the decisions of the Monitoring Mechanism are to be informed by existing counter-narcotics benchmarks, indicators and tangible outcomes and it will be guided by the key MCN strategies (namely Alternative Livelihoods, Drug Demand Reduction, Law Enforcement, Public Awareness, Institution Building, Regional and International Cooperation strategy, such as through the Counter-Narcotics Confidence Building Measure within the Istanbul Process), and the revised National Drug Control Strategy.