Minister Azimi Led the Afghanistan Delegation to ICAD-2
Her Excellency, Minister Salamat Azimi led an Afghanistan Delegation to the 2nd International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD-2) in Bangkok, Thailand, in preparation for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016 (UNGASS 2016). Over 150 policy makers, experts, development practitioners, members of international organizations and civil society from 27 countries gathered in Chang Rai, Chang Mai and Bangkok from 19 to 24 November to exchange ideas, discuss lessons learned and to examine alternative development in the context of the global development agenda. Thailand and Peru (host of ICAD-I in 2012) are considered the global alternative development leaders and, with the support of Germany, have led efforts to prepare the Global Guidelines/Standards on Alternative Development which have now been adopted by the United Nations.
ICAD-2 was inaugurated by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, who recognized that alternative development has to be an essential component in the international community's response to addressing the world drug problem. Minister Azimi, in her opening remarks, stressed that while Afghanistan had seen a 19% reduction in cultivation and 48% reduction in production of opium, a major challenge still remained for the as both a regional and global threat. She also acknowledged that the lessons learned from Thailand's experience in eliminating poppy cultivation through sustainable development interventions were invaluable valuable to Afghanistan. Support from donors and international development agencies would be required if Afghanistan was to be successful in these endeavours.
The Afghan delegation consisted of officials from the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) accompanied by UNODC subkect matter experts. In addition to attending ICAD-2, the delegation visited development projects in the northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai that were being implemented by rural communities in the border areas with Myanmar. In separate side events to ICAD-2, Minister Azimi conducted one-to-one meetings with senior officials from Bolivia, China, Germany, Myanmar and Thailand and provided advice on how to strengthen the international community's efforts in Afghanistan to deliver long-term, inclusive, and sustainable interventions to combat the drug problem emanating from the country.