Islamic Republic of Iran

UNODC Chief and President Karzai of Afghanistan Discuss Effective National and Regional Counter-narcotics Action

KABUL/VIENNA, 29 May (UN Information Service) - Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Afghan President Hamid Karzai today discussed plans to boost national and regional counter-narcotics efforts, as well as ways to stem drug production.

Stressing the principle of "shared responsibility" as the only effective answer to the global menace of Afghan opiates, Mr. Fedotov highlighted that the Afghan Government and provincial governors had a crucial role to play. Strong, sustained political will at all levels of the Afghan leadership would be an essential part of the solution.

Mr. Fedotov said, "I welcome the fact that the government is working hard to counter the narcotics trade in the country, but there is also a need to do much more. We must build the necessary political commitment, as well as practical action, to have tangible successes against the criminal networks that traffic in death and misery."

Afghanistan produces some 90 per cent of the world's illicit opiates. The UNODC Afghan Opium Survey 2011 pointed to a dramatic 133 per cent increase in the farm-gate value of opium compared with 2010, higher prices for the crop and a flourishing drugs trade.

Having launched a new Country Programme for Afghanistan (2012-2014) while in Kabul, Mr. Fedotov assured President Karzai that his Office remained committed to ensuring continued and tailored support to Afghanistan. Mr. Fedotov underscored the timeliness of the UNODC Country Programme, which was aligned with handover of power by the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF).

The Country Programme represented a concrete step towards strengthening the capacity of the Government to fight illicit drugs and crime, which would pave the way for long-term development, he said. Its focus would primarily be on providing alternative livelihoods to households dependent on illicit crop cultivation; drug demand reduction; and drug-related HIV prevention and treatment.

Simultaneously, the Country Programme would contribute to the wider objectives of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries 2011-14, a strategic framework for UNODC and multilateral partners to respond effectively to drug trafficking and organized crime.