H.E. Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni called upon UNODC Country Representative Pakistan at his residence in Dubai

20 Feb 2018 - Dubai, UAE - His Excellency Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni, Guinness World Record Holder, Author, Chairman Al Zarooni Foundation & the Emirati Entrepreneur called upon  Mr. Cesar Guedes, Country Representative for UNODC Pakistan, at his Residence in Dubai. Mr. Guedes was accompanied by Mr. Shehzad Roy, a prominent Pakistani singer and the National Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC Pakistan, and his team members Mr. Arsalan Malik, Associate Programme Coordinator, Ms. Rizwana Rahool, and Communications Officer. The meeting was also attended Mr. Arif Ahmad Al Zarooni and other senior officials from Dubai, UAE. On this occasion, H.E. Suhail Mohd Al Zarooni also hosted a courtesy dinner in the honor of  Country Representative UNODC Pakistan and his deligatio

H.E. Suhail Mohd Al Zarooni welcomed Mr. Cesar Guedes and his team at the Zarooni Palace. Mr. Guedes thanked His Excellency for his courtesy and introduced Mr. Shehzad Roy in his new role as Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC in Pakistan. He also discussed that Pakistan has a poppy free status since 2001, but there is an alarming situation about the neighboring country Afghanistan, where there is a serious rise in opium production. "Pakistan, having the longest porous border with Afghanistan is at the risk of being vulnerable to illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse amongst youth",  he said. This calls for new strategies and work for the government, agencies, civil society and private sector in promoting drug prevention and awareness especially among youth and families. 

Mr. Guedes also highlighted that United Nations General Assembly Special Session was held in New York in April 2016 and the world drug problem was discussed with the member states who all are signatories of the drug conventions.

He said that drug dependence- recognizing it as a complex, multifactorial health disorder characterized by a chronic and relapsing nature with social causes and consequences - can be prevented and treated by reaching out to the highest level of provincial command to incorporate drug demand reduction into health care delivery system.

He mentioned that there is a need for scaling up of the drug treatment services in line with scientific evidence to improve the quality of services. 

During his discussion Mr. Guedes commended H.E. Al Zarooni on his social and charitable work through his organization "Al Zarooni Foundation" which aims to provide healthcare to children/women in need through its various projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africa, India, Sri Lanka and beyond. He added that it would be an honour for UNODC if His Excellency can be a part of UNODC's activities where Mr. Shehzad Roy is engaged in the awareness raising and advocacy for children/youth who are highly vulnerable to drug use, especially children who are working or living on the streets and workplaces. 

While discussing with Mr. Guedes, Al Zarooni expressed that the biggest problem in the region is the lack of education and a high level of youth unemployment. He added that the younger generation is not getting proper education or even basic education due to which they get easily distracted by evil society members who exploit them. He further said that the other significant problem is unemployment; especially to those who are educated but unable to get a job and because of it they get engaged in criminal activities only for the sake of petty money and pleasure which distract them.

Al Zarooni suggested that UNODC as an organization should continue to work closely with respective Governments especially in the areas of education and criminal justice which will help strengthening the nation and its citizens to fight against organized crime, trafficking, drugs, terrorism and corruption.

Speaking to H.E. Mr. Shehzad Roy said, "I had attended a three days UNODC's workshop on UNGASS and world drug problem couple of weeks back in Islamabad, where they brought all the government stake holders on one platform and discussed drug related issues, which was commendable. I had been following UNODC's work even before joining them as a Goodwill Ambassador, they are working in the fields of criminal justice, drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention, these things are close to my heart especially when children are concerned, and I will give my all to my new role as National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan; I'm very keen to bring some tangible change being with them."

At the end, the meeting was followed by a dinner and later by a presenting UNODC Momento to H.E. Mr. Guedes said that a meeting like this is a symbol and a tangible instrument of friendship which enriches the UNODC-UAE relations also. He praised the UAE's increasingly active role in the region and around the world.