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Government of Myanmar and UNODC hold drug day conference and strategic consultations in Nay Pyi Taw

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 26 June 2017
- The Government of Myanmar convened a special national conference to mark the 29th International Day against Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking in Nay Pyi Taw today, with speeches, displays and activities highlighting the impact of drugs on the health and security of the country and surrounding region. Attended by the Vice President, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Health, dozens of senior officials, UNODC regional leadership and experts, diplomats and media, the event featured findings of the 2017 World Drug Report and the latest regional and national data, along with discussions about strategies and plans to address the situation.

The conference is part of an ongoing effort of the Government of Myanmar to reconsider the situation and solutions given the significance of the drug problem in the country. Opium poppy cultivation in the Golden Triangle has levelled off after tripling over the last decade, with production mainly concentrated in Shan State but with some production also in Kachin and parts of Chin State. At the same time methamphetamine production and trafficking continues on an upward trajectory mirroring the expansion and diversification of illicit drug markets in Southeast Asia.

"Recent large scale seizures of methamphetamine in Shan, Yangon and Rakhine, and in neighbouring countries connecting back into Myanmar, point to the regional nature of the business and the reach of organised crime," said Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Emphasising the need for a regional response, he added: "Different chemicals are being trafficked into the country to produce methamphetamine and heroin, and drugs are being trafficked out to meet market demand - the two way trade underway is huge and continues basically uninterrupted. The amount of money being made by different groups and criminals is on a scale few people can comprehend or relate to."

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC Myanmar Police Security Policy

The Government of Myanmar has shown a renewed commitment to addressing these issues, moving forward with an update of the national drug law and policy with the support of UNODC. The new legal and policy framework will mirror elements of the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Drugs (UNGASS). At the same time Myanmar continues to be an active partner of regional strategies including the Mekong MOU on Drug Control which are important to facilitate regional cooperation to address production, trafficking and border control, as well as address common drug use and health issues.

"One of the findings of the latest World Drug Report is that achieving sustainable development requires addressing the world drug problem," said Mr. Douglas. "Illicit drugs are a major challenge to community and public health, and in some places, including here in Myanmar, drug production and trafficking are highly destabilizing and undermine peace and security. If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved in a country like Myanmar, drug control measures need to be mainstreamed into national development efforts."

The day's activities also included the presentation of awards for an innovative youth art competition that showcased different artwork showing the impact of drugs in the country. The theme of International Day against Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking 2017 is Listen First - listening to children and youth is the first step to leading healthy and safe lives. 'Listen First' is an initiative to increase support for the prevention of drug use based as an effective investment.

Click here to learn more about UNODC's work in Myanmar

Click here to learn more about the Mekong MOU on Drug Control

Click here to learn more about the World Drug Report 2017

Click here to learn more about the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking