|UNITED NATIONS OFFICE|
FOR DRUG CONTROL AND CRIME PREVENTION
Informal Meeting on Drug Control
|Baden bei Wien, Austria|
17-18 January 1999
A New Era In Drug ControlGood afternoon. Again let me welcome you to Baden.
As we stand at the threshold of a new Century we face new challenges. Yet, at the United Nations, our core objectives remain the same ? to build a more peaceful, secure and just world.
In 1945, world leaders had a choice. To proceed with "business-as-usual" in international affairs, or to create an international system that would actively foster peace and security. By creating the United Nations, world leaders acknowledged that the commitment of all the countries of the world was needed to establish a more secure world.
Today we are faced with the same choice. While no great power views any other as an immediate military threat, the demands upon us have not lessened. One of the major developments of the post-Cold War period has been the threat to peace and security from new global challenges, including crime, terrorism and drugs.
These threats are no less serious to many countries than those faced in 1945. While faster communications and new technologies have brought us closer together, they have also made it easier for drug dealers and international criminals to poison our young and hide their profits. Drugs ruin countless lives. Drug money is used to corrupt those in power ? and undermines political stability and economic development. The stability of new and fragile countries is particularly vulnerable to the drug trade and the organised criminal groups behind it.
These new issues, which were unforeseen when the U.N. Charter was created, pose some of the most important new security challenges for the global community. And we must provide the same leadership and commitment to combating these, as we did for the receding problems.
1998 was a tremendous year in the field of international drug control. Governments, around the world, became truly united on the issue. At the Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem, this past June, thirty-two Heads of State, in addition to representatives of the 185 U.N. member states acknowledged that the drug issue affects all nations ? developed and developing alike.
The era of finger-pointing is over between those countries once considered "producers" and those considered "consumers". All states now acknowledge that only by working together can they effectively deal with these new threats.
At the Special Session Member States agreed to a package of measures to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs within precise time frames. This balanced approach represents a significant shift for those countries that have traditionally focused on law enforcement.
On the supply side states agreed to do their best to eliminate illicit drug crops by the year 2008. They also agreed to have new demand reduction strategies in place by 2003 so that objectives will be realised by 2008.
Concrete commitments were also made in the field of precursors, amphetamines, alternative development, judicial cooperation and money laundering. For instance, by the year 2003, governments have bound themselves to criminalise money laundering and to put controls in place to ensure that their financial systems cannot be used for laundering criminal proceeds.
And their follow-up actions in the six months since then ? usually only a nano-second in U.N. time ? illustrates clearly just how serious governments are taking their commitments.
Take the governments of the three countries that account for almost the entire global supply of cocaine ? Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. With our help, these Governments have developed strategies to eliminate their illegal crops well before the target date of 2008. Combining law enforcement, monitoring, and the provision of alternative means of livelihood for farmers, these governments are convinced that they will eliminate their crops in a matter of years.
Bolivia?s record achievement in eradicating coca in 1998 testifies that it can be done. In excess of 11,000 hectares were eradicated ? a record year.
In Peru, we are witnessing similar success stories, year after year. Last October, Peru received pledges of over $270 million dollars by the donor community and international development banks for crop eradication and alternative development. This sort of commitment is a clear sign that the international community is serious about meeting the goals it has set. Similar developments in other areas will be discussed by my colleagues during these two days.
Aside from these new commitments, one of the most important outcomes of the Special Session was not written on paper. It is the new sense of optimism within the international community. When I took office only nine months prior to the Session there was an attitude of day-to-day acceptance that the world should just try to control the flood of illegal drugs. The momentum around the Special Session changed this.
There is a new vitality, a new optimism at the international level, based on the belief that real success can be achieved by working together.
For example, when the idea to virtually eliminate illicit drug crops was first proposed about a year ago, most governments said that it couldn?t be done. At the Special Session, countries were no longer saying that it couldn?t be done, instead they were negotiating how and by when it would be done. And since June, we have witnessed countries that were traditionally divided by the drug issue, become united behind the same drug-control goals.
We now have a remarkable opportunity.
At the UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, we are dedicating our efforts to turn the global consensus against these threats into concrete action.
These challenges underscore the importance of the collective will of the world?s leading nations. In this sense, the United Nations serves as a catalyst and coalition builder. Together with governments we can frame the issues and point the way, but if goals are to be reached every nation has a role to play.
From Latin America to Asia to Eastern Europe we are working with NGOs and Governments to train judges, draft laws, help farmers find alternative livelihoods and develop prevention and rehabilitation campaigns. Some of our most important work is in helping governments accurately determine the true extent of the reach of the drug problem in their country.
On the demand side I see UNDCP?s role in two areas. Firstly, to act as a global centre for the collection and dissemination of best practices in all areas of demand reduction. And secondly, to help governments build their capacity to gather accurate data on the nature and extent of drug abuse ? and based on this knowledge to assist in the design of national demand reduction strategies.
On the supply side we are working with governments to monitor the extent of illicit cultivations through ground, aerial and satellite surveys. We reached an agreement with the European Space Agency only last month ? through which the Space Agency, the United Nations and the concerned governments will develop satellite-remote-sensing capacity for national monitoring systems.
In law enforcement we play a coordination role among governments ? particularly at the regional level ? and with relevant international groups. For instance we currently have on-going projects where we work in partnership with Interpol, Europol and the World Customs Organisation as well as the relevant governments.
In short, we are working hard to sustain the momentum of the Special Session and to engage all countries to honour their commitments.
For those countries that have the capacity, we will encourage them to participate fully. We will help those who lack capacity or are mired in conflict. For the very few rogue countries that reject the goals laid down by the international community, we will continue to dialogue and stand ready to assist them when the political climate is more conducive.
Let me now open the floor to questions and discussion.