Tackling the Afghan opium threat

15 December 2008 - Senior international counter-narcotics officials are meeting in Vienna this week to improve efforts to stem the supply of deadly drugs out of Afghanistan. The meeting is organized by UNODC within the framework of the Paris Pact, an initiative which aims to combat Afghan opiates trafficking, consumption and related problems in affected countries.

More than 50 countries and international organizations participate in the Paris Pact. North America, Central Asia, the European Union, CIS countries, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Interpol and NATO are all among those represented at the meeting. Paris Pact partners convene annually to review expert operational recommendations and share information on how each partner is implementing the recommendations.

Afghanistan supplies more than 90 per cent of the world's opiates. Although recent data has shown that opium has become less important to the Afghan economy in 2008, the progress is fragile.

Specific topics under discussion at the meeting include counter narcotics enforcement (supply reduction), financial flows linked to the production and trafficking of Afghan opiates, preventing and treating drug abuse and HIV epidemics in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries (drug demand reduction), trafficking in precursors used to manufacture heroin, and Afghanistan's opium-poppy free roadmap.