UNODC Executive Director and Afghan President meet ahead of next week's Bonn II Conference

Kabul - 28 November- Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, has met President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan ahead of the International Conference on Afghanistan taking place in Bonn, Germany, next week.  The Afghan Opium Survey 2011 shows that this year, Afghanistan witnessed a sharp increase in opium production, higher prices for the cash crop and a sizeable drugs trade. Given the enduring links between insecurity and opium poppy cultivation, Mr. Fedotov said he would welcome recognition of the importance of counter-narcotics at the Bonn conference.

The Executive Director praised the fruitful cooperation between his Office and the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics.

Corruption and drug trafficking are mutually reinforcing and undermine development efforts in Afghanistan.  Mr. Fedotov recognized that Afghanistan had ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption and assured President Karzai that UNODC would stand by the High Office of Oversight, the Attorney-General's Office and the Ministry of Interior in the implementation of the Convention.

Stressing the principle of shared responsibility in counter-narcotics strategies for Afghanistan, Mr. Fedotov said robust regional and international cooperation was essential. UNODC is about to launch its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, which will focus on drug control.  Mr. Fedotov said he would welcome the President's support for the regional approach advocated by UNODC, including co-operation not only with immediate neighbours, Iran and Pakistan, but also further afield with Central Asian countries, Russia and China.

In parallel, UNODC's new Country Programme for Afghanistan (2012- 2014) will emphasize assistance at the provincial level; the creation of sustainable alternative livelihoods for opium poppy farmers; expanded health care, drug demand reduction and HIV prevention; and the enhancement of the capacity of the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics to conduct research, surveys and  analysis.

During his visit to Kabul, Mr. Fedotov also met Staffan De Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, and Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Affairs.  On the agenda were the Bonn Conference and strategies to bolster long-term international support for Afghanistan.

For further information, please contact:

Preeta Bannerjee, Public Information Officer: UNODC

T: (+43-699) 1459-5764 | M: (+43-699) 1459-5764 | E: preeta.bannerjee{a}