Director General/Executive Director
New York, 19 April 2016
I am honored to join you at this event marking an important milestone in our collective efforts to counter illicit drug trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Your presence here today shows the strong commitment and contribution of your countries to this long-standing partnership to promote a regional approach to drug control.
This is a fitting occasion for us to examine the progress made, and the challenges we continue to face, for three reasons.
Firstly, our meeting takes place during the UNGASS on the world drug problem.
The MOU's vision for drug control cooperation provides an important practical contribution to the debate on the need for a balanced approach that takes into account both supply and demand.
Secondly, 2016 marks the launch of the 2030 Agenda.
Many of the targets under the SDGs are closely related to our efforts to address the world drug problem, its consequences and associated challenges.
Thirdly, despite the successes achieved by the partner countries, the challenges posed by illicit drugs have not diminished but rather multiplied.
The Mekong sub-region is an important arena in our global efforts to counter the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, and the organized criminal groups profiting from them.
While cultivation in the Golden Triangle has been successfully reduced from the peak levels of twenty years ago, the area is currently still producing significant volumes, and the region represents the second largest source of the global opium supply.
It is also part of the largest synthetic drugs market in the world.
The use of amphetamine-type stimulants in East and Southeast Asia is expanding rapidly, with the Mekong sub-region a major production zone feeding the market.
The region is also affected by the emergence of new psychoactive substances.
The Mekong MOU countries are making tireless efforts to address these challenges through dialogue and regional cooperation.
Some encouraging achievements realized over the past two decades include:
The ownership demonstrated by the signatories is a key to these successes.
The rolling plan of action under the MOU has also helped to ensure that commitments are translated into concrete activities and initiatives that together form a comprehensive and balanced response covering the areas of:
The signatories' strong commitment can be observed in their efforts to financially contribute to the implementation of the Memorandum, in line with their economic means.
I encourage other Member States to consider supporting them in their fight against drugs in this crucial region.
UNODC will continue to provide secretariat services to the Memorandum and, through its Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, stands ready to continue and enhance the provision of technical assistance.
Moreover, UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia 2014-2017 is carefully designed to ensure effective support of the MOU process, in line with the action plan and its priorities.
I am looking forward to further strengthening the partnership between UNODC and your respective Governments, to support MOU implementation and contribute to the wider goals of this UNGASS and the 2030 Agenda.