My thanks to OSCE Secretary-General Schmid for inviting me to address this conference.
I commend Sweden for convening this discussion to address regional challenges posed by drug trafficking, and its linkages with other forms of organized crime.
More and more illicit drugs are being produced and trafficked, as transnational organized crime groups have swiftly adapted operations during the global crisis.
Some pre-pandemic trends, including the trafficking of drugs online and through maritime and waterway routes, have been further accelerated by COVID-related travel restrictions.
A growing threat is posed by synthetic drugs, which can be produced anywhere, from inexpensive and widely available precursor chemicals. Global seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants increased six-fold between 2009 and 2019.
UNODC is supporting Member States in the OSCE region and around the world to tackle these and other drug challenges.
Our Office will launch the 2021 World Drug Report at the end of June.
We have also developed the UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs, an online portal available in English, Spanish and Russian, offering over 260 practical tools and resources.
The complex challenges posed by illicit drugs and organized crime impact all dimensions of security, and enhanced cooperation is needed to meet these threats.
The OSCE is a close partner of UNODC and serves as an observer for the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe. I look forward to further developing our collaboration to promote comprehensive security, and better protect the health and welfare of humankind.
I hope we will be able to meet in person again soon, and until then I wish you productive deliberations.