UNODC Chief Launches Afghanistan Country Programme to Strengthen Action Against Illicit Drugs
28 May 2012- Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, together with Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani, the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, launched a new UNODC Country Programme for Afghanistan (2012-2014) in Kabul today.
Primarily aimed to support the Government of Afghanistan to deliver an effective drugs and crime response, the Programme focus on establishing alternative livelihoods for households dependent on illicit crop cultivation, drug demand reduction, and drug-related HIV prevention and treatment. Simultaneously the Programme will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics to conduct research, surveys and analysis. Other components of the programme will include support for law enforcement and criminal justice to address drug trafficking and the drug economy and the challenges they posed to the rule of law.
At the same time, the Country Programme will contribute to the wider objectives of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries 2011-14, a strategic framework for UNODC and multilateral partners to respond effectively to drug trafficking and organized crime. Launched in December 2011, the Regional Programme places particular emphasis on strengthening border controls to prevent the trafficking of drugs and precursor chemicals, which are used to manufacture drugs.
Mr. Fedotov underscored the timeliness of this initiative.
“The clock is ticking. UNODC recognizes that it must align its work to the withdrawal of international military forces in order to ensure we don’t lose momentum,” said Mr. Fedotov
The UNODC Country Programme 2012-2014 represents a concrete step towards strengthening the capacity of the Government to fight illicit drugs and crime, and paving the way for Afghanistan to achieve long-term development, he said.
At last week’s NATO Summit in Chicago, where world leaders discussed the withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged “enduring” support for the nation beyond that date, citing drug production and trafficking, health care and livelihoods as some of the priorities to be addressed.
Stressing the "common and shared responsibility" of countries in the region and beyond to act against the menace of illicit Afghan opiates, Mr. Fedotov called for balanced and comprehensive responses: breaking the link between poverty and drug cultivation, curbing drug demand and directing law enforcement efforts against the traffickers - not the farmers or the addicts. Also essential for the long-term development of the country were good governance and anti-corruption measures, he said.
Afghanistan produces some 90 per cent of the world's illicit opiates. The UNODC Afghan Opium Survey 2011 pointed to a sharp increase in opium production, higher prices for the crop and a flourishing drugs trade. Also, with more than 1 million drug users in the country and 5 percent of the population involved in drug cultivation, Mr. Fedotov stated that Afghanistan was paying too high a price for the illicit drug problem.
The $117 million Country Programme is by far the largest donor-funded UNODC country programme worldwide and the Office’s portfolio in Afghanistan now accounts for some 15 per cent of its global activities.