PRESS RELEASE

High-Level International conference on drug control builds cooperation efforts in Central Asia and wider region

Dushanbe/Vienna 29 May 2015 - A high level international event initiated by the President of Tajikistan was held earlier this week in Dushanbe and attended by senior drug control officials from over 20 countries and intergovernmental organizations. During the conference speakers discussed how best to comprehensively address the global and interconnected challenges posed by transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking, terrorism and drug abuse.

In his welcoming statement, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, stressed that regional and international cooperation are vital preconditions to address illicit drugs and transnational organized crime. He also stressed the importance of promoting scientific evidence and health-based approaches for drug use prevention and treatment. President Rahmon proposed that the years from 2016 to 2020 should be devoted to "global measures towards prevention of addictions and promotion of healthy lifestyles."

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, in a video message to the conference, said, "You have gathered in Dushanbe at an extremely vital moment in your joint efforts to combat illicit drugs originating in Afghanistan. According to the UNODC's 2014 Afghanistan Opium Survey the production of opium in that country increased 17 per cent, reaching 6,400 tons."

"This conference," he went on to say, "provides a good opportunity for countries to analyse regional cooperation and coordination in view of the threats posed by opiates originating in Afghanistan. The recommendations of this conference will strengthen your combined efforts and will allow other countries currently preparing for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS) in 2016 to benefit from your valuable experiences and achievements".

Ambassador Khaled Shamaa, Chair of the UNGASS Board, said Member States have a "collective responsibility to make sure that addressing the world drug problem in 2016 is based on ensuring the well-being of peoples and societies. It is a global challenge and it requires a global response."

The Dushanbe Conference allowed participants to review and analyse current and future challenges, as well as share experiences and lessons learned, and develop a Joint Statement to be shared with the international community as it prepares for UNGASS 2016, which will be held from 19 to 21 April 2016.

"UNODC is working closely with governments and partners in the region to implement integrated and mutually-supportive country, regional, inter-regional and global programmes to tackle transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, drug education and prevention, terrorism and money-laundering," said UNODC Deputy Executive Director Aldo Lale-Demoz, as he reviewed UNODC's operational activities in Central Asia and neighbouring countries.

Countries attending the high level conference included: Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Germany, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Aga Khan Development Network and UNODC.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Galina Fomaidi
Programme Officer
UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia - Uzbekistan
Tel: +99893 182 1739
E-mail: galina.fomaidi[at]unodc.org

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