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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations CND: Agenda item 4 - Illicit Drug Traffic and Supply

Statement of the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union at the 51st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs


Thank you, Mr. Chairman

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union*.

2. Mr. Chairman, international illicit drug trafficking continues to be a major problem for the international community. Moreover, despite significant efforts to counter drug cultivation and production, illicit drugs are still readily available. We believe that further enhancement of international and regional cooperation is fundamental to counter this threat and therefore support UNODC's efforts to facilitate this cooperation. We reaffirm our commitment to shared responsibility in tackling the drug problem.

3. The European Union plays an active role in the international efforts against drugs supply and drug-trafficking. The EU Drugs Strategy for the period 2005 – 2012 addresses the drug problem in an integrated, multidisciplinary and balanced approach defining specific objectives to be implemented by the EU Drugs Action Plan 2005-2008. In the field of supply reduction, the Action Plan calls for a number of concrete measures regarding, inter alia, the improvement of law enforcement co-operation, development of joint projects and strategies against production and trafficking of drugs as well as measures against diversion of chemical precursors and money laundering. Many of these activities have already been implemented or are well on the way.

4. The sharp increase both in cultivation and production of illicit opium poppy in Afghanistan, which in 2007 reached its highest level ever, is alarming. All indicators predict that cultivation and production will be similar in 2008. Over 90% of the heroin consumed in the EU originates in Afghanistan. In addition, drug consumption is an increasing problem in Afghanistan itself as well as in neighbouring and transit countries. Resolved to contribute to tackling this threat, the EU strongly welcomes the recent Afghanistan Joint Co-ordination Monitoring 

Board meeting in Tokyo and the Afghan Government's commitment to accelerate and improve implementation of their National Drug Control Strategy. We consider this implementation vital if we are to see progress in 2008. Afghan leadership and delivery is critical if we are to turn the tide of drug cultivation. During the next years, the EU member states plan to increase efforts to fight the heroin trafficking flow from Afghanistan, through capacity building programmes to enhance trans-regional cooperation and in collaboration with the UNODC, particularly within the Paris Pact. The EU stands ready to assist and will continue to support the Government of Afghanistan to implement its National Drug Control Strategy which is well balanced and provides the right basis for a sustainable fight against drugs in Afghanistan. The EU encourages the international community to support the restructuring and implementation of the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund. The EU also reiterates the underlying importance of justice, security and law enforcement. To this end, the EU fully supports the work of the ESDP police-training mission, EUPOL.

5. The EU acknowledges there are no quick fixes. The experience of other countries shows that the fight against poppy cultivation takes decades and is, above all, a development issue that needs to go hand in hand with security, governance, law enforcement and drug demand reduction.

6. The EU will continue to implement its May 2006 Action Oriented Paper on combating drug trafficking production in and trafficking from Afghanistan, which is our framework for targeting assistance. The EU understands that an integral part of the National Drug Control Strategy is the need for an effective and tribally balanced eradication programme targeted where there is access to legal rural livelihoods.

7. Last year's rise of opium production in Afghanistan, although with opium cultivation trends moving in opposite directions by diminishing in centre-north and highly rising in south-west, is a challenge to our counter narcotics efforts. The illicit revenues and parallel power structures generated by drug trafficking distort the economy and undermine the government. Insecurity in parts of the country can be directly linked to the proceeds from the illicit drug trade inside Afghanistan and beyond its borders. Measures in this area have to be accompanied by measures to increase the authority of the Afghan government in the rule of law sector, in combating corruption at national and regional level, in building capacity and in investing in alternative livelihoods. The EU in a broader context will continue its support in all of these areas. The Union would like to express its full appreciation for the role which the international community including the UK as key partner nation in counter narcotics and UNODC have played in support of the Government of Afghanistan's counter narcotic efforts.

8. In this context, the European Union commends UNODC for its sustained efforts in furthering the Paris Pact. The work of this initiative is of particular importance for a better understanding, assessment and coordination of regional, national and inter-institutional efforts to counter trafficking of Afghan opiates. The EU appreciates that the Paris Pact initiative in order to advocate a balanced approach between supply and demand reduction includes demand reduction in its sessions. We welcome the outcome of the 5th Paris Pact Policy Consultative Group Meeting in December 2007, inter alia, agreed experts roundtables in 2008 and commend UNODC for presenting operational regional strategy, "Rainbow Strategy" for Afghanistan. The European Union which is a substantial donor to the initiative, is confident that UNODC will continue its leadership and maintain the institutional framework of the Paris Pact activities.

9. The European Union welcomes the publication of the Opium Poppy Cultivation in South East Asia 2007 and notes with appreciation the significant decline in illicit poppy cultivation in the region. The EU remains aware of the vulnerability and critical situation in which farmers find themselves in this post opium scenario and stress the need for increased and sustained development interventions to address food insecurity and other human needs. The EU also welcomes the 2007 publications of UNODC's coca cultivation surveys for the Andean region and countries. The EU remains aware of the need for intensified international cooperation to sustain the reduction achieved since 2000, which unfortunately does not appear to have resulted in a fall in cocaine availability.

10. Mr. Chairman, in view of increasing seizure trends for amphetamine-type stimulants and precursor chemicals used for their production in 2006, the situation with regard to trafficking of synthetic drugs remains of great concern to the EU. According to the World Drug Report, Europe seems to remain one major market for synthetic drugs. The Council Decision (2005/387/JHA) on information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances, which has been adopted in May 2005 provides a framework for a rapid and effective information exchange on new psychoactive substances in preparation of the scientific assessment of the risks these substances may pose to public health and society. In 2007 a risk assessment on the psychoactive substance BZP resulted in a proposal from the European Commission to bring this substance under control.

11. The European Union continues to improve and expand cooperation with law enforcement agencies internally and with other countries in order to tackle the common problem of drug trafficking. Within the EU major progress has been made in police and judicial cooperation, which leads to more effective law enforcement intervention. Europol and Eurojust play a pivotal role in facilitating operational cooperation. Let me further make reference to the European Arrest Warrant, the possibility to form Joint Investigation Teams and the periodically updated Organised Crime Threat Assessment, which contains many references to drug crime. More efficient exchange of police data, information and intelligence for legal purposes form the core of new European legislation. Europol and other EU law enforcement agencies have worked together to tackle the production of illicit drugs and will continue to do so in the future.

12. In the broader UN context, the European Union would like to express its support for mechanisms such as regional meetings of HONLEA that promote the exchange of information and experiences between national drug law enforcement agencies and thus facilitate the development of consistent approaches against drug related transnational organised crime. In this context, let me express the EU's solid belief that all counter narcotics efforts and initiatives must be conducted in full respect of human rights, rule of law and international law.

13. The EU and individual Member States continue to engage with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region to disrupt the flow of cocaine. In 2007 EU and LAC partners have reviewed the Panama Action Plan aimed at the further promotion of real and practical results, such as the EU/LAC intelligence sharing working group, funded by the EU.

14. The EU expresses concern regarding new drug trafficking routes, including via East and West Africa. In this context, we welcome UNODC's Cocaine Trafficking in Western Africa Situation Report 2007 and new efforts in targeting these routes. The EU recognises the serious threat that cocaine trafficking in / through West Africa, which is mainly directed towards Europe, presents to the stability and prosperity of those regions. EU member states' efforts will be therefore increased in the next years in order to tackle this problem. With the need for an effective and firm response to the problem, we underline the importance of the established intelligence and law enforcement mechanism, Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics (MAOC-N) based in Lisbon, aiming at the suppression of illicit drug trafficking by sea and by air across the Atlantic towards Europe and the West Africa Seaboard. In this context, the EU welcomes the cooperation between MAOC-N and national authorities that has already resulted in several seizures of large amounts of cocaine. The EU also recognises that Africa's most fragile states are particularly vulnerable to the corruptive and disruptive action of drug trafficking organizations. We are committed to supporting and working closely with relevant national and regional authorities in West and North Africa. In this respect Mr. Chairman the EU would like to draw your attention to the Draft EU resolution on Strengthening international support for West Africa in combating the drug problem.

15. Finally, the European Union recognises the integrated nature of the global drugs problem and therefore believes in the significance to also address the underlying socio-economic factors when countering illicit drug production and trafficking. In this context, emphasis should be placed on vicious cycles of poverty, on indebtedness, on the marginalization of drug cultivation, and on the correct sequencing of alternative development and eradication efforts.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

* The Candidate Countries Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova and Ukraine, associate themselves with this statement.


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Date: 07.05.2008