UN urges integrated fight against drugs & organized crime


UNITED NATIONS, June 26 (APP): On the International Day against Drug
Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the international community to honour the unanimous commitments made to tackle this global problem.
“Despite the risks and challenges inherent in tackling this global
problem, I hope and believe we are on the right path, and that together
we can implement a coordinated, balanced and comprehensive approach that leads to sustainable solutions,” he said in a message marking the Day.
The UN chief also recalled the special session on the World Drug Problem, convened by the UN General Assembly, where governments agreed
upon a series of steps which are more effective and humane, and leaves
no one behind.
“I know from personal experience how an approach based on prevention
and treatment can yield positive results,” Guterres noted, referring to steps he took as the Prime Minister of Portugal, including introduction
of non-criminal responses to the possession of drugs for personal use –
a flexibility afforded by the three international drug control
conventions – and greater resources for prevention, treatment, and
social reintegration programmes.
The steps helped the country achieve one of the lowest death rates
for drug use in Europe, as well reduce the prevalence of HIV amongst injecting drug users.
“I am proud of these results and hope this experience will contribute
to the discussion and encourage [UN] member states to continue exploring comprehensive and evidence-based solutions,” the Secretary General added, noting that the follow-up process to the 2016 special session included
an institutional framework to share best practices.
“This would be the best possible way to implement the UNGASS recommendations and to have a positive impact on the lives of millions
of people around the world,” he said.
Similarly, in his own message on the Day, Yury Fedotov, the
Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), also recalled the commitments expressed at last year’s General Assembly
special session and underscored the challenges that drug abuse and
illicit trafficking pose to sustainable development.
“Once viewed as a marginal actor on the development stage, drugs
and crime are now viewed as a disturbing obstruction to the achievement
of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly
[Sustainable Development] Goal 3 on health and Goal 16 on peaceful societies,” he said, underscoring the importance of implementing the commitments made by UN member states last year.
The theme for the 2017 edition of the Day, Listen First – Listening
to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and
safe, builds on the theme for the commemoration last year, as an
initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based
on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of
children and youth, their families and their communities.