Rashid Alimov: Fighting drug trafficking is among SCO’s priorities

SCO Secretary-general Rashid Alimov

On 13 March 2017, the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will open at the United Nations Office in Vienna. Taking part in this anniversary session will be delegations from UN member states, international and regional organisations, as well as experts. The Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Rashid Alimov shared his perspective on SCO's cooperation with the UN in fighting illicit drug trafficking in an interview with TASS News Agency in Beijing.

TASS: Mr Alimov, what is the main purpose of your visit to Vienna?

Rashid Alimov: The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its anniversary session are an important platform for showcasing joint efforts and achievements within the SCO in fighting drug trafficking, and the Organisation's contribution to resolving the world drug problem. The SCO has a lot to share with the international community. On the first day of the CND session there will be a high-level event ‘The United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the fight against drugs and financing of terrorism: Common threats and joint actions' and a screening of a documentary film.

TASS: How would you describe the current cooperation between the SCO and the UN in the fight against drugs?

Rashid Alimov: Cooperating with international and regional organisations, primarily the UN, in fighting drugs is a priority for the SCO. We are complementary in combating this evil. The heads of SCO member states pay a lot of attention to this issue, and can be often heard expressing concern over its exacerbation. During SCO Summits, leaders of our countries reiterate the need to step up international cooperation in this area and reaffirm SCO's commitment to maintaining and strengthening the existing international framework for drug control based on three main international drug control conventions of the UN.

In April 2016, a statement by SCO member states on the world drug problem was presented to the international community in New York, circulated at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly, and commended by the international community. The UN also praised the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2011-2016, which provides a comprehensive roadmap for countering the drug threat.

SCO's cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime plays a special role in fighting drug trafficking based on the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding. The first five years of cooperation between UNODC and the SCO showed that it has great potential. The UNODC and the SCO are both interested in elevating this cooperation to a new, substantive level.

TASS: What about practical cooperation? You have mentioned that on 13 March the SCO and the UN will hold a joint event for the first time as part of the CND.

Rashid Alimov: It will be the first time that a joint high-level event of this kind is held, which makes it an important agenda item for our delegation. This joint event should become a milestone in SCO's cooperation with the UNODC, and is expected to raise awareness among target audiences and the public at large on the dedicated and consistent efforts by the two organisations in fighting the drug problem.

We expect speakers at this event to include UN Under-Secretary-General, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and heads of delegations from SCO member states at the CND Session. We also expect delegations of UN member states, as well as UNODC divisions, regional organisations, NGOs, civil society and the academic community to take part in the event. The meeting will feature an official opening session and a panel discussion.

The SCO Secretariat has been tasked with preparing and holding the event in cooperation with the UNODC Regional Office for Europe, West and Central Asia, and every SCO member state is making a substantial contribution to the process.

Hands-on cooperation between the SCO and the UN is a great example of equal and mutually beneficial partnership between a global organisation and a regional one. The drug threat has no borders. The only way to effectively counter it is to further consolidate efforts of the international community. The SCO is open to initiatives of this kind.

TASS: Does the SCO intend to hold any other events in Vienna?

Rashid Alimov: We have quite a tight schedule. From 13 to 15 March, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will have an information stand in the central lobby of the United Nations Office in Vienna for the delegations and guests at the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. At this stand, visitors will learn about cooperation efforts and initiatives by SCO member states in fighting the illicit traffic of drugs. There will also be banners presenting to delegations at the CND detailed charts and tables to highlight SCO's achievements in fighting the scourge of drugs, the core principles of the three-level mechanism for maintaining regular contacts on fighting drugs, and the state and prospects of international cooperation in an area which the SCO views as its priority.

The highlight of the programme will be the circulation of a Statement by SCO member states for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the world drug problem. We plan to circulate this document among CND participants in the six official languages of the UN.

The SCO Secretariat has prepared for the Vienna Session a documentary film on cooperation among SCO member states in fighting drug trafficking. It will be shown at our special event for the first time.


Interview by Andrei Kirillov

For more details see TASS: http://tass.ru/opinions/interviews/4081381