On 4 December 2017, the State Duma of the Russian Federation hosted an international conference Parliamentarians Against Drugs. Speakers and high-ranking representatives from 43 national parliaments discussed the subject of global drug trafficking and opportunities for standardising anti-drug legislations.
Addressing the conference's plenary session, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov noted that "members of parliament are making a substantial practical contribution to efforts to counter the drug threat. The fact that countries on various continents are represented by high-ranking members of parliament at the conference shows the common profound concern with the growing problem of illegal drug trafficking that has no borders and threatens the entire humankind."
"According to the latest statistics, between 2011-2016, law enforcement agencies of SCO member states confiscated over 70 tonnes of heroin, over 21 tonnes of unprocessed opium, almost 400 tonnes of marijuana, and 31 tonnes of hashish. SCO member states alone have confiscated about 14 percent of heroin confiscated worldwide," Mr Alimov said. However, these impressive statistics pale against the backdrop of expanding drug production, he noted. Mr Alimov expressed confidence that any "long-term decisions to contain drug aggression can only rely on firm commitment to close regional as well as international cooperation."
Mr Alimov drew the attention of conference participants to the SCO's Astana Declaration of 9 June 2017. In this document, the leaders of SCO member states confirmed their intention to expand coordinated efforts for countering common security challenges and threats, including those in the fight against illegal drug trafficking. "The SCO will expand dialogue and cooperation to guarantee comprehensive security in the interests of the region and the entire world," Mr Alimov said in conclusion.
The main topics of the conference were efforts to streamline counter-narcotics legislation, new approaches to medical treatment, and the role of the private sector.
Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Healthcare Veronika Skvortsova together with Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). General Yury Fedotov, also spoke at the plenary session.
The conference involved about 500 people. Following the event, the participants passed the Moscow Declaration, which is expected to become the foundation of work to standardise national counter-narcotics legislations.