SCO Secretary-General addresses 63rd session of UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

SCO Secretary-General addresses 63rd session of UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

On 3 March, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov addressed a plenary meeting of the 63rd session of UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and informed the participants about the Organisation's measures to combat threat of drug trafficking.

"SCO member states invariably assume that the illegal cultivation, production, trafficking, sales and spread of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors seriously threaten stability and security and the population's health and well-being," the Secretary-General said.

Vladimir Norov expressed concern over the continued expansion of narcotic drugs trafficking from the territory of Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle region and called for invigorating interstate, inter-regional and global collaboration in combating illegal drug trafficking. "In this connection, I would like to note that the approval in June 2019 of the Road Map of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group that aims to strengthen cooperation with the Afghan authorities, including when it comes to anti-drug operations, became one of our latest initiatives in this field," the Secretary-General pointed out.

The large-scale spread of new types of psycho-active substances, including via the Internet, causes serious concern, he noted. "A joint fight against this phenomenon has become a high-priority cooperation aspect under the upgraded Anti-Drug Strategy of the SCO Member States and the Action Programme for implementing it. Under an approved Working Plan to implement the above-mentioned documents, the International Anti-Drug Operation Spider Web will take place in SCO member states this March."

Vladimir Norov praised the collaboration between the SCO and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He noted the topicality and great practical significance of the 2 March SCO-UNODC joint high-level event in the context of efforts to effectively neutralise the narcotic drugs threat via the Dark Net, the Internet's shadow segment.

The SCO Secretary-General drew the participants' attention to the expanding symbiosis between the narcotic drugs business and other trans-border challenges and threats. According to Vladimir Norov, "the phenomenon of narcoterrorism when proceeds from illegal narcotic drugs trafficking finance terrorist activities is particularly alarming."

"SCO member states advocate the unshakeable nature of the three UN drug control conventions and perceive them as the cornerstone of the modern international drug control system. In our opinion, it is imperative that their provisions be unfailingly complied with. This concerns the use of narcotic and psychotropic substances solely for medical and research purposes alone. At the same time, we regret to note that current trends to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes serve to erode the current system of international drug control law," the SCO Secretary-General said.

Vladimir Norov reaffirmed the Organisation's readiness for open and all-inclusive dialogue on combating illegal narcotic drugs trafficking with all the concerned states, regional and international organisations.

"Our Organisation will continue to augment global efforts in this direction by proposing the relevant regional mechanisms and initiatives. We are counting on fruitful collective work that would also involve our colleagues from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in order to turn the Eurasian continent into a region free from illegal drug trafficking," the SCO Secretary-General said in conclusion.

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a functional body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that was established on 16 February 1946. The Commission supervises and monitors the activities of the UN International Drug Control Programme, part of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Commission's members include 53 states from six regional groups under allotted quotas. The Commission holds annual sessions.

On 13 March 2017, the UN Office in Vienna was the venue of the first joint high-level SCO-UNODC event, The UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Fight against Narcotic Drugs: New Threats and Joint Efforts, on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.