SCO Secretary-General addresses a special event on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

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On 26 June 2020 SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov attended a special event held by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs timed to coincide with International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The meeting was held via video conference.

Among the keynote speakers were Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Fathi Waly, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission Olivier Onidi, Executive Director of Europol Catherine De Bolle, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Director Alexis Goosdeel, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Adam Namm, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Amira Elfadil as well as heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Vienna. Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Acting Chair of UNCND moderated the event.

The SCO Secretary-General stressed that those changes that have affected the market of illicit narcotic drugs in conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic are the focus of the SCO member states' attention. Thus, a growing threat in the dark internet was timely identified and was discussed at a special event of the SCO and UNCND on the margins of the UNCND's 63th session.

A significant spike in demand for synthetic drugs has also been recorded. In this connection, Vladimir Norov said that the SCO gives special emphasis to carrying out joint preventive measures to neutralise new risks. Thus, following the Web, a SCO anti-narcotics operation in late March of this year, over three metric tonnes of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances were seized.

The Secretary-General stressed new challenges related to the migration of drug trafficking to the south towards overseas transportation routes in the Indian Ocean. In this relation he underlined the potential for developing interaction between SCO and ASEAN anti-drug agencies.

Priority has been given to the joint operation of the SCO competent bodies on restraining drug trafficking from Afghanistan. In this context readiness was expressed for further collaboration with the Paris Pact initiative.

Vladimir Norov underscored the position of the SCO member states regarding the need to strictly comply with the three UN anti-drug conventions on the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance exclusively to medical and scientific ends.

The 2020 World Drug Report and UNODC's research on COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the drug situation in certain regions of the world were also presented at the meeting.