On 12-13 April 2021, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov took part in the work of the 64th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in the online format.
On 12 April 2021, SCO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a high-level special side event on the sidelines of the CND session marking the upcoming 10 years anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between the SCO and UNODC and the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The event was held with the support of Tajikistan's SCO chairmanship.
The participants in the event were addressed by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly and Habibullo Vohidzoda, Director of the Drug Control Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The event was also attended by Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau of India Shri Rakesh Asthana; Ilya Kantserov, Head of Division, Department of Combating Drug Crime, Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Liang Yun, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China; Executive Secretary-General of China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC); Timur Isakov, Executive Secretary of the State Coordinating Committee for the Control of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors of the Kyrgyz Republic; Akbar Hussain Durrani, Federal Secretary of Ministry of Narcotics Control of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Oleg Syromolotov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, and Olim Narzullaev, Director of the National Information and Analytical Centre on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The closing remarks were made by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov and Miwa Kato, Director for Operations, UNODC.
The participants in the side event reaffirmed the importance of continued build-up of cooperation between the SCO and UNODC in the context of the 60th anniversary of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 50th anniversary of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which were marked this year. They also stressed the core nature of these universal documents for the current international legal system of control over narcotic drugs. Obligations under this system limit their use exclusively for medical and research purposes.
In this context a reference was made to the 10 November 2020 statement by the Council of Heads of States of the SCO member states on countering the drug threat, which stated the inadmissibility of selective easing of control over any kind of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The statement also confirms the member states' readiness to raise society's awareness of the negative impact of drug use and of countering attempts to legalise the use of narcotics for non-medical purposes.
The importance of fighting the spread of narcotic drugs through the dark segment of the internet and legalisation of drug revenues was underscored as well as the uncovering of links between the drug business and other kinds of criminal activities, including international terrorism.
The participants expressed their readiness to continue effective measures to curb illegal production and trafficking of narcotics in view of the current drug situation in Afghanistan, including within the framework of the regular anti-drug operation Spiderweb.
They reaffirmed their commitment to streamline and expand cooperation with all interested nations and multilateral structures to prepare a consolidated response to the global drug threat.
On the same day the SCO Secretary-General was invited by the Russian Federation to attend a side event on countering illegal drug trafficking amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main speakers at the event were also UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly, Chair of the CND 64th session Dominika Krois, President of the International Narcotics Control Board Cornelis P. de Joncheere, Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Alexis Goosdeel and Executive Director of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) Adam Namm.
Vladimir Norov stressed that severe lockdown measures and restrictions led to increased drug trafficking via the dark web, post and courier services.
In this respect he noted the desire of the SCO member states to harmonise national legislation and practical steps on the regulation and control of virtual currencies and non-cash transfers.
In addition, Vladimir Norov said that exchange of information is needed at the inter-regional level on new methods of synthesising drugs and their precursors. The importance of intensifying international collaboration in fighting the illegal turnover of narcotics was stressed.
In view of the pandemic's negative impact on people's psychological wellbeing, the need to improve the system of drug abuse prevention as well as drug addict treatment and rehabilitation was emphasised.
The SCO Secretary-General assured his colleagues that the organisation is open to collaboration with respective international structures to ensure a reliable collective firewall to the global drug threat.
On 13 April, Vladimir Norov made a presentation at the CND plenary session.
In his video address he stressed that on the eve of its 20th anniversary the SCO has turned into a leading multilateral association in Eurasia engaged in combating the illegal turnover of drugs, which is a grave challenge to international and regional security and stability.
He reaffirmed a resolute commitment by the SCO member states to contribute to the preservation and strengthening of the existing international system of drug control which is based on three universal UN conventions.
He also stated the SCO's readiness to provide proactive assistance in building a society free from psychotropic substances and drug abuse so that all people could retain their health and dignity and live in peace, security and prosperity.
Cooperation between the SCO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is grounded on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Nur-Sultan (Astana) on 14 June 2011.
The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is a functional body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOS) set up following the Council's resolution of 16 February 1946. The CND performs directive guidance and control of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), a structural part of UNDOC.
The CND includes 53 nations from six regional groups according to distributed quotas. The Commission holds its sessions annually. The 64th session was scheduled for 12-16 April 2021.