6 October 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, allow me to congratulate you as the Chair of the Third Committee. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the work of this committee.
I also wish to express my gratitude to the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their comprehensive reports which provided us with important updates on the latest developments on the international efforts in combating illicit narcotics. Let me also thank UNODC and its dedicated team for their support for our joint efforts, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
While the international community has to deal with a number of formidable challenges such as transnational organized crimes, including illicit drugs and drug trafficking, the threat of violent extremism and terrorism is by far the greatest and most menacing of all.
Today, terrorist groups in various parts of the world continue to affect our peace, security, social order, and economic development and have put the future of a prosperous and peaceful world in jeopardy. According to our experience in Afghanistan over the last two decades, the threat posed by this evil phenomena, mixed with criminality, is real and growing fast. No country and no region, regardless of their religion and race is immune to its destabilizing effects. Moreover, the transnational nature of this problem and its interlinkages with drugs mean that no state can effectively deal with this global scourge alone. We know the challenge ahead of us is daunting, but we also know that the ultimate responsibility for creating a peaceful environment for our families and future generations rests upon our shoulders. Therefore, we believe that today, more than ever before, it is crucial for the members of the international community to put aside their differences, strive to work together, and use all available tools to tackle this problem.
In this regard, we believe the United Nations can play an important role by developing a better and more workable international approach to violent extremism and terrorism through further strengthening the global regime with a focus on those who use terrorism and militant extremism as a political weapon to further their hegemonic ambitions.
Illicit drugs is another growing concern of our time that continues to undermine our stability, economic development and facilitates other forms of transnational organized crimes.
Afghanistan is also a victim of illicit narcotics and its impact on Afghan society mirrors the current challenges of the country. Moreover, the nexus between illicit drug trade and terrorist groups has contributed to the problem of security in Afghanistan as drug related proceeds is one of the sources, among others, to fuel violence in the country. According to UNODC reports, the bulk of opium poppy cultivation and opiate production occur in the provinces where security situation is worst and economy and infrastructure are least developed.
Cognizant of the gravity of the challenge, the Government of Afghanistan has taken a number of steps to address this problem. We are pleased to state that our efforts have yielded important results. We succeeded in reducing opiate production by 11% and poppy cultivation by 19% since 2015. Moreover, through a comprehensive set of measures we have increased the eradication of opium poppies by 40% and are committed to increasing that figure by next year.
Since 2015, we have been implementing a National Drug Action Plan that aligns law enforcement, education, and public health. Recognizing that successful reforms require long-term commitments, over the next five years, we will continue to provide alternative livelihoods for farmers while strictly enforcing laws against money-laundering and drug trafficking. This Action Plan has set three main interrelated counter narcotics goals to be achieved by 2019:
– Decrease the cultivation of opium poppy;
– Decrease the production and trafficking of opiates; and
– Reduce the demand for illicit drugs and increase the provision of treatment for users.
The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan which took place on 5th of October 2016, marked a new phase of mutual commitment between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community. The conference underlined the need for a sustained and integrated approach in effectively reducing the illicit production and trafficking of narcotics and precursor products, and fighting organized crime, including money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism. Moreover, the conference also supported the Afghan National Drug Action Plan.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indisputable that the issue of narcotics is widespread, and the effects of drug cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption are vast and devastating. Addressing this global problem requires a comprehensive global, and unified response with a focus on trade, trafficking, production, and consumption aspects.
In our part, the people and Government of Afghanistan are strongly committed to continuing their efforts to not only build upon the achievements of the last sixteen years, but also put a new foundation for progress and advancement for our future generations. In this regard, we have already taken major steps to expand our cooperation with countries of the region and beyond to strengthen our relevant law-enforcement agencies, greater intelligence sharing on terrorist threats, and drawing effective mechanisms to curtail trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotic drugs. We also continue to hold bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral consultations, and maintain our efforts through other mechanisms and forums, including the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
In conclusion, Madam Chair, I would like to express our gratitude to the international community for its generous support and commitment at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, UNODC for its continued support in addressing the challenges of narcotic drugs and organized crime, in order to acheive a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. I thank you.