Security Council Presidential Statement Calls for Stronger International Cooperation with Global, Regional Bodies against Drug Trafficking

8 December 2009
SC/9807

Security Council Presidential Statement Calls for Stronger International Cooperation with Global, Regional Bodies against Drug Trafficking

8 December 2009
Security Council
SC/9807
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6233rd Meeting* (AM & PM)

Security Council Presidential Statement Calls for Stronger International

 

Cooperation with Global, Regional Bodies against Drug Trafficking

 

Illicit Trade Enriching Terrorists, Anti-Government Forces,

Chief of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Warns in Briefing

Concerned about the serious threat posed by drug trafficking to global security, particularly in Africa, the Security Council today called on the international community to strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations and regional organizations in fighting the scourge.

In a statement read out by Bedouma Alain Yoda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, which holds the Council presidency for December, the Council recognized the anti-drug-trafficking measures undertaken by a range of United Nations bodies, from the General Assembly to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and encouraged them to take further action.

The Council also encouraged States to comply with their obligations to combat drug trafficking, to accede to relevant conventions and to investigate and prosecute those involved.  It invited the Secretary-General to consider integrating the anti-drug-trafficking fight into conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis and integrated mission assessments, as well as planning and peacebuilding support.

“Those who run trafficking operations are ruthless and often murderous,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he helped open a discussion of the problem following the Council’s adoption of the presidential statement.  “We must pursue them and thwart them with the full force of the law and international resolve.”

He said the framework for international cooperation was being built around strong, United Nations-backed legal instruments, with the assistance of UNODC and other organizations.  However, not all States had become parties to the instruments and they needed to be implemented more effectively.  “So far, cooperation between Governments is lagging behind cooperation between organized crime networks,” he said.  To counter the global threat, States must share more intelligence, carry out more joint operations, build capacity, and provide mutual legal assistance, he stressed.

Briefing the Council after the Secretary-General’s remarks, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said there were new, worrisome developments concerning drugs in both West and East Africa, as well as across the sub-Saharan land mass.  The continent was facing a severe and complex drug problem ‑‑ not only trafficking but also production and consumption.  Serious consequences in terms of health, development and security were inevitable.

He said the recent discovery of laboratories in Guinea showed that West Africa was also becoming a producer of synthetic drugs (amphetamines) and of crystal cocaine refined from pasta basica.  In East Africa, 30-35 tons of Afghan heroin were being imported, causing a dramatic increase in heroin addiction and spreading HIV/AIDS in the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya’s two main cities.  The two streams of illicit drugs flowing into East and West Africa were now meeting in the Sahara, creating new trafficking routes of unprecedented scale across Chad, Niger and Mali he said.

Drugs were enriching not only organized crime but also terrorists and other anti-Government forces, he warned.  To counter that threat, national capacity must be strengthened and information-sharing among affected countries promoted.  In addition, he urged the creation of a Trans-Saharan Crime Monitoring Network to improve information, monitor suspicious activity, exchange evidence, facilitate legal cooperation and strengthen regional efforts.

In the ensuing debate, speakers welcomed UNODC’s efforts and called for a greater focus, as well as a more comprehensive framework of international cooperation, for fighting illicit drug trafficking in Africa and around the world.  Many also described the extent of the problem in their own subregions, emphasizing the need not only to reduce supply, but also demand.

Most speakers called on the Security Council to pay more attention to the issue from the peace and security perspective.  However, Venezuela’s representative said drug trafficking did not fall under the 15-member body’s jurisdiction and must be fought in a way that gained the approval of the entire international community, through United Nations units that reported to the General Assembly.

Austria’s Vice-Minister for European and International Affairs described the results of a donor round table that his country had co-hosted last week, with a view to increasing support for the Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking and organized crime of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The United Kingdom’s Minister of State for International Development and Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs also spoke.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Libya, Turkey, Uganda, France, Croatia, China, Russian Federation, Japan, Brazil, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Colombia, Senegal, Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Morocco, Mali, Italy, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Argentina, Algeria, Peru, Côte d’Ivoire Iran and Bolivia.

Other speakers were the Permanent Observer of the African Union and the ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Human Development (on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission).

The meeting began at 10:15 a.m., suspended at 1:17 p.m., resumed at 3:25 p.m. and ended at 5:42 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/32 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council notes with concern the serious threats posed in some cases by drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime to international security in different regions of the world, including in Africa.  The increasing link, in some cases, between drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism, is also a source of growing concern.

“The Security Council stresses the importance of strengthening transregional and international cooperation on the basis of a common and shared responsibility to counter the world drug problem and related criminal activities, and in support of relevant national, subregional and regional organizations and mechanisms, including with the view to strengthening the rule of law.

“The Security Council recognizes the importance of the actions undertaken by the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Commission on Narcotics Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other relevant United Nations organs and agencies in facing numerous security risks caused by drug trafficking in many countries and regions, including in Africa.  The Council encourages them to undertake further actions in this regard.

“The Security Council stresses the need to reinforce the coordination of United Nations actions, including cooperation with INTERPOL, in order to enhance the effectiveness of international efforts in the fight against drug trafficking at the national, regional and international levels to tackle this global challenge in a more comprehensive manner in accordance with the principle of common and shared responsibility.

“The Security Council reaffirms and commends in that regard the important work of the UNODC in collaboration with the United Nations relevant entities and emphasizes the need for adequate capacities to support national efforts.

“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to consider mainstreaming the issue of drug trafficking as a factor in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessment and planning and peacebuilding support.

“The Security Council encourages States to comply with their obligations to combat drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, to consider acceding to relevant international conventions, in particular the three United Nations drug conventions and to investigate and prosecute, as appropriate, persons and entities responsible for drug trafficking and related crimes consistent with international human rights and due process standards.

“The Security Council recognizes the important contribution of States, regional and subregional organizations in tackling drug trafficking in all its aspects, and encourages them to share best practices, as well as information about illicit drug trafficking networks.

“The Security Council also recognizes the important contribution of civil society and other stakeholders in tackling drug trafficking in a comprehensive manner.

“The Security Council calls on the international community and the United Nations system to strengthen their cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, in the fight against drug trafficking including in Africa.

“The Security Council calls on the Secretary-General to provide, as appropriate, more information on drug trafficking and related issues where it risks threatening or exacerbating an existing threat to international peace and security.”

Background

The Security Council met today in open debate on “drug trafficking as a threat to international security” under its agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”, in order to raise awareness of the challenge posed to the international community by the increasing illicit cross-border and cross-regional drug trafficking, and to strengthen solidarity and cooperation in tackling that menace.

According to a “concept paper” submitted by the Burkina Faso Presidency, the current extent of that scourge and its potential for destabilizing societies constitute genuine security risks in many countries and regions, in particular in Africa.

Reports and studies, including from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), indicate that drug trafficking has a direct, negative impact on security and public health and that there is a link between drug trafficking, conflicts, proliferation of small arms, money laundering, transnational crime and terrorism financing.  Countries emerging from conflict are particularly vulnerable in that regard.  Production of the opium poppy poses a threat to the lives of millions of people around the world; the level of cocaine trafficking and the resulting violence remain high; synthetic drugs are now part of the drug trafficking problem; and Africa has become not only a growing transit areas, but also a consumption region.

The concept paper states that greater international cooperation is needed and urgent.  Mechanisms for the control of narcotics and psychotropic substances have already been established by the international community.  The General Assembly held its twentieth special session on the world drug problem in 1998.  Regional and subregional organizations, particularly in Africa, have also taken substantial initiatives, such as the 2008 Political Declaration and Action Plan, adopted by a Ministerial Conference of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Cape Verde in October 2008.  Results, however, remain very modest.

As drug trafficking is a serious threat to international security, the Council, which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has an important role to play, according to the concept paper.

Issues to be addressed during the debate include:  the impact of drug trafficking on the socio-economic development of States and regions; the link between drug trafficking, financing of conflict, organized transnational criminality, illicit arms trafficking and money-laundering; and the specific situation of some regions. 

The role of the Council, the UNODC, regional and subregional organizations, civil society and the private sector could also be discussed, as well as the specific responsibilities of the producing, consumer and transit countries.  Another matter for consideration is the urgent need to strengthen international cooperation in eradicating the threat and for all States to accede to international conventions.

Statements

Council President BEDOUMA ALAIN YODA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Development of Burkina Faso, speaking in his national capacity, said his country had asked for the debate on the danger posed by drug trafficking to international security, as it wanted to invite the members of the Council and the United Nations to consider the means to best address the harmful effects of the scourge.  The effects of drug trafficking were evident, he said.  Powerful drug cartels had exercised influence on politics and the internal affairs of countries and posed a threat to the security and stability of States.  Drug trafficking also fuelled corruption and trafficking in arms.  From Latin America to Asia, Europe and Africa, many people had witnessed the chaos it caused. 

He said that West Africa had suffered under the trafficking of cocaine.  Annual seizures of cocaine in that region had increased exponentially and clandestine landings of drug planes revealed the vulnerability of the region’s States.  The countries had become a privileged group:  “the El Dorado of drug traffickers”.  The weakness of the rule of law, corruption and poverty promoted the actions of drug trafficking.  The scourge required an international response through heightened surveillance, as well as effective cooperation and coordination.  The members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had decided to address the problem by organizing, in October 2008 in Cape Verde, a ministerial conference on the issue.  Implementation of the Conference’s plan of action required the support of the international community. 

He said three provisions of the plan of action deserved the support of international partners:  undertaking national and international operations; establishing units for control and surveillance at airports, seaports and border posts; and establishing police laboratories for communication and information exchange.  In addition to that, sustainable development conditions should be created, because as long as unemployment and poverty persisted, illicit drug trafficking would persist.  The international community must consider the fight against drugs as one of its priorities and the Council should integrate the problem in its strategies to prevent conflict and maintain international peace and security.  The effects of drug trafficking on security were devastating for people and States, and posed obstacles to development. 

Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said that “In recent years, drug trafficking has emerged as a leading threat to international peace and security.”

He said that threat was clear in Afghanistan, Colombia and Myanmar, where it fuelled brutal and long-standing insurgencies.  But, criminal groups spread violence in many other places -- in West Africa, Central Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the Mekong region -- in their effort to control trafficking routes.  They undermine the rule of law, spread corruption and the huge profits from trafficking can rival gross domestic product (GDP) in some countries.

“So far”, he said, “cooperation between Governments is lagging behind cooperation between organized crime networks”.  To counter the global threat, States, he stressed, must share intelligence, carry out joint operations, build capacity, and provide mutual legal assistance.

The framework for international cooperation was being built, he said, around strong, United Nations-backed legal instruments, though all States had not yet become parties and they needed to be implemented more effectively.

The United Nations, he said, was also a centre of expertise, with UNODC an authoritative source of information and a provider of capacity-building for State efforts.  Regional partnerships with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Economic Community of West African States and others, as well as strategic cooperation with Interpol and other organizations, were also crucial.

“Drug trafficking does not respect borders,” he stressed.  “Most of all, it does not respect people,” he said.  “It is a menace to the health of societies and individuals alike,” he added, noting that it was associated with horrific abuse of women, in particular.

“Those who run trafficking operations are ruthless and often murderous.  We must pursue them and thwart them with the full force of the law and international resolve,” he said.

ANTONIO MARIA COSTA, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, said that there were new, worrisome developments concerning drugs in both West and East Africa, as well as across the Saharan landmass. 

The continent, he said, was facing a severe and complex drug problem -- not only trafficking but also production and consumption.  Serious consequences in terms of health, development and security were inevitable.

As he had previously testified, he said, the recent discovery of laboratories in Guinea showed that West Africa was also becoming a producer of synthetic drugs (amphetamine) and of crystal cocaine, refined from pasta basica.

There was some encouraging news, for which the Security Council could take credit, he said.  Initiatives by ECOWAS, Member States and the United Nations had attracted attention and resources to the issue.  A decline of cocaine flows had been detected in West Africa since mid-2008.  A donor conference last week in Vienna had attracted financial support for those efforts; he thanked Austria for hosting it.

In East Africa, he said, 30 to 35 tons of Afghan heroin were being trafficked each year, causing a dramatic increase in heroin addiction and spreading HIV/AIDS in the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa.  He urged donors to help fund drug treatment facilities.

Mainly because of the drastic situation in Somalia, he said, East Africa was becoming a free economic zone for all sorts of trafficking -– drugs, migrants, guns, hazardous wastes and natural resources.  On 24 November, in Nairobi, Ministers from the region issued a political declaration to strengthen the rule of law and human security, endorsing the UNODC action plan.  Resources, however, were badly needed.

He said new evidence had been acquired indicating the two streams of illicit drugs flowing into East and West Africa were now meeting in the Sahara, creating new trafficking routes, of unprecedented scale, across Chad, Niger and Mali.  Drugs there were becoming a sort of new currency and were enriching not only organized crime but also terrorists and anti-Government forces.  It was also taking over a whole new dimension.  In the past, trade across the Sahara was by caravans.  Today, it was larger in size, faster in delivery and more high-tech, as evidenced by the debris of a Boeing 727 found on 2 November in Mali.  “It is scary that this new example of the links between drugs, crime and terrorism was discovered by chance, following the plane crash.”

He said that to counter those threats, national capacity must be strengthened, and information sharing must be promoted among affected countries, in such a manner as UNODC had brokered in Central Asia, West Africa and the Gulf.

In addition, he urged the creation of a Trans-Saharan Crime Monitoring Network to improve information, monitor suspicious activity, exchange evidence, facilitate legal cooperation and strengthen regional efforts.  He pledged his assistance in such an effort, together with his traditional partners.

SUSAN RICE (United States) said drug trafficking was truly an international problem with consequences for the security and development of societies.  The activities of criminal networks undermined security and weakened development.  Illicit actors smuggled billions of dollars.  They were enterprises like any other enterprise, searching for higher profits and new markets and were closely linked to other international criminal enterprises.  They were often better equipped than law enforcement officials.  Fighting it could not be done by any Government alone. 

She said international narco-trafficking in West Africa was destabilizing an already turbulent region.  Drug trafficking robbed populations of legitimate sources of development and tore apart the social fabric.  The wholesale value of cocaine smuggled into Europe was estimated at $1.8 billion.  The illicit profits exceeded the resources of local Governments, eclipsing countries’ gross domestic product.  Taking effective measures required increased donor assistance and political will by local Governments.  It required capable and transparent institutions and combating corruption.  She welcomed, in that regard, the recently launched West Africa Crime Initiative, as well as technical assistance activities of the UNODC to the region.  Its regional programme for West Africa was a strategic road map. 

The United States was working as partner in bilateral and multilateral activities to combat drug trafficking and provided assistance to numerous partner countries to build justice capacity, urging States to implement the three drug conventions, as such implementation would serve as a force multiplier.  Giving examples of other activities in Africa, she said growing threats were also faced elsewhere, such as in Haiti and Afghanistan.  Enormous challenges were being faced and the United States was committed to combat those threats, working with other States and international partners.

GARETH THOMAS, Minister of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, said drug trafficking constituted a threat to international peace and security.  In Afghanistan, the drugs trade was one of the most powerful forces undermining legitimate government and promoting instability, even though gains had been made and poppy cultivation had decreased by 22 per cent.  He was particularly concerned about the threat posed by drug trafficking in West Africa, a region that had become a significant route for cocaine being trafficked from Latin America to Europe.  Organized criminal groups, particularly from Latin America, had been scaling up their presence in the region in the past five years.  When their activities were disrupted in one country, they looked to exploit another.

He said those developments had serious implications for West Africa, as they disrupted growth, undermined investment and discouraged entrepreneurship.  In West Africa, organized crime and drug trafficking had the potential to undermine all the good work underway to promote economic development, reduce corruption and improve poor people’s lives.  He welcomed the work of the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations.  His country had set up a cross-governmental strategy group to mobilize and coordinate counter-narcotic activity in West Africa, among other things.  The United Kingdom’s Serious Organised Crime Agency had increased its presence in the region and his country was working with Governments in West Africa to address governance and corruption concerns.

More had to be done, he said.  Colombia needed help to combat its drug cartels.  International partners and organizations must ensure a coordinated and coherent response.  As the threat from organized crime was constantly evolving, it must be ensured that the response was equally flexible.  He supported the recommendation that the United Nations should consider mainstreaming drug trafficking into its wider conflict prevention, assessment and peacebuilding activities and called on the Secretary-General to provide more information on drug trafficking, where it risked threatening or exacerbating an existing threat to international peace and security.

PHAM BINH MINH, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said that, in the ten years since the General Assembly’s special session on countering the world drug problem, greater attention was being paid to curbing and preventing drug trafficking.  Yet, drug-related crimes persisted, and the profits from narcotics trafficking stood at some $500 billion a year, second in revenue only to arms smuggling.  Drug criminals were plying their trade by any means necessary, and in addition to using advanced technology, they were taking advantage of globalization to expand drug production and contacts with criminals and transnational networks in other dangerous fields, such as money laundering.

Continuing, he said the enormous profits from drug trafficking were being used to finance terrorist groups, which carried out violent acts that had long-term negative impacts on security, public order and economic development. “The prevention and suppression of such dangerous crimes requires joint efforts of the international community,” he said, adding that his Government supported enhanced regional and international cooperation, backed by assistance from United Nations agencies, in the fight against drug trafficking, production and transport. 

For its part, Viet Nam had amended its seven-year old Law on Drug Prevention and Control in 2008, and had established a national Committee on Drug Prevention and Control.  At the international level, Viet Nam had ratified the three main United Nations treaties on drug control and had expanded its cooperation with regional countries, especially in the Mekong subregion.  He said that Viet Nam had also signed bilateral agreements on drug control with Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, China, Russian Federation and the United States, among other countries in the region and beyond.  “We hold that bilateral and multilateral cooperation play a critical role in the fight against drug trafficking,” he said.

JOHANNES KYRLE, Vice-Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, associating his statement with the one to be delivered on behalf of the European Union, noted that organized crime was prevalent in regions where governmental structures were weak or lacking, often due to armed conflict.  Organized crime –- and the revenues derived from illicit activities -– fuelled and prolonged conflicts, and might contribute to the financing of terrorism.  Drug trafficking also impacted on transit countries, often across several continents.  No single nation could effectively tackle those challenges on their own.  In Africa especially, States lacked the capacity to respond quickly and effectively, and Austria commended the growing efforts to respond jointly, in the framework of regional organizations.

Austria further recognized that West Africa, which had turned into a hub for cocaine trafficking, as well as a location for the production of narcotic drugs, faced particular challenges in fighting drug trafficking, he said.  With ECOWAS and UNODC, the Austrian Government co-hosted a donor roundtable in Vienna last week, with a view to increasing support for the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking and organized crime.  Austria pledged substantive contributions to the joint West African Coastal Initiative earmarked for Sierra Leone and a UNODC project in Mali to build the capacity of national authorities.  It would also continue to support ECOWAS zonal offices.

Commending the work of UNODC, he voiced full support for the need to strengthen the capacities of that office.  When devising sustainable strategies for conflict areas, the Council should duly incorporate the observation of a recent UNODC report that strengthening the rule of law was the most effective means of enhancing a country’s immunity to organized crime.  Also, universal adherence to and accurate implementation of, pertinent international legal instruments like the United Nations drug conventions, should be the common goal.

CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) said that the drug trafficking problem deserved priority attention as it affected so many areas of life, and it must be addressed across the board, in all its aspects, from drug treatment to international cooperation in halting trafficking.  He deemed it timely that the Council promoted the adoption of efficient measures to fight the scourge and complement the work of the General Assembly and other United Nations units. 

He urged a firm commitment from States, as well as ways to build mutual trust among them to foster greater cooperation.  Multidisciplinary strategies were needed to seal off spaces of impunity and fight cooperation between traffickers in the form of widespread organized crime.

The corruption and violence generated by drugs were a destabilizing factor in States, particularly in Africa, he said, pointing out that there was a need to strengthen their capacity to fight drug trafficking and that it was crucial to help restore the rule of law in countries emerging from conflict.  He described the work of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the effort, but urged the United Nations to promote stronger international cooperation.  He assured the Council that Mexico was fighting the scourge in its own country and also cooperating on the international level.

JORGE URBINA (Costa Rica) said that the drug trafficking threat in Africa was indeed great, but was still highly worrisome in South and Central America and the Caribbean, as well.  He described the crime, corruption and ravaging of communities in many countries in that region.

He called for the strengthening of early warning mechanisms that could help staunch the growth of illicit drug trafficking and for the building of capacity in the rule of law in vulnerable States.  Towards that effort, he called for greater support to the UNDOC, the United Nations development system and all other relevant units of the United Nations.

ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) said the current debate was the first Council debate on the effect of illicit drug trafficking on international peace and security, a problem that had been addressed by other bodies of the United Nations for decades.  Today’s advances in communication and transportation had provided criminals new opportunities to advance their activities, with linkages to small weapons trafficking, money laundering and financing of terrorism.  Illicit drug trafficking was an important tool in the hands of those who sought to spread instability and corruption. 

He said there had been a disturbing increase in cocaine trafficking across West Africa and trafficking in heroin in East Africa, using the vulnerability of States in the regions.  That was a serious threat to the security of States.  In the Sahel area, drug trafficking might be a principal source for the financing of terrorist groups in the area.  The current situation in West Africa and the Sahel required international financial and technical support, as well as cooperation between States in the region.  In countries where significant parts of the population depended on the cultivation of drugs, there was a need for the international community to provide support to farmers and urge them to take on economically sound and sustainable legitimate activities, so that supply would be reduced and food security would be strengthened.  Underlining the important role of the UNODC, he urged that it be provided with the necessary resources.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said the threat of drug trafficking posed difficulties and challenges for States, including drug abuse and associated crimes, such as money laundering and terrorism, which had repercussions for the entire international community.  There was a need for a common response based on a common, but shared, responsibility.  Today, the drug problem adversely affected the economic and social fabric of countries, but also constituted a threat to States.  Links between drug trafficking and terrorism were well documented.  Drug trafficking fuelled corruption and hampered development and the rule of law.  The fight must be based on a comprehensive and effective strategy, taking into account the supply and demand aspects.  Turkey, a natural bridge between Asia and Europe, was affected by the illicit trafficking of opiates and precursors.  Although the country exerted every effort to combat illicit drug trafficking, those national efforts must be complemented by international efforts.

He said that, since in Africa drug trafficking was relatively new, that threat needed to be reversed and required the immediate attention of the international community, before it took root and became a permanent problem.  He emphasized the need to develop a comprehensive approach to trafficking in West Africa.  Turkey understood the predicament of West Africa nations, which were a transit route between supply and large demand.  Only through sustained international cooperation could the phenomenon be remedied.  ECOWAS, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa (UNOWA) and UNODC must place even more emphasis on the problem.  Developing institutional capacity within shared responsibility and increased technical and financial support would be crucial.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda) said the debate provided an opportunity for the Council to focus on drug trafficking as a threat to international security, whereas in the past, the issue was addressed on a regional and country-specific situation, such as in the West African subregion or in Afghanistan.  The danger posed by transnational drug trafficking was widely recognized, as highlighted by the UNODC report, as were its security, health and socio-economic implications.  In June, the ad hoc working group on conflict prevention and resolution in Africa, chaired by Uganda, had highlighted the link between drug trafficking and the risk of countries relapsing into conflict.  Because no country or region could manage the problem on their own, it was critical that international action be well-coordinated.  Effective measures were needed in countries where drugs and precursors were produced, as well as on transit routes and drug destination countries.  As long as the demand for drugs existed, drug trafficking networks would continue to target countries with weak controls.

He commended the role played by UNODC, the International Narcotics Control Board and other United Nations organs in helping States in the fight against drug trafficking.  His Government believed in the need to strengthen and replicate initiatives such as the West African Coast Initiative, launched in July, to support implementation of the Economic Community of West African States regional action plan on drug trafficking and organized crime.  While it was encouraging to see a downward trend in the drug markets of developed countries, the increase in production and use of synthetic drugs in developing countries, including Africa, raised serious concern.  The Secretary-General should consider integrating the issue of drug trafficking into conflict prevention strategies, in overall assessment and planning, and in peacekeeping support.  He also called on States to comply with their obligations to combat trafficking and other transnational organized crime.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France), endorsing the statement to be made by Sweden on behalf of the European Union, affirmed that drug trafficking was a cross-cutting threat to international peace and security, worsening the situation of weak States, as well as conflicts between countries.  Regional action was particularly important.  He commended ECOWAS for its initiatives, and ministers of East African States for their declaration supporting the rule of law in their region.

Regional organizations and international institutions must be further supported, he said, and the fight against drug trafficking must be integrated into peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  All United Nations organizations must be incorporated into the effort, and follow-up to all initiatives must be assured, he stressed.  He called for universalization and full implementation of existing international legal instruments, and advocated that the Council stay involved.

RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia), also aligning himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, wholeheartedly welcomed Council attention to the threat of drug trafficking, affirming that the problem was related to many other threats and represented a great danger to weak states.  He, therefore, supported unified, coordinated action against the scourge, with common and differentiated action under a comprehensive approach.

He urged all States to accede to all relevant legal instruments and to implement their provisions and welcomed continued work by all United Nations units.  He called for further coordination between those units, as well as with law-enforcement organizations, and called for assistance to countries to help provide alternative livelihoods and strengthen the rule of law.  He urged further cooperation between countries of origin, transit and consumption, as well.  He recognized the important role of regional organizations and civil society, encouraging their mutual cooperation.

LIU ZHENMIN (China) said the outcome document of the World Summit had emphasized the negative effects of drugs, terrorism and transnational crime, while underlining the need for the international community to take action to combat the problem.  Drug trafficking was spreading unabated in some parts of the world and threatened peace and security in some regions, particularly in West Africa.  As drug trafficking was the main cause behind the spread of drugs in the world, international cooperation should be strengthened.  Consumption gave rise to demand, which stimulated production.  Due to a stable market in some developed countries, international drug cartels would go to any length to organize drug trafficking.  The fight for drug control must pivot on international cooperation and adhere to shared responsibility.  West Africa should crack down on trafficking activities and consumption countries were duty bound to eliminate drug consumption.

He said that, in international cooperation, the role of regional organizations should be emphasized.  He was deeply concerned about the situation in West Africa, where countries, some of which were emerging from conflict, were facing underdevelopment and were susceptible to inroads from drug trafficking.  The international community’s concern should be translated into concrete measures to help countries and regional organizations to strengthen their capacity to combat drug trafficking.  The international community had the duty to help the underdeveloped countries to develop their economies and improve the livelihood of their people, so that young people could say no to the temptation of drugs.  He called for an even stronger United Nations role in coordination and communication.  Much progress had been made, but the international efforts were far from adequate.  He hoped the Council would continue to pay attention to the issue.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said drug trafficking posed a growing threat to international peace and security, together with organized crime and terrorism.  He supported the determination of the Council to assist in resolving that problem.  The threat of drugs from Afghanistan was global in nature and international cooperation to combat the problem had been addressed by the Paris-Moscow process.  He called for holding the third conference of the Paris-Moscow process at the ministerial level in late 2010.  The urgency of creating buffer zones around Afghanistan was growing.  An example of the effective cooperation of States was Operation Channel, which focused on curbing the illegal flows of drugs and precursors, as well as of weapons and explosives, and countering money laundering.

He said that because of porous borders and weak security sectors in West African countries, the region had been turned into a hub for cocaine trafficking.  The United Nations Office in West Africa and UNODC should continue to contribute to a solution, as it was one of the most serious threats to the security of West African countries, in particular of those emerging from conflict.  More robust measures to eradicate drug trafficking were necessary.

YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said he shared the deep concern over the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit trafficking, as well as over the effects of the scourge on the stability of countries and entire regions.  He, therefore, agreed that it was appropriate for the Security Council to address the situation.

International frameworks against drug trafficking needed to be universalized and implemented effectively, he said.  In addition, national border control and rule of law must be supported, particularly in vulnerable countries and countries recovering from conflict.  In those countries, ex-soldiers must be integrated and provided job opportunities, as well.  The fight against drug trafficking should be incorporated into all peacebuilding efforts, and the entire United Nations system should address the issue more comprehensively and effectively.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said that any sustainable effort against the threat of drug trafficking could only succeed if it properly addressed all the links of the international drug trade.  Real solutions required multidimensional actions, with the engagement of key players at national, regional and international levels.  Fighting drug trafficking was, first and foremost, international cooperation against transnational organized crime.  The three anti-drug Conventions and the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was the primary framework for that activity.

She said that, when the Council was confronted with situations in which drug trafficking was financing terrorist or rebel groups, it would have to determine the most appropriate measures for each case.  Preventive activities, however, should be undertaken to ensure that such extreme situations did not develop.  It was also important to promote alternative livelihoods for disenfranchised populations that might be pushed into the drug economy.

She said that support to the fight against drug trafficking had been considered a priority in the Strategic Framework for Guinea-Bissau, adopted by the Country-Specific Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, which she chaired.  In that regard, she looked forward to the implementation of the ECOWAS regional operational plan.

ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime was posing increasingly difficult challenges to international peace and security.  Apart from its devastating health and socio-economic effects, the narcotics business contributed to global instability and constituted a threat to the security of individual States.  Moreover, in recent years, there had been increasing concern about the possible nexus between terrorist groups’ financing and narcotics profits.  In some parts of the world, the huge profits generated by drug trafficking fuelled corruption and undermined State authority, economic development and the rule of law.

He went on to say that, while Sates bore the primary responsibility to deal with such issues, the challenges of tackling the drug problem required global and regional cooperation.  The United Nations and its different agencies had taken important steps to strengthen the international response to drug trafficking, both through international regulation and assistance in capacity-building.  He said that such efforts, especially those led by the UNODC to help States build their capacity to addresses illicit drugs crime and terrorism, must continue.  Broader drug control efforts must also be integrated into peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding support and development cooperation.

The European Union Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 outlined its priorities in cooperation with third countries and regions.  The Action Plan sought to enhance international cooperation through, among others, addressing trafficking routes and preventing the diversion of chemical production.  He said the European Union had declared drug trafficking -- especially the Western and Central African transit and storage route –- a priority in the fight against organized crime.  The European Union was also addressing the transregional nature of drug trafficking through a global programme covering Latin America and the Caribbean and West Africa, as well as Maghreb countries.

Specifically on the situation in West Africa, he said criminal entrepreneurs had exploited the vulnerabilities in the aftermath of the region’s civil wars.  To make matters worse, Latin American drug traffickers were now linking up with West African criminal networks, and the UNODC’s recent threat assessment painted a “grim picture” of the illicit narcotics trade in West Africa and what that trend meant for the rest of the world.  For its part, the European Union was continuing to support Latin American efforts to reduce the drug supply, while, at the same time, helping to improve intelligence coordination and practical cooperation between that region and Africa.  European Union member States were also cooperating with West African nations on some 70 projects aimed at institution-building, policy support and enforcement.  He said that the European Union was also focusing on helping Afghanistan with its drug trafficking problem and planned to enhance its relevant activities in Pakistan, as well.

CLAUDIA BLUM (Colombia) said the Political Declaration and Action Plan adopted in March by the High-level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs had affirmed the fundamental principle that each one of the links that made up the world drug problem must be faced within the framework of a common and shared responsibility, and through international cooperation.  Colombia, through a strategy based on action against illegal groups, decrease in demand, weakening of the drug trafficking economic structure and emphasis on the eradication of illicit crops, had achieved sound results.  Since 2002, the manual eradication and spraying of illegal crops had increased by 72 per cent, and the area of coca leaf had been reduced by 50 per cent.  According to the UNODC, the production of cocaine in Colombia had fallen by 28 per cent in 2008 as compared to 2007.  Colombia was sharing its experience and capabilities through various cooperation agreements.

She said that at the Regional Summit on the World Drug Problem, Security and Cooperation, held in Cartagena in 2008, some countries from Latin America and the Caribbean had reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the mechanisms for coordination and the exchange of technical and institutional experience.  The 2008 Ministerial Conference of ECOWAS also constituted a significant contribution.  Those two meetings offered elements to promote interregional dialogue.  Operative coordination was only a first step in combating the problem of drug trafficking through West Africa.

She said that only by achieving a balance between the actions aimed at decreasing the supply of, and demand for, drugs was it possible to advance the fight against the world drug problem in an efficient manner.  All countries involved, be they producing, transit or consumer countries, must tackle the various aspects of the problem with equal resolve and in unison.

PAUL BADJI (Senegal) said drug trafficking involved well structured international networks around the world that eroded the security of States and jeopardized the lives of million.  The scourge had disastrous economic and social consequences.  The profits were often laundered and injected into the legal economy, weakening the control of public authorities.  The links between drug trafficking and the financing of armed conflicts and of terrorism had already been established.  That connection and links to other activities, such as money laundering, corruption and trafficking in weapons and human beings, were indicative of the serious threat drug trafficking posed to international peace and security.

Despite efforts of the international community, including the adoption of three international conventions and initiatives taken at the regional, subregional and national levels, the scourge of drug trafficking had not declined at all.  The phenomenon had become even more complex, as the criminal networks had made use of progress in communication and transportation technologies.  Latin American drug cartels were preying on West Africa because of the institutional weaknesses of some States.  They were throwing a spark into an already highly flammable region.  It was necessary to assist in building national capacities to prevent and fight drug trafficking.  Actions should also be aimed, however, at tackling poverty, under development and political instability that promoted the spread of the scourge.  Strengthening and improving international cooperation, in particularly coordinating the actions of all entities involved in the fight, was, therefore, necessary.

MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed appreciation for UNODC’s efforts to provide financial and technological assistance to its members, especially in Africa.  When discussing how to combat cultivation, production and trafficking, it was pertinent to discuss other forms of transnational organized crime and also money-laundering.  Similarly, it was not enough to limit the discussion to traditional forms of illicit drugs; synthetic drugs were now being developed that were easier to transport and smuggle.  They were less costly to make, resulting in the proliferation of production centres around the world.  States needed to cooperate with one another to combat criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking, who were multiplying their traffic routes and distribution methods.  Fighting against drugs should be a common and shared responsibility, to be tackled within a multilateral framework and in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter, such as respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, and others.

He said drug production and its trade had negative consequences on Africa’s development, where the proceeds were laundered through national financial systems and used to acquire small arms and light weapons.  Illegal drug use had negative effects on the achievement of Africa’s development objectives.  At the same time, trafficking in persons was also of concern.  A plan of action on human trafficking was being discussed by the General Assembly, for adoption, and the Non-Aligned Movement appreciated the Assembly’s efforts in that regard.  It commended the UNODC for its role in countering that serious crime.  As for drug trafficking, it was time for the international community to extend its “unequivocal support” to West African nations, whose political leadership had recently adopted a political declaration on drug trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse prevention.  The ECOWAS had also developed programmes to deal with aspects of illicit drug trafficking and production, which the international community must support -- politically, financially and technically.  The United Nations must improve its partnership with Africa, building on the lessons learned and in full cooperation with African regional organizations, such as the African Union, ECOWAS, and the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, to name a few.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the illicit drug trade was one of the greatest threats to security in the world, as it could destabilize countries and overlap with other criminal activities, including terrorism.  Financial support and technical training were needed to supplement national anti-trafficking efforts in West Africa, he added, welcoming also the efforts of ECOWAS in that regard.  More multilateral action was needed, as was a resolute approach that would include treatment for addicts, compilation of data and cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).  Morocco paid particular attention to the worsening situation in the Sahel, which required the resolution of disputes in the region, assistance for recovery in post-conflict countries, and support for strengthening the rule of law in all the region’s countries.

OUMAR DAOU (Mali) affirmed that drug trafficking was, indeed, ravaging the region; the importance of controlling it in his own country was a major priority.  Mali had created an inter-ministerial committee to draft national policy, coordinate various sectors and centralize actions.  However, only international cooperation could end the threat.  After the discovery of a downed drug aircraft some months ago, the Government had opened an investigation in cooperation with INTERPOL and other agencies.  While hasty conclusions would not be helpful, the Government of Mali could not be blamed for “playing the ostrich”, though it was deeply concerned about the prevalence of drug trafficking, he said, calling for greater subregional cooperation.  Mali was working to host a conference to develop a better response and remained ready to work with any international initiative for that purpose.

CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI (Italy), endorsing the European Union statement, stressed that security was a multidisciplinary challenge requiring global analysis, global commitment and a global response.  While stopping drug traffickers was a decisive element, it should not be the driver of policies, because development was crucial to achieving security, he said.  The emphasis on the situation in Africa was appropriate because it showed that the harmful leverage of drug trafficking was multiplied in vulnerable regions where States could be destabilized and shocks produced at the international level.  In that light, Italy welcomed the fostering of international cooperation by the United Nations Office in West Africa (UNOWA) and the UNODC, and had contributed €1.3 million, as well as other resources, to support international initiatives for West African border control and training.  The international response must change the arithmetic of the risks and rewards for criminality under current conditions, and enable information-sharing and law-enforcement cooperation among all affected countries.  In that struggle, United Nations conventions were the strongest weapons.

TETE ANTONIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said the production and use of drugs in African countries, as well as trafficking, constituted a great challenge, the more so because of the associated crimes such as money-laundering and human trafficking.  Violence and crimes against humanity in conflict situations were also associated with drug abuse.

Africa was fighting to play its role in combating the scourge, he said, noting that the African Union’s third regular session of the Conference of Ministers, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2007, had resulted in a Plan of Action for 2007-2012.  Responsibility for its implementation lay with member States, the African Union Commission, civil society and the international community.  It was a coordinated and balanced approach in the context of African development.

The regional body also emphasized the principle of integrating the anti-drug struggle into all aspects of development, including the struggle against poverty, the empowerment of women and HIV/AIDS programmes, he said.  It was important to strengthen institutions and exchange information, to build national capacity, and cooperate on the rule of law, as well as regional and international cooperation.  The African Union called on the Council and the international community to provide support for those efforts.

He concluded by saying that, as with climate change, Africa was once again victimized by a situation for which it was not responsible.  The drugs came mainly from outside Africa and were consumed outside the continent, for the most part.  The African Union, in cooperation with South America, had made fighting drugs a priority.  AS the drugs were consumed mainly in European countries, there should also be close cooperation with Africa’s “European friends”.

ADRIENNE DIOP, Commissioner, Human Development and Gender, Economic Community of West African States Commission, delivered a statement on behalf of Commission President Mohamed Ibn Chambas, saying that West Africa was increasingly being used as a transit route for trafficking cocaine into Europe, with 14 per cent of the drug having transited through the subregion in 2008.  Since 2005, seizures of cocaine in transit from West Africa to Europe had more than doubled, mainly due to increased surveillance, persistent criminal groups and weak States that had trouble controlling their borders.  The effects of trafficking on ECOWAS countries were dramatic:  more insecurity, corruption and cocaine use, with the latter worsening among young people.

She said that, while policies and institutions were in place in various ECOWAS States, they had not been able to stem drug trafficking, which usually involved three or more countries -- for producing, transiting and consuming the product -– making the problem regional, even international, in nature.  Addressing narcotics was a significant national security and foreign-policy issue, as cartels were so large as to undermine Governments.  “Yes, the picture is grim, but we are not hopeless.”  In 2008, ECOWAS Heads of State and Government had adopted a political declaration and regional action plan to prevent drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime, which identified cooperation as a priority.  Since then, the Commission had taken steps regionally to fight organized crime and the drug trade.

She said an operational plan outlined five areas for action:  mobilizing ECOWAS political leadership, enhancing law enforcement cooperation, developing and adopting legal frameworks, addressing health and security problems linked to drug abuse, and gathering data to monitor the magnitude of trafficking and abuse problems.  The plan would also include projects aimed at harmonizing national legislations, conducting training and providing treatment, among other things.  In revising legal frameworks, States would address issues like refusal of entry or expulsion of suspected drug traffickers and makers from ECOWAS States, the signing of extradition treaties, and possibly introducing laws for confiscating property or assets of traffickers.  Moreover, the plan would incorporate a strong communications strategy to draw regional and international attention to the threat.  The plan aimed to determine how the region’s diversity, values and “social assets” could be exploited to tackle the problem.

KIO S. AMIEYEOFORI (Nigeria) said drug trafficking remained a major challenge to global peace and security.  No country was immune to it and none could fight and win the anti-narcotics war alone.  In Africa, illicit drug trafficking, cultivation, processing and abuse were persistently on the rise and creating barriers to development.  West Africa was the most affected by the activities of the drug cartels, which constituted a major threat to the subregion’s fledgling democratic structures and to governance.  The problem had led to increased violence, the proliferation of small arms, human trafficking, corruption, money-laundering and political instability.

He said his country had adopted a dual approach:  control the supply of drugs, as well as the demand for them.  Nigeria remained firmly committed to achieving the ultimate goal of ridding the country and West Africa of drugs and to strengthen its ties with development partners and the international community.  Control of drug trafficking required national, subregional and regional approaches, he said, calling on the international community to continue paying requisite attention to the problem before it became an emergency.

In the spirit of shared and common responsibility, the international community should provide the necessary assistance to help States in the subregion build capacity in order to respond more effectively to challenge, he said.  Attention should also be paid to conflict prevention in the subregion and the role of the diaspora in the chain, he said, cautioning that efforts should not be limited to cocaine and cannabis imported from outside the continent, but also to locally produced marijuana.  An area for urgent focus and capacity support should be the development of mechanisms for gathering and sharing information on organized criminal groups among West African countries.

MARIA DE FATIMA LIMA DA VEIGA (Cape Verde) said ECOWAS member States had committed themselves to jointly mobilize the political leadership and ensure the necessary resources to prevent and combat illicit drug trafficking, related organized crime and drug abuse in a strategic and sustainable way.  The Praia Regional Plan of Action had been translated into national plans, and Cape Verde had adopted new laws to counter narcotics, money-laundering and corruption.  The country had ratified the pertinent international conventions and reduced supply and demand through preventive education, treatment, rehabilitation and reinsertion activities, in cooperation with civil society.  The Government’s focus was now on preventing drug abuse and urban violence; strengthening treatment and reintegration; reducing the risk of its territory being used for drug trade; and enhancing national, regional and international cooperation.

International responses to drug trafficking should be comprehensive, strategic and more articulated, she said, recalling that a recent round table in Vienna -- part of the Praia Process -- had concluded that criminal networks were becoming better equipped and more sophisticated.  International partners should respond in a direct and comprehensive way, without any constraints.  The Council should help other United Nations bodies deliver a more coordinated response, and the Organization as a whole should strengthen its actions regarding drug-providing and receiving markets, as well as transit countries.  Efforts to apprehend those involved in illegal activities should also be scaled up.

Regional and subregional organizations, civil society and other stakeholders should be encouraged to create social resilience to drug trafficking and to prevent the emergence of drug conflicts, she said.  Strong national and regional leadership was indispensable to strengthen political, social and law-enforcement institutions, so they could resist the destructive effects of drug trafficking.  An important step in that direction was symbolized by the ECOWAS Political Declaration and the Regional Plan of Action.

SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), supporting the European Union statement, said the international community must redouble its efforts to come to the aid of countries, subregions and regions affected by drug trafficking, and the United Nations must be at the centre of the common effort.  The anti-trafficking approach should also be integrated into peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development efforts.

Speaking in her capacity as President of the Economic and Social Council, she drew attention to the need for the Security Council to work with the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies on a comprehensive strategy.  The assistance of each Member States was also crucial, particularly in relation to accession to, and implementation of, relevant international conventions.  Luxembourg had been actively doing that in cooperation with West African countries, through international and bilateral efforts.

IVAN BARBALIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the fact that drugs, organized crime, human trafficking and corruption respected no borders required the international community to make more efforts to enhance multilateral partnerships and cooperation to address trafficking.  Enhanced knowledge of trends was a prerequisite for effective policymaking and operational responses.  It was important to ratify and implement international legal treaties, in addition to providing national drug-control information that would enable United Nations treaty-based and governing bodies to monitor drug-abuse patterns, make realistic impact assessments and develop global and regional policy to fight illicit drugs and crime.

He said it was also crucial to give technical assistance to Member States, especially developing countries with fragile political and economic situations, in order to strengthen their ability to create efficient frameworks for preventing and counteracting illegal drug abuse, providing drug-dependency treatment programmes and creating favourable environments for reintegration.  As no country could successfully address the problem on its own, it was of paramount importance that individual countries build proper judicial and police systems, though subregional and regional cooperation were equally important.

Expressing his full support for the work of ECOWAS in promoting and fostering regional cooperation to counter the proliferation of drugs, he said his country’s Parliamentary Assembly had adopted the National Strategy on Supervision over Narcotic Drugs and an action plan to implement it.  It was also cooperating closely with customs and border-control services in neighbouring countries and was concluding bilateral agreements on police and judiciary cooperation, based on the belief that regional approaches were needed to fight drug trafficking.

LESLIE CHRISTIAN (Ghana) described his country’s efforts to counter drug trafficking, listing border patrols, enhancement of the Narcotics Control Board’s data-gathering ability, and capacity-building in the judicial and security sectors.  Ghana had sought and received bilateral assistance for airport screening and cooperated with international efforts against organized crime.

Urging more support for implementation of the ECOWAS Plan of Action against illicit trafficking, he welcomed the West Africa Coast Initiative and called for more coordination among United Nations agencies and regional organizations, as well as synergy between drug interdiction efforts and attempts to fight organized crime and corruption, and to strengthen the democracies of countries emerging from conflict.  Drug trafficking must be stopped, he said, calling for urgent action.

JORGE ARGUELLO (Argentina) said drug trafficking was, indeed, one of the most worrisome subjects on the international agenda today.  A comprehensive approach was needed, with coordinated policies to rehabilitate drug addicts and interdict shipments, with due respect for international law.  International operation was needed in all areas, particularly on the regional level, he continued.  Argentina played an active part in international initiatives on the subject and contributed to the International Narcotics Control board.  The actions of existing mechanisms must be strengthened.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria) said it was, indeed, worrying that drug trafficking continued to pose a threat to international peace and security.  It was important also to strengthen the international treaty framework by universal accession to relevant conventions.  It was vital to reduce both supply and demand for drugs and work within an integrated, comprehensive approach, build capacity in affected countries and to assist countries to offer alternative livelihoods.  He paid a strong tribute to the UNODC for its role in all those efforts, calling also on the Security Council to play a greater role in fighting against drugs and reducing organized crime in countries emerging from conflict.

GONZALO GUTIERREZ (Peru) said West African countries had become transit countries for cocaine, heroine and amphetamine precursors, he said.  Trafficking continued to cause a negative impact in West Africa, with impunity for drug traffickers.  Some countries in the subregion were emerging from conflict and still in a fragile social, economic and political situation.  That was why the Peacebuilding Commission was playing an important role, including by placing Guinea-Bissau on its agenda.  He said the problem of drug trafficking could not be dealt with by any one country on its own, but must be faced by the international community as a whole.  It should make combating drug trafficking a priority.  Drug-consuming countries had a special responsibility.

Technical and financial assistance should be increased and better coordinated, he said, adding that assistance was also needed on border control and in training and equipping police forces.  International cooperation was also necessary to create the necessary legal frameworks.  There was also a need for more information on financial cooperation flows to see how States were responding to the drug-trafficking threat.  To that end, there was a need for a world report that compiled information on the international cooperation resources devoted to fight against drug trafficking.  A draft resolution regarding that issue would soon be submitted to the Assembly.  The situation in West Africa could not be ignored by the international community as the security of the whole region could be affected.

GUILLAUME NIAGRI BAILLY (C ôte d’Ivoire) said drug trafficking was part of globalization and affected the stability of States.  It was also a threat to national, regional and international peace and security.  The West African region had become a transit area for cocaine going to Europe, and drug trafficking there affected the stability of societies, harmed health systems and contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS.  It generated gang wars, terrorism and armed movements.

He said his country had established a national strategy that included prevention, assistance and reintegration and repression of drug activities, adding that a number of international instruments had been adopted, as well.  His country was aware of the need for a comprehensive regional and international approach, and was party to several international frameworks.  There was a need to strengthen and harmonize international and regional legal frameworks and increase technical and financial assistance for capacity-building.  Borders must also be secured.

JORGE VALERO (Venezuela), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said drug trafficking did not fall the Security Council’s jurisdiction and the fight against it must be carried out in such a way as to attract the approval of the entire international community.  The Council must not step outside its functions.

He expressed support for the fight against illicit drug trafficking under international law and with full respect for sovereignty and human rights, including due process and the presumption of innocence.  The issue should be dealt with under the General Assembly and other relevant organs of the United Nations.  In particular, foreign military bases should not be part of the solution.  In addition, support to increase the national capacities of African countries to fight the drug scourge should be strengthened, particularly through South-South Cooperation.

MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran) said drugs were an international problem that could only be curbed through collective efforts based on the principle of shared responsibility.  Iran had “sacrificed” thousands of police and allocated billions of dollars to curtail illegal narcotics, while working to reinforce facilities and control systems at border checkpoints.  Massive volumes of narcotics had been confiscated, with some 702 tons seized in 2008 alone.  Regionally, Iran had collaborated with neighbours and Balkan route countries, and it hosted two regional information exchange centres.

He said his country regularly held meetings with anti-drug authorities in the region, notably the May 2008 “Trilateral initiative”, under which a joint operation in May 2009 had led to the dismantling of criminal drug networks.  A “noticeable” number of traffickers arrested in Iran were from Africa.  Internationally, Iran had signed cooperation documents with more than 30 countries, and participated in several meetings, including the Paris Pact round tables.  Trafficking undermined efforts to attain peace, a problem the Middle East had faced for years with devastating effects and little international assistance.  Hopefully, next month’s conference on Afghanistan would reflect a fresh political impetus to support that country -- and its neighbours -- in addressing drug production and trafficking issues.

JAVIER LOAYZA (Bolivia) said his country was firmly committed to the fight against the global problems of drug trafficking and international organized crime.  Bolivia’s fight against drugs, recognized on the regional level and by UNODC, had increased its seizures of cocaine base paste by 45 per cent, and there had been a 145 per cent rise in seizures of cocaine hydrochloride, among other achievements.  Cocaine seizures had increased by 252 per cent in 2008, compared to 2005, and 6,272 hectares of excess coca leaf crops had been eradicated in 2009.  Bolivia had devoted $20 million of its national resources to the fight against drugs.

He called attention to the fact that his country’s coca leaf crop was only 18 per cent of the worldwide crop and its maximum potential cocaine production was only 13 per cent of potential global production.  However, traditional consumption should be subtracted from that figure.  In that regard, President Evo Morales had submitted a draft amendment to article 49 of the 1961 Convention on Drugs in order to decriminalize the chewing of coca leaf, and the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) had approved a draft resolution by consensus.  It said due account should be taken of the legal and traditional use of the coca, an ancestral practice of the indigenous people of the Andes and part of Bolivia’s national identity.

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*     The 6231st and 6232nd Meetings were closed.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.