Launch of World Drug Report 2018
– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at Launch of World Drug Report 2018
Good morning, Excellencies, Under-Secretary-General Fedotov, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are here to launch the World Drug Report of 2018.
Unfortunately, it does not contain much good news.
But it is a good resource. A vital one, in fact.
It provides the most up-to-date global analysis. And it can guide our actions, in responding to challenges – both old and new.
Under Secretary-General Fedotov will bring us through some of the main findings of the report.
And so, I will speak more broadly – around three key areas.
My first point is that a lot has changed since the first World Drug Report was published, in 1997.
Back then, most of the drugs we were talking about were bought illegally – on the black market. Today, more and more people are becoming hooked on things they can buy in a pharmacy.
There are also new levels of complexity. New substances and drugs are making their way into traditional supply routes. And, we don’t know where many pharmaceuticals, made for non-medical use, are coming from.
Another change is being seen in the numbers. Because, when it comes to cocaine and opium, they have never been higher.
More people than ever are producing these drugs. More people than ever are supplying them. And more people than ever are using them.
My second point is not about drugs, themselves – but about the impact they have on the world around them.
Drug use can cause death and tragedy. It can rip families apart. It can keep people trapped in cycles of poverty. It can make divides and inequalities wider.
And the damage doesn’t stop there. Cultivation can ruin our environment. It can mean whole areas of forest are cut to the ground. It can take water from communities that need it, and it can release harmful toxins and chemicals into our environment.
Finally, trade and supply come with their own problems. The journey from a poppy field to a customer is often littered with death, crime and inhumanity. This Report shows, very clearly, the role drugs play in criminal networks, trafficking and terrorism.
And, here, I want to point something out: Both women and men get stuck in all parts of the drug cycle. The same goes for both young and old people. However, the effects can be very different. I welcome this Report’s focus on the challenges facing young people, specifically. And on the need for gender-sensitive policies and programmes.
As my third point I want to focus on our response.
We do have a global drugs problem. No country is immune from it.
But that does not mean that all countries have the same experience.
Quite the opposite.
Even places that are only a few miles apart can face vastly different challenges.
So, national solutions and policies are crucial. But the only way to make them stronger – the only way we can ensure long-term success – is through cooperation. Both regionally, and internationally.
And, we have the building blocks firmly in place.
In 2009, we adopted a Political Declaration and a Plan of Action. It was a major step in cooperation towards an integrated strategy to counter the world drug problem. This was followed up in 2016 by a special session of the General Assembly.
Next March, a ministerial-segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will take place in Vienna. It will examine how far we have come, and how far we have left to go, when it comes to international cooperation on the world drug problem.
And we need to remember that this is not a stand-alone issue. It is linked to so many other things we are doing here. From efforts to build peace to our implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We do have a global drugs problem. No country is immune from it. But that does not mean that all countries have the same experience. […] So, national solutions and policies are crucial. But the only way to make them stronger – the only way we can ensure long-term success – is through cooperation. Both regionally, and internationally.
So, I want to thank the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and its Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov.
And I want to thank you all.
This Report is a crucial resource.
But it can only make a difference if we learn from it, and respond to it.
And that is why it is so important that we are all here, to listen and learn.
I thank you.