10 June 1998


10 June 1998

Press Release



The most effective way to contain the flow of drugs from poorer countries is to support their efforts towards sustainable economies, Ghana's Minister of the Interior told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its special session devoted to countering the world's drug problem together.

There should be greater focus on the economic dimensions of the drug menace, he said. Young people are being enticed to participate in illicit industries for reasons of economic survival. The benefits of economic growth take time to be reflected in the incomes of the poor, tempting them to become involved in growing and trafficking drugs.

People get involved in the illegal drug trade because it is lucrative compared with the value of export crops, Fiji's representative said. Governments must develop economic alternatives that are attractive to their citizens. People must be provided with opportunities to engage in legitimate businesses and productive employment.

On the issue of demand reduction, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands said his country's experience, focusing on protection of health and social well-being, showed that drug users should not be criminalized. Such a policy kept users from going underground, enabled effective targeted policy measures and removed the glamour associated with drug use. A high standard of treatment, care and risk reduction measures had lowered morbidity and mortality among drug users and had reduced the spread of infectious diseases.

Also this afternoon, several countries stressed geopolitical factors in relation to drugs. There was need for an in-depth study on the situation of drugs in Africa, with its porous borders and the deterioration of some States political affairs, Senegal's Minister of Town Planning and Habitat said. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister, noting the development of new routes for trafficking and the difficulties of transitioning from planned to market economies, called for greater international and regional cooperation.

General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

The vulnerability of particular social groups was also highlighted. New Zealand's Minister of Customs and Associate Minister of Health said that young people were exposed to media's glamorization of drug use. Also, he said there was need to address the hypocrisy of adults' legal use of alcohol and simultaneous condemnation of the use of marijuana by the youth. Indigenous people should be encouraged to participate more fully in all levels of the health sector, while health services should be made more responsive to their needs.

At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly approved the report of the Credentials Committee on representation to the special session.

This afternoon, the Assembly also heard statements by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Croatia, Poland and Papua New Guinea; Bulgaria's Minister of Health; Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs; Republic of Moldova's Minister for Foreign Affairs; Luxembourg's Minister of Justice and Jordan's Minister of the Interior. The representatives of Monaco, Sri Lanka, Grenada, Malta, Solomon Islands, Togo and Swaziland also spoke.

The General Assembly will meet again at 7 p.m. today, to conclude its general debate and take action on the draft texts.

Special Session Work Programme

The twentieth special session of the General Assembly devoted to countering the world drug problem together met this afternoon to continue its general debate. (For background information on the session, see Press release GA/9410 of 5 June.)


IVICA KOSTOVIC, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Technology, Croatia: The importance of the global United Nations approach in fighting the drug problem cannot be overstated. Recent aggression against Croatia has aggravated a new but growing drug abuse problem in the country and the Government has acted quickly to stop it. In January 1996, a two-year programme was initiated jointly with the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). The project includes activities to modernize drug control methods and update legislation, strengthen law enforcement and improve demand reduction structures.

The UNDCP strategic approach to regional and subregional programmes is vital to a country such as Croatia, which is at the crossroads of illicit drug trafficking routes. Croatia's priorities include both control of the "Balkan route" and participation in activities of the Central European countries. During May, Croatia hosted a regional conference for Interpol, which declared the fight against drugs as its strategic priority in the context of other forms of organized crime, such as money-laundering, illicit weapons trade and terrorism. Control measures against illicit drug trafficking are not enough, however, and demand reduction calls for strengthening cooperation regarding prevention strategies.

JANUSZ TOMASZEWSKI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs and Administration, Poland: According to estimates, some 40,000 people habitually consume drugs in Poland and this number is rising. The drugs most frequently consumed are marijuana and hashish brought in from Western Europe, as well as amphetamines and other synthetic drugs which are also produced in Poland. According to our information, organized criminal groups are establishing control over local drug markets. They are gradually seeking monopolization of these markets by extorting money, or, directly, by organizing drug deliveries. Between 1994 and 1997, the number of the most serious drug-related offences, such as the production, distribution, and smuggling of drugs, rose by almost 100 per cent.

Poland's experience of the past few years indicates that without international cooperation, it is impossible to create an effective system of internal security or halt the threat of organized crime. The 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic

General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

Substances provides the inspiration for the Polish idea of a convention against transnational organized crime. We are convinced that the work on this convention, sometimes called the Warsaw Convention, will be successfully concluded and will serve to support the actions that are aimed against illegal drug trafficking. Poland wishes to participate actively in the efforts of the United Nations in the battle against drugs. We welcome the idea of establishing in Vienna a centre for combating organized crime and drug-related crime.

VALERIY SMOLIY, Deputy Prime Minister, Ukraine: International drug crime is a strongly destabilizing force, capable of ruining States' political and economic foundations, as well as global peace and security. Drug dealers are well equipped with modern technologies and means of transportation. Their profits exceed by many times the amount of money that is allotted by the world community for development. The elimination of remnants of totalitarianism and the transition of new and restored democracies from the planned to the market economy have appeared to be a more difficult process than expected. One of the negative phenomena that grew simultaneously with this process has been the growth of criminal activity connected with illegal drug trafficking.

The number of addicts in Ukraine has reached about 70,000 persons according to official data, but the real number of persons victimized by drug use is hard to calculate. Every year Ukraine's law enforcement bodies confiscate over 40 tons of narcotic drugs. Due to its geopolitical situation, Ukraine is of great interest to drug dealers. New routes of international drug business have been created from Ukraine to the European States that share its borders. In response, the Government has included control over drug crimes and addiction in its policy directions. Further, it has concluded a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements on legal assistance, and is party to the three United Nations conventions. Ukraine's activities in the framework of regional activities is becoming more dynamic. Taking into account the fact that criminal groups of drug businesses transfer the centre of their activities to Central and Eastern Europe, Ukraine invites other countries of the region to take part in implementing a new regional initiative called "Kanal" ("Channel"), which envisions interaction of border agencies.

HANS VAN MIERLO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands: To protect the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the major drug transit area of the Caribbean, the Netherlands supports the Barbados Plan of Action, which represents an excellent framework for coordinated regional actions. It has also taken initiatives to formalize an agreement between countries to strengthen maritime cooperation in relation to drug production and trafficking, and in the fast growing problem of money-laundering. As an active participant in the Financial Action Task Force and in the Caribbean Financial Task Force, the Netherlands is ready to contribute to developing a global set of measures to implement the steps to control money-laundering once

General Assembly Plenary - 4 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

the special session approves the resolution enumerating the principles for countering it.

The Netherlands' policy on demand reduction has shown positive results. It focuses on protection of health and social well-being, and on reducing the risks associated with drug abuse. In that context, the Netherlands' experience shows that drug users should not be criminalized for habits but should be provided with the help they need. This policy keeps users from going underground, which helps identify user groups and habits, and enables development of effective targeted policy measures. Bringing drug use into the open also removes its glamour. Young people in the Netherlands now consider heroin to be for losers. Finally, a high standard of treatment, care and risk reduction measures has lowered morbidity and mortality among drug users and has reduced the spread of infectious diseases.

No country's system can be imposed on another as the only right and proper one. Achieving a drug-free world remains an open question. Control of drugs and drug-related problems seems an attainable goal, but even that objective takes all the resources that can be brought to bear, both political and financial.

MICHAEL NALI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, Papua New Guinea: Papua New Guinea's geographical position gives the perception that the illicit drugs trade could not possibly be found among its 4 million people, but in fact, both foreign and domestic drugs are taking its toll on the country at an alarming rate. We not only have illegal drug users in our country, but also growing illegal exporters and importers of drugs, especially marijuana and cannabis. Already our Government has established a special Narcotics Bureau to address and coordinate all aspects of drug abuse. My Government is introducing in Parliament a new up-to-date legislation drafted with the assistance of the United Nations experts to control these substances.

Many traditional methods of reducing the supply of drugs have failed to a certain extent in many countries and in ours as well. This does not mean that supply reduction needs to be abandoned. On the contrary, the proposed Control Substance Bill will strengthen the law enforcement bodies in this work by introducing such measures as controlled delivery. But we are grateful that the promotion of alternative development projects is being discussed and recognized as a method of supply reduction. The drug menace is spreading rapidly, not only because of human weaknesses but because it is also promoted by terrorists and organized crime. We are dealing with forces so powerful that no one country alone can hope to contain the problem.

PETER BOYADJIEV, Minister of Health, Bulgaria: The central objectives of the war against drugs will be achieved because countries are complying with

General Assembly Plenary - 5 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

the requirements of the international community. Bulgaria has attacked all levels of drug trafficking, including abuse and money-laundering. The geopolitical situation of Bulgaria makes it an important transit route. For years Bulgarian customs has seized substantial quantities of drugs and precursors. In recent months there has been elimination of criminal drug laboratories in Bulgaria. At the same time, a network of medical professionals to address treatment and rehabilitation of addicts is being established.

For humanitarian reasons, Bulgaria is trying to expand programmes for treatment. A national law on narcotic drugs is being drawn up in accordance with international standards and awaits the decision of this special session of the General Assembly to go into effect. A new law on money-laundering has also been drawn up, and updated legislation on corruption is being drafted. Bulgaria is participating as actively as possible in preparing subregional machinery to participate in combating drugs in the Balkan sub-route. The front against drugs must encompass all sectors of society. The world community, convinced that it is in a position to win the war on drugs, now needs to show a front that is organized and decisive.

WONG KAN SENG, Minister for Home Affairs, Singapore: Money-laundering is another consequence of the drug problem. The development of sophisticated communications and financial structures worldwide has provided drug traffickers with effective avenues for legitimizing their earnings from the drug trade. As a member of the multi-nation Financial Action Task Force, Singapore has worked with other countries to combat international money- laundering. It has also put legislation in place to counter the problem and provided for judicial cooperation in drug matters. It is committed to working closely with other Member States and the Financial Action Task Force to prevent drug traffickers from profiting from their illegal activities. Singapore's geographic location puts it at constant risk of being used as a trans-shipment point for drug trafficking.

Singapore has successfully contained the drug problem through strict anti-drug legislation and effective enforcement against drug abuse. Offenders are treated with the same gravity regardless of whether they are nationals or foreigners. At the same time, rigorous enforcement efforts have been taken to maintain checks and curbs on the supply of drugs into the country. Singapore has also developed drug education programmes which have helped to create a national consensus towards zero tolerance for drug abuse. By learning from one another, the various anti-drug organizations have developed more structured preventive programmes and organized more drug prevention activities. There have already been encouraging results to those efforts -- fewer arrests and fewer relapses being reported. The drug situation in Singapore is very much under control.

General Assembly Plenary - 6 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

NICOLAE TABACARU, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Moldova: Like other newly independent countries confronted with the drug problem, Moldova is extremely interested in developing additional cooperation with the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). The lack of proper specialized institutional structures, and insufficient financial resources, create serious difficulties to the newly independent States for the implementation of programmes in the field of education, treatment and rehabilitation. Assistance programmes are needed from the UNDCP in cooperation with the United Nations agencies and funds. The relevant international structures should consider the specific problems of newly independent countries when planning their future activities in the region.

The drug issue in Moldova is of a smaller dimension than other countries in the region. The country's drug problems mainly have to do with its geographical position in the "Balkan route", the illicit thoroughfare of narcotic drug transit. This negative phenomenon flourishes in certain conditions, including conflict. In Moldova, there exists a self-proclaimed republic in the eastern region, which is beyond the control of the constitutional authorities, and which creates favourable conditions for carrying out illegal activities. Such activities jeopardize the country's integrity, lead to the trafficking of drugs and arms, as well as to money- laundering, and potentially destabilize regional security. Joint actions by States in the region, together with the relevant bodies of the United Nations system, can prevent the region from being transformed into a centre of drug and arms trafficking. A legal settlement of the situation in Moldova's eastern region can also have a positive effect. Moldova has adopted measures at the national level, and signed a number of intergovernmental agreements with countries in the region to fight drug-related crimes.

LUC FRIEDEN, Minister of Justice, Luxembourg: The Government of Luxembourg stresses the need to coordinate, and possibly at the international level, drug control policies that address both supply and demand. While eradication of drug crops is a key aspect, the issue of alternative development programmes must also be addressed. Such programmes must take into account the fundamental principles of human rights. Also alternative development must offer solutions that are real. It cannot be expected that people will just do away with their drug crop cultivations in the absence of anything else.

Victims of drug abuse must receive appropriate treatment. However, laws and legal authorities must continue to prosecute all illegal drugs irrespective of category. Luxembourg is one of the few countries which observes the provision of the 1988 Convention concerning the use of assets confiscated from drug deals and traffickers in efforts to fight against drugs.

General Assembly Plenary - 7 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

In 1989, Luxembourg put the necessary legislative measures in place to prevent the abusive use of laundering money earned from drug trafficking. Similarly, it has also taken an active part in the work of the international bodies, including the Financial Group of Action in which it is a founding member. Luxembourg is abiding by 40 of the regulations that the Group has against money-laundering. It strongly believes that the power of legal investigation in money-laundering must prevail over the practice of secrecy.

ABDOURAHMANE SOW, Minister of Town Planning and Habitat, Senegal: The issue of drugs has become a main international concern at the end of the millennium. Drugs are a social time bomb which threatens societies' most sensitive young people. Modern means of communications are being used by traffickers. No country is being spared from the scourge of drugs, whose exponential increase is keeping pace with globalization. The illicit production of drugs is harming food security for poorer countries. The African continent tends to occupy a central place in the world's illicit trafficking. Ports and airports in Africa are becoming important transit places for cocaine and heroin, while cannabis growing continues, despite efforts to eliminate it. There is need for an in-depth study on the situation of drugs in Africa, with its porous borders and the deterioration of certain countries' political affairs.

In 1996, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) established an anti-drug unit in its secretariat. There is need for programmes to reduce demand for drugs. International and national action against drugs must not only be a matter for States; trade unions, media and associations of women and youth must all be enlisted. Senegal is firmly determined to help combat the world scourge of drugs, with the clear knowledge that its geographical location makes it likely to be a prime transit point. Senegal has ratified the three United Nations conventions and, in 1997, adopted a national and multidisciplinary drug code as well as a national plan of action to heighten awareness and address drug use. It is grateful for the assistance of international organizations in the struggle against drugs. The international community must act quickly to strengthen machinery against money-laundering and to promote judicial cooperation and mutual assistance.

TUARIKI JOHN DELAMERE, Minister of Customs and Associate Minister of Health, New Zealand: The country has recently increased its contribution to the UNDCP by over 30 per cent. New Zealand's drug policy emphasizes the need for strong law enforcement, credible messages about drug-related harm, and effective health services to manage the many drug-related health problems which do occur. Efforts to strike a balance between supply control, demand reduction and the management of drug problems have helped to significantly reduce the harm associated with illicit drugs in New Zealand.

General Assembly Plenary - 8 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

Because of the increase in government funding, it has been possible to increase the number of people receiving methadone treatment over the recent years. Many of those people have not only reduced their illicit drug use and needle sharing, but have stabilized their family and working lives, reduced their involvement in criminal activity and generally improved their health status. The introduction of a needle exchange programme a decade ago has helped to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users and into the wider community. For those critics who oppose methadone or needle exchange programmes, the answer "well it works" seems to be the best response.

Providing honest and accurate information about the issues surrounding drug use is one of the keys to reducing drug-related harm, particularly for young people who might be tempted to experiment with drugs because of stories they have heard which downplay the risks associated with drug use, or things they may have seen in the media that glamorize drug use. If there is to be a chance in convincing young people about the risks of drug use, the hypocrisy in which adults openly and legally abuse alcohol and then turn around and condemn youth for using marijuana must be addressed. There is also need to do much better at empowering indigenous people to understand how they can control the factors that influence their health, such as drug use. They also need to be encouraged to participate much more fully in all levels of the health sector, and health services must be made more responsive to their particular needs. In New Zealand, mainstream services have not proved effective for the Maori. Staff in those mainstream services need to be encouraged to respect the cultural needs of their patients and, where appropriate, be trained in the use of cultural assessment tools.

NII OKAIJA ADAMAFIO, Minister of the Interior, Ghana: In 1990, the General Assembly held a special session on confronting the growing menace of drugs. At that time, the then Secretary-General said that drug abuse was a time bomb ticking away at the heart of civilization, and the international community should find measures to deal with it before it exploded. Since then, much has been achieved at the national, regional and global levels. In 1990, Ghana enacted a comprehensive Narcotics Control and Enforcement Law which established the Narcotics Control Board as the Government's central coordinating agency with regard to drugs, and criminalized money-laundering and all proceeds from drugs. While the country's enforcement, education and prevention programmes have yielded positive results, its treatment programmes have been negatively impacted by infrastructural and financial lacks.

There is need to focus on the disturbing economic dimensions of the drug menace. Young people are being enticed into the illicit drug industry as a matter of economic survival. Ghana, like many other developing countries, has undertaken economic reforms to revitalize its economy. Structural adjustment, though necessary, can have painful short-term consequences for the more vulnerable sectors of society, particularly the rural and urban poor. The

General Assembly Plenary - 9 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

benefits of economic growth take time to be reflected in the incomes of those people, and they are therefore easily tempted to become involved in growing and trafficking drugs. Ghana remains committed to the fight against drugs. However, it is imperative that developed nations, in whose hands lie the control of the world economy, recognize that the most effective way to contain the flow of drugs from poorer countries is to support their efforts towards sustainable economies.

NATHEER RASHID, Minister of the Interior, Jordan: Jordan has taken keen interest in combating the drug menace. We have given top priority to this matter. Jordan is neither a producer nor a consumer of these substances, but its geographical location, between the producing regions to the north and east, and the consuming regions to the south and west, has increased its responsibilities as a safety valve and a line of defence in combating growing trafficking operations. We are doing our best, sparing no effort, to control the danger. Our actions in this regard are essentially in line with the report of the Executive Director.

It has to be noted that Jordan spends a significant amount of its budget to enforce the principles of combating drugs. In order for us to sustain progress in eliminating this phenomenon, we appeal to the international community to take these achievements into consideration, and to enable us to modernize our equipment and capacity to combat drugs.

POSECI BUNE (Fiji): Fiji is party to the conventions on drugs and is fully committed to the international, regional and national efforts to create a drug-free world. Governments must be assisted in their efforts to implement the provisions of drug control treaties, and international strategies must be regularly assessed. The UNDCP should work closely with individual governments to develop and implement in-country plans and programmes. Such collaboration could take many forms, including legislative action, education and mass communication programmes. More training is required to provide countries with the tools they need to win the fight against drugs.

Small island developing States face a major problem -- financing the battle against drugs. The scarce financial resources of such States, like Fiji, have to be applied to promoting economic and social development and eradicating poverty. Official development assistance should be provided at the required international level of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP). The drug trade creates illicit employment. People get involved in drugs as illegal business because it is lucrative compared with the monetary value of export crops. Governments have to create an environment whereby national economic development can offset and eradicate the existence of the drug trade. People must be provided with legitimate business alternatives and productive employment. Fiji's drug problem is cannabis, which thrives in the country's tropical climate. More than half of Fiji's drug offenders are

General Assembly Plenary - 10 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

youths, and education and prevention programmes have been targeted at those persons. New criminal legislation has been enacted.

JACQUES L. BOISSON (Monaco): Most States today have the legal instruments and necessary institutions to combat the scourge of drugs. It is up to them then to offer the young people a drug-free society. Since 1985, the laundering of drug money has been a crime in Monaco. In 1993, a general provision that the laundering of goods and capital from an illicit source has also been introduced into Monaco's criminal code. This legal provision was supplemented to support the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Group. The small size of Monaco clearly facilitates the application of recommendations and their implementation. The texts which will be adopted at the Assembly will give impetus to the war against drugs in all its aspects. The reaffirmed political will to engage in a concentrated struggle will be effective only through enhanced international cooperation.

It is through shared responsibility by government and civil society that the worldwide struggle against drugs must be waged. The fight against drugs must be a balance of education and prevention versus suppression and rehabilitation. Drug use has grown in the last 10 years. To ensure effective intervention, there must be a better grasp at combating the root causes of the drug problem -- poverty, economic uncertainty, and the loss of traditional values created over centuries is probably contributing to the feelings of despair by a growing number of youths today.

JOHN DE SARAM (Sri Lanka): The special session will shortly urge the adoption and implementation, at national and international levels, of a range of programmes to combat illicit drugs. These will include cooperative efforts, and efforts at the local and family levels. Next month, Sri Lanka will assume the Chairmanship of the Association of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which will carefully consider, among other matters, the issue of controlling drugs in the region. Sri Lanka's national initiatives have been guided by the principles adopted in recent years by the General Assembly. Laws have been updated, institutions created and treatment programmes developed.

The special session includes on its agenda a number of important matters. However, Sri Lanka urges the General Assembly to give careful consideration to a phenomenon that has crept up on the world during the past three decades: the close relationships between those involved in illicit trade in narcotics, arms trafficking, money-laundering, and the funding of other criminal activities including terrorism. In the Secretary-General's 1997 proposals for reforming the United Nations, he said that government authority and civil society are increasingly threatened by transnational networks of crime, narcotics, money-laundering and terrorism. Underworld groups pose a threat to law and order and to legitimate economic and political

General Assembly Plenary - 11 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

institutions. Sri Lanka congratulates the Secretary-General for developing a close relationship between United Nations efforts for drug control and crime prevention.

ROBERT MILLETTE (Grenada): Research indicates that there is a direct correlation between unemployment and substance abuse. The majority of persons arrested for drug-related crimes in Grenada were unemployed or underemployed. Grenada therefore asks developed countries to assist it in its quest to eradicate poverty by providing meaningful sources of employment and training for everyone, especially for males between the ages of 20 and 35. Sustainable eradication programmes must be accompanied by the provision of regular income alternatives. In Grenada, a micro-enterprise programme has improved the living standards of many. A number of socio-economic factors contribute to the drug problem. Some young people see drug dealers and drug traffickers as positive role models. The Government is actively seeking to make farming and other business ventures more available and attractive to its youth. Also, it will take every effort to reduce demand and educate its people.

A new global approach is needed in the fight against drugs. Large and small countries must together seek to find solutions to the many social ills that result from the use of illicit drugs. Since the drug trade is multi- dimensional, it is imperative that developed and developing countries join hands to find solutions that are holistic and practical. Grenada hopes that the special session will result in a closer working relationship among governments, international agencies, community groups and non-governmental organizations.

GEORGE SALIBA (Malta): The consolidation of United Nations drug control and crime prevention functions is a positive step towards combating organized crime and all aspects of the illicit drug trade. Malta's geographical location offers a strategic attractiveness to those involved in drug trafficking, and Malta is controlling the situation through an intensive, comprehensive strategy. Malta's national focus is on such elements as making enforcement more effective, improving control at ports of entry, updating laws in the context of international conventions, developing prevention measures and improving treatment, rehabilitation and social structures for drug abusers.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation, especially with States bordering the Mediterranean, is a strong part of Malta's national programme to improve the infrastructure for preventing illicit drug trafficking. Laws governing the monitoring of drug traffickers, the confiscation of their assets and other measures to strengthen police operations against trafficking are being brought into line with those of modern European countries. At the same time, preventive programmes are raising anti-drug awareness. Voluntary organizations are becoming equal partners with the Government in conducting

General Assembly Plenary - 12 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

rehabilitation programmes. To continue the momentum of controlling drug abuse and drug trafficking, Malta needs technical assistance in the areas of surveillance, information sharing and advisory services to strengthen its capabilities.

REX S. HOROI (Solomon Islands): It is now evident that illegal drugs are grown locally and are widely used in the country. The detection and confiscation of illegal drugs since the late 1980s confirm that major drug trafficking through the Solomon Island is a reality. In the absence of an effective intelligence network, it is difficult to detect and identify Solomon Island nationals engaged in the illicit business, let alone the international traffickers crossing the borders. Customs and police show that drugs mainly enter the Island by post or through the international air terminal which serves as the capital. Furthermore, the detection of coca leaf cultivation last February, as well as three recent heroin cases, indicate that more serious and dangerous drugs now threaten the country. Several drug control initiatives have been taken. The Royal Solomon Island Police is upgrading its drug unit and strengthening its intelligence system. A campaign has been launched to foster community support, and public talks and school visits to foster basic drug awareness and education are under way.

Efforts at the national level must be complemented and supplemented at the regional and international levels. Additional resources must be mobilized to give better effect to regional initiatives and to encourage and facilitate inter-regional and inter-State cooperation in all aspects of drug control. Ratifying conventions without the resources and the capacity to implement them means very little, especially in view of the urgency to respond effectively to the challenges at hand. To counter the demand and sale of narcotic drugs and related activities such as money-laundering, developing and least developed countries need the assistance of the international community.

ROLAND Y. KPOTSRA (Togo): The country works tirelessly to promote sustainable development in peace and harmony. Attacking drug trafficking and organized crime is one of its priorities. The recent discovery of cannabis on plantations in Togo, the introduction of cocaine, heroin and psychotropic substances show certain social problems which have arisen. Cannabis is produced both for local consumption and export, while heroin and cocaine are usually in transit for other destinations. It is absolutely necessary that States intensify efforts to combat the illicit movement of drugs. The Togolese Government is involved in a resolute struggle against the scourge and has subscribed to all the relevant legal instruments, conventions and treaties. On 18 March, a new law was adopted which takes prevention, suppression, rehabilitation and money-laundering into account.

Togo's approach to the drug problem is multi-sectoral and well balanced. Preventive action has been undertaken with non-governmental organizations. In

General Assembly Plenary - 13 - Press Release GA/9421 Twentieth Special Session 10 June 1998 8th Meeting (PM)

spite of its efforts, however, the Government does not have adequate resources such as laboratories for analysis of substances, training programmes for personnel, and rehabilitation programmes for abusers. There is now a consensus that the responsibility for combating drugs is a common one that must be shared. It is a worldwide struggle that no State can avoid and in which the international community must play a full role. The adoption of a truly universal social contract should serve as a basis for international cooperation and pave the way for stricter control over illicit drugs. Togo urges the international community to go beyond the means of simple analysis in order to eliminate the drug scourge at the dawn of the next millennium.

MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland): The immense danger and threat posed to societies by drug trafficking and its links to terrorism, transnational crime, money-laundering and the illegal trafficking of arms, demands that governments cooperate in dealing with this threat, thus preventing the channelling of funds to those engaged in such activities. The extent to which this problem has expanded beyond national and regional boundaries demands that the international community should continue to address the drug problem collectively.

The necessity for governments to intensify efforts in enacting pertinent laws, as well as strengthening national judicial systems in this context, cannot be overemphasized. My delegation therefore fully supports the proposed declaration which is about to be adopted today. This is particularly so since it sets target dates for the establishment and strengthening of national legislations, legal structures and other pertinent programmes. Without the promulgation of firm laws and regulations, efforts at curbing the drug problem will continue to be frustrated. Furthermore, it is also important to carry out effective drug control measures with other States in accordance with international instruments, and to promote judicial cooperation in such measures as extradition and mutual legal assistance.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.