Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the third Ministerial Anti-Drug Conference, in Moscow today:
I am pleased to convey my warm greetings to the hosts and participants of the third Ministerial Anti-Drug Conference, which this year examines drug production and drug trafficking as a national, regional and global security problem.
The Conference comes on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, and offers a welcome opportunity to continue discussions on countering illicit drugs.
This tremendous global challenge is closely linked to corruption, terrorism and illicit flows of money. At the same time, the world drug problem is also a severe health issue linked to drug abuse, drug dependence, and the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Every year, illicit drugs kill around 200,000 people, generate billions of dollars for criminals, and spread violence and insecurity in vulnerable parts of the world.
No country can overcome these threats alone. More than ever, it is clear that shared responsibility can power close cooperation and strong partnerships among the international community. It is also clear that only an integrated development, security, governance, public health and human rights-centred approach can effectively address the challenges posed by the world drug problem. An integrated response should consider alternatives to criminalization of drug use and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in the supply of drugs.
The United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem 2016 will provide a forum to consider the full range of options, discuss what has and has not worked in addressing the world drug problem, and identify possible solutions to a challenge that reaches deep into countries and communities, causing immense harm, pain and sorrow.
Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda seeks to create peaceful and inclusive societies founded on the organizing principle of sustainable development and prosperity for all. If we are to achieve our shared objective, the international challenge of illicit drugs must be confronted with bold and courageous steps from everyone, everywhere. Thank you for your commitment to these goals.