Excellencies, dear colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome to today’s event and let me warmly welcome H.E. Minister Azimi and her team to Vienna. At the outset, let me thank Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz, Director of the Division for Operations at UNODC, who has joined us for today’s event, for briefing us about UNODC’s engagement in Afghanistan. This meeting is held in the context of the preparations, which the Commission is undertaking for the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem in 2016. In the course of this process, many informal events and meetings are being organized – in addition to more formal proceedings. This underlines the inclusive nature and enriches the process.
H.E. Ms. Salamat AZIMI was already with us here on 26 June this year, at the occasion of the Special Event of the Commission commemorating the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, during which the 2015 World Drug Report was launched. I am pleased that we have yet another opportunity to welcome her here today. H.E. Minister Azimi will provide us an overview of Afghanistan’s counter narcotics efforts at the national level, the emerging challenges and trends as well as the initiatives that the Ministry of Counter Narcotics is undertaking under H.E.’s leadership, including through the new counter narcotics strategy.
The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016 will be crucial to shape our collective efforts in light of the new challenges, trends and realities toward accomplishing our counter narcotics targets as set out in the 2009 “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem”.
Afghanistan, thanks to the continued support by its partner in the IC, has come a long way over the past 14 years and has made significant progress in all social, economic, security areas. 2014 was a year of political, security and economic transition and marked the start of the transformation decade in Afghanistan. Despite our efforts and achievements, we are still facing challenges in the country, including those associated with the menace of narcotics. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, as a policy-making body is leading and coordinating all counter narcotics efforts in the country and is making every effort to eliminate the opium economy in the country, including through development and implementation of new programs as was announced by H.E.’s 100-day plan.
H.E. Minister Azimi is here today with us to talk about the main challenges that Afghanistan is facing of in terms of illicit narcotics, Afghanistan’s commitments and programs for the coming 3 years to address the challenges of Drugs, and Afghanistan’s expectation from the upcoming UNGASS.
I now have the honour to give the floor to H.E.Ms. Salamat AZIMI, Minister of Counter-Narcotics of Afghanistan for her remarks. Thank you.