From March 14 – 22, 2016, the delegation of Afghanistan attended the 59th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. During the opening of the Special Segment on UNGASS 2016, the Head of the Delegation, H.E. Mrs. Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, delivered a statement on the progress made and the challenges remaining in Afghanistan in counter narcotics efforts. It was noted that, despite security threats, in 2015 the poppy cultivating areas were reduced by 19%, with a 48% reduction in opium production as well as a 40% increase in the eradication of poppy cultivation compared to the previous year. Increased regional and international cooperation was called for, along with increased support for the counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan under the National Drug Action Plan, so that this truly global problem can be better addressed. Also in attendance to the 59th Session of the CND, were H.E. Mr. Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, Deputy Minister for Counter Narcotics from the Ministry of Interior, and Dr. Osman Frotan, Director General of Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Counter Narcotics, and Ms. Iran Saihoon, Director of the Research and Studies Department at the Ministry of Counter Narcotics.
During the week, the delegation of Afghanistan held several bilateral meetings, including with UNODC Executive Secretary Mr. Yury Fedotov; the Director of the Transnational Threats Department of the OSCE, Mr. Alexey Lyzhenkov; and the President of INCB, Mr. Werner Sipp. In addition to this, bilateral meetings were held with the heads of the delegations of the USA, Peru, and Tajikistan.
On March 16th, the government of Afghanistan and the UNODC Statistics and Surveys Section held a side event at the 59th Commission on Narcotic Drugs titled “Afghanistan Socioeconomic Survey of Opium Cultivation 2015 and the Implications for Alternative Development”. The session was chaired by Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna. H.E. Minister Azimi delivered a statement where she noted the need for an integrated approach that takes in to account security aspects and socio-economic factors including poverty and unemployment in order to make sustainable progress in the fight against narcotics. The key findings of the report were presented by Dr. Osman Frotan, and by Ms. Angela Me, Chief of the UNODC Statistics and Surveys Section, which noted the decrease in poppy cultivation and aspects on what drive poppy cultivation, and called for the investment of building infrastructure. The conclusions from the report found that there is a need for job creation and skill training for rural workers and a stronger inclusion of women in counter narcotics efforts. After the presentation of the report, a question and answer session was held with the audience.
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