Five years ago, 36 countries and 16
international organizations endorsed the ACCORD Plan of Action at the First International Congress "In Pursuit of a
Drug-free ASEAN 2015" so
ably hosted by the Royal Thai Government in Bangkok.
Today, we meet again, this time in
With the ACCORD Plan of Action, you all launched something which no other region had done collectively before. And today, we gather here to decide where to head tomorrow.
Much has been achieved. Today, I would like to reflect upon some salient developments and upon new challenges we now face.
Over these years, law enforcement agencies in this region achieved tangible results through practical partnerships. For instance, over 40 Border Liaison Offices, or BLOs, have been established, through our cross-border cooperation project, with more than 240 Border Liaison Officers working at high risk border zones at the Greater Mekong Sub-region. BLOs are about building trust on both sides of the borders, which did not readily exist before. It was a ground breaking mechanism when it was created. The BLO mechanism now ensures real-time information and intelligence exchange, and resulted in seizures of different kinds of illicit drugs, arrests of traffickers and some top level criminals, and the investigation of over 500 cases. That is impressive. BLOs have become a model to other regions. I am pleased to note that more ACCORD partners desire to have the mechanism extended to them.
we have all observed recent changes in patterns of clandestine manufacture
and trafficking routes of drugs, particularly amphetamine-type stimulants, or ATS. How did they happen? As a result of tightened controls and law enforcement actions
Let us take
a look at the development a bit closely.
In the last few years, traffickers attempted to target the
These suggest smuggling by sea routes and point to the increased need for greater networking of law enforcement agencies for real time information and intelligence exchange and for maritime drug law enforcement cooperation, both for the final products and for precursor chemicals. We will exercise our role to link different agencies in various countries to facilitate collective law enforcement operations.
When drug trafficking patterns and routes change, abuse follows. The recent patterns in drug trafficking warrant further advocacy efforts in all countries in the region. We must take collective actions, involving all concerned: governmental and non-governmental; regional and international.
When juveniles and young adolescent drug dependents come in conflict with the law, all too often, imprisonment is the only answer. It is important to consider also alternatives to imprisonment, including juvenile justice solutions, treatment services, and counseling. We all must explore comprehensive approaches. Again UNODC will explore possibilities for linking experiences within this region and beyond.
We all know also that there has been a major, significant reduction in illicit opium
poppy cultivation in this region, unprecedented and far-reaching.
We must now make it sustainable. We must work on farmers' well being, and not on their fears. The farmers in the Golden Triangle must benefit from sustainable alternative development activities. With the loss of opium income, those poor farmers and their families not only lose their coping mechanism to deal with endemic poverty and a chronic food shortage. They are vulnerable to exploitation and misery.
Drug trafficking has many interlocking issues. Almost always, it involves transnational organized crime. It involves corruption. It could involve terrorism. A comprehensive drug control strategy for the region needs to address these links with other forms of crime.
These recent changes require further networking for all concerned. It requires further advocacy. New types of advocacy. Given the regionfs diversity in culture, Governments have employed different strategies, resulting in different degrees of impact. The ACCORD mechanism provides the opportunity for further sharing these best practices and enabling countries to build on them. It is a multi-sectoral approach that we must all take.