Press Releases

    UNIS/NAR/815
    25 September 2003

    A Decade of Drug Control Cooperation in East Asia

    Hanoi Declaration Adopted as Ministers and Senior Officials of Six Countries and UNODC Conclude Meetings on Drug Control

    VIENNA 25 September (UN Information Service) --  Ministers and senior officials from the six signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Drug Control (Cambodia, China, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today concluded a three-day round of bilateral and multilateral meetings on drug control in Hanoi.

    The Ministerial and Senior Officials Committee meetings were held in Hanoi from 23-25 September 2003. H.E. Mr. Le Hong Anh, Minister of Public Security, Vice-Chairman of the Vietnam National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Control, chaired the opening ceremony.

    The Ministerial Meeting took place on 25 September. The inaugural opening ceremony was addressed by H.E. Mr. Vu Khoan, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam.  "It is impossible without the close corporation between the nations in the region and the world…", stated H.E. Mr. Khoan in his opening remarks, to tackle the drug menace, transnational organized crime and drug-related HIV/AIDS transmission.

    At the Hanoi meetings, the senior officials discussed a number of project ideas and new initiatives on drug control in the region such as treatment and rehabilitation from Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) abuse, demand reduction policy development, improved responses to drug-related transmission of HIV in prisons, capacity building for opium reduction, monitoring and assessment of illicit crops in Southeast Asia, implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the suppression of trafficking of illicit drugs and precursors along the Mekong River.

    Ms. Sumru Noyan, Director, Division for Operations, UNODC, Vienna speaking at  the meeting on behalf of UNODC referred to "the rapid proliferation of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users and an explosion in ATS abuse" as the two greatest drug control challenges faced in the region today. "Each challenge by itself has the power to destabilize the social, health and economic foundations of our societies, and will require accelerated action at the national, regional and global levels", she said.

    It has been a decade since the first MoU on Drug Control was signed in 1993 by the Governments of China, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to which Cambodia and Vietnam became parties in 1995.

    A special ceremony was held during the meetings to celebrate the 10th anniversary of successful collaborative efforts under the MoU. The participants assessed the progress of the ongoing operations of the Subregional Action Plan in the areas of drug demand reduction, alternative development and law enforcement and also consulted on how to further enhance technical cooperation and interagency collaboration in the region in order to effectively face future challenges.

    The first Ministerial Meeting was held in Beijing on 27 May 1995. A Subregional Action Plan for Drug Control, including eleven projects at a total cost of more than US$15 million, was endorsed at the meeting. Currently, the fourth Subregional Action Plan contains twelve projects with a total cost of over US$18 million. Funding has been primarily provided by the Governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The participating partners signed the project document titled "Support for MoU Partnership in East Asia" aimed to further strengthen the consultative process within the countries covered by the MoU and to continue to enhance the development of the Subregional Action Plan. The funding of this project will be borne by the MoU countries, with supplementary cost-sharing arrangements with UNODC, which is the first initiative of its kind. This funding arrangement demonstrates the increasing commitment by the signatory countries of the MoU.

    The meeting adopted the Hanoi Declaration where the signatory countries jointly declared that the illicit drug situation in East Asia requires immediate action and called for further joint policy level efforts. They also confirmed joint collaboration and commitment in combating illicit drugs production, trafficking and consumption in the region. The countries furthermore agreed to strengthen national capacities to fight against drugs and to extend in a proactive manner in-kind and technical assistance in support to other signatory countries.

    The next Senior Officials Committee Meeting will be held in Thailand in 2004 and the next MoU Ministerial meeting will be held in Cambodia in 2005.

    ***

    The Heads of Delegations from the signatory countries and UNODC were as follows:

    H.E. Lt. Gen. Em Sam An
    Secretary of State
    Ministry of Interior
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    H.E. Mr. Zhang  Xinfeng
    Assistant Minister
    Ministry of Public Security
    Bejing, PR China

    H.E. Mr. Soubanh Srithirath
    Minister to the President's Office and
    Chairman of Lao National Commission for
    Drug Control and Supervision
    Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic

    H.E. Col. Thein Nyunt
    Minister
    Ministry for Progress of Border Areas
    and National Races and Development Affairs
    Yangon, Myanmar

    H.E. Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana
    Minister
    Ministry of Justice
    Bangkok, Thailand

    H.E. Mr. Le Hong Anh
    Minister of Public  Security
    Vice-Chairman of National Committee on AIDS,
    Drugs and Prostitution Control
    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Ms. Sumru A. Noyan
    Director
    Division for Operations
    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
    Vienna, Austria