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    12 November 2014

    UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov:

    Remarks at the Presentation of the 2014 Afghanistan Opium Survey

    VIENNA 12 November (UN Information Service) - Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

    Thank you for coming today for the presentation of the 2014 Afghanistan Opium Survey.

    I was just in Kabul over the weekend to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and Minister of Counter-Narcotics Mobarez Rashedi, as well as with the SRSG Haysom and a number of ambassadors from the wider region. 

    We agreed with the new leaders of Afghanistan that the situation remains of great concern.

    The survey reports a seven per cent increase over the record level of opium poppy cultivation reported last year, with the total area now under cultivation estimated at two hundred and twenty-four thousand hectares.

    Hilmand remained Afghanistan's major opium cultivating province, followed by Kandahar, Farah and Nangarhar.

    In the Hilmand area where the "food zone" alternative livelihood programme ended in 2012, opium cultivation rose by 13 per cent.

    Potential opium production was estimated at six thousand four hundred tons, which represents an increase of 17 per cent over 2013. This is largely attributed to a strong increase in yields reported in the Southern region, which accounts for sixty-nine per cent of national production. 

    At the same time, total eradication decreased by sixty-three per cent to two thousand, six hundred and ninety-two hectares, as governor-led poppy eradication campaigns were less active in all regions, amid an unfavourable security situation.

    Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan clearly remains a major challenge that must be addressed by the international community, in a spirit of shared responsibility.

    The illicit opium economy and related criminality and corruption continue to undermine security, the rule of law, health and development in the region and beyond.

    In our meetings in Kabul, the President and Chief Executive identified the following as priorities:

    1)         Alternative development as part of a wider and more comprehensive effort to modernize the agricultural sector;

    2)         Countering transnational organized crime and drug trafficking through enhanced regional and inter-regional cooperation; and

    3)         Improving prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services.

    I assured President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah that UNODC remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in these efforts.

    This includes work through our country, regional and global programmes as well as support to regional and inter-regional platforms including CARICC, the Triangular Initiative and the Joint Planning Cell, Networking the Networks, MaReS and others.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Both the national and international communities must do more to ensure that a balanced approach to drug control is mainstreamed in development, peace and security efforts in Afghanistan - and this in a tangible and realistic manner.

    This support must include providing licit livelihoods as an alternative, as well as evidence-based prevention and treatment services to deal with a growing addiction problem in the country that is hurting young people in particular.

    At same time, we must strengthen deterrence by supporting counter-narcotics authorities and countering drug trafficking networks.

    As highlighted by the new Afghan leadership, the forthcoming London Conference in December is an opportunity to secure the international community's continued support.

    I hope that as we move beyond the 2014 transition, Afghanistan and its international partners can work together to help ensure that an integrated, comprehensive response to the drug problem is part of the long-term security and development agenda for the country.

    Thank you.

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