Organized crime and illicit criminal activity undermined essential institutions like the rule of law and delivery of education and health, the United Nations leading expert on drugs and crime told the Economic and Social Council today.
Opening a high-level panel discussion entitled “Sustainable development and the world drug problem: challenges and opportunities”, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that drug cultivation hindered growth of legitimate economies and businesses. Alternative development strategies promoted by UNODC had reduced cultivation, but farmers also needed infrastructure in order that the new crops they produced could be marketed and income generated.
Joining Mr. Fedotov in making opening statements were United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Economic and Social Council President Martin Sajdik.
On the panel were Khaled Abdel-Rahman Shamaa, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations in Vienna and Chair of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs; Norachit Sinhaseni, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations; Mary Chinery-Hesse, Commissioner, West Africa Commission on Drugs; Lochan Naidoo, President, International Narcotics Control Board, Aldo Lale-Demoz, Deputy Executive-Director, UNODC; and Alberto Otárola Peñaranda, Executive Director of DEVIDA.
Mr. Ban agreed on the negative impact drugs and organized crime could have on people’s lives and on societies. Drugs and crime were corrosive and harmed justice systems, State institutions and communities.
“That is why it is so important to help farmers choose alternative crops,” he said, stressing the need to stabilize markets and create decent jobs. “When we take these measures, we do more than fight drugs and crime — we promote progress and peace.”
Panellists shared their experiences in addressing the drug problem from the State and regional level, as well as from within international institutions.
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