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“COVID-19 and its influence on the world drug problem: Norov

BEIJING: The Secretary General of SCO Vladimir Norov delivered a speech on the  occasion of conference on drug and pandemic. The Russian Federation arranged the moot. The text of the speech of the Secretary General is given below.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Russian Federation for inviting me and organizing the side-event on the influence ofthe COVID-19 pandemic on the world drug problem.

The forced widespread introduction of strict quarantine measures and restrictions led to growing contactless sales of illicit substances through the Darknet, postal and courier shipments, and increasing drug abuse, which pose a serious threat to the international and regional security and stability, undermine the social welfare and sustainable economic development of states.

This year we will celebrate the 20thanniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It has approached this remarkable date as one of the leading and responsible multilateral stuctures in Eurasia engaged in the fight against illicit drug trafficking.

The updated Working Plan on implementation of the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy until 2023 will focus on strengthening joint efforts in preventing the use of electronic payment systems and cryptocurrencies in drug-related offenses.

We are going to pay particular attention to harmonization of national legal and practical measures on regulation and control of virtual currencies and movement of non-cash assets, inter alia, to combat laundering of drug proceeds and the financing of terrorism and organized crime.

The temporary cross-border trafficrestrictionscaused a greater concentration of the narcotics industry within domestic markets and the emergence of new types of psychoactive substances.

In this regard, we deem it important to exchange, on an annual basis, data on amendments in the lists of controlled substances, as well as information on identified methods of drug synthesis and chemicals used for this purpose, including those not under state control.

In addition, during the SCO Moscow summit in November 2020, the Heads of State called for further implementation of joint effective measures to eliminate drug trafficking through Central, South-East and South Asia in the context of the complex drug problem in neighboring Afghanistan.

To that end, weare commiited to streamlining our capacity to respond to emerging risks by the regular conduct of the SCO international anti-drug operation “Pautina”.

In view of the apparent increase in drug smuggling along water routes, we believe it necessary to pay greater attention to international cooperation in combating illicit drug trafficking by sea. We look forward tothe UNODC expert and technical assistance in this area.

Given the negative impact of the pandemic onpeople’s mental health resulted in growing consumption of psychoactive substances and non-medical use of pharmaceuticals drugs, it is strongly required to promote regular exchange of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients addicted to new psychoactive substances, advanced training for healthcare professionals, prevention of drug abuse and promotion of a healthy lifestyle through mass media and relevant programmes both at the national and international level

I would like to assure you that the SCO is open to stepping up cooperation with all international organizations concerned, including our colleagues from the European Union and ASEAN, to establish a reliable collective bulwark against the global drug threat.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. de Joncheere and the Secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board for their full cooperation in the current work on the draft of our Memorandum of Understanding.






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