The Illicit Drug Sector Working Group Meeting was held in Vientiane on Thursday by the Lao National Committee for Drug Control and Supervision and was supported by the Japanese Embassy and UNODC.
“The government is focusing on implementing Community-Based Treatment (CBT) activities and promoting alternate crops to opium poppy cultivation among the other 9 prioritized activities,” said Chairman of the Lao National Commission for Drugs Control and Supervision Kou Chansina.
The government revised and endorsed the National Drug Control Master Plan (2016-2020) which sets 9 priority activities and also reformed the government structure in this sector by transferring the Lao National Commission on Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) to the Ministry of Public Security.
Over 20 people from line ministries such as the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and also from development partners including Japan, UNODC, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Cambodia among others participated in the meeting.
“One of the key elements for the construction of the AEC is to strengthen connectivity in the ASEAN and Mekong region,” said Japan Ambassador to Laos Takeshi Hikihara.
He said the Lao PDR occupies a key position in this context by becoming a land-linked country. But along with the increased connectivity, a spread of risks can be also facilitated such as the trafficking of illicit drugs.
In fact, according to statistics of the Ministry of Public Security, drug seizures in the Lao PDR are increasing year by year.
Another watershed achievement in 2015 was the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in this new platform, the fight against illicit drugs is one of the important themes, especially in Sustainable Development Goal 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Under this Goal, SDG 3.5 explicitly refers to “Strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse.”
The National Drug Control Master Plan 2016-2020 was approved by the Lao Government in May of this year.
“We would like to hear from our Lao colleagues about how this new plan will address various challenges in this sector, and to discuss how we can coordinate effectively based upon this Master Plan,” added the Japanese ambassador.
This year, there was an administrative restructuring in this sector. The leading organization, the Lao National Committee for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC), moved from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Public Security. It would be appreciated if we could hear from our Lao colleagues about how the activities in this sector will be conducted under this new structure.
“Lastly let me tell you that, the chair and co-chairs are now drafting a progress report for the Round Table Meeting to be held later this month. The draft report was distributed today. If you have any input on this, we are happy to hear from you.
I hope that we will have an active and fruitful discussion today in order to consolidate our common efforts to fight against illicit drugs.”
Source: Lao News Agency