Statement by H. E. Mr. Tamotsu Shinotsuka,
Ambassador in charge of International Cooperation for Countering Terrorism and International Organized Crime
at the third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Initiative

16th February 2012

Mr. Secretary-General,
Mr. Executive Director,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed my great honour to speak at the third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Initiative which has contributed to the counter narcotic drug activities in Afghanistan since 2003. I would like to commend the Governments of France and the Russian Federation for their valuable efforts to promote this Initiative. I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Austria for hosting this important conference in the historic Hofburg Palace.

The 2011Afghan Opium Survey released by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan and by UNODC last October showed us that total opium poppy production has increased by 63 percent from that in 2010, and the number of poppy-free provinces has decreased. This survey reminds us that a more enhanced and integrated strategy as well as strong political will is necessary to tackle this problem.

Ladies and gentlemen,
When we contemplate the drug problem in Afghanistan as a whole, the cultivation of cannabis also needs to be tackled in an integrated manner. The country of world's largest opium production is also one of major producers of cannabis. The 2010 Afghanistan Cannabis Survey discovered the fact that farmers' gross income from cannabis was higher than that of opium, while the cannabis is cheaper than the opium poppy both in cultivating and in harvesting. It is essential to provide the farmers alternative development means to refrain from cultivating any kinds of illicit drugs.

I would also like to draw your attention to some other aspects of the issue. Terrorists' attacks which have killed numerous innocent citizens are fuelled by the proceeds of illicit drug trafficking. We all must redouble our efforts to eradicate terrorist groups, which compel the farmers to cultivate opium poppy or cannabis for their survival.

I also remember the UNODC Report on Corruption in Afghanistan portraying the "baksheesh (bribes)" which, according to the survey, is the biggest impediment to improving security, development and governance as well as, on the other hand, one of the two largest income generators in the country. It is critical to prevent corruption from leaving various forms of crime unobstructed.

When we think about the future assumption by Afghan authorities of full responsibility for their own security scheduled in 2014, comprehensive assistance for building their capacity to address the root cause of poverty, and the lack of law enforcement, order and good governance is of great importance and extreme urgency. Afghanistan should not be a safe haven for terrorists and organised crime groups who enjoy the proceeds of crime from the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs. In order to resolve the complicated problem interlinked with governance and law enforcement, multi-faceted and comprehensive efforts including the measures countering organised crime are necessary. It may include strengthening the capacity of the custom and boarder control to stop the flow of opium and precursor chemical.

Ladies and gentlemen,
It goes without saying what important roles the UNODC and the partners of the Paris Pact Initiative are playing to reduce problems which deprive a chance for development of Afghanistan. Japan will spare no effort in working together with the international community to achieve its consolidation of peace and economic and social reconstruction.

Japan has already committed itself to contribute up to an amount of 5 billion US dollars for that goal. It has cooperated on the UNODC projects such as the "Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries", "Afghanistan Anti-corruption measures in support of drug control", "Pakistan Civilian Police Reform Activities by the Pakistan Country Programme", and "Central Asia – Drug Demand Reduction and HIV/AIDS Prevention". Now we are launching with UNODC and the Russian Federation a training program for Afghan police officers at Domojedovo Training Centre, financing and dispatching Japanese counter narcotic experts. In addition, the Government of Japan and UNODC recently signed a $9 million grant agreement for capacity building in the criminal justice sector of Bamyan, Herat and Balk provinces, with a view to support the Government of Afghanistan's effort to strengthen the rule of law.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to conclude my intervention by recalling the importance of international and regional cooperation among all stakeholders and by renewing on behalf of the Government of Japan its resolution to actively cooperate with voluntary countries and organisations for tackling narcotic drugs.

I thank you very much for your attention.

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