G-77 supports U.N.'s anti-drug plan

UNITED NATIONS, June - The Group of 77 has expressed its fullest support to a new political declaration to fight illicit drugs. The declaration, which was unanimously adopted at a three-day Special Session of the General Assembly in mid-June, calls for the elimination or substantial reduction in illicit drugs worldwide by the year 2008.

‘’The international community has continuously expressed its commitment and determination to bring an end to the drugs problem,’’ the chairman of the G-77 Ambassador Makarim Wibisono told the General Assembly.

The chairman said the G-77 has always cautioned against the ever present temptation to embark on a campaign against the supply of drugs, without also devoting substantial resources to reducing demand, which fundamentally is the driving force behind the problem.

Any effort aimed at demand reduction should be multifaceted and include not only education, prevention and public information campaigns, but also a strong effort at rehabilitation and social reintegration for those who succumb to drug abuse, he said.

The Group believes that the relevant U.N. bodies, such as the INCB and the UNDCP must receive the support necessary to fully and effectively implement their mandates and act as catalytic forces for action.

He said the Group was also very concerned about money laundering as well as other serious drug related crimes, which have expanded internationally.

‘’We are determined to adopt the necessary measures to make money-laundering a punishable offence, in support of the global fight against illicit drug trafficking,’’ he noted.

The chairman also pointed out that in addressing the problem of illicit drugs, one cannot escape the dimension of poverty.

For it is abject poverty and despair it nurtures which perpetuates the drug trade and the abuse of narcotics, and it is grappling with the consequences of poverty which prevents many developing countries from fully participating in solutions.

“The desperate plight of the developing countries becomes even more evident and more tragic when we consider that the revenue from the illegal drug trade is nearly 10 times the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA),” he said.

“And while the illicit drugs trade continues to prosper, ODA continues its downward spiral,” he concluded.