I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I am pleased to convey to you our satisfaction in seeing you presiding over the 49th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The Group is confident of your ability to successfully conduct the activities of this session and I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead. I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of our meetings and for making the documents available.
The G-77 and China welcomes and supports the choice of "Alternative development as an important drug control strategy and establishing alternative development as a crosscutting issue" in accordance with Commission's resolution 48/9, as the thematic debate for the 49th session. Over the years, alternative development has been a useful drug control strategy by contributing to a reduction of illicit Crops cultivation, while at the same time, providing growers with alternative means of livelihood. However, the Group notes, as indicated in the INCB Report for 2005 that alternative development projects have not been extended to all regions where illicit crops are cultivated. The G-77 and China expresses the hope that the thematic debate would provide the opportunity to re-examine and expand the focus of the alternative development and preventive alternative development to all regions where the problem exists, and to cultivations of illicit crops that have not been included.
In this connection, the G-77 and China expresses its support for two the resolutions emanating from members of the Group on (i) Using alternative development programmes to reduce the cultivation of cannabis plants; and (ii) Strengthening international cooperation for alternative development, preventive alternative development and protection of the environment;
The G-77 and China also wishes to recall that the Joint Ministerial Segment of the 46th session urged Member States to prevent proliferation of sources of licit opium. If this appeal is not heeded, this has the potential to disturb the delicate balance between supply and demand for licit opium, which had been achieved over the years through the efforts of Member States and INCB. ECOSOC adopted resolution 2004/43 on this subject, which specifically underscored the need to maintain this balance. The Group urges all States to exercise utmost caution and, to adhere to the established system in order to prevent proliferation of sources of licit opium.
The G-77 and China welcomes the report of the Executive Director on International Assistance to states affected by the transit of illicit drugs pursuant to ECOSOC resolution 2005/27 of July 2005.
Being transit countries the connection between consuming and producing countries, lucrative markets were created and an increase in the abuse of various types of drugs was registered along transit trafficking routes. Some transit countries along those routes are facing the consequences of trans-national organized crime, terrorism and governance issues.
In this regard, the Group believes that international cooperation should be strengthened to tackle the problems transit countries are facing, as they constitute the link between producing and consuming countries.
The Group 77 and China welcomes the report of the Executive Director on strengthening alternative development as an important drug control strategy and establishing alternative development as a crosscutting issue, E/CN.7/2006/7.
The G-77 and China re-affirms its conviction that the fight against demand and supply of drugs requires an integrative approach of preventive and enforcement measures. It is in this connection that the Group reiterates its call upon international organizations and developed countries to provide new and additional financial resources and technical assistance, including alternative development programmes and preventive alternative development projects, to drug producing countries and transit countries in their efforts in fighting the drug problem.
Consequently, the Group strives for further synergy to counter jointly the global drug problem through partnership and shared responsibility at the international, regional, sub-regional and bilateral levels.
We would also like to point out that the priorities led down by CND sometimes differ from the priorities of major donor countries and therefore we would like to encourage more dialogue among the UNODC, and all stakeholders especially those countries where projects are implemented to ensure that UNODC has sufficient funds to carry out projects in all the regions in accordance with priorities set by the CND.
The Group welcomes the recent signing of the Letter of Intent between the UNODC and the Asian Development Bank in which they agreed to extend their cooperation to drug control and expresses hope that similar agreements would be reached with other regional and international financial institutions.
Furthermore, the G-77 and China calls for the implementation of General Assembly resolutions, particularly Resolution 59/160 adopted on the global and market survey on cannabis.
The Group 77 and China notes with satisfaction the assessment of the Annual Report that the illicit poppy cultivation area in Asian producing countries has declined greatly in recent years. These achievements are a result of the determination and efforts of the relevant governments and the generous support of the international community.
However, the illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of opiates in this region is still worrisome. The livelihood of those living in former cultivation areas is quite weak and far from sustainable. The risk of re-emergence of illicit crops in these areas is always high. Therefore, the Group emphasizes the need for providing continued alternative development assistance to those countries.
The G-77 and China also highlights that in States affected by illicit crops, cultivation, reforestation and associated environmental concerns require immediate attention and action from those states with the support of the international community.
In conclusion, Madam Chairperson, I would like to assure you that the Group will continue to provide its active support to strengthen and revitalize the UNODC, and will work with all Member States and the Secretariat to that end.
Our will and commitment in the fight against illicit narcotics is reflected in the measures taken by Member States according to the principle of shared responsibility. In this respect, cooperation and coordination play a key role. In that line we feel that the international Community, particularly developed countries should take a more active stand on financing programs and activities that deal with the fight against illicit drugs.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.