ASEAN’s efforts towards Drug Control

Non-Aligned Movement has called on the international community to strengthen international, regional and trans-regional cooperation for countering the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.

The Movement recognizes that no single government can combat this menace alone successfully, given that criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking operate collectively in the territory of several countries and are multiplying trafficking routes and distribution methods. NAM has stressed that cooperation, coordination and committed action by all countries is essential to curb this crime.

Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) -comprising of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam- taken cognizance of the continuing threat from the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, such as the multiple record seizures of illicit drug seizures since 2017, the new challenges posed by the New Psychoactive Substances, and the use of internet and parcel posts to facilitate drug activities. The regional bloc has undertaken a number of measures towards strengthening drug control.

ASEAN recognizes the complementary and mutually-reinforcing nature of important international drug control instruments such as the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem and the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.
ASEAN Member States have established a number of regional cooperation mechanisms for drug control such as the ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force (AAITF), the ASEAN Seaport Interdiction Task Force (ASITF), the ASEAN Narcotics Cooperation Center (ASEAN-NARCO) and the ASEAN Drug Monitoring Network (ADMN).

The ASEAN Narcotics Cooperation Centre has, in particular, played a vital role in strengthening ASEAN cooperation on drugs, especially on information sharing and drugs surveillance in the region.

The ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025 is a major initiative undertaken by the South East Asian bloc. It was adopted by the 5th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD) held in Singapore in October 2016.

ASEAN Work Plan 2016-25 calls for strengthening the role of the AMMD in coordinating a coherent, comprehensive, and effective ASEAN strategy in realizing the aspiration of a Drug-Free ASEAN.

Under the Work Plan, Governments of the ASEAN Member States have agreed to facilitate greater cooperation between relevant national agencies and authorities by conducting and participating in cross-sectoral seminars, workshops and trainings.

A focus on preventive education is also one of the main features of the Work Plan. The Work Plan calls for promoting awareness through the convening of education campaign across the region with a common message to build the resilience of youth against drugs and educate communities on the impact of drugs.

The Work Plan further calls for strengthening law enforcement measures and expanding existing arrangements such as provision of mutual legal assistance (MLA), cross-border liaison offices (BLOs), port intelligence and controlled units, the Airport and Seaport Interdiction Task Force in ASEAN Member States.

During the 6th AMMD held on October 18, 2018 in Hanoi, Vietnam, ASEAN Member States reaffirmed their commitment in realising the aspiration of a Drug-Free ASEAN, through a zero-tolerance approach towards illicit drugs. During the AMMD, ASEAN Member States adopted a joint statement which would be delivered by Singapore at the Fifth Intersessional Meeting of the United Nations Commission of Narcotic Drugs (CND) scheduled in November 2019.

This statement would reaffirm ASEAN’s resolute stand against legalisation of illicit drugs for non-medical and non-scientific use and urge the international community to uphold the provisions of the international drug control conventions, which the international community has jointly affirmed as the cornerstone of the international drug control system.

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