Qatar affirmed its commitment to continue co-operation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and to support regional and international programs to address the world drug problem and related crimes. In this regard, it pointed to the Global Program for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration as a pioneering model in providing support to countries to address organised crime, drugs, corruption and terrorism, and contributing to the implementation of the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Plan.
Addressing the 64th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, HE the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations and international organisations in Vienna Sultan bin Salmeen al-Mansouri said that Qatar is proud of the impressive successes achieved by the Global Program for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, including the United Nations Secretary-General 2020 Innovation Award which was presented to the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, one of the program's components.
HE al-Mansouri touched on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on further exacerbating the global drug problem, noting that circumstances imposed by the pandemic have led to high unemployment rates, exposing the unemployed to drug abuse, trafficking and cultivation. He added that the pandemic has also provided new opportunities for organised criminal groups to sell fake drugs, medicines and vaccines, in addition to the shortage of controlled medicines caused by the pandemic, the increase in drug prices and the exacerbation of drug overdose deaths.
He stated that the pandemic, with the unprecedented dangers it poses to all humanity, has demonstrated that the principle of public and shared responsibility must remain the basis for international multilateral co-operation to address the world drug problem, referring in particular to the priority of providing support to developing countries where drug abuse is increasing rapidly compared to the developed countries. Those countries experience increasing immediate and long-term catastrophic effects of the pandemic, and have low access to vaccines and prospects for sustainable development.
He underlined that Qatar believes in the need to give priority to providing vaccines and anti-Covid drugs to the developing countries, noting that it has provided generous financial and in-kind assistance to the World Health Organization (WHO) and to the countries most affected by the pandemic, and has also provided $140mn to research institutions working to make a vaccine for Covid-19.
HE al-Mansouri also highlighted the efforts of Qatar at the national level in combating drugs, stressing that Qatar is proud of its national record in combating drugs and preserving the security and safety of the society from this scourge, through the application of a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, whether in terms of control, prevention or treatment.
He said that Qatar has been focusing on prevention activities as a crucial factor in establishing a drug-free society and ensuring that everyone enjoys a healthy life of dignity, peace, security and prosperity. He noted that there were about 269mn people who used drugs in 2018, which is a 30% jump from 2009, and that young people, women and the poor are the ones who pay the most for the global drug problem.
In conclusion, HE al-Mansouri underlined that Qatar believes in the essential role that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) as the policy-making body of the UN in the field of drug control, therefore, it has submitted its candidacy for CND membership for 2024-2027, and will actively contribute to the work of the Commission.