UNITED NATIONS: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan arrived in New York Monday night to lead the seven-member Pakistan delegation to a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the world drug problem.
The three-day high-level session will review progress in international cooperation in countering the drug problem.
Several heads of state and more than 40 ministers from around the world are scheduled to attend the session at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Pakistan delegation includes: Aijaz Ali Khan, secretary of Narcotics Control; Maj. Gen. Nasir Dilawar Shah, director-general of Anti-Narcotics Force, Brig. Muhammad Basharat Tahir Malik, Director (HQ), Anti-Narcotics Force, and Col. Zaheer Ahmed, director (International Cooperation), Anti-Narcotics Force.
Chaudhry Nisar is scheduled to address the session later today (Tuesday), after its ceremonial opening.
Briefing journalists, the UN General Assembly President, Mogens Lykketoft, said the session provides “a much-needed universal platform” for member-states and stakeholders to discuss “one of the most serious and complex issues” that affects the lives of millions and undermines sustainable development.
Two important milestones in addressing the world drug problem are the Political Declarations adopted by UN member states in 1998 and 2009. The latter defines actions to be taken by member states as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.
The event will consist of a plenary meeting and five multi-stakeholder roundtables.
Discussions will be focused on tops including drugs and health, drugs and crime, drugs and human rights, youth, women, children and communities, prevention of drug problems, as well as development-oriented, balanced drug control policy and cooperation.
An outcome document is expected to be formally adopted at the session, which is entitled “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem.”
The world drug problem continues to present challenges to the health, safety and well-being of all humanity, said the draft outcome document, adding that the international community “resolve to reinforce our national and international efforts and further increase international cooperation to face those challenges.”
“We recognize that the world drug problem remains a common and shared responsibility that should be addressed in a multilateral setting through effective and increased international cooperation and demands an integrated, multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing, balanced, scientific evidence-based and comprehensive approach,” it said.
The document also welcomes the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noting that efforts to achieve the development goals and to effectively address the world drug problem are “complementary and mutually reinforcing.”
Drug use and drug use disorders continue to create an unacceptable burden on individuals, families, communities and societies.
According to the UN, it is estimated that a total of 246 million people, or 1 out of 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64 years, used drugs for non-medical or non-scientific purposes in 2013.
Of these, 27 million people suffer from drug use disorders, whilst 187,100 people who use drugs lost their lives prematurely, including from drug overdose.