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Topnews, Statements

12. March 2018

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,  SIXTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS, 12 MARCH 2018, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 3: GENERAL DEBATE

Check against Delivery

Chairperson,

Excellencies,    

Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, my delegation welcomes your election and other members of the bureau to steer our work during this 61st Session of the Commission on Narcotics and Drugs. I extend my delegation’s full support throughout the session. We also thank the Executive Director of the UNODC, Mr Yuri Fedotov for his opening statement this morning.

Our gratitude is also extended to the Secretariat for their efforts in preparation for this session.

South Africa associates itself with the statements read on behalf of the Africa Group, and Group of 77 and China, respectively.

Chairperson,

Drug trafficking and its associated challenges continue to pose a major threat to security, health, and the socio-economic wellbeing and development of many countries, including South Africa. 

As a country, we are committed to reducing the supply, demand and the negative consequences of drug use, particularly among the youth and other vulnerable groups. To this end, we will continue to implement evidence-based prevention, treatment and support services that seek to promote the rights of all our people.

Chairperson,

Since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, South Africa has developed and robustly implemented its 5 year National Strategy, the National Drug Master Plan which is predicated on demand reduction, supply reduction and international cooperation in line with the 3 international drug control conventions.

Accordingly, our 5 year National Strategy is coming to an end and the review process is at an advance stage.  While embedded in the 3 drugs conventions, the new strategy, for the period 2018-2022, will take into consideration progress made in the implementation of the targets set in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement as well as the operational recommendations of the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document.  

Chairperson,

In the preceding decade South Africa has made significant progress in addressing and countering the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking in our country. Our efforts in this regard included the adoption of policies and measures to combat the negative impact of illicit drugs and substance abuse, particularly among the youth and children.

Our demand reduction efforts are focused on prevention and early intervention programmes, using awareness and education campaigns highlighting the dangers and consequences of substance abuse in schools and institutions of higher learning. While preventative measures are being implemented, South Africa is equally committed to expanding treatment and rehabilitation services to those in need. In this regard, new treatment centres are being built across the country in order to respond to the increase in demand. We are currently rolling out training and capacity-building for officials working in the area of addiction.      

Chairperson,

The illicit trafficking and manufacturing in drugs remain one of the stubborn challenges we continue to face in our efforts to counter the world drug problem. In recent years, South Africa has experienced an increase in the number of clandestine laboratories for manufacturing of synthetic drugs. Similarly, because of our geo-strategic location, our ports are increasingly targeted as preferred transit points for illicit drugs.

In order to effectively respond to this problem, our Government has strengthened its law enforcement capacity in the area of drugs. In this regard, specialised units have been established within the South African Police Service with investigative and enforcement capacities.  Whilst there have been remarkable achievements in the area of law enforcement, much more still remains to be done. 

Chairperson,

At the continental level, my country continues to make concerted efforts to implement existing regional instruments to counter the world drug problem. In an effort to consolidate the African position in this matter, South Africa participated in the 27th meeting of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA – Africa) in September 2017. My delegation is pleased that the HONLEA meeting also underscored the importance of the African Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention for the period 2017-2019, as a blueprint for Africa to address the challenges posed by illicit drugs.

In conclusion, with less than a year left before the lapse of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, we are called upon to reflect on our efforts in the past decade in implementing the targets contained in this Declaration and to contemplate the future of the international drug control regime. 

In this regard, my delegation welcomes the ongoing efforts by the Chair of the Commission, Ambassador Alicia Buenrostro of Mexico, for conducting consultations with regional groups to solicit their views in preparation for the Ministerial Segment to be held in 2019 during the 62nd Session of the CND. It is my delegations view that any outcome to be adopted in 2019 should Firstly, be embedded in the 3 drug conventions as its cornerstone; Secondly, prioritize the implementation of the targets that were not achieved in the Political Declaration; Thirdly, take into consideration the 2014  Joint Ministerial Statement; and lastly, take in to consideration the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document.

I thank you.

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