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Conferences & UNGASS 1998

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, at the Twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to the Fight Against the Illicit Production, Sale, Demand, Traffic and Distribution of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, at the Twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to the Fight Against the Illicit Production, Sale, Demand, Traffic and Distribution of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Related Activities
    New York, June 10, 1998


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, at the Twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to the Fight Against the Illicit Production, Sale, Demand, Traffic and Distribution of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Related Activities

Mr. President,

First allow me to congratulate you on your election as chairman of the twentieth special session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to the problem of narcotic drugs.

I think nobody will be surprised when I start by saying that now, near the end of the twentieth century, drugs are one of the major problems of our planet, affecting the political institutions as well as the social welfare, health and security of populations in virtually all countries of the world. This supranational phenomenon, transcending the boundaries of states, regions and geopolitical areas, is a typical global issue that can be addressed only by sustained international cooperation. The Czech Republic is convinced that the necessary prerequisite for an effective anti-drug action, on the domestic and international level, is the political will of each state concerned. Ratification and implementation of three international drug control conventions from 1961,1971 and 1988 is the indispensable pre-condition for an effective fight against drugs.

For the Czech Republic, the main purpose of this Special Session is to strengthen the above mentioned conventions, considered by the international community as a basic legal instrument, by adopting the recommendations contained in the Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs A/S- 20/4.

The draft Political Declaration, reflecting the awareness of the world community concerning the variety of drug problems, strengthens its effort to reach concrete targets, and for the first time in history sets the dates for implementation. The Czech Republic greatly appreciates the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction. We fully agree with the idea that demand reduction programmes must cover all preventative measures, those intended to deter young people from using drugs, as well as those designed to minimize the damaging health and social impact of drug abuse. The Czech Republic assumes that the texts prepared for this session offer a good basis for enhanced international cooperation and believes that this session will soon reach a consensus on their adoption.

Mr. President,

Not to dwell on formal proclamations, I will now cite several examples showing that the Czech Republic has the resolve to confront the growing drug problem. This February, the Government approved a new anti-drug strategy for the years 1998-2000, introducing an integrated and balanced approach, according to the Action Programme adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. A balanced approach to demand and supply reduction is a key to effective drug control. This strategy is applied at two basic levels: the central level and the local community level. This decentralized system delegates responsibility to district anti-drug coordinators. Our experience has shown that involvement of the local community in drug control projects is of vital importance.

Over the last three years, the Czech Republic has introduced many laws which are fully consistent with the relevant United Nations conventions and EU acquis. Let me mention those most important. The law against money laundering, the amendment to the Criminal Code declaring possession of drugs for personal use a criminal act and a law regulating verification of legitimate end- use of narcotic and psychotropic substances, including precursors. The essential part of the anti-drug strategy of the Czech Republic is to broaden and strengthen existing cooperation on the subregional and regional level. In this process we appreciate the role of UNDCP, which remains the main body of coordination for the effort of the world community in the implementation of its far-reaching goals.

Mr. President,

It is not necessary to graduate with a degree in economics to notice that in the present world, drugs also represent an economic problem. It is alarming that the international drug trade now accounts for up to five percent of the world trade. It is alarming that the profits from organized crime have reached hundreds of millions of US dollars. The overall price which the world population has to pay is overwhelming and perhaps disproportionate to the energy invested in drug control action. It is alarming that the AIDS epidemic spreading in the community of drug addicts has grown into a major public health risk which already has or in near future will have ruinous effects on national budgets.

Undoubtedly, drugs are a chronic problem of the modern world; some say that the underlying cause is the new social context or the specific biological and psychological inclination of a drug addict. However, with realistic goals and a balanced, coordinated approach, there is hope that we will bring the growing problem under control. A sustained international cooperation is necessary. No country will be able to overcome this problem alone. I think that this session is not only an exceptional opportunity to reaffirm our determination to honour international drug control commitments, but also a chance for the international community to take at least a small step toward solution of this major problem.

Mr President,

Let me conclude by saying that the tasks we are facing are difficult, but clearly and realistically stated. It is now up to the member states as to whether, to what extent, and how quickly we will accomplish them. Clearly, the results of our joint effort will shape the face of the world on the threshold of the next millennium.

Thank you Mr. President,