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Thailand Focus March 16th, 2015: Thailand chairing U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs

  As governments and law enforcement agencies strive to keep pace with the shifting tactics of international drug trafficking syndicates,  Thailand opened the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  The Kingdom is serving as the chair country for the  central policy-making body within the U.N. dealing with illicit drugs and is the governing body for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
 
 More than 1,500 representatives from the U.N., international organizations and civil society were participating with the goal of setting new and more effective    strategies.  The session, which opened on March 9 in Vienna, Austria, will run through March 17.  Also included was a special four-day meeting on        preparations for the U.N. General Assembly special session on the world drug problem scheduled for 2016.
 
 The Commission was tackling challenges that range from protecting children from the sale of new psychoactive substances online to confronting financial  flows linked to drug trafficking.  United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield and    National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli co-led the U.S. delegation.
 
Arthayudh Srisamoot, Thailand's ambassador and permanent representative to the U.N Office in Vienna, was serving as the chairperson of the session.  Thailand was once a major producer of opium and heroin, but crop substitution programs and other measures, some of which were promoted by constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adjulyadej, eliminated most opium growing decades ago.  The Kingdom, however, is still battling methamphetamine trafficking and abuse, and is a transshipment point for heroin and other drugs from neighboring Myanmar, the world’s second-largest producer of illegal drugs.
 
The commission took up 12 draft resolutions, five of which were introduced by Thailand and passed by the gathering.  The five Thai-originated resolutions were formulated under the guidance of H.R.H. Princess Bajrakitiyabha, Thailand’s former ambassador to Austria and permanent representative to the U.N. Office in Vienna.
 
The resolutions focus on the adoption and promotion of the "U.N. Guiding Principles on Alternative Development"; prevention of drug abuse for the wellbeing of children, youth, families and communities; and cooperation to counter the drug problem in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
 
“The commitment of member states to the balanced approach is clearly evident in the broad range of draft resolutions presented at this [Commission],” the Executive Director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov told the delegates.
 
He added that working with the Commission had enabled UNODC to “put in place integrated, inter-regional responses linking UNODC's country, regional and global programs to confront the challenges of illicit drugs.”
 
See the original article at  http://www.thaiembassydc.org/?p=2446

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