Jointly launched by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Paris Pact Initiative (PPI), a three-day expert working group meeting kicked off in Beijing yesterday  in an effort to strengthen cross-border cooperation against drug crimes, as well as to explore SCO’s potential to curb drug trafficking worldwide.

Speaking at the meeting opening ceremony, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member-states are concerned about the growing problem of international drug threats that seriously challenge global security and sustainable economic development of states, requiring consolidation of efforts by the international community, according to Chinese media reports. 

Combatting illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and their precursors is one of the most important SCO objectives, Alimov noted.

“Ever since it was established, SCO has been making great efforts to tackle drug crimes, as well as carrying out cooperation with other nations and organizations. This expert working group has attracted leaders from 18 countries and will serve as a new platform to exchange information on cross-border drug crimes,” Alimov said. 

“Many countries are taking actions independently against drug crimes, but much more can be achieved if they can cooperate. To further promote cross-border cooperation is the reason that brings us here, and we need to explore the potential of regional organizations, such as SCO, to tackle drug issues,” said Mark Colhoun, Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Country Office in Afghanistan.

Initiated in 2003, the Paris Pact Initiative is a broad international partnership aimed at combating the trade of Afghan opiates.  To date, the organization has 58 partner countries and 23 organizations, with the SCO playing an important role under the framework, clamping down on drug crimes in Afghanistan and its member-states.

Chinese media report say that SCO has been making significant efforts to tackle drug crimes. Since 2011, cooperation focused on countering illicit drug trade is regular, while in 2017, the member states dealt with 411,000 drug crimes, including drug distribution, cultivation, and trafficking.

According to statistics, from 2011 to 2017, the SCO member-states seized 181 tons of heroin, which accounted for 38 percent of all heroin seizures in Eurasia, while 1,667 tons of hashish were confiscated, 26 percent of all hashish seizures in Eurasia, says People’s Daily