Zambia has told the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on World Drug Problem (UNGASS2016) that it is committed to foster regional and international cooperation through the exchange of information, expertise and best practices on drug prevention and treatment mechanisms.
Delivering Zambia’s national statement, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Colonel Gerry Chanda said the world drug problem remained a major challenge for the international community.
He called for increased bilateral and international cooperation based on the principle of common and shared responsibility to effectively deal with all aspects of the scourge.
“While we appreciate that combating the world drug problem requires a balanced and integrated approach, calls for decriminalisation and legalisation of illicit drugs such as cannabis, are in our view against the spirit of the three international drug conventions,” Col. Chanda said.
The Deputy Minister said Zambia recognised the three International Drug Conventions and related Protocols as the cornerstone for effective international drug control and prevention.
He underscored the importance of achieving the goals and targets outlined in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action to counter the world drug problem.
“We reaffirm that these international instruments are sufficient in providing the required guidance and appropriate approaches in curbing the world drug problem,” Col. Chanda said. “While Zambia was previously used as a mere transit point for illicit drugs, trends have changed, as the country is now a consumer of drugs such as cocaine and heroin.”
He said the consumption of Cocaine and other hard drugs was on the increase.
Col Chanda said the Government, through the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), had continued to implement demand-reduction programmes through education and sensitisation of the citizens on the dangers of illicit drugs, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons.
“To provide early prevention of drug use among young people, Zambia has incorporated issues of drugs and money laundering in school curricula from primary to secondary school levels, including the development and production of Supplementary Readers on illicit drugs and money laundering,” the Deputy Minister said. “Government has initiated the youth development fund whose aim is to empower young people by helping to establish their own businesses and therefore, refrain from indulging in illicit activities such drug use.”
Col. Chanda said the Government has continued to undertake regular reviews of drug control legislation to address emerging challenges, threats, and realities and provide an integrated and balanced strategy in combating illicit drugs.
“To strengthen the fight against money laundering and other organised transnational crimes, Zambia has also established an Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) under the Drug Enforcement Commission, which investigates all money laundering related offences,” said Col Chanda, who is accompanied by DEC Commissioner Ms. Alita Mbahwe and other senior Government officials.
The (UNGASS2016) adopted a new framework putting people at the centre of global policies on drug control. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the UN’s top policy-making body on drugs, drafted the framework in Vienna Austria last month.