Wien 16 februari 2012
Carl Bildt, Utrikesminister
Tal av Carl Bildt under Parispaktens ministermöte i Wien
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Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Sweden aligns itself with the statement delivered by Denmark behalf of the European Union.
The production and smuggling of narcotics is one of the primary drivers of the conflict in Afghanistan. It finances insurgency and terrorism. It perpetuates organised crime and corruption. It generates social misery. Everything about it - from the cultivation and production to the smuggling and consumption - undermines developments towards a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. Hence, our fight against the trafficking of drugs is at the very core of our efforts to stabilise the country as a whole.
The scope and membership of the Paris Pact illustrate the importance and nature of this fight. Narcotics originating in Afghanistan have disastrous and destabilising effects well beyond the country's own borders, and well beyond neighbouring countries. We all have a share in this problem and the stakes are extremely high.
Last year (2011), we saw opium production in Afghanistan bounce back from the low levels of 2010. The figures in the UNODC report are striking. The opium yield per hectare increased by 52 per cent. The Afghan farmers' selling price increased by 133 per cent. With a simultaneous drop in the price of wheat - to less than a tenth of the price of opium - the incentives for the poor farmers are unfortunately much to easy to understand. It is our common responsibility to work with the Government of Afghanistan to support alternative crops and break the farmers' dependence on opium.
Faced with a problem of such significance and complexity, with such an international reach and resilience, we cannot adopt just a piecemeal approach. It will not be sufficient to address either poppy eradication or combating smuggling. It is not about either curbing the financial flows of the trade or fighting corruption inside the country. It will not be enough to take on these problems in isolation. We must act vigorously, thoroughly and collectively. Let me highlight a few of the more important elements of our efforts.
One of the keys to fighting drug trafficking is to strengthen regional cooperation. Sweden welcomes - and supports - the UNODC's ambition in this regard. The 'Rainbow Strategy' and the recently launched Regional Programme for Afghanistan are excellent examples. The 'Triangular Initiative' to share narcotics intelligence and coordinate counter-narcotics operations between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan is commendable and absolutely necessary. Regional efforts against the smuggling of narcotics should also go hand in hand with the work of local field offices to reduce the supply.
In line with the commitments of the Kabul Process, the international community must support the Afghan Government's own struggle against narcotics. Corruption is often an enabling factor for the narcotics trade and efforts to curb it must be enhanced. The rule of law must be strengthened and the culture of impunity ended. Anti-corruption is a key priority in Sweden's overall strategy for development cooperation with Afghanistan. We are working together with the Afghan authorities on this issue.
Let us at the same time be honest about the need for countries outside the Central Asia region to do more to reduce their drug demand. This involves working with social policies, legislation and stricter border controls, and committing more resources to fighting the vice of narcotics. The measures should particularly target the young.
The trafficking of drugs constitutes organised crime on an industrial scale and, as such, the flow and laundering of money is one of its essential components. The success of our fight against narcotics depends in large part on our ability to stop this flow. Sweden is firmly committed to the work of the Financial Action Task Force and is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
Sweden has supported Afghanistan for many years, well before 2001, including through the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan - and will continue to do so well beyond 2014. We are in the process of increasing our long-term development assistance. In 2011, the total volume of Swedish development assistance to Afghanistan, including humanitarian assistance, amounted to USD 155 million. Our contribution to the core budget of the UNODC amounted to some USD 7 million, of which USD 1.2 million was targeted at the Western Asia region. We are part of ISAF and of the European Union's police mission, EUPOL. The Action Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, adopted during the Swedish Presidency of the EU, contains firm commitments to reduce the illegal cultivation and production of narcotics through law enforcement and public health and rural development programmes.
Finally, Mr Chairman, let me express Sweden's support for the Vienna Declaration. We welcome its broad scope and find its emphasis on policies to reduce drug demand particularly laudable. Sweden reaffirms its strong continued support for the three international conventions on drugs and narcotics, as well as the continued relevance of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the High-level Segment of the 2009 Commission on Narcotics and Drugs.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.