The 3rd meeting of the AIPA (ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly) Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) was held online on June 29 with a view to helping enhance regional cooperation towards a drug-free ASEAN community.
An important activity during Vietnam’s AIPA Chairmanship this year, the meeting was attended by the AIPA Secretary-General and representatives from AIPA member parliaments, international organisations, and ASEAN countries in Vietnam.
In her opening remarks, Vice National Assembly Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong said non-traditional security threats like environmental pollution, cybercrime, food and water resources insecurity, epidemics, and especially drugs are not only urgent but also long-term issues facing regions and the world as a whole.
The scourge of drugs around the globe, including in Southeast Asia, is increasingly complex, leaving long-term health, economic, and social consequences for all countries. Since the beginning of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added another non-traditional security threat to countries worldwide, including ASEAN members, requiring solidarity and cooperation to respond, she noted.
As a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam has taken an active and proactive part in global and regional anti-drug activities, Phong said, adding that its policies and laws are consistent with the common view in ASEAN of not compromising on drugs, not accepting the legalisation of drug use, balancing supply and demand reduction solutions, and persisting with the goal of a drug-free ASEAN community.
Vietnam’s legislature has consistently made efforts to perfect legal regulations on and increase supervision over this matter, she said. In the time ahead it will amend the law on drug prevention and control and some related laws so as to cope with new challenges in the fight against drugs.
Participants at the meeting were updated on drug prevention and control efforts in the region and the world, along with ASEAN’s drug response, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed and shared their countries’ experience in the drug fight and the treatment of drug addiction, while reviewing the implementation of commitments made in resolutions issued at meetings of the AIPA Fact Finding Committee and the AIPACODD.
Inshik Sim, a research officer at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said the annual profit from illegal drug production and trafficking in Southeast Asia is estimated at 71 billion USD. The drug issue in this region is now fiercer than ever and has become a crisis, with consequences for health, human rights, security, and the economies of relevant countries.
He added that no interventions, policies, or prevention mechanisms can be built or implemented singlehandedly, noting that an effective prevention system at the local or national level should be integrated into a larger system, focusing on healthcare, and balancing drug-related issues, including reducing supply, enforcing laws, treating drug-related disorders, and minimising risks relevant to drug use.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Thanh suggested that to push ahead with the drug fight, Vietnam and other ASEAN countries should promote political commitments, improve the efficiency of State management in drug prevention, control, and rehabilitation, and engage the entire political system and people in the task.
They should also combine solutions on drug prevention and control with those on drug supply, demand, and harm reduction, he said, adding that they should view investing in the drug fight as like investing in sustainable development in each country and the entire region./.VNA