At the meeting (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - 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
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./.