December 04, 2012 00:00 By The Nation 3,803 Viewed
Pledges UN support for Myanmar's efforts on national reconciliation, anti-corruption, rule of law, HIV prevention and evidence-based drug treatment
In his first-ever official visit to Southeast Asia, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov met Saturday with Aung San Suu Kyi, Member of Parliament and Nobel laureate, at her residence in Nay Pyi Taw.
Fedotov congratulated Aung San Suu Kyi on her election to Parliament and recent appointment to Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Rule of Law and Tranquility. He pledged UNODC's assistance and technical expertise in support of Myanmar's reforms - particularly in anti-corruption and in establishing the rule of law, in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and in contributing to the development of peace by providing alternative development support in drug-conflict areas and by promoting dialogue between all parties in the conflict.
Noting Myanmar's efforts to resolve ethnic conflicts and create the peace and stability necessary to create sustainable, licit jobs and markets, and the country's steps to strengthen rule of law institutions, Fedotov urged the international community to act in support of Myanmar's future.
"There is much to be done and, as Daw Suu noted, this difficult time of transition is not the time to be complacent," said Mr. Fedotov. "We must have the courage to sustainably invest in Myanmar’s present for the sake of its people’s future, or else this future, now shining with so much hope, will not be realised."
"Daw Suu and I agree that clean, effective, trustworthy governance institutions are critical to the sustainable development of peace and security in Myanmar," said Mr. Fedotov. "Without an investment in rule of law institutions, the economic and social development which Myanmar citizens so desperately crave can not easily be achieved. A key step in this process is Myanmar ratifying the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)."
"Reform is real," said Fedotov, "and the courage which enabled these reforms needs to be supported. More needs to be done - now - for these changes to be durable."
Following his meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, Fedotov traveled to visit UNODC field operations in Shan State - an area of long-running armed conflicts and the centre of Myanmar's opium poppy cultivation and the manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).
Myanmar remains the region's largest illicit manufacturer of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Myanmar is Southeast Asia's largest illicit poppy-growing country and the world's second, after Afghanistan. It currently accounts for 25 per cent of global poppy cultivation and 16 per cent of global opium production. Overwhelmingly produced in remote regions of Shan State, illicit drugs from Myanmar continue to be seized in China and Thailand and, to a lesser extent, Lao PDR.
Myanmar is the second stop for the Executive Director, as part of his five-country, 12-day mission in Southeast Asia. Fedotov has visited Thailand and will move on from Myanmar to visit Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia.
During his mission, Fedotov plans to discuss and engage with stakeholders on a broad range of human security threats including illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, anti-corruption, environmental crimes including the illegal trade in timber and protected wildlife, and human trafficking and migrant smuggling.