On the sidelines of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) conference “Uniting the Global Community to Face the Challenge of Addiction”, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the African Union has launched the Global Dialogue on Drug Demand Reduction between Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean as testimony of collective efforts to resolve concerted action to common problems.
The Director of Social Development, Culture and Sports of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mrs Cisse Mariama Mohamed, presided over the ceremony on behalf of H.E Amb. Cessouma Minata Samate, the African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, in the presence of representatives of partner organisations in the area of drug control: Ambassador Adam Namm, Executive Secretary, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD); Dr. Benjamin Reyes, Secretary General, The Colombo Plan; and Mr. Brian Morales, Branch Chief, Counternarcotics, Office of Global Programs and Policy, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US State Department, as well as Experts on drug use epidemiology from AU Member States.
In her opening statement, Director Cisse underscored the need to explore and collaborate in sharing of tangible ideas to improve drug dependency prevention, treatment and care. “We are aware of unprecedented and mounting common challenges and this Global Dialogue is an opportunity to strengthen our collaboration and partnership for purpose – A partnership for a common future, for solidarity, for peace, sustainable development and prosperity of our citizens and future generations, bringing together our people, regions and organisations“.
She further added that “The Global Dialogue is, therefore, a space for us to explore and interrogate thoughts on how Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean can find mutual working opportunities that benefit our people both today and in the future. A joint, multilateral approach that can only work if we come together and align our efforts”.
The Director Cisse underscored the African Union Commission’s fundamental role to coordinate, monitor and evaluate implementation of the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2019-2023), which the main objective is to improve the health, security and socio-economic well-being of the people of Africa by addressing drug trafficking and problematic drug use in all its forms and manifestations and preventing the onset of drug use., as well as to leverage technical assistance to Member States through strategic partnerships.
As encapsulated in Africa’s blue print for social and economic transformation, “Agenda 2063” which espouses the Africa we want, the African Union is committed to prioritizing sustainable development efforts by addressing pervasive poverty, social exclusion and discrimination and thereby providing enabling conditions for gaining licit and sustainable livelihoods. “Together we can identify gaps and opportunities and come up with actionable recommendations in developing and implementing sustainable drug demand reduction initiatives. We are committed to sustaining the dialogue. You can count on the African Union! “, concluded Mrs. Cisse.