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Press Release


  June 7, 2005

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (known as CICAD, by its Spanish acronym) today will present to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) the results of the latest evaluation round under the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), which measures anti-drug progress in the hemisphere.

The reports analyze the state of drug-control progress in 33 countries and the hemisphere as a whole for 2003-2004, highlighting progress, setbacks and obstacles faced in the region.

A total of 506 recommendations have been assigned to countries in this third evaluation round. The majority are in the area money-laundering control, followed by the need for improved statistics on drug consumption and finally, actions to improve prevention of drug abuse. Prevention is a major area of focus for CICAD in 2005, which it has declared “the year of illicit drug-abuse prevention in the Americas.”

The countries have already made significant progress in implementing the recommendations made in previous evaluation rounds. Eighty-eight percent of the 439 recommendations assigned to countries in the first round (1999-2000) have been implemented. The second evaluation round assigned a total of 325 recommendations, and 66 percent of these have now been implemented.

CICAD provides technical and financial assistance to help implement some of the recommendations, in accordance with countries’ needs and priorities. To date, this support has amounted to close to $2 million.

The MEM is both a peer-based evaluation instrument and a tool to stimulate action. It constitutes one of the main successes in carrying out mandates from the Summit of the Americas process to strengthen multilateral cooperation in the hemisphere.


The conclusions in the hemispheric report of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) include some important achievements, as well as other areas in which the countries could improve their efforts. Positive highlights include:

• Since the MEM process began, all states have developed national drug control plans and central institutions responsible for counter-narcotics policy and programs.
• Ratification of key international treaties by member countries to promote cooperation against drugs and crime has accelerated since 2001.
• Many countries have advanced in the development of national observatories or centralized offices to compile drug-related information and statistics.
• CICAD member states are making notable progress on counter-narcotics public information campaigns.
• Considerable achievement has been recorded in terms of laws and regulations designed to thwart money laundering connected with drugs and crime. Investigations through financial intelligence units have markedly improved in many countries.

Considerable work remains in improving drug-control progress in the region:

• Prevention programs for vulnerable populations, such as school children, out-of-school youth and prisoners, need to be increased, given that first use of drugs is being detected at younger ages.
• Training for professionals needs to be increased while addiction prevention should form part of educational programs.
• Epidemiological research on the extent of drug use in national populations remains extremely limited.
• Although there has been a reduction in the total area of coca cultivation, it is necessary to continue eradication programs to ensure lasting results.
• Greater commitment by drug producing and consuming countries to support alternative development projects is needed.
• The increase in seizures of pharmaceutical products suggests that there has been an increase of pharmaceutical diversion in recent years.
• The high level of clandestine drug production in the hemisphere indicates that the drug trafficking organizations still have access to chemical substances needed for drug production.
• With regards to illicit trafficking, authorities estimate that 90% of the cocaine produced in South America is transported via the maritime sector, while the total amount of cocaine seized from the years 2000-2003 showed a constant increase. Enhanced hemispheric cooperative actions between competent authorities are needed to confront the criminal groups involved in these illicit activities.
• The majority of countries have ratified the inter-American “CIFTA” convention against the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms and ammunition. However, application of laws to control firearms is an area where all countries have room for improvement.
• There is a clear need for closer cooperation and the development of new hemispheric strategies in the area of transnational organized crime.
• In the area of international cooperation and extradition, all countries need to improve efforts at collecting and sharing information.

Reference: E-115/05