Media Center

Press Release


  May 2, 2007

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, said today that after 21 years of existence, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) should be the hemisphere’s principal forum for solving the problems that all the countries face on this issue. Insulza asserted that “the best way to put this belief into practice is to demand that the different actors in the global anti-drug arena consider CICAD as a protagonist in their efforts” to confront the scourge of drugs.

In opening the new period of sessions of the specialized OAS agency, which coordinates regional anti-drug efforts, Insulza noted that CICAD “has come of age and has acquired the needed maturity to confront the major challenges called for in these times.” He praised CICAD “for its ability to adjust to the new realities and for the flexibility and certainty it has shown in the face of such a dynamic and harmful problem, that of drugs.”

Insulza referred to some CICAD projects that complement activities with horizontal cooperation, based on the real needs of the member states and on political commitment. He mentioned one program in particular that seeks to create cooperation alliances among cities in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean in order to improve treatment and rehabilitation for drug dependency. The Secretary General underscored that CICAD is in charge of executing these projects, adding that “this means that the European Commission has placed its trust in us, the world’s oldest multilateral organization and natural leader of multilateral political developments in the hemisphere.”

For his part, General Paulo Roberto Yog de Miranda Uchôa, CICAD Chair and National Anti-drug Secretary of Brazil, said the countries of the Americas have made important progress in the fight against drugs, and noted the need to continue exchanging experiences and best practices. “The knowledge of legislations, programs and experiences that the countries of the region have accumulated throughout the years is essential for cooperation,” Uchôa said. “In this respect, being able to evaluate one another allows us to have a balanced outlook of what is done and what still needs to be done with regards to drugs in our hemisphere,” he added.

The CICAD Chair was referring to the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), a systematic and cooperative effort undertaken by each country to study national and hemispheric progress against illegal drugs. Uchôa said the OAS can be proud of this process, which “constitutes a model for other organizations.” He emphasized that of the recommendations made to the countries through the Third Round of the MEM (2003-2004), 54% are on their way to being implemented and 27% have already been carried out. “In practical terms, this high level of participation by CICAD member states demonstrates a clear commitment to the principles of shared responsibility and multilateral cooperation,” Uchôa said.

In his remarks, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, John P. Walters, acknowledged that drug consumption in the United States represents a negative contribution to the drug problem in the countries of the region. “Our consumption has been a source of dollars to fund terror, attacks on your institutions of justice, the twisting of your economies to produce crops,” as well as the deterioration of the environment, Walters said, adding that such problems “have been fed by drug addiction in the United States.”

Nevertheless, he talked about his government’s efforts in this area and emphasized that over the last five years there has been an overall decline of 23% in consumption among young people. “Unfortunately, drugs remain the most serious cause of poverty, the most serious source of denial of rights, the most serious cause of violence and death and illness,” Walters said, as he noted that “we obviously want to use this progress to follow through, not to rest or pull back.”

The U.S. drug “czar” reiterated that CICAD has been a close ally to his country in attacking this problem and said that through this regional body, “we created a consensus that we could and should attack both the supply and the demand.” He attached special importance to the contribution of the MEM in promoting anti-drug cooperation in the region.

The biannual CICAD meeting, which continues through Friday, will include presentations related to the sales of drugs over the Internet; drugs, women and violence in the Americas; and debates on the fight against precursor chemicals and pharmaceutical products, among other issues.

Reference: E-116/07