The United Nations, in its latest global report on drug use and trafficking, says Asia is facing increasing trafficking and use of amphetamine type stimulants as well as a revival in the production of opium in Burma and Laos. A senior U.N. official says the illicit production and abuse of drugs is a growing regional problem.
In its latest global drug report released Tuesday, the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime says Asia faces a challenge when it comes to curbing the production and use of amphetamine type stimulants, known as ATS, together with rising opium output and widespread use of cannabis, especially among the region’s youth. Gary Lewis, the UNODC regional representative, says the rising trend of ATS production and abuse in China and South East Asia comes even though global production and use had largely stabilized.
Lewis says Asia now accounts for about half of the world’s ATS users. He also says opium production is also soaring in the region. “Of some concern to our region ATS, or amphetamine type stimulants. While its stabilized across the globe its increasing very much in our region in South East Asia and in China. There has been a resurgence of opium poppy cultivation over the past five years and soaring production, trafficking, use of amphetamine type stimulants.
And this ought to be of concern to public policy makers,” Lewis said. The U.N. says there has been a “fourfold” increase in seizures of ATS tablets over recent years, pointing to a sharp rise in output. The report also noted increasing use of synthetic and prescription drugs in Asia, such as Ketamine, especially in China, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam. UN: Amphetamine Trafficking, Usage Up in Asia
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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.
In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
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