Dear Ambassadors and members of the Lisbon diplomatic community
Dear Representatives of the Portuguese authorities
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends
It is my great pleasure to welcome you today, together with the Chairman of the EMCDDA Management Board Dr João Goulão, to this reception celebrating International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. I am really glad to see, that this year again, you — the diplomatic community in Lisbon, our partners from the Portuguese authorities and the EU bodies in Portugal — have joined us in large numbers.
International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was established by the United Nations in 1987 to strengthen action and cooperation in tackling the drugs problem and in creating safer and healthier societies across the world.
The slogan chosen by the United Nations for this year is: Make health your 'new high' in life, not drugs. Marking the day, the UNODC launches at the same time as our gathering here its World drug report 2013, which, this year, has quite a strong focus on new psychoactive substances.
As most of you are aware, the issue of new psychoactive substances has been at the heart of the EMCDDA’s work for some years already.
Last year alone, a total of 73 new psychoactive substances were officially notified via the EU early warning system that we run with Europol. This early warning system was recently acknowledged in a G8 statement of intent on collecting and sharing data on new psychoactive substances.
This week (27–28 June), we are co-hosting with Europol — here at the newly named ‘Praça Europa’ — the Third international multidisciplinary forum on new drugs.
This Third forum will build on the results of the first forum, which the EMCDDA organised in Lisbon in 2011, and the second, co-organised with the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the EMCDDA in Palm Springs in 2012.
Almost half of the year is over and I must say that up until now, 2013 has been a particularly challenging one for the EMCDDA. Let me just mention a few of the highlights:
Ladies and gentlemen, Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the new Director of EMSA Markku Mylly, who is at this event for the first time, for the breath of fresh air he has given to the cooperation between our two EU agencies.
And I would also like to acknowledge once again the constant support we receive from the Portuguese authorities — in particular the Parliament, Government, the Municipality of Lisbon and the Lisbon Port Authority — and the productive working relationship we have forged with them. Not wishing to go into more detail here, I cannot avoid mentioning the administrative services of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Finance — their continuing support contributes significantly to facilitating our work.