Addressing the Opium Economy

Jost Wagner facilitated the symposium on addressing the drug economy through wider development agenda in Luang Prabang on behalf of UNODC on 22 -23 November 2016. Senior government officials, international and civil society partners active across the Mekong region, along with representatives of the Myanmar Peace Centre, the Thai Royal Project and Mae Fah Luang Foundation, have convened in Luang Phrabang in northern Lao PDR to consider new development oriented strategies to address the opium economy. The Symposium on Addressing the Drug Economy through Wider Development Agendas follows the recent political commitment of the six Mekong MOU countries – Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam – to explore ways to better connect drug control measures with other regional development plans. Illicit opium and heroin remain primary components of the drug economy in the Golden Triangle and East and Southeast Asia. Opium continues to be produced at high levels in the north of Myanmar and Lao PDR with over 60,000 hectares under cultivation producing 20% of global opium supply.