1. The Regional Conference on Drug Abuse Among the Youth was hosted by the Vietnam National Drug Control Committee and held from 26 to 27 November 1998 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Conference was held as result of the proposal made by H.E. Nguyen Manh Cam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam at the 31st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting/Post-Ministerial Conferences held in July 1998 in Manila, the Philippines.
2. The Regional Conference was attended by the delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat and participants from Cambodia and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). Observers from Australia and the United States were also among the participants.
3. The Meeting was gracefully declared open by H.E. Mr. Le Minh Huong, Minister of Public Security and Standing Vice-Chairman of the Vietnam National Drug Control Committee (VNDCC), who pointed out that given the growing seriousness of drug abuse, particularly among the youth in the region, the Regional Conference offered a timely opportunity for the participants to discuss ways and means to further enhance the regional cooperative efforts to cope with the problem.
4. The Conference focused on the theme “Closer Cooperation Prevention and Control of Drug Abuse Among the Youth for the Future, Stability and Sustainable Development of the ASEAN Region”. The participants of the Conference discussed the current situation of drug abuse among the youth in the region and renewed the will and commitment of ASEAN Member Countries in their endeavour to implement the Joint Declaration For A Drug-Free ASEAN in order to achieve the vision of an ASEAN free from drug as decided by the ASEAN Leaders at their Second Informal Summit held in Kuala Lumpur in December 1997. The Conference also made a number of specific recommendations with a view to further promoting regional cooperation on drug abuse control, particularly among the young people, namely exchanging of experiences and information, learning from each other’s success or failure concerning the prevention and control of drug abuse among the youth, expanding collaboration with Dialogue Partners of ASEAN, with other regional and international organisations, etc.
5. The Regional Conference adopted two major documents, namely the Appeal to the Youth in the ASEAN Region for a Drug-Free Life and the Agenda of Action on Prevention and Control of Drug Abuse Among the Youth in the ASEAN Region, which aimed at promoting awareness among the youth on drug abuse control and further enhancing the regional cooperation along the line charted out by the ASEAN Leaders. The Regional Conference also recommended that 26 June every year be observed by the Member Countries as “A Drug-Free ASEAN Day”.
6. As scheduled the delegates to the Regional Conference on Drug Abuse Among the Youth will be cordially received by H.E. Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Vietnam Natonal Drug Committee in the afternoon of 27 November 1998.
7. The success of the Conference constituted the determination and commitment of the countries in the region in the combat against drug abuse and illicit drug traffic as well as a significant step towards implementing the above-mentioned Joint Declaration.