The ceremony was attended by the representatives of the donor diplomatic missions, H.E. Mr. Mattias Lentz; Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden, and H.E. Mr. Carlos Costa Neves; Ambassador of Portugal, as the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The procurement of the PPE items and other commodities needed in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran for homeless people who use drugs and inmates by UNODC Iran - IRNZ78 - Sub-Programme 3 “Drug Use Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation, and HIV Care”, was enabled through the generous funding received from Sweden and the EU. These items, which included three-layer masks, face shields, and needles and syringes, oximeters, thermometers and other items were distributed amongst the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the State Welfare Organization, and the State Prisons Organization.
The handover ceremony, which took place in the Shaghayegh Cultural Center in Tehran, began with opening remarks by Dr. Lotfi. In his statement, he provided an overview of the history of the I.R. Iran in its fight with drug trafficking given the geographic location of the country. Dr. Lotfi referred to manifold aspects of drug problem including the threats to security, diminishing development. Given the seizure statistics in the past years and an increase in 41% in the number of seizures last year, Dr. Lotfi believed that increasing bilateral cooperation with the European states would support Iran in its efforts and the role it plays at the forefront of combating trafficking drugs. Dr. Reza Toyserkan-Manesh, the Director-General of the Treatment and Social Support Office of DCHQ, provided detailed data and statistics on the treatment initiatives and activities taken by the DCHQ with the ample support of various ministries such as the Ministry of Health and organizations such as the State Welfare Organization. He stated that the ultimate goal of the treatment office is to provide drug users with affordable and suitable responses covering urban and hard-to-reach rural areas. He emphasized that the COVID-19 situation has intensified the assistance needed to be provided to the target population.
Dr. Alexander Fedulov appreciated the support from the European Union and the Kingdom of Sweden, enabling UNODC Office in Iran to assist in-need target population in this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on delivering vital assistance to them by procuring PPE. He informed the donor countries that the procured equipment has already been dispatched to the Iranian Prisons Organisation and CSOs working in the field of harm reduction in the city of Tehran under the auspices of the Iranian State Welfare Organisation and the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical education.
Afterward, a slideshow of the procurement, dispatch, and distribution process was played. Following that, the handover documents were signed by the two parties, UNODC Iran and DCHQ. The DCHQ senior officials appreciated the efforts made by the UNODC Iran in organizing this event and was hopeful that through this meeting the I.R. Iran, the EU and Sweden would further expand cooperation in the field of combating trafficking drugs, and drug demand reduction. The ceremony was concluded with a photoshoot of the participants.