Delegates gather for 23rd IFNGO anti-drug conference
By Amin Hosni

Prevention is better than cure. That was the primary message of the 23rd International Federation of Non-Government Organisations for the Prevention of Drug and Substance Abuse (IFNGO) World Conference.

The opening ceremony of the IFNGO World Conference was held yesterday at the Empire Hotel and Country Club and was officiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large.

The ceremony was attended by foreign experts in the field, international delegates, international and local NGOs, relevant government agencies such as the Narcotics Control Bureau.

Also present were Arch Nuno Maria Roque Jorge (OFAP Macau), the President of IFNGO and Dato' Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia, Secretary-General, The Colombo Plan Secretariate. The event, hosted by Basmida, the national anti-drug association of Brunei Darussalam, carries the theme 'Global Best Practices and Sustainable Programmes in Drug Abuse Prevention'.

Datin Hjh Masni Haji Mohd Ali, president of Basmida Brunei Darussalam, in her welcoming speech said that the theme was chosen because Basmida believes that prevention plays a bigger role in today's community if we are to effectively combat drug and substance abuse.

"Comprehensive approaches ranging from education to correct information and its dissemination, alternative healthy lifestyles in the arts, sports and recreation and the inculcation of spiritual moral values are used to discourage the youth and people from drug abuse," she said.

She added that giving youth aspiration and suitable opportunities will equip them with the necessary incentives to be responsible stakeholders in their future.

"Therefore, the role of parents, family and community leaders cannot be under-estimated if drug abuse prevention efforts are to be successful," she added. Princess Hjh Masna also toured the special exhibition put up by Basmida and The Colombo Plan.

The three-day conference will include four workshops with target participants for youths, teachers, community leaders and prevention practitioners.Plenary session includes topics on the theme itself and on 'Empowering Youth to Prevent Drug Abuse'. The recommendations of the 23rd IFNGO World Conference will be presented to the guest of honour at the end of the conference.

Guest speakers who have been invited for the plenary sessions include Dr Kevin Sabet, Alvarez Associates, USA, Tay Bian How, Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme (CPDAP), Professor Dr Mahmood Nazar Mohamed, Deputy Director General (Operational), National Anti-Drug Agency (NADA) , Malaysia, Mr Riva, Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa, Indonesia, David Curd, CEO Community Solutions, Australia and also local speakers from Basmida. - Borneo Bulletin (30th June 2009)