CND Intersessional – 15th October 2015

Chair of the UNGASS Board (Amb. Khaled Shamaa)
Opens the meeting by inviting delegates to consider Resolution 58/8. The Board has prepared an Elements Paper to kickstart the process. Today, we expect comments on the more general nature of the paper. On its ‘bones’. Operational recommendations to be further discussed at the reconvened session of the CND.

Luxembourg
Speaks on behalf of the EU. Expresses gratitude for the document. Highlights the importance given in the Paper to the value of the Treaties as sufficiently flexible to accommodate national drug policies, the need for a balanced approach, the attention to women and children, the recognition that dependence as a multifactorial health disorder, the importance of access to controlled medicines, cooperation within UN system, focus on proportionate and consistent sentencing, the challenges of NPS.

Welcomes the following but likes to see them reinforced: the need for evidence-based policies, which should be a cross-cutting theme, including demand and supply reduction; the need for guidance on how UN Agencies can incorporate new ideas; the alignment of AD with the SDGs; the importance of civil society and scientific community in the implementation and monitoring of policy.

Elements missing: human rights (including right to health), strong opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances as it undermines human dignity and does not work as deterrent, harm reduction measures.

UNGASS outcome document should follow the five themes originally set out for the roundtable discussions.

Mexico
The idea is not for the outcome document to be a lowest common denominator. It should be at the core of a new understanding of the way to address the world drug problem. The Elements Paper is a welcome development, but the Preamble should also highlight issues related to human rights and health more clearly. Three elements, at least, are missing in the Preamble: 1) a need to recognise the urgency of the issue and rebalance policy; acknowledging that the punitive approach has failed; 2) relationship between crime prevention, development and drug policy; 3) the need greater coordination and coherence within the UN System.

On the thematic titles, the Paper should also discuss prevention and treatment in a wider context, not only demand reduction. On law enforcement, it should not only focus on supply reduction. We need to consider a wider approach. On emergent issues, we cannot limit ourselves to new substances. In the same way, on development, we cannot only consider alternative development.

The discussions must be open and inclusive. Consensus is valued if it is of qualitative value, and not just a repetition that ignores the need for rebalancing the strategy. If we do not rebalance the strategy, we might not be able to continue talking about an international consensus on this issue.

Japan
Main observations: the upcoming discussions must remind of the importance of the Treaties. The abuse of ATS has been a persistent problem in Japan and it is not limited to Japan. NPS are also an emerging challenge. Furthermore, Japan worries about the links between transnational crime, money laundering and terrorism, which needs to be reflected by the Elements Paper. Also, international cooperation must highlight the sharing of experiences. In this regard, Japan believes capacity building is very important, especially through regional workshops, regional networks, and regional information centres.

Ecuador
On the Preamble, it should highlight principles of human rights, health and international law. The global debate on drugs should prioritise human beings and their rights, reaffirm the States as guarantors of this rights, reconsider an integral vision of drug policies with a new institutional structure that matches this goal, acknowledge shared responsibility, reaffirm the importance of social care and exploring new strategies.

The body of the text should match the five themes originally devised for the roundtables.

It is time to eliminate the paradigm of counter-drug policy based on criminalisation. We must consider alternatives to imprisonment.

Switzerland
Notes that it is a depart from the five themes originally devised for the roundtables. The new structure upsets a delicate balance achieved by Resolution 58/8. Unless we revert the five themes, we would have to restore the balance. The major building blocks must be highlighted: human, health, economic, justice, security rights. Switzerland will not continue negotiations with human rights only as a footnote.

The need to align drugs policy with the rest of the UN priorities is in the Preamble, but this is not enough. It should be at the core of the UNGASS preparations and process. These priorities from the 2030 agenda should be highlighted: prevention and treatment of drug abuse, including narcotics and alcohol; achieve universal access to affordable medicines for all; substantially increasing health financing and training of health work force; access to education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including children; promote development-oriented policies that support economic growth; reduction of violence and related death-rates everywhere; promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice for all; reduce illicit financial and arms flows and combat all forms of organised crime. All MS are committed to these and should be included in the Elements Paper.

Brazil
The Elements Paper is useful to identify key issues, ‘landing zones’ for the Outcomes document. The political message of the outcomes document should stress that 1) the Treaties remain the best framework for drug control, and that 2) based on the best science, we must try to do better.

The Elements Paper is a strong start, but needs to strengthen references to human rights, that drug use is a health issue and not a criminal one; to highlight the need for evidence-based; to call for the end of compulsory treatment; to stimulate prevention and harm reduction policies while respecting national perspective; to discuss thresholds to discuss the difference between users and traffickers; to promote integral care programmes; to support the creation of new indicators for drug policies; to recognise the need for special attention to vulnerable groups with a history of exclusion; to reinforce the call for the inclusion of a gender perspective in the treatment of drug offenders. Also, MS should consider a moratorium on the application of the death penalty for drug-related offences.

Brazil also welcomes civil society engagement. Refers in particular to IDPC and the CSTF documents. There is a lot of common ground between these documents and Brazil’s contribution paper. The world drug problem is very complex, which is why civil society is of fundamental importance to the debate.

Norway
Notes that the Elements paper ignores the five themes originally agreed for the thematic roundtables, which should structure the Outcomes documents. Aligns itself with the EU statement but adds that drug policy should be more integrally linked to the SDGs (Ex. the links with Geneva and the WHO is fundamental for prevention/early detection as well as on access to essential medicines). The importance of having human rights at the core drug policy is also fundamental. Regional, national and local differences must be recognised, but we must explore what works and what does not (ex. the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is contrary to international law and does not work as a deterrent). Civil society must be included in the development of the Outcomes document.

New Zealand
Highlights some gaps: drug harm focuses on harm to the individual, not on the wider harm to families and communities. Drug policies cannot only ‘treat’ the individual. Drug use is not a medical disorder that can be cured. In reality, it is a multifaceted issue that requires looking at the larger social context. The lack of mention to harm reduction measures is also regrettable given their efficacy. The Paper also seems to ignore that there are new approaches to deal with NPS, such as New Zealand’s regulatory framework, which departs from punitive approaches. There is limited discussion on human rights issues in the Elements Paper. Discussion of the death penalty is absent. The Paper is silent about compulsory treatment, which cannot be supported. The Paper overstates the flexibility of the Treaties. The 1998 Convention is clear about criminalising possession. A more accurate statement would be that they provide flexibility to apply health based responses to possession and supply offences.

United States
Welcomes the Elements Paper, but expects that the Outcomes document will rebalance drug policy towards public health, and places human rights at its core.

In terms of the most pressing issues to be addressed, which are highlighted in the Nonpaper circulated by the US:  public health approach, international commitment against transnational crime, AD, access to essential medicines, control of NPS and precursors.

Notes that the discussions should remain open and the civil society should continue to be engaged.

Underlines the need for a more explicit reference to the 2009 Political Declaration and adds that the INCB should be mentioned.

Uruguay
The Elements Paper is a good basis to start working. Regarding the structure, it reflects the five themes but needs a stronger preambular section. The document mentions alternative measures to incarceration, the consideration of drug use and misuse as a public health issue, etc. But human rights should be emphasised across the document as a fundamental concern. The document must reflect the current balance of global drug control.

United Kingdom
Aligns itself to the EU statement. In terms of human rights, there should be a greater place for human rights in the Outcome document, including the rejection of the death penalty, the need for high quality evidence based treatment, proportionate approaches to sentencing. In terms of emerging challenges, NPS is the prime concern for the UK, in particular the UK proposes strong language on data sharing, regular independent assessments by the WHO to schedule dangerous NPS at the CND, cross-border law enforcement cooperation, best practice sharing.

Colombia
Thanks the work of the Board. Notes that it is necessary to incorporate other left-out issues in the Elements Paper. The Paper should be reorganised according to the five themes of the roundtables originally devised for the UNGASS. To ensure an open and wide-ranging debate, the Elements paper should be reorganised as follows: the Preamble should maintain its current elements but it should be strengthened by placing the human being and their rights at the core of drug policy, by highlighting the importance of an evidence-based approach, by recognising that the results of the current approach are not adequate, by recognising the need of a balanced approach, by stressing the need for higher UN system coherence, by adding a call to consider the abolition of the death penalty. On the operative sections, the five themes identified by Resolution 58/8 should be upheld.

Colombia also supports the proposal of civil society to be engaged through a hearing in New York under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly. Furthermore, Colombia expects a new Elements Paper to be circulated before the next intersessional.

Mentions the Panel on human rights and the world drug problem organised by HRC, and suggests that the Chair invites the High Commissioner to present the report in the reconvened session in December.

Sweden
Echoes Mexico’s suggestion that we need to create a new understanding on drug policy, which will require strong political will. Commends the WHO and adds that the Outcomes document should include a strong mandate for WHO to participate on the development on drug policies. The main concern for Sweden is prevention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation and management of blood-borne infections. Recognises that harm reduction is often opposed but urges delegations to understand harm reduction within the framework of prevention and treatment. UNODC is a catalytic organisation, but with limited resources. Other UN agencies and international organisations could also contribute to strengthen international drug policy.

The Netherlands
Welcomes the emphasis on access to controlled medicines in the Elements Paper and encourages UN-wide system coherence.

Resolution 58/8 tasks the CND to address human rights, which is a subject that is not sufficiently dealt with by the Elements Paper. The Report of the OHCHR clearly points out how human rights are threatened by the current state of global drug control.

Pakistan
The three main pillars of the Political Declaration of 2009 should be reflected by the Elements Paper and Outcomes document. The Elements Paper omits the issue of the drug problem as a threat to safety. The Elements paper should be more consistent about regional and international cooperation. On terrorism, it goes beyond the agreed language. Pakistan’s submission for the Outcomes document has not been duly reflected by the Paper. Pakistan does not think drug policy should be rebalanced. It is already well balanced.

China
Technical assistance and capacity building is crucial to address the world drugs problem. This should be highlighted in the Elements paper, especially with regards to developing countries. This should cover targeted training, information sharing, provision of equipment and technology, and financial assistance.

Guatemala
Expresses dislike towards the vision of demand and supply expressed by the Elements, and stresses the need for the paper to address the importance system-wide coherence.

Costa Rica
The Elements Paper is a good basis to start the debate. Stresses that policy impact will vary in different contexts. Lack of a cross-cutting approach on human rights in the Preamble. Need to embed into the drug control system a constant system of monitoring and evaluation. Vulnerable groups should be considered in the operational aspect of the document. Gender should be mainstreamed in all aspects of drug policy. Operational recommendation: mainstreaming gender in the strategies of prevention, early treatment of drug use, and in the implementation of alternatives to imprisonment for minor offences.

Excessive punishment, such as the death penalty, must be rejected. It is ineffective. The debate should remain open on this point.

It is fundamental to have clear indicators to measure the contribution of policies to the wellbeing and quality of life of people, which is ultimately the objective of drug control.

Russian Federation
The Elements Paper is a solid and reasonable basis for discussions. Russia would like to see in the document that the drug control system is not only based on health and welfare, but also safety.

The process of preparation of the Outcomes document should bear in mind the work achieved by the Political Declaration of 2009. The new document should be a set of practical recommendations, which should not create any new political goals. In 2014, the high level segment of the CND produced a document that is also perfectly valid and does not need repetition. The new document should be a logical continuation of the 2014 CND resolution.

Algeria
Elements Paper is a very good basis for the process. On the structure, Algeria believes the current structure is the most suitable as it follows the Political Declaration of 2009. The concise document should not create a new approach or new consensus. The consensus exists and is based on the Treaties. In terms of substance, support for highlighting the links between transnational crime and terrorism. Algeria is not against the inclusion of human rights, however if the CND pronounces itself on human rights, it should highlight that the world drug problem is a serious violation of human rights.

Nigeria
The UNGASS was called to review the progress of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

The Treaties are the cornerstone of the international drug control system.

The Outcomes document must highlight the fight against transnational crime organisations, the need for more efficient international cooperation and for increased adequate assistance in the area of alternative development to fight the dependence of rural communities to illicit crops. In this sense, Nigeria echoes Mexico’s idea of extending the definition of alternative development and focusing on cannabis.

The text should also refer to terrorism, as there is a link between drugs, TOC, illicit financial flows and terrorism.

Argentina
Excellent ground for the honest discussions that Argentina is aiming to have. Notes no major omission to comment on. Agrees with most of what has been said by delegations of GRULAC.

India
India will not discuss the elements in particular yet. Highlights the issue of political will, which should be reflected by the Outcomes document. It should not be a procedural statement, it might be important to call it a ‘Declaration’ for symbolic purposes.

Recommendations must be implemented on the ground. It would be a good idea to start thinking about the mechanisms that need to be put in place to ensure implementation. An idea could be involved the agencies involved in this aspect, such as the INCB. The mechanism could be flexible and evolve.

Republic of Korea
Reaffirms the role of the Treaties as the cornerstone of drug policy. UNGASS 2016 will be a turning point on drug policy and directions, but we should be cautious to avoid leading to misunderstandings about the fundamental principles of drug control. The current regime can be supplemented with concerns on human rights, treatment/rehabilitation instead of punishment, alternative development and the challenge of NPS.

Australia
In the Preamble, we support the recognition of the core objectives of the Treaties and their flexibility.

In terms of the operational aspects, Australia would like to strengthen the language around access to essential medicines; on demand reduction, alternative treatment for dependent drug users; and on new challenges, we would like to collaborate on the challenges of NPS and ATS.

Romania
Aligns itself with EU and thanks the Chair. The Outcomes document should be a cornerstone in the way MS address the global drug problem. The document should highlight the role of civil society, which can mean the difference between success or failure in the implementation of programmes. It should also seek to find alternatives to imprisonment and highlight the importance of the abolition of death penalty.

El Salvador
The structure of the Elements paper is useful, but the Preamble should highlight the cross-cutting issues of human rights and development. The challenge of gang violence is of major importance for El Salvador and requires cooperation between national bodies and civil society.

Portugal
Our purpose should be to improve our consensus, moving forwards collectively. Portugal would prefer to keep the thematic divisions that will be used for the UNGASS roundtables itself. That structure had been welcomed by all delegations. The Elements document notably excluded a section on human rights. More ambitious language on human rights, health-related issues, risk and harm-reduction coverage and the abolition of the death penalty should be pursued. Portugal adds that the application of the death penalty in the fight against drugs violates international law.

Italy
Aligns itself with the EU statement. Wishes to give preliminary comments on the need to emphasise human rights and a health-orientated approach, social integration and a clear opposition to the death penalty for drug-related offences. In general, it would be important to focus on proportionate and consistent sentencing.

In terms of supply-reduction, the Elements Paper is quite complete but need of stronger references to organised crime and the rule of law and wellbeing.

South Africa
The Treaties are the fundamental pillars for the Outcomes document. This document should underline the importance of law enforcement in eradicating drugs and drug abuse. Also rehabilitation and treatment for drug addiction. But South Africa strongly condemns any form of legalisation as it is against the spirit of the Conventions. The public health approach should be with law enforcement to prevent drug abuse and ensure safety and security. There is a need for a new understanding on the issue of human rights, including the right to development. Avoid undermining the Conventions.

Egypt
In reference to differences in perspectives, avoid discussions dragging on issues that ‘we know where they will end’. The Conventions are the cornerstone of drug control. Agree with emphasis on need for MS to fully implement the provisions of drug control conventions. The Outcomes document should supplement the Political Declaration of 2009. It should highlight the negative impact of drug use on families and society and their right to live in safety. Egypt also notes the cultural and religious specificities of countries that should be respected with regards to the implementation of drug control policies.

Cuba
Preliminary comments. The Elements paper includes the most important issues and is a good basis for discussions.

Morocco
Celebrates the Elements paper as encompassing all aspects of Resolution 58/8. Asks for the text to highlight allegiance to the Treaties (as a cross-cutting issue), the principle of common and shared responsibility (also across the whole text), the linkages between trafficking and other forms of transnational crime, the importance of concrete actions to fight transcontinental trafficking, rejection of any call to legalise/decriminalise drug crimes, the importance of rehabilitation, the importance of preventive measures and the importance of alternative development. Stresses that the African continent struggles with different narcotic plants, not only cannabis (in reference to Nigeria’s statement).

Chile
Supports the structure of the document, following Resolution 58/8. The document is a good starting point for negotiations.

Turkey
Would like to see a strong reference to the linkages between drug trafficking and transnational crime and terrorism.

Angola
Supports the Element Paper. Considers the document includes all the relevant aspects of the Strategy towards 2019.

One comment

  1. Dr Juma says:

    Harm reduction and evidence based treatment should be available for all people with addiction problems and it is time for UN to make it live policy for all.

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