CND Plenary – Opening of the Sixtieth Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (Monday, March 13, 2017 – Morning)

Item 2. Adoption of the agenda and other organisational matters

Chair: I hereby declare the 60th Session of the CND open. Agenda item 8 will start with subitem B on Thursday morning. Propose that the CND adopt the agenda as it is written. I see no objections. It is so decided.

Youth Initiative: Thank you for this opportunity. Youth Initiative was founded in 2012 to empower youth to lead their community in preventing drug use. We have changed the lives of 93,000 young people. The global drug problem affects youth, so we need to be part of the solution. One of us was able to address delegates at UNGASS. We have been motivated to work both locally and globally. We have mentored and organised activities. We established Free Foreign Language schools. We have been working in Latin America, organising activities related to art, sport, acting and more – to strengthen ties between families and communities. We are glad health has been put at the centre of the response to the world drug problem at the UNGASS. We need your help and support, and we promise we will commit to working harder than ever before.

Dr. Boko (National Institute on Drug Abuse USA): Thank you to WHO & UNODC for creating informal network of scientists to serve commission. The value of science is to come up with solutions. Advances are surprising everyone – especially how the human brain works on drugs and with addiction. Knowledge has led to the prevention use of drugs and addiction. Technology has make drugs more potent and harder to detect, which is our challenge. UNGASS approved addiction as a disease, and moved away from punishment. The challenge is implementation.

Esbjorn Hornberg (VNGOC): Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear colleagues, I welcome the opportunity to address you today as Chairperson of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), as we begin the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Ever since 1983, our global network of membership organisations has worked hard to ensure meaningful participation of civil society in the international drug policy debate, including here, at the CND. We are grateful for the constructive partnerships we have built together with Member States, the CND Chairs and the Secretariat to the Governing Bodies, as well as the heads of other UN bodies in Vienna, New York and Geneva. Mahatma Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is a call to action familiar to many. As members of civil society, through our committed work, we seek to bring about meaningful and lasting change in our communities affected by the many facets of the world drug problem. Through the delivery of services and our advocacy at local, national, regional and international levels, including here, at the CND, we are agents of the change we wish to see. Most recently, this commitment was illustrated through the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) for UNGASS 2016, a joint initiative of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs and the New York NGO Committee on Drugs. enabled grass roots organisations to report on what is working and what can be improved during the UNGASS process and its immediate aftermath. As we move forward, partnerships will be key to a successful implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document within the framework of Agenda 2030. The advances made by agreeing on the necessity for a public health approach to drug related issues, the necessity to ensure appropriate access to controlled medicines for pain relief, and the need to safeguard and promote human rights are significant. However, as with any complex task, some challenges persist and others seem to arise. Such is the case with policy changes in some countries which heavily impact on the human rights of those affected by drugs, be they people who use drugs users and / or the communities in which they live. It is our strong belief that effective drug policies and respect for human rights are central pieces of the same complex puzzle – the world drug problem. For its part, the VNGOC will work to ensure that no piece of the puzzle, nor anyone affected by it, is left behind. We intend to make good on our commitment by contributing to a culture of respectful and constructive engagement within the civil society community, as well as with government counterparts, in order to optimally respond to realities on the ground. It is our belief that such a culture of mutual respect constitutes the basis for sustainable responses to drug related problems. Also, most recently, the VNGOC signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which will constitute the foundation for our collaboration during the implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document and up to the 2019 review. To enable a wide as possible participation of civil society in these processes, the VNGOC continues to rely on your faithful financial support. An example in this regard is Marketplace, – a communications interface to enhance participation of grass roots organisations, which over time will also become an important resource for Member States. To conclude, the VNGOC remains committed to a respectful and constructive dialogue with Member States at all levels. It is our belief that this dialogue will go a long way in ensuring an effective implementation of international drug policy commitments in the framework of the Sustainable Development Agenda and Human Rights, and thus in achieving the changes we wish to see in the world. Thank you for your attention and I wish you successful deliberations this week.

Chair: We will now view a video from António Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN.

António Guterres (UN Secretary General): We had a good outcome of UNGASS 2016, which promises comprehensive progress. I welcome the Commission’s intensive follow up and I encourage cooperation between UN agencies. I sought the best response to the drug problem when I was prime minister of Portugal, I hope the commission will do the same. I fully support your work, and hope to visit Vienna soon.

Yury Fedotov (UNODC): I welcome you. As we just heard, the UNGASS reinforced a forward looking and comprehensive approach to the world drug problem. The CND led preparation led to its unanimous adoption. Today we have a large community contributing to successful work of drug commission, member states, NGOs and governmental organisations as well as the community. It is my pleasure to welcome Margeret Chan today. I welcome the INCB president Werner Sipp. We have Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand – she is trying to forward the Sustainable DGs. We continue to show the strengths of the CND, it has highlighted the fact that balanced scientific approach is being put into action in line with the conventions. We are building bridges, linking countires as well as organisations. We are seeking to strengthen mechanisms which target traffickers. Our advisor on NPS assists the international community on emerging trends and enhances national capacity to combat challenges of NPS. The thematic section will focus on nexus between drug problem and transnational crime, corruption, terrorism – issues of international concern. We seek to insure hat drug lords are brought to justice as highlighted in the UNGASS document. We are looking at health responses instead of criminal ones, highlighted in UNGASS outcome document. As a UNAIDS sponsor we are looking at fast-tracking HIV aid to drug users and prisoners. We are working to strengthen preventative techniques in communities. We are helping to promote SDGs through alternative development in countries affected by transit and production of drugs, particularly through improving positions of communities affected. We look to you for guidance to strengthen our support to you. A busy week lies ahead, I wish you ever success in your deliberations.

Princess of Thailand: Two developments have been raised since last time : the adoption of 2030 sustainable development goals, and the outcome document of UNGASS. both instrumental in addressing  the world drug problem. It is crucial in addressing the world drug problem & SDGs. We must protect health, safety and wellbeing of everyone, while ensuring none is left behind. This provides tremendous opportunity by working together with stakeholders. I appreciate the enormous challenges we face in tackling the world drug problem, and how the criminal justice system can impact citizens. There is a high proportion of people in contact tithe CJS as a result of drug policies, especially women, who are mothers with limited education & resources. Engagement with all stakeholders is crucial as well as evidence based approaches. Addressing the needs of vulnerable groups is crucial. Poorer farmers Thailand have no choice but to cultivate drugs, and a long term development approach addressed this issue. We may assume criminal activities are linked to few opportunities in urban areas, but this needs to be backed by evidence.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO: Thank you very much. Good morning to all of you. Indeed, I welcome the opportunity to address the CND. It is a great pleasure and honour. Thank you for the opportunity. WHO respects the mandate of the CND as the central UN policymaking body on narcotic drugs. Youth leader said, “health is at the center of the response.” WHO is committed to continue to play its role in addressing the critical public health elements of the world drug problem. WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) keeps psychoactive substances under review, balancing potential for abuse with evidence on therapeutic benefit. UNODC is directly responsible for combating the world drug problem. WHO places high importance on our joint work. WHO guidelines and harm reduction package of interventions set out in a joint WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS technical guidance is the principal guidance used by countries who have adopted a public health approach to drug use. New MOU between UNODC and WHO. Both agencies would like to see more drug users channeled through the health system than through the courts and criminal system. Pleased that UNGASS outcome document shows commitment to drug policies that give prominence to public health needs. Outcome document gives attention to importance of prevention, recovery oriented treatment, as well as measures aimed at minimizing adverse public health and negative consequences of drug use, include medication assisted therapies and exchange of injection equipment, in other words, harm reduction. Outcome document recognize problems of HIV and other blood borne diseases that can be transmitted by injection drug use. Treatment of therapeutic regiments to cure hepatitis C are very important. Difference between life and death. UNGASS outcome document has well worded recommendations on improving access to controlled medicines. Remove barriers, including from legislations and policies to prices, that limit access to controlled medicines. Taking the right actions are ever more important with resolution on controlled medicines. We must not forget that ultimate objective of drug control policies is to save lives. WHO estimates that drug use is responsible for half a million deaths each year, but this is just a small part of the harm of the world drug problem. In some ways, the situation is getting worse. Many countries are experiencing a crisis of health emergencies and deaths from drug overdoses. Nearly everyone will know or have read about parents who have a child with a drug problem. These parents want their child in treatment, not jail. Great that items on the agenda address problem with drug use, including with youth. WHO urges that policies be based on medical and scientific evidence, and not on emotions and ideology. WHO will continue to collaborate with UNODC and relevant UN agencies, and keep the world drug problem high on the agenda. Thank you.

Werner Sipp (INCB):

Madam Chair, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the International Narcotics Control Board, I would like to congratulate the members of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on this milestone sixtieth session.

Over the coming days, you, the members of the Commission, will be considering, among other things, the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action adopted in 2009. You will also be considering the follow-up to the 2016 special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016).

INCB applauded the results of the special session of the General Assembly. We note that, in the outcome document, Member States underscored the role of the three international drug control conventions as the basis for international cooperation in ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, in preventing illicit cultivation and production and in addressing drug trafficking and abuse. At the special session, Member States reaffirmed the pivotal role of the conventions and reiterated their commitment to their implementation. However, some voices continue to talk about a need to modernize or “reform” the conventions. INCB remains of the view that the international drug control system, which ultimately aims at the promotion of the health and welfare of humankind, represents a flexible framework for drug control, provided it is implemented in compliance with the fundamental principles of the three conventions.

The conventions do provide flexibility for their implementation at the national level but this flexibility does not in any way extend to any legalization or regulation of non-medical use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances. It is now up to States Parties to the conventions to reflect on how to respond to the action of some States in which the non-medical use of cannabis has been or is being legalized and regulated, which is in clear contravention of the conventions.

Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen,

INCB devoted the thematic chapter of its annual report for 2016 to the issue of women and drugs. The main reasons are that:

• despite one third of drug users being women, only one in five treatment recipients is female;

• overdoses are increasing disproportionately among women; and

• a growing number of women are being imprisoned for drugrelated offences.

I recall the story of one woman I met at a treatment centre during an INCB mission, whose addiction to coca paste had resulted in estrangement from her family and community. Upon learning that she was pregnant, she sought treatment at a women’s outpatient treatment service. She remained in treatment and succeeded in not using drugs. She was accepted to a housing centre for women, found a job and was now primarily concerned with providing for her son’s future. She told me that accessing the treatment service had allowed her to regain control of her life.

Unfortunately, many affected women, all over the world, do not have the chance that this young woman had. Many drug dependent women do not have the opportunity to access treatment and assistance. Drug users, particularly women, often face stigma and discrimination. The specific needs of women are very often not taken into account.

INCB is calling upon Governments to ensure that drug-related policies and programmes take into account the specific needs of women. In our annual report, we make a number of concrete recommendations.

Implementing these recommendations will go a long way towards protecting the rights of women who use drugs or who have committed drug-related offences – as well as the rights of their families.

Indeed, the drug control conventions are founded upon respect for human rights, a balanced approach and the principle of proportionality.

INCB has reiterated that the drug control conventions do not require the imprisonment of people who use drugs or who commit minor drugrelated offences. Yet, alternative measures such as education, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration, as provided for by the three conventions, remain underutilized. I invite you all to join me at an INCB side event this Thursday at 1:10 pm on “The Need for Proportionality: State Responses to Drug-related Offences” in conference room M3.

While it is at the discretion of States to determine sanctions for drug-related offences, the Board continues to encourage States that retain – 4 – capital punishment to consider the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences.

INCB also reiterates, in the strongest possible terms, its categorical condemnation of the extrajudicial targeting of people suspected of illicit drug-related activity. Such action is not only a breach of the drug control conventions, but also a serious breach of human rights, and is an affront to the most basic standards of human dignity. The Board calls upon all Governments concerned to put an immediate stop to such actions and to investigate any person suspected of having committed, participated in, encouraged or incited any such extrajudicial action.

The Board has reiterated that for the operation of so-called “drug consumption rooms” to be consistent with the conventions, a number of conditions must be met. The ultimate objective of such facilities must be to reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse without condoning or increasing drug abuse or encouraging drug trafficking. “Drug consumption rooms” must be operated within a framework that offers treatment, rehabilitation and social-reintegration services, either directly or by referral. They cannot be a substitute for demand reduction programmes, particularly prevention and treatment.

Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen,

I wish the Commission a successful session and I look forward to meeting with many of you on behalf of the Board. The INCB stands ready to continue to assist your Governments in the functioning of the international drug control system and ensuring that the aims and objectives of the conventions are met. To do this, however, we need your cooperation: in meeting your treaty-based reporting obligations, in providing information on drug control developments in your countries, and in receiving missions of the Board.

One way we assist governments is the development of our four electronic INCB tools that Governments can use to enhance their drug control efforts: PEN-Online, PICS, IONICS and I2ES. The INCB Learning project provided technical assistance and training to competent national authorities. We need your contributions to continue and expand this work.

Our capacity to monitor, analyse and promote compliance with the treaties, to conduct consultations with Governments, to provide training to competent national authorities, and to respond to your requests for advice has not kept pace with the incremental treaty monitoring challenge. The Board would like to urge all your Governments – through your representatives at United Nations Headquarters, where the relevant decisions are made – to ensure that the Board’s resources are put at a level that permits INCB to meet today’s challenges with regard to treaty implementation and to provide practical advice to your Governments.

Let me conclude, Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen,

As the 2019 review landmark approaches, INCB urges all Governments to reinforce our efforts to meet the goals set out in the conventions as well as the political declarations adopted by the General Assembly and the Commission in 1998, 2009 and 2016. The targets you, Members States, have established are ambitious, but achievable.

Permanent Representative of Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf for G77 & China: The world drug problem is a common & shared responsibility that should be addressed through more international integration. The group affirms its commitment to demand & supply reduction according to UN conventions & international law, and the respect of state sovereignty, human rights, and principals of equal rights. Emphasis should placed on individuals, families and communities to promote the safety & wellbeing of all people. We face multifaceted challenges, and need more capacity to address the world drug problem. The group welcomes the outcome document of UNGASS and stress the need for continued international efforts for its follow up. We are committed to the 2009 document for action, the 2014 outcome and to implementing the UNGASS document in its entirety. We emphasise the promotion to address the world drug problem at regional & sub-regional levels. Working with and helping developing countries is vital and we must assist them in address emerging challenges and improving their ability in developing medicine, economic growth and initiatives that promote economic development. The group emphasises the need for sustainable and sufficient resources to carry out its activities, particularly for developing countries. We must respond to serious challenges from organised crime including trafficking in firearms, people, money laundering and terrorism, by pursuing an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to ensure effective policies and interventions. We actively promote a society free of drug abuse, allowing everyone to live in health & peace. Looking to 2019 – the group stresses the need for community to accelerate efforts in addressing the world drug problem.

Permanent Representative of Algeria, on behalf of African Group: Full support of member states in our group in this session and in the board. Group thanks the secretariat for the hard work in preparation for this session. Reaffirms commitment to three drug control conventions, which constitute cornerstone of international drug control system. Underlines importance of meeting targets and goals in 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. Reaffirms commitment to 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement and 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document. Group recognizes that these documents are complimentary and mutually reinforcing. Welcomes follow up to UNGASS. We believe that outcome document, including operational recommendations, is an important step and milestone to actively promote a society free of drug abuse. Underlines leading role of CND. Grave concern over global scourge of drug use, particularly among youth, which is undermining social and economic development and contributes to rise in diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Reiterate deep concern regarding increasing use of African continents as destination and transit for illicit drugs. This has created many security challenges, especially organized crime and increased drug dependence. Urgent need to respond to challenges of drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime, including human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, etc. Underscores ongoing efforts of UNODC and member states in addressing drug trafficking situation in the continent. Based on principle of common and shared responsibility, importance of international and regional cooperation in sharing information, legal assistance. Recognize efforts made by African countries in reducing cultivation of crops and production and manufacture of illicit substances. Despite this, production, trafficking, and abuse of cannabis, cocaine, and uncontrolled substances, such as methamphetamine and tramadol, continue to be a problem. Enhance technical assistance based on needs of requesting countries. Effective drug policies achieve a balanced and integrated approach between demand reduction, supply reduction, and international cooperation in order to achieve society free of drug abuse. Calls on member states to continue addressing drug abuse as a public health issue. Concern regarding health problems associated with use of drugs, and access to awareness raising, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. Concern over access to pain relieving drugs for millions that need them on African continent. Look forward to continue discussing adequate availability and affordability. Call for increased technical assistance and international cooperation to facilitate manufacturing of pharmaceutical preparations that are effective and cost-effective. Key role of African mechanisms to promote regional cooperation. Group welcomes efforts made by member states to develop and combine public education, law enforcement, and health initiatives to address rise in use of drugs. Notes with concern the legalization and decriminalization of drugs in certain parts of the world. Such misguided policies will hinder ongoing efforts to combat the world drug problem. There is a need for appropriate measures, such as laws and regulations to address abuse of drugs not under international control, including reducing illicit supply and demand by enhancing cooperation with law enforcement officials to address manufacture of these substances. International cooperation in production and international strategy for drug control. Welcome 2030 SDGs and confident that efforts to address these and the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing. High importance on alternative development as means to curb the world drug problem. Encourage UNODC to use its advocacy role to encourage multilateral and bilateral agencies and donors to give special attention to alternative development programs. Need adequate assistance to develop and review these programs, in close cooperation with affected populations. In preparation for 2019, a follow up process led by the CND should be established to accomplish the targets and goals in 2009 Political Declaration. While welcoming efforts in cooperation with regional groups to develop a common vision for addressing the world drug problem, group subscribes to giving extension to the target dates of 2009 Political Declaration. Should call for continued collaboration in implementation of 2009 Political Declaration, 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement, and 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document. Acknowledge valuable contributions of donors and technical assistance, including equipment and capacity building. Adequate assistance should be provided to improve production and analysis of data and statistics to enable tackling of the world drug problem. African Union Plan of Action as a blueprint for the continent. Full support for deliberation and successful conclusion of this session. Most pleased to acknowledge that 60 years on, we have a majority of women seated here today. Congratulations and happy anniversary.

Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, on behalf of Asia-Pacific group: The Asia-Pacific group commends the chair and assures of our continued support and assistance on making this a success. We would like to commend the CND Secretariat for excellent preparation for this session. Notable progress has been achieved, in understanding, in implementation of initial strategies, in capacity building initiatives. Our collective progress not withstanding, we recognise that the world drug problem still poses a significant threat to all humanity as well as democracy and the rule of law. By strengthening international cooperation, mutually reinforcing a balanced approach, the group reiterates that the Single Convention of 1961 as amended in 1971, the 1971 Protocol on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances constitute the cornerstone of the drug control system. The UNODC is the leading entity to address the world drug problem. The group places special emphasis on efforts to sufficiently address the problem on the basis of conventions and 2009 plan of action and the Outcome Document of the 2016 Special Session, with full respect for the integrity of states and the principle of non-intervention. The group stresses significance of UNGASS 2016 as a milestone on the way to 2019 which has been set up as a review of implementation of the Plan of Action 2009. This provided an opportunity to take stock of progress and on that basis, speed progress. Group emphasises that 2009 political declaration, the UNGASS document are complimentary and mutually reinforcing. The implementation should accelerate the implementation of the 2009 document. The efforts to counter the world drug problem should be in a balanced manner. The group recognises that while existing challenges persist, new challenges have emerged. It is important that our collective efforts focus on the 2009 Plan. We must take such new challenges into account in conformity with three conventions and relevant international law. The group reiterates that we want to promote cooperation. The Asia-Pacific group emphasises urgent need to respond to connection between drug trafficking and other trafficking and organised crime, including links to terrorism. We should confront challenges to enforcement. Fully supports all efforts to combat trafficking of drugs and production of illicit drugs. We underscore the importance of continuing the combat of the production and traffic of drugs, through the sharing of information. Alternative development is important at preventing and eliminating the production of drugs. Demand reduction, illicit crop eradication and awareness raising. Proliferation of new psychoactive substances, as well as rapid increase of methamphetamines. Group highlights importance of continued strengthening of inter-regional cooperation and the exchange of information. Group supports regional programmes such as Triangular Initiative, supports universal access to preventative treatment and care, in compliance with conventions and national legislation. We need to tend to specific needs of children and women, and be balanced like this. We need to have access to medical drugs in developing countries. Thank you for your attention.

Permanent Representative of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on behalf of GRULAC: A commitment to a collective approach addressing the world drugs problem is key, while keeping to the 3 pillars of world drug control, and respecting human rights & state sovereignty. We need a broad & open debate. We welcome the outcome document to curb the world drug problem. UNGASS reiterated the key component of shared responsibility ensuring respect for human rights that promotes the wellbeing and respect for the individual the enhancement of drug control, and the flexibility of the 3 pillars. We are committed to implementing the 7 chapters of the UNGASS document, all mutuality reinforcing. With demand reduction we must adopt effective and broad initiatives based on science. We must reduce the demand for drugs for public health. Reducing supply and effective law enforcement are both vital, and diverting & controlling chemical precursors, and reducing violence associated with drugs. We still face challenges through the trafficking of small quantities and associated violence, which take on different levels in different countries. international cooperation based on trust and confidence is indispensable to take on these challenges. We must improve quality of information, we need to examine the array of national drug policy systems and analyse data to gauge the efficacy of these systems. Cooperation of UN agencies is respected in tackling the world drug problem. A human rights approach must allow individual to access health & justice systems. We welcome the approach to promote alternative approaches to incarceration. Women & girls are crucial in developing drug policies , and achieving gender equality. The INCB report has specifically dealt with women in their report and we welcome this. The problem is multi dimensional, but we also need to understand the economic problems associated with drug problem. Preventative measures are important such as alternative development. We support cooperation in alternative development that promotes social inclusion and ensuring that the weakest links are included. Efforts geared towards cooperation & efficient as well as budgetary challenges must be dealt with. Staffing must be based on gender equality. A culture of accountability is useful for UNODC & member states, and must continue to provide transparent and timely information. Full statement, in Spanish, here.

Permanent Representative of Malta, on behalf of the European Union: 

Thank you, Madam Chair,

Executive Director, Director-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor to stand here today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this Commission, and to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Let me start by welcoming you, Ambassador, as Chair of this anniversary 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We are confident that under your able guidance, we will successfully accomplish our work. I would like to assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the full cooperation of the European Union in carrying out your work.

The EU and its Member States consider UNGASS 2016 as the greatest milestone in the international drugs policy development. UNGASS rightly brought public health and human rights to the core of international drugs policies, placing drug policy in a wider socioeconomic context. The UNGASS Outcome Document, with its seven thematic chapters, provides us with a true possibility to address in a comprehensive and balanced manner the immense challenges that remain in the global, national and local responses to the world drug problem.

We contributed actively to the UNGASS process and appreciate the inclusion of several of our proposals in the Outcome Document. We strongly welcome that the need to improve access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and that the different needs for men, women and children when addressing the drug problem in an effective manner were highlighted. We also welcome that the international community recognizes that a public health approach focusing on the rights and needs of drug users has undeniable benefits. By developing evidence based prevention programs, we can act at the earliest opportunity to prevent people from starting to use drugs and from developing substance use disorders; by developing new treatment programmes and increasing their coverage, we are capable of treating substance use disorder; and by providing risk and harm reduction interventions we are better able to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne infectious diseases among drug users, and we also protect the general population.

We welcome the fact that the outcome document is forward looking, containing a series of concrete recommendations on steps the international community can take to address the challenge of New Psychoactive Substances. We are highly supportive of the UNGASS recommendations for enhanced cooperation on drug-supply reduction. The European Union and its Member States have taken up the responsibility to counter the threats related to being an area of destination, production and transit of drugs. Upholding the rule of law and an efficient criminal justice, within the applicable law and with respect for human rights, in today’s reality is as important as ever.

We are very satisfied that the UNGASS outcome document calls for the principle of proportionality in drug policies. The EU Drugs Strategy foresees that alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug-using offenders should be provided and indeed all the EU Member States offer treatment for drug use as part of at least one alternative to coercive sanctions.

An essential principle for the EU and its Member States is the respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and the right to health. The EU is opposed to the use of measures of any kind that are not respectful of the human being and we are consistently calling for the universal abolition of the death penalty, in all circumstances and without exception, including for drug related offences and will continue to do so in all UN fora. We call upon States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Madam Chair,

This anniversary session of the CND comes at a crucial juncture, as now we must continue to build on the UNGASS legacy and ensure the broad international implementation of the recommendations that we all agreed upon a year ago. The UNGASS outcome document, both its recommendations and its structure, is a pivotal reference document for any future discussions on international drug policy. We need to make sure that we continue addressing the world drug problem in a balanced, integrated and comprehensive manner. In line with the European Union commitment to this development, we intend to address all the areas of our joint commitment to effectively addressing the world drug problem, including demand reduction, supply reduction and international cooperation, under agenda item 6.

The intersessional meetings of the CND have provided an excellent opportunity to view the current state of play with regard to the operational recommendations laid out by the UNGASS Outcome Document. For the years to come, the implementation of these commitments should be the key focus of the international community. Effective implementation requires common understanding based on best practices, guidelines and methodologies, and finally the formulation of targets and tools to measure progress. In order to best support the Member States in this implementation and follow up, we need to develop data collection tools that allow for an evidence-based portrait of the complexity of the global drug phenomenon. In this regard, we should also bring our efforts in the implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Recommendations in line with the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that are related to the mandate of this Commission.

The UNGASS Outcome Document helps us to move towards an integrated and balanced approach to the world drug problem, and encouraged the CND and the UNODC to further increase cooperation with all relevant UN entities. The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the UNODC and the WHO is an important step in this regard, and the presence of Dr. Chan as the first Director-General of WHO at this session symbolizes the inseparable link between drugs and health. We commend the example the UNODC and the WHO are setting with these developments and highly encourage similar initiatives with other relevant UN entities.

Finally, Madam Chair,

When we look at the history of international drugs policies, we value the significant role of the civil society in the development of the international drug control system since its beginning in the early 20th century. The EU and its Member States underline the importance of inclusiveness in the work of this Commission, and we believe that the contribution of the civil society to the elaboration and implementation of drug policies at the local, national and international levels, should be recognized, fully acknowledged and encouraged. In this vein, also the experience of drug users, clients of drug-related services, their organizations and families should be taken into account in our future discussions. Drug policies are a matter of national, regional and international interest and debate, but at the core of it will always be individual human suffering.

Madam Chair, dear colleagues,

At UNGASS the countries in this room – we all together – created an integrated, wellbalanced and comprehensive framework for our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem. Now it’s time to make these commitments a reality.

Thank you, Madam Chair

Chair: That concludes the statements from the regional groups.

María Ángela, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia: Let me first congratulate you on your election as chair. It is my pleasure to address the CND. 2012 saw the centenary of the opium convention which attempted to control sales of morphine and cocaine. We have been at it for a century and my country has been trying to reorient the struggle based on the disappointing results thus far. Unfortunately our efforts have not led to the dismantling of drug use and production and the drug trafe continues to corrupt people. The international community is far from eliminating use. The statistics show a clear upward trend in most areas. The consumers are going up. There are more hectares of coca sown now. There are more seizures now than a few years ago. New Psychoactive Substances show an alarming increase. 280 billion dollars laundered globally. We are far from resolving the multiple problems. Colombia is not immune to these global trends. The expansion of NPS affects us despite us not producing them. We’ve given priority to dismantling laboratories. In 2016, the figure reached 1500 destroyed labs. In 2016, we are confiscating more drugs than the previous year. A kilo of coca is bought for a dollar in the countryside in Colombia, later it’s $250, then $1500, when it gets to the US it is $4000. We see the scale. After a number of years where we reduced crops, in the last few years it has increased dramatically. The production of cocaine takes less time because of new production methods. We have detected an increase in foreign cartels in Colombia, not just Colombian. The peace accord that was negotiated for years and finally signed shows great benefits to coca farmers in rural areas. The devaluation of the peso reached approximately 60%. We need to emphasise eradication of crops. Having signed the peace accord with FARC, we have been replacing coca crops with legal crops – a promising strategy. My country has stated many times that we have turned the page on war and started on peace. Former members of guerrilla units have agreed to cooperate with the accord which has as a back bone a national plan for crop replacement which will be voluntarily signed onto by communities. We are working on the reconstruction of roads, crucial infrastructure. Next month, we will celebrate one year since UNGASS. We emphasise that debate must continue so that in 2019 we are closer to reaching goals. We deeply regret that capital punishment was not prohibited in the UNGASS Document. We welcome the fact that Margaret Chan is here emphasising a focus on health. The 1998 was supposed to be implemented by 2008 and then was extended showing that the strategy does not work. A new type of anti-drug policy needs to replace old one which has failed. We would like to promote our side event which is at 1.30 in Conference Room MBR-A today.

Ambassador & Minister of Foreign Affairs for Guatemala: Gualemala supports the statement made by the GRULAC Group. Much progress has been made in 5 years. We welcome an open & transparent debate, as  the ‘all is well’ rhetoric is not true. We support an informed discussion based on science, and taking in all accounts of different parties. We welcome the link of drugs to gender & human rights. The 2016 outcome document is the beginning of a paradigm shift, and we have acknowledged that human being should be at the heart of drug policies. Drug policies must be in line with declaration of human rights. Our idea has never been to impose anything on anyone, it must be to benefit from the experiences of other nations & civil society to extend knowledge on global drug policies, helping us tackle challenges. it is not about approving prohibition or legalisation – that’s up to nations states. International conventions have flexibility for countries to apply it in their own ways to meet their own needs & challenges. We should not neglect security – we have seized more than $13 billion of drugs and will intensify & combat the cultivation & trafficking of drugs. The Foreign Minister of Colombia talked about price increases in consumer markets, and Guatemala is strategically placed as a transit country and therefore criminal networks operate there. A transit county has all the possibility of becoming a consumer country, so prevention is more key here. We are requested to apply different  strategies to different threats, but we cannot do this without strengthening international cooperation and assistance to transit countries. We have presented a resolution to strengthen cooperation and providing assistance to transit countries. Resources must not be diverted from health and education to benefit border control. We welcome the MOU between the UNOC and WHO and welcome the ministerial conference in 2019. Since last year all general assembly documents include the 2030 development targets. We need to consider that our action needs updating and look to the future. If not for UNGASS, the UN would be looking into the past. We must consider intergovernmental dialogue and work together with nongovernmental and all member of society. We may have different opinions, but we must listen to needs of people.

Peter Dunne, New Zealand: Thank you for the opportunity to deliver a statement. I had the privilege of attending the UNGASS. I have been pleased with developments in recent years away from treating drug use with a law and order focus to a health focus. I still believe we need to be bolder. Compassion, innovation, and proportion as three pillars of drug policy. We view drug issues as first and foremost, health issues. This has profound implications. It means establishing and ensuring access to essential medicines, while minimizing risk of diversion and misuse. For New Zealand, there are growing calls to make cannabis-based products available for medical use on compassionate grounds. To strike a balance, we have established a pathway where patients can access cannabis-based products for therapeutic purposes. Accessibility is a problem, but working to import well manufactured cannabis products. New Zealand has quality addiction and harm reduction programs. Clean needles and OST are essential to a harm reduction approach. We have proudly operated our OST program for 30 years and NSP for 40 years. We opened the first national NSP in the world. Health is more than just the absence or treatment of ill health. Have to promote and protect wellbeing. Minimize drug related harm. Recognize wider social and environmental context for minimizing drug-related harm. People centered approach where a range of government agencies all work together to respond to individual, family, and community needs. Getting our legal balance right. We are reviewing certain aspects of our legal framework to identify opportunities for health based responses, such as framework for personal possession, access to controlled drugs, etc. Last year we sought the views of public on regulation of drug utensils. Current prohibition seen as inconsistent with harm reduction approach. Overwhelming support for harm reduction approach. Pointed out that adding barriers to accessing drug utensils increases, rather than decreases, harm. These views will be considered in legislative process over next two years. Also looking at actions in our drug policy to ensure we have the balance right. We will refresh actions by the end of the year, taking into account merging evidence on what works. Innovations are essential. Funding from criminal proceeds support a range of initiatives, including a whole school pilot to prevent drug-related harm by delaying uptake of alcohol and other drugs. Sometimes changing how we approach drugs is the best way to reduce harms of their use. We will probably never have level of evidence to know how well our interventions are working, but if we keep in mind compassion, innovation, and proportion, we will go a long way.

General Paiboon Khumchaya, the Minister of Justice of Thailand: On behalf of Thai delegation I’d like to congratulate the CND on the 60th session. Thailand pledge full support for the work of the CND and member states in assisting the UNODC in combating the world drug problem. Problems should be addressed in a multi-disciplinary, balanced approach. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to the main conventions on drug control. We need to tackle the root cause which is poverty. Thailand is trying to be a learning centre on alternative development. This is well linked to access to education and public health. We are pleased health is one of the crucial focuses in this connection. We’d like to invite you to the Thai exhibition which is in the Rotunda throughout the week. The opening ceremony of the exhibition which will be held today at 5pm. It will present Thailand’s renewed actions on drug policy. The government is in  the process of moving to an alternative health based response, especially to methamphetamines. It is one of the most highly used drugs in Thailand. We are looking at more proportionate responses to avoid prison overcrowding. The amendment to Thai drug law was put into effect this January, people who use drugs should not be sent to prison. We would like to promote cooperation from our part of the world. We work closely with Asian member states to move over to solve drug problems in the Golden Triangle. We express appreciation for convening this session with the wise member states to review difficulties in reaching goals and targets set out in the 2009 Plan of Action, and in the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document which Thailand fully supports.


Minister for Interior from Ghana: Drugs pose a serious threat to stability. Once criminal networks establish themselves within countries their finances often exceed those of developing nations, and we must combat this drugs menace. Ghana is committed to the 2016 outcome document and guiding principles of alternative development. We are committed to the UNODC regional plan for action in West Africa 2016. Addressing the challenges is a shared responsibility and we must share ideas from all member states. Ghana is still committed to smart law enforcement and criminal justice. Our new bill is a product of close relationship between government and civil society, but has been delayed due to presidential elections. The bill will be forwarded to Parliament after scrutiny. Harm reductions, law reform, and reclassification of substances are all apparent. Human rights abuse has become an issue and the new bill seeks to include a public health approach and seeks to provide alternative crops for farmers. Forced eradication of cannabis crops has had little effect, and we urgently need an alternative source of income for farmers.

Singapore: According to UNODC, 240 million people used illicit drugs in 2014. Seeing an upsurge of heroin use and overdose deaths. Methamphetamine abuse on the rise in Asia. Racing to keep up with new threats, including new psychoactive substances. We have our work cut out for us. Singapore participated actively at UNGASS. Must work hard to actively implement the recommendations and meet the goals reset out from the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. Drug abusers comprise less than 0.1% of our population. We work very hard to keep our streets drug free. Proximity of golden triangle and position as transport hub makes us vulnerable to drug developments. Drug syndicates from East Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, and even Africa attracted to the lucrative drug market. Our geography makes us vulnerable. We are a highly connected city. Idea and people flow in and out of our borders. More than a million international visitors come to Singapore per month. Openness and connectivity is a great plus for a small city like ours, but brings challenges that prevention and drug education work must address. Online shows drug use as harmless, cool, and even beneficial. Some start to experiment and influence each other. Starting to see consequences of shits in attitudes of drug use. Below the age of thirty, drug use is rising. Each represents a life destroyed and a family that is hurt. Drug trafficker caught last year taught teenage sons to use ice, and made them into addicts. Another drug trafficker locked himself in apartment, resisted arrest, and threatened to burn down apartment, which had his mother in it. He turned out to be high on drugs. Very real harm that drugs can cause to families and individuals. Similar tragedies in other countries. Cannot start to believe that we are treating the problem by dealing with it downstream, without dealing with supply and demand issues. Drug problem is multidimensional. Must deal with it on all fronts. Harm prevention strategy begins with public education as first important line of defense. Drugs are irresponsibly glamorized in media. We must double our efforts to educate on harms of drug abuse. Must do so in ways that better allow us to connect and reach the people that really need it. Engaging parents, educators and wider community. Building networks of anti-drug advocates. Tailoring education for different segments of society. Share more with you at our exhibition in the rotunda. Tough laws and robust enforcement. Criminal syndicates think twice before bringing drugs through Singapore, because they know that law enforcement is seeking them out with active, swift, and uncompromising enforcement. Structured and evidence-based rehabilitation framework seeks to help drug abusers kick the habit. Mandatory treatment and rehabilitation. Equip them with skills to overcome their addiction. Support programs to help them stay clean and reintegrate into society, such as skills training. Aim to drive drug recidivism rates down as far as we can. Our people have a right to demand that their children grow up in a safe environment free from drugs. CND is the leading body in the UN for drug-related issues. The conventions are the cornerstone of international drug policy. Singapore supports the centrality of these conventions. We have a responsibility to protect our people and secure wellbeing of the next generation. No one size fits all solution because causes and symptoms of world drug problem in each country is different. Sovereign right and responsibility to use strategies that work in their country. Urge delegates to ensure that plans and actions reflect joint commitment to effectively address and counter the world drug problem.

Bolivia: Naturally we share the deep global concern as regards the worrying development of the drug problem. In light of official data, we agree that the war on drugs strategy has failed. The use drugs has risen, a proportion of which is problematic and many drug users have contracted HIV and are living with HIV. We are witnessing the diversification of products. We fully endorse the philosophy of the UNGASS Outcome Document. It in in line with our own strategy. In Bolivia, state participation has been significantly strengthened: we cover a vast area, we have focussed on combating drug cultivation. We have invested $245m in technology to take on drugs. We have tried to exercise control over our air space, given we are vulnerable to drugs transit. We have invested $203m in eradication of coca products and other prohibition activities. We are glad for EU funding. We have not received a single cent of assistance from North America. Over the course of our strategy, we have increased the number of teams investigating activities, the number of seizures has increased by 217%, including seizing precursors to producing drugs. Regarding coca cultivation, we have implemented the reservation to the Vienna 1961 Convention. We recognise traditional use given cultural specificities in Bolivia. 7/10 people make use of coca either on a daily or monthly basis. We have been able to reduce the area of coca cultivation. In the same vein, 98% of goals have been established in light of our five year plan. However, we have also adopted normative amendments. We have a law on coca leaf which revalues coca leaf based on cultural heritage while allowing for control mechanisms from production to sale and transit. We have carried out studies of the property of the coca leaf. We have committed to there being a maximum area of coca grown. The new methods and tactics that are part of this struggle, such as cooperation and encouraging witnesses, wire tapping with the permission of the government. Sanctions are based on proportionality. Stringent for drug laws and king pins, and  punishment for all involved in trade. We have the opportunity to reaffirm the Plurinational State of Bolivia and its commitment to combat drug trafficking.

Governor of Southern State of Bahrain: Our region is at a critical stage right now, with conflicts causing a decline is development targets. The region has proven that these rapid changes have forced governments to review priorities resulting from these crises, and prevent low security situations from being exploited by criminal groups. We must use all means and capabilities available. Drugs pose a threat to communities and to the individual addicts, especially youth on many levels. These challenges require more vigilance. It requires proper monitoring and education of children to direct them away from drugs. National security is a main pillar of the strategy adopted by Bahrain – since then we have taken great strides in combating drugs, larger seizures of drugs and launching the national drug strategy to combat both supply and demand. Our government has  launched several programmes to prevent youth from engaging in drugs aiming to educate and protect youth from the dangers of drugs through an academic curriculum. It is a joint effort between local and national bodies. The main goal is to raise decent citizens that represent the law and live a drug-free life and develop healthy relationships with the local community. Living free from violence and addiction is crucial for the prosperity of society. This conference will be a turning point in fighting crime & drugs and a useful platform for networking and sharing best practices.

Uruguay: Health, human rights, safety, and security of individuals is central to drug policy. We insist on need to continue with critical analysis of impact of the regressive and prohibitionist policy conducted over the past 50 years. We must continue to look at new innovative and inventive approaches as the old approach has led to increase in use of drugs and violence year after year. Health and social inclusion are primary issues. Call for a system of integrated and balanced drug control, including poverty reduction, food security, promoting health and peaceful coexistence, and social inclusion. We endorse what was said in the joint commitment in the UNGASS outcome document to respect, protect, and promote all human rights in formulating policies in drug sphere. Individual dignity is at the centre of policies. We believe it is fundamental to include at the centre of the debate the implementation of the 2030 SDGs. These 17 goals and connected measures form a roadmap that should guide us through balanced and integrated drug policymaking. In this regard, we must promote empowerment of women as they are particularly affected by lack of access to treatment and are vulnerable within the criminal justice system. The agenda coming out of resolutions adopted by UNGASS on each of seven dimensions include a vision of human rights, making it possible to gradually make progress towards desirable and necessary reforms. There is a before and an after in these discussions. Necessary degree of flexibility in accordance with national realities. Respecting the sovereignty of each state. Call for continuing and deepening open dialogue within the international community, and with the INCB. INCB completed a mission to our country. Market regulation approach in Uruguay does not mean in any interpretation promoting drug use or undermining the risks associated with consumption. We apply a cohesive and coherent system based on regulation. Public policy to regulate smoking has succeeded despite pressure and treats from tobacco industry. Seen a decrease in incidence of this problem. Developing market regulation of this problem involves control and oversight measures. We have developed a public policy based on institutional, strong, and specific measures that coordinate work from relevant ministers and law 19.172. The same regulatory framework guarantees availability of cannabis for medical use and scientific research. Public policy is subject to strict evaluation, for which purpose a scientific advisory committee was set up. This committee was established in an entirely independent fashion, and sets parameters for monitoring and evaluating the policy and regulatory framework. We do not want to be a model. We do not impose our policy on other countries. However, it will be available with full transparency to those that show an interest. As part of joint commitment, we will contribute to this debate. We are certain that each of us and our efforts within the framework of human rights will lead us to broadening horizons for health, well being, and peace for our nations.

Full text in Spanish


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