Interactive, multi-stakeholder round table of the ministerial segment: Safeguarding the future: enhancing our efforts to respond to the world drug problem through strengthening international cooperation, including means of implementation, capacity-building and technical assistance, on the basis of common and shared responsibility
Chair: Welcome. Today I have a double function, in addition to chair I am a panelist nominated by Grulac. Before we being the roundtable, on my own behalf and everyone, condolences regarding the attacks on the two mosques in New Zealand, it is an absolutely unacceptable attack.
Our roundtable will consist of a panel discussion followed by an interactive debate – warm welcome to the panelists: Director of the ministry of health form Morocco, Minister of manpower and 2nd Minister of Home Affairs from Singapore, special representative of the Secretary of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of USA, Isabel Pereira Center of Studies for Law, Justice and Society (Colombia), John Brandolino of UNODC and Gill Forte of WHO.
There are no list of speakers for the interactive sessions, those wishing to speak shall put their nameplates up and we will select the speakers in accordance with the rules of procedure of the functioning commissions of EcoSoc. Please limit the interventions to 3 minutes and engage with us, ask questions and focus on the topics of today’s session. I will prepare a summary to present to the Commission. To kickstart our discussion, I invite director of treaty affairs, John Brandolino to deliver introductory remarks.
John Brandolino: The commitment to accelerate practical implementation on the fields in timely. The WDR highlighted drug markets are diversifying and expanding, production of cocaine and opiates is at its highest and along with methamphetamine they expand further as ever – it has reached epidemic proportions burdening our healthcare systems. The key element MS highlighted are (1) further enhance cooperation and inclusiveness – among relevant domestic authorities and among regions, the participation of civil societies has also been acknowledged & we continue enhancing coordination and cooperation with other UN agencies (2) technical assistance and resource mobilization: treatment, care, HIV prevention, social welfare system more accessible to those who need them; aiding further alternative development. A political commitment is not enough, we also have to provide targeted assistance and financial support. (3) high quality data is a cornerstone of evidence based policy making and understanding the world drug problem. MS set the stage to initiate the process to improve the ARQ. The first expert consultation has recognized geographical difficulties. With the declaration the MS requested the UNODC to provide a new ARQ at the 63rd session. We stand ready to achieve our commitment to leave no one behind and support member states on all fronts to promote human rights-based systems based on the conventions and other relevant policy documents.
Josephine Theo, Singapore on behalf of Asia Pacific Group: On the outset, on behalf of the people of Singapore, I convey our deepest condolences to NZ. Next, congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the making of the ministerial declaration. It is critical we have a consensus in the way forward and are committed as an international community. Today is taking place against a backdrop of a worsening drug problem. Our priority is to seriously reduce demand. We take our commitments under the conventions seriously. They are the cornerstones that provide a comprehensive framework against the global drug scourge. All countries must seek new ways to tackle their respective issues but shall never forget their universal commitments to the conventions and its provisions as well as the declaration we just made at the 62nd session. In Singapore, we are big on harm prevention that is aimed at the suppress of demand and supply of drugs: robust law enforcement, education and abstinence as a goal in treatment. This is not rocket science but needs political commitment and serious action. We have been working closely internationally to dismantle drug syndicates that spans borders, such as ops fish where we brought down an organization that supplied ninety something countries. To capture drugs and precursors, we set up a safe cooperation center to coordinate operations in the MEKONG region. We sponsored training courses and supplied staff, we donate patrol boards along the river. We contributed to the UNGASS outcome document and our efforts continued after its adoption – Assian delivered our first joint statement that is committed to keep our communities free of drugs. We also delivered a statement during this year’s intersessionals about the use of controlled drugs has to be among the framework of the international drug control conventions. We value opportunities for capacity building and knowledge sharing because it allows likeminded colleagues to cooperate and share best practices. We piloted a training program about regional law enforcement understanding NPS and how they can mitigate the risks posed by NPS. We continue to work with the UNODC to identify new training opportunities. We hosted a joint a workshop for 63 officials from Asian countries and hope to work together in the future. We also work closely with NGOS and regional intergovernmental organizations to tackle the drug scourge such as the Colombo Plan. Drug problem remains a clear and present danger for us all, we are facing a global threat of epic proportions that we must face together. Every day we try to keep our children safe from drugs and we must not let the war against to be lost. We will continue to be a constructive partner to carry out our common and shared responsibility.
Morocco: In 2009, the international community determined goals of supply and demand reduction for narcotic drugs. States have committed to a new balanced approach. Objectives have been laid down in the political declaration and plan of action from 2009. Based on supply reduction, demand reduction, and international cooperation. Convening this session of the CND gives us the opportunity to take stock of achievements of the decade, but also to focus on where we have failed. Gives us the opportunity to look to the future. Reduction of supply is not fully satisfactory, as the situation has evolved such as due to globalization, the internet, the geographic expansion of traditional drugs, development of synthetic drugs, etc. What has happened in New Zealand is mind boggling as the resources come from drug trafficking. Drugs and drug trafficking know no boundaries. Necessary to step up our control of drug trafficking. Phenomenally large task. It is difficult to control raw materials, and this possibly is the most challenging point as it is necessary to link production of natural and synthetic drugs. Eradication of illicit drug crops seems to be an easier goal to approach, but requires strong political will and multidimensional approach that favours sustainable development, counters exclusion and poverty, and enhances natural resources. Have to step up efforts for reduction of demand. Must have courage to break taboos on how we look at people who are afflicted with drug addiction. Need a cultural revolution. Have to pursue approach that considers these people as victims of their addiction, as people who are sick and deserve better and adequate care which is required by human rights. Have to depenalize, decriminalize, and destigmatize addiction. Have to focus on vulnerable populations, teenagers, children, women, and people in custodial facilitates. Have to use harm reduction for drugs, especially injectable drugs. Work up our synergies and complementariness and look to the NGOs which are precious as intermediaries to develop trust with public authorities and groups. International regional and local cooperation has become indispensable. Have to increase information exchange. Reduce financial flows from trafficking. Work to counter money laundering, corruption, and human trafficking. Scourge of drugs is a threat to health, undermines health systems, and is an obstacle to development. Have to combat trafficking and offer protection and care to victims. Global strategy needed. All of this is in vain if we don’t work in good intent and together. Must cooperate and synergize, irrespective of geopolitical dynamics.
GRULAC (Group of Latin America and the Caribbean): Evolution of international drug commitments has not been simple or linear. 1961 convention meant control of substances as well as guarantee for medical and scientific purposes. In reality, efforts in neither direction or results have been balanced. War on drugs was launched which led to involvement of armed forces and consolidation of strictly prohibitionist view and criminal justice responses for distribution, trafficking, growing, and even led to international legal binding instrument with 1988 convention against drug trafficking. Need to enrich or adapt punitive approach. Gradually changed with statement on demand reduction and political declaration and plan of action from 2009 and agreements from 2014. Led to consolidation of three key elements. First, more balance. Need to implement a balance which has been lost. Give the same impetus and value to demand and supply reduction. Second, if there is anything we have learned, we know we need a joint approach. Fragmented action doesn’t work. Three, common and shared responsibility. Importance of all states pursuing solutions. UNGASS 2016 provided detailed guide and focused on action for the future of international drug policy. Going from words to instrumentation from 2016 could be main achievement of CND to safeguard the future regarding the illicit market and drug problem. To continue with those policies that have caused more damage than substances themselves, we need a serious multilateral reflection without prejudice or black and white solutions. Five elements I submit for consideration. One, a more human application of the law. Often punishments disproportionately impact those for whom crime is the only way to subsist. No prevailing law says that prison has to be the only response to use or trafficking, but in reality there is a saturation of prison systems in many countries. High cost for state and social fabric. Has specific impact on women. Seems to me that there is a pressing need to work towards no longer criminalizing use. Provide alternatives to traditional punishment. Two, truly acknowledge the problem as one of public health beyond mere discourse. Number of people suffering from drug addiction increased with population increase. Worrying lowering of age of initiation. Reveals that international strategy has not achieved expected results. We need to prioritize the public health approach beyond mere demand reduction. Should provide better and more effective preventative solutions and damage reduction programs. People with drug abuse problems need medical and psychosocial care. Criminalizing or stigmatizing and imprisoning these people does nothing to solve the problem and in fact exacerbates it. Third, differentiation between substances for control. Not all scheduled substances have the same effect, damage or degree of dependence. Alcohol and cigarettes a clear example. Think about control and regulation systems that are differentiated based on kind of substance. Acknowledge without prejudice the harmful effects and therapeutic possibilities. Unacceptable that ¾ of humanity suffer and die of pain due to lack of access of opioid derived medicines. Four, deal with the causes of violence through sustainable development, which we haven’t tapped into enough. Whole regions have suffered an increase in violent murders. In Mexico, violence is a tool of criminals. New forms of crime linked to illicit drug markets. Most vulnerable communities victimized by the different kinds of crime leading to fragmentation and fracturing of social fabric. These overlooked populations cannot just be treated by force. They need opportunities, services, and development options that deal with systemic causes. Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 provides the ideal reference framework for drug-related problems to be considered from social perspective and contribute to peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous societies. Five, need more efficient international coordination. UN system has pivotal role in this coordination. Can only leave behind scattering of efforts if we allow greater coordination and cooperation among different organizations working in this field. Trust that we can contribute to making the right steps in the near future.
US: Recent years have seen soaring drug production across the globe. We cannot divert our attention to new challenges but most also tackle traditional threats. Rate of annual drug related deaths has skyrocketed. UNODC reports soaring fatalities from drug related deaths. Behind these numbers are faces, families, and communities. Doctors, nurses, treatment providers standing with police, teachers, parents, and others to prevent deaths, improve prevention, increase access and support those in recovery. Combat retail drug distribution entering the US. Stories reflected around the world. CND vital to protecting health and welfare of citizens. We must be bold in approaches to find ways to work creatively within existing institutions to address threats we are facing from global trade and dynamics. Get ahead of next evolution in their business model. Attack all aspects of the supply chain. Find new ways to prevent diversion and dismantle labs. Curb online sales of precursors. Prevent and disrupt misuse of international postal system. Remain committed to sharing research and best practices. Find ways to more rapidly identify responses to emerging threats. UN is convening body for member states. Progress built by national actions. Redouble our efforts to implement UN treaties and commitments from 2009, 2014, and 2016. Share our implementation approaches to form a coherent global partnership. Guided by treaties and policy documents that remain highly relevant can make us more effective against criminals. Increase application of article 13 that calls on state parties to prevent trade in and use of materials to create synthetic drugs. Underutilized tool. Another tool is the UNODC toolkit of policy and programmatic responses to synthetic drugs. Live online platform that helps identify threats and options to respond. Data, techniques, and best practices so it is widely applicable. Vehicle to advance national action. Side event next week to support launch of this toolkit. Make ourselves more agile in addressing drug control threats. Pleased to share what we are doing in the US. Deploying comprehensive set of strategies to guide national response to opioid overdose crisis. Balanced action for prevention, treatment, and reducing availability. Strategy from President Trump is resourced. 8.5 billion over two years to fuel response. 30 billion per year also spent. Includes data, law enforcement officials, treatment, diversion investigations, drug courts, prescription drug monitoring, etc. Using emergency scheduling authorities on all fentanyl related substances. Scaling efforts to stop online illicit opioid sales. Shut down biggest distributor and indicted two people. Taking steps to make our communities safer and reduce recidivism rates. First setback legislation introduces sentencing reforms initiated and expected to affect 20% of cases. Exploring new opportunities to engage with private sector. Expanding access to medication assisted treatment, new payment models, addiction and pain management, etc. Imperative to collect data so we can learn. Continuing to look ahead, must recognize best practice is essential collaboration and partnership at CND. Never as strong alone as when we work together. Unity is critical. We are an eager partner and we are ready to support this body and its members. About saving lives and our citizens.
Gill Forte, office of Deputy Director General for Drug Access, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, WHO: Half a million people die of psychoactive drug use including blood borne illnesses and suicide. The opioid crisis brought a global attention to the issue so it is time to consider more relevant solutions to address to world drug problem. The last decade was on achieving a drug free world, today there is evidence that world drug problem is a developmental public health and human rights issue. The world drug problem poses two main challenges and the opioid crisis provide clear evidence of them. 1The threat posed by controlled substance and their use. 2 Access to drugs for medical use: 70% of world’s population lack access to pain relief and palliative care. Addressing the world drug problem means we have to address both in a balanced way. The WHO assesses the harms of all drugs and have intensified the reviews of psychoactive substances with particular attention to synthetic opioids. As part of our commitment to achieve universal health coverage, ensuring pain relief and naloxone access are essential. People who use drugs often don’t get the treatment they need because of impeding stigma and criminalization. We developed guidelines and standards to care for people with drug use disorders and dependence including harm reduction services such as needle exchange and substitution therapy, community lead interventions. WHO introduced its new strategy last year which has as its mission to promote health and keep the world safe. The HWO will continue to work on public health dimensions of the world drug problem with other UN partners and civil society. We will support countries to achieve SDGs and implement the recommendations of UNGASS. Cooperation and dialogue are the best way to put people at the center of our collective efforts.
Isabel Pereira (CSTF): Thank you for the opportunity to address you, and the efforts of the Civil Society Task Force to comply with Resolution 61/10. I speak to you today as a representative for LAC of the IDPC, researcher of the CEDD, and researcher of Dejusticia. The organizations that I represent defend a drug policy based on respect for human rights, understanding drug policy as a matter of social justice. On the issue that concerns this table, the future, I will say that it is an opportunity to restore full citizenship to historically marginalized populations, for this we need to prioritize the Sustainable Development Goals, the recommendations of the UNGASS 2016 document, and restore human rights to these populations. We must be honest: to recognize that the implementation of the control regime has resulted in the de facto suspension of the basic rights of many populations. By placing criminalization and repression as the only resource of relationship between institution and individual, a lack of knowledge of the citizenship of entire populations is generated and the next decade must be dedicated to restoring this citizenship. Some examples of the suspension of rights that occur in Latin America are: The socio-economic situation of the people who cultivate illicit plants is generally ignored when prioritizing the efforts to eradicate them, but it should not be ignored that it is this situation that explains the persistence of the crops. In Colombia, 57% of the families that grow coca are in monetary poverty, and 35% in extreme poverty. Women: In the crop, they suffer triple discrimination (by women, by peasants, and by cultivating illicit plants, in high-risk, low-power roles, and are captured easily.) In Brazil, for example, the population female prison increased by 342% between 2000 and 2016, and women imprisoned for drug offenses account for 60% of the prison population, and in consumption, they are a blind spot for health services, which are unaware of their needs. Ethnic groups: Police practices in the region generally discriminate against young men, in poor neighborhoods, and in some countries, of Afro-descendant groups. People who use drugs: Harm reduction in the region is still far from meeting the standards of universality and accessibility, contrary to ODS 3. According to Harm Reduction International, of 17 countries in the region, only two have exchange programs of syringes, and only four have methadone substitution programs. People who need controlled medicines: The region has serious deficiencies in the availability and access to opioid medications for pain relief in palliative care and for maintenance therapies. The average opioid consumption in the region is 7.9 mg / capita, compared to a global average of 65 mg / capita.
But Latin American learning should motivate us to learn from public policy alternatives already being implemented in the region. Here are some examples. Legal reforms that take into account vulnerability factors when imposing judgments, and programs to promote education and employment in Costa Rica. Access to land titling for farmers who cultivate plants declared illegal, prioritizing rural development rather than forced eradication in Colombia – in line with SDGs 1, 10, 15, 16. Electronic prescription of opioids in Mexico – in line with SDG 3. Right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Strict regulation of access to cannabis in Uruguay – in lie with SDGs 1, 3 and 10 In this case there are governments that have gone beyond the provisions of the UNGASS document, but with respect to human rights and with the interest of protecting their citizens. Applying the principles of equality, non-discrimination, public health, and development, Latin America teaches the region some ways to apply the drug policy that are more human, focused on generating welfare for citizens. These innovations in politics should be the way to not lose another decade.
Chair: Thank you panelists for the interesting presentations and respecting the time allowed to them. Now we have the opportunity for an interactive debate – I open the floor.
Switzerland: We express our sympathy to New Zealand. Singapore said risk prevention is important but we’d like to highlight two points. We believe harm reduction is important in order to cut down the number of deaths. Drug demand suppression is certainly important but it is also important to prevent overdose deaths – this contributes to public health. Statistics show that since the 90’s we cut down on such occurrences by 70%. HIV, Hepatits, and other of this kinds of diseased are addressed by technical assistance that are guided by UNODC and are down by 35%. The number of consumers in our country went down 2.9% and UNAIDS noted that syringe exchange and such services are useful tools in improving public health.
Nigeria: Condolences to New Zealand. We reaffirm the WDR is better addressed in an international system where MS respect their legal commitments – we reaffirm our commitment to the three conventions as the legal framework for the international drug control system. We think anyone not complying is undermining our joint efforts, such as allowing cultivation and consumption of Cannabis. We have implemented special measures in Nigeria towards the issues of synthetic opioids but think that it would be more effective on an internationally enhanced cooperation, especially 2when it comes to Tramadol, we are concerned. We also recognized the documents of 2009, 2014 and 2016 and hope the international community will carry out their responsibilities beyond 2019.
Spain: […] international cooperation programmes based on common and shared responsibilities.
EU: The European Union and its Member States are pleased to be participating in this roundtable on enhancing efforts to respond to the world drug problem through strengthening international cooperation. In some fields, tangible progress towards addressing the world drug problem has been achieved. Yet, the drugs situation continues to worsen in parts of the world, calling for further efforts. In that context, the EU and its Member States consider it crucial to foster the implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document, as the most comprehensive consensus on the drug policy. One important aspect of the UNGASS Outcome Document is its commitment to strengthening international cooperation on the basis of the principle of common and shared responsibility. This is in line with the EU’s own Drugs Strategy (2013-2020) and the EU Action Plan on Drugs (2017-2020). Both feature strengthening dialogue and cooperation between the EU and third countries, regions and international organisations on drugs issues in a comprehensive and balanced manner among their objectives. We believe that international drug policy needs to be based on the principles of shared responsibility, on multilateralism, on an integrated, balanced and evidence-based approach, on the mainstreaming of development, as well as on respect for human rights, human dignity and international conventions.
Allow me to focus on a few positive examples of the EU’s international cooperation efforts. The EU has been cooperating with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean countries for over 20 years. One concrete aspect of this cooperation is the 2016-2019 COPOLAD II programme, which aims at reinforcing National Observatories on drugs, adopting quality and evidence-based criteria, in both demand and supply reduction, adopting sustainable approaches to capacity-building, exchanging good practices, and strengthening cooperation and dialogue on drugs policies. The EU and its Member States also cooperate with 18 Latin American countries through the Programme for Assistance against Transnational Organised Crime, EL PAcCTO, to improve citizen security and tackle several forms of transnational organised crime, such as drugs trafficking. Since 2009, the EU has committed significant funding to the Cocaine Route Programme, which covers more than 40 countries. The project currently focuses on transnational organised crime and drug trafficking in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa to Europe. Additionally, the EU’s Action against Drugs and Organised Crime, the EU-ACT Programme, launched in 2017, seeks to prevent drug use, improve drug treatment, strengthen capacities to tackle drug trafficking, and fight against international criminal networks along the heroin route from and to Afghanistan, including in South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe and East Africa. The EU’s cooperation with Central Asia takes place under the Action Plan on Drugs between the EU and Central Asia, in place until 2020. The Plan’s objectives are also implemented through the Central Asia Drug Action Programme CADAP, focusing on the drug demand component of a comprehensive and sustainable drug policy, and on enhancing the capacity of relevant actors.
As regards cooperation with international organisations, the EU remains a major contributor to the UNODC’s budget, thereby contributing to the organization’s efforts to tackle drugs. Additionally, in 2019 the EU is actively supporting, including through a generous grant, improvements to the quality and effectiveness of the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ). The ARQ represents the backbone of regular reporting to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. These activities have taught us useful lessons on international cooperation in the field of drugs. Beyond established cooperation partnerships, the EU is always looking to seek new dialogues. This is particularly needed as we are facing new phenomena, such as the surge of new synthetic drugs, which do not follow the traditional drug routes and pose unprecedented challenges. We look forward to building our future engagement on the basis of best practice in the EU as well as in partner countries, and to a continued dialogue in this as well as other fora.
Australia: Thank you Chair for the opportunity to make this brief intervention. Australia joins all delegates in expressing our deep sorrow at the events that have unfolded in New Zealand overnight, further expressing our condolences to the Government and citizens of New Zealand and our utmost rejection of this hateful, terrorist attack on innocent people and our common values. Australia also thanks the panellists for providing the foundation for this useful, interactive dialogue on safeguarding the future, and specifically on the basis of common and shared responsibility.
We recall our intervention in the Round Table held in this room yesterday afternoon.
It is plain that despite our best intentions, access to controlled substances for medical purposes remains elusive for the vast majority of people around the world. As a consequence, there remain unacceptable levels of easily treatable pain in many regions and countries. We need to improve the implementation of our stated intentions to improve access to controlled substances for medical purposes.
At the same time, death and suffering associated with the misuse of controlled substances has never been more prevalent, in Australia as well as other parts of the world. We need to improve the implementation of our stated intentions to reduce the diversion and misuse of controlled Substances and prevent and reduce the associated adverse health outcomes.
These reflections raise the critical question of how we can practically improve the implementation of all our stated intentions, contained in the three mutually reinforcing and complementary documents agreed by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2009 and 2014, agreed by the United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016 and most recently reiterated in the Ministerial Statement endorsed yesterday in the Plenary of this sixty-second Session of the Commission.
Australia submits that part of the answer to that question lies right in front of us – we can improve our practical implementation of our stated intentions on the basis of common and shared responsibility, not just shared by members of the Commission and other Member States of the United Nations, but shared and held in common with members of civil society.
Better engagement with civil society by Member States can surely only enhance the efforts of Governments in addressing all aspects of the world drug problem. And while I have the attention of the room, I am pleased to invite delegates to attend the side event being jointly hosted by the Government of Australia and the Civil Society Taskforce next Wednesday on this very topic.
In the spirit of this interactive, multi-stakeholder Roundtable Australia invites the Chair and members of the panel to comment on their views as to how enhanced dialogue between Member States and civil society can strengthen international cooperation in responding to the world drug problem.
Russia: Narcotic users and addicts have access to free care and treatment and rehabilitation in our country. Our facilities are based on full rejection of the use of narcotics. Our patients have free access to this. We boast a good cooperation with NGOs in the area of resocialization of these people. We decriminalized addicts and if they commit non-serious crimes, we take into account their addiction and that reduces the punishment. We have yielded positive results. We stepped up our efforts in ensuring access to palliative care. We reject addiction and addictive substances – this is the only way to go!
Colombia: We don’t want a future where WDR is in the daily headlines, along with illicit economies, public health issues and other devastating impacts of the drug problem. My country has been one of the most affected by this. The declaration we adopted yesterday recommits our efforts to work against this. We hope the main message of this segment is that we can only effectively address the issue by common and shared responsibility. The individual actions of states are not enough and this is the opportunity to reiterate our commitment to pool our knowledge and resources. We realize the balance, multidisciplinary and scientific evidence-based policy making that respect universal human rights. We should handle national legality that comply with our international commitments. Let’s not be satisfied with superficial discussions, lets get to the heart of the issue of safety and well-being: Mr. Chairman, responding to what you said about sustainable development, how do you see the future of alternative developments?
China: The drug problem has become more acute globally. We gathered here because we are still optimistic in combatting it together. We have some ideas to share: upholding the three conventions are the cornerstones of our cooperation and compliance is mandatory to all treaty partners. NPS and darknet as well as developing realities are showing light on the challenges of the conventions. We think we should make better use of the flexibilities of the conventions without compromising their purpose to adopt to new times. We recently introduced a rapid control regulation to NPS. the scheduling of all fentanyl analogues was along humanitarian considerations. This is evidence of our efforts. We are seeking common grounds but we oppose the legalization of scheduled drugs. Under the pretext of harm-reduction […] we welcome the nudge to seek alternatives to imprisonment but think law enforcement responses should still be appropriate. We should take innovative approaches; the drug problem is accompanied by economic and technical developments that will continue to pose challenges. We have always been strictly managing precursors and actively responding to non-controlled chemical precursors. We also introduced regulations of preparation equipment. We should coordinate efforts to increase the management of the drug problem at its source. Due to instability in the conventional source areas is worsening. In particular in the golden triangle a boom has caused harms to surrounding areas affecting regional security. We call on the international community to take this issue seriously and implement comprehensive measures. We should share our experiences and enhance our abilities where UNODC plays a coordinating role and helps improve data collection capabilities – the ARQ improvement should be of most priority. UNODC also should aid technical exchange among MS.
Pakistan: Condolences to New Zealand. Drugs are the most prevalent challenge of transnational crime. Believe that given complexity of trafficking, no county can win this war alone. Coordinated efforts of international community are needed. Mindful of international commitments. Proud to contribute to international and regional efforts. Engaged with other countries for cross border investigations. Further strengthen bilateral cooperation. Signed 34 MoUs. Hosting law officers for a closed liaison and cooperation on drug matters. Well recognized as top contributor in international seizures. Speaking with regard to international cooperation, countering world drug problem requires commitments from 2009, 2014, and 2016 that are complementary and mutually reinforcing. 2009 provides strategic direction. 2009 declaration doesn’t need to be replaced by any political document. May be updated for context of existing challenges. Non-medical use of illegal drugs in some countries has ignited the supply chain in our region. We have been endeavouring to build a drug free, not drug tolerant society. Call for universal adherence to international conventions. Reiterate that adopting a balanced approach includes demand reduction, supply reduction, and international cooperation. Eliminating root cause, which is supply and production, through law enforcement, alternative development, and community involvement. Strengthening information sharing and mechanisms. Favourable request for mutual assistance.
Organization of American States (OAS): Condemn the terrorist actions in New Zealand and give condolences. Support countries in Americas and Caribbean in strengthening capacities and institutions in the fight against drugs. We are helping countries implement recommendations from UNGASS 2016. Members work in cooperation with other countries and with the InterAmerican commission for the control of drug abuse. Individual at the centre of public policies. Current drugs plan is in line with the UNGASS recommendations. Secretariat of CICAD provides support. Trained more than 4000 professionals. We still have to work on retaining them. Working on horizontal collaborations. Strengthening national observatories and early warning systems to deal with new psychoactive substances. Supported seventh round of multilateral evaluation mechanism, which will conclude in two months. Work on curriculum for prevention, treatment, social reintegration, and prison alternatives. Invested in regional cooperation to dismantle criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking. Looking at action plans. Supported work of five CICAD expert groups. Presenting report results in special session next Wednesday. Important element of gender. Program to strengthen gender equality in national organizations responsible for combatting trafficking. Fostering participation of civil society and special area for civil society in CICAD meetings. Parallel meeting with civil society to strengthen information, foster synergies, and engage in taboo free dialogue. All actions should lead to greater respect for human rights. Seek alternatives to prison throughout judicial program. Explore implementation of alternatives to prison for drug-related crimes. Need better control of treatment quality. Pursue mechanism to guarantee this.
Bulgaria: Condolences to New Zealand. Aligned with statement by the EU. Data on increasing incidence of drug use requires more prevention and treatment. Important for international community to monitor and respond in a timely manner to global challenges and trends. Recommendation for future development of EU strategy. Necessary to account for international programs and agreements. Continue effective treatment. Common EU position will ensure effective role. Protection of human health, social stability, and security. Minimize negative effects of actions. Comply with principle of sustainable development. Good health is a source of economic and social stability. Crucial for reducing poverty and contributing to sustainable development. Attention to provision of information and education for health advisory services aimed at healthy lifestyle and prevention of drug use. Tackling harmful habits means overcoming social preconditions. Focus of actions should be transparent this way in life. Improved coordination in UN and other relevant stakeholders. Important to assure member states develop and implement working methods. Sufficient and targeted funds should be allocated. Sufficient funding and expertise by EU must be provided. Support implementation of drug measures.
Nepal: Condolences to New Zealand. All drug problems are a common menace to the world community. Set number of legal and institutional frameworks on supply reduction and demand reduction. Drug control laws since 1976. Characteristics of domestic drug situation. Adopted measure to protect children. Community based partnership programs in school and community NGOs. We have opioid substitution treatment centres. Revising drug control act. Will enable and guide tiers of government in leading program. Party to all three conventions and committed to upholding commitments. Address and counter world drug problem. Engaged in bilateral and regional settings. Can’t address this alone. Preventative measures should be the priority especially in countries with worse socioeconomic conditions. Technical assistance and training from UNODC and other UN parties. Highlight three points. One, evidence-based policy regarding means of implementation. Two, consider socioeconomic conditions of countries when introducing different measures. Three, integrate health authorities and services.
Japan: Drug problems are currently becoming more complicated thanks to technological improvements and the increased threat of NPS. Under such contexts to safeguard the next generation we propose a framework that poses strict restrictions and education for prevention, rehabilitation, border controls, improving statistics and research. Raising awareness of drug abuses on the local level is also critically important on various levels. Our ultimate goal is to seek a drug-free society. We believe that an implementation of a comprehensive approach is essential. The most important thing is sharing information and best practices. Next is to observe international treaties as the conventions are cornerstones in tackling the problem. Under this context, while some legalize Cannabis, we have grave concerns against it and call the attention to INCB’s warnings against it. We are concerned about food containing cannabis and high concentrate products on markets. We all need to work together on supply reduction to protect vulnerable people.
UK: Drugs continue to have devastating impacts on our nations and we need to step up our efforts to address the issue. The joint commitments adopted in the ministerial declaration must be with the gal of enhancing peace and security. We welcome the enhancing national statistical capabilities and data collection. We continue to support the roles of UNODC and CND. We see it important for them to continue their engagement with other UN agencies, the scientific community and civil society. Our national crime agencies share a liaison network with key countries and we continue to enhance our efforts to address violence. Our security fund is used to build capacities against drug trafficking and a wide range of issues including anti-corruption efforts. The UK is committed to work with international partners in a balanced and comprehensive way, we look forward to the continuation of the discussion.
Bangladesh: We are neither a producing or exporting country yet we face severe consequences of the problem. We are situated in the golden crescent and hyaenas attack of drug on our young generation is threating our emerging national economy and public health We adopted a zero-tolerance policy against drugs and we adopted a nation-wide campaign. Our government has taken al sorts of measures to warn communities about the dangers of drugs. In pursuit of the 2030 agenda, we aim to rehabilitate drug addicts and established centers in cooperation with non-governmental organizations in all districts. My government has initiated steps to update our narcotics control acts. Our law enforcers are vigilant and we don’t allow any division from the law to safeguard the respect to human rights for all of our citizens.
Canada: Member States continue to face unique challenges in addressing the world drug problem, including Canada. A key priority for the Government of Canada has been to respond to the ongoing opioid crisis, which has resulted in a significant rise in overdoses and overdose-related deaths stemming from the proliferation of highly toxic synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This crisis is now causing the loss of eleven lives daily in Canada. I would like to highlight Canada’s efforts moving forward. Member States will note that these efforts align with the recommendations within the 2016 UNGASS outcome document and represent a balanced public health approach to drug policy that respects human rights. To reduce the demand for opioids, the Government of Canada will continue to inform Canadians about the risks of opioids; support the implementation of better prescribing practices; and further reduce the reliance on prescription opioids. A key area will be improved public awareness activities to reduce stigma faced by people who use drugs when accessing health, care and social services. By addressing stigma, people who use drugs won’t be judged or face discrimination when they access care and services for substance use issues. Harm reduction is another critical component of our approach moving forward. Supervised consumption sites serve as a safe space for people who use drugs to consume drugs under the supervision of health care professionals and they also offer pathways to care and treatment. The evidence of the importance of SCS is clear: there has not been a single overdose death within a SCS anywhere in Canada. Canada will look to continue our harm reduction efforts, including SCS and exploring innovative approaches to drug checking and safe supply, since these initiatives have proven to save lives. Canada’s balanced approach also includes strong drug enforcement elements. Canada continues to take measures to reduce the supply of all dangerous drugs, including synthetic opioids. For example, we have implemented legislative changes to allow border security officers to open packages of any size. From April 2016 to June 2018, we performed 270 seizures resulting in approximately 39.4 kg of synthetic opioids – where just only a few milligrams of a synthetic opioid can lead to a fatal overdose. We are also targeting illegal dark web activities where many of these dangerous synthetic opioids are sold. We continue to work with all our domestic partners to identify substances and precursors for scheduling to support interception and enforcement. Finally, Canada recognizes that addressing the world drug problem is a shared responsibility. We are therefore committed to working with international partners to address and counter the world drug problem, while promoting public health and respecting human rights. The way forward internationally should incorporate innovative supply reduction activities, along with realistic targets. Canada is pleased to support the UNODC’s efforts to address the issue of synthetic opioids. The UNODC’s “Toolkit” of policies available to Member States, which could be implemented in consideration of national contexts to help address the serious impacts of the non-medical use of synthetic opioids and other synthetic drugs. I would urge all Member States to consider the elements of the toolkit, as they may present a way to limit the impacts of highly potent synthetic opioids outside of North America. In closing, Canada supports drug policy efforts that promote a comprehensive, balanced, and evidence-based approach that is grounded in respect for human rights. We therefore strongly support the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document as the way forward for international drug policy, and welcome Member State support. We remain committed to our public health approach to drug policy and continue to share our experiences with the international community as we move forward.
Brazil: Focus on concerted actions. International cooperation creates better environment for accelerating commitments. Dedicated resources to eradicate cultivation and bring criminals to justice. Not sustainable if we cannot reach the strongest links of the drug market. Effective and timely response focused on preventing money being absorbed into licit economy requires attention. Recognized in ministerial declaration. Only through cooperation can we trace, freeze, and confiscate assets of drug crime. Have to be consistent in countering organized crime. Need to combine strategy with balanced approach. Respecting human rights and emphasizing social and health perspective. We have to look at root causes of the world drug problem. Lack of development, including unemployment and social marginalization, is conducive to exploitation of individuals and communities by organized crime. Development has to be central. Require improving health services, qualifying health professionals, and avoiding stigmatizing people who use drugs. Particular importance to HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis associated with drug use. Draft resolution on women who use drugs. Aim to reduce barriers for access to HIV treatment and services. Brazil updating regulatory framework. Aligned with drug conventions and INCB recommendations. Stress need to work together.
Tunisia: Condolences to New Zealand. Use of drugs is a global threat and problem especially for young people. Have to be preventative in our approach. Draft bill will represent a real reform. Will take into consideration economic and social consequences of drug addiction. Set up two centres of therapeutic care for patients. In the north of the country, centres of training in addictology. State alone cannot suffice, as this is a cross sectional problem. Better preventive strategy and treatment needed, especially for young people. More their dependencies advance, more vulnerable they are. We are working on awareness enhancement at all levels. Necessary to have exchanges of information. International support for efficient and effective data collection is to be treasured.
Tanzania: Condemn the terrorist attack in New Zealand. Tanzania is facing a huge drug problem, particular with heroin and cocaine. Hub and consumer country to these substances. Trend of new psychoactive substances. Tanzania believes commitments from 2009, 2014, and 2016 are mutually reinforcing. As a nation, we have approached the drug problem through a balanced approach which focuses on supply and demand reduction, and harm reduction. People with drug use disorders are taken to treatment instead of prison. No need for new documents. Look at challenges that arose and come up with ways forward. Challenges include lack of guidelines for treating individual with stimulant use disorders, rise of new psychoactive substances, and improving data collection systems. Reaffirm principle role of CND as policymaking body of UN on drug control matters.
Venezuela: We believe we need a comprehensive analysis of supply and demand – it is a circle that produces the drugs as the product and many facets here are interlinked. We share a common responsibility that is reliant on the principal of non-intervention of domestic affairs. We need to harness multilateralism. We understand we need to redouble on international collaboration especially in the case of transit countries, this would involve institutions and government departments. We have a debt to society and we should use our national mechanism first of all to monitor indicators and produce targeted public health services. We believe CND and MS should promote capacity building and generate scientific evidence that enables us to further understand the issue. This cooperation should also include support to MS assisting vulnerable groups especially young people, women in prison and marginalized people. We know safeguarding the future means a hard fight ahead and requires a huge effort and political will to comply with previously agreed agreements as well as our new ministerial declaration.
Iran: We seized approximately 11 thousand tons of illicit substances and more than 800 tons of heroin and morphine last year. My country is preparing the ground to treatment and rehabilitation services while aiming to prevent crimes and alternative punishments have been put into practice. The framework outlined by the conventions is an essential part of our national drug control system in the creation of a society free od drugs. Currently existing domestic tools are sufficient to implement the goals set forth in the 2009 political declaration. We support the pillars of the drug control regime and oppose any approach aimed at decriminalization and legalization of narcotic drugs. Success of alternative developments at national level is a contingent upon elimination of poverty. It also requires the efforts of the global community based on UN guidelines and shared responsibility.
Honduras: International cooperation is of utmost importance to us but we need national measures that aids the combat against the scourge of drugs. We feel we did not lose the fight against drugs, we reduced the murder rate by 50% in recent years in terms of victims. So that means we achieved something in combatting the drug problem. With regards to legal work, we have institutional committees working on supply and demand reduction. By attacking trafficking of precursors, we worked in a targeted way using a novel concept of inter-institutional security forces including experts and representatives of civil society. We have done a lot in terms of educating schoolchildren and we thank international organizations such as CIDAD and COPOLAD that helped us. We thank those that aided us in our alternative development that don’t just target drug producing regions but also transit areas.
Peggy Chukwuemeka, Parent-Child Intervention Centre: The fight against drug abuse should begin within families, and this is much more effective and would definitely help to discourage demand and supply. At Parent-Child Intervention Centre (PCIC) we believe that if much effort is put in cutting/discouraging demand for drugs, suppliers will find the business no longer profitable and will definitely be forced to switch to other legal business ventures. Parental monitoring and supervision of friendships are critical for drug abuse prevention: rules setting for activities, monitoring friends and social engagements, limiting social networking, empowering reward system for appropriate behavior, consistent discipline that enforces defined family rules all reduce children’s risks and protect against pathology and substance abuse. Many factors at home can influence a child’s attitudes and propensity to use drugs. Among the risk factors in the home environment are psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, living with parents who abuse alcohol and other drugs, witnessing fights at home, parental neglect, parental depression or psychopathology, providing mixed messages about drugs, especially if parents use or abuse drugs, and permission for unlimited access to social networking. Each of these factors can be modified and improvements in the home environment can assist children avoid drug use. Teenagers who are taught the dangers of drug use at home are less likely to use drugs. Certainly, the entertainment world’s glorification of drugs and alcohol contributes to the curiosity in young minds that leads to experimentation. In the light of this, parents should be proactive rather than reactive in managing children’s access to materials that glorifies drug use. Deciding how to censor is a personal choice for the parents; each family has its own set of values and priorities. However, kids are inevitably going to get ideas about drugs from somewhere, so it is always a good idea for them to develop an understanding of the risks at home first. That way, when they meet tempting or unrealistic portrayals of drugs later on, their curiosity will be checked by their knowledge. In light of the familiarity kids have with the world of drugs and alcohol, they need a firm support system at home. Unless they have a solid foundation of knowledge, self-esteem, and family support, kids are more likely to experiment with the drugs in an effort to gain peer group acceptance or just appease curiosity. However, when a deep, meaningful relationship grows out of honest communication, children will be more likely to respect their parents’ advice and choose not to experiment with dangerous substances. In my opinion, this is how Nigeria and the world would become free from the drug abuse. Based on the above opinion, Parent-Child Intervention centre (PCIC) has embarked on a project called “PARENTS FOR PARENTS MOVEMENT”. This is a four years self sponsored project backed up by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Enugu targeted at training available passionate parents who will in turn train other parents, youth leaders and teachers on issues around drug/substance abuse especially as it relates with young people including preventive measures. This project has been on since July 2018 as one of the outcomes from the first ever National Parents’ Summit organized by PCIC in Enugu State Nigeria also based on a research carried out afterwards. We intend to carry it on for the next three years if we are able to get further resources and technical supports. We intend to extend this project to the North Eastern Part of Nigeria since we have started in the South East. We see a lot of potentials in it being an African wide Project. Also with an outcome of parents being more aware of the issues surrounding drug/ substance abuse in order to help fight drug and substance abuse from the home. Also bearing in mind that drug/substance addiction is a health condition and not a criminal offence.
Tatiana Kochetkova, Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD): ENPUD is focused on human and individual rights related to drug use. Today, in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, drug policy is based on criminalization and repressions against people who use drugs. Repressive drug policies lead to arrests for possession of microscopic quantities of drugs, long-term imprisonment, absence or extremely limited access to opioid substitution therapy. By confessing the idea of zero tolerance, the states increase stigma towards people who use drugs, and contribute to increased discrimination, in contradiction with international treaties and declarations that they have signed. The rights of people who use drugs are violated at such a systematic level that it is perceived as the norm. Often, even lawyers and human rights activists do not see problems in the fact that people who use drugs are universally deprived of their rights to health, education, social protection and protection from violence. The repressive bias of drug policies also has a negative impact on the state budget allocation. It is very expensive to criminalize drug possession and, as a result, to keep hundreds of thousands of people in prison. Harm reduction and opioid substitution therapy programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are constantly threatened with closure due to lack of financial resources. But in reality, the problem is not the lack of money, but the fact that governments spend resources on hunting people who use drugs and on prisons, instead of supporting scientifically based approaches to drug use. What future can we build if governments continue to support police brutality, structural violence and discrimination? What kind of security can we talk about if states, instead of improving health and integration of people who use drugs in society, continue to invest their own resources in repression, relying solely on international donors to support harm reduction programs? Governments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are not prepared to openly discuss these issues with the community of people who use drugs. Criticism of the state drug policy in our countries often turns into a charge for drug propaganda, fines and closure of organizations. Even distributing the information about HIV prevention can cause lawsuits against NGOs in several countries in my region. We appreciate the opportunity to meet and address our governments at international platforms, such as this ministerial meeting. But we would also like to see more platforms for political dialogue on drug policy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Morocco: Necessary to run studies and surveys to properly identify aspects of the problem. Have to be balanced and cross sectional. Crack down on supply mercilessly. Endow alternatives to people in vulnerable situations. Address trafficking by drying up financing sources, fighting and combating demand. 21 years ago, our colleagues from Switzerland spoke about experiences with centre for drug addict victims. Came anonymously to get opioid substitution treatment and scientifically shown there was a reduction in crime because people didn’t have to commit offences to gain access to drugs. Health improved with significant drop in mortality rates. This is a cultural revolution. Have to take people as victims who need proper treatment. Nothing can be done in isolation. We need cooperation and coordination. We have to tap into the vast network of NGOs, which are very active and complementary. People with dependencies are mistrustful. NGOs can serve as intermediaries to enable access.
GRULAC: Alternative development models have not been studied in enough depth. Results are variable.
US: We need to turn our words into action at national, regional, and international levels. Time for continued and common shared responsibility to ensure consensus can actually do good in our countries. New psychoactive substances and synthetic drugs require our sincerest efforts in the decade ahead.
WHO: Reiterate that we must promote a comprehensive, balanced, and evidence-based net of policies that put people and human rights at the core. Prevent use and simultaneously ensure medical access. Collaboration and involvement of civil society will be most effective.
Isabel Pereira (CSTF): Tension between human rights and drug control system. We have to give greater hierarchy to human rights. For the future, we have to discuss how we assess the past. Do we consider that we were successful? If we consider the damage, we would have a different future. Colombia is evaluating the past without bearing in mind that situation of people who grow coca has not changed. Cannot look to the future without accounting for the past.