Committee of the Whole – Resolution on International Cooperation to Address the Role of Women and Girls as Drug Couriers

The morning session of the Committee of the Whole of the CND which is the forum for negotiating the text and adoption of state sponsored resolutions began today by continuing the debate on the resolution of Namibia and the African Group on the use of women and girls as couriers – E/CN.7/2009/L.7

Ecuador introduced a new aspect to the debate suggesting that the resolution should include an urge upon Member States and to develop and the UNODC to assist with the development of ‘preventive’ alernative development because it is these development issues which cause women and girls to become involved in trafficking activities in the first place.

Switzerland suggested that it might be premature to include such a commitment when we do not know yet the extent of the problem. The USA then suggested, in the words of the chairman ‘diluting’ the phrase so that it read ‘in developing and implementing such programmes including inter alia preventative alternative development as appropriate.’

Ecuador was concerned and made an intervention that ‘the first kind of text makes sure that vulnerable sections of the population do not get involved in drug trafficking. We are not asking for funding, we are not asking for extra budget. I don’t think ‘as appropriate’ has a place here. Mexico has accepted the phrase ‘including preventive, alternative development’ for a specific reason – in that country, these programmes are not implemeneted but further than that i don’t think we need more caveats. As for the Swiss proposal i do agree with you that broad based programmes are not sufficient and the language we agreed on earlier seems clearer and more to the point – we must take measures that women or children are not involved in drug trafficking. We must also say something about sustainable economic development and programme. I don’t know if USA could accept that. If they could, we could go along with ‘as appropriate’.

The Chairperson noted that this debate was reminscent of the debate for the political declaration and action plan. The US then conceded ‘bearing in mind that this language had been approved in other places’ the first compromise of Ecuador.

The other debates which remained from yesterday were also resolved. It was resolved that the resolution will speak to ‘women and girls’ specifically, rather than women and children – as a gender specific emphasis was required with regards to the vulnerability here sought to be addressed.

The budgetary issue was solved by the following compromise operative paragraph: ‘the CND requests UNODC to carry out scientific research and analysis on existing information and statistical data as collected from member states on activities related to illicit drug trafficking in which women and girls are involved at national and international levels’. This means that the Member States will contribute the information and the UNODC will only be responsible for the carrying out of the analysis and thereby not incur further costs. The result is that the reporting requirement for the implementation of this resolution remains the fify fourth session of the CND as per the original draft.

The chapeau to the resolution was finalised as ‘promoting international co-operation in addressing the involvement of women and girls in drug trafficking, especially as couriers.’

The final and full text of the agreed resolution is yet to be published by the UNODC but should come out shortly

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