Committee of the Whole – afternoon session

The first resolution debated today was entitled ‘Promoting community-based drug use prevention‘, co-sponsored by the US, Mexico, Indonesia, Colombia and Israel.

The resolution provoked no debate, and was approved with minor wording amendments. The Russian delegation objected to the term ‘evidence-based’ in the draft, and instead wanted the term ‘reliable’ used. The US agreed to the term, ‘reliable, evidence-based’.

The second resolution discussed was entitled ‘Preventing the use of illicit drugs within Member States and strengthening international cooperation on policies of drug abuse prevention‘, co-sponsored by Finland, Demark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Again, the Russian delegation objected to the use of the term ‘evidence-based’ in the preamble, and wanted the term ‘reliable’ used instead. Finland said the the entire purpose of the resolution was to promote evidence-based practice, therefore it would not agree to take the work out. Another delegation pointed out that the term ‘evidence-based’ is the one used in the 2009 Political Declaration on drugs. Russia withdrew its suggestion.

Russia raised the same point again in paragraph 1 of the operative text. The US suggested adding ‘reliable, evidence-based’ as that was the language accepted in the previous resolution. As described by the US delegate, there is reliable and unreliable evidence. The UK expressed concern that the language was straying into value-based language, and supported the position expressed earlier by Spain that ‘evidence is evidence’.

The second operative paragraph of the draft resolution stated that the CND:

‘Reaffirms its unwavering commitment to ensuring that all aspects of drug prevention are addressed in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’

Pakistan proposed that the three UN drug conventions be inserted in front of the references to the Charter of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

China called for the deletion of any reference the UDHR.

Iran asked the sponsors to ‘explain how the Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter are going to be related to drug prevention’.

France and Argentina defended inclusion of reference to the UDHR, and also argued that as the Charter and UDHR need to come first in the list as the drug conventions are not at same level of law as Charter and UDHR.

Finland responded that ‘the clearest answer to this is to remind that the wording of the paragarph in question follows very specifically the language of the General Assembly Special Session in 1988. It’s part of the agreed language.’

Iran and Pakistan then proposed to add ‘in accordance with national laws and regulations’ at the end of the paragraph.

The US suggested keeping the original language as proposed, as it is language already agreed to only last year, but moving it to the preamble rather than having it an opertaive paragraph. This proposal was accepted by Finland, Norway, Canada and Russia agreed to this proposal.

Iran insisted that it’s new language be accepted, but the Chair indicated she didn’t want to reopen debate on previously agreed language. Finland and Argentina also stated that their governments would not consider reopening discussion on language they agreed last year.

Iran then proposed that the entire agreed language from the Political Declaration be added. That language reads:

‘Reaffirm our unwavering commitment to ensure that all aspects of demand reduction, supply reduction and international cooperation are addressed in full conformity with the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights75 and, in particular, with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, all human rights, fundamental freedoms, the inherent dignity of all individuals and the principles of equal rights and mutual respect among States’

Finland said that it had no problem with using the entire agreed language, but if it is to be used then it must be moved back to being an operational paragraph rather than a preambular one. This was backed by Argentina, pointing out that the paragraph as proposed by Iran is an operative paragraph in the Political Declaration, so should be in the resolution.

The UK stated that the entire language from the Political Declaration strays far outside the terms of this particular resolution, and proposed that discussion on the wording on this paragraph be put off for now, and that the Committee come back to it later.

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