Day 3: Informal Dialogue with Executive Director of the UNODC, Yuri Fedotov

The informal dialogue starts of with a question to Mr Fedotov about access to opioid-based pain relief medicines. Mr Fedotov agrees and states that the conventions are not intended to be prohibitive but are intended to control drugs. Following this there is a question, highlighting the experiences about Canada, Israel and the Netherlands, on access to Medical Marijuana. In response Mr Fedotov reiterates his earlier statement about the conventions and points out it is an important concern they are raising with member states. He goes on to state that there are issues to lack of funding and in terms of providing pain relief medicines, there is a in some countries a lack of medical culture. He stresses the need for support from international countries in this respect.

In response to a question about the role of the UNODC in the UN Task Force Mr Fedotov stresses that they cannot achieve the millennium development goals without combating organised crime. Fedotov also mentions the thematic debate of General Assembly this year will be on drugs and that this year it coincides with International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the release of the world drug report. They plan to release the world drug report in the General Assembly meeting.

A question is put forward to Mr Fedotov about the lack of funding for NGO’s and it is urged that the UNODC invests more to capitalise on the work of the NGO’s. Mr Fedotov responds that the situation is difficult at the moment but they are hoping that more funds will be provided by the emerging donor countries (China, Brazil etc). Also it is suggest by Mr Peron that there needs to be more coordination with member states so they can earmark funds for the NGO sector.

Suggestions are put forward to Mr Fedotov that the UNODC should make efforts to webcast the proceedings of CND and also post the speeches on the internet and Mr Fedotov answers that the UNODC is already making efforts to improve transparency via the internet and he himself is engaging with NGOs via Twitter.

Fedotov makes a statement that all policies in drug treatment should be humane and based on human rights. Punishment is not a solution treatment is a solution. More and more law enforcement agencies are trying to achieve a more civilised approach in the spirit of the conventions. Treatment is the solution and the UNODC promotes a one-stop shop model, all services are needed and should be offered together in a comprehensive way, this includes opioid substitution therapy and needle exchange programs, but it is not limited to these mechanisms and must include rehabilitation and reintegration of people into society.

The executive director of INPUD asks Mr Fedotov if he is suggesting that people receiving OST cannot be integrated into society. Mr Fedotov responds by reiterating the commitment for a humane approach for drug addicted persons who need treatment, he stresses that the conventions are clear and that they allow prescription medication, the decision to provide OST and NSP needs to be decided at the medical level. In terms of methadone treatment Fedotov states that it is more efficient to rehabilitate and reintegrate people into society, that this is a priority for the UNODC and the have increased their rehabilitation treatment from 8 million to 14 million and the HIV budget is 40 million. There is another comment from the floor stating that some people might require OST treatment indefinitely.

Mr Fedotov states that OST and NSP are issues that should not be politicised. Mr Peron states that the issue has been hyper-politicised and that the UNODC needs to make clear the relevant language and depoliticise the issue.

In response to a question about how can children and young people be placed at the forefront of drug policy Mr Fedotov states that they are launching a project with a webpage and Facebook page and he hopes it will be supported by everyone including NGOS.

A question is put forward by a representative from SIN (Poland) about the 1961 convention causing greater harm to young people than the problems that the conventions aim to protect them from. Mr Fedotov responds that they are supposed to be protected and he considers the conventions as controlling substances and as conventions motivated to protect young people and health. He reminds us that all representatives from member states mentioned the need to keep the conventions as the bedrock of the need to protect the health of people.

There is confusion about the changing of the wording about OST from what was agreed with the WHO in the executive note to the commission. Gilbert Gerra says he does not know about the editing, apologises and says he will double check.

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