This intersessional meeting was intended as the first day of formal negotiations on the draft of the Joint Ministerial Statement (JMS) for the 2014 High Level Segment. However, the Peruvian Chair stated at the opening that the original plan – to produce a collation of member state comments/proposals, then work through them systematically in three intersessional meetings – had not worked, and had attracted criticism from many member states. He therefore asked that this session be a general ‘brainstorming’ where member states could propose the broad issues and perspectives that they wanted covered in the JMS. As a result, a large number of member states took the floor – some with their views on the process issues, and a greater number outlining their priorities.
The Russian Federation
The compilation is not really in line with what was mandated by the resolution, and is not in conformity with the resolution. We need a brief Ministerial statement. This is a lengthy statement. – 137 paragraphs, and as member states continue to comment, it will probably increase in length, which will make our future negotiations more complicated.
There are also issues regarding the contents of the statement. Overall, as a general impression, we feel that some of these suggestions are not about an objective analysis of the results accomplished and issues to be taken up but go beyond the framework of what had been agreed on and in some cases are in fact in contradiction of the conventions and International Drug control system.
There is a risk that the process of negotiations over a document that is not political unbiased analysis could in fact become a different kind of debate, which take us away from what should be focused on.
A number of paragraphs here are not in line with what was set up in the 2009 Political Declaration.
They are also quite controversial if one looks as how they could be lined up with anti-drug regime worldwide. We suggest that member states should give it further consideration and come up with an optimal structure for negotiations.
We suggest splitting the present draft into two related documents which would be in line with the structure of the original documents:
- Political statement by ministers which could bring together most important political and strategic objectives. This would include an endorsement of commitments made in the 2009 document, and would be within framework of the existing system based on anti-drug conventions. It would include generalized recommendations on how to proceed in the next five years. Structurally, it would be in line with the 2009 political declaration.
- Further actions to implementing the plan of action – or Follow up to 2009. This would be more specific and concrete, reviewing accomplishments of the last five years, analyzing challenges that still remain and the feasible tasks to be accomplished. This would be in line with the original action plan. Once new inputs are proposed by states, they should be considered in specific terms – to what extent are they aligned with 2009 plan of action. If we proceed that way, our work would be more effective and more specific. The conclusion would include practical recommendations – that is, not abstract wishes about what might have been or should have been, but what actually occurred.
The high level review on the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action provides an important opportunity for international community to come to consensus. The Joint Ministerial Statement will provide important guidance for future drug control work. China thanks countries that made contributions and the drafting committee. We would like to carry out consultations with countries on the drafting of the declaration. We associate ourselves with our Russian colleagues’ view – the Ministerial Statement should be concise. We also agree that the document should be divided into two parts.
The declaration should follow the spirit of the conventions and the plan of action.
Preliminary comments on text: we reiterate the general principle indicated in the political declaration – common and shared responsibility that demands integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to supply and demand strategies. The three international conventions remain the cornerstone of the international drug control system. Practices implemented since 2009 fully demonstrate that we should continue to implement an integrated and balanced strategy. The three conventions should be strengthened, not weakened.
On demand reduction, the public health approach receives a lot of attention. We acknowledge that public health plays an important role, but at the same time, we are of the view that law enforcement should also receive due attention. Strengthening is the basis for ensuring public health approach and its effectiveness. Without the deterrence of serious drug related crimes, the public health approach can hardly be put in practice. Both methods are complimentary. So if we over-emphasize one approach, this is excessive, and does not comply with spirit of the Political Declaration and will not achieve the desired results. On the contrary, it may send the wrong signal and undermine peoples’ awareness about harm of drugs and compromise international drug control effort.
On supply reduction, we agree with the proposal by some delegations. While giving some attention to public health and social welfare, we should also pay attention to the harms caused by drug trafficking to social security. Therefore, we should continue to strengthen law enforcement within the framework of conventions. We should also pay attention to the new problem of selling drugs on the internet. We must explore innovative law enforcement process to tackle the issue. With regards to the appropriateness of penalties of drug-related crimes, we believe that all countries are entitled to adopt corresponding sanctions on the basis of their national law and the basis of severity of drug-related crimes. To cite the so-called international standards that do not exist to limit the autonomy of countries can only give rise to dispute.
Like other delegations we attach importance to synthetic drugs, in particular new psychoactive substances (NPS). We are concerned about the spread. China would like to share its experience and relevant data on controlling these drugs as well as law enforcement practices. We also believe that relevant international institutions, including WHO should play a more active role, within their mandate in controlling NPS. UNODC and INCB should play an important role in assisting countries in implementing the three drug conventions. We should also intensify our support and cooperation with UNODC and the INCB.
We fully acknowledge the active role of civil society. We welcome the contributions of relevant NGOs to the process. However, they should comply with relevant rules of procedure and they should not compromise the nature of the high level review as an intergovernmental process.
The current draft statement is not too long. It should contain an analysis on three main pillars:
Establishing supposed links between drugs and terrorism, corruption, etc. should be further clarified.
Common and shared responsibility is the cornerstone and should be emphasized.
We should commit ourselves to strengthening prevention, particularly with regard to most vulnerable groups – children and young people.
With regards to supply reduction, efforts are currently focused on international assistance on countries that traffic. The INCB and UNODC reports show that transit countries have been particularly affected. That should be a focus. In addition, the concept of alternative development is not integrated – we must take the sustainability of alternative development into account. International cooperation should also be strengthened to ensure sustainability. Preventive alternative development is something that is not linked to access international markets – products are consumed domestically. This issue should be better analysed. All of the implementation issues should be addressed in this review.
Lithuania, on behalf of the European Union
We strongly believe that the final statement should be action-oriented and concise as a political declaration without making specific references to different countries and initiatives. It should be balanced, attaching equal weight to demand and supply. We attach great weight to civil society.
Once the amendment to the convention came into force, member states observed with concern that the trend to abuse illicit drugs has further deteriorated. Many member states realize that illicit trafficking poses a direct threat to health, promotes crime, and undermines security. It also causes economic and social damage to the structure of society. This is stated in the preambular part of 1961 convention, and suffering continues today.
The solution is very complex, and can only be reached collectively through cooperation in the international framework, through shared responsibility. Only then can we accomplish tangible results. Policies should be pursued in a sustainable manner based on legal instruments in force. There are binding provisions in the conventions with regard to alternative or traditional use of drugs.
Nicaragua attaches particular importance to preventive alternative development. International cooperation underlines this (see Para 1 of resolution 56-12). Poverty and lack of education provide fertile ground for the drug problem. It is the most disenfranchised parts of our population that are the most affected. Development is directly linked. According to article 10 of the 1988 convention, parties should cooperate with transit and developing countries through technical cooperation to intercept the entry of illicit drugs. Parties to the convention are asked to strengthen the infrastructure in transit countries to step up interception. Cooperation is key to that.
The statement should also highlight the CND status as the leading policy-making body in the UN system. The CND should play the leading role in preparing 2016 UNGASS.
We support Resolution 56-12. While seeking consensus on the statement in the coming weeks and months, we will likely spend time on disagreements. We must consider progress made in the past decade. We have made some achievements through the dedicated work of national authorities and international cooperation.
The US has made progress on demand reduction. Many innovate, we are testing alternatives to incarceration, which have enabled us to move forward on evidence-based drug policy reform.
There is also significant improvement in eradication and alternative development, for example in Colombia, Thailand and Peru. To be successful, alternative development must be part of an innovative strategy, along with eradication and strong law enforcement.
There has also been significant success in anti-money laundering. Almost every jurisdiction in the world has committed to the strategy. We have kept billions of dollars out of the hands of terrorists and criminals. We will continue to look to the INCB and UNODC for support.
Remaining challenges include substitute chemicals, new routes for trafficking, new psychoactive drugs or drugs that have not been controlled as meriting attention. Abuse has skyrocketed. We must be nimble and flexible as the actions of these criminals evolve. We should consider temporary emergency measures to ban substances.
We align our position to colleague from Lithuania. We insist on the need to look to evidence. What does evidence tell us where we are? The World Drug Report gives us information. Demand and supply stable for many years. The goals of the political declaration to eliminate drug markets are not any closer. There are implications for the lack of results for drug policy. Debates are taking place in the western hemisphere.
Achievements – evidence- and human rights-based programs implemented have been successful. UNODC plays a very significant role. A number of countries have also achieved results in terms of curbing HIV/AIDS. Sadly, there are still huge differences. We will not achieve our 50% reduction in HIV infections among injecting drug users target worldwide – although some countries made great progress, others did not. The success of evidence based programs means that we should call on countries to discontinue programs not based on evidence.
In terms of availability of drugs, many countries have no access to painkillers. We need to highlight this as the main aim of the conventions.
Finally, we agree with our colleague from Russia who said that we should come up with a brief document, but there should not be two documents.
There has been a 17% reduction in illegal coca production. The Bolivian community-level program is in the hands of communities who voluntarily decide not to grow. It is very interesting in terms of human rights-based on consensus. It is not a violent approach. We will include a paragraph or item on this in the Statement.
We have to live with the 2009 Declaration and conventions, we can’t rewrite them, but many challenges and changes did happen since then.
Police, security, health safety, have been our focus until now. But the drug business is about profit. It is economic in nature. States’ responses don’t take into account the economic angle. So this is in line with introductory statement. It is a macroeconomic problem. We need to increase our knowledge in order to deal with this aspect of drug trafficking. We need to consider our current policies and deal with economic aspects. We must also focus on the control of chemical substances. There is a growing trend in criminal circles to find other chemical substances, and new diversion methods. We need to increase international cooperation as a response.
We share concerns over the length of the current draft statement. There are more than a dozen mentions of evidence-based policies and alternative development. Canada supports this. But there is no mention of the important role of money laundering. Impunity and social exclusion as a result of the drug trade foster violence. There are no more special sessions to debate drug policy. The risks are distracting us from current commitments. We ask the Chair to produce a draft of substantially reduced length based on today’s contributions rather than revise paragraph by paragraph.
We also agree on the production of a single document, rather than two, and one that is more precise. Look back at the 2009 Declaration and what we have been able to achieve. There are areas where we have been successful, and others where there is room for improvement. We must explore new avenues to update the international drug control vision. We must adopt a multi-disciplinary or comprehensive approach, touching on public health, public safety and public security, so we can see where there is a need for action or change.
We support evidence-based approaches as stated by the Netherlands and Lithuania. We also welcome the input of NGOs and the Secretariat where we can find all the information.
We need to discuss the substance of the Statement in detail – the vision, concept, it is not just a drafting exercise. Are we going to compare supply reduction with demand reduction? We have to review the implementation of both the political declaration and the plan of action. If the result is one or two documents, this is not important. The most important thing is that the document we produce is in conformity with the 2009 Political Declaration and Resolution 56-12.
We highlight the pivotal role of the CND. We would like to see the CND as taking the lead on drug-related issues in the UN. The document appears to focus more on achievements and challenges of developing countries. According to the principle of shared responsibilities, there needs to be more balance. We appreciate the views of civil society, but we emphasize the primacy of governments in countering these challenges.
There are emerging problems included in the INCB 2012 report. There is an ongoing move toward the legalization of drugs. This is having a huge impact on efforts toward demand reduction. This aspect is left out of the document.
References to public safety and security – the statement also makes repeated references to the controversial term “evidence-based measures”. We would like to see the exact contours of this terminology defined and clearly laid down.
There are linkages between the world drug problem and development. There is an implied interpretation of the linkage. Effective countering of world drug problem is based on development. We need a more balanced terminology. It implies that where there is underdevelopment, then the world drug problem cannot be countered. There should be a change of approach by replacing law enforcement with preventive and treatment without striking an appropriate balance may not be useful.
The statement overemphasizes certain geographical regions while ignoring others, which needs more attention. The reference to unintended consequences of supply reduction measures is very vague and requires further elaboration. There are certain elements that we need to reflect on more emphatically. The consumption of cannabis and legal highs need to be emphasized.
We also promote an evidence-based approach. We need to review accomplishments of five years since 2009 and future challenges. We must look at where things have changed – there is no consensus about some things. We need a balanced approach in treating drug problems, with equal attention paid to supply and demand reduction. These are the principle pillars of whole effort. Demand reduction should focus on health-related activities with the support of judiciary and law enforcement. By contrast, supply reduction should focus on actions of police, prosecutors, etc. with the support of health care.
There should be a balance among various components. Inclusive means a constructive and balanced dialogue involving all institutions – UNODC, etc. as well as civil society, “of course”. It is critical for the interests of Mexico to approach drug problem in an integrated way. Prevention should involve public health to prevent violence, social integration, reduction of risks relating to drug related violence, sharing and using best practices, closer interaction among producer and consumer countries on a basis of parity, access to international markets. We also emphasize that analysis should be based on accumulated experience.
The Draft Ministerial Statement does have all the essential ingredients.
In addition, though, we want to promote the following:
- international cooperation in identification and reporting on NPS involving public health and law enforcement collaboration.
- Effective, evidence based drug policies. Some say it is “balance”
- Finally, we stress the importance that Australia places on the availability of internationally controlled substances for medical purposes. This issue has been addressed by the CND, there is a broad consensus about huge need in this area, particularly in the developing world and in vast majority of countries. This has to be recognized as well as the steps required to redress lack of access for essential pain relief medicines. Some civil society representatives have been putting forward views on this also. The language that is on the table is an excellent starting point but we may need to strengthen this and maintain focus on this. The other part of the drug control conventions includes the provision of drugs for medical purposes. We should not miss this opportunity as the international community is recognizing this.
The document should be forward looking. We need to strengthen mechanisms that will bear witness to our achievements and lead to a more positive outlook for our societies. In Latin America, a lot of progress has been made, with the OAS leaders meeting in Antigua and Guatemala, would like the declaration to be circulated by CND secretariat as an official document. We call for an integrated policy for the drug problem in Latin America.
We agree with China and Pakistan. Frontier country combatting drug trafficking is a world problem so that international cooperation is required and essential. Cooperation between source, transit and destination countries should be highlighted. We stress the vital role of the INCB as a competent organ to implement conventions.
Transit countries should be kept in the text. There needs to be more international attention. We receive bidirectional threats. Drugs coming into transit countries affect our borders as they move to consumer countries. All transit countries have to suffer this. We should make links with terrorism and security. This worries us and we believe we can be rational in our references and reach the right balance in our text. We also have doubt about the last chapter – we have proposed topics for further discussion. We use of “illicit drugs”, “drug abuse”, etc. – there should be a standardized way of discussing the issue and use the right terms.
Following all these interventions, the Chairman summarized (at 12.30, after only 2 hours of debate) that no further progress could be made at this intersessional, that the clear preference of MS was for the secretariat to produce a new Chairman’s draft based on all written and spoken interventions, and that he would try to compile this draft by 6th October. He therefore asked all MS to send any further perspectives on what should be in that draft to him by 3rd October (next Thursday).