A final inter-sessional meeting is taking place today, before the High Level Segment starts officially on 13th March.
Taking note of the debate
So far, the Mexican request that the Joint Ministerial Statement should acknowledge the “existence of a debate” on drug policy has been accepted, with a new paragraph 7 included as follows:
7. Take note of the ongoing discussions in some regions on how to address the world drug problem, in light of the current situation and policies, and emphasize the importance of a broad, transparent, inclusive, and scientific evidence-based discussion among Member States, with inputs from other relevant stakeholders, as appropriate, in multilateral settings, on the most effective ways to counter the world drug problem consistent with the three international drug control conventions and other relevant international instruments, in order to further implement the commitments and targets set out in the 2009 Political Declaration and its Plan of Action; [agreed]
Two additional paragraphs have been resolved, on harm reduction and corruption. These will be added to the document and presented to the high-level segment for adoption:
“Consider as main challenges in addressing the illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances the need to increase focus, in conformity with the three international drug control conventions and the fundamental principles of domestic legal systems and national legislations of Members States, drug-related health effects, taking into account the specific challenges faced by vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, vulnerable youth, women, including pregnant women, people with medical and psychiatric co-morbidities, ethnic minorities and socially marginalized individuals, and to further promote and strengthen effective national drug strategies based on scientific evidence, with drug demand reduction components that include primary prevention, early intervention, treatment, care rehabilitation, recovery and social reintegration as well as measures aimed at minimizing the public health and social consequences of drug abuse;” [agreed]
The harm reduction euphemism was already agreed in informal informals. The final discussions revolved around the inclusion of “high-risk drug users”. One possible option was to include “… challenges faced by high-risk drug users and vulnerable groups such as …”, but this was unacceptable for Russia, which proposed instead: “… challenges posed by high-risk drug users and faced by vulnerable groups such as …”. This second suggestion was rejected by the Netherlands and Spain. The compromise option agreed upon was to delete “high-risk drug users” altogether from the text.
However, no agreement was reached on the issue of the death penalty. The last attempt at a consensus was as follows: “Take note of the position of the INCB on the imposition of the death penalty for drug-related offences”. However, Russia, China, Thailand and Indonesia could not accept this proposal, while Switzerland, supported by the EU and Mexico, was not willing to take it out.
Both Switzerland and Mexico made it clear that the JMS should be agreed as a ‘package’ and that as long as the issue of the death penalty had not been resolved, nothing would be agreed.
The meeting is now closed.