ECOSOC 2014 Session: Item 17 on social and human rights questions

The Economic and Social Council met on 15th and 16th July, during its  2014 Session to discuss item 7 on Social and Human Rights Questions. Item 17(d) focused on narcotic drugs (A/69/87–E/2014/80, E/2013/28/Add.1, E/2014/28 and E/INCB/2013/1). A summary of the discussions is available below.

Introductory statements

President INCB

  • At a time when discussions and actions against the conventions are being taken, INCB continues working to ensure the conventions are upheld, particularly leading up to the 2016 UNGASS
  • INCB 2013 report was presented to the 57th CND, as it is a treaty obligation
  • Significant achievements and new challenges since the beginning of the conventions
  • Critical that governments and intergovernmental bodies review progress made on the World Drug Problem, and identify strategies to address the challenges
  • Thematic chapter of INCB 2013 report is on economic consequences of drug abuse, particularly on vulnerable populations such as children and women
  • Prevention is a wise investment choice – demand reduction as the best form of supply reduction and alternative development – far from successful – not enough treatment available
  • Need to invest in families and communities – prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and social integration
  • Recall that the preamble of the three drug control conventions is about the “health and welfare of mankind” – this is at the very core of the international drug control system – INCB reiterates this goal
  • 92% of global licit use of morphine is consumed by 17% of the population – clearly have a palliative care problem – must increase accessibility of these medicines – reduce overprescribing
  • Amount of opiate raw materials available is more than sufficient to satisfy demand needed for medicines – global stocks are increasing – but capacity building is needed to enhance the ability of states to estimate the amount of medicines they need and to get the medicines where they are needed
  • With the help of civil society and the WHO, we can improve access to these medicines through the licit trade and reduce their diversion to the illicit trade
  • New psychoactive substances (NPS) pose a challenge in all regions – traffickers have switched to using nonscheduled substances as precursors
  • Project ION (International Operations on NPS) to combat this challenge – helps share real time information and launch investigations
  • States that are not members of the conventions (primarily in Oceania) should join immediately 
  • Uruguay’s cannabis regulation violates the 1961 convention
  • Colorado and Washington are also a concern
  • INCB continuing to discuss with US and Uruguay about complying with the conventions
  • INCB invited the WHO to examine the medicinal properties of cannabis and the harm involved
  • Afghanistan is highly concerning – INCB and government cooperation has improved in recent years
  • Africa of concern – trafficking has become accompanied with consumption
  • Political situation in West Africa marked by security risks, including drug trafficking – governments should step up to acknowledge these threats
  • Balkan route remains most commonly used route, however, the amount of heroin trafficked along this route declined in the last year
  • East and South East Asia demand for heroin and ATS is concerning
  • INCB relies on the support of member states
  • Civil society has an important role to play
  • Must recall again that the conventions are vital and ensure they are upheld

Chair of CND

  • 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action has three pillars: 1) Demand reduction, 2) Supply reduction, and 3) Countering money laundering and promoting judicial cooperation
  • Preparatory process for HLS consisted of a series of inter-sessionals and informal meetings
  • HLS took place from 13-14 March 2014
    • General debate took place – roundtable on three pillars in parallel
    • Adopted the Joint Ministerial Statement by consensus
  • Regular 57th Session of CND from 17-21 March 2014
    • Adopted 11 resolutions and recommending 1 resolution for adoption by the GA
    • 44 side events
    • APAAN and its optical isomers included in the 1988 Conventions – adopted unanimously
    • Dronabinol proposed to be rescheduled but not adopted
    • Resolution 57/5 about UNGASS adopted
  • Intensive consultation process has begun with all stakeholders to ensure an adequate, inclusive, and effective preparatory process as requested in resolution 57/5 – first inter-sessional meeting held on June 10
  • Inter-sessionals will continue throughout autumn with the objective of dedicating one day to an UNGASS special session during the reconvened CND in December and the same during the 58th CND
  • All welcome to contribute to the UNGASS website in the sprit of an adequate, inclusive, and effective preparatory process

General discussion

Mexico

  • Importance of the role of the CND as the specialized body of ECOSOC assigned to the World Drug Problem and the monitoring role it plays – pleased to hear the CND reports
  • Declaration adopted at HLS is an important preparatory document for the UNGASS – 15 years after the 1998 UNGASS, the World Drug Problem continues to pose a serious threat
  • Mexico reiterates the importance of the UNGASS to renew the political commitments to address this scourge – fundamental importance to prepare properly – broad-based and inclusive – based on scientific evidence – joint definition of alternatives to addressing the problem – debate must guarantee the participation of all relevant actors
  • Involvement of the GA President is essential
  • UNGASS 2016 will offer a valuable opportunity to address the drug challenge
  • Mexico will continue to participate and seek an inclusive, robust and substantive preparatory process to ensure the UNGASS 2016 has concrete results
  • Support resolution that will be presented to ECOSOC

Russia

  • Consistently and actively stresses the need for consolidation of the international community response to threats in the anti-drug and anti-crime fields to support peace and stability and the protection of human rights
  • CND and UNODC highly important
  • Illegal production and trade of drugs is one of the most serious threats to international trade and security
  • Russia particularly challenged by Afghanistan – scope of the expansion of Afghan drug can reach new dimensions – must tackle this problem – highlighted by UNSC recently
  • Importance of consistent implementation of all states and international organizations of a comprehensive and balanced approach to the World Drug Problem – prerequisite to the effective functioning of the international drug control system
  • Step up work to reach the goals of the 2009 Political Declaration by 2019 – UNGASS 2016 should be a milestone towards that goal
  • CND is the governing body of international drug control – this will be strengthened in preparation for UNGASS 2016
  • Most keep work of NGOs in line with the work of states

Action on recommendations contained in the reports of the subsidiary bodies (16th July)

Report of Commission on Narcotic Drugs – Reconvened 56th Session

Draft decision for adoption by the council – “Report of the CND on its Reconvened 56thSession” – There was no comment from the Council and the decision was adopted. There was no comments after the adoption of the decision. 

Report of Commission on Narcotic Drugs – 57th Session

  • Draft resolution for recommendation by the council to the General Assembly – “Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem to be held in 2016”: No comment from the Council so the resolution was adopted. There was no comment after the adoption.
  • Draft decision – Report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its 57th Session and Provisional Agenda for its 58th Session: No comment from the Council so the decision was adopted. There was no comment after the adoption.
  • Draft decision – Report of the INCB: No comment from the Council so the decision was adopted. There was no comment after the adoption.

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