Chair (Ambassador Shamaa) started with Res 57/5 – UNGASS on world drug problem (WDP) – recap of the resolution: ‘Adequate, inclusive and effective preparatory process” and the need of involving all stakeholders. Four intersessional meetings were held in past few months and these were webcast. And a number of lunchtime interactive sessions have been held and a website has been launched to promote an open and transparent dialogue. The resolution 57/5 states that the CND shall lead an open-ended process and this is now approved by ECOSOC and 3rd Committee of the General Assembly. There is a proposal for a CND Bureau (L.17 Rev 1) which is a draft decision tabled by Thailand and Austria.
Thailand: This is to help implementation of res. 57/5, a lot of work has advanced since March but we need to ensure continuity by CND as lead body for the UNGASS preparations. Thailand and Austria want to follow usual practice and elect a dedicated bureau tasked with preparations of the UNGASS to ensure the coherence and effective division of labour of the preparation. This bureau would be open to members and non- members of CND and would facilitate participation of all stakeholders to make the preparatory process truly inclusive. Draft decision should be adopted by consensus
Chair: Can we adopt? (Quite eager to get this passed)
Mexico: We thought we were trying to achieve consensus. Some language was proposed to address the concerns of my country and this draft decision to adopt doesn’t reflect our suggestions. We do not support it and cannot give approval. Will there be a vote?
Namibia (Speaking on behalf of the African Group): We were comfortable with the first draft but need time to consult on this new draft.
Italy (Speaking on behalf of the EU): Thanks Thailand and Austria. Please include Italy as sponsors of the text. This decision to lead and support the process for the UNGASS preparations.
Russia: Thanks to Austria and Thailand for draft decision 17. Rev. 1. It is a good way forward for preparing the UNGASS and we want to be co-authors of draft decision.
Colombia: The Colombian delegation does not support the decision. Other ways to prepare for the UNGASS should be found. The delegation hopes this meeting will find an alternative approach.
Austria: This has been tabled one month ago and has been the subject at several informals. We will show flexibility and ask the Chair to suspend meeting for 30 minutes to try to find consensus.
(The meeting was adjourned for several hours from 11am until around 3.30pm, with many representatives from capitals feeling frustrated that no substantive discussion was taking place)
Chair: No agreement was reached still on the draft decision so we will suspend discussions for now.
(There were then a series of video statements from other UN agencies)
Video statement from Mr Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy SG:
We have high expectations for UNGASS. It is a unique opportunity for a global open debate to place health, human rights at the heart of the response to world drug problem. We must have passion and compassion to tackle this problem. We need to tackle it with more social, economic and cultural responses. We must find alternatives to incarceration and drug users need help and social support. The most vulnerable in drug chain need our compassion and assistance. The criminal justice response must apply those who are selling drugs but not drug users. The UN is engaged on all these fronts. UN System Task Force has prepared a paper [LINK?] I Welcome plans for high-level thematic debate at next year’s GA session. We call on all for ideas in search for durable solutions…
UNODC (Aldo Lale-Demoz on behalf of Fedotov): UNGASS will have inclusive substantive discussions with the CND as the lead. The collective response must address both supply and demand –a balanced approach. Lives are lost and societies torn apart because of drugs…. We need to protect health and welfare of humankind.
Video message from the Department of Political Affairs (DPA):
We underscore the important work you are embarking on. DPA is faced with drug trafficking organisations using sizeable resources to impose a threat to peace and security… this affects DPA’s work directly… Our missions are working to deliver on these mandates and sometimes we feel we are flying blind when it comes to collecting data on these issues. UNODC’s work in this regard is very important. The DSG reminded us, it is complex problem that requires a complex response. The UN System Task Force on Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime was set up by the Secretary General and some taskforce members are already submitting papers to the CND for the UNGASS. The work you are embarking on has implications for the 3 pillars of the UN – human rights, development and security.
Video message from DPKO:
TOC groups in conflict situations have some dynamics in common. The illegal trafficking networks are used for many different goods… expand from criminality to legitimate businesses.
Video message from UNDP (by Skype)
Helen Clarks places huge importance on this. UNDP does not have mandate on drugs but this affects human development. Drug control has not had the desired effects. There have been many negative and harmful consequences of the policies. The main cost is being paid by the most vulnerable… women, youth and indigenous populations. The central preoccupation of reducing supply and demand needs to change and we must put health, development and wellbeing at the centre of drug policies and increase health and wellbeing and fulfillment of basic human rights, including access to essential medicines! This is an important time to have this debate – more active involvement from UN family is needed and UNDP wants to enrich the debate from the perspective human rights, health and development. We are writing a paper on the impact of drugs and drug policies on human development. Drug policy must recognise the primacy of human rights and human development. The UN’s involvement should be about furthering goals of peace, development and human rights – does the treaty regime reinforce this? We must open up and nurture the debate!
Video message from UNAIDS:
Alison Crocket: We have long since recognized a more expansive response to HIV than a medical approach. If we are going to tackle new HIV infections, we need to attend to the critical enablers – such as challenging laws and practices which inhibit the development of services that affectively address the needs of people who use drugs. We need to enhance the public health and human rights agenda on this issue. The new target set in 2011 for 2015 of halving all new infections among people who use drugs will not be met. UNAIDS has been reflecting on how to scale up our effects. NSP and OST and ARV are the most important interventions to halt and reverse the HIV epidemic. UNAIDS strongly supports member states in this discussion… we stand ready to take part in analysis and help the deliberations.
Maria Renstrom, who was present: We are committed to strengthening the public health approach. Our paper is on UNGASS website. Key areas where WHO are active:
- Prevention of drug use and treatment of drug use
- Recommending PH response to IDU and HIV – hepC and TB
- Ensuring access to medicines
- Reviewing – ECDD
- Impact of drug use and drug use disorders
- Prevention and treatment for drug use needs to be strengthened, in all 5 areas
- Protection of young people is one of the pillars of UN conventions.
- Prevention of road traffic deaths
- IDU – evidence based approaches… IDU is a major risk factor in HIV. Comprehensive package is widely endorsed. Structural barriers needs to be addressed.
- WHO recommends harm reduction be provided in prisons and closed settings.
- Access to essential medicines
- Organize meeting on health harms of cannabis use in 2015?
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
- Death penalty should not be applied solely for drug offences.
- Criminalisation and the prohibition of drug injecting paraphernalia facilities HIV and HepC
- Criminalisation has resulted in lack of access to opiates…
- Arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment… withholding OST to extract confessions
- Compulsory Drug Detention and Rehabilitation Centres is also a source of concern — no evidence base and reports of abuses.
- Indigenous practices – should be protected as declaration of rights of indigenous peoples.
- Discrimination and right to equality eroded by drug enforcement activity
- Committee on RC – drug using children should not be criminalized and do not have access to services. Crop spraying also affects children… as does being incarcerated in CCDU.
Ungass 2016 – moment to evaluate the achievements and analyze the challenges before us. Successful policies such as AD and strengthen these. Call for debates on alternatives that make our responses more effective. Anti- drug polices must be pursued within the conventions…. Address components in an effective manner. Common and shared responsibility is very important. This delegate expresses gratitude for the revised non-paper and agree with the substantive topics to be considered. Support proposal for a high level debate in the UNGASS plenary – pleased that the number of workshops reduced to four. The CND should continue being a leader in the UNGASS. Peru believes this must be carried out in an inclusive manner…supports the decision to create ad-hoc bureau.
This is an important moment to review polices – those that have worked, those that have failed. Serious concerns about existing drug policy – we think it’s time for a new approach that considers the backdrop of poverty among Latin American peasants and small dealers as weakest link in drug trafficking without questioning place in hierarchy won’t question social integration. We need to focus on comprehensive analysis. Ecuador is forging a vision – setting aside mandates that have nothing to do with our people. Our charter recognizes that drugs is a public health issue and we have effectively decriminalized drug users. With OAS and brotherly countries in the region have made significant advances in this new approach. Focus on reducing supply and demand is overly simplistic and does not recognize centuries old traditions – we also needs to look at social and economic issues – if we don’t look at this dimension, we will continue to believe that repression is the right approach. We support a new international convention on drugs, to recognize the practices of our culture and peoples, a new convention that focuses on unlimited respect of human rights, full respect of cultural of peoples and nature. We need to readjust our drug policy according to new parameters. The new international convention on drugs based on shared responsibility of governance. Ecuador is moving towards a policy that is respectful of our cultural diversity and currently is regulating possession for use. 15 years of designing support programmes – preventative AD. Based on these premises, we would state that Ecuador has complied with international agreements on drugs but it is time to start discussing change.
Austria: Now back with new decision document which should take care of the concerns. We would consistently replace word ‘bureau’ with ‘UNGASS committee tasked by the Commission’ – it is a bureau but not called a bureau so we don’t have to deal with the ECOSOC rules. So nothing has changed just the semantics.
Mexico: There is an attempt to precipitate a decision here and we have come closer to consensus but have not finalized this process. My delegation is still working on certain amendments that we have shared with Austria and copies should be made for both proposals so that all delegations have them. The main concern is that this committee that should be clearly placed under the chairmanship of the CND chairs in the 58th and 59th sessions. The chair can then organize the work of the committee. This committee is to support the chairman. This is in line with general practice and is line with GA procedure and has no financial implications. There is also new para to coordinate with the President of the GA as per the omnibus resolution.
Austria: We are trying to find a difficult consensus and we have shown real flexibility.
Namibia – We support Austria and agree with the elements for continuity in the UNGASS preparations.
Russia – We must always try to reach consensus and nobody should impose their will on others… we believe that these conditions have been met in the efforts. It is a fragile and complex compromise. We want to move on to discuss the substantive issues.
Mexico – if this is really a semantic issue then why is there resistance? There is a fundamental difference about whether the proposed bureau sits under the leadership of the chairman of CND. Many other delegations support our text (most Latin Americans). What is the Spirit of Vienna? We should find consensus but should not allow a majority to impose its will on others, unless it is through a vote.
Austria: We plead with Mexico not to insist on these changes.
Pakistan: The Asian group perspective has not been taken into account. Coming to the new proposal we are seeing from Austria, we don’t agree and suggest that the basis of discussion is the first draft not this third draft and place this under agenda item 12 to discuss later.
Uruguay: I am not sure what the Vienna Spirit is. There is two proposals but delegates only have a copy of one. Austria keeps saying it is semantics, but we understand it not only semantics. Why do we not see the second draft? That’s the Vienna Spirit?
Iran: If there is a chance to change some wording let’s do it or move it to agenda item 12.
Netherlands: I do believe we are quite close to each other but I support moving this discussion to agenda item 12. If we are that close then let’s give it more time. There is no need to threaten with votes and we can continue discussion tomorrow (or Friday?)
Colombia: Amid all of our differences – we agree at least on the establishment on the committee. My country also submitted a proposal that was not taken up. We think it is important to find a resolution to the subject as per Mexico’s suggestion to reach decision soon as we don’t want continue to discuss this matter. We are spending a lot of time discussing a procedural matter – we should be turning to substantive matters and we haven’t reached the consensus yet.
China: This delegation is willing to discuss procedural matters… but we have two texts so delegations need more time to discuss – We support Pakistan, Iran, NL and Colombia. Move subject from item 9 to 12 and to continue tomorrow.
Namibia (on behalf of the African group): The Namibian delegation goes back to original text co-sponsored by African group. Also co-sponsored by Asian group.
Pakistan: Would also be considered with agenda item 3 (CCPCJ). We support the same text… basis of discussion is the original text… it is an operational draft decision – same as agenda item 3 of the CCPCJ….
Iran: We are very close to agreement – request 10 mins…
Chair: Delegations must submit proposals then will be distributed. Will resume consideration of this tomorrow afternoon and hopefully in the meantime, hopefully cosponsors will come together and try to work out a compromise.
Sweden: We are not implementing three conventions in a way that we could be. The decision in 2009 was very good, including the five different targets. We should really go into the targets and see what we are doing well, what is not functioning, what is missing, what we are not fulfilling. We have to go more to substance, with agencies, World Bank and other regional development banks on substance and to look at what they are doing. How can drug users and anti-drug programs be included in programs? How can we support country programs to highlight drug abuse and anti-drug question? UNODC very small, with small budget. UNODC can catalyse growth, and Bretton Woods’s institutions could take over. The Third committee decision on high level dialogue should be discussed. We are inviting Bretton Woods institutions to come to NY and find out how they are going to be more involved in the fight against drugs together with UNODC.
Switzerland: – procedural issue – agenda item 12 – not related to issue L.17. Take up issue again on Friday – item 13 or 14. Should not be dealt with in a joint meeting.
NL: – same as Switz – wise to reconvene to discussion L.17.]
Chair – We will reconvene on the issue of this decision tomorrow afternoon…