Following a two-hour informal session, Member States reconvened just after 5pm to discuss the agenda for the special segment of CND focused on the UNGASS (to take place 9th-12th March 2015):
Switzerland: The importance of including access to essential medicines… [The connection was interrupted].
France: The France delegation is trying to introduce new elements. We don’t totally agree to include “while preventing” [HIV]. We could find a compromise language to address this concern.
Pakistan: References made to terrorism should be included (“Where appropriate and in some cases.”)
Russia: We are prejudging some of the discussions that are going to take place. Based in the 2009 Political Declaration, we are convinced that social and health issues (that other countries refer to as harm reduction) can only exist directly linked with demand reduction issues. Harm reduction issues would not be useful and they would create greater harm indeed.
Iran: The plan needs to be very action oriented. We expect greater changes, we have a lot of things to add or delete.
Netherlands: The drug conventions don’t say anything about HIV, so I don’t support Russia’s idea of linking demand reduction with HIV, because there is not wording on this.
Chair: Many of you mention that you are not native speakers, I would like to ask the floor how many of you are native speaking? What is the difference between colons or semicolons? [The protracted debate in the informal session seemed to focus on punctuation in one line relating to harm reduction and demand reduction.]
Switzerland: If we put a coma, it subsumes HIV-related health issues [aka harm reduction] within demand reduction. But there are health issues that are not linked only with demand reduction. Saving lives, overdoses prevention and treatment, the use of naloxone. There are issues to be discussed in the UNGASS that go beyond drug control, and we want to reach this ambition. We do not prejudge UNGASS discussions, but we see it as an opportunity to discuss broad issues and have an open and broad agenda. In this particular issue, we need to be broader that just demand reduction. Are demand reduction and health issues unrelated issues? They are related, but the debate does not stop here, it needs to include harm reduction.
Russia: Demand reduction comprises all the health measures. Certain countries have certain policies, we understand, but we cannot disconnect harm reduction and demand reduction. Harm reduction without demand reduction is not possible. This is in contradiction with the scope and the aims of the drug control system.
France: We thought we had reach an agreement previously, but it seems not from some of these discussions. The possibility of including human rights under supply reduction (under part 2) is an important issue for the French delegation – but the delegation needs to reach a compromise. We appeal to all the delegations to return to the consolidated original version of the agenda, and to focus on the substantive discussion.
Portugal:Portugal was never totally happy about the formulation of the discussion. We suggest referring to prevention, rehabilitation, as well as efforts to minimise the public health and social consequences of drug abuse.
Russia: Drug demand reduction includes prevention, treatment and health related issues, it included HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne virus prevention. We would remove “treatment and care of HIV” which is the scope of other agencies, not ours.
Netherlands: We want to keep treatment and care.
Kenya: We totally disagree with Russian Federation. The HIV pandemic fight included treatment, prevention and care.
USA: The delegation quite like most of the comments. We are not negotiating a consensus statement here, the agenda is only a way of framing our discussions. We are completely flexible on the agenda, and we implore the floor to progress on the agenda and apply flexibility. We support to include drug demand and related issues, including prevention treatment as well as health-related issues.
Switzerland: We don’t like to have ambiguity in this issues.
Chair: Thank you for your flexibility Switzerland, and don’t forget that we are paid to be ambiguous!
Afghanistan: Afghanistan cannot support this.
Chair: Brazil, Pakistan, Ecuador and Cuba have expressed concerns about the way that terrorism is included. We want a language that is vague enough to address the notions and the discussions.
Afghanistan: Refer to drug-related crime (in some cases terrorism and money laundering, including money laundering in connection with the financing of terrorism).
Venezuela: Last year, terrorism and financial terrorism were addressed together in certain fora. We cannot equate terrorism with demand reduction. We need to use general wording. For instance, money laundering including the connection in some regions with the financing of terrorism.
Cuba: Disagrees with some nuances of the approach.
Iran: We support your proposal for this one.
Algeria: We have found an agreed language “ensuring the availability of essential medicines, at the same time that preventing their diversion to illicit markets”.
Chair: Brazil proposed “Prevention, treatment and control”, but this was not acceptable for Spain and France.
Brazil: Spain was seeking some clarification on the meaning of control, in Portuguese, control emphasises law enforcement, our aim is to find more balance in the drug control.
Netherlands: What about development oriented drug policy?
Iran: Proposes balance drug control policy. [Everyone agrees]
Afghanistan: We suggest “counter money laundering and, in some regions, financing terrorism”.
Chair: I do not agree with this: the financing of terrorism is not restricted to one single region.
Pakistan: Thanks for the new proposal from Afghanistan. The issue of separating the money laundering and the financing of terrorism would be too broad. For our delegation, this language is not acceptable. We would take the word terrorism out altogether.
Iran: We are not going to accept the proposal of Afghanistan, it implies that in some regions there are terrorists and in others there are not. Countering money laundering including, when appropriate, the possible connection of the financial of terrorism.
Venezuela: You cannot separate the financing of terrorism and money laundering, this has already been addressed in other fora.
[At this point, the interpreters left – and delegations continued without interpretation].
Chair: The workshops and panels at CND could include representatives of civil society and regional groups. The Bureau is looking into this matter and on the procedures to liaise with the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Several meeting dates for 2015 and 2016 have been suggested: the preliminary start date for the UNGASS itself is the 21st April 2016. The UNGASS meeting will be a broad one, including other UN agencies, parliamentarians, civil society, scientific organisations, etc.
The Chair thanks all the stakeholders that have provided contributions to be included in the UNGASS website, and thanks Guatemala, President Morales and the OAS General Secretary Insulza for organising the submission of OAS recommendations for the UNGASS on 2016.Any other pending issues:
Venezuela: Proposes a bit of language on terrorism that is not accepted by Cuba.
Chair: The Chair rejects the inclusion of the word terrorism in the text.
Afghanistan and Iran: insists on including a piece of text on terrorism.
Chair: We are looking forward to work closely with Member States.
Cuba: Cuba cannot go along with that proposal.
Chair: 23rdFebruary will be the next CND intersessional. We will have more information by then from the WHO on the proposed scheduling of substances.
Afghanistan: Called on the ‘Vienna Consensus’ and states that the general agenda is not agreed.
Chair: He rejects the proposal made by Afghanistan, as all the members have already agreed in the informal session.
France: France accepts the agenda. The spirit of Vienna is also to find some compromise. I propose to postpone the meeting and to agree the agenda in informal meetings.
Mexico: Wants some clarification on what the interpretation of the ‘Vienna Consensus’ is.
Chair: We need to learn how not to restrict to any delegation to raise any issues. To start nominating the experts, we need to move ahead, and I don’t think we have the time to postpone the agreement once again.
France: On the terrorism issue, we could include “where appropriate in some cases”, which is something that could be a compromise. France calls Afghanistan to accept this proposal.
Iran: The delegation proposes to give two days to Afghanistan to think about it.
Afghanistan: We are surprised by the decision of the Chair.
Chair: I do not agree to the proposal of Iran to give two more days to Afghanistan.
Pakistan: Appeals to Brazil to make a compromise on the language they are using and to include the word ‘terrorism’ again.
Chair: We have been discussing this for a long time, and at every proposal this has been rejected.
Russia: We cannot encompass the word crime and illicit activities as terrorism.
Chair: Can we accept the proposal by Pakistan? [General agreement] Then the agenda for the Special Segment has been agreed.