The UNGASS is a decisive moment in drug policy and provides a much needed opportunity to reflect back on what we have done and decide what we do in the future, particularly in the crucial year of 2019.
Germany believes the UNGASS will be a milestone that involves high level involvement from all UN member states. The joint ministerial statement in 2014 provides a good foundation for the special session next year.
We must make use of the 2016 UNGASS as a forum to identify challenges and ways we can address them properly.
The UNGASS and its preparations provide a moment in which to take stock of the common ground on which we have built the existing drug control system. We’re convinced that the UN drug control system gives member states enough flexibility to design policies that are representative of different national realities.
We believe there is a third way in international drug policy that neither pushes the war on drugs, nor does away with the current drug control system.
We should highlight the need for alternative development programs, something which Germany has been involved in for the past 30 years in Asia and Latin America. Alternative development is neither a new approach, nor does it deal with a new threat. Illicit crop cultivation has been a problem since the beginning of the drug control regime in 1909.
The 2015 world drug report special issue on alternative development will be of special importance to the UNGASS preparation process.
The ongoing cultivation of coca and opium poppies are a direct consequence of a lack of development focus in these countries. More needs to be done in terms of funding for these programs. There has been a gap in the level of political endorsement for alternative development and the amount of funding provided. This makes it impossible to fulfil expectations on the issue.
A recent mission to Colombia by Germany showed that a greater area needs to be addressed and more money provided to divert farmers away from illicit crop cultivation.
The UNGASS is the right moment to analyse the success of policies adopted to date on supply and demand reduction.
Germany has noticed a rapidly developing interest from countries in Latin America and Asia on the issue of alternative development. We firmly believe that the alternative development approach is the best one for dealing with illicit crop cultivation under the UN drug conventions. So far, not enough has been done to properly address this.
Germany has put health and development at the centre of its approach to drug policy.