UNGASS Special Segment Day 1 – Statement by Namibia (African group)

Permanent Representative of Namibia, representing the African group

Full and unwavering support of the UNGASS Board from the African Group. Associate itself with the statement made by Group 77 and China. Appreciate the progress made in countering the world drug problem, but the African group underscores that this problem remains significant and requires cooperation on the basis on common and shared responsibility. Sharing of best practices in drug control strategies is needed. Reaffirms commitment to the three UN Drug Conventions, and the importance of meeting the targets and goals in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. Reaffirms commitment to Joint Ministerial Statement from 2014.

Reaffirms resolution 67/193 that the 2016 Special Session will provide an opportunity for member states to review the progress made in implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action and assessment of challenges and opportunities. The African group underscores that the 2016 special session will further enhance the obligations and commitments of states from the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, and full conformity of the international drug control system on the basis of common and shared responsibility.

Concern with drug trafficking in West Africa and Sahel region. Concern over global surge in the use of illicit drugs. Can’t lose sight of the public health consequences of drug abuse. These continue to ravage in Africa. The abuse of drugs undermines the efforts of African countries to develop sustainable development, instead it continues to contribute to the rise of HIV/AIDS and psychological disorders. Many security challenges in Africa are a result of the transatlantic drug trafficking route. Highlight importance of comprehensive, balanced, and coordinated approach. Call for more enhanced regional and international cooperation. Based on the principle of shared responsibility, African group stresses the need for cooperation in sharing information, legal support, and extradition.

Look forward to the five interactive sessions. These will further contribute to effective implementation of the three UN drug conventions. Few remarks on interactive discussions:

A.(“Drugs and Crime”) – Great importance to the fight against organized criminal activity, of the view that member states should enhance domestic, regional, and international cooperation to combat this. Urgent need to respond to increasing link between drugs, corruption, human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering. Respond to ever changing means used by international criminals.

B. (“Drugs and Health”)  – Very concerned with the health problems associated with the use of drugs, and access to drug abuse treatment programs. Unavailability of pain relieving drugs to those who need them most on the African continent. Need to maintain the use of drugs for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing diversion.

C. Cross-cutting issues: Drugs and Human Rights, Youth, Women, Children and Communities – Different regions continue to experience different challenges. In Africa, online sale of illicit drugs and increased trafficking of precursors threaten the public health of young people.

D. Cross-cutting issues: New challenges, threats and realities in preventing and addressing the world drug problem in compliance with relevant international law, including the three drug control conventions; strengthening the principle of common and shared responsibility and international cooperation – Concerned with the legalization and decriminalization of drugs in certain counties. Believe this is misguided, and hinders efforts to combat production, trafficking, and use of drugs, and the balanced approach to which they have committed.

E. Alternative development; regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented, balanced drug control policy; addressing socioeconomic issues – High importance of sustainable alternative development as a means to curb the world drug problem. Encourage UNODC to continue to use its advocacy role to encourage multilateral and bilateral donors and agencies to give special attention to alternative development. Acknowledge their support and call upon the UNODC to continue to mobilize resources. Assistance should be provided to collect data and statistics in African countries. Recognize efforts of African counties in reducing the cultivation and production of illicit trafficking. Despite this, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine, remain a huge challenge in Africa. Require technical assistance. African group strongly believe that the post 2015 development agenda should build on the millennium development goals.

Concerned about ketamine and tramadol, which are not under international control. Calls for adoption of efforts to tackle the trade and distribution of these substances. Request the commission engage with the WHO ECDD for review of scheduling ketamine.

Supports resolution E/CN.7/2015/L.2. Must continue to discuss ways to address the persistent financial challenges at the UNODC. Concerned that geographical representation from developing countries, and gender balance, are inadequate and undermine efforts of the UNODC. Urge the Executive Director to intensify its effort to ensure representation of regions and genders is incorporated into the recruitment efforts of UNODC, particularly the senior and policymaking levels.

Need an open and transparent dialogue. Full support and participation of the African group during this session.

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