UNGASS Special Segment – 9 December 2015

UNGASS Board Chair – I want to inform you that under item 3 of the special segment, the CND will consider jointly subitems A (roundtables) and B (outcome) and C (other matters). We proposed that 6 meetings be conducted at the UNGASS Special Segment in March 2015.

CND Chair – We have a number of high level representatives with us today who expressed their wish to talk.

IMG_3955

UNODC Executive Director – I spoke with Aldo, my deputy, and this doesn’t look like a reconvened session, it looks like a real session with such high level participants. Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the CND Chair and UNGASS Board Chair for their efforts to ensure an open and interactive dialogue in preparation for the UNGASS. This process includes comprehensive issues including health, security, development issues, and includes UN entitles, CSOs, governments. The process included numerous events in NY, Geneva and here. We need to consider shared responsibility to address the world drug problem. At the same time, we need to assist countries to truly implement drug control in compliance with human rights, putting forward health. We must consider alternatives to incarceration, especially for those suffering from drug use disorder. We need prevention, treatment and HIV prevention, treatment and care. We also need a criminal justice approach for criminal organisations and AD programmes. UNODC remains committed to working with you to address these many challenges. It has been recognised in the 2030 agenda that addressing drugs is essential for a peaceful and inclusive society as part of the SDGs. The UNGASS provides an opportunity to advance collective inspirational goals. Together we can achieve significant progress. I wish you a productive discussion.

International Narcotics Control Board President – This meeting is another significant step for the UNGASS preparations. UNGASS is an opportunity to review progress towards the implementation of the 2009 political declaration and address remaining challenges. You have the responsibility to shape drug policy for the years to come. The first special session was held in 1990 and then in 1998 which contributed to the development of the international drug control system. The 2009 political declaration shaped the principle of shared responsibility and a balanced approach. It is an important pillar of the current drug control, complementing the drug control treaties. This UNGASS must constitute an objective assessment of the drug control system. You have to draw the right conclusions from this analysis. ON the assessment, some have concluded that drug control has led to a war on drugs that has failed. This is not an objective assessment, it is too simplistic. We need a differentiated assessment. We understand that our role is to clarify the principles of the treaties, identify shortcomings and make concrete recommendations based on the conventions. We have undoubtedly achieved significant success. For example, diversions from licit to illicit trades has reduced. Efforts have also been made to establish prevention and treatment. International cooperation has also improved. Yet, the problem persists. The INCB Annual Report has addressed some of these challenges. The goal of the 3 conventions si to ensure the health and welfare of human kind. Chapter one of our next report will address this issue. This imposes obligations on member states – drugs should be available for medical purposes. And demand reduction should have priority – prevention, reduction of harms measures, treatment, care and rehabilitation. Governments are now promoting a health based approach. This should be lauded.

Secondly,drugs are a cause and result of social problems. We must have a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach. We addressed this in our 2014 INCB report. This includes not only balancing supply and demand reduction, but also taking into account the socio-economic factors. AD should be considered, as well as participation and cooperation of all stakeholders, including CSOs. This balanced approach is unfortunately not fully implemented.

Proportionality is another principle – drug related offences should be tackled with proportionate penalties. This has been dealt with in our annual report for 2007. Treaties do provide alternatives to conviction and punishment for minor drug offences to focus on the more severe forms of crime, giving states discretion in implementing their obligations. UNGASS is an opportunity to renew shared responsibility principle.

We have continued to play a significant role on access to essential medicines in many countries. We will publish in 2016 a special report on this issue with recommendations to member states on how to address this issue.

Another emerging challenge is the emergence of NPS and precursors. We must take all measures preventing NPS from reaching markets. We have project IRON for NPS and others for precursors. The electronic import/export mechanism was officially launched this year and call on you to support this new tool.

Global approaches have changed and new challenges have emerged. But the conventions have not lost their relevance and continue to provide a useful framework. It accommodates various policy choices. Your work paves the way towards the outcome of UNGASS and will shape policies for the years to come.

South Africa on behalf of the African Group – We welcome the convening of the Special Segment. We should take this opportunity to consolidate our final preparations. We want to reiterate the following points: our commitment to the effective implementation of the 3 drug conventions as the cornerstone of drug control, the 2009 political declaration and the joint ministerial statement. The UNGASS will be an opportunity to review progress made since 2009 to counter the world drug problem. We underscore that the UNGASS will be a step to further enhance our obligations to implement the 2009 political declaration within the framework of the 3 drug conventions under the principle of shared responsibility. We should develop combined measures to address drugs. Decriminalisation and legalisation are contrary to the spirit of the conventions. We should combat the illicit production, trafficking and use of drugs as part of the balanced approach. We thank the UNGASS Board for its continued efforts and take note of the revised elements paper.  We support the decision that the CND should produce a short, concise and action oriented document with a set of recommendations, including an assessment of achievements and remaining challenges within the framework of the 3 drug conventions. The CND is mandated by the UNGA and is embarked in formulating recommendations. This should be finalised before the commencement of the CND for adoption at the UNGASS. We welcome the proposal for the preparations of the UNGASS with co-chairs with one being member of the UNGASS Board, and roundtables. A summary of the roundtables should be made available by the chairs of the roundtables. We assure you of the full support of the African Group states in the preparations.

Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union – Several other countries in Europe and the Balkan align themselves with our statement. UNGASS is a key opportunity to take stock of the achievements, elaborate on the challenges that remain and find feasible solutions within the framework of the treaties. We rely on evidence and experience. We emphasis that drug policy is most effective when it strikes a balance between supply and demand. If it doesn’t include evidence based demand reduction, it will not tackle the world drug problem. We must focus on a health based approach based on data and evidence. The 3 conventions provide the international legal framework, and the Universal Declaration are the cornerstones of drug control. The EU reiterates that the treaties must be acknowledged and respected. We maintain a strong commitment to the drug conventions, they are flexible enough to accommodate various drug policies.

Human rights including the right to health are a key element of the response to drugs. We reiterate our opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances, it undermines dignity. We must also end any other policy that goes against health,rights and dignity. We believe that proportionality of sentencing should be an overarching principle of drug control. Reducing drug use related harms is also essential. We are promoting AD as a long term and holistic approach to the production of crops, including access to markets and the rule of law. We attach great importance to CSOs and scientific community in formulating, reviewing, implementing drug policies and protecting the rule of law, this should be recognised in national drug policies.

We welcome the outcome document drafting, we believe that a set of very concrete recommendations will contribute to the implementation of drug policies. We look forward to receiving the draft, for adoption at the CND 2016. We welcome the organisation of 5 interactive roundtables. We support the idea of conducting the debates in a similar manner as for CND 2015, with panels and speakers from the floor, CSOs should be given the opportunity to nominate panellists for the roundtables, and we should include recognised scientists. We need an inclusive and participatory approach to ensure the active involvement of other agencies and bodies dealing with health, human rights, development and security matters. We stand ready to continue our contributions on the modalities and the outcome document. We invite you at lunchtime to attend our side event that will provide an overview of the EU UNGASS position.

Click here to read the full statement

Colombia – On behalf of the government, it is an honour for me to address the CND in this series of reconvened sessions devoted to preparations for te UNGASS. Since 2013, since Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico issued their call to review drug control a true debate has taken place, with the holding of the UNGASS in 2016 to review progress made and assess challenges in combating the world drug problem. Debates have highlighted various experiences and voices. A number of UN institutions have proposed the formulation of other approaches. CSOs have taken an active part in this process calling for action with proposals we should evaluate seriously. We cannot impose a one size fits all approach. we have recognised various realities and we must adopt a renewed global consensus through a global and inclusive debate. A debate that has been reinstated by the President of Colombia, without constraints or taboos.

We recognise the work done by the UNGASS Board. We received with interest the elements paper to serve as a basis for discussions to take into account new challenges, realities and perspectives. Drug policy debates should not be taken as imposing anything. It is an opportunity to reflect a plurality of positions. The structure of the document takes into account the mandate of resolution 58/8. This should shape a new global consensus, respecting human rights. But there are issues of substance that are sine qua non and we cannot remain silent. To have an honest debate, we must have a discussion on opposed viewpoints, we must not hide tensions. We do not disregard the conventions or force their modification. But the way they are implemented should respect health and human rights. We will do everything in our power to humanise them. We can no longer hide like austriges. We need to use the opportunity given to us to meet the challenges of drug trafficking. Colombia requires more change, we cannot have more death, violence and crime. We must agree on how to move forward in our objectives and move away from the utopian objective of being free from drugs. We should focus on the health and wellbeing of human kind. We must protect human rights and dignity, decriminalise drug use, harm reduction, implementation of alternatives to incarceration.

We see with concern these proposal have not yet been reflected in the Board’s document. We also pointed out we must change the way drug control system works. Classification of substances cannot be divorced from new evidence. We also must reconsider indicators to measure progress in drug policies. And we must resolve the tensions between the implementation of the conventions on drugs and those on human rights. We welcome the proposal of a technical working group to assess how to implement obligations in a more balanced way. We must incorporate this component in the UNGASS preparatory progress.

Finally, around the roundtables for the UNGASS, it is a priority for Colombia that this should be held at the highest possible level. The conclusions should be presented to the plenary and added to the UNGASS outcome document. We still have a lot of work to do – contributions on the document, the roundtables, the preparatory process and the nature of the UNGASS. The role of the UNGA should not limit itself to adopting a document negotiated in Vienna. Those member states with no presence here should be able to participate in the process. UNGASS offers a light of hope for millions of people affected by the world drug problem. Peace is the supreme good for society and we must come up with a drug policy that is more humane and effective.

Bulgaria – We align ourselves with the EU statement. In our national capacity, the UNGASS offers us with an opportunity to take stock of progress and challenges. We take note of the roundtables as a practical interactive dialogue. We encourage the participation of relevant international bodies, CSOs as key to help shape policies. As for substance, we are in favour of the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, and highlight the principle of proportionality. Risk and harm reduction measures are also an essential component of drug policy. New issues should also be addressed properly, in particular NPS, designer drugs, should be tackled collectively. We should never lose side of the balanced approach and evidence based demand reduction measures and supply. We hope that the UNGASS will really make a difference.

Mexico – Mexico welcomes this opportunity to continue the dialogue on the UNGASS. We trust that the informed debate based on evidence will help us identify the right measures to balance and enrich national and international policies to combat the world drug problem. New approaches are nothing “new”, it has been a constent in the implementation of the 3 drug control conventions. IN 1998, the international community agreed that demand reducion was necessary. But this does not yet receive the same attention and resources than supply reduction. We all know that despite efforts made, the huge economic resources and invested, and the huge human costs, the negative impact of drugs continues to be high. UNGASS should strengthen global consensus based on the recognition of new challenges and awareness that the implementation of the drug conventions and human rights obligations should adapt to countries’ realities. We should not lose sight of the fact that actions take place in the context of the 2030 SDG agenda. Drug policies should be in line with the comprehensive goals and targets of sustainable development. CSOs and relevant UN system entities should be engaged and share their important opinion, such as UNDP, WHO, OHCHR, UN Women and UNAIDS, among others. On the way to UNGASS, the government will continue to promote;

  • generate a comprehensive response to the world drug problem that complements development, health and the protection of human rights as framed in the 2030 agenda
  • drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal matter
  • deal with the social damage of drugs,deal with governance, organised crime and social fabric strengthening
  • ensure access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes for millions of people who die in pain
  • provide alternatives to imprisonment, provide treatment, education, rehab and social reintegration, including a gender perspective
  • ensure that penalties and sentences are proportionate. We maintain our unequivocal opposition to the death penalty
  • keep an international united front against organised crime and their financial operations.

We hope this will be included in the UNGASS outcome document. we will work on building more comprehensive and solid understanding that will be action oriented to deal with all these issues to deal with the world drug problem, including the concerns of all delegations to respond to the concerns of our societies. We call on all states to be represented at the highest level at the UNGASS. This is a global challenge that is equally important to other issues such as climate change.

Brazil – I congratulate the able leadership of the CND and the UNGASS Board. I thank the UNODC ED and the Secretariat for preparing this meeting. While drugs continue to pose a serious challenge, we welcome the evolution of political matters from a repressive to a more balanced approach to the phenomenon, placing health, human rights and evidence in the debate. Brazil has participated with interest in the participatory process. We worked via MERCOSUR, UNASUR and CELAC. We also gave our national views on the UNGASS outcome, with a constructive spirit. We commend the UNGASS Board on its elements paper, We consider that a meaningful outcome should contain: the relevance of the 3 conventions, recognition that we must continue to seek more effective results, we should continue to reassess our drug policies – harm reduction, death penalty should be reconsidered. Brazil has been actively supportive of an open and inclusive process including CSOs, which should continue to be applied at the UNGASS itself. The roundtables should allow participation of member states and other stakeholders. The same format should be used as the one from the 2015 CND special segment.

Austria – We fully support the EU statement. I am impressed to see the progress of the preparatory work towards the UNGASS, and the work of UNODC and CND. There ahs been mch progress in implementing the 2009 political declaration. It is of the upmost importance to continue dialogue and we value the participation of CSOs. We need a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach. The UNGASS is a good opportunity for open debate. We will continue to engage. Drug policies should be based on a balance between demand and supply, scientific evidence to address political issues, and we support the increased use of risk and harm reduction measures. We call for the full implementation of legal instruments on human rights. A human rights based approach should be at the basis of all drug policies and we reiterate our strong opposition to the death penalty.

We are also pleased to see increasing awareness of the world drug situation within the development agenda, strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. A central principle is to define drug dependence is a health issue and distinct from drug trafficking. We want to highlight the new legislation of NPS – we have a policy that does not criminalise drug users and promotes harm reduction and treatment.

Drugs hinder human development. Drug abuse is a social issue and we need social protection measures to counter marginalisation, poverty and stigma. People need access to education and employment. 15% of high risk PWUD in Austria are young. We must work with schools, families and communities, comprehensive employment measures. We also run a youth coaching programme. Thanks to our intensive efforts, we have one of the lowest employment rates in Europe.

We must invest in, and work with, young people. We must address homelessness and unemployment, counselling services, reintegration into the labour market. We must work on low-threshold access to programmes to support employment. But this is not enough. Effective coordination between states is also necessary. We are committed to the preparations on the UNGASS. We welcome the expertise of the UNODC. I wish the CND every success.

Agenda item 3 on preparations for the UNGASS 2016

Ambassador Shamaa, UNGASS Board Chair – I want to recall resolution 58/8 on preparations for the special session, including the holding of the session from 19-21 April in NY, with 5 multi-stakeholder roundtables in parallel to the plenary. ECOSOC resolution 2015/25 was adopted by the UNGA. We reiterate our Board’s commitment to ensure a broad and inclusive preparatory process. We have benefited from a large number of events, side events and informal briefings, as well as written contributions representing various lines of thought. These are posted on the UNGASS website. We also have support from the President of the UNGA and he supported the UNGASS Board’s work in preparations. The CND has two tasks at hand: the organisation of the roundtables, and the redaction of the outcome document. The draft will be dealt with in informals before it is considered under Agenda Item 6. We have been tasked to produce a short and concise and action oriented document. Discussions started in the summer starting with inputs and proposals. We then elaborated an elements paper which was considered on 24th September. We agreed on a timeline for the elaboration of the document with 2 phases – one was around the elements paper and a new version was shared on 2nd December. We thank all governments providing comments on the document. The Board will now elaborate a first draft of the outcome document to be shared in January. We will aim at finalising negotiations at CND 2016 for adoption at the 2016 UNGASS. Special recognition goes to the CSTF for its contribution from all NGOs from across the world. We need the active engagement and support from all. We have a collective responsibility for the wellbeing of societies.

Turkey – We should make best use of the UNGASS to produce tangible results. The 3 conventions remain the cornerstone of the system, and the 2009 political declaration is a roadmap to achieving these goals. The outcome document will be useful to encourage member states to implement the recommendations. Turkey is concerned with the rise in ATS and NPS especially among youth, and it should be a priority area. We have already adopted legislative measures to reduce demand and supply. In this context, relevant bodies, including INCB, UNODC and WHO can help assist us on research, data collection and capacity building. We welcome the inclusion of addressing links between trafficking and terrorism as a threat to peace and security – this needs an immediate response. I reiterate our support to the UNGASS preparations.

Morocco – Thanks to the UNGASS Board for its leadership. We support the statement of the African Group. Today is a very important time for international cooperation as we are confronted to multiple challenges of the drug scourge. Trafficking is feeding organised crime and financial flows to criminal organisations that have the same resources than some states. Traffickers are undoubtedly a global threat and requires an approach based on solidarity. We must work together on mutual legal assistance. The recent UNODC report shows a clear increase in drug trafficking and use and we will deal with this at the UNGASS. it also refers to the NPS issue, the dark net. UNGASS is extremely relevant, and all staekholders must do everything possible to respond to the world drug problem, including economic, health and social issues.

We must use wisdom and efficiency which Amb Shamaa is embodying. We should work on the themes proposed by the chair to address issues and challenges that UNGASS should address. We have consensus on the subject of the 5 roundtables shows  the consensus on this. It will enable member states to share experiences on the issue. As for the draft document, the elements paper is a basis for a credible and workable negotiation. The few differences on structure and substance are not impossible to overcome. We should give new impetus to the international community in their fight against the scourge of drugs. We have participated actively to the preparatory process. We support the current structure of the document as it fits with the roundtables. We have stressed prevention, health measures and AD which are fundamental axes for our strategies to combat drugs. The positive momentum that enabled us to adopt the themes of the roundtables should continue to ensure the adoption of the final document. We need a new operational roadmap to define our goals and the means to reach them, including an evaluation of progress made in accordance with resolution 58/8.

Despite differences in approach and cultural specificities (which must be taken into account), the international community shares the same goals, to protect society from the harms caused by drugs. This does not mean we all have the same opinion on how to implement national anti-drug strategies. We must express caution on decriminalising and legalising drug use. If we go from a general ban to a general legalisation, it could be counterproductive and lead to the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. We have spent combating drugs through all legitimate means under the principle of the rule of law and under guidance from UNODC and UNCB. We adjust our strategy to the needs of society.

Thanks to the role of UNODC and the INCB, the anti-drug policy guided by the conventions has made significant progress for a stable, legal and political framework. Data and statistic show that consumption, trafficking and production continues to increase and we must adopt a new approach to address inceasingly difficult realities. We must adapt national and international drug policies. This is the aim of UNGASS 2016. We hope that all stakeholders will show good will and compromise and work together to avoid controversies to adopt a final document based on consensus to adapt to new realities of drugs, protect public health.

Peru – In 2009, all states committed to the implementation of the political declaration and plan of action adopted that year based on the principles of common and shared responsibility, as well as challenges. The international community decided to meet next year to review progress in implementing the political declaration, including an assessment of success and challenges. This is an opportunity to deepen the work of the international community on the issue. We need an open debate to address this issue. We thank the Board for leading the preparatory process. We also welcome the draft outcome document. The document emphasises the 3 conventions as the cornerstone of international drug control. The success depends on a balanced way in full respect for human rights. We welcome the fact that one roundtable and one section of the document focuses on AD. We have shown success of such policies to alleviate poverty, damage to the environment. We believe that the conclusions of the ICAD 2 provides good materials for the debate. Finally, I want to highlight the importance of the CND’s role to lead the preparatory process for UNGASS 2016 and the follow up to the outcome document, as well as plans towards 2019.

Italy – We align ourselves with the EU position. We welcome the new structure of the draft, the current one can be used as a basis for discussions. The system is based on the 3 conventions and human rights. The debate in NY should focus on challenges and new developments since the adoption of the 2009 political declaration, including concrete measures to be taken into account. The 2030 sustainable development agenda is very relevant in this regard. We also support the abolition of the death penalty for drug related crime. We also highlight the NPS issue as a new challenge and example of the evolution since 2009.

On the revised elements paper, on demand reduction we support the balanced approach focused on prevention, treatment and the need to improve access to essential medicines, especially for developing countries – this is one of the priorities. We also support the UNODC international standards on demand reduction, as well on supply reduction. We support the links between trafficking, crime and trafficking. We want to see a stronger reference on the need to counter money laundering with an explicit mention of the UN Task Force and regional bodies for international cooperation.

With regards to human rights, we welcome the clear language on proportionality of sentencing and alternatives to incarceration. But the issue of the death penalty should also be addressed. The outcome document should reflect the evolution on the debate around the death penalty. The CND has full competence to discuss this issue. We request the inclusion of these recommendations on the death penalty.

On new threats and realities, we want to highlight the threat of the dark net and need to highlight the use of the internet for prevention among youth. UNGASS should be an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation, in particular around NPS. We should highlight possible ways of cooperation among UNODC, CND and WHO.

On AD, we should highlight coordination among UNODC, UNDP and other relevant agencies. UNGASS will be an opportunity to promote a more active involvement of CSOs in the design, implementation and evaluation of drug policies. We support the role of the Board in enabling participation of CSOs and appreciate the reference to the role of CSOs but propose to further stress this as highlighted by the EU.

Romania – We must strengthen health measures, including risk and harm reduction, human rights, an the role of civil society. The nexus between money laundering, trafficking and terrorism should be highlighted. Efforts should be integrated in the text around the dark net and NPS. I also want to highlight the importance of my country of abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances. The topic of the death penalty is a good subject for discussion in one of the events that will take place at the UNGASS. We should apply a moratorium on the death penalty.

New Zealand – Our approach to drug policy is based on compassion and proportion. We welcome many of the changes in the elements paper. We consider it to be an improvement and good basis for discussion as we move to negotiations. We promote the following: the structure reflecting the 5 themes is useful. On the preamble: in addition to the centrality of the 3 conventions, it also focuses on flexibilities for states to implement drug policies. Providing greater room to member states will strengthen the global drug control system. This is important for us in our approach to NPS. The paper no longer deals with NPS and ATS in the same category. The recommendations also allow for regulations on NPS, as is the case in New Zealand. However, we should value experimental and innovative approaches and this should be reflected fr NPS. New Zealand is a strong proponent of the inclusion of human rights in the paper. We welcome language that incorporates law enforcement and health, but this should be strengthened. The paper should also call for the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes. We welcome the acknowledgement of the role of CSOs. But the contribution of CSOs is important not just on crime prevention, but also on prevention and treatment. We look forward to further dialogue on this issue. We need stronger language on organised crime, trafficking and money laundering as well as measures to tackle these issues.

Tunisia – We associate ourselves with the African Group statement. The expansion of drug trafficking has posed impacts on public health and security. We need strategies that enable countries to address these issues. These strategies for demand and supply reduction should be based on a balanced approach based on the 3 conventions and 2009 political declaration. We recognise the role of UNODC on international cooperation, but we also need technical capacity building to combat the world drug problem. Trafficking is even more serious when linked to smuggling, money laundering and terrorism. Our projects and programmes should include support from the international community for success. I call on all relevant stakeholders for a successful UNGASS.

Norway – We align ourselves with the EU statement. The elements paper is a constructive step forward, and there are improvements on the headings around the five themes of the UNGASS. Despite considerable efforts on supply and demand, the world drug problem continues to pose serious threats. Neither availability nor consumption have reduced. We cannot hide the fact that drugs have a significant impact on development, economy and social fabrics. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that the line between licit and illicit economies are blurred. Traffickers and criminals are elected in government. We must end corruption. We must reflect the links between criminal markets and organised criminal chains. Some problems are common, others are local. Yesterday’s solutions are not necessarily tomorrow’s answers and we must be willing to discuss. CSOs, academia, and PWUD must be able to contribute to the outcome document. CSOs are critical in providing expertise and showing the issues to those most affected by drugs. This is about preventing the health and social consequences of drugs, but not by any means. Drug use, organised crime, terrorism and violence are closely related and law enforcement is not enough. We must choose some core values. We need to protect the health and welfare of humankind with prevention, treatment, social reintegration, including harm reduction policies. It is logical to choose a people centred approach and respond to the impact drugs have on the individual.

There is much discrimination in drug policy, for example on women around health, sentencing, criminal justice. UNGASS gives us a chance to make women more visible. They are absent from treatment programmes, they are at the margins of current services. This should be reflected in the document.

Availability of substances for medical use should be reflected in the preamble of the document. 83% of the global population have no access to pain relief, this is unacceptable.

We must focus on proportionality of sentencing. We should condemn the death penalty. UNGASS is an opportunity for a call for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Australia – UNGASS is an opportunity to review progress made in addressing the world drug problem and address emerging challenges. We hope that the international community, governments, CSOs, should focus on practical measures and guiding principles to inform drug policy at national and global levels. We have serious problems at all levels of the range of drug issues. We have learned a lot along the way and we look forward to sharing lessons we have learned on public health and law enforcement, as well as our national ice task force. We think that the key issue for success in our work is finding the right balance. We have taken a constructive role in promoting a balanced approach to drug control.

We agree that there has been convergence in governments’ views and in this context we express our support to the structure of the 5 themes which has evolved through careful discussions. It is a good basis for shaping the UNGASS and its outcomes. There are a couple of items I want to highlight. Prevention and treatment can help reduce demand. But we also believe that these approaches should be combined with strong law enforcement to counter supply, illicit trade in drugs and precursors. These are complementary and mutually reinforcing. This is reflected in the elements paper. We, like many others, believe that we must address the drug problem as a health issue, we have good experiences and want this to be reflected. We value cooperation between governments, but also with UNODC, WHO and the INCB. We also share views on proportionate sentencing, and capital punishment.

We believe it is time to identify operational recommendations, we are pleased to see in the elements paper a strengthening of the recommendations on international cooperation, as well as on NPS and ATS. Yesterday in informals we flagged a number of suggestions to strengthen these more. At this year’s CND, member states recognised NPS and ATS as important and we must do more through international cooperation and national efforts. We must build on the CND’s work in this area and we will present a resolution on this topic, including on controlling precursors, at next year’s CND. We will bring more specific conclusions and recommendations, including on new trafficking routes. We have and will continue to support UNODC’s work in the area, including through the global SMART programme.

Another issue is that of ensuring access to essential medicines, an issue on which Australia has worked hard. There has been momentum growing on this issue. We have more ideas on operational measures in this area, but we will develop some around reducing regulatory and legislative barriers, as well as increase the capacity of relevant actors. We will submit these proposals in writing.

Belgium – We align with the EU position. We want to highlight the issue of access to controlled substances for medical purposes, and are glad this is reflected, but the magnitude of the problem needs to be reflected at the UNGASS and we thank WHO and UNODC for their leadership on this issue. It is this cooperation, targeted and overcoming impediments, that embodies how governments can join expertise and act.

I also want to address the issue of NPS which poses real challenges. Participants to a meeting in Brussels discussed operational recommendations with a view to the UNGASS. We favour close cooperation with WHO on the issue. We need a balanced approach including prevention and treatment. We can give you language to this effect.

The availability of harm reduction and access to OST should be reflected in the outcome document.

Finally, I join the many voices in and outside this room calling for the abolition of the death penalty and its inclusion in the outcome document. Law limits its application to the most serious crimes, but it also has no place in the 21st Century.

Portugal – Portugal aligns itself with the EU position. We are regularly called to assess our national and global drug policies and we have been able to achieve positive results. We will have a key opportunity in NY to strengthen the drug policies internationally. The 3 drug conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide states a cornerstone for drug control, but also flexibility based on human rights. This is what Portugal has done over the past years with positive results. States are using this flexibility to move away from purely prohibitive approaches. UNGASS should bring us to a consensus on:

  • PWUD should be considered as people in need of care and treatment, and not stigma
  • guarantee risk and harm reduction interventions such as NSPs, OST
  • alternatives to prison
  • impose consistent and appropriate sentences
  • improving access to treatment and health in prisons
  • call for the end of the use of the death penalty and moratorium

The elements paper takes on board some of these issues but should include those it doesn’t. We are supportive of the structure adopted. Portugal will organise a special event now on its health based approach.

Thailand – We underline the importance of the UNGASS as a milestone to 2019. We pledge our support for the successful organisation of the UNGASS. The revised elements paper is extremely helpful. We want to reiterate that the 3 conventions should be the cornerstone of drug policy, and we are glad that the paper addresses the threats to health and well being of communities, and about sustainable development. We need a multidisciplinary, balanced and comprehensive approach. The partnership is crucial. Regional and subregional cooperation is also critical. We welcome the mention of AD in the elements paper.

CND Secretariat – Further to what was discussed, there will be an informal starting at 2pm in room C3.

China – China reaffirms the three UN conventions as the cornerstone of the drug control, they provide ample room and flexibility. Some problems can be resolved by readjusting policies at national level. China also reaffirms that in light of the spirit of he conventions and the 2009 political declaration, we must impose criminal sanctions against crime, as well as strengthen human rights factors. One cannot go without the other. The integrated response cannot go without the other. The conventions explicitly provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions to drug related crime, it provides discretion to member states on applying this in respect to the rule of law and proportionality, as well as human rights. Any provision that would weaken this right would be counter-productive. Third, we reaffirm the role played by CND, UNODC and INCB in drug control matters. WE support and appreciate UNODC as the leading entity in combating the world drug problem. We reaffirm our support for UN resolution 69/200 which recognises the leading role of CND for UNGASS 2016. Lastly, we want to reaffirm our support for the 2009 political declaration where a comprehensive strategy was adopted. NPS have caused a lot of challenges and we must come up with good responses. The stepping up of international cooperation in providing support is critical. This is the real meaning of shared responsibility.

Indonesia – We appreciate work done in the preparatory process. UNGASS is an opportunity to assess progress based on a balanced and integrated approach. The outocme should reflect a strong commitment expressed through the principle of balance. We appreciate the new elements paper draft. The discussion on the substantive issues should take into account member sattes’ commitment to the 2009 political declaration and the 3 drug conventions. We want to reiterate our concerns around including alternative measures, this is against state sovereignty. The severity of the crime can be looked into based on what the crime poses as a threat. Drug crimes affect the social, political stability of states. On the issue of capital punishment, we stress that this does not breach any international law, there is no universally binding law around the abolishment of the death penalty, it is for all countries to decide. We take note of upholding human rights to address the drug problem. But good intentions based on the principle of non-interference and political and legal sovereignty of states are key. Imposing controversial issues such as the death penalty are not helpful. There is no one size fits all in this regard. Traffickers should be held accountable for their actions according to the rule of law.

Angola – We support the statement of the African Group. Drug policies have been largely ineffective in controlling production. National drug laws and policies seeks mainly to punish possession, use and even dependency. Drug users are scapegoats for a range of social problems. Angola’s drug policy is not that way. Combatting drug use and trafficking is the responsibility of the executive. The public health and human rights must be central in protecting society where drug use is accepted as a way of life. Prevention, harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation are critical. This discussion can bring solutions to create more jobs. We recognise that substances provide a barrier to education and employment. This is an opportunity for a wide ranging discussion towards 2019. Within the framework of the 3 conventions, and the 2009 Political declaration, we need a comprehensive and balanced strategy to counter the world drug problem. We must reduce demand and counter trafficking to achieve our objectives.

Korea – We note with appreciation the efforts to address the world drug problem and contributions on the UNGASS website. We also welcome the regular interactions with the PGA and the role of civil society, including the activities of the CSTF. We note the enthusiastic response from member states on the elements paper. We are aiming for the timeline proposed by the Board, and look forward to constructive discussions.

For the contents of the document, we want to highlight the 3 conventions as the cornerstone of drug policy, with a balanced approach. We should not give an indication that UNGASS will be a turning point on drug policy. We need a faithful implementation of the 2009 political declaration. We need to focus on human rights, justice and AD. We also want inclusion of ATS and NPS.

Regarding availability of essential medicines, supply would have an important impact on public health. We look forward to developing new strategies and mechanisms on drug supply and distribution structures without necessary delay.

Regarding NPS and precursors, we are strongly regulating controlled drugs via law enforcement. But we need to address those who seek to elude control. Trans-boundary cooperation is critical to tackle the NPS problem. We need a global mechanism to effectively control this threat.

With just a few months to go, we look forward to the UNGASS as an important milestone for the effective implementation of the 2009 political declaration. We look forward to the action oriented recommendations.

El Salvador – We are very leased you are sharing our work. We highlight the fact that the elements paper includes key issues such as families and communities, respect for human rights and other international principles. We are pleased to know that the document includes demand and supply measures through a balanced approach. Providing international cooperation, technical and financial assistance, and highlighting AD, are essential. The availability of controlled substances for medical purposes is critical. We offer our support to the UNGASS and to a consolidated consensus. We welcome the link between gangs and crime. This requires particular attention.

The UNGASS outcome document should pursue the recommendations of resolution 58/8, including an evaluation of achievements and an assessment of new challenges in the framework of the 3 UN drug control treaties. We support Italy on recognising the impact of the use of the internet especially on children. We also underscore the use of technology in countering drugs.

We must tackle drugs via health and human rights. CND should be equipped with a mandate to work with WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF and others. El Salvador supports the proposal of roundtables at the UNGASS.

Israel – The world drug problem is a public health issue which should be implemented in full compliance with human rights, including harm reduction approaches which are essential to reduce deaths and infection. We also highlight the issue of NPS. We took steps to focus on sellers and manufacturers instead of the user. We also emphasise the misuse of the internet. It is critical that the international community take all measures to ensure access to essential medicines while preventing their diversion. We welcome the role of the scientific community and academia. We continue to develop a national monitoring centre to inform our drug policies. We also call on a moratorium on the death penalty. We support the document reflecting the 5 roundtables, but we must focus on substance and proposals that are pragmatic and operational.

Algeria – I align my statement with that of the Africa Group. We welcome resolution 58/8 and fully support the drafting of the brief and concise document. We are of the view that this should not lead to a political declaration, but offer an assessment of the 2009 political declaration. We also recall that the UNGASS should not serve as an opportunity to revise the UN drug conventions which are a result of consensus and that should be upheld. On the new version submitted, we should follow the model of 2009. We also believe that recommendations should lead to the implementation of the political declaration.

I want to support the link between trafficking and organised crime. The 2009 political declaration stipulates that governments should ensure proportionality and international cooperation in full application of the law. Turning to specific comments, we will come back to this point later on.

Afghanistan – The current draft provides a good basis for negotiation. But we have recommendations: in the preamble, we should remain broad and include key elements as highlighted by some delegations, but we should not mention other areas that could undermine the preambular part. Recommendations should be focused and action oriented, especially for the supply reduction section. Under supply reduction, gin the regional aspects, we need to keep in mind regional cooperation, using capacity of regional cooperation frameworks, including those of UNODC. This document provides a more balanced structure, but we are departing from the original structure of the themes. This draft only covers the health aspects and we need to somehow ensure that other aspects are covered under “threats and challenges”. The link between drugs, crime and terrorism should be included here for example. We look forward to action discussions in January.

Singapore – we thank the UNGASS Board. The elements paper is a strong foundation for the UNGASS outcome document. All decisions should be made in the framework of the conventions, providing latitude to countries. We support the role of CND and the central role of the UNGASS Board. We support the open and inclusive process. The current format for the roundtable discussions is positive. We need a balanced and integrated approach emphasising demand and supply, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The harmful effect of drugs on society makes this a threat. Let us not forget the rights of societies whose lives are destroyed by the use of drugs. We reaffirm the sovereignty of governments to enact its own laws, including the use of the death penalty. Each country has its own sets of challenges, its own political, historical, social, economical context and we should not impose our approach to other countries, including for the harm reduction approach or the legalisation of drugs which weakens our drug strategies. We look forward to a finalised outcome document ready for adoption in March 2016.

Uruguay – The 3 conventions are key instruments for state actions. We support those and their objective of protecting the health of humankind. But since their adoption, our world has changed greatly. THis should push us to identify issues of implementation and reduce harms that implementation has posed. We must build on existing flexibility to provide valid responses in various countries responding to local contexts. We highlight the role of human rights instruments in the design of drug policy. We promote open debate including all and considering all options focusing on human rights, gender and equality. We must address a complex multifaceted problem and our policies have sometimes created more harm. The principle of shared responsibility and rule of law should include CSOs and academia.

  • human rights, gender and citizenship, upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the dignity of individuals, equal rights between states and sovereignty
  • health promotion including prevention, treatment and harm reduction, as well as access to essential medicines
  • justice and coexistence – we should eliminate the death penalty and decriminalise drug use, promote a health and social approach instead of punishment, strengthen democratic institutions
  • new approaches – consider the adoption of new approaches adapted to local realities
  • international cooperation – coherence, comprehensiveness and cohesion within the international drug control system.

Pakistan – We have shared our comments and inputs on the elements paper yesterday and sent written submissions. We hope these observations will be incorporated. But I am reiterating some considerations: the 3 drug conventions are the cornerstone of drug control and provide a comprehensive framework. UNGASS is an opportunity to review our implementation of the 2009 political declaration, we shouldn’t adopt a new declaration. We need an integrated and balanced approach and be guided by the principle of common and shared responsibility, and the health and well being of people. The CND should remain the central policy body on drugs. We must not move away from eradicating drugs. We must address the challenges of ATS and NPS. Cooperation in treatment and prevention should also be highlighted. Pakistan faces many challenges and it is therefore crucial to continue to combat the world drug problem.

Philippines – We support the UNGASS, it is an opportunity to take stock of progress made and reassess goals for 2019. This requires an integrated strategy. We are guided in the Philippines by demand and supply reduction, AD and regional and international cooperation. We emphasize the need for the protection of human rights. We have the support of UNODC and WHO to provide treatment in the Philippines. This reflects our efforts to provide and expand treatment services based on human rights. Evidence based programmes involving communities on demand reduction emphasise the need for participatory policies. We underscore that NPS and trends in drug use should be addressed urgently. Access to controlled substances and their abuse is also a problem. We put together a task force to prevent Filipinos to be used as drug couriers. We work in close collaboration with UN agencies and CSOs. We promote strategic partnership including technical assistance, information sharing. We remain committed to the UNGASS success.

France – France aligns itself with the EU statement. The latest version of the document is a good basis for the forthcoming negotiations. We reiterate our commitment for a document that is brief and concise. We attach importance to the 3 drug conventions which enable the implementation of balanced policies, protecting health, prevention, harm reduction, trafficking. France reiterates  its firm opposition to the death penalty. We call on considering the abolition of the death penalty. The fight against organised crime is a priority. Finally we want to highlight prevention, which when based on science, is particularly relevant. The UNGASS is a unique opportunity to discuss evidence-based policies. We should put forward policies based on public health and prevention and adapt them to local contexts. Alongside UNODC, Pompidou Group, WHO and Sweden, we want to put emphasis on prevention during the first day of the UNGASS we will organise an event on prevention. We invite you all including states, researchers and CSOs to participate.

Sweden – We fully align ourselves with the EU position. The UNGASS must result in mobilising political will to reach the targets of the 2009 political declaration. The document with action oriented recommendations will be useful in this regard. We must do our own homework in our national capacity to counter illicit drugs and ensure access to essential medicines. CSOs and the media constantly demand results. For Sweden, international cooperation, demand and supply reduction are of equal importance. We should not question the conventions. We should use other instruments as well on corruption, organised crime, trafficking in persons. The 2030 Agenda also recognises the socio economic dimensions of the issue. The SDG 3.5 on prevention and treatment for substance abuse will further increase international efforts in a holistic way, as well as alternative livelihoods programmes.

We need to take a human rights based approach. This includes the right to health and the right not to be exposed to drugs, to treatment and to access essential medicines. We support the Human Rights Council’s effort to be more involved, we also support article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Gender equality must also be integrated in all aspects of demand and supply reduction and should not be an isolated issue. Gender equality should be treated at the highest political level so that women and men’s specific needs are met in all relevant activities. Gender equality is necessary for sustainable development and to tackle poverty.

Drug policies should be articulated through an inclusive process. This should be formulated and implemented in collaboration with affected people. We need to focus on social integration, science, evidence, responsibility for filling the gaps in research at national, regional and international level.

Lastly, international cooperation is crucial. UN institutions should focus on drugs in their activities. Member states should really go to specialised agencies to argue for the implementation of our political declaration in the plan of action of other UN agencies.

Iran – The most important approach is that of human rights, but we should also prevent the poison from reaching the individuals. We want to raise some points: on UNGASS, the outcome document should be based on regional perspectives in full respect for culture, religious sensitivities of each region. It should be based on full sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention, and commitment to unconditional international cooperation. We should address the threat posed by legalisation in several regions of the world. We should aim at assessing the targets and objectives set out in the 2009 political declaration, based on the 3 UN drug conventions. We should promote evidence based demand reduction – prevention, treatment, care, social reintegration and related support services to reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse for individuals and society.

On supply reduction, we should focus on sustainable development to minimise and eliminate drug use to ensure the health and welfare of humankind, emphasizing that each strategy is ineffective in the absence of others. We should coordinate with public health and social services. We should address crime as a cross-cutting issue.

On AD, sustainable crop control strategies require international cooperation based on the principle of shared responsibility, an integrated and balanced approach and preventive alternative development, eradication and law enforcement measures. Member states should increase long term financial support for these measures for poverty eradication in affected rural areas.

One of the most important themes to be tackled is that of money laundering. On penalties for crime, the consideration of alternatives to prison and other justice reform for minor non-violent drug offences, as well as for the death penalty, this is in the hands of national legislation to do what is best for the people. I am surprised that many request that we should do something in a way that they know better. We never ask you to impose the death penalty. Here is not the right time or place to raise the issue of the death penalty. We are ready to discuss this in other forums, but here we are discussing the 2009 political declaration. We request that this session should no longer raise the issue.

Nigeria – We align ourselves with the African Group statement and the UNGASS elements paper. We align ourselves on issues of decriminalisation and legalisation – this can be counter productive and can hinder our efforts, providing a window for flourishing drug cartels. The 3 drug conventions should be the cornerstone of our system. We need a continued assessment and revision of drug policies. We should also tackle crime networks that promote drug use via the internet. We acknowledge the 5 thematic themes for the UNGASS and align ourselves on AD and look forward to discussions. We as a global community need to address alternative livelihoods as is the case currently in Nigeria for cannabis. We look forward to harm reduction programmes that will address drug abuse and cannabis substitution to address cannabis dependence.

Iraq – We want to refer to the UNGA resolution on the UNGASS which aims to assess the implementation of the 2009 political declaration. We want to reiterate the fact that the conventions are the cornerstone of drug control. Bearing in mind the challenges we face, and the international instruments I just mentioned, the UNGASS will be a unique forum to hold a transparent and frank debate, enabling us to strike a balance between supply and demand reduction and tackling the root causes of the world drug problem including health, detection, interdiction, in keeping with the principle of shared responsibility. We want to reach concrete solutions to combat this scourge that affects our societies at all levels. The document will need to give due consideration to people involved in trafficking routes and the links between crimes, money laundering and terrorism. We assure you of our full cooperation for the UNGASS.

United States – We will take important steps for the UNGASS. It will be the first major high level meeting to address the world drug problem in almost 2 decades. The US views the UNGASS as an opportunity to review objectives set out in 2009 and reaffirm the UN conventions. We have strongly reaffirmed the public health approach as enshrined in the drug conventions. This includes consensus on international standards on prevention and treatment. This more balanced approach also recognises the need for better integration of health and law enforcement, proportionality of sentencing and alternatives to incarceration, and links between drugs/crime/terrorism/violence. We must ensure that licit controlled substances are available for those in need. Emerging challenges are idenified on NPS. We must now move forward on the implementation of the 2009 political declaration.

We must continue discussions leading to the outcome document. We welcome the UNGASS Board for the process. We do not see the discussion on format as a binary choice and we believe there is a point in focusing on substance first. Form should follow function. On substance, there is much consensus. We have a problem with NPS which merits greater priority in the draft. Access to essential medicines is also critical but it is buried in the demand reduction theme in our current draft. We urge a path forward that focuses on reaching completion of the document before CND 2016. It is a good process for achieving participation and buy-in. This will allow us to call this meeting in Vienna a success.

Thailand – The concept of alternative development has evolved towards a broader development agenda. As we are approaching UNGASS, we need to promote greater AD and the SDGs. I want to brief you on ICAD2. We believe that these conclusions are relevant for preparations on the UNGASS. Thailand, Myanmar, Germany and UNODC organised ICAD 2, which brought more than 240 participants. ICAD 2 had two parts, the latest one in November. We learned that there is no one size fits all. AD implemented in different areas can mean different things. We need to focus on alternative livelihood, for example in Thailand. When AD programmes have been implemented for a long time, marketing and value chains, this has been effective. 2 panel discussions provided a platform for discussions. AD, SDGs and UNGASS can provide discussions on the issue. AD should be enshrined in national development plans. Political will and commitment are key to ensuring sustainability, to respond to the needs of the beneficiaries. We are ready to continue sharing our experiences for UNGASS 2016 and beyond.

Cuba – Drug use and abuse is a serious problem. It is a public health problem that requires prevention, treatment, rehab and social rehabilitation. For many years, we have implemented a coherent policy between health, education, justice, political and social organisations in our country. We also have positive outcomes from prevention programmes. The 3 conventions are the cornerstone to tackle the drug problem. The UNODC has an important role, as well as CND and INCB. Finally, we express our satisfaction on the elements paper. We reinstate our willingness to cooperate in this process.

Ecuador –  Yesterday we commented on the elements paper, it provides a solid basis leading to the zero draft. Referring to the socio-economic components of drugs, we are talking about the need to recast our drug policies too, leaving behind the war on drugs that has caused so much damage in our region. Recently, we have highlighted the need to change the global strategy on drugs, steps were taken, our proposals reaffirmed international trends to establish new approaches based on evidence and health, as well as human rights. We reaffirm that drug policies should be designed with human beings at the heart of our policies. This should underpin drug policies.

  • Drug policies should focus on the individual, based on freedom in the spirit of health, education and social inclusion to prevent drug use.
  • Recognise that drug use is a matter of public and social health that should be targeted via comprehensive health and socio economic policies
  • Full respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity
  • Need for alternatives to incarceration, provide care, social reintegration. An overly punitive policy leads to stigma, prison overcrowding and undermines health
  • Achieve a better understanding of the economic nature underpinning the illicit nature of drug markets
  • Enhance the role of CSOs and academia to achieve a multidisciplinary approach based on evidence and inspired by the principles of unity and diversity
  • Need to strengthen local economic development including preventative economic development
  • Need to reduce crime and violence by strengthening the state.

UNGASS should serve as a forum where member states, UN, CSOs and others can have a frank debate.

Amnesty International – This joint statement is made by Amnesty International on behalf of the Anti Death Penalty Asia Network, Harm Reduction International, International Drug Policy Consortium, Penal Reform International and the World Coalition against the Death Penalty.

As human rights organizations, we welcome this opportunity to highlight the continued use by some countries of the death penalty for drug-related offences, despite clear restrictions set out in international law that where this punishment is used it can only be imposed for the “most serious crimes”. States must use the opportunity of UNGASS to strengthen the promotion and respect of human rights, including with a specific call to promote the abolition of the death penalty. Currently, more than 30 countries prescribe the death penalty for drug-related offences, some 10 of which apply it as a mandatory punishment. Roughly 600 people are known to have been executed annually for these offences. However, this is far from the full picture, as information about executions is scarce.

Several international human rights mechanisms have concluded that drug-related offences do not constitute the “most serious crimes” and the death penalty may not be imposed for them, including the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and in 2013 the UN Secretary General. International drug control bodies have also supported the view that the death penalty for drug-related offences violates international law, including UNODC and the INCB. In light of the forthcoming Special Session on drugs, we call on States to:

  • Take immediate measures to halt all executions, commute death sentences, and abolish the death penalty for drug-related offences as a first step towards its full abolition.
  • Promote the abolition of the death penalty, including for drug-related offences, and the implementation of effective and evidence-based drug policies that respect and protect human dignity, the rule of law and human rights.
  • Ensure that drug policies are implemented in full compliance with international law and standards and that the UN Drug Conventions do not contribute to the use of the death penalty.
  • Request UNODC to conduct an annual review of the implementation of its human rights guidance in States receiving programmatic funding, the findings of which should be published annually to the CND by the Executive Director. 

International Drug Policy Consortium – IDPC is a global network of NGOs, we promote drug policies that are effective and promote health, security development and human rights. We are following the UNGASS preparations with interest and commend the work so far. Firstly, we’ve heard of the importance of advice from other UN agencies to be taken into account This morning there was a session where we heard that advice from UNAIDS, WHO, OHCHR. There is a common theme – we are in a process of moving away from punishment towards a health and social programme. We need to find a way to adjust direction in the UNGASS outcome. I want to bring your attention to an open letter from the Special Rapporteur on the right to health offering recommendations.

Secondly, there is an issue of the likely structure of the zero draft. We offer our support for the 5 themes, because they were agreed in March but also because they are a reasonable reflection of what we call systemwide coherence, reflecting other areas of UN activity. These themes do this quite well and it is important to maintain systemwide coherence in the structure of this document.

IMG_0417

Mike Trace, speaking on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium at the UNGASS Preparatory Segment

Civil Society Task Force – I address you on behalf of Civil Society in my capacity as Chair of the Civil Society Task Force for UNGASS 2016. The Civil Society Task Force for UNGASS 2016 is convened jointly by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) and its sister committee, the New York NGO Committee on Drugs (NYNGOC), as the best way to ensure a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society during the UNGASS process. The taskforce is designed to secure civil society engagement and coordination in order to effectively include civil society organizations voices in the UNGASS. It secures an overall balance in terms of both geography and approaches to drug policies and interventions.

As we meet here today to discuss, amongst other topics, the structure of the UNGASS session,  we welcome the envisaged format of the UNGASS session, with 5 interactive, multi-stakeholder round tables, with participation by Civil Society Panelists. We look forward to civil society participating in the roundtables and panels in an inclusive spirit and open manner as during the UNGASS Segment of the regular session of the CND 2015, where NGO representatives could also make statements from the floor. Let me underscore that the Civil Society Task Force is ready and eager to work with you on the nomination of Civil Society panelists as outlined in the draft decision L.16. We also offer our capacity and experience in facilitating the participation of civil society observers.

Taking into account our successful cooperation in the past, for, amongst others, the roundtables at CND in March 2015, as well as the High-Level Thematic Debate in May 2015, we know that a broad and meaningful inclusion of civil society will greatly add to the discussions. Therefore we advocate for the inclusion of a broad range and substantive number of civil society representatives to be present at the UNGASS session. We are willing to with you in making the UNGASS as inclusive and successful as possible!

At that point, to I want to thank the Chair of the UNGASS board, the Chair of CND as well as the UNODC Executive Director and his dedicated staff for their outstanding support and involvement of civil society in the past years, as well as the months to come. It has allowed us to already provide you with a number of substantive input and concrete recommendations gathered from civil society colleagues from around the globe – in person and through documents. So far, the Civil Society Task Force for UNGASS 2016 has respectfully submitted recommendations and priority areas for inclusion in the UNGASS outcome document. The full recommendations are available at the websites of VNGOC, NYNGOC and ungass2016.org, and I encourage you to take them into consideration.

Furthermore, the Civil Society Task Force members have in the past months been convening regional and thematic consultations with civil society colleagues around the globe. The results of these consultations will be published in due course, and form another essential valuable contribution to the UNGASS process. With regard to the preparation of the UNGASS outcome document, please be ensured that we continue to stand ready to provide you as member states with input from Civil Society for your consideration.

As I am coming to the end of my statement,  I am delighted to being able to inform you that his Excellency, the President of the General Assembly Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, has granted us his support to convene an “Informal Civil Society Consultation ” in New York on 10 February 2016. We are currently working with the OPGA on the details of the meeting, and expect to being able to share further information in due course. The event is another valuable example of the open and meaningful involvement of civil society in the preparations for UNGASS, as well as a most important milestone in the CSTF preparations for the special session.

Brunei – No matter how hard we try to suppress illicit drugs, we still hear about it every day in this modern world. It is spreading as a result of globalisation. Drug use is not victimless. Families and friends, children, are all affected. We need a holistic approach between demand and supply, but there is no one size fits all. We believe that no country alone is able to counter trafficking, especially when we have such powerful trafficking groups. Drugs cannot be tackled effectively unless we have effective law enforcement and border control, as well as multilateral task forces. We must expect national sovereignty and responsibility in addressing the world drug problem, taking into account history, politics, economics, culture. Legalising drugs and death penalty are a matter of sovereignty. We must put emphasis on sharing intelligence and information.

Agenda item 4: special segment at the 2016 CND

UNGASS Board Chair – We decided to recommend that the first 3 days of the Session would be fully devoted to UNGASS preparations. This is adopted. We will have an intensive intersessional period in January and February, complemented by a series of informal consultations. Dates will be determined with the conference management service.

Agenda item 5: other business

No other business.

Agenda item 6: Special segment’s organisation and outcome

UNGASS Board Chair: Informal consultations were held yesterday, today and will continue tomorrow on the format of the special segment. We will resume discussions on the special segment on Friday morning.

CND Chair: Tomorrow we will resume the reconvened session of the CND. We will focus on budgetary and administrative matters for the CND and CCPCJ.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.