Resolution L13. Promotion of measures, including voluntary cooperation and timely and effective legislative, regulatory, and administrative responses to target new psychoactive substances, amphetamine-type stimulants and precursors

Australia: We have worked in informals and found compromise on some of the paragraphs. These include preambular paragraphs that acknowledge that ketamine is a WHO essential medicine, and recalls resolution 57/10 on ketamine trafficking. So open the floor for comments on these.

China: Add “trafficking” and “assess the extent of this problem at the national, regional and international level”. If ketamine can go here, then it does need to go into the operative paragraphs.

Australia: Thanks China for compromise, and supports these additions to the preambular paragraph.

Netherlands: Need to still acknowledge that ketamine is an essential medicine, so add this line back in. The assessment at the national, regional and international levels – WHO have already done this, so this is not needed. Trafficking is not needed in the paragraph too.

Switzerland: We have had arduous discussions on ketamine, and we had great trouble on ketamine being in this resolution as it is very different from the point of the resolution itself. We agree with the first two alternative paragraphs proposed, but not the third one which now reads more like an operative paragraph.

Norway: We agree with Switzerland, and the proposal to merge the two new alternative paragraphs, rather than editing the existing third paragraph.

Belgium: In our view, ketamine is well out of place in this resolution. Agree with Switzerland and Norway’s proposal to work with the two new alternative paragraphs. No new additions from China, these go beyond what we can accept.

Australia: We discussed at length whether ketamine has a role in this resolution. Under the definitions of new psychoactive substances, these include ketamine. The “new” in that phrase does not refer to the age of the substance, more to whether or not it is under international control. So add that “ketamine is defined as a new psychoactive substance by the UNODC”.

Canada: Delete Chinese addition re: national, regional and international levels.

Venezuela: We can go along with the first and third alternative paragraphs, but not the second one. As ketamine is not a scheduled substance, there is no such this as illicit production etc.

Brazil: The text in the second alternative paragraph was taken directly from resolution 57/10 on ketamine. We like the modifications from Australia, and would like to agree with Canada on the third alternative paragraph. We cannot recall things we have not agreed on in the past.

Norway: Many delegations made it clear that the definition of ketamine as a new psychoactive substance is not acceptable, as we need to acknowledge the main use of ketamine globally as an essential medicine.

Belgium: In line with Norway. We also recognise that there is no consensus on the definition of ketamine as a new psychoactive substance, it has been used since the 1970s.

China: We have already have the document issued by UNODC in 2013 which states that ketamine is a new psychoactive substance as it is not scheduled. Defended their other insertions: Hong Kong can have seizures of substances destined for the USA, so it is not just a national problem but an international one.

Netherlands: The treaties say that the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence decides on these matters, and they have come to the clear conclusion that ketamine abuse does not pose a serious public health risk. We have to take this clear conclusion, not a definition from UNODC. If you ban it, you will have a global public health emergency.

Chair: We need to be conscious of the uses of ketamine for medical uses, and also for vetinary purposes. But there are two schools of thought on this here.

Australia: We had tried to find a compromise, but this is clearly failing to resonate. Suggest we take a short break for a quick huddle of interested states to try and find an agreement.

[Countries in a huddle in the corner]

Chair: On Friday evening, we worked on a large resolution which merged three others on new psychoactive substances. We worked for two hours on this, and we had a small number of paragraphs still open for discussion. So now I want to see if there are any of these other operative paragraphs that we can close now.

Operative Paragraph 19

Australia: Still no consensus

Operative Paragraph 9

Australia: This has been agreed in the informals

No further comments – paragraph agreed

Operative Paragraph 7

Australia: This has been agreed in the informals

No further comments – paragraph agreed

Chair: So, we have a large resolution with just a few outstanding issues: operative paragraphs 4 and 19, the title, and one preambular paragraph are still open. Can we close this this evening, we have translation until 9.15.

Australia: Yes, this is possible. My proposal for the preambular paragraph is to keep the first alternative paragraph as it is drafted, delete the second and third one, while mentioning resolution 57/10 into the first alternative paragraph. So this now reads: “Recognising that ketamine is included in the World Health Organisation Model List of Essential Medicines and that ketamine is considered as a new psychoactive substance by some member states and recalling CND resolution 57/10”

[Delegations take time to consider the new proposal]

China: Change to “and that ketamine has been scheduled in some member states and is considered as a new psychoactive substance by the UNODC”.

Netherlands: The new addition is incorrect, even in countries where it is scheduled, it is still listed as an essential medicine. Suggest to add ECDD language from their reviews.

Belgium: We were willing to show flexibility as per the Australian proposal, but the new additions from China are not acceptable. This is a very delicate balance, and if we cannot reach consensus then perhaps we should take the language out of the text.

Norway: We have spent most of the day debating this and it is not at the core of the resolution. If we cannot reach compromise to reflect the concerns of one delegation, then we should seek to delete this in the resolution.

Russia: I don’t understand the problem now. There are only three facts – it is on the essential medicines list, it is considered as a new psychoactive drug in some countries, and it is in resolution 57/10. These are facts, so this should be OK.

Australia: Small edits to try and reach consensus. Add “by some member states and international organisations”.

Netherlands: Please add the language from ECDD report – “also noting the conclusion from the World Health Organisation’s ECDD that ketamine does not seem to pose a significant health risk”. Plus change “organisations” to “organisation” – it is only one, the UNODC, who define this as a new psychoactive substance.

Japan: Support Australian changes.

USA: Urge resolution on this, as we have been in debate for more than half a day.

China: In spirit of flexibility, change to the order of the paragraph, and delete the ECDD language.

Netherlands: Unfortunately, we cannot go with this suggestion. To quote the ECDD again, levels of ketamine use appears to be declining in some countries, so we have to first acknowledge the medical use, then the abuse in some countries.

Norway: Same as Dutch colleague. I think we are close to a factual-based compromise here, so we either go back to that.

Belgium: We are moving further away from an agreement on this.

Brazil: No problem with inverting the order.

Canada: Clarify whether we remove ketamine from operative paragraph 4 as part of these negotiations?

Chair: Move to the operative paragraphs that are still open – four and nineteen.

Operative Paragraph 4

China: If we add ketamine here, we can accept that.

Switzerland: We cannot accept having ketamine in this paragraph. For the preambular paragraph, we support the Netherlands. It was a package deal which we are breaking up, and we cannot accept that. We have been constructive in our approach, but we can’t align with this Chinese position.

Norway: It has been very clear throughout today that to include ketamine in an operative paragraph is unacceptable to the majority of delegations involved in the process. I do not see how this is getting us closer to consensus on this resolution.

Belgium: Align with previous speakers, this proposal is not a ground for compromise.

Brazil: We can leave the operative paragraph if we have a compromise on the order of the text in the preambular paragraph. It’s the same language, but we will just be moving it around. This would solve the problems.

Chair: So let’s look again at the preambular paragraph.

China: If we change the order here, we won’t ask for a mention in the operative paragraph.

Russia: Seems like a fair suggestion.

Norway: This is a strange composition – we start with what some member states do, and end with the core purpose of ketamine as an essential medicine. But if we include the Dutch proposal (for the ECDD language) then this would make it a more balanced paragraph.

Belgium: Agree with this proposal.

Australia: Thank you for suggested reordering, although it takes an unusual form. But it does address the discussions today. We support it with the ECDD language included.

UK: We add our voice to those moderate ones in the room trying to reach compromise. We think the current paragraph reflects a fair balance on this issue.

China: We would like to make a constructive offer. If we cannot reach agreement, we would like to see all the references to ketamine deleted in these paragraphs.

Australia: Appreciate China’s proposal, please bracket the paragraphs to understand what may be contingent on this in the still-open operative paragraphs. If we can delete it there too, then we concur.

Operative Paragraph 4

China: Add ketamine.

Chair: I know what everyone in the room will say, so this is in brackets.

Operative Paragraph 19

India: We discussed this in detail in informals, want one small change – only focus on new psychoactive substances “included in the international surveillance lists”.

Canada: This deletion greatly narrows the scope of this paragraph, counter to its intent.

China: Agree with India. This list covers thousands of substances.

Australia: Change “especially” to “including those”

India: This does not change the original meaning, so we cannot accept it

EU: Concur with Canada – if we change this, we completely dismantle the added value of this paragraph. To tackle new psychoactive substances, we do need to use voluntary cooperation, so we need to keep the original wording to maintain credibility.

China: Agree with India. Or delete whole paragraph.

Chair: I do not see that we can resolve the three open paragraphs in this resolution. I think it is late in the day, there might be some fresh thought tomorrow. So I suggest we take this again in the Committee of the Whole tomorrow morning. There have been a lot of efforts here to try and solve this. We have closed two operative paragraphs, but we remain stuck on these three.

USA: Ask again that all member states to look again at this paragraph. It does not obligate anyone, only asks people to look at information and share information. It just points out that this is one way of working. This is an area of tremendous cooperation and UNODC has done tremendous work on this issue, and I encourage us all to seize the momentum and build on this.

Chair: This concludes the consideration of L13 in the Committee of the Whole today.

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