General Assembly: Thirtieth Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (4th plenary meeting)

The full statements delivered by member states during the UNGASS general debate are available here

The Special Session will be an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem”, which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.

Republic of Korea: Korea will continue to work together with the international community to ensure safety and health for all.

Belarus: We need an integrated and balanced strategy and we need to move forward together. We hope this session will give us new momentum to a find new strategies.

Spain: Ladies and gentlemen, as we are trying to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our people we are trying to work together on the basis of the three conventions as the international legal framework corner stone. That is what the international community wanted and chose. As we are trying to reach the goal of reducing the drug problem, we need to share responsibility between transit, producing and consuming countries. We need to focus on other UN documents such as the human rights conventions and the SDGs. My government is fully committed to international cooperation as we work towards the SDGs with our multi-national and bilateral partners to improve the situation in regions affected by drug crop production by implementing alternative development measures. We believe that genuine development requires a sustainable effort and good governance is a mandatory factor for this. We believe that every development policy must focus on women as they are at the heart of families and provide care for minors. This leads me to refer to the link between the UN conventions and the principles of human rights. Spain supports the abolition of the death penalty as it infringes the human rights, and proportionality must always be respected. In line with declarations by the EU and other bodies against the death penalty, we regret that the outcome document does not include language on this matter. The human rights also include the matter of public health policies, Spain has always used such measures to fight against drugs and has done this successfully against heroin. In Spain we are addressing the issue of finding alternatives to imprisonment. There are interlinkages between drug trafficking networks and terrorist organisations and this is a risk for us all. In Spain we have special law enforcement to deal with this. We remain willing to work with all international partners on this issue as well as with UN agencies. Thank you.

Zambia: From the outset, allow me to join others who spoke before me to congratulate you Mr Chairman for your work in organising this event. We aline ourselves with statements made by China. Drug trafficking continues to pose serious costs on communities on a global scale. Despite our efforts to tackle these issues, Zambia has not been spared by drug damage. I wish to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the global efforts in solving this problem. Whilst Zambia used to be a mere transit country, we are now a consumer country. Consumption of cocaine and other hard drugs is on the increase. The Zambian government has continuously tried to implement drug prevention and treatment measures, especially for young people. We are dealing with the issue of drugs and money-laundering in schools from primary to secondary schools. We have initiated a youth program aiming to empower young people to establish their own businesses so as to not indulge in illicit drugs. We are regularly reviewing our legislation to find realities that are effective in combating drugs and organised crime. Zambia has also established an anti-money-laundering unit. Our government sees the three conventions as the cornerstones of international drug control. We reaffirm that these instruments are sufficient in providing the required guidance to solve the world drug problem. A balanced and integrated approach is required. Calls for decriminalization and legalisation are in our view against the conventions. We welcome the outcome document and the focus on human rights, especially those of youth, women, children, and those most vulnerable. National policies need to protect human rights and the health of society overall. Whilst the drug problem remains a major challenge and requires increased cooperation and shared responsibility, we see progress and wish to continue to exchange good practices.

Poland: Whilst we agree that drug policies should be viewed with a more broad view than just a focus on criminal justice, we think that scientists, civil society and other stakeholders should be included in this debate further. We hope that in the near future the abolishment of the death penalty will be viewed as a given by the majority of the international community. Drug prevention policy should encompass broader understanding by including health and education departments further. The need for cooperation is crucial. We issue the drug policy issue one of the greatest of contemporary times, also due to the cross-border nature and the emergence of new threats such as the manufacture of NPS. Many countries have experienced that the programs in place for years are insufficient and ineffective, partially due to their passive nature. We need to further coordinate our efforts with local and civil society groups that are closest to the citizens and know the needs of society. The Warsaw Declaration highlights the need to coordinate with society in Europe. It is impossible to progress without involvement of all relevant partners. Thank you.

Viet Nam: Ladies and gentlemen, Viet Nam would like to express their appreciation of the UNGASS and the importance of the outcome document to cope with the world drug problem. We are aware of the complexity of the global drug problem, and Viet Nam has actively implemented new legal measures to prevent drug threats in the past year. We have improved the legal system to deal with long-, mid- and short-term issues and solutions. We are working towards effective policies to give successful results by 2030. Viet Nam is of the view that the current global drug control framework is based on the conventions and that this allows for the best long-term vision. We are working towards a world free of drugs and a balance between harm reductions and drug control. We are trying to enhance international cooperation on drug control and factors such as prevention and education in our own country with the society themselves. We try to mobilize resources for drug control whilst providing a wide range of treatment for those in need of it. We are still facing many challenges; drug crime is increasing in our general region and especially the rise of NPS and other substances is posing challenges. We continue to be willing to give and receive support by our partners, both governments and bodies such as the UNODC. We thank you.

Latvia: Let me thank the UNGASS board and all the stakeholders for their efforts in preparing this process. Latvia is a devoted supported of a balanced and evidence-based drug policy orientated on human rights. We believe that there is sufficient flexibility in the conventions to address the drug problem according to national and regional circumstances. Each nation’s needs are unique and there is no one size fits all solution. We must all fundamentally respect human rights and we call on states to abolish the death penalty. The principle of proportionality must be applicable for all drug related offenses and alternatives to imprisonment must be developed. Drug demand reduction should include prevention, treatment and harm reduction, and must be balanced with drug control based on international cooperation. To counter drug trafficking and other linked forms of organised crime, we all require cross-border cooperation. We need to face new challenges such as the use of internet as a market and NPS. These are cross-border issues and could be faced more effectively if policies would be implemented globally, which can be based on several successful national policies. I thank you.

Italy: Thank you. Whilst aliging ourselves with the statements made by the EU, we would also like to make a few statements in our national capacity. We have gained experiences and new challenges have emerged. We must adjust our policies and strengthen policies which have proven effective whilst adjust those that haven’t. The international community must view drug disorders as a health issue. Our approach should be pragmatic rather than ideological. We should encourage states to implement effective rather than demagogic policies. The human rights should be at the centre of all policies and this includes a focus on risk reduction and treatment. We need to further steps towards decreasing the global HIV threat. The principle of proportionality must be respected and is enshrined in Italian law.

Australia: (…) Australia remains committed to the efforts of the international community to tackle the global drug problem.

Greece. Thank you Chair. Greece aligns itself with the statements made by the EU. At the time when universal access to health services is an urgent matter, we need to reflect the changes and developments in science and society in our policies. We need our laws to reflect human dignity, democracy, solidarity, and human rights. Greece fully supports the abolishment of the death penalty and a movement towards a health-base approach focused on early intervention, prevention, treatment and reintegration. We are committed to the protection of human rights and this includes access in prison settings as well as proportional sentencing. We face an expected emergency in the last years in our countries; a huge influx of immigrants has reached Greece. These people usually face wide-ranging problems. Greece is also experiencing deep economic problems and now needs to cover for the health needs of migrants as well. Drug policy should not be based on criminalizing people and these practices are outdated and cost-ineffective. We need to update our drug policies based on evidence and recommendations by stakeholders and civil society. We need global drug policies to be humane and people-centred. Thank you.

Albania: We are grateful to be speaking at this important meeting here today. Albania reaffirms its commitment to the outcome document that was accepted yesterday. However, we regret that it does not include language on the death penalty as it undermines human dignity and errors in application are irreversible. We are promoting a society free of drug abuse and we ourselves have adopted policies prioritizing adequate legislation with EU member states, strengthening capacities of the law enforcement strategies, strengthening border control and intelligence sharing, strengthening internal institutional cooperation. The objectives are to create a safe environment for society, to provide appropriate services and treatment, to have an effective information gathering system. The fight against narcotic drugs remains high on the agenda of Albania. We must adapt to new threats such as internet markets and NPS. We also support the strive to improve the access to medicinal substances. In implementing the outcome document, we must prioritize policies that favour human rights and wellbeing at its centre whilst upholding safety and stability.

Hungary: We support the work of the secretariat and the CND. We align ourselves with the EU and would like to highlight the following points. The UNGASS is a good opportunity to reflect on the progress made since the political declaration made in 2009. Although we are of the opinion that approaches should vary by country and region, but we think significant progress has been made. We think this will be clear at the dissemination in 2019. The new reality on NPS in the past decade is requiring us to respond swiftly, and the Hungarian government created a new drug control system as a response in 2012 to fight the illicit trafficking of NPS. We also applaud the work of the WHO in scheduling several NPS. Hungary implemented its drug strategy in 2013 in a commitment to the three conventions with a view on human rights and public health. Strategies must be based on a balance between supply and demand reduction and must make use fully of all social resources. We look forward to implementing the outcome document with the UN and all relevant stakeholders and members. Thank you.

United States: Mr Chairman, it has been 18 years since the last UNGASS on the world drug problem. We have made progress and are balancing new approaches, but we have a lot of work to do. We need to charter a way forward of how the nations can address the world drug problem. We have had some success in disrupting trafficking networks which is encouraging, and we know more about NPS than before. Law enforcement efforts should focus however on criminal organisations and not individual users. We need to provide better access to treatment and alternatives to incarceration, which is permitted by the conventions. We need to provide access to proven pathways to recovers and address the needs of every group in our countries including youth, women, indigenous people, LGBT+ and others. We must invest in research to improve treatment and policy must be rooted on evidence. Ideally, we should prevent drug abuse from even happening and prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other preventable diseases related to drug users. In the US we have begun policies to reduce incarceration and to help people re-enter society including sentencing reforms. Records should not keep people from entering employment our housing. President Obama has taken steps to allow people with criminal records to enter federal employment. Millions of people in the United States live in recovery. The US government has put forth a plan that balances law enforcement and public health. We have invest record amount to expand access to treatment, and President Obama is calling for another 1 billion $ in funding for this purpose. The US looks forward to a successful UNGASS to strive for the goal of fighting the drug problem.

Kuwait: We are satisfied with the work carried out in Vienna towards the outcome document at hand. Kuwait stresses the vital role of the CND in drug control and all related matters. We also value efforts of the UNODC in providing activities for capacity-building and technical assistance for the countries fighting drugs. Mr President, this special session of the UN represents an opportunity to counter the scourge of drugs, which threatens individuals and the rule of law. We need to base our efforts on the ideas of shared responsibility. We are committed to the political declaration of 2009 and declaration of 2014 and to the three conventions as well as the declaration of human rights. We provide users with the required care and treatment and aim to reintegrate them into society and have had pioneering experiences and successes. We are using the most state of the art therapies and treatments. We are trying to also provide the necessary education and psychological health. We also believe in the sovereignty of human rights and the respect for specific differences based on socio-cultural differences. Thank you.

Luxembourg: Luxembourg welcomes this event. Faced with the world drug problem, Luxembourg favours a more balanced and integrated approach with full respect for human rights as was said in the statement of the EU. Let me once again reaffirm our categorical rejection of the death penalty. In 1988, Luxembourg had a prevalence of 8 high-risk users by 1000 people which has since reduced to 5/1000. We have adopted three national action plans and these have been evaluated externally, to which we are responding. We are focusing on harm reduction and treatment and reintegration. We have opened syringe exchange programs in prisons and safe injection rooms. Luxembourg has one of the highest rates of opiate user treatments and a decreasing mortality rate. Faced with emerging dynamics, we advocate effective and adaptive strategies to deal for example with NPS. The world drug problem is constantly evolving and we must equip ourselves with good tools, practices and evidence-based policies to deal with it. The outcome document is a practical recommendation which we believe will allow us to effectively address the world drug problem.

Austria: Austria fully aligns itself with the statements made by the European Union. Much has been achieved but challenges still persist. The world drug problem remains a danger to individuals and societies, development and human dignity, safety and stability. These challenges cannot be tackled individually but through an integrated cooperation based approach. The plan of action stresses this and the need for a control and health balance clearly. At this UNGASS, we should all engage in an open discussion and listen to scientific evidence away from all ideology. Austria remains happy to share experiences on measures such as needle exchange, prison treatment and treatment therapies. A human rights base approach remains the foundation of any discussion on drugs. We regret the lack of language on the death penalty in the outcome. We are committed to helping the efforts focused on alternative development. Austria continues to see the UNODC as the proven and most effective body to deal with the world drug problem. We look forward to continue to join in on the efforts to the path towards 2019 and beyond that.

Belgium: Belgium also aligns itself with the statements made by the Netherlands as the head of the EU council. This document is important for a number of reasons: it confirms the importance of the goals and objectives of the three conventions including addressing the physical care and wellbeing of humankind. Next, it highlights the need of policies based on scientific evidence. Finally, it is in line with the declaration of human rights and the UN Charta. Belgium calls for the full abolition of the death penalty for drug-related crimes as this is in contradiction with the declaration of human rights and has proven to be ineffective. The right to health and healthcare without discrimination is essential and needs to address the need for social reintegration, treatment, interventions and preventions. OST, need-exchange programs and other harm reduction measures have proven to be effective and have a place in drug policy. 75% of the world’s population do not have guaranteed access to adequate medical treatment and this must change. Belgium will continue to continue to support the efforts of the WHO and other UN agencies both democratically and in practice. We have funded projects in other countries such as the Congo and will continue to do this. We see the need to provide training for professionals and continued efforts to reduce supply. The challenges before us are great and complex, and we need to cooperate to counter especially the new challenges such as NPS. Belgium will continue to work together with the international community and with other EU states. Thank you.

Brazil: Despite progress since the 1988 session, we have to admit that the world drug problem with its dynamic challenges remains an issue today. We need to face problems such as the HIV epidemic, access to treatment, and access to controlled substances. The UNGASS could not be more timely. I take this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the dialogue with civil society organisation and the cooperation with other countries as we do with Latin and South America state unions such as CELAC. Brazil sees an emphasis on human rights as the core of all drug policies. Our capacities of controlling illicit substances are becoming more modern and efficient and we must simultaneously work towards increasing access to controlled medical substances. Our government invested approximately 2 billion dollars in fours years with a new focus not on combatting the substances but treating for them and reducing their harms. We fully support the outcome document and especially three points. These are the centrality of the three drug control conventions and the emphasis on their flexibility. Furthermore, the emphasis on the human rights especially with regards to minorities such as women. And finally, the health focus of the document. However, we regret that the death penalty is not included in the document as the death penalty violates the most fundamental human right, namely the right to life. It is important to improve and diversify the indicators of success in the fight against drugs and their harms. Brazil also continues to support calls to focus on alternative developments which reach all the way into urban developments. We look forward to future developments until 2019 and beyond that. Thank you.

Guyana: The outcome document of this UNGASS is an important step towards combating the world drug problem effectively. Guyana reaffirms its commitment to the implementation of the three drug conventions as well as the SDGs which are directly linked to the success of the drug policies. The work that will be achieved from 2016 to 2020 needs to be based on shared responsibility and guided with a common goal. We also need to consider the socio-economic factors of the drug problem and the effects on youth, children and families, and the links to crime. The government of Guyana is putting emphasis on early diagnosis, drug abuse prevention and primary care. These are both community based and residential and strive for reintegration. The drug problem challenges security both globally and in our region. Due to our geographical location, we have become a transit country for the largest markets of drugs. Our national efforts must be extended by international support from the region and further away. Tackling the world drug problem requires an integrated and balanced approach based on a sense f shared responsibility. Guyana will continue to employ all possible efforts to make a difference on our national level. Thank you.

Israel: The devastating impact of drugs spares no nations. Let’s call a young Israeli D., he is from Ber Sheva and has been free of drugs for 13 years. He faced many challenges but was inspired to gain back his dignity and his daughter’s respect by beating the addiction and he is now giving everything he has to help others in the same situation. UNGASS is an opportunity to assess what else needs to be done to fight the world drug problem. We reaffirm our support for the CND as the leader of all our efforts into implementing our goals related to drugs and thus linked to sustainable development according to the 2030 agenda. We must base our efforts on the previous conventions and focus on human rights especially of those most affected. Programs must be adapted to age, gender, and other individual differences. The state of Israel has adopted a wide range of programs to promote parental involvement and health lifestyles of children. Drug abuse affects all sectors of society. Israel offers a high range of services to those in need of treatment, whether they are homeless people, prisoners, or other vulnerable people. We believe that no comprehensive approach is complete with access to harm reduction measures especially to related to HIV prevention. A global commitment is required to fight this global problem. Israel is increasing international cooperation by conducting courses alongside UNODC staff for professional staff of developing countries. This kind of cooperation is necessary also to combat emerging challenges such as the rise of NPS. We must differentiate between those that profit and those that suffer from drug use. We support the principle of proportionality with regards to sentencing and alternatives to sentencing especially when dealing with minors. It took the international community 18 years to come together again to deal with the drug problem; in Hebrew, 18 means life. Let’s commit ourselves to end the plague of drug abuse and human suffering together. Thank you.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): Let me command the UNGA for assembling for this special session. The issue we are addressing is of great importance for Europe. I would like to bring to light what we can do and contribute to tackle this issue. 30 million dollars a year, the combined money made through trafficking in the Balkans, and much more than that in spent unsuccessfully on combatting this issue. Trafficking poses a significant threat for stability in a number of member states. This affects a number of young people across the world. We believe in the UN bodies as well as other organisations such as the Pompidou group in creating a comprehensive approach to security and treatment through specific recommendations for the member countries. Ministers underline that efforts to fight drugs needs to be accompanied by efforts to combat other forms of organised crime and money-laundering. The OCDE will continue to provide support for all countries committed to countering the drug problem by providing expertise and other forms of help. Let me wish you all success in your efforts.

Chair: The last few minutes will be used for interventions and responses. You are limited to 10 minutes.

Armenia: We are compelled to take the floor again to respond to comments made by Azerbaijan. The delegate used almost half of his time yesterday to attack my nation and bring up national problems. This is not conductive to this discussion or to our relations. Not surprisingly, these are fantasies and only Azerbaijan believes these statements. Azerbaijan cannot accept the democratic right for self-determination of the people who have turned against the oppressive government of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan had refused to commit to peace in the region and Azerbaijan has continuously attacked people in a violation of the regional treaties, causing horrible atrocities. This has been celebrated by the public in their country. This violated human rights and many UN conventions and protocols and has been brought to the UN high commissioner of human rights. The allegations that this escalation was started by anyone else are wrong. Azerbaijan has refused all proposals of mediators between the parties involved. Armenian sides accepted proposals for help and invested into stability in the region. Azerbaijan however has invested into armament and military hardware rather than stabilising forces. Azerbaijan is hijacking opportunities such as this setting to spew propaganda and instead should tackle the problems on the grounds, as there are urgent drug problems in the population of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is using ideology and distorting the purpose of security council resolutions and should reflect on this. Thank you.

Azerbaijan: We refute the slandering statements made by Armenia. We found these statements surprising as Armenia are now themselves diverting from the agenda based on drug. Armania is criticizing the drug problem in Azerbaijan, and it’s good to see that they have finally started reading the world drug problem which they had been ignoring for too long. Our country has always been committed to fighting the drug problems in our country. I would like to suggest that Armenia read the World Drug Report which states that the border control is left uncontrolled due to issues in the region. The country that holds primary responsibility for the instability and conflict as well as war crimes is now talking about peace and human rights as well as resolution, but their actions shows that they have no right to talk like this. People have fled from their country due to human rights violations. The UN Security Council has supported the rights of Armenian minorities living in Azerbaijan. As a country suffering from occupation of its territories, Azerbaijan is interested in the settlement of this conflict. Armenian has complained about the ill-treatment of military people so as to distract from crimes committed by their own people. Azerbaijani soldiers are suffering to a much larger scale in their own territories. (…) Finally I would like to transmit the greetings of the Azerbaijani military to the military regime of Armenia.

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