Home » General Assembly: Thirtieth special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem (Opening segment)

General Assembly: Thirtieth special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem (Opening segment)

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

Mogens Lykketoft: Ladies and gentlemen, I think for the election as President of this special session. Let me express my condolences to the delegations of Ecuador and Japan whose countries have been hit by deadly earthquakes. It is an honour to welcome you to this special session of the GA on the world drug problem. I wish to thank the CND in Vienna for leading the preparations for this special session and everyone on their commitment to preparing the draft document. When young people see their health deteriorate and opportunities evaporate and families disintegrate, when those seeking treatment are discriminated, HIV costs lives, poor farmers face challenges, indigenous people struggle to maintain their traditional livelihood, and criminal groups take over people’s lives, and people are executed and imprisoned for drugs, when people cannot access their medicine, when all of this comes together, you have the world drug problem. A problem that demands attention but can be overcome. Your engagement here today is a show of commitment. A little over 6 months ago many of you gathered here to embrace the SGDs and to send the signal that we are reaching for a just world. Today, bearing in mind the linkages between the two, we can try to deliver a similar message. With openness and the willingness to learn, we can learn better and find things that unite us. During these three days, we will discuss the great challenges associated with this issue. No society can claim to be completely free from the consequences of the drug problem. It is a common responsibility to address the problem. There are man dimensions, from human rights over corruption and organised crime; this issue requires a long-term multi-disciplinary approach. We need to organise between public health and education, between regions and governments. We need to respect proportionality and the wellbeing of the individual, we need to bring security but strive for balanced policies. The past has shown that we can equip ourselves if we listen to each other. Every country experiences these problems in its own way. We must also listen to civil society, parliamentarians, youth, women and affected communities. Excellencies, not withstanding the efforts made by states and organisation as well as UN entities, the world drug problem affects millions of lives. We must look at new approaches and reflect on our past policies. I hope that we can look ahead and think about where we would like to be in 2019. This special session is now open and I hope it provides a space for a useful discussion. In doing so, I hope we can address more effectively and more humanely this complex world drug problem. I now give the floor to the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Jan Eliasson: Thank you for letting me address you in the name of the secretary general. The world drug problem affects virtually every nation and society. I’m sure you have all thought about the victims of this scourge when you observed the minute of silence a minute ago. Drug trafficking fuels violence and weakens institutions. As the Security Council has recognized, drug trafficking increases violence and impact human rights. Some people do not receive the care they need and drug abuse affects users and their families and communities. It kills and injures, it is linked to the spread of HIV, TB and Hepatitis. We must give care and treatment to those affected. We must help those most vulnerable in our societies. The drug control is there to ensure the health and wellbeing of humankind. We must balance security with human rights, development and health. We all know that some aspects are sensitive and controversial. Some countries and regions have suffered more than others. Therefore we must listen to each other and learn from one another. I applaud your efforts in preparing this session and the outcome document. I thank Ambassador Shamaa and everyone else involved for their work on this document. Addressing the world drug problem requires the involvement of all governments, all sectors of society and all UN bodies. After negotiations, we must now implement. Prevention and treatment requires a balanced approach. Drug policies must make use of all the conventions but also keep in mind the fight against terrorism. We must seek alternatives to conviction, and to convict in proportionality to the crime and in conformity with human rights. The best prevention policy is working decisively towards the 2030 SGD decided on in December last year. Countering drug related crime and corruptions is imperative for reaching sustainable development. Drugs threaten lives but also security and stability. The challenges of the drug problem require a global response. We must mobilize our efforts and all good forces in this spirit. Looking forward to 2019 we should focus on new challenges and threats. UN member states and the whole UN system must respond in a flexible fashion. We must base our decisions on research and data and should not shy away from new ideas even if these challenge traditional responses. We the peoples, is who we are and who we serve. I challenge you to be open. This outcome document gives you a good basis to take steps forward. Again I congratulate member states for their work. Let us make the most of this special session for healthy people, for a peaceful and just society and a better future. Thank you.

Morgens Lykketoft: I now give the floor to Mr Vladimir Galuska, chair of the CND.

Vladimir Galuska: I thank you all. It is an honour to address the GA at its 30th special session. At the chair of the CND, I witnessed the efforts of all involved. This special session is a culmination of all these efforts. In 2009 member states adapted the political declaration and set goals for 2019. This special session is one of the milestones of this period. I am pleased to say that the debate held over the last years has become multi-faceted. It includes discussion on crime and violence, medicine, science and evidence, NPS, alternative development, international cooperation and provision of adequate resources. The CND has been focusing its discussions on sharing information to implement successful policies taking into account the different realities of the problem. The wide participation of other stakeholders has enriched the discussion. At our last session in March more than 800 people shared information, 74 side events were held on various topics on all the relevant subjects. The commission in Vienna continues to act in the spirit of consensus. This is how we can find constructive dialogue to counter the world drug problem despite our differences and the different challenges we face. I welcome the constructive engagement which has resulted in innovate resolutions and the outcome document, and ideas on networking, promoting standards of treatment, health, etc. The commission has received increasing recommendations by the WHO that have been taken into account. I welcome out productive cooperation with bodies like the WHO and the INCB. This is reflected in the outcome document. It contains calls for states to share information, lessons learnt, experiences and best practices. They commit themselves to take the necessary steps to fight this problem and to share relevant information. We are ready to provide support in implementing these steps until 2019 and beyond in cooperation with all stakeholders. To conclude, I would like to thank all member states for their efforts. I also thank the UNODC for providing support to the commission. I also thank all stakeholders for contributing to the discussion and sharing their views and experiences in order to implement a truly comprehensive approach to the complex world drug problem.

Mogens Lykketoft: I now give the floor to Mr Yury Fedotov, the Execitve Director of the UNODC.

Yury Fedotov: Ladies and gentlemen, the GASS is a culmination of years of intensive groundwork to bring together governments, UN bodies, scientists and civil society. It has been an honour for UNODC to support this process. If it is a message that can emerge from many discussions held with partners, NGOs, etc. , it is that global drug policy must put people first. We must emphasize the health and wellbeing of humankind, and this is what the drug control regulations are there for. Putting people first means looking to the future and recognizing that drug policies must protect the potential of young people and put development first. We must adapt to the ground-breaking 2030 SDGs agenda. We must assist countries with limited resources to address issues of security, health and development related to drug policies. However, an integrated approach stands little chance of succeeding if commitments are not fully backed by the necessary resources. We must build more comprehensive responses. I hope that the outcome document will be able to help the urgent problem through united action by being adapted by you here. We need you to commit to these practices. In cooperation with our partners, we will continue to support you through help, expertise, and responses on all levels. We will continue to promote evidence-based policies, treatment, fighting against criminals, and to use all the tools at our disposal to tackle money laundering, corruption, and illicit activities. You can count on UNODC to be there throughout the special session and beyond. Thank you.

Lykketoft: Thank you. Let me introduce Mr Werner Sipp, President of the International Narcotics Control Bureau.

Werner Sipp: It is an honour to address you today at this special session in my capacity of the President of the INCB. It is fitting that we are addressing the global world drug problem which affects all sectors of society. I applaud all your efforts; yet your work has only just begun. Your deliberations over the next three years will involve assessing all the achievements and challenges in addressing the world drug problem since 2009. We are moving towards the target date of 2019 and UNSG encouraged member states to lead an open debate and to consider all options. We have to exchange best practices in addressing this problem. The special session will map the way forward. INCB has contributed to this process by identifying shortcomings in the resolutions. INCB’s assessment of the 2009 resolution has been ambivalent. In the last decade efforts have been made in many countries to aid treatment and prevention. International cooperation has also been strengthened. However, some of the targets have not been met. The availability of controlled substances is still not satisfactory. The availability of illicit drugs has not been decreased and we face new substances. In the coming days you have the opportunity to commit to a course of action. In three years time the international community will review the outcome of our efforts comprehensively. Your task is to transform the commitment into action. The framework is already available in the three conventions. I will highlight three areas where your action is required. Firstly, the health of mankind is our primary responsibility, which includes making controlled medical substances available to all, reducing the consumption of harmful substances and their risks. INCB has been calling on countries to close the global pain divide. Our 2015 report on availability included specific recommendations to governments and we stand ready to assist you. There has been a growing recognition that we must implement the conventions in a comprehensive manner. We must promote alternative livelihood for long term changes, we must promote social cohesion especially for marginalized communities. We must invest in prevention measures to promote public health and this is perhaps the best form of supply reduction. This is also cost-effective to reduce crime and healthcare costs. Young people should be our number one group to help. HIV reduction has to be included in a comprehensive response. An approach relying primarily on criminal justice has shifted to a health-focused approach and this is helpful in fighting some of our problems. Offenses need to be proportionate, and there is no treaty obligation to incarcerate users for minor offenses such as possession of small quantities for personal use. However, this does not extent to not-medical regulation of illicit drugs such as cannabis. This is not compatible with the conventions. It is possible to respond to these challenges within the framework of the conventions provided. The INCB is working with the authorities on sharing information on new substances such as NPS to fight this emerging problem. No solution has been found to this problem yet. This special session is a timely opportunity to reaffirm commitment to our past conventions and resolutions on the principle of a balanced approach, shared responsibility, and respect for human rights. Let me stress that the conventions never called for a war on drugs. Inhumane punishments and treatment of users is not in line with the conventions. We are not faced with a dichotomy between regulation or unfair punishment. We do not need new resolutions, but simply to find a new way of implementing previous conventions. I would like to thank everyone working to fighting this problem from all over the world. Your efforts are key in helping the fight against drug-related challenges. Let me highlight once more the principle of common and shared responsibility. I wish you success in your worthy endeavour. Thank you for your attention.

Lykketoft: Our next speaker is the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Margaret Chan.

Dr Margaret Chan: Good morning to all of you. I thank all of you for providing attention to this huge health problem. Drugs relate to mental and physical wellbeing. The drug problem is related to gender-based violence, child abuse, and criminality. This is a worldwide problem. You do not need me to remind you, but let me share with you that more than 100,000 people die due to drugs each year. Drugs contribute significantly to Hepatitis, HIV and TB. Treating hepatitis C is very expensive. Drug policies that focus almost exclusively on the criminal justice system need to be broadened to a public health approach. It starts with science and with evidence. It tells us several things: drug use can be prevented. Drug dependence can be diminished. People can be helped and return to productive roles in society. Evidence shows it works. The most effective interventions aim to reduce the harms of drugs through needle programs, OST is also considered the most effective treatment for people dependent on opiates. These programs benefit individuals but also entire communities. I have a little story to tell you. I used to work in Hong Kong; in that city, we have one of the most robust programs based on methadone replacement therapy. This program reduced pretty crime significantly. I speak with personal experience. I encourage governments to consider this, because it works. Another dimension that needs urgent attention to ensure the availability of controlled substances for the treatment of pain, mental disorders, surgeries etc. Unfortunately, this dimension has been focused on far less by governments in the past. The majority of the world’s population lives without access to such life-changing medication. When you go home after this conference, I urge you to remember these people. Remember their right to treatment and care. Those that die in agony with cancer, those who inject drugs and have HIV, Hep C and TB added to their difficulty, and others. We stand ready to implement the tasks you assign to us during this session. Thank you again.

Lykketoft: Our next speaker is Ambassador Khaled Shamaa, Chair of the Committee on Narcotic Drugs Board, who was tasked with the preparation of this special session.

Khalad Shamaa: It is a great pleasure to address you today. At this special session, representatives of member states, organizations and civil society will have the opportunity to share information and views during the general debate, five roundtable discussions as well as a wide variety of events. People will have to opportunity to help add to the fight to address the health, safety and wellbeing of all people. The document reflects the main highlights of discussions in the past two years in Vienna, acting in an open-ended manner. Starting from the 57th session in March 2014, over 14 intercessional meetings have been held since, in addition to a series of formal events. These included special event and interactive discussions. It has been crucial to hear the different perspectives and lessons learnt. Inclusiveness, openness and information sharing have been key. The board has worked closely with NGOs, UN entities, regional organisations, civil society, scientific community, and youth. All stakeholders should be applauded for their efforts. Statements and outcomes have been continuously posted online and the website has allowed all to contribute. The 58th session in March 2015 as well as December 2015 has been a significant moment, as it contained points adapted in resolution 70. These modalities mirror the 5 interactive sessions in 2015. The format in Vienna will serve as the template for the five roundtables that will be held here. The outcome document has been begun in early autumn 2015 and numerous events and hundreds of pages served as the foundation. During the first phase of negotiations, people focused on finding common goals. In January, people began engaging more into the text of the draft document. At the 59th session, a title was agreed on for the document and its adoption was recommended. It addresses the multiple dimensions of the world drug problem, with comprehensive recommendations related to health, treatment, HIV, availability of controlled substances, prevention, countering drug related crime and links to other forms of crime, vulnerable groups and proportionate responses, NPS, strengthened international cooperation based on common responsibility, socio-economic development. The preparatory process has demonstrated that there is no one-size fits all approach, and the approaches must vary from region to region. The document contains important recommendations and demonstrates our common determination to counter various aspects of the world drug problem collectively. This requires our most urgent attention. It is of great importance that the outcome document results in implementation on the grounds. I urge all stakeholders to contribute in this process in all of their possibility capabilities. During the period leading up to 2019 and beyond, many people will contribute to the work we are doing and many have done so already. On behalf of the members of the board, I would like to thank Mr Lykketoft for his help and support, as well as the President of the General Assembly Mr Sam Kutesa of Uganda, Ambassador Vladimir Galuska, as well as chair of the 58th session for the cooperation with the board, and the secretariat of the commission for his help in the past two years and the executive director for his expertise. Finally, to all members of the board, I am grateful for your hard work. This special session has to be about human beings. It is our responsibility to ensure the responses are based on human rights, cooperation and responsibility. Thank you.

Lykketoft: It has been proposed that the vice president will be the same as for the regular sessions. No objections, so this is decided. It has been proposed that the chairperson will be the same, no objections, so this is decided. The general committee is thus fully constituted. I would like to draw attention to the participation of the delegation of Palestine as an observer state due to previous resolutions without any more need for explanation. The observer state of Palestine will participate in the work of the special session. The European Union will also participate in the work of the special session on the basis of previous delegations. In order to hear all the speakers on the list I would like to ask everyone to keep their statements as brief as possible, 5 minutes as group and 3 minutes in national capacity. We now turn to the adoption of the agenda. The provisional agenda can be considered directly. The draft document entitled “our joint commitment in addressing the world drug problem”: may I take it that the assembly accepts this outcome document without a vote? This is now decided. May I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited and people are asked to stay in their seats.

Armenia. We have joined the consensus on the final outcome document as it addresses all points. But it has failed to fully outline the purposes of the UN charter, based on the article that asks to develop friendly relations based on the principle of equal rights and self-determination. I thank you Mr President.

Switzerland: Thank you for giving me the floor. Switzerland does regret that the outcome document does not deal with the death penalty. It is still applied by some countries and we are firmly opposed to this. There is no evidence that it has a greater persuasive effect than other forms of punishment. Drug related crimes usually do not meet the requirements of serious crimes. We would like to exchange views on the effective dissuasive practices such as functioning police and prison systems. Death penalty does not remove the drug problem from society. Switzerland will like to invite all members of this session to reconsider the death penalty in a moratorium.

Brazil: We warmly welcome the adaption of the outcome document. We praise the leadership and all delegates. We see it as an important step towards progress and more human practices. However, we would like to reaffirm Brazil’s determination on condemning the death penalty. Brazil remains concerned about the issue of the death penalty. We respect sovereignty but would like to propose a moratorium to reconsider the death penalty.

Costa Rica: Mr President, my delegation has voted in favour of this resolution, as we believe it represents a step forward. But we regret that this document does not refer to the death penalty. This is not in line with the INCB. We have abolished the death penalty in Costa Rica and we believe it is cruel and inhuman and against human rights. There is no crime in which the death penalty can be considered just punishment. Effective drug policy without resorting the death penalty is possible and can be more effective. We support the call for a moratorium. The death penalty should not be found in any laws. Thank you.

Norway: In 2012, the General Assembly decided to convene a special session to review the progress of the 2009 agenda. Norway is satisfied to be part of the consensus behind the UN document included the consensus on a need for health-focused approach. However, we recognise that the document fails to address certain points. We would like to see stronger language on human rights especially on the death penalty on drug related crime. We expected harm reduction to be recognised, accepted and brought into the document. We have evidence showing that other forms of punishment are more effective. UN and international cooperation is required to tackle this problem, effective cooperation between security and other forms of law. We are hoping for a wider recognition of these subjects in 2019. We hope to be a leader towards a more progressive approach.

Uruguay: Mr President, many thanks. Uruguay wishes to explain that we worked extensively with other states towards an outcome document consensus. But like many other states, we regret that this document does not call for a moratorium on the death penalty, which breaches the human rights of all. We also regret that this debate did not give sufficient focus on decriminalization of controlled substances. It is a human right which we must protect. There is also no serous balance in the plan of action. We also regret the resistance towards accepting harm reduction strategies, which have proven effective in tackling this problem. Thank you.

Jamaica: Thank you for this opportunity to explain Jamaica’s position on the outcome document. Jamaica supports the consensus on the outcome document which included participation by many stakeholders. We know that advances were made, especially towards health and demand reduction as well as alternative development. However, we are disappointed with the lack of focus on the right of indigenous groups, and other topics. Although Jamaica is not entirely satisfied with the document, we are satisfied with some of the progress that is being made.

Indonesia: Let me welcome the adoption of the UNGASS outcome document. On another note, we would like to put these positions on record. We have to reiterate that there is no international consensus on the prohibition of the death penalty. It is a criminal justice matter for individual states to decide one. It is a matter of sovereignty to decide on this matter. Every state has the sovereign right to choose what is in its own best interest. Yet it is clear that it has been decided that there should be only one view. We have the possibility to decide how to implement the death penalty. The drug problem considers us all and we should focus on how to tackle this problem. People are victims of traffickers and this should be responded to adequately. Mr Chairman, we, the following countries, would like to request that this statement is considered: China, Indonesia, Singapore, Yemen, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Oman; UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran and Sudan.

European Union: I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States and the following countries, which align themselves with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Uzbekistan to speak on the issue of the death penalty in relation to the adoption of resolution A/S-30/L.1. We fully support proportionate sentencing for drug related offences
and the promotion of alternatives to incarceration and coercive sanctions. We deeply regret that the outcome document does not include language on the death penalty. We have a strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and consider that the death penalty undermines human dignity and errors made in its application are irreversible. Moreover, imposing the death penalty for drug offences is against norms of international law, specifically Art. 6 Para 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The unprecedented support generated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which was adopted in December 2014 signalled that there is an international momentum behind efforts to limit the application of the death penalty, including in terms of the number of offences for which it is imposed. We urge all States that have not done so to implement a moratorium on the use of death penalty as a step towards its final abolition. Furthermore, we welcome the decision of the International Narcotics Control Board to call on countries still applying the death penalty to consider its abolition for drug-related offences, and the statement from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that the use of the death penalty has never been in the letter or the spirit of the drug control conventions. We also encourage Member States to adopt safeguards to prevent criminal justice or other forms of international assistance resulting in a death sentence being applied, and to hold international agencies to account for compliance with this and all other human rights obligations.

Lykketoft: We have thus concluded our consideration on agenda item 8. The assembly will now focus on the general debate which is agenda item 7. We will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of Guatemala.

Jimmy Morales: It is we who have had to cope with the unfair burden of the loss of human lives. We are proud to have called for a new form of struggle against this issue. We see this special session as a historic opportunity to fight the drug problem. We are aware that the expected outcomes have not been fully achieved. It follows that it is worth asking ourselves what we should prioritize. Guatemala has facilitated an open dialogue taking into account the realities of all countries. We welcome the progress achieved. I wish to highlight three key points. The health and wellbeing of human kind is the cornerstone of all our efforts. Drug policies should be consistent with the human rights conventions, placing people at their centre. Thirdly, we recognize that conventions are sufficiently flexible to be adapted so that all countries can meet their main challenged in the best possible way. We should focus more on demand reduction rather than just supply reduction. We must ensure that drug policies are comprehensive. We welcome the balance that is beginning to emerge in some countries. I must stress that we must focus on areas such as alternative development, care, treatment, and rehabilitation of problematic users and demand reduction in general. We are aware that this process is only beginning and we have faith that we are on a good path. God bless you all.

Lykketoft: I would now like to give the floor to the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico: Ladies and Gentlemen, The United Nations Organization is the superior body with dealing with today’s global challenges. This is way in 2012 Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico called to convene for this special session to review the current international strategies and to find better solutions for prevention an dpublic health to put the wellbeing of individuals at its heart. The terms of this debate have changed. A consensus has begun to form for reform of the drug control regime. A new focus has emerged to stop criminalizing consumers. We must continue to do what has worked but with flexibility, we must change that which hasn’t worked. The focus on prohibition, the so-called drug wars which has begun in the 70s has not been successful and has lead to organised crime, death, violence, mainly in the producer and transit countries. My country has paid a very high price in terms of the loss of peace and lives, including those of children, young people, women, and adults. We know more than most people on the problems of prohibition. Under my administration, we have been seeking to deal with the problem in a more comprehensive way. To reduce the offer the drugs, we have faced up to organised crime with better coordination. We broke up the operational financial structured of these groups and stopped the mean leaders of criminal groups. We have enhanced prevention amongst children and vulnerable groups. Despite our efforts, we are not totally free of the criminal threat whilst there is a continued growing international demand for drugs. Consumer countries must do more to combat crime and reduce demand. The scale and sophistication of criminal groups has increased. In the face of this situation, Mexico is proposing the following: the global drug problem requires that international community endorse shared responsibility. Drugs are a globalized issue in a globalized world. No country can face this scourge alone. National policies in some countries make cooperation more difficult. We need global consensus to deal with this problem in an effective way. We must bolster the common front against trans-national and organised crime. We must step up cooperation between governments and broadened the exchange of information to dismantle criminal organizations. We require better coordination between UN agencies themselves to deal with all aspects of the global drug problem. The agencies such as the UNODC, the INCB and the UNDP, UN Women, WHO, etc. must support member states in implementing the best strategies. Fourthly, national policies and actions based on international policies must be aligned with the efforts towards the 2030 agenda. The global war on drugs and development goals must enhance each other. Fifthly, we must deal with the social damage of the drug problem. We must deal with the undermining of the social texture and deal with educational and employment problems to enhance social cohesion. We must advance productive employment especially in areas depending on crop growth. Given the limits of the prohibitionist paradigm, we must deal with it with a focus on human rights. This fundamental change means we must modify the punitive approaches. We most focus on the individual and their rights and must make them the centre of all our efforts. Seventh, drug use should be dealt with as a public health problem as it affects everyone in that way, particularly our children and youth. We must focus on prevention and treatment, not on punishment, which damages individuals. Eighth, when we deal with drug related crimes, we must have sentences that are proportionate the crime and a gender perspective. Disproportionate penalties, which punish women and girls, create vicious cycles. The prison population must be helped and treated. Ninth, the international community must focus on children and young people, we must protect the most vulnerable members of our society so that they know of the negative effects of drug consumption. Tenth, we must make sure that controlled substances aren’t diverted into illicit groups and used wisely. I would like to support those that work towards legalizing marijuana for its medical uses. International standards should adapt to allow for personal use so as to not criminalize users. In coming days the government of Mexico will lay out the specific actions that will be taken in this end, respecting the principles of public health and human rights that are being proposed in this special session. I would like to thank everyone who has brought in ideas including civil society and scientists. Ladies and gentlemen, the global drug problem recognizes no boarders and affects people globally. The efforts of the past have been frankly insufficient. I am confident that this special session will help towards a new international understanding of this issue. We need to make an end to the drug problem in the 21st century. We must focus on effective policies and regulation. Thank you.

Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, Vice-President of the Republic of Costa Rica: Thank you. I would like to convey the solidarity of the people of Costa Rica to those of Ecuador and Japan as well as Afghanistan for the new terror attacks. We agree with the statements that will be made by D.R. on behalf of the Latin American States. We would like to thank Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia for pushing for this event, which we have always supported. It was necessary for us to hold an open and inclusive debate so that we can focus our efforts towards new and effective policies that will be comprehensive. There is no question that this session indicates a turning point. The last 50 years of punitive approaches are not a solution for the future. Although we are pleased with the commitment of states to tackle a phenomenon that is far from under control, we are disappointed with things have been left out of the document. If we wish to reduce the effects of this scourge, it is necessary that we focus on things like proportionality, harm reduction, the death penalty, the effectiveness of policies, etc. The document should not be viewed as an end in itself but a point of departure towards more effective policies. Costa Rica has never seen drug consumption is a crime but as a health issue. We use 60% of our budget on drugs on treatment and prevention. We implement laws that reduce sentences for those most vulnerable such as women. However, no government can fight this challenge on their own. In this perspective, my delegation welcomes the international cooperation that has been taking places to place people at the centre of our drug policies. Although the outcome document is seen as a welcome step and reflect some new pathways, we still have much more work to do. This must be reflected in actions that enable us to include everyone and that fight towards the 2030 agenda. This must take place during this session as well as in its follow-up. Hopefully we will see each other again and be able to look at more progress that will have been made.

Isabel Saint Malo, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama: Given our geographical position, Panama has been a point of meeting that is unique. This can be an advantage but has also been used as a point of trafficking. We are combating the shiploads of illegal substances and the money that is being laundered in this process. However, our commitment to deal with tis scourge is strong but we are also faced with groups that work outside the law in other countries. Despite the efforts we are making against trafficking, we are suffering the consequences of increased production in Latin America. We can point out that over the last 10 years we have been able to seize 400 tons of illegal substances. Panama is the third country with the highest level of seizure. The Panamanian nation has to spend a significant part of its budget on dealing with this issues. We are committed to being transparent and to deal with this issue even if it does not emerge from our country but it hinders us in our development. We have modern standards of combatting this problem. Panama is implementing a series of measures with the practice of due diligence to prevent all sorts of criminal activities. From this platform, I wish to ensure the whole world our commitment to the highest standards of transparency. We have published on this use. I would like to share with you that we have a regional security centre to exchange information on this issue. Furthermore, with regard to health policies, Panama has maintained a stance in increasing access to controlled substances. We do this by maintaining a person-focused approached. However, we need to coordinate on a global scale. Panama is a country which serves the world and we have proven this in the past. Like our moto says, we are always in the service of mankind. Thank you.

Lykketoft: I was just informed by the Afghan ambassador that the consequences of an explosion have killed as many as 28 people in Kabul and injured 300. We would like to share that we are with the people that have lost family in our thoughts.

China: We gather here to discuss strategies to counter the drug problem. This demonstrates the community’s determination to cooperate on this issue. China applauds the work done by the UNGASS board and we will work with other countries for a successful conclusion of this session and to implement the outcome document. For many years, the international community has been making efforts with encouraging results. A global framework with the three international conventions at its heart has taken place. On the other hand, global drug control still faces challenges. China will continue to be committed to efforts and cooperation. We call for greater efforts on five points: forged partnerships due to mutual benefits. Drug control should not be a pretext to interfere with another country’s affairs. The producer transit and consumer countries should share responsibility of narcotic control. It is important to involve all tools at hand with drug control agencies playing a leading role. Third, pursue an integrated approach. Any form of legalisation of narcotics should be opposed. We need to continue to implement an integrated and evidence-based approach. Fourth, we need to form to step up law enforcement strategies. International control measures should be strictly enforced ans strengthened. We need to prevent the spread of NPS. Countries need to uphold a spirit of cooperation and trust. Developed countries should provide assistance to developing countries and focus on alternative development to improve lives in cultivation areas. All countries should be guided by the 2009 political declaration and plan of action. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the fight against drugs. We have achieved notable progress. We have cracked down on more than 1 millions cases of drug crime. More than 1,2 million users have been successfully rehabilitated. The Chinese government is committed to fighting drugs and will actively implement policies. China will continue to support the work of UN anti-narcotic agencies and combat organised crime. We will provide assistance for alternative development where we can. We stand ready to work with the international community and will work tirelessly for the health, safety and wellbeing of mankind. Thank you.

Ali Shamil oglu Hasanov, Deputy Prime-Minister of Azerbaijan: Since it became independent, Azerbaijan has signed all three conventions and in our country we have modern legal framework. We cooperate closely with different structures and bodies. The current methods to deal with drugs need to be reviewed. Given that the drugs mafia is finding new ways, the efforts to combat drugs also need to be adjusted. Implementing large-scale construction projects has seen a growth in the international transit and has attracted foreign visitors, which in turn has increased the role of our country in transit of drugs. We are making efforts to stop this by confiscating tons of drugs. About 20% of Azerbaijan was occupied by Armenia for 24 years, thus our country has about 1 million refugees. Furthermore, 134 km of our state border is occupied by Armenia. In this territory, drugs are being grown and manufactured. We have a significant database on this subject which we have submitted to the UN. Combatting the drug problem is linked to the respect for sovereignty. We urge you to put pressure on Armenia to demand the withdrawal of its forces from territory in Azerbaijan to also reduce the drug problem. Thank you.

Dominican Republic on behalf of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC): During the third meeting of CELAC on the world drug problem recently, we expressed the view that the world drug problem requires effective cooperation and multi-level strategies in line with the three conventions of drugs with particular respect for national sovereignty. We emphasize that all drug policies must cooperate the principles of human rights and do so in accordance with the spirit of safeguarding the health and safety of mankind. We express the concern that the world drug problem is impacting the wellbeing of people and groups everywhere. We reaffirm that it is necessary to adopt effective measures aimed particularly at children and adolescents by developing appropriate prevention problems into all levels of the education system. SELAC wishes to underscore that strengthening international cooperation is a key component and that we need to increase our support to those countries that require it especially transit countries. We recognize the need of states to sanction corruption. CELAC reaffirms that public policies should be designed and implemented with a gender focus. These policies should recognize the issue of exclusion of those most vulnerable in our society, particularly ethnic minorities such as people of African descent and indigenous people. CELAC reaffirms our commitment to tackle the world drug problem and reverse its social impact with full respect of human rights. We encourage viable solutions to reduce the growth of illegal crops and help for those most affected. We reaffirm out commitment to promote bilateral, triangular and regional cooperation between states as well as the need to punish those involved in illegal activities. We must also address the challenges posed by NPS. CELAC emphasises that the agenda 2030 is highly linked to a viable drug policy agenda. Latin American Countries are particularly affected by drug transit. We recognize that INCB as the main agency related to drug control as well as the importance of the UNODC, the WHO , the UNDP, the UNAIDS in the process towards a successful UNGASS outcome. We look forward to extending this discussion beyond this session towards 2019 when we will reconvene. Thank you.

European Union: I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its member states. Countries in Eastern Europe align themselves with this statement. The EU welcomes this opportunity to address this urgent problem. Effective drug policy must be based on evidence. The role of the civil society and scientific community must be recognized. Children and other vulnerable groups must be focused on in particular. We recognize the conventions as the corner stone of the drug control agenda. We support the anchoring of drug policy in a larger context with the SDGs in mind. Alternative development must be promoted in particular. The EU supports the call for enhanced coordination between the UNODC, the main responsible agencies and other UN bodies such as the INCB, the WHO, UNAIDS and the human rights council. We welcome and strengthen international cooperation in fighting organised crime and terrorism. The EU will continue to play its role in these matters. Human rights are an important factor in this factor. However, the EU is strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances as it undermines human dignity and fails to act as a deterrent. The ultimate goal is that of public health, and drug policies must implement public health strategies such as harm reduction that have been proven successful in reducing the spread of dangerous diseases and other risks from drugs. Risk and harm reduction measures must be further promoted and implemented. Firm commitment from all parties is requires to put into practise the recommendations. This is what our citizens expect from all of us. Thank you.

Minister of health care services Norway on behalf of Pompidou group: Thank you, I am honoured to speak here on behalf of the 37 members of the Pompidou group. All drug policies must be implemented and evaluated with regard to the human rights conventions. We expect the UNGASS process to take this into account. We welcome the fact that the UNGASS document is based on balanced drug policy. The relevant authorities must continue to monitor the efforts to reduce the drug problem. We expect the follow-up process to include scientific efforts and research. The Pompidou group maintains that human rights should be the focus of all drug policies and that drug users should enjoy the same rights as everyone right. The application of inhuman punishment is not in line with the human rights conventions. People who use drugs have right to access treatment and help just like everyone else. We expect everyone to take this into account and to remember that we should abolish the death penalty and inhuman punishment as well as lack of access to treatment globally. We welcome the UNGASS follow-up process and hope for an open debate. I would like to add this statement as the representative of Norway: My thanks go to all involved in the long preparations. Norway had hoped for a more forward-looking outcome. The UNGASS process has attracted enormous attention, which proves a great basis for 2019. Human rights must inspire all our work. We are pleased to see that this is reflected to some extent in the outcome document but would have wished to see this further expressed. The lack of access to controlled medicines is mentioned, and we are now hoping for steps to reduce this gap. We recommend the use of relevant human development indicators to monitor progress. We expected harm reduction to be recognized and included in the document, but we do recognize that the outcome documents references therapies related to harm reduction efforts. We still face huge challenges on almost all measureable indicators in the fight against drugs. The world drug problem is a multi-factor phenomenon, which requires a global response. We need the participation of the wider UN to ensure an effective global drug policy. This work should be at the leadership of the UN Secretary-General. Heading for 2019, we need to be more ambitious. Some elements of our approach work well and need to be strengthened; others need to be adjusted to be more fitting than has been the case so far. Thank you.

Minister of foreign affairs Nigeria: I would like to put focus on the spirit of collaboration and Nigeria would like to align itself with the statements that will be made by the delegation of Sudan on behalf of the African group. Nigeria recognizes that the challenges require a balanced approach because not single methodology will be sufficient to address the large scale and varied drug problems. Nigeria also highlights the importance of supporting development, especially has African countries are more and more being used as transit countries. We welcome the efforts of the international community to implement a drug policy that will match the efforts for development in Africa. Nigeria is fully supportive of efforts made by countries in the region of West Africa to prevent drug trafficking. Cannabis cultivation is a great concern for us and the single largest drug that is present in our region. Nigeria supports the growth of treatment hospitals which are currently being opened increasingly in our country. We thank the EU and the UNODC in helping us implementing our drugs control master plan. Nigeria is of the conviction that the drug policies can be implemented to aid millions of women, children and others across the globe. We are confident that with the help of people around the world we can create a globe that is free of the dangers of drugs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Montenegro: Allow me to stress certain points of particular importance in my country: organised crime in our region is a great treat to stability. The 2030 sustainable development agenda provides an opportunity to reinvigorate our efforts for equality and prosperity for all. Our efforts in fighting the drug problem are simply not enough. We need to prioritise human rights and access to prevention and treatment. We need to focus not just on security but also on ways of helping youth and other people suffering from the drug problem. Successfully addressing and countering the world drug problem requires the support for those countries most in need of help in tackling this problem. We can make the difference in eradicating this issue.

Afghanistan: Drug trafficking has become a major source of income for terrorist groups in our region. Today once more, the Taliban has killed more than 28 people in our capital. We extend our thanks to all those that send their condolences in this difficult time. Once again, the Taliban has shown their disregard for the people of Afghanistan. We are committed to fighting the Taliban, Daesh and other groups of terror. We have adopted just yesterday the national action plan which I have presented here yesterday and which represents our country’s efforts in preventing poppy growth and the spread of drugs. Drugs pose a massive problem not only for Afghanistan but for other countries around the globe. Due to the importance of this session for Afghanistan, the first Vice-President of Afghanistan schedules to address this joined session, but was unable to attend due to unforeseen engagements. I would like to read out his address. Today’s historic UNGASS to address the challenges of the world drug problem is very important and welcomed event in Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan is committed to doing its part in joining the international efforts. I wish you all every success in your important task to achieve a desirable outcome which is to address the challenges of the world drug problem which is urgently required for our security. Let me address my appreciation for the continued supports by the international cooperation to the country Afghanistan as well as to our partners who have given their lives for the people of Afghanistan. Unquote. The full statement will be distributed as an official document of this session. Thank you.

Minister for Counter-Narcotics of Paraguay: Paraguay associated itself with the statements made by CELAC. The drug problem is one of the most difficult issues we are faced with today. We recognize that the world drug problem is a serious threat to democracy, health and justice and affects especially children, young people and women and their communities. We are going though a long and painful but indispensable dialogue on the drug issue. We are looking for new ways of responding to this worldwide scourge. Lying and improvising on the issue of drugs has dangerous consequences. An open debate on the reality of public corruption is required, opening a new path of social pressure against the crimes linked to drugs. At present there are different ways of responding to the drug problem, but we are convinced that the variety of responses should not be used as a way of moving away from responsibility. People must be the main focus of fighting the world drug problem. The world drug problem must be dealt with through international cooperation and shared responsibility with respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Both regional and sub-regional efforts should be made to advance the fight against drug. Actions by states must have a multi-disciplinary approach. Let us not focus on strategies which have proven ineffective, and encourage alternative development and new strategies instead. We must ensure the human rights of consumers and care with human dignity. We must improve tools to investigate money laundering and increase research into medicinal uses of cannabis. Mr President, Paraguay calls on states to consider alternatives to imprisonment for minor drug related crimes in accordance with current legislation. For Paraguay users are citizens who need specialized care and not criminals. I would also like to reiterate our firm support against the drug policy. Thank you very much.

Pakistan: We believe that the drug challenges are diverse and therefore the responses should be as well. Pakistan has put in place a robust policy towards seizing illicit drugs and preventing trafficking. Drug demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation are high priorities of ours. We are concerned of the emerging trend to legalize substances in some areas of this world. The so-called human rights based approach is likely to further complicate the issues at hand. You would expect greater focus on the prime target of fighting the spread of narcotic drugs which is our min cause. The international community must do more to fight this problem and we require further cooperation for this and to save future generation of the future threat of narcotic drugs.

Minister of Police of South Africa: We thank you all for your efforts on this issue. Member states have laid the foundation for the international fight against the problem posed by drug trafficking. We are seeking to solve problems laid by drugs. We are here today to continue the fight begun by the three international drugs conventions. South Africa is reaffirming its commitment to fighting this problem. South Africa is recognizing the problem of drug trafficking particularly in developing countries. South Africa has adopted law enforcement and measures to deal with the negative of drugs, such as the rise of crime, diseases, and other factors related to drugs. South Africa is willing to help the UN in achieving a world free of drugs. At the continental level we are continuing to cooperate so as to find solutions to this issue. We are holding Africa-wide conventions and summits to discuss this. South Africa believes that the goals and objectives called for in 2009 and a world free of drugs are achievable with the right amount of cooperation and support.

Kenya: we are committed to implement the provisions set forth in the drug conventions. The objective should be to eliminate the existence of illicit drugs whilst focusing on human rights, alternative development and vulnerable populations. Kenya has made progress towards these goals and has implemented new laws against money-laundering and organised crime. The war on drugs involves shipment of drugs to Kenya which we are trying to confiscate. Money made from drugs is used to finance criminals such as Assad. We call for assistance for developing countries such as Kenya to close the drug routes. We can achieve this if we do it together. My delegation is convinced that this special session is a critical step towards a world free of drug abuse. We are hoping that member states will commit in this session to fighting drugs and drug abuse. I assure you of the support of the Republic of Kenya.

Tajikistan: It is an honour to speak at this special session where we will hopefully develop new measures to fight this evil. Almost all regions in the world are somehow affected by this issue. We are trying to focus on security issues in our area and trying to help the government of Afghanistan to maintain stability. Drugs and the fight against terrorism are inextricably linked. The goal of significantly reducing illicit drug is far from being achieved but Tajikistani has made significant progress in that respect. Thank you.

Angola: Member states must reach a consensus on how to best cooperate to fight the illegal drug market. It is the most complex illegal drugs market in the world. Emergency of the internet as an online market is a new increasing threat in our efforts. We should better implement the principles of common and shared responsibility. In recent years, there have been voices for the legalization of drugs. This is not conductive to the sound development of drug policies and we must counter this legalization of substances that are dangerous to people and their health and morals. We cannot achieve SDGs without greater cooperation between UN agencies and governments. Angola has implemented laws aimed at fighting this problem since 2009 and includes reduction of supply, reduction in demand, international cooperation with partner and neighbouring countries. Angola remains committed to the fight for a world with better health, less drugs and more security for all. Thank you.