WHO: The role of the WHO is to determine whether drugs and NPS should be controlled or, if controlled, if their schedule should be changed. This decision is made by the ECDD with decisions made on scientific grounds. Elements considered include: likelihood of abuse (compared with existing controlled substances), convertibility into existing controlled substances, degree of seriousness of adverse effects (from overdose to mental health effects), potential for mental or physical dependence, and usefulness in a therapeutic setting. Scientific evidence is central to these recommendations. At the 38th ECDD: 12 psychoactive substances reviewed, 10 recommended for scheduling. 2 opioids to be placed under schedule 1: U47700 and butylfentanyl. 8 substances under schedule 2, the majority of which are cathinones. 2 synthetic cannabinoids. A vote will be available to member states at CND 2017. In addiction, the ECDD recommended pre-reviews for cannabis plant & resin, extract, THC, CBD, stereoisomers of THC for ECDD 2017. Pre-reviews have been recommended as the committee recognises: an increase in the use of cannabis and its components for medical purposes, the emergence of new cannabis-related pharmaceutical preparations for therapeutic use, and that cannabis has never been subject to a formal pre-review or critical review by the ECDD.
A new memo of understanding was signed last week between UNODC and WHO which agrees on adopting a health-centred response to the drug problem. Scope of work covers 7 main topics: 1) Prevention of drug use 2) Treatment of drug use 3) Access to controlled medicines 4) NPS 5) HIV, Hepatitis C, TB 6) Violence/health 7) Data collection. A steering group formed to meet every 6 months to review progress.
Gilberto Gerra, UNODC: UNODC very happy & excited to collaborate with WHO – look forward to making new health standards. As the UNODC is a small organisation, part of the secretariat, previously the relationship between UNODC and the WHO (a very large organisation) has been fairly maternal! Excited that the UNODC can play a major role in health focused drug responses. A UNODC/WHO programme for ensuring access to essential medicines was created 3 years ago. New frameworks can remain empty creatures or be very productive. This programme is already creating new standards of treatment. Mentioned in UNGASS outcomes – clear show of success between collaboration between WHO and UNODC. Look forward to this continuing.
Chair: The US Secretory of State wrote to the UN Secretary General, requesting the inclusion of NPP and ANPP precursors in the 1988 Convention. The request was shared with Governments and the INCB in a communication dated 25th Oct 2016. The Board recommends the inclusion of both in Table 1 of the 1988 convention. When voting on substances as recommended for consideration by WHO and INCB, the Commission will consider recommendations under first the 1961, then 1971, then 1988 conventions.
Secretariat: The voting procedures are different depending under which convention the Commission is voting.
1961: A rationale for the recommendation is provided by the WHO followed by a vote. The convention does not include any provision for voting procedure – decisions will be made by a single majority of the members present & voting. Abstained member states are non-voters. Note that a majority is of those present, not total membership of the Commission
1971: Again – an introduction by the WHO, then a vote. The 1971 convention explicitly states: 2/3 majority of members required. Doesn’t matter how many members are present or how many vote. 35/53 members voting in favour required for the recommendation to be accepted.
1988: Similar to the 1971 convention. An introduction provided by INCB, then a vote. Article 12, para 5 states that a 2/3 majority is required (35/53 in favour).
Chair: These voting rules will be received in writing. Please forward them to your respective capitals. As we’re voting on 3 different conventions, important that everyone understands voting rules. Moving on from issues of scheduling – the CND needs to report on its progress on delivering the SDGs and on horizontal topics such as women, and leaving no one behind (inclusiveness). CND will be sending a document to the High Level Development Committee in New York on progress. Health related goals which are expected to be delivered upon before 2030. Moving the whole UN system forward to deliver on the 2030 goals.
Colombia: What form will the report take? What are the roles of delegations in this process?
Chair: This document is traditionally not negotiated upon but will be circulated to member states to see what the Chair has reported.
Before I close, I would like to mention that there are pre-session consultations on 10th March which will be chaired by the Ambassador of Mexico, the first Vice President. I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the Commission for chairing the session.