Plenary – Agenda item 6: Follow-up to the UNGASS on the World Drug Problem held in 2016

CND Chair. Tomorrow morning we will move to agenda item 8 on the change in the scope of the international drug control conventions. Please all be here for this as it is a very important issue.

We now move to agenda item 6. In the outcome document, member states stated it was necessary to implement the recommendations of the outcome document in collaboration with other UN agencies and with civil society. Member states should provide timely information to the CND on progress. The CND decided to hold a series of intercessional meetings on the 7 thematic areas of the outcome document. I recall here that the UNGA in its resolution 71/211 welcomed the commencement to the follow up to the implementation of the outcome document through the intercessional process of the CND. I propose that our Facilitator for Post-UNGASS Matters addresses the CND and chairs the proceedings on this matter and I welcome him for all the work he has done on this important work.

Post-UNGASS Facilitator. Thank you for your welcoming remarks. It is my pleasure to report on the follow up to the UNGASS. In my capacity, I have the privilege to support the CND on commitments made last April. We have initiated an intensive follow up process. We held a meeting in September 2016 where we decided a series of intercessional meetings starting in October on each of the 7 chapters. UN entities and specialised agencies were also invited to participate in the follow up. Two rounds were held in October and January. In October 2016, we shared commitments made in UNGASS, sharing experiences and lessons learned as well as concrete activities on the UNGASS outcome document. In January we concentrated on a more forward looking approach to operationalise the recommendations of the outcome document.

Short introductory remarks on each thematic chapter were made by UNODC as the leading entity in the UN system on drugs. In line with our inclusive approach, we were pleased by reps from the OHCHR, WHO and the INCB participated in the meetings, made interventions and shared their expertise on their work. NGOs from 18 countries made interventions. I extend my appreciation to the VNGOC for coordinating NGO participation in thematic discussions. Those not able to come were able to follow the discussions through a webcast. Both rounds were a valuable exercise and a good step to share information as part of an inclusive dialogue. At the closure of the thematic discussions, I highlighted points in my concluding remarks, which have been made available in CR Paper to the reconvened 59th Session and at the 60th Session of the CND.

  1. My recommendations are as follows: to continue to discuss each chapter in the intercessional meetings with dedicated meetings for each of the chapters to deal with this area in a more in depth manner;
  2. Strengthen the work of the CND subsidiary bodies and their contributions to the implementation of the outcome document. The purpose should not be to replace current work on supply reduction but consider how to add demand reduction;
  3. Reiterate the importance and contributions of delegations and other stakeholders and continue to promote the use of the post-UNAGSS website as a knowledge hub for recommendations. In my capacity as facilitator, I take this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to share experiences.

Malta, on behalf of the European Union. along with: Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Norway. We emphasise that the outcome of the UNGASS is a major step forward in our ability to tackle the world drug problem. It is now the main policy framework for this period. The EU aims to seek further progress beyond UNGASS consensus. The 7 themes cover all areas and these now need to be implemented coherently. The inclusion of a thematic chapter on human rights provides us with an opportunity to devote more attention to the topic on the implementation phase. The protection of human rights and international human rights instruments provide the framework for the commitment of all mankind to respect, protect and promote human rights and freedoms for all individuals. This also includes all those involved in drug use and the illicit trade. We have put forward a balanced and comprehensive set of priorities, including human rights, harm reduction, proportionate sentencing and the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, as well as access to controlled substances for medical purposes. We encourage respect for human rights. Drug users should not be stigmatised for their behaviour but provided with support and treatment if required, as any other individual seeking such assistance. Prevention, early detention and intervention, treatment and harm reduction, social reintegration and recovery are a priority. Drug policies should take into account all recommendations if their aim is to protect and improve the well being of individuals. The EU also underlines that a gender perspective must be integrated in all aspects of drug policy. We do not relinquish our responsibilities in the area of security, in full respect for human rights. We are still committed to supply reduction policies. We endorse recommendations on proportionate sentencing for criminal justice policies. Alternatives to coercive sanctions should be further developed and exercised in all countries. The side events organised this week emphasise the need to move along this root. They may cover different aspects but they are complimentary. The UNODC event focused on treatment for those in contact with criminal justice, whereas ours was broader and tackles alternatives to coercive sanctions.

Tackling organised crime is also critical. It promotes victimisation, corruption and money laundering and is linked to other criminal behaviours including terrorism and cyber crime. The UNGASS outcome recommendations should be fully implemented as soon as possible. The use of the death penalty is contrary to proportionate sentencing. We also point out the complete unacceptability of extrajudicial killings wherever they may take place, this is also promoted by UNODC and INCB.

We also stress the recommendations of the outcome document on access to controlled medicines for scientific purposes. The principles of human rights are of the utmost importance to avoid inhumane suffering. We commend INCB, UNODC, WHO and NGOs working in this area for their contribution and call on member states to further their efforts when necessary. We consider the outcome document and INCB report on availability of substances as main reference documents in this regard. For the CND to follow up properly on the outcome document, our work should reflect the framework of this document. We welcome the CND work to monitor implementation through intersessionals, allowing states to identify steps undertaken under each chapter. We welcome the future work of the CND on this issue being structured under similar lines. Finally, the 7 chapters of the UNGASS outcome document provide a good way forward and the opportunity to exercise our shared responsibility.

Kuwait, Gulf Cooperation Council. We are satisfied with the adoption of the UNGASS outcome document. The GCC members welcome this historic document as an important point of reference to combat drugs and be added to the 2009 political declaration and the 2014 JMS. We welcome the role of the Post-UNGASS Facilitator. We assign importance to the 7 thematic areas of the document by taking practical measures within the framework of a close partnership with UN agencies, especially CND as the central and primary policy making body with regards to drug control in the UN. We also confirm that the 7 thematic areas mentioned in the document meet the aspirations and hopes of our people. If we were to implement these recommendations, we must enhance cooperation to combat this destructive scourge and note the link with criminal activities and other crimes that are cross boundary in nature such as terrorism. GCC states have exerted efforts to combat drugs through international cooperation to tackle illicit trafficking and crime. We established a criminal information centre on drugs, a liaison bureau for relevant drug enforcement authorities to collect information between different international bodies. We reaffirm the contents of the Abu Dhabi Declaration from November 2015. We also take note of the outcomes of the 51st Session of the subcommission from November 2016 in Saudi Arabia. We reaffirm the respect for human rights, sovereignty of states, and adopting legislation appropriate to each state and the principle of non interference in internal affairs. We encourage states to object to any forms of legalisation of drugs. We reaffirm the need to continue to abide by the 3 UN drug control treaties as the cornerstone of drug control. We note the importance of relevant international instruments and CND is the specialised UN agency tasked with combatting the drugs issue and decrease demand and supply.

United Arab Emirates, League of Arab States. We note the importance of the UNGASS outcome document recommendations. We welcome the role played by the Bureau tasked by CND to prepare for the UNGASS led by Shamaa. We express our deep satisfaction on the consensus achieved in Vienna. The Group wants to commend the role played by Amb. Moitinho on post-UNGASS activities. We stress the need for member states to continue to implement the 3 drug control treaties as the cornerstone of the international drug control system and the basis on which policies are built in the field of drugs. We confirm the principles of the UN Charter, including the sovereignty and non-interference of states. We also give visibility to socio-economic development levels, and respect for social, cultural and religious specificities. We reiterate the principles of the 2009 political declaration, which is an important framework for efforts made to overcome drugs issues. We also welcome the 2014 JMS. We consider the measures taken to counter the world drug problem. They require comprehensive and balanced approaches and a full commitment to common principles. We stress the role of CND as a UN policy making body that is primarily responsible for drug control and examining issues pertaining to drugs. We also welcome the role of CND to decrease demand, supply and improve international cooperation. The CND is the appropriate forum to discuss this phenomenon. UNODC is the UN entity in charge of addressing and countering the world drug problem and also at regional level, especially in regions harmed by illicit cultivation, manufacture, trafficking of drugs, including Arab states. These programmes cover efforts to enhance the effectiveness of measures to combat financial flows. We note the need to enhance cooperation in criminal matters. We call for a deepening of cooperation with UNODC with training courses and national, regional and subregional workshops for Arab experts to decrease demand and supply. In closing, the group reiterates that any discussion over threats and new facts should be done within the framework of the 3 UN drug conventions. It should be based on common and shared responsibility – regulating or legalising drugs constitutes a clear violation of the UN drug control treaties and requires the international community to adopt necessary measures in this regard. We underline the importance of linking trafficking of drugs with other forms of transnational crime including terrorism, money laundering and corruption, via training and security oversight.

South Africa. We have put together a task team to counter the world drug problem. We align the national drug strategy upon recommendations of the outcome document and the 2016 INCB report. This will also inform the health approach on prevention and treatment, as informed by the principles of equity, social justice and human rights. We attach great importance to availability of controlled substances for medical purposes while avoiding abuse. The 1961 Convention recognises that the medical use of drugs continues to be indispensable for pain and suffering and provisions must be made to improve access. Considerable progress has been made in certain regions but the outcome document gives renewed impetus on this issue. South Africa’s Medicines Control Council has improved access to controlled substances.

We remain committed to recommendations on supply reduction and related measures. We’re prosecuting crimes related to drugs, alcohol, trafficking, terrorism, weapons and money laundering. We use media campaigns and local and international cooperation. We contribute to promoting a society free of drug abuse so people can live in dignity and peace. We are not immune to the challenges and threats in the fight against drug abuse. We remain vulnerable to multiple challenges to cocaine control, synthetic labs, etc. There is a change in patterns of use and harms. The 3 drug conventions remain the cornerstone against the world drug problem. We call for enhanced international cooperation.

Zambia. Abuse and trafficking continues to pose costs and poses threats to the achievement of the SDGs. International cooperation and shared responsibility are critical to resolving the global drug problem. The 3 drug conventions are the pillars of global drug control. We also recall the 2009 Political Declaration and plan of action. We support the UNGASS outcome document. We are keen to implement the recommendations in the outcome document in cultural and social contexts, and reaffirm our determination to address the drug scourge. We have developed a national policy on drugs, alcohol and a review of drug laws to operationalise the recommendations of the outcome document. We would appreciate technical and financial assistance to an integrated and balanced approach towards drugs. We reiterate that combatting the world drug problem requires full conformity with the UN Charter and international law. Calls for legalisation are against the spirit of the UN drug conventions and go against the public health needs of society. We need technical guidance on the regulation of cannabis. We have adopted the strategy of early prevention of drug use among young people by incorporating drugs issues in primary and secondary levels. We have produced school books, initiated youth development programmes aimed at empowering youth with skills and jobs to refrain from engaging in drug use. On social reintegration, we have public and private institutions for addiction treatment. We also make controlled substances available for medical purposes while preventing their diversion. To curb rampant cannabis cultivation in rural areas, we provide support programmes, using fertilisers and cash seeds. We have accelerated infrastructure development in vulnerable areas. On money laundering and terrorism, we established an antimony laundering unit and have domesticated various instruments on crime. We strengthen national and international collaboration, and promote an integrated approach including demand and supply reduction. We remain convinced that we should promote a multifaceted approach – it will never be a one size fits all approach.

CND Chair. Tomorrow we will start agenda item 8c.

CND Secretariat. Informal consultations on L8 are starting in MOE03 in 18:15, and later, there are regional group meetings: EU at 9:00 in M5, and 14:00 in MOE05.

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