Committee of the Whole (Tuesday morning): L5. Laboratory support for the implementation of the scheduling decisions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Chair: I propose we move to L5. Finland to take the floor. Let us start on the title. Any comments? Can we move to the preambular paragraphs?

Finland: I would like to point out we held informal meetings on this resolution with 15 countries. There are only a few amendments within the text and they are all there. This resolution is based on previous laboratory work. We would like to concentrate on the implementation of the scheduling decisions. Otherwise I can gladly answer questions as we go forward.

Chair: Can we go to PP1 if we can approve it? I see no comments, so it is approved. Go to PP2, any comments? I see none, approved. PP3?

Iran: We would like to propose a full stop after analysis laboratories in the second line.

Chair: Finland?

Finland: Before in the previous resolutions we have taken up this issue as in resolution 58/9. The point behind this is we feel this is a matter of human rights. We should convict the people who are guilty but not the people who are innocent, the basic principle of any law enforcement. We want it to be effective and in accordance with human rights. I hope the text could stay there, thank you.

UK: To support my Finnish colleague, we believe it is important for this to be retained as drafted in informals. If delegates want to see adjustments, we are interested to see them.

Iran: Human rights do not link to the scope of the resolution.

Belgium: We are supporting keeping this paragraph here.

Singapore: We would like to add ‘in accordance with national legislation’ – it would enhance the whole paragraph for member states.

Chair: Suggest a particular point in the text to add it.

Belgium: I would propose to stick to the original text.

Slovakia: We are supporting in keeping the original text.

Brazil: To support the regional language.

Singapore: We would like to add at the back after human rights ‘to take appropriate measures in accordance with national legislation.’

Finland: I do not mind the end added by Singapore. Will this now suffice for the previous things added about the human rights aspects?

Iran: we are discussing the world drug problem. In the third line ‘of countering and addressing the world drug problem’

Finland: We had some discussion of this at the informals. Maybe we could find a resolution from a previous text where it says almost the same. We propose ‘human rights and fundamental freedoms, ensuring public safety and effective law enforcement’ as worded in the previous resolution.

Iran: at the end of this paragraph we would like to add ‘in accordance with national legislation’

Singapore: We would like to support Iran’s suggestion.

Chair: Finland?

Finland: It looks fine from our point of view.

US: We are not comfortable with the second paragraph as it has been changed.

Chair: Perhaps we can have this proposal in brackets. Can we go to the next PP? Any comments? Thank you we can endorse it. Move to the next one? Endorsed. The next one? Endorsed. The next?

Venezuela: I would like to know why the single convention is not referenced?

Finland: The reason is that it is not referenced specifically in this document.

Venezuela: I would like a reference here to include the single convention. Not having the reference could be restrictive to the resolutions sought.

Chair: Can we approve the paragraph? That is approved. The next one. The last one is endorsed. To OP1

Iran: We would like to add ‘where possible’ to the end of the paragraph.

Chair: That is agreed. OP2?

Iran: implementing needs further action we would like to include ‘capacity building.’

Chair: Finland?

Finland: We are referring here to the resolution 54/3, if another delegation is willing to help out?

Chair: We move to OP3 and come back shortly. Any comments? Endorsed. OP4?

UK: Our comments are in line with OP2, the need for member states to be supported. We beg the indulgence of our Iranian colleagues to look at this particular part covered in the text. Perhaps this language could get rid of concerns.

Iran: I was thinking about the wording.

Chair: Can we approve OP4? Endorsed. OP5? Endorsed. OP6?

Iran: Here we do not have a problem but for an international resolution singling out one centre, not sure it leads to the goals. We would like to propose a deletion of the ICE.

Finland: We are not aware of other regional bodies with databases. I understand if there is a deletion but the EMCDDA is the only one with these capacities.

Chair: Approval to the deletion of the centre?

UK: It is interesting we are removing some of the text from a resolution last year. We are happy to not stand in the way of this, but perhaps we can include at the end of line 3 ‘the signing of inter-agency-memoranda of understanding,’ we propose for colleagues’ consideration.

Chair: Can we approve amended paragraph. Approved. We move to OP7, the last paragraph. Any comments? I see none, so we are able to endorse this. We go back to the paragraph we left bracketed OP2.

Iran: My suggestion is after 54/3 we would like to add ‘With UNODC contribution in provision of equipment and technical assistance upon request.’

US: Looking at the addition of Iran I am not sure it is appropriate here. Perhaps a separate paragraph to encourage member states with assistance requirements to make this known to the UNODC.

Canada: Can we go back to the original language in P2?

UK: Can I refer you to the title of this resolution, we’re talking about more general support to member states. So we can’t go along with these suggestions as suggested.

Iran: Let me assure you I am here for agreement rather than argument. We need to to include “capacities”. If my wording is not proper, then I’d like to add “within their capacities”.

Chair: Any comments?

US: This sends a confusing message. I think we have some difficulties accepting “within their capacities”, as sometimes existing capacities are not enough.

Iran: I cannot go along with anything other than that wording. It should cover their needs – I gave you the idea, but you can put it in the proper place as a native speaker.

Chair: Maybe we can bracket this paragraph. Now let’s go back to the other bracketed paragraphs. Can we take the original paragraph?

US: What does it look like originally?

Chair: We are typing it so it is clear. We have it and tagged as original.

Iran: Concerning the scope of the resolution we cannot go along with it.

Finland: Thank you chair. We could lead with either proposal. The one we made was based on the previous proposal based on agreed language.

Singapore: We can go with what Iran proposed.

Chair: Can we look at the previous paragraph and exact our minds on the text as it is, since we made progress before?

Singapore: We wanted the highlighted paragraph

Venezuela: My delegation is comfortable with the text tabled by Finland, so we would not support any of the portion appearing in blue. We could support the paragraph ONLY with red in them. We already have language to propose in keeping with our comments in the previous statement.

Russia: Thank you sir. We are willing to work on the version before on condition that the 58/9 text be entirely quoted, after human rights there is a reference to “fundamental freedoms” all the way down to “national legislation” that we lost and which is important.

Chair: Can Russia repeat?

Russia: Yes you’re right. We need to go back to the original text 58/9 and add to it the line which I dictated: “fundamental freedoms, ensuring public safety and effective law enforcement” and add at the end, yes that’s right, after human rights.

Chair: Any comments? This language has already been agreed, so there should be no difficulties.

Iran: I can go with “national” otherwise I need capital instruction

Finland: Thank you all for your comments. The original language is there now, except the end of “in accordance with national legislation”, so if we want to amend it or not, that’s my question. I have no strong feelings, but just want clarity.

Russa: Thank you. There’s a UN practice that if we don’t come to consensus, we revert to original language. Iran’s proposal is fine and we’re ready to support this option. It would be appropriate and follows the sense of this resolution.

Singapore: Don’t delete additional text from Iran.

Chair: We’re getting there and making it more acceptable. Can we agree on this please?

Finland: Thank you for your efforts: we always take “appropriate measure in accordance with national law”, it is the norm, so this is fine by us.

Venezuela: I am confused now, it was my understanding that we were looking at ALt 2 paragraph, which was lifting from the resolution text 58/9, and on the basis on the paragraph we are trying to build a consensus. When we go back to this form of words which was edited so there were amendments, it’s hard to see where the consensus will be.

Chair: The fact that it is agreed language in the past, if there are difficulties in getting a consensus, then we can fall back to past language. Let’s look at Alt 2 on the screen which is agreed language.

Finland: It seems this would accommodate most of the delegations as a compromise as it stands now. We are happy with this text.

Singapore: the original text may have been restrictive. We want the resolution to move forward so member states can apply it.

Chair: US you have the floor.

US: The confusion is that this paragraph is not asking member states to do anything, it just stresses importance. I’m not sure what it’s calling us to do?

Singapore: We can change the language so it mentions the legislation on human rights and they’re being respected. Take away “appropriate measures” and replace with “in accordance with national legislation”

Russia: For the sake on consensus, we would propose  at the end “and of taking appropriate measures in the regard and in accordance with national legislation”

Venezuela: It’s not crucial but I have a concern regarding what these appropriate measures are other than ensuring public safety and law enforcement. It’s just a question for the room.

US: We have the same question. I think this paragraph was here just to underscore that the quality of data can have an impact on human rights, and we need to ensure accuracy. Perhaps we can add “in national legislation” after “laboratories and delete the additional phrase.

Nigeria: We know this paragraph is agreed language and were flexible to using this. Our preference would be to include “in accordance with national legislation” at the end of the paragraph and we’d like to add it back in.

US: I once worked with labs that produced bad results, so this is crucial to have reliable data. Perhaps we can bracket this paragraph.

Chair: We are not getting a consensus on that paragraph. Let’s bracket it and allow those delegations to consult. Let us go to OP2

Chair: Transfer focus to OP2. Maybe Finland you can kick us off again on this.

Finland: about the capacity building that we did not figure out? It is already covered on the OP4 under our point of view. We would like to delete ‘within our capacities.’

Iran: As I mentioned I can go along with that one. I propose a new paragraph ‘Call for increased technical and financial assistance to member states in particular those most directly affected by the world drug problem in order to ensure that they have the capacity to respond to the threat in all its forms and manifestations.’

Chair: Any comments?

US: I think we would have difficulties with the wording but not the concept. Technical assistance is never foisted upon a country but up to a member state to make the requests to UNODC or donors. We could say ‘invites member states to inform UNODC of their technical assistance needs.’ Because we already have a paragraph requesting UNODC to address those requests for assistance.

Iran: It is paragraph 34 of the ministerial statements, it is an agreed language.

Finland: This is already included for the purposes in this resolution. What is mentioned is already included in OP7 because there is plenty of things in the OP4. If there is something we would prefer the US suggestion, it might be more sorted in the lower resolutions such as OP6, closer to where we are talking about funding.

Chair: We have both versions there

Turkey: We support the core and essence of this new proposal. From a constructive viewpoint the proposal as follows ‘requests the UNODC to provide technical assistance to the requesting member states in order to ensure that as proposed by Iran, they have the capacity to respond.’ This language could water down the concerns of this issue.

UK: We must remember that technical assistance is already included. The mandate for UNODC is already well established to the point of their being a long history of technical assistance on record. With that in mind stating the point again with a separate paragraph is not required, having heard the concerns expressed today we could go along with this paragraph. In Line two, at the moment it is very general, perhaps we could bring it back to the intent of the resolutions. Suggest to remove the end of the sentence and keep ‘UNODC to provide technical assistance to the requesting member states in order to support implementation of this resolution.’

Iran: regarding the mandate we need some clarification.

Secretariat: This takes us back 64 years looking at what UNODC has been doing. Not just facilitating we provide support directly. E.g. we have a proficiency test to provide direct laboratory support. It has been a combination of mandates.

US: Could we say ‘UNODC to continue providing technical assistance.’

Iran: After member states to add ‘in particular those most affected by the world drug problem’

UK: We would need some clarification to where this language comes from. How do we decide who is most affected? Some of the language from previous resolutions is to say ‘especially developing countries.’ I do not think the current wording is something that we understand.

Chair: Iran would that be ok?

Iran: What I have mentioned is countries with the most casualties, in Iran 4000 people have died as a result of drug related violence.

Secretariat: Countries provide us with information that is not correct. If we decide some countries need more support than others. I see the results twice a year, some countries get it wrong you would expect to get right. Offering capacities to countries should be as open as possible. We should not have a league table of who does or does not get assistance.

Iraq: I might have a proposal. ‘Encourages’ instead of ‘requests’ ‘The UNODC to continue its efforts in providing technical assistance based on the prior consultation and request from member states taking into consideration the emerging challenges of the drug problem in these countries or states.’ I believe ‘encourages’ will be less severe than ‘requests’ and I hope it will remove the concerns of interested states.

Chair: The paragraph is getting complex. The clock is ticking away and we cannot continue like this endlessly. We must agree on what we have on the screen rather than addition after addition at risk of further complicating what we have at hand. I call on Finland to see if they have remarks on this. We only have ten minutes left. I encourage colleagues to keep it simple.

US: In the interests of moving forward, I wonder if paragraph 30 of the 2014 ministerial statement could be helpful: ‘highlight the need to continue providing technical assistance to member states so as to enhance the capacity in countering the world drug problem, upon their request, to establish and further improve national drug control strategies and measures; to promote more targeted capacity building initiatives, based on scientific evidence, for competent national authorities to review and update legal frameworks and law enforcement institutions taking into account applicable international human rights obligations to improve existing mechanisms for cooperation and to foster the development of national monitoring systems and statistics to elaborate proper data collection and analysis, that allow for the identification of current trends, institutional capacities and the affects of drug control measures.’ This brings the two issues of human rights and technical assistance using language we have previously agreed.

Iran: It is acceptable because it is agreed language. What I proposed is agreed language too, what I propose is to put it in the operative paragraph.

Chair: Give the floor to the EU, Finland.

Finland: The last paragraph is not clear how it would be the OP here. To my opinion we have agreed a streamlined resolution on how to implement the scheduling decisions. It is just a general text, I am hesitant to know how this is an OP. I ask our colleague from the UNODC how we can make their work easier. Not just about how all countries do something right or wrong, we all need support from the UNODC, our joint thing that we cherish. We would not want a list of countries who are not doing their job well. We are in this together and I am hesitent with this paragraph and how this would be implemented in the text.

Chair: Suggest we come back with a consensus before we progress to L8 over the lunch break. I will allow Finland to have the last word.

Finland: We are very happy to negotiate this with interested delegations. About the Venezuela comment about adding the 1961 convention.

Venezuela: the proposed wording ‘further recalling the single convention of 1961 which it is recognised that the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes.’

Chair: A proposal that we consider for approval the paragraph suggested by Venezuela. Does this meet the agreement of our delegations? I see no objections and it will be added. India, I give you the floor.

India: A small suggestion in the last pp we want a small addition in the last PP after authorisations ‘for obtaining.’

Chair: That paragraph is closed. Session adjourned.

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