Home » Plenary: Opening of the sixty-first Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Plenary: Opening of the sixty-first Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Chair Welcome to the 61st CND! All debates will be on the CND website. Thank you to all delegates who have contributed to past sessions.

1st Item – election of officers: The commission elected Kenya as the 1st Vice Chair. 2nd Vice Chair is Pakistan. The Rapporteur is the Netherlands. Mexico serves as Chair.

Can we adopt Belarus as 3rd Vice Chair? It is so decided.

Item 5 on the agenda we will start with sub item A, during which time the COW will be suspended while we discuss which substances to be recommended for international control. The Extended Bureau has agreed for additional evening sessions on Tuesday 13th March to fished items 3 and 4. Can I invite the Commission to adopt the agenda? It is so decided.

António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations:

Yuri Fedotov (UNODC): The executive directive of UNODC is called to the panel. Fedotov welcomed the Member States, Civil Society and Scientists to the opening session of the 61st CND.The commission and the post UNGASS process has helped advanced the discussion. This session will help the ministerial segment 2019. We need partnerships to support member states and scale the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.We are promoting increased access to control treatment and care for people with drug use disorders.UNODC have developed a number of activities have been developed and UNODC are working to continue this work throughout the 2019 process. UNODC continues to provide quality services, including country level services and alternative development solutions. UNODC are working to address the crisis in Afghanistan and are enhancing their support to Afghanistan. UNDOC and Member States are working together and helping to achieve.This CND session will continue to support challenges globally. We rely on MS to provide the necessary resources.UNODC counts on the continued support of Member States to continue the work they are currently doing.

WHO (video): I am sorry I cannot be there in person. Many people die or are suffering from drug the world drug problem. New psychoactive drugs pose new challenges. But due to over regulation, too many people do not have access to pain relief. It is the WHO’s vision for everyone to have adequate access to treatment, harm reduction to prevent diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, and access to medicines. We are committed to the UN conventions and the UNGASS outcome document. None of us can address this alone and we look forward to UNODC and INCB giving member states the best support. No one should be left behind.

Chair: I would now give the floor to the president of the int. narcotics control board

President INCB: Madam Chair, it is an honour to be with you today on behalf of the INCB. We enjoy cooperation with the board. For instance, in consultation with the chair. The discussion to take place over the coming weeks, will go along with addressing the global drug situation. I would like to emphasise the need to comply with the international drug conventions. For medical and scientific purposes, drug trafficking as abuse. 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the declaration of human rights, 25th UN action adopted by the world conference on human rights, 30th adoption of the convention against narcotic drugs 1988. Also, the 50th anniversary of the INCB. A special focus on the 2017 INCB report released earlier this month on the links between harm reduction and drug control. On behalf of INCB I call the adoption of drug policy respecting human rights. During resolutions to lay affirm the action taken must be consistent with human rights standards. The thematic chapter of 2017 focuses on treatment, rehabilitation and demand reduction. INCB draw attention to respecting the rights of people impacted by drug disorders. We emphasise that stigma is still an obstacle to accessing treatment services, we recommend to address this. We draw attention to the needs of women and girls, in this country, I hope that the commission of this session will improve the situation of women and girls and other vulnerable groups. Help build national capacity and international cooperation. Without participation and financial support this initiative not possible. Ongoing dialogue with governments is essential for treaty implementation for safeguarding health and welfare. We’re committed to cooperation the WHO. I was delighted that the director general and executive director accepted my invitation, the 30th general assembly. The global drug situation is complex, our approach must be multi-dimensional and respectful of international law. Some of those challenges link to production of illicit substances and production of heroin. I call on the community to address these challenges. We should bring together many voices for a common goal, for the benefit of human kind. On behalf of the INCB I wish you a successful 61st session. You are are invited to our special side event this afternoon.

The Chair thanked the Director General of WHO and reminded the room that there wold be a maximum of 10 minutes for Regional groups and a maximum of 5 minutes for other speakers. The ambassador of China was called to the floor. HE congratulated the Chair on her election of the Chair of the 61st session of the commission. The group recognises the actions taken by the law enforcement and other sectors to counter the world drug problem. The principal of non-intervention and mutual respects amongst states. The convention of psychotropic substances of 1988 constitutes the corner stone of the world drug problem. Emphasis should be placed on individuals and families and societies with a view to promote human rights. The group welcomes the outcome document and stresses the need for effective follow up. The G77 in China remains fully committed to this cause and to implement the 2016 UNGASS outcome document in its entirety. In the context of developing countries, the need to address and counter world drug problems should be emphasised. Capacities and systems should be established in developing countries to address the persistent challenges. There is call for diversion to support social and economic development as well as poverty eradication. Common and shared responsibility should be without any conditions, particular for development countries. There needs to be a response to organised crimes. The group recognises that there are new and evolving challenges that need to be aligned with the international drug challenges. This should be consistent with a common and shared responsibility and international law, to ensure that all people can live in peace and safety from drug abuse. The group in China emphasises the need for international community to accelerate and counter the world drug problem.

Chair: I would invite ambassador of Egypt to address the commission on behalf of the African group.

Egypt: On behalf of the African group would like to congratulate you on the commission and extend congratulations to other members of the bureau. Full support of the session and will have good results. Thank you for your hard work. We affirm commitment to existing conventions which are cornerstones of all goals set out in 2009 and international cooperation to counter the world drug problem. By reducing demand and commitment to the joint declarations and the UNGASS outcome document. The group welcomes follow up which took place in 2017, including operational declarations. While appreciating progress made, the world drug problem is a concern of African group. We believe it is a major challenge, which needs international cooperation regarding the grave concern of drug abuse among youth. In Africa, drug abuse undermines economic and social development, it continues to increase diseases and psychological disorders. We have deep concern as the African continent has new trafficking routes which is creating security challenges. The urgent need to address links between trafficking and organised crime, terrorism, money laundering, the challenges faced by law enforcement, the group is concerned with addressing these issues. The group stresses international cooperating to tackle drug trafficking. Illicit production of substances remains a challenge across Africa and it requires enhanced cooperation. The non medical use of tramadol is growing, and we need to address this problem, maybe putting under international control while maintaining availability for medical purposes. Need to address drug use as health and social issue, the group reiterates the concerns regarding health problems. The group reiterates the issue of availability of pain relieving drugs on the African continent. The group supports collaboration of public health and punishment for drug related offences in accordance with int. drug control conventions. We would like to underline different regions have different challenges. The online sale on the dark net threatens the health of young people in Africa. We need to strengthen the 3 international conventions. We highlight other initiatives in the continent combatting terrorism. Welcomes effort for combined public education to address the consumption of drugs. A need for the adoption of regulation to address to abuse of substances not under international control. Need to develop an international strategy. Welcomes 2020 SDGs. The group to encourage UNOD to give special attention to alternative development related to counter drug problems. Encourage UN to use advocacy role to provide special attention to alternative development to counter world drug problem. The 2019 ministerial segment should identity gaps in the targets. The outcome of 2019 should extend the 2009 targets, we’re of the opinion should comply with commitment on drug control in the 2009 political declaration. The outcome of CND should reiterate CND as primary decision-makings body and leading body for addressing global drug problem. calls on the UNOD to mobilise resources and equipment to enhance capacities of the law enforcement bodies. More assistance to collating data and statistic to enable African countries to tackle the drug problem. The achievement of a drug free continent and welcomes 2017 meeting of drug law agencies and looks forward of the recommendations to counter world drug problem. Calls for executive director that gender balance are incorporated in UNOD, in senior posts. In conclusion, to also support the session under your guidance and leadership.

Bangladesh on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group: You have the full support of the group to make this session successful. While progress has been made, and improved understanding on how to counter illicit drugs, the world drug problem continues to pose a serious threat to all humanity. These challenges should be addressed by enhancing international support and cooperation in a balanced and multi-faceted approach. The conventions constitute the cornerstone of our efforts. The CND has the principle role and responsibility to address the and counter the world drug problem. The implementation of the UNGASS document should reflect the goals and targets of the 2009 declaration. 2019 is the target date set out in the 2009 document, and we should enhance efforts to achieve the goals set out in 2009 and look beyond 2019. These goals are critical to counter the world drug problem. We should set a clear timeline ahead of 2019. We are committed to supply and demand reduction, carried out while respecting state sovereignty. We need to respond to the link between drug trafficking, human trafficking, cyber crime, money laundering and other forms of organised crime. We are concerned about the legalisation of cannabis by some member states. We support efforts to address drug trafficking through international cooperation. Long term sustainable development is crucial for illicit crop eradication. We call for better cooperation in responding to New Psychoactive Substances, including better scheduling. We welcome calls in reducing drug related crime, supporting young people and using the internet. We stress the need to promote balanced and integrated policies to combat illicit drugs, protect youth through educational settings, and ensure adequate access to medicine, but also preventing diversion of medicines. We are fully committed to achieving a society free of drugs.

The Chair now welcomes the permanent representative of Mexico. He speaks of behalf of Latin America and other Caribbean States. The secretariat is tanked their organisational work in the lead up to this session. Gruleg reiterates the guidance on common and shared responsibility. Pursuant of he provisions of the three pillars of the international drug control. Following the high-level review of March 2014. The outcome document is welcomed to address and counter the world drug problem. UNGASS 2016 takes into account the world drug problem that promotes the well-being and rights of the individual. We are fully committed to the points in the UGASS outcome document and are grateful for the statements that have been made by the chair of the 61st session of the CND. We must envision proficient and scientific drug policies. We must acknowledge that the transit of drugs and the persistent challenges of the illicit channel that serve the trafficking of drugs that take on different levels of severity in different countries. International cooperation and the exchange of good practices amongst Member States are indispensable to address this new phenomenon. It is necessary to improve the quality of information and control the instruments if the analysis of comparable data to engage the efficacy of analysing the world drug problem. A cross cutting approach should allow full access to health education and in keeping with international drug control measures. Out region welcomes the contribution that this commission has made on obtaining gender equality buy empowering all women and girls. They support the chapters of the INCB report that promotes women and girls. We recognised the multidimensional nature of the world drug problem. We highlight the need to better understand the socio-economic factors that feed into the world drug problem. Gruleg underscores the alternative development measures to control the crop control problem. In context, we encourage alternative development programmes which should promote social inclusion and include those sectors that are the weakest links in this phenomenon. We note with concern the increase of gender reversion; especially in regard to those in management positions, particularly in Latin America and Caribbean recruitment of Women.

Chair: I now give the floor to the advice minister for health of Bulgaria to deliver her statement.

Bulgaria on behalf of the European Union: I speak on behalf of the EU and member states. Welcome, we’re confident that under your guidance we will accomplish our work. The full co-operation of the EU and member states consider UNGASS as a key milestone in international drug policy development. Bringing health and human rights to the core of policy. The UNGASS provides us with an opportunity to address the challenges that remain in the world drug problem. We are preparing for the CND 2019 ministerial segment. In 2009, we set 2019 as a target date for ourselves to eliminate cultivation of opium, coca and cannabis plants and social risks, trafficking and money laundering related to illicit drugs. We have not achieved this target: today we have an equally severe and diversified situation. The problems are evolving. We have never seen such a complex set of challenges in the drug area: NPS, the internet, trafficking, new players and increased production. There are encouraging developments related to the complex social aspects and public health indicators, such as HIV and access to treatment, the availability of harm reduction measures has improved and diversity of measures available. The UNGASS and outcome document has widened the perspective of the world drug problem. We can only change the world by adapting our responses to it, we cannot continue with the same policies which are insufficient. By balancing law enforcement with equally firm health and social services and evidenced based actions. It is time to implement a balanced approach as set out in the UNGASS outcome document. It reflects key EU drug strategy. We welcome the need to improve access to controlled substances for medical purposes, and to address the needs of individuals, we welcome international community recognising that a public heath approach that focuses on the needs and rights of drug users has huge benefits. We are highly supportive of the UNGASS declaration on drug supply reduction. We are very satisfied the UNGASS document calls for proportionality in drug policies, with alternatives to coercive sanctions which is provided by all EU member states. We seize the occasion to mention regret the UNGASS does not refer to the abolition of the death penalty which we oppose in all circumstances because it undermines human dignity. Imposing the death penalty for drug offences is against international law. The support generated by the UN resolution adapted in 2014 signalled international efforts to eliminate the death penalty. We promote proportionate responses to drug related offences related to gravity of offences in line with the state regulation under international law. We commend the efforts of the CND to strengthen the health and human rights approach to the drug problem. The EU and member states are paying attention to harm reduction, rehabilitation and recovery measures. We promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms in compliance with the 3 drug conventions. We must build on the UNGASS legacy, the EU and member states believe the 2019 segment should underscore the need to continue the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document to address the world drug problem.

Thailand: Thailand appreciates the CND and member states in moving forward on drug control, The world drug problem remains a problem for all of us and poses serious threats to health safety and wellbeing of our people. Thailand is committed to utilising the 3 conventions and the UNGASS document for a our national drug control. In the last two years we declared our new approach to drug control – we promote treatment and implementation of public health practice. The Golden Triangle (opium production) has been reduced, but still presents a large problem. We gathered partners in the sub region to counter illicit drugs and precursor chemicals. The Golden Triangle not only affects our region, but the rest of the world. Therefore we call for additional support to reduce drug supply. Thailand is a learning centre for alternative development. We are promoting a campaign based on the need of local people and communities, to deal with the root causes of the drug problem – poverty and lack of opportunities. We need to empower and safeguard communities and local people. I would like to reiterate our commitment to the 3 conventions and our active roles in promoting balance and international cooperation.

Iran is invited to address the commission of the podium. We consider this as a humanitarian principal based on our beliefs. The 2017 report reports that the cultivation and production of cannabis drugs is growing at the global level. There has also been an increase in illicit trade and tracking compared to 2015. Why are there escalating figures in response to opioid reduction?  This issue is a threat to public health and welfare. The situation in our region is more critical from the view of the abuse of drugs. The production of opioid production has increased dramatically and so has the issue of drug abuse. In parallel the question narcotic drugs is overshadowed at national and regional levels. There have been failures to implement the resolutions and such a trend has challenged the fight against the illicit control of drugs. This is an obligation in which all parties must contribute in keeping with the principles of shared responsibility. This should be done through a community-based approach. This subject must not be influenced my marginal matters. Its realisation is continued by UN guidelines and the global principal on community and shared responsibility. The strengthen of the triangular initiative is emphasises. In conclusion the international frameworks were underscored to tackle the global drug problem.

Chair: welcome Ms Josephine Teo minister of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore.

Singapore: We congratulate the chair. Our problem with drugs is a matter of life and death, every year millions of healthy lives are lost because of drug use. This battle to save lives is far from over but together we counter the drug problem. We underscore the 3 international conventions as the cornerstone of the international system. In the last decade, the 2009 POA, the 2014 statement and 2016 UNGASS. We reaffirm our commitment to these documents. We believe that every person has the right to live, work and play in a safe environment free from the scourge of drugs. This right should not be taken away through failure to control drug abuse. We adopt a harm prevention strategy to address the problem, through prevention, enforcement and rehabilitation. Our line of defence is preventative education, we provide a campaign every year. We use social media and involve youth in advocacy targeted by our youths. We have brought a young person who works for our advocacy to the CND. May I invite delegates to invite this brave young lady. The second pillar is tough laws and robust enforcement, these are needed to deter drug trafficking and abuse. The third pillar is rehabilitation and we invest in programmes which are designed using scientific evidence. We recognise the importance of international co-operation and are committed to the 2009 commitments and the 2016 UNGASS. We collaborated with UNOD to develop a pilot to combat issues related to NPS. We also hosted the Asia pacific forum against drugs, where we discussed how to create a world free from drug abuse. Our approach has worked well for us, our drug situation is under control and there is no one size fits all approach. Each country must take into account their own specific position and history. In 2019 the international community will take stock of progress. Drug abuse is harmful and must be prevented, the battle to save lives from drugs can and must be won. Thank you.

Tanzania: In recent years we have had increased drug use. People who inject drugs are more at risk of HIV and AIDS particularly among younger age groups. Cannabis is grown within the country, while heroin and cocaine are imported from South America. Tanzania has had significant progress against drugs. In September 2015 we introduced laws focussing on demand and supply reduction. We have been fighting against drug trafficking and diverting precursor chemicals. We have been implementing harm reduction approaches with local NGOs and government. 6 treatment centres were established helping over 800 clients with heroin addiction problems. We have been selected to host a meeting of african law enforcement, I would like to welcome all member states to the forthcoming meeting in Tanzania. I call upon all member states to ensure all people who use drugs have access to harm reduction services, to ensure adequate access to opioids for medical use, and ensure the rights of people who use drugs are not violated. We will prevent the abuse of drugs particularly among children. We must have a global partnership against modern day slavery. Thank you.

Spain: The Spanish delegation is aligned with the statements made by the representative of Bulgaria. Our remit includes leading a coordinating the national drugs policy. Our support for the outcome of the declaration of the special session in 2016 are further strengthened. The national scope of tackling the drug problem in Spain is the third national strategy. Following the strategy of the national drug plan in the 1980’s Spanish policy in this area has been a consensus-based policy. Using the new national strategy our aim is to create a framework that can be used as a framework of reference within an international setting. The objectives of this strategy include: raising the age of first time drug users and; reducing related harm. These objectives are based on the full respect for human rights, universality and coherence. This second phase, which has given rise to various aspects that will be covered tomorrow at a side event. Spain stand ready to continue the work and encourage the country to buld on its quality of life.

Portugal: I would like to congratulate the chair, the last gathering before the 2019 target. I would like to stress we associate ourselves with the EU statement. The UNGASS document is the pivotal reference document. The major achievement is the recognition of the need for a health and human rights based approach, the need for the SDGs. The upcoming segment is an opportunity for all states to build on all areas of the document which correspond to a balanced approach to drug policy. We acknowledge the work of the ambassador. The 7 equally key areas of the UNGASS document. We commit ourselves to contribute to the debates and sharing best practices. The 2019 review offers the chance to learn from past practice and national and local levels. Especially in the areas of human rights, health and development. No new documents are required, the UNGASS document outcomes provide the next focus. Reliable data are needed to measure impact. We are committed to the ongoing improvement of measurable indicators to reflect the new areas in the UNGASS document. We have always wanted an inclusive debate. The data of results achieved serve as a positive sign for humane drugs policies. Civil society has played an active role in our policies and increased participation is needed. and the 2019 review should consolidate this. On the other hand, we express our deep regret UNGASS does not include the abolition of the death penalty. We are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and call on all countries to establish the abolition of the death penalty. We encourage debate using innovative approaches. All states should fully implement the recommendations of the UNGASS document. Thank you.


Russian Federation

Putin underscored the need for cooperation between all countries. We are concerned with opium from Afghanistan which further funds terrorism. We will strengthen the Paris Pact. We will support the SCO, with a dialogue between the SCO and UNODC. In 2017 2 major operations were carried out to cut off the drugs supply and money that it generates. We boosted our training for police officers. We teach in Nicaragua and Peru in counter- money laundering and finance of terrorism. Our policy is based on international drugs control law. The INCB president visited us, and we demonstrated openness and transparency. We must improve access to pain relief – only 20% of people receiving pain relief is unacceptable. Drugs crime is affecting childhood – eg. drugs mules. We are proposing a resolution to protect children and we hope it will be supported. We reject all calls for legalising drugs – one cannot legalise death or human suffering. Legalising drugs is something that contravenes human life. Our ideal is a world free of drugs.

Algeria: We align ourselves with African group and would like to share the following. We uphold commitments under the conventions which are a solid basis for the future design of all policies. We set out objectives for 2019, they require efforts to meet these goals. It is clear there are challenges to combating the world drugs problem. It is a security based threat including forms of crime including terrorism. Emerging trends towards the legalisation of cannabis and other drugs is worrying and goes against intinternational norms. Our country is against these progresses. I share that the reduction of cannabis resin seizures. Everybody has become mobilised to reduce drug supply. Because of our work against trafficking they have started to use new routes. This has led to resources being diverted from dev. Programmes in our country. We have undertaken awareness raising programmes, youth are the target of our campaigns. Awareness raising activities also are made stronger by the key role of civil society. a network of care structures has been established. The first 9 months of 2017 many drug users received assistance. We have created an expert course in drug use at our university. The shared common responsibility and endeavour to curb the cross border threat. Africa made significant progress during Afripol which seeks to strengthen co-operation among the African union to combat organised crime. To conclude, we are certain the current session will make a good conclusion.


China has continued to meet its responsibility outlined by the UNGASS document. We respect human rights of drug related offenders, and we endeavour to eliminate discrimination. We will ensure the availability of medicines. We have carried out anti-drug operations with other countries to choke of drug supply. There has been an increase in fentanyl, NPS and online drug trafficking, but strengthening law enforcement has brought positie results. Drug problems worldwide are becoming intertwined – most countries do not fall into just one category. The reason we are still here is that there is a broad consensus and shared vision. We look  forward to 2019. We must enhance cooperation to tackle the world drug problem.The three conventions are the cornerstones of world drug policy. All countries should use the flexibility of conventions without violating them. We oppose legalisation under any pretext. We must respect the diversity and variety of approaches based on their national conditions and we recognise their use, but we oppose the tolerance of drug abuse with respect to harm reduction. We respect the use of diversion from prison in some member states. The focus should be on fighting the world drug problem. NPS and non-controlled chemicals do show the limits of conventions, so we should show flexibility to close the loopholes of the conventions. We expect UNODC and INCB to take new and useful steps to support member states.

Afternoon session (Continued from the morning)


I would like to congratulate you. We endorse the work of the countries in our region to seek a consensus. We continue to give evidence to commit to ending the world drug problem. we must have a balanced approach to reduce supply and demand and complying with human rights and public health. This brings us to the change from 2015 in my country to implement all the commitments of the international commitments from 2009 and 2014 and more recently the document in UNGASS 2016 documents. From the outset we endorsed the follow up from 2016, we stand ready to continue with the policies that separate us from 2019 in keeping with the resolutions and the proposed modalities of the CND. In preparation of 2016 we had a full-fledged assessment of progress of world policy. We would like to say we go along with the document to counter the world drug problem. we underlie in the fact that his contains the principles of shared responsibility. We must jointly address these issues in order to fully implement the drug control treaties. We continue to consolidate the methods this administration has selected. All skills brought to bed to combat drug trafficking are found in the ministry and the federal bodies. we place the individual at the heart of our treaties with a focus on public health. we bring on board civil society to have a response to these issues. We can therefore prioritise the community response under the federal council for narcotic drugs. All we know about the issues in our country ensure a full fledged approach to the world drug problem. we are satisfied to note the CND deals with vulnerable groups. We are aware of the work of UNODC and the exchange of good practice. We work jointly with them. we continue to work hard to bring consistency of efforts in the international community. We are committed to the hemispheres of the Americas. In 2017 we hosted the high level meeting. We are aware of the work and cooperation we are engaged in. we participate in the database that the UN makes available. All the tools that help us effectively move ahead. There should be control of new substances in the international schedules of the UN convention. Member states will be able to support the inclusion of these substances.



9 years ago we set ourselves an ambitious target to a significant reduction of drug use and criminal activities and eventually eradicate them. We were indeed right to set ourselves those targets. The drug problem has not let up, it is worsening. We need increased cooperation, and mutual assistance. We have taken urgent measures to tackle the problem. We are the only state banning 98% of narcotic drugs. Last year we shut down more than 40 drug organisations in belarus. We seized more than 16,000 tons of narcotic drugs. We saw not one single death from overdose among minors – this was due to harsher penalties to deter use. We will be striving to transform our commitments into concrete measures and achieve a world free of drugs.



We are committed to a health and law enforcement based approach, reflected in our ten-year 2017 drug strategy. We emphasise importance on supply reduction through law enforcement and demand reduction through treatment. Evidence tells use that certain groups of people are more vulnerable and that must be considered with no one left behind. Australia remains concerned that 75% of the world do not have adequate access to pain relief. We believe access can be expanded while remaining the integrity of the conventions. We continue to support the INCB and UNODC with funding and support. Law enforcement is best spent on disrupting the drug trade. Australia has found diversion to be greatly effective to conviction. Extra judicial drugs killings are unacceptable. The death penalty is an inhumane and ineffective way to deter drug-use. We call on all members to engage with academia and civil society. We remain encouraged by member states to combating the global drug problem.

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