CND Intersessional Meeting, 8 March 2019

Chair: Apologies for the delay. In continuance of yesterday, we agreed to suspend the meeting to consider the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. I will give the floor to facilitator, Ambassador Okeke now.

Amb. Okeke, Nigeria: I happily report we were able to conclude the informal consultations on the draft declaration yesterday night by 9:50pm. I know we have spent a lot of time this morning waiting for this so listen to me, I consider this effort a milestone in my diplomatic career.  It was a long and laborious negotiation starting last December. As a chair of the Africa group, it was our responsibility to find the chair for the next period. Ad the time the Chais was the only viable candidate we could find, he just arrived to Vienna at the time, The rest of the ambassador decided that since he is new I should assist him. With full support from African colleagues, we started to work based on the wonderful work of previous chair. There were debates and either the room is divided or the proposals don’t meet consensus. The task we had was to ensure delegation meet at the table. I must applaud the work of the ESPAS who spent countless times each of you repeat themselves asserting their positions and also delegations who brought some sense of focus. Some delegations here decided to be a punching bag so I appreciate your patience. The most acknowledgement goes to delegations who tried to build consensus and peace, find solutions, Ambassadors from Japan, Russia, Italy, Finland, France, Portugal, Peru, Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, UAE, Egypt and numerous female ambassadors who put in the work and encouraged me. Thank you today on International Women’s Day. I also thank the Secretary of the UNODC, UNODC and the team for your support. Some asked if the declaration is even needed. If there is something to take away in all of this is the unwavering commitment to respond to the world drug problem. No one is immune to this scourge. Some are remotely some are closely connected, the issues come in many forms but we are all in this together. So I congratulate all of us for the teamwork we demonstrated. We are making an effort, we don’t guarantee that we will solve it, but we are making an effort. Ambassador of Singapore, Colombia, Algeria, Uruguay, USA, Norway, Iran, SA. Thank you for giving Africa this moment. Now I present the report formally to the Chair.

Chair: Thank you ambassador Okeke for your dedication for facilitating this work and the Secretariat for their support. Thank you, all delegations, for the flexibility shown during the consultations. I propose that the Commission to endorse the text of the draft declaration. Do we agree to that? (APPLAUSE) Happy International Women’s Day. Now I open the floor for statements, please keep it short.

Japan: Thank you for your work, we are in good shape for next week. Openness, leadership, dedication, great stewardship, flexibility – it is good that CND is able to come up with a single voice to the World that we are able to address this challenge of drug. It is a good reflection of Vienna based diplomacy.

Nigeria: We should all be proud of what we’ve achieved. The last few months were spent in tireless efforts and sleepless nights, we were not always looking at each other with smiles but we kept solidarity and determination. Before we reached the consensus, only a few believed it was possible. I had to approach Afghanistan to ensure we will have an outcome document and he showed his willingness and comradeship a few hours later. Your leadership and the transparent process and passion will go down in history, Ambassador Okeke. I will not forget the efforts of the Secretary, when she spent additional hours preparing for meetings after everyone went home at 11pm. I am sure it will not go unrewarded. Chair of CND, I applaud your leadership from behind the scenes.

Italy: The list of colleagues we need to thank has to start with the ambassador of Mexico. She paved the way to the result we achieved today. We demonstrated that even on difficult issues, there are common denominators that can lead the way for cooperation. I congratulate our facilitator and you. I hope our ministers will be happy with what we had done.

3rd Vice Chair (Italy) assumes Chair

Egypt: I am not sure where to start, the beginning and ending of any speech on this declaration should honor our facilitator. This paper was so many times in jeopardy – many people doubted it will happen and it is you that made it possible. This is not only an achievement, it is proof how African ladies can work, we are very proud of you as part of the African group. It is this group of people who are sitting here who were able to produce this paper and this goes to show that despite our differences, we can work together.

Mexico: Thank you for your wonderful efforts as facilitator. All delegates have been working very hard, I know each of you by name by now. On women’s day I want to acknowledge the Secretariat too. This is a work done by all of us – multilateralism has won. Let’s keep on working together.

Chile: Thank you everyone.

Colombia: I commend the endurance, the vision […] of Ambassador Okeke.

Afghanistan: Thank you for your committed and patient leadership, Ms Okeke.

Singapore: We’d just like to add our voice to the chorus appreciating your work, the chair and of the Secretariat’s.

South Africa: I want to congratulate that we have all women on the podium today. Applause. Thanks to the Secretariat a lot! Thanks for the flexibility of the delegations, the chair for his leadership but most importantly, our heroine, Ambassador Okeke – you’ve done Africa proud.

Portugal: It was the last two female chairs of CND and madame facilitator that had lead the way of the success today.  

Russia: Fantastic job in our efforts moving towards a world free of drug abuse.

United States: Joining in the chorus to thank the women in leading us through this long road. As a female diplomate, I want to point out that the leadership of other ambassadors has been a positive example for all of us.

Peru: Thank you.

Brazil: Thank you. This is the main event to showcase female leadership.

Guatemala: Thank you, magnificent job. We are pleased to see this document, it doesn’t reflect everything we wanted but it is safe, encourages and showcases to the world the strength of the Vienna consensus. Recognising that I came from a woman and she came from a woman, I would like to recognise your ladies’ leadership.

Germany: I have the feeling there were not so many countries from the EU thanking you. I think we were very vocal in asserting our positions in the process so now I want to add my voice here and be vocal about our gratitude. We are impressed how the CND has been chaired in the last few years by female leaders.

Austria: Many words have been said today, so … flowers and applause.

Uruguay: Joining in the round of gratitude, especially thanks to Vivian Okeke and the staff of Nigeria.

Algeria: Thank you.

Argentina: Thank you.

Ambassador Okeke, Nigeria: Thank you – multilateralism is the way to go. We have to solve the world drug problem together Thanks for those who paves the way before me, those who encouraged me and those who have worked tirelessly in achieving this paper. Thanks for the drafters too.

Chair: Meeting adjourned.

[Group photo taken.]

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