Home » Item 14. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolution 68/1, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (cont.)

Item 14. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolution 68/1, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (cont.)

Commission on Science, Technology and Development: Every year our committee has two priorities. The first is focusing on the impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development. The likes of big data, synthetic technology can create great opportunities to address the SDG’s. New technology also poses challenges. These can raise inequalities and facilitate illegal activities. Science and technological change are affecting the strategies taken to drug abuse, new risk and challenges to addressing the trafficking of illicit drugs. Scientific research on drug use and addictions are supporting policy-makers on drug addiction and treatment. Crypto currency and illegal currency important to the illegal trading, approximately 25% of all users and 44% of all bitcoin transfer are related to illegal activity such as illicit drug trading. Policy-makers must develop plans based on technology, one of the main task of the CND is providing such technological foresight. It involves bring together a variety sources of knowledge to shape the future. Distinguished delegates, science, technology and innovation are cross cutting actors that contribute to achieving all the SDG’s, gender is also another core issue. The CSTD and the status of women have developed a strong cooperation, and last January we made a new workshop that examined opportunities for gender Reponses in science technology and innovation, and supporting both commission. Today is the opportunity to discuss cross-cutting plans for the CND and the CSTD and look forward to discussing how the commissions can collaborate in the future.

Austria: We value interagency cooperation and we look forward to enhanced exchange of information and views. We have ls intended to your interventions and see many items where the exact work of your commission can help us to get more the point on the scientific based work we are doing and we look forward to further cooperation in both the CND and official crime prevention.

Women’s Harm Reduction International Network: There is great Importance in aligning the work of the CND with the Sustainable Development Goals. We advocate for drug policies aligned with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This ensures upholding the dignity and rights of all women. We call upon member states to respect women’s rights to life, equality and non-discrimination, as these qualities are directly connected to the SDG’s. Women experience greater rights of HIV than men, along with gender-violence and lack of gender-specific services. The UN guide of women who inject drugs can be used by policymakers to understand the intersection of gender, health and the sustainable development goals. We also believe the International Drug Policy Consortium shadow report ‘Taking Stock’ can be used as a review and metric to better evaluate women who use drugs and provide evidence based responses. There must be meaningful involvement of civil society for women who use drugs and we specifically state that we must truly leave no one behind, and to ensure this principle, women who use drugs must be involved in the policy-making process.

Médecins du Monde: Ladies and Gentlemen. I speak on behalf of Médecins du Monde, an independent medical NGO providing healthcare in more than 40 countries around the world. I also speak on behalf of the International AIDS Society, the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, working on all fronts of the global AIDS response; the World Hepatitis Alliance, a global patient-led organization dedicated to the elimination of hepatitis; and the hepCoalition, a global coalition of hepatitis C activists.We have closely followed preparations for this CND and, in particular, negotiations on Resolution L4, submitted by Norway, on promoting measures to prevent and treat viral hepatitis C among people who use drugs. We welcome this resolution and its impact on reinforcing the response to hepatitis in the drug policy agenda. We believe this will push countries towards achieving viral hepatitis elimination goals set by the WHO in 2016, as well as Sustainable Development Goals 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5.We welcome the emphasis this Resolution places on the important role of civil society, in particular networks of people who use drugs, in all aspects of preventing, diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis. However, we are concerned by neglect of the WHOtarget of providing 300 sterile needles and syringes per person who injects drugs per year by 2030, and by failure to address the structural and policy barriers fuelling the hepatitis C epidemic.Despite strong scientific evidence and WHO recommendations, comprehensive harm reduction services remain inaccessible for most people who use drugs. Where services exist, people who use drugs face difficulties accessing hepatitis C prevention and treatment due to: poor access to health services; exclusion through non-evidence-informed treatment eligibility criteria; threats of violence and abuse by law enforcement officers and healthcare workers when disclosing their status as drug users; and universal stigmatization. And so, hepatitis C still spreads among people who use drugs and attention to specific needs, for example, of women who use drugs, are often overlooked.This lack of access to care for people who use drugs is deeply rooted in and driven by laws and policies that criminalize drug use, possession and people who use drugs themselves. Punitive drug law enforcement, with harsh sentences for minor offences, is a direct barrier to harm reduction service delivery and uptake. This often leads to treatment interruption and heightened risk of hepatitis infection. It also fuels stereotypes and negative assumptions about people who use drugs, reinforcing stigma and discrimination.While laws and policies that prohibit drugs are portrayed as necessary for public health and safety, evidence is that they have led to human rights violations, including violence, disease and discrimination. With growing recognition of the need for evidence-based drug policy reform, several world leaders, public health experts and UN agencies recommend decriminalization of minor, non-violent drug offences and health-oriented alternatives to criminal sanctions.Following the 2nd World Hepatitis Summit in 2017, more than 60 organizations issued a call to world political leaders.We reiterate that call here. We ask that governments ensure:Greater attention to the diverse needs of people who use drugs, including women. The removal of barriers to uptake of prevention services by people who use drugs. The reform of laws and law enforcement procedures in respect of the dignity and needs of people who use drugs. The decriminalization of minor, non-violent drug offences. The end of all forms of discrimination against people who use drugs. I thank you for your attention.

Harm Reduction Coalition: Thank you, madam chair. Before I start, I’d like to acknowledge, and pay respect to indigenous and first nations peoples. The world has failed people who use drugs and we must refocus our efforts. To do this, we need leadership on harm reduction. Harm reduction leadership means increasing political support and funding for harm reduction. Harm reduction leadership also means ending the criminalization of people who use drugs. Harm Reduction Coalition welcomes the recent unanimous endorsement by the Chief Executives Board, representing 31 UN agencies, common position on drug policy that endorsed decriminalization of possession and use. People who inject drugs have been left behind in the global response to HIV and viral hepatis. The 2011 target of halving HIV among people who use drugs was missed. It was missed by a staggering 80%! —and there been no decrease in the annual number of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs since. Countless more lives have been lost to overdose, violence, the death penalty, and extrajudicial killings. Moreover, people who use drugs lack access to health care, harm reduction and legal services, both in the community and places of detention, because of stigma and discrimination. Recent research indicates that less than 1% of people who inject drugs live in countries with high coverage of both Needle Syringe Programmes and Opioid Substitution Treatment—two interventions in the WHO/UNODC/UNAIDS ‘comprehensive package’ of interventions to reduce HIV among people who inject drugs. At this time, we urge member states to pledge to intensify meaningful participation of, and provide support, training and funding to, community-based organizations and civil society organizations (including organizations and networks of people who use drugs) in designing and implementing services and advocacy programs for people who use drugs.
Given the explicit endorsement of harm reduction within the UN human rights system, provision of harm reduction services cannot be seen as a policy option at the discretion of States, but must instead be understood as a core obligation of States to meet their international legal obligations. In closing, we need leadership on harm reduction. Leadership means increasing political support and funding for harm reduction. It also means centering the voice of people who use drugs in the global drug policy dialogue. Finally, leadership on harm reduction means ending the criminalization of people who use drugs.

ENCOD: Concern with ongoing process and providing the inputs of civil society. The following issues are core to ensuring protection of human rights to take into consideration the position of the UN. Laws and enforcement of drug control should be central on drugs policies that enhance the rights of people globally. Encouraging the authorities to promote the proportionality of penalties and must ensure basic rights are protected. To endorse a scientific approach to harm reduction and drug dependence, to recognise in the future strategies to increase the overall number of health, should be reoriented in the direction of harm reduction. Adopting a harm reduction approach is key to reducing unintended consequences for society and the well-being of individuals. To community based prevention campaigns which provide the unbiased and real effects of harm and drug consumption must be encouraged. We look must  look to how to address and take control of the scale of drugs. Policies should place people in the centre of drugs and offer flexibility on how adopt policies in different countries. We hope for policies to adopted in line with the SDG’s. United Nations offices should reconsider the correct actions are taken to protecting the rights of people who take drugs.

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