Home » Plenary: Item 4. General debate of the ministerial segment

Plenary: Item 4. General debate of the ministerial segment

Chair: There are a record number of states attending this ministerial segment. Statements should not exceed 5 mins. Regional groups are allotted 7 mins.

Permanent representative of Egypt, on behalf of G77 and China: It’s my honour to speak on the behalf of the group. Congrats to the chair for being elected and other elected members.

We welcome the convening on this segment and express full support for this declaration. We see it as a positive step forward of our joint commitments. It was commendable work carried out by ambassador to reach consensus.

The world drug problem is a common and shared responsibility, and responses need to be based by integrated multidisciplinary approaches. We recognize the efforts of law enforcement, judicial, health and other relevant authorities. We reaffirm unwavering commitment to demand reduction, supply reduction and international cooperation and related measures, which need to conform with UN Declaration of Human Rights.

The principles of non-intervention, human rights and inherent dignity should be respected. We reaffirm our commitment to significantly reduce the cultivation, manufacture, trafficking, and diversion of illicit drugs and precursors, and reduce illicit demand and abuse of drugs – we urge the commitment to scientific based initiatives aimed at minimized adverse public health consequences.

We reaffirm need to address socio-economic issues in cultivation and trafficking with balanced drug control policies and programs. The 1961, 1972 and 1988 conventions and other relevant instruments constitute the cornerstones of the international drug control system. Integrated and balanced approaches are needed for appropriate promotion and protection of wellbeing and all humanity.

States continue to face multifaceted issues. We welcome the outcome document and stress the need for concerted international efforts, recognizing the 2009 Political Declaration, 2014 and UNGASS 2016 documents in their entirety.

It is of critical importance to enhance international cooperation on common responsibility, in particular with developing countries. Promoting complementarity approaches at the regional subregional, and international levels is important, and the UNODC should provide resources for this upon request. Assist MS in building capacity, including in education settings. Provide support for law enforcement, criminal justice, health and other agencies in emerging challenges.

Improve availability access to controlled substances while preventing their diversion. We aim of poverty eradication, and support sustainable and long term alternative development and crop control strategies.

It is a common and shared responsibility to tackle money laundering whilst identifying assets and the proceeds of crime. There are serious challenges involved with trafficking and organized crime, and the funding of terrorism. We need to fund and support reliable data collection and analysis.

We recognize that there are persistent new and evolving challenges. States are to design national strategies along with applicable international law. We aim to actively promote a society free of drug abuse, in order for people to live in peace. We emphasise the need for developed countries to address and counter the world drug problem.

Nigeria on behalf of the African group: Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentleman – on the behalf on my group, I congratulate Sudan on Chairmanship. We reaffirm our full support for the Chair for his work on this high-level segment and the 62nd session. We welcome the adaption of the declaration in consensus. We reaffirm that the World Drug Problem is most effectively addressed in a multilateral setting and the 3 conventions are the cornerstones of the functioning of the international drug control system. We endorse the 2009 declaration and affirm our commitment to the 2014 and 2016 documents that are mutually reinforcing. We believe in the full implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action for a society free of drugs! In countering the World Drug Problem, remains many challenges that requires increased bilateral cooperation based on common and shared responsibility. We are concerned about the global scourge of drug abuse, particularly among youth. It contributes to the rise of diseases and psychological disorders and impedes the prosperity of our societies. Illicit trafficking of drugs poses many security and health challenges. The increasing links of drugs to corruption and organized crime including money laundering and human trafficking calls us to respond to the ever-changing means of organization of crimes. We endorse the UNODC and concerned members states efforts in this arena. In the area of exchange of information on the principle of common and shared responsibility – we remain committed to significantly reduce the illicit cultivation, manufacture and trafficking of drugs including cannabis, cocaine, tramadol, etc. We call the attention to the threat of increased use of Tramadol. It was observed in the Sub-Saharan region as well so we encourage Tramadol to be scheduled. We call MS to continue to pursue supply reduction addressing drug abuse as a health issue. My group reiterates its concern about the availability of medicines to the millions of people who need them mostly in the African continent. We look forward to the discussion on the increased access to medical and scientific reasons. We also support the collaboration between public health and drug control to seek alternatives to conviction or punishment for minor nonviolent crimes related to drugs such as rehabilitation, treatment and social reintegration. In Africa, challenges of the online sell of illicit drugs have emerged and it threatens the health of young people all over. The 2009 declaration calls to effectively address new challenges and we endorse Afropol’s role in this pursuit. The African group in Vienna created 3 working groups on organized, transnational and cyber crime […] Several members states have combined education and health initiatives – we welcome these efforts to counter illicit use and trafficking of drugs. Our group encourages governments to increase their responses taking into account the provision of the conventions and ensuring law enforcement has enough support and preparation to respond to the emerging threats, including NPS. We think there is a need to adopt appropriate measure to address substances not scheduled.  We attach high importance to Alternative Development in respect to counter the World Drug Problem – we encourage the UNODC’s role In advocating for this. The group calls for technical assistance for governments in close collaboration with affected populations and areas. We support the full implementation of 2009, 2014 and 2016 documents. We respect the leading role of CND in international drug control and the UNODC’s lead role in the UN system in respect to drug related issues. We call on the UNODC to continue to mobilize resources to enhance the capacities of member states and to ensure adequate assistance that enables African countries to join efforts to promote international cooperation. As a blueprint for Africa, we believe in the achievement of a drug free content for a peaceful and secure Africa. We look forward to the implementation of suggestions this week. The group stresses the importance of adequate regional and gender balances in field offices and on boards. In conclusion, Africa group reiterates its full support and looks forward to the deliberations during this session.

Asia-Pacific Group: While important progress been made over the past decade, the world drug problem continues to pose a serious threat to all humanity. Multi-faceted challenge should be addressed in multilateral settings. Resolve to further strengthen collective efforts to achieve the goal of a society free of drug abuse, while recognizing efforts taken by global drug authorities. Reiterate that conventions are the cornerstone of the international drug control system. Reaffirm that CND has principle role and responsibility in drug control matters. UNODC is the leading entity to counter and address the world drug problem. Emphasize need to strengthen regional, subregional, and international efforts on the basis of the three drug conventions, as well as agreements from 2009, 2014, and 2016 UNGASS, all of which are complementary and mutually reinforcing. 2019 is the target date set in 2009. View that the ministerial segment is a welcome opportunity to take holistic stock of progress and challenges, and on that basis, to enhance efforts to reach commitment including goals and targets in 2009 declaration. Firm commitment that efforts in demand and supply reduction and international cooperation should be undertaken with full respect for sovereignty and non-intervention of states, and all human rights and fundamental freedoms. While existing challenges persist, new ones have emerged. Emphasize need to respond to serious challenges posed by trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime. Address challenges faced by law enforcement and judicial authorities. Express concern that recreational use of cannabis is legalized or non-criminalized in some states. Commend INCB in fulfilling mandated role of voicing concern, and encourage them to continue in this regard. Sustainable and alternative development is an available option for preventing, eliminating, or reducing illicit crop cultivation. Should be implemented as part of broader drug control policies. Challenges with proliferation of new psychoactive substances and amphetamine-type stimulants. Need scheduling recommendations. Importance of ensuring balance of availability of substances for legitimate purposes and prevention of their abuse and trafficking. Promotion of health and social programs in compliance with three conventions and national legislation. Prevent youth from drug abuse. Stress need to promote international cooperation to enhance affordable access to drugs for medical purposes while ensuring robust measures in place to prevent diversion. We are now at the target date. Committed to promoting a strategy free of drug abuse. Seek greater collaboration from MS. Ministerial declaration will guide our commitments.

European Union (EU): It is an honour to be here today with you and to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Iceland+, Andorra, Georgia and San Marino. 10 years after the UN Political Declaration and the Plan of Action on drugs and 3 years after the adoption of the Outcome Document of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Drugs, the EU and its Member States welcome the opportunity provided by our meeting today to address the world drug problem. We cannot ignore this longstanding and continuously evolving threat affecting the life of millions of citizens around the world. The human, social but also economic costs of drug addictions are very high. In a constantly evolving drugs market, reducing drug use and demand as well as drug supply requires an adequate and effective response through coordinated actions at international level. The international community needs to strengthen its action, reinforce cooperation and accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem. The drug situation is worsening in most parts of the world. The 2018 World Drug Report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is clear: both the range of drugs and drug markets are expanding and diversifying as never before. The drug problem is a health and security concern, with increased risks for people who use drugs and heavy challenges for law enforcement. The illicit supply of drugs worth billions of euros each year and is a catalyst for organised crime groups. It forms one of the most lucrative parts of their profit generating activities linked also to violence, corruption, money laundering, exploitation of people, trafficking of firearms and other forms of serious crimes. To tackle effectively this immense challenge, it is imperative that we all develop policies based on evidence and best practice, supported by objective monitoring and evaluation systems. This approach, which is already at the heart of EU action on drugs, has not only proven to be most effective for addressing the drug phenomenon, but also the best for designing responses to new trends and developments including new psychoactive substances and online markets. The EU and its Member States would like to recall the importance of the UNGASS Outcome Document, with its seven chapters; the Outcome Document better reflects the complexities of the drug situation and enables all countries to address a broader range of policy issues. At the same time, it reaffirms the unwavering commitment to supply reduction and related measures, including effective law enforcement, countering money-laundering and promoting judicial cooperation. Therefore, the EU and its Member States consider the UNGASS Outcome Document as a milestone. Its implementation requires essential conditions to improve the current situation in international drug policy by: – enhanced cooperation among us, – further involvement of the civil society, the scientific community and academia, – and anchoring drugs policy in a wider socioeconomic context, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The EU has a longstanding commitment to all these issues. The EU Action Plan on Drugs for the period 2017 to 2020 enhances and updates existing actions while it identifies new priority areas such as: – online awareness raising activities, targeting young people in particular, and – evidence gathering on the potential connection between drug trafficking and financing of terrorist groups, migrant smuggling or trafficking in human beings.As regards precursor control, the EU is taking a leading role in developing new approaches. In addition to that, with the implementation of the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime, we have been successful in dismantling a number of organised crime groups active across all crime areas, including drugs trafficking. The EU is also very active in the worldwide fight against the illicit supply of drugs together with our global partners. We have reviewed our approach to Alternative Development as an important strategy to address the underlying root causes of illicit drug economies. Ladies and Gentlemen, A few months after the celebration of the 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate our commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the principles of rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies. Moreover, we would like to recall, once more, that the death penalty should be abolished globally, and we condemn the use of capital punishment in all circumstances and in all cases. Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, A firm commitment to accelerate the implementation of all the recommendations contained in the UNGASS Outcome Document is essential to embrace an effective and sustainable drug policy towards 2030. We all want to achieve substantial progress by the mid-term review in 2024. The international community needs to step up its responses to cope with the challenges at stake. The EU and its Member States will continue working relentlessly on addressing the drug problem, using all the instruments at our disposal: legislation, operational action, and cooperation with the international community. We have no time to spare: we need to show determination and commitment. Thank you!

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia: Ten years have already passed since the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009 to serve as a strategy to tackle the world drugs problem. If we were to carry out an assessment, we’d note some progress but also many unmet challenges. The so-called war on drugs has failed and we are compelled to conceive new models recognising the different realities and experiences of our countries. I’d like to share our experience in exercising control over coca production. When our government entered force, we inherited a model that failed to take into account the cultural and medicinal uses of coca. The leaf was criminalised and stigmatised. Neoliberal times imposed policies that punished coca producers and a served as a mechanism to serve geopolitical control. Alternative development was promoted as a substitution strategy. The criminalisation of coca production and imposition of policies far from our realities led to an economic, social and cultural crisis affecting the Bolivian people. WE decided to develop our own model. We implement a coordinate mechanism to reduce surplus coca production, flanked by comprehensive development of coca as a matter of culture and identity. The US imposed a policy on us. Law 1008 in Bolivia was submitted to our national parliament in English! Similarly, all such decisions showed direct interference with a clear and marked presence of the DEA in our country. It affected our internal policy decisions. It was the US who decided who would be appointed Commander of the Police, responsible for the Anti-drugs taskforce. The DEA and the military bases of the US in Bolivia to effect control led to deaths, injuries and “disappearances”. By way of example, in 2004 social repression led to confrontations where coca growers were killed.  The federations of Cochabamba issued, thus, a request to grow a specific amount of coca in each household (6sq meters – cato), respecting the traditional areas’ standards. WE nationalised drug policy decisions, implementing drug control in a dignified and sovereign manner. WE decriminalised acullico, coca leaf chewing, upholding at the same time the prohibition of glyphosate on coca eradication, aware of the terrible consequences this has for Mother Earth and the environment. At no time has Bolivia strayed from international law. Rather, we have followed the procedures of the Conventions and Treaty Law. Regarding coca production and control, mechanisms for social control through dialogue, coordination and human rights, respecting communities to make decisions. Sanctions have been implemented for those holding surplus coca and the producers themselves exercise control. A further point to note is that our model is based on the family. We are proud of our achievements and grateful for the recognition received from various international entities. 13 years ago coca production in Bolivia was 20% of the total amount of production in the Andean region. Now it’s 10%. This attests to the successful implementation of our model. Equally important, drug trafficking exists because there’s a demand for drugs. Countries such as the US and others lead on this matter. We should also engage on these matters to reduce demand. Ten years ago, and as I continue to sustain, you cannot have free cultivation of coca. But zero coca leaf production is equally unfeasible. We have traditional, ancestral and medicinal use of coca. Studies are being undertaken to show how it doesn’t affect health. It has medicinal and nutritional value. The regionalisation of the struggle of drug trafficking entails regional intelligence gathering centres (CEREAM). Countries of the region have sent their liaison officers and analysts to work in a coordinated fashion, with great results: capturing individuals on the run for drug trafficking, adopting a new legislation to strengthen our struggle against trafficking (wiretapping, cooperation, paying informers, forfeiture of assets…). Through this, we have strengthened our approach to dismantle criminal organisations and hit them where it hurts. Illegal money is moved between banks. We condemn all forms of tax havens and call for transparency and accountability. In Bolivia, all authorities disclose their bank accounts. We call for tangible action against these tax havens and weaken organised crime. To conclude, I will commend the EU for their support, free from conditions. We thank UNODC in Bolivia also for their support in implementing our policy. Our model through the exercise of social control, with respect of human rights and comprehensive development of coca has gained visibility in the international level and is successful.

Chair: We now move to high level national statements.

Austria: The VIC celebrates its 14th anniversary. Vienna thus acts as the hub of international cooperation against drug trafficking and of the proactive approach in addressing the world drug problem, and we’re proud of that. In 2016, by adopting the outcome document of UNGASS 2016, we set an important course in international drug policy to strengthen national and international efforts in health, safety and security and people’s wellbeing. Taking into account the links between drug related crime, corruption, crime and terrorism. And development cooperation into consideration. This requires effective coordination. I appeal to all to ensure all relevant bodies receive the necessary funding to work effectively. I thank states that, like Austria, contribute in this fashion. The Ministerial Declaration is an important step in the right direction. The fundamental pillars are fighting illicit drug production, cultivation and transnational drug trafficking and solving drug addiction; it requires appropriate instruments to analyse the status quo to assess future developments. EU and Austria play a pioneering role. Authorities nationally analyse data, statistics and trends. We share this expertise to improve data collection instruments of UNODC. Like all Ministers of Interior, I appreciate the partnership with UNODC and I thank you for the longstanding cooperation on the field, which has been a major success. New phenomenon through the darknet requires more integrated cooperation at national, European and international levels. The problem of addiction cannot be reduced to the criminal component because this is one elements; it’s a chronic disease with impact on people and society. There’s a medical, social dimension. We place major focus on intensive prevention by quickly involving health authorities and enabling quick reactions. A speedy reaction by health authorities can also contribute to avoiding the criminalisation of drug users. We pay tribute to all those on a global basis fighting daily against drug abuse and support those affected. Security authorities, health sector, civil society, etc. undertake major personal risks to fight the world drug problem; so, we have a responsibility to create a conducive framework for these people to work in the best conditions.

Russian Federation: (Minister of Foreign Affairs) We are here to take stock of results of decade of work in countering the world drug problem. The goals stated in the 2009 declaration are still fully relevant today. The world drug problem breeds violence. Novel psychoactive substances are of serious concern; the dark net, electronic payments and the internet are big problems. The international community needs to collaborate. Building a drug free world is enshrined in the UNGASS doc. Attempts are being made to erode this responsibility. Of grave concern is the legalization of cannabis – it’s a straight road to drug hell. The provisions of the conventions must be strictly adhered to, they are the cornerstones. The INCB work deserves high praise from the CND, we expect our resolution will be endorsed. At the end of 2017 INCB visited Russia – we will continue to interact with INCB. We believe that only those states aiming towards a drug free world are the only ones that should be in CND.

We endorse the CND as the primary body. The Shanghai summit priority to destroy the links between drug trade and terrorism. Russia works with Japan and UNODC in anti drug training. The Paris Pact Initiative is important to curb drugs from Afghan territory. Russia developing strategy anti-drug policy towards 2030. Will continue an uncompromised fight against drug crime. President Putin signed a federal law on providing palliative care as part Russia’s adoption of the SDGs.

We aim to protect rights of the child, and wish to draw attention to the scientific evidence proving the hereditary nature of drug abuse. Fighting against scourge of drug use, we welcome to speeches of civil society. We held a ‘Parliamentarians against Drugs’ summit in Moscow.

The tyranny of drugs is one of the worst problems in the world. Russia will do its part in solving this problem.

Venezuela: (Minister of Foreign Affairs) we congratulate the Bolivian president on your election. We associate ourselves with the G77 and China statement.

10 years ago the assembly came together – today we are taking stock of this. Small progress has been achieved, but not if we look at the big picture. The assessment has been deplorable. There has been no reduction in opium, cannabis or cocaine cultivation. Without understanding the true nature of the drug problem, we can’t change the paradigm. In line with SDG agenda, we need to look at root causes of drug problem

We are focusing on vulnerable groups, predominantly youth and children; targeting communities, access to educational facilities, referrals to public system free of charge. Our national anti drug fund has funded 600 projects since 2009 for integral prevention and control of trade in chemical substances. Over the last 10 years we’ve carried out thousands of projects to abolish drug laboratories for cocaine.

The drug problem is one of the most important security problems in Latin America. Cultivation has grown dramatically, Colombia is the main source of cocaine consumed in USA. High levels of consumers and people covering demand. The fight against drugs is very costly. How are drug detection systems not stronger in monitoring drugs coming into the US. The drug war is very costly with police forces. Venezuela are not a producer country and do not have high levels of consumption and do not legitimize drug trafficking, the concentration of wealth in some countries is full of blood from the drug war. Governments need to protect public health and end the most significant evils of drugs. The multilateral model is under threat, Venezuela is an example of this. US government has threatened our government with force, violating the UN charter. Dramatic steps by US has lost us hundreds of millions of dollars. These are funds we could use to combat drugs. To conclude, we urge multilateral responses. Venezuela are convinced that there should be no unilateral responses. Structural solutions need to respect human rights, let’s go to the root causes, let’s put an end to drug trafficking which poses a significant threat to humanity.

Minister for Manpower and 2nd minister of Home Affairs, Singapore: At this year’s CND, we will take stock of the implementation of our efforts to counter the world drug problem. We made progress through the 3 complementary and mutually enforcing political documents from 2009, 2014 and 2016. Singapore is firmly committed to the recommendations and spirit of these commitments. We support the CND’s prime responsibility in drug control matters. The three drug control conventions are the cornerstones of the international drug control system. There is no doubt we established consensus and a framework for joint action that depends on the universality of our commitments. We can’t lose time with negotiating a new document now. States must have a certain flexibility to implement policies most suited to their national circumstances but within the framework of international drug control conventions – this must remain our promise to each other. ICNB has recently released its annual report and has repeatedly warned about the legalization of cannabis and related product. This action contravenes conventions and will only set us back and result in defeat. Drugs threaten lives and impede people’s right to live in a safe environment – this right should be protected and not undermined by our actions. Singapore is firm on harm reduction: we don’t think its okay to let a problem grow and then work on reducing the ill effects. Prevention saves lives and prevents harms. In this spirit, we have made it a crime to introduce a dug trafficker to a person. We also made it a crime for an adult to expose children or permit young persons to consume drugs. We strengthened drug rehabilitation efforts to help abusers to give up their habits. These include family programmes, skills trainings and after completing rehabilitation, abusers will receive post-release support. We work with community partners for job support and counselling. We’ve put up an exhibition outside the plenary to demonstrate our publicly supported anti-drug policies. 97.8% of participants in our public opinion poll agreed to continue maintaining tough laws to keep drugs out of Singapore. We endorse international collaboration with a focus on supply reduction. We jointly hosted a regional programmes to combat the challenges posed by NPS and last September joint regional training workshops on rehabilitation and reintegration. We will continue to work on capacity building on the second half of this year. We cooperate internationally with law enforcement to disrupt drug supply networks. In conclusion, our approach has worked well for us and is effective with the situation under control. We have to ask ourselves what kind of world we want for us and for our children? Is it a world where we lose lives to drugs or where we can all thrive without the scourge of drugs? There is not time to lose.

Minister of Health, Lithuania: We fully align ourselves with the statement by the EU. UNGASS is placing its emphasis on the shared vision of creating health and well-being for all humankind. We are encouraged to promote evidence based and human right focused measures that actually have the potential to change the world drug situation. Death penalty should be abolished in all circumstances including any drug related crimes as it impedes the progressive development of our humanity. Effective multilateral cooperation remains an important element to solve the problem, so we should act globally and take leadership locally. Last year we faced a serious crossroads in Lithuania as we went through the challenges of evaluation and development of our national drug policy but we found a way forward. A shift from punishment towards a health-oriented approach lead to a science and evidence-based policy framework with a strong commitment to human rights. Cooperation with civil society was essential in developing our steps. We’ve considered supply and demand reduction of equal importance as well as monitoring systems. Projects about prevention, intervention, rehabilitation will be based on different needs with the principle of accessibility to everyone. We agreed that supply reduction will integrate innovative solutions to address growing challenges posed by the NPS phenomena. Benefits of harm reaction were important elements that significantly reduced HIV and other diseases. It takes time to bring UNGASS into concrete actions. The story of Lithuanian drug policy is not over and we are about to strengthen our efforts to protect our young generations. A human-centered approach will bring us closer to achieve our goals. We call for common understanding and support, the World Drug Problem will only be solved through joint efforts, but we need comprehensive humane policies, we have to be in agreement.

Minister of Health, Norway: Firstly, let me thank the Facilitator for the 2019 preparations and the secretariat for their tireless contribution to prepare this session. Our gratitude also to all delegates for the endless time they have spent on negotiating the document we are about to adopt. Today, while looking back and planning for the future, we have to admit that the World Drug Problem still remains a considerable challenge. We must question the realism of highly ambitious goals like the elimination of drug related problems or slogans like “A Drug-Free World: We Can Do It”. To me and with the privilege of hindsight, these aims and slogans have not only been too optimistic, they have even been an obstacle to the implementation of evidence based and effective measures to help and remedy harms inflicted upon people who use drugs. The questions is now, do we once again sense a tendency to lapse into “more of the same” without critically questioning if we will achieve the desired effects? The magnitude of the problem, illustrated by the data collected, and new challenges – it reminds us about limited success in addressing the problem properly and a risk of resignation is present. A success is imperative. Time is more than ready to turn our backs to old attitudes and critically examine our former approaches. As a global society, we should agree on the basic assumption that drug policy is about human beings. Drug policies are about reducing harm to the world society, reducing harm to nations, to regions, to communities and to the millions of individuals affected by drugs and the drug trade. It is time to stress the need for a health-oriented perspective. It is time to stop punish addicted and sick persons for possession and use. Old customs however, they die hard, and a shift takes political will and political action. We need political will to secure access to legal medicines, to reduce the suffering of individuals, to fix governance challenges and we need political will to respect human rights and implement the rule of law. To address the nexus between organized crime, terrorism and the drug problem and to counter the criminal networks behind drug trafficking, we need political will to ensure forceful international cooperation and to counter corruption and the involvement of corrupt authorities in making drug trafficking possible. Fortunately, we recognize with satisfaction that a perspective grounded in health and public health has been gradually included and paid attention to over the last years. The same is true of a human rights-based approach. We also recognize with satisfaction more acceptance for and inclusion of civil society. These developments show us that we are moving in a direction we appreciate. Norway recognizes the drug control treaties as the framework for international drug policy, and thereby the obligation for national drug policies to comply with these. There is however room for a flexible interpretation of the conventions, allowing for variation and adaption to different national contexts and regional challenges. This is necessary for the future preservation of the conventions and to obstruct possible calls to violate the treaties. When this is said, let us not forget that there are other essential treaties we also have to respect. As a general view, Norway calls for more proportionality in judicial responses to drug-related offenses, taking into consideration both mitigating and aggravating factors. Sanctions for drug-related offences should be proportionate to the severity of the crime. Norway oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and without exception. We call upon states that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions for drug offenses, as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty. We also want to highlight the need for drug control efforts to focus on those who benefit the most from the illegal drug trade, rather than those harmed most by it; those running the criminal organizations, rather than users who have fallen victim to these. My Government advocates paying higher attention to the World Drug Problem also in the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. In this respect, the work of the World Health Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the UN General Assembly in New York and even the Security Council, could and should supplement the activities of the CND. When Norway held the Chair of the CND in 2017, the then Director General of the WHO participated in the high-level opening segment. This sent a very important signal that health should be at the center whenever drug policy is being discussed. The overall goal for any drug policy should be to prevent and reverse the adverse and harmful consequences of substance use on individuals and the society. Norway pursues a knowledge-based drug policy, which aims to prevent substance abuse, advance harm reduction, save lives and ensure dignity. On my initiative, we are in Norway now in a process of formally changing the authorities’ response to personal use and possession of drugs from punishment to health, treatment and follow-up. Legalizing the use and possession of drugs however is no option. The drug reform involves a significant shift in Norwegian drugs policy. A shift in attitude towards the drug problem – and how we as society will face this problem. Furthermore, we recognize that many people with extensive drug problems and mental illness live under unworthy conditions and have been difficult to reach with today’s treatment offers. We have therefore decided to establish a trial of heroin-assisted treatment and expect that a group of marginalized users’ life conditions will be improved. Depending upon the experiences and new knowledge we gain in this project, we will later conclude whether this should be a permanent offer. Norway has a strong focus on prevention as the first choice from both a human and a financial perspective. In this regard, we are proud to have supported the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention that has been recognized by all Member States on numerous occasions. We highly welcome the fact that this is now a joint publication with the World Health Organization. I am very proud that over the last years Norway has tabled two important resolutions addressing HIV/AIDS among people who use drugs. The HIV section in UNODC has had an important global role for many years, and as the spread of the viruses for HIV and Hepatitis C is similar, it makes sense that they also take on board the responsibility to address prevention and treatment of hepatitis C along the work they do on HIV. In order to provide support and advice to the section, UNODC five years ago set up a Strategic Advisory Group on HIV and drug use. We think this entity, with members from UN agencies, multilateral organizations, member states and civil society, should continue as a resource for the section as well as for other entities. At this year’s commission, Norway has tabled a resolution to promote measures to prevent and treat viral hepatitis C among people who use drugs. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C. A significant proportion will go on to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer and the number of deaths attributable to hepatitis C in this group is greater than from other causes of death related to drug use. The resolution on hepatitis C aims to strengthen domestic and global efforts and to ensure continued political commitment to effectively address and counter viral hepatitis among people who use drugs. I encourage all of you here to support the adoption of a resolution that in clear terms express the global commitment to prevent and treat viral hepatitis C among people who use drugs. I thank you!

Czech Republic: Stress that we are aligned with the statement from the EU. Meeting gives us a unique opportunity to evaluate our commitments and develop a direction that reflects experiences gained and responds to challenges and threats. Consider recommendations of UNGASS 2016 as the most recent consensus. Puts adequate emphasis on public health. Repressive approach directed at drug users leads to risk and emergence of new health risks, as well as stigmatization, marginalization, and social inclusion, instead of reducing drug use and harms. Should focus in the next decade on number of drug users in treatment. Convinced our commitments to harm reduction and other health interventions are a key step to reducing bloodborne diseases. Reduced bloodborne diseases among people who inject drugs and few overdoses per year in Norway. Need to tailor services to specific needs of vulnerable members of society to improve effectiveness. More emphasis on primary prevention. Promoting responsible behaviour and development of early interventions for adolescents. Advocate for policies that account for human rights, as often violated in the name of drug control. Support proportionate responses, and access to treatment and other services. Condemn extrajudicial killings and disagree with the death penalty for drug-related crimes. Support involvement of all 11 UN agencies with their different but complementary roles in the UN system. Threats and challenges for future include emergence of new psychoactive substance, availability of precursors, and drug use among youth. We have a responsibility to the principle of a rationale, humane, and evidence-based international drug policy.

Thailand: We are committed to the conventions that constitute the cornerstone of the drug control system. Commend principle role of CND as the main policy making body. Commend work of UNODC and INCB. Thailand made much progress in demand and supply reduction. Achieved through an integrated approach with national agencies and international cooperation. Stance on drug control remains in line with conventions. Drugs remain illegal. Working through a health-based drug policy in which drug dependence is an illness, and drug users should not be sent to prison. Do not support any effort to support legalization of drugs for recreational purposes. Achieving the 2030 SDGs. We have continued efforts on alternative development in Myanmar. Please join our side event on this topic. Transnational nature of drug problem means no country can counter this problem alone. Production and consumption countries should join tracking of precursors. Thankful for assistance provided. Have to work hard to bridge gaps and increase capacity. Mobilize new networks to reduce expansion of drug market and use. Should be working more closely to quickly respond. Must make more progress in the next decade. Alert and be well-prepared for fast change in technology and rise of online drug crimes.

Colombia: The Ministerial Declaration contains our shared proposal for the implementation of the joint commitment we’ve entered into to tackle the world drug problem. Only thus, shall we be able to tackle these persisting and emerging challenges by strengthening our actions to better implement our shared commitments regarding this scourge. These challenges, particularly those identified in the Declaration, take on varying degrees of intensity in our countries; but no society is spared. Colombia calls for the full implementation of the principle of common and shared responsibility. Colombia is active in all forums regarding the matter. We expect the same readiness from all states to address new psychoactive substances, precursors and prevention/punishment of crime. The world drug problem stands in the way of the country’s development and the consolidation of peaceful coexistence, in line with the Peace Agreement signed with the FARC. Recently, we adopted a strategy to tackle the drug problem in a balanced manner. The dramatic increase of coca cultivation in our countries imperils the rights to health, life, freedom, safety, security, peace and a healthy environment for Colombians. Our country produces and consumes. We are concerned by the increase in availability of synthetics and increased production of coca. Our roadmap underscores the need to strengthen response in all areas: environmental protection, sustainable development, institution building, stabilisation of territories. We aim to regain ground lost in the last years. We promote voluntary crop eradication, payment for environmental services, new scientific technologies, inter alia. Our aim is to reduce drug use and its impact, undertaking strong preventative action, focusing on our children and youth. They need protective and safe environments. They deserve opportunities to promote their productive and business-related endeavours. Space to be active and constructive in society and communities. Our work is, thus, national, regional and international. We plan to tackle asset laundering by non-conviction-based forfeiture and asset recovery from abroad. For Colombia, strengthening bilateral, regional and international cooperation, capacity building and technical assistance are the foundations to underpin the implementation of the Declaration and our commitments. Our decisions must be based on quality information and, thus, compiling comparable and reliable data by simplifying and streamlining the ARQs is an outstanding task we cannot forget. Colombia aims to achieve this target by 2022. Taking Stock in 2029 and in light of the midterm review.

Bahamas: The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, placed in a bridge geographical situation, continues to be the target of crime organisations (drugs, human trafficking, etc.). The Bahamas has been consistent in efforts in drug control. Ratified and acceded most instruments on the matter. In furtherance of this effort, during 2019, the INCB will assess the Bahamas’ compliance. Bahamas has established and updated cooperation agreements, bilateral, regional and international, on the control of drug trafficking and related crime. Mutual legal assistance, forfeited or confiscated assets, confiscation of proceeds of drug trafficking. Since 1994, extradition of drug trafficking and related crimes. The financial sector contributes significantly to the economy; so we have sought to strengthen the legislative institutional framework to counter money laundering from trafficking and related crimes. These threats require constant vigilance and strengthening. Other efforts include laws to address trafficking in person, smuggling of migrants, financing of terrorism. Our drug plan covers 2017-2021. It is a collaborative effort between government and non-government agencies in planning and execution. It implements UNGASS recommendations, included in the Inter American Drug Control Commission Hemispheric Plan of Action. We implement universal¡, selective drug prevention programmes. Coverage needs to improve, as well as monitoring and evaluation. Bahamas must utilise technologies to identify those left behind to include them. Bahamas has a comprehensive treatment system, that takes into account human rights, age and gender, guaranteeing non-discrimination. We do not have a supporting accreditation system or supervision. That said, the Bahamas has within the past year finalised its treatment standards in line with international standards. It is anticipated that a phased implementation from next year will be put in place. Currently, the Bahamas does not have legislation on proportionate sentencing or special courts for drug-related sentences. We will establish drug treatment courts. To address the need of training, we offer competence training for prevention and similar certification programmes for health and treatment professionals. Bahamas has implemented an integrated strategy to reduce drug supply, within our borders we employ special investigative tools and techniques approved by law. Bahamas cooperates with border countries in joint operations, exchange in liaison officers and information. Operation Bahamas – Turks and Caicos, focused on intersecting the illicit flow of drugs and other illicit activities between these nations and the US,. Bahamas has a competent authority controlling diversion.

Serbia: (Minister of Health) The strategy of the prevention of drug abuse 2014-2021 is based on 5 pillars: drug demand red, drug supply red, international cooperation, research monitoring and assessment. Important balanced integrated comprehensive approach to drug problem, respecting HR, gender and security. Protecting the health and increasing security of individuals and society as a whole. Strengthening capacities and services, reduced risk of mortality and infectious diseases associated with drug use, restricted availability of novel psychoactive substances, reduce corruption and money laundering. Monitoring carried out at national level on info on drug supply and demand, MOH collects and analyses this data

Academia is important in Serbia. Our Ministry of Health established an early warning system on novel psychoactive substances all institutions in Serbia and international orgs. Our list of controlled substances is based on the UN list. In accordance with law on controlled substances, the Ministry of Health is the key contact for INCB and EMCCDA. Due to 5 deaths of young people associated with drug use, we set up a commission into drug use. It includes 7 ministers, and aims to raise youth awareness of effects of drug use. We are working with students, parents and teachers within forums. The commission’s program promotes the harmful effects of drugs, finding alternatives to drug use, and strengthening resilience. The number of cocaine heroin seizures increased in 2018. The number of offenders in trafficking was 180, possession was 1068, 90 criminal acts of drug use. We are amending our criminal code, and working with Iceland and the Pompidou group on March 19. We support programs for prevention of drug use and reducing risks from behavior, strengthening confidence and reducing negative risk environment around youth.

Ecuador: (Minister of Public Health) Ecuador is participating in order to take stock of progress since 2009. We reiterate our desire to make an active contribution for the path ahead. Addictions are a matter of public health and highlights principle of shared responsibility. There is a need for non-discrimination and non-criminalization in policies.

Integration of public, private and civil society organizations is important to Ecuador. We are working to actively define and coordinate roles and responsibilities. We aim to address socio-economic phenomenon by focusing on health and human rights. Ensuring a non-criminal approach to drug use and access to programs, introducing proportional sentencing, and reducing socio-economic impact of drugs is important to Ecuador. 93000 individuals benefited from universal access to health services for drug use. We reaffirm our commitment to the 7 UNGASS document pillars. Accordingly this document has helped guide our national actions and recasted the need for punitive action to drugs, and replace it with action based on individual and sustainable development. Reducing the harmful impact of prohibition based policies on drugs is important. We recognise the importance of the ECDD and WHO. We highlight the need for access to essential medicines and access to dignified pain relief. We will create a new strategy to enable future generations to obtain true results drug control. Let today’s declaration be seen as a significant step forward.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Philippines: President Duterte was elected by landslide vote on an explicit promise to demolish the drug trade. Pursuant of his democratic policy a large number of police officers were killed but we arrested hundreds of drug dealers and froze millions worth of drug assets. We seized drugs and lab equipment’s, dens and laboratories were dismantled. Thousand of minors were rescued from the dangers of drugs. This resulted in millions of drug users and pushers turning themselves in. We saw a 30% decrease in crime. There is no collateral damage done by the measures but morally repulsive cases against well-being of society were dismantled. We responded to calls to better to address political impunity and to consider clinical approach. Our police responded with dismissals and prosecutions. Human right officers now join all missions. It is the responsibility of the state to protect the law abiding and extinct threats to welfare. My president made an iron and total commitment to demolish the drug scourge. We didn’t pull this out of thin air, we had a strategy for a long time, we just gave it a longer reach and a sharper edge. We base it on the 2009 and 2016 documents and our national development plan. At its core, it has a law enforcement focused drug supply reduction and demand reduction program based on community. Our strategy of enforcement, rehabilitation and reintegration faces enemies that command vast resources, including international opinion. Columbians operate in our land, flooding our country with drugs is a warfare tool, same as the British have historically done so with opium in China. We are told to ease off and legalize drugs as some European states have done. We are a nation with a huge coastline where bags of meth are dropped and the bustling of the Chinese sea poses serious threats. Our war on drugs drew sharp criticism – European NGOs fund an other war against our society. This is a real freedom struggle. The peaceful Philippine people have affected the doom of every cold war in history […] thus EU NGOs fund a questionable lethal effort. It’s a cracked marble arch of a broken hallelujah! It fears no opposition from any corner but it wouldn’t mind a little more understanding.

Minister of Social Development, South Africa: Appreciations for the Chair and Secretary. In addition to the regional group statements, we think WDP poses a significant threat to the health of our people, it undermines socioeconomic development and it is therefore our collective and shared responsibility to tackle this threat. We welcome the timely holding of this ministerial segment to talk practically of the implementation of the conventions and to rid society of the scourge of drugs. Based on the past commitments in 2009, 2014 and 2016, we have to address global trends that remain multifaceted in nature. Innovative approaches need to be adopted. My country is not immune, particularly youth and women are significantly impacted by the problem. Our flagship comprehensive prevention campaign has a slogan “I am fine without drugs’ that was developed in partnership with the UNODC. I am pleased to announced that treatment centers are available across my country but our goals are not achieved until we dismantled the systems behind the illicit networks and organizations behind the supply of illegal drugs. We increased the supply reduction efforts in my country but given the international nature of the problem, it is imperative we enhance capacity building and cooperation across our nations. We welcome the ministerial declaration we adopted this morning to pave the way beyond 2019. We hope this will allow MS to adopt best practices and implement effective drug control policies.

Netherlands: Over the last years, important progress has been made in improving the global drug policy. We have come a long way: From drug control policies with an unbalanced focus on supply reduction to integrated, balanced and evidence-based approaches, with the UNGASS Outcome document as the most recent consensus. The multilateral system is not perfect. It is under pressure and the playing field is changing as we speak. In his last annual report, Secretary-General Guterres wrote: ‘Working together multilaterally is not optional; it is the only answer.’ And I fully agree. I believe that this ministerial meeting and the achieved consensus illustrate the need for multilateralism in international drug policy. It shows that there is still more that unites us than what divides us in our approaches to face the world drug problem. Our meeting here today paves the way to work together even more closely. And to accelerate the implementation of the UNGASS commitments. Many countries have made efforts in promoting health through prevention, education, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration. We greatly value these efforts. We also appreciate the work of UNODC, together with UN agencies and other stakeholders, with regard to the prevention of HIV and Hepatitis C and harm reduction. As the latest World Drug Report shows, however, it is clear that the range of drugs and number of drug markets are still expanding and diversifying. To move forward it is vital that we keep examining the effectiveness of our approaches and their consequences for health and human rights. What works and what does not work? Learning from each other – both from successes and failures – is crucial to improve our interventions. We must continue to explore innovative, comprehensive and evidence-based solutions for current and new challenges. Ladies and gentlemen, The promotion of the health and welfare of mankind is our shared and ultimate goal. Balanced national drug policies should promote human rights, equality, peace and security and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The drug control conventions never called for control policies that violate human rights, including denial of appropriate medical treatment, psychosocial care to people who use drugs or disproportionate sentencing for drug offences. The Netherlands is fully committed to strengthen a balanced focus on health and human rights on the one hand and law enforcement and crime prevention on the other hand. Let me share the main elements of our national drug policy. Our policy consists of a gradual approach where the first step is to discourage the use of drugs. In case of drug use, our focus moves to preventing the negative consequences to health. Also, we use effective early signaling to prevent that people develop an addiction. In case of substance use and addiction, we move to ensuring adequate treatment and limiting damage to health. In other words: prevention is better than cure, cure is better than harm reduction and harm reduction is better than doing nothing. Within Dutch drug policy, we also give attention to safety and combatting organized crime. The police is currently allocating extra capacity to its synthetic drugs cluster, both on intelligence and detection. By linking together experts in these fields essential information is shared better and faster. Every day we experience the disruptive and undermining effects of organized drug crime on our society. The Netherlands is looking for both innovative and effective ways to fight organized drug crime. An example of this you can experience in a side event on crypto phones organized by the Netherlands next Monday. Dutch policy also focuses on preventing and limiting damage to the environment. Criminals who illegally produce synthetic drugs, dump the resulting chemical waste in natural areas. This often causes environmental damage and that is a serious problem. We try to dismantle as many drug labs as possible. Organized crime, however, is unmistakably transnational in character. Therefore, we can only be effective if all countries involved cooperate to prevent and combat both the trafficking in precursors and in synthetic drugs. Another part of our approach is to find effective, evidence based and pragmatic solutions to problems in our drug policy. For instance on our cannabis policy. Local governments signaled that the current policy caused problems in their municipalities related to public safety, public order and law enforcement. Therefore we decided to conduct a small-scale experiment with a controlled supply chain. Part of this policy is always a prevention program aimed at decreasing the use of illicit drugs, because using illicit drugs is always a risk for people’s health. Lastly, the results of our national policy clearly matter. By monitoring and evaluating these results, we aim to expand the evidence base of our policy. We are committed to strengthening and streamlining data collection instruments and domestic capacities. Better data and statistics on the various elements of the World Drug Problem are also globally needed. They will help us get a realistic picture to underpin our discussions and policy decisions as well as our interventions. This is a crucial part of the way forward after 2019. Only with solid data, we will be able to take stock of our progress in ten years time. We can learn which policy-measures are effective and which are not. We need to exchange information, good practices and lessons learned: this gives us the opportunity to learn and keep making progress!

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