Home » Plenary: Item 3. Opening of the ministerial segment & Item 6. Outcome of the ministerial segment

Plenary: Item 3. Opening of the ministerial segment & Item 6. Outcome of the ministerial segment

Chair: Welcome to the session.

We’ll start the MS with a short video –

Video: shots of previous high level meetings, CND sessions

Chair: Give the floor to the UNODC Youth Forum:

Youth #1: Influential representatives, we’d like to express our gratitude for representing youth from around the world. We are an easy target of the world drug problem, and sometimes contribute to the problem. Ease of access to drugs, immense pressure on youth, makes our generation more vulnerable.

Youth #2: We urge you to strengthen communication, increase access to health and human rights  based policies, to reduce stigma. We urge the UNODC to support the guide we introduced in the CND session last year.

We urge you to collaborate better with youth. It’s crucial to engage youth in drug policy formation. We urge you to recognize youth every single day.

Informal Scientific network representative:

We recommend that you utilise the Sustainable Development Goals – in particular goals, #5 #10 and #16. These provide an ideal framework to address the socio-economic issues relating to drug policies.

Prioritise strategies and interventions to minimize inequalities. Those with lower education are at more risk – all people should have access to education. Governments should facilitate access to health care. Substance use disorders should be treated as any other condition. People with substance use disorders should not be criminalized – rehabilitation, recovery, and full integration into society are essential. We urge you to:

  • Services involved prevention of drug use should be integrated into public health system, evidence based service
  • Secure sufficient funding for services
  • Evidence based interventions from pregnancy to adulthood, illicit and licit
  • Screening for treatment and recovery
  • Provide strong social support systems

Create public policies and community support for resilience and meaningful social relationships across society. Promote integration between health and justice services. Promote healthy lifestyles. Collection and analysis of data in order to help guide strategies is essential.

Dean of Medicine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: I am here to talk about the intersections of the HIV epidemic. 30 million people inject drugs, 10% live with HIV. The risk of infection is 23 times higher than others for people who use drugs. In 2019 we have the tools to stop people who use drugs to be infected – syringe exchange programs, counselling, testing, advances in antiretroviral therapy, among many others. Criminalization and stigma prevent this. Only 27%(?) affected are in treatment. There are multiple layers of stigma for a person who uses drugs  as a person living with HIV – internalized stigma, stigma from family and communities, families and institutionalized stigma that prevents them from coming forward and seek services. We need to view substance use as a medical and social issue and look for alternatives to incarceration to dealing with the issue.

Jamie Bridge, VNGOC:  Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for allowing me to speak today on behalf of the Civil Society Task Force. The Task Force is a collaboration between the Vienna and New York NGO Committees on Drugs, with the goal of ensuring the strongest possible civil society engagement for this Ministerial Segment. Over the last year, we’ve worked extremely hard to achieve this goal. We have conducted a global consultation with NGOs from 100 countries and territories around the world. To showcase the voices of NGOs, we also hosted two Civil Society Hearings last month in New York and here in Vienna. Through open calls, we have selected panellists and speakers for the thematic intersessionals and the round tables today and tomorrow. We received around 200 applications from NGOs to speak, which demonstrates the commitment and the demand to be a part of these discussions. These achievements and outcomes are captured in Conference Room Paper Seven, which I invite you all to read. As the UNGASS Outcome Document recognises, civil society and affected populations play an important role in addressing and countering the world drug problem, and should be enabled to participate in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of drug policies. Civil society engagement at the CND has made significant progress in recent years, and this is important to acknowledge as well as to build upon. The expertise, experience and unique perspectives that civil society can bring to these debates is now widely recognised and appreciated. And we are thankful that the new Ministerial Declaration further commits to involve civil society for the coming decade as well. Civil society itself is a broad church, and we do not need to feign consensus where there is none. But there are many areas in which we can agree. Taking stock, our consultation showed that most NGO respondents had seen regression, rather than progress, over the past ten years. Looking forward, most NGOs regard the UNGASS Outcome Document as the most comprehensive consensus. Nearly all see their work as addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. We call for drug policies that align with public health and human rights, and that ensure access to essential medicines. We are against the use of the death penalty for drug offences, and we continue to advocate for more evidence-based prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration, recovery and harm reduction services. Finally – and most predictably – we believe that civil society should continue to be engaged in a meaningful way. There are hundreds of civil society representatives here at the CND, including those from affected populations. We have organised and co-hosted side events, we have brought our publications and our research, and we have important stories to tell. Please take the time to hear us, speak to us, support us, and engage with us. Together, we are facing complex challenges that we simply cannot solve in isolation. Working in close partnership and collaboration over the next ten years will benefit us all, but crucially will also benefit the people most affected by drugs and drug policies. Thank you for your kind attention.

Chair: Thank you, wit this we close the formal opening and show a video

(video) We tabled a commitment to effectively address the world drug problem. The solution lies in a more humane, public health focused, evidence-based approach. We know that the world drug problem undermines sustainable development and democratic institutions. Together with affected populations, civil society, academia, youth and other important stakeholders, we uncovered that we need to do more to be effective. People suffering from addiction as well as people in pain and in need for medicines, families torn apart by drug related crime – they need more from us. More commitment, more comprehensive and humane approach now and beyond 2019. It is time to evaluate the progress of the last decade and to address challenges with involvement of all governments and all aspects of society. As you chart the way of the future, I encourage you to keep in mind the 2030 agenda and our commitment to leave no one behind

(video) Antonio Gutierrez SG UN: We need more comprehensive assistance to countries working to counter the world drug problem. My experience as PM in Portugal showed that investing in law enforcement responses on the huge drug problem we had needs to be complemented with taking responsibility for treatment and view drug users as victims instead of criminals. The results in Portugal, one of lowest death rates by drug use today, show that we can be more effective in reducing demand&supply and increase security and progress towards the SDGs by this more humane approach. Let’s make the best use of practices that work.

Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC: Shared solutions to shared challenges underlies our joint commitments, including in the ministerial declaration. Treaties as the cornerstone of drug policy. Taking action informed by our experience, respecting human rights, and achievement of SDGs. Trust that international community will use this meeting to strengthen multilateral commitments and collaboration. Challenges are proliferating while responses struggle to keep pace. Rising trafficking, opioid overdose deaths, shortfalls in treatment and social services, etc. International community has made progress. Increased understanding of multifaceted drug problems and balanced responses needed. CND remains the main UN forum for dialogue on drug policy. Countries can strengthen information and analysis through the CND. Regional bodies provide an important means of accelerating commitment. UNODC is here to support you in addressing trafficking, money laundering, prevention, alternative livelihoods, access to essential medicines, advancing age and gender responsive treatment and services, etc. Building a coordinated response to the opioid crisis. Treating bloodborne diseases. Support this through our offices. Guidance on alternatives to conviction and punishment in alignment with the conventions. CND deliberations are vital to UNODC. Call on MS to contribute to financial resources. 40th year of VIC. Next year is 75 years of UN. Looking to the decade ahead, expand on the work on the ground and keep striving to do better for people affected. Wish you fruitful deliberations.

Viroj Sumyai, President of INCB: At UNGASS 2016 (Special Session of the General Assembly), you reaffirmed your commitment to the three international drug control conventions. The ultimate concern of the conventions is the health and welfare of all humankind. This includes the full enjoyment of human rights. It includes the right of children to be protected from drug abuse and drug trafficking. Full implementation of the treaties can contribute to achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3 on ensuring good health and well-being. In signing the treaties, States have agreed to ensuring availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical purposes, while preventing abuse, diversion to illicit channels, illicit cultivation and production and trafficking. The operational recommendations made at UNGASS 2016 represented, for the first time, a political commitment to ensuring availability and access. INCB is committed to supporting your Governments in ensuring that national control measures are fit for this purpose. A year ago, I made a joint commitment with the heads of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen our collaboration in helping Member States address the world drug problem through implementing the UNGASS recommendations. We agreed to put people at the centre of a balanced, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, and recognized the need to have a greater focus on the health and well-being of people. The treaties enjoy near universal adherence; the achievements in their implementation are vast. There is virtually no diversion from licit international trade, thanks to the controls put in place by your governments and the exchanges of import and export authorizations. Gradual progress is being made to improve availability for medical use – yet much remains to be done. The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and INCB has invoked article 14 bis of the 1961 convention as a serious call for urgent support from the international community. We need to address the illicit supply of drugs, including amphetamine-type stimulants and synthetic opioids, associated with critical situations such as those seen in Asia, North America and Oceania. Efforts to prevent drug use in the first instance and provide people with humane and evidence-based treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration services must be stepped up, in all parts of the world, and are indeed treaty obligations. We urge you to consider ways to address these challenges and the emergence of new psychoactive substances and “designer” precursors. INCB’s Annual Report warns of the risks of poorly-regulated medical cannabis programmes. The legislative developments concerning the “recreational” use of cannabis are a real concern not least for their potential impact on health, particularly of youth, but also because they are contrary to your treaties and the commitments you made to one another. State Parties have made a legal commitment to limit the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. This is the fundamental principle of the treaties. Any divergence poses a grave threat to public health, particularly among young people, and represents a challenge to the States parties to the treaties. We must address all these complex challenges in full respect of the rule of law and human rights obligations without recourse to extrajudicial responses or capital punishment, both of which are unjustifiable and unacceptable. Measures to reduce illicit supply and demand must be carried out in a balanced way, and in the spirit of shared responsibility. The drug challenges we see today have a profound impact on public health and well-being. Yet, over the past 110 years, since the first intergovernmental meeting on drug control in 1909, similar challenges have been overcome through international cooperation and political commitment. I encourage you to invoke that same spirit, as you chart the path ahead for international cooperation in drug control. I wish you success in your deliberations this week and next to see how together you can enhance your efforts in tackling the world drug problem and achieving the SDGs through strengthening treaty implementation and compliance. INCB stands ready to assist you. Thank you.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO: The world is facing a public health crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before. The spread of harmful psychoactive drugs claims thousands of lives. IN North America, the oipioid crisis have brought focus to the issue. It’s not a new problem. It shows it’s time to consider alternative approaches to the world drug problem. We must enhance international collaboration for an integrated, balanced and multidisciplinary response that puts human rights first. Science and evidence is critical to ensure access to drugs with proven medical use. The two days ahead are of critical importance to agree on a vision to action to tackling the world drug problem. WHO is committed to the implementation of the Conventions and the UNGASS Outcome document. We will work with all of you to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.

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Item 6. Outcome of the ministerial segment

Chair: MS called for a short concise and action-orientated Ministerial outcome document with a strong political message. We recall with appreciation the work of Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen (Norway) and Alicia Buenrostro Massieu (Mexico) in advancing preparations for this document. The document was preceded by intense negotiations under the leadership of Amb. Vivian Okeke, of Nigeria, who was appointed as a Facilitator for the informal consultations on 2019 preparations for the African Group. The outcome of this hard work is a document that we will adopt this morning prior to the general debate. Let us direct our attention to the draft. I give the floor to the Secreariat regarding financial implicatuibs,

Secretariat: The Ministerial Declaration would not entail any financial implications.

Chair: I invite you to adopt the Ministerial Declaration (L11) – Statement adopted.

Thank you for your collaboration. Thank you to the Ambassador for her outstanding leadership and bringing the declaration together.


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