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Informal Dialogue with the CND Chair

Chair: We must involve civil society. We can’t do it alone. The problem effects individuals, groups and practically everyone in society. In all our countries, I could say, civil society is working more vibrantly than the governments. I am looking forward to a candid discussion today.

Secretariat: Hello. We appreciate the relationship we were able to build with civil society. We thank the help of the VNGOC.

Association Proyecto Hombre, Spain (Oriol Esculies): Considering the increasing ageing of the people who use drugs, especially in Europe, and its consequences, such as the decrease of their cognitive, social and physiological capacities, seriously limiting the possibilities of autonomous integration in society, what is the Commission doing to ensure that Member States are prepared enough to ensure adequate responses to this issue?

Chair: I firmly believe that the world drug problem affects all age groups. We have been focusing a lot on youth. As the problem continued to grow, it is important to find ways to address the problem for everyone. There has not been a resolution covering this topic although it is being discussed. MS could be persuaded to bring a resolution forward. It is also possible that if we don’t find space for a resolution, we could try to find a suitable paragraph around public health to address the issue. We can’t continue to ignore this aspect.

Turkish Green Crescent: Substance use problems don’t only affect the individual user but also adversely impact their partners, parents, siblings and children; therefore, comprehensive support services for the family and people around the user are critical to prevent harm and facilitate resilient families. Considering that substance use is discussed in an individual human rights perspective, how can the Commission wok to restate the substance use disorder with a public health perspective in a manner that includes all parts of the affected community?

Chair: WDP is a complex problem. Indeed, it does not only affect the individual, it bears a deep impact on the whole of society. We must continue to bring the public health aspect forth. If you look at the evolution of the debates, the focus has shifted from law enforcement and border control to education and health. There also needs to be attention on treatment and rehabilitation in our fight against drugs. All of these elements are important and there has to be a balance. Educational awareness, lack of entertainment opportunities lead to drug use.

EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs, Belgium: Could you elaborate on your plans to ensure the continued and strengthened engagement of civil society at the CND and upcoming intersessional meetings?

Chair: Partnership is required. We would like to strengthen this partnership. During my work as chair, we will focus on ensuring a constructive collaboration. Civil society participation has been a point of debate here for some time. There are official mechanisms and other avenues for engagement where it is the responsibility of a particular body or organization to find a way. For example, at CND, CSOs have taken part in the general debate, specific agenda items and side events. In the intersessional period, an important dialogue will be held. Within the framework, I am ready to have a conversation, to engage regarding the relevant topics and agenda items.

IDPC – International Drug Policy Consortium, United Kingdom (Gloria Lai): The CND was mandated by the Economic and Social Council to discuss how its work contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and report back to the Council on progress made in this matter. What further efforts will the CND undertake this year to ensure more meaningful discussions on this critical issue?

Chair: The High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs will be in New York in July. We will ensure effective participation of CND in this event. We are formulating our input and it will be shared before the summer. This is the decade of action! We have to have some progress! CCPCJ video meeting, we discussed vertical and horizontal cooperation. We are trying to take this process forward and hope that this kind of collaboration improves. Colleagues in New York expressed a need for a tighter collaboration. We will also be keen to coordinate with various functions of EcoSoc. Bangkok women agenda.

Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, United States (Michael Kravitz): I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CND for the strong cooperation and support the CND afforded the representatives of The WHO during this last years special sessions on the WHO ECDD Cannabis recommendations. Please share any insights into this process and / or the ongoing dialog around any emerging Cannabis consensus.

Chair: it is an important issue but a sensitive one because of the divergent opinions among not only member states but various groups. When the recommendations were presented, the commission did not have enough time to consider taking a decision. When I took chairmanship, I started an informal consultation process so all opinions came on the table. We saw two divergent opinions: MS who wanted to vote, following the prevailing practice and consider the evidence with medical reasons in mind and MS who are not ready to make decisions and need to consider how these decisions affect their nations and people all over the World. I tried to find a compromise: we decided we will not vote this week but in December at the reconvened.

VMCA: Can we have some insurance that there will actually be a vote and not keep postponing this action?

Chair: This came out in consultations; some states are not ready or feel informed enough. The states that are ready to vote have shown flexibility. The only assurance I can give is that there was a decision that the Commission announced. It is an important sensitive issue and the intersessional period should be used to address the issues around the recommendations.

Vienna NGO Committee (Lucia Goberna): Thank you once again to the CND Chair for holding this dialogue with civil society. On behalf of the NGO Committee, I wanted to ask if there is any formal outcome or product from the thematic CND intersession meetings last autumn, and how do you plan to proceed  to ensure that the future thematic intersessionals meaningfully feed into the 2024 mid-term review, and deliver their promise of addressing the issues that were under the “tacking stock” section of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration?

Chair: The last chair of CND issued a summary and that is a conference room document that compiles all the discussions – a gist of all the presentation and views. This has become a source of input for the next commission. The thematic dialogues are emerging as the most important parts of CND. When these take place, the experts can have a frank interaction, they provide a very good input.

Kathrin: We are happy to see what Pakistan proposed for L4 because it reiterates the key objective of the treaties is ensuring access. The room was almost empty, a lot of MS don’t pay attention to this issue. We will hold thematic intersessionals on this – how can you as chair make this more compelling?

Chair: International drug control system is in a delicate phase. In the meantime, some delegations are at full capacity while trying to cover a number of parallel meetings. In the intersessional, there will be better opportunities for interactions. Countries are closely following this debate.

Secretariat: We will have this exact topic up for discussion this fall during the intersessionals. We are hoping for a strong presence from civil society as you are a key actor on the grounds. There are no dates yet.

Zoran (VNGOC). Thank you, that was a fruitful morning.

Chair: It is an honor for me to attend meetings with CSOs, I am not just saying this – real interaction is key about any issue. Thank you all for today.

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