Item 3: General debate (continued)

Chair of the CND: We will continue with Item 3.

Nepal: Nepal aligns itself with the statement of G-77 and Asia-Pacific Group.

Illicit cultivation, production, manufacture, trafficking and consumption are putting profound impacts on security and development of the world. Yet, it is heartening to note that the world community has formally recognised the aim as common legal platforms and frameworks to address them. We are a party to the Drug Control Conventions. We welcome the adopting of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration and are committed to the 2009 Political Declaration and plan of action, and the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document in its entirety.

Nepal, while aiming for a society free of drug abuse, is equally mindful of its links with human rights and dignity of all individuals. A balance between law enforcement and demand reduction is needed. In order to attain such a balance we are mainstreaming issues on the development agenda while allowing to capacity enhancement. WE are committed to further achieve adequate access and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion.

The evidence-based prevention measures are a key strategic aim of ours. We recognise that the implementation of such a strategy relies on the socio-economic context, which may vary from country to country and community to community.

Nepal expresses its readiness to work with all members to address this issue. I express my sincere appreciation for the effective leadership by Ambassador Khan in bringing about the common position for this session. Nepal would like this intervening period to be used to further enhancing the complex scientific aspects associated with those recommendations, and calls upon all to give more critical consideration on – not only scientific aspects – but also the socio-economic, administrative and legal implications.

Lebanon: The drug problem is a common challenge for humanity. Therefore it needs a joint common response – hence the importance of standing united in our efforts to confront this rising global challenge. The key role of the CND as a policy-making body in tackling drugs, and UNODC’s role as an effective executive agent.

We reaffirm our commitment to the drug control Conventions, in addition to the 2009 political declaration and the UNGASS 2016 outcome document, in addition to the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. We underscore the importance of stepping up efforts to counter the world drug problem in coming decades. There needs to be integration and linkages between these instruments.

We are grappling the drug problem through an integrative collective effort involving all relevant governmental stakeholders, including Ministries of Justice, Interior, Education and Health. Our approach focuses on the concept of prevention and sensitisation in cooperation with civil society partnership, which we hope to turn into a full partnership. In this regard, Lebanon continues to work to implement its inter-ministerial strategy, which is a comprehensive strategy aimed at tackling the drug problem in a multi-faceted way in addressing addiction in all its stages. In addition, the health ministry manages the opioid substitution therapy programme which has benefitted 319 users and addicts since it was launched in 2011 until February 2020. It covers both genders and various age groups and nationalities.

We are presently examining a bill to amend the 1988 drugs act. If adopted, it would be an improved version of the previous law and a more human approach to liability for drug users. Also, the parliament currently is looking into legalisation cannabis cultivation for medical and synthetic users – a draft law which had been developed in consultation with all relevant agencies, formed in conformity with international standards. We hope that this law, if adopted, will yield the expected developmental return.

We review the flexibility of the WHO recommendation to change the scope of cannabis-related substances. We understand the concern of various countries, however. We hope that we will maintain the spirit of consensus in approaching this important issue as we approach the vote in December. I thank UNODC for its technical support to member States.

Costa Rica:  Costa Rica fully supports the statement made by G77 and China. The fact that a year ago this commission adopted the 2019 ministerial declaration, we would now like to express our satisfaction in the way in which multilateralism proved that is the best way to show political will to deal with the world drug problem., through concerted effort based on the principle of common and shared responsibilities. For my country, an avid defender of the international system and international law, the success a combination of that declaration that the international community has huge potential when it acts as one. Although there are many stakeholders with different points of view and interests we proved out a mutually agreed goal, and make progress as one for the benefit of President future generations. Costa Rica, acknowledges the value of the UN drug control conventions, which are a regulatory reference framework to design and implement national policies. In this international architecture, my country also acknowledges the value of different stakeholders including the WHO and CND and we highlight the importance of defending, and maintaining the integrity of the international control system. We are pleased to see the capacity of CND and observer states in finding solutions to complicated issues which are tackled from different points of view throughout the planet. As an African proverb says, if you want to get there quickly walk alone if you want to get far you need company. After more than 50 years of the implementation of the international drug control system we have serious challenges that we need to solve in accordance with the most comprehensive mandated goals of the UN; human rights, public health human security, crime prevention, prevention criminal justice economic and social development. We have comprehensive programmes and policies. This has given rise to the decriminalisation of drug consumption, gender specific policies and proportionality of penalties in drug related crimes, in terms of public policies for example, we have a national treatment policy and programme of drug treatment under judicial supervision. This is restorative justice, and for some time now we have been working on a model programme, which is a harm reduction. Additionally, we have opened up public debate on the issue, so that the state works with civil society. The world drug problem is a human rights problem it’s a public health problem human security problem, as well as one of crime prevention criminal justice and economic and social development and lack of opportunities. As such, needs to be tackled from a comprehensive perspective in terms of the themes and the stakeholder. Without doubt our commitment today and in the future will always be to take on a real and tangible commitment to deal with this within the framework of international law and to guarantee better opportunities for all citizens again.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka is highly concerned about the extent of the global, regional, drug problem, and the extent of the drug problem in Member States emerging threats, and they are devastating adverse consequences relating to the health and welfare of people with permanent physical and emotional damage, overdose deaths and drug associate illnesses. Moreover, the drug problem has become a threat to security and stability of region and countries threat to the socio economic development of countries due to the loss of productivity, crime development and overburdened criminal justice systems. Sri Lanka recognised that the word drug problem should be addressed in multilateral setting to effective and increase international cooperation and countering the drug problem effectively demands an integrated multidisciplinary and coordinated scientific evidence based approach. Sri Lanka reaffirms its political will and determination to create a safe country  free from drug abuse. In implementation of the policy framework the government has taken actions, in due consideration to remove the existing national policy, considering all international conventions, policy documents and resolutions adopted by INCB, including the ministerial declaration of 2004. On consideration of current situation in the country cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug with prevalence of 1.9% of the total population of about 14 years and 1.6% of the population are heroin users. Heroin use among the main population is 1.2%. Non medical use of prescription drugs is becoming considerably high with 1.5% of population. Drug Enforcement Agencies of Sri Lanka seized 7071 kg of cannabis 1742 kg of heroin, 35 kg of methamphetamine 15 kg of hash, 10 kg of cocaine and other psychotropic substances. On consideration of the challenges on consequence on health, social, human rights, economic justice public security and to ensure rigorous enforcement of the law to reduce the availability of drugs. The government has taken actions of establishment a Task Force, which is significantly important to effectively address the drug problem in the country and to promote joint investigation and coordination operations. Further, accelerated actions to overcome critical deficiencies and to address emerging threats in practical manner in prevention of drug abuse, reduce the adverse health consequences treatment and rehabilitation, medication, counselling, in national legislation, law enforcement and research. Moreover, national dangerous drug control board has taken many initiative actions to improve of scientific strategies for drug prevention and control.

Colombia: I reiterate the commitment of Colombia to tackle and combat the world drug problem in light of common and shared responsibility, which implies the convergence and synchronisation of our efforts as states. We draw your attention to the need to steadfast commitment of all states because we are all affected by different aspects of this problem.

Colombia will be building a more equitable country based on legality and entrepreneurship, in which reducing illicit crops is a priority aim. We are adopting a number of strategies without overlooking the need to transform territory affected by illicit crops; having greater state presence to foster better development opportunities.

We have focused on working with families affected by illicit crops by providing comprehensive assistance. We are strengthening ownership assistance within the framework of the policy registration to replace and are consolidating actions to promote care for the environment.

Thanks to the work of the government, for the first time in five years we have halted the growth of illicit crops since 2013. In 2019, we eradicated 58% more compared to 2018, and 82% more with regards to 2017.

Synthetic drugs and NPSs have made inroads into the illicit drug market: in order to confront this, Colombia believes we need to strengthen institutional capacity for detection and reaction in order to control imports through our national territory, as well as offsetting domestic production and halting trafficking. We have adopted a comprehensive policy to deal with the world drug problem called future root: it aims to dismantle criminal empires and attack criminal revenues. It will have a mechanism to verify compliance with goals, with an evaluation impact, thanks to the Strategic Monitoring Centre.

Colombia has made huge regulatory, technical and budget efforts to strengthen the administration management of seized assets. The managing body, which manages $1.2 billion of assets, will be selling over a thousand buildings throughout 2020 to meet the government’s priority of using these assets. This is a new strategy at global level to combat criminal markets.

It will only be possible to overcome the challenges of the world drug problem if we work together in our efforts and actions; this will be an opportunity to celebrate the review of simplifying the ARQ. Under the leadership of UNODC, and with member States and civil society, this new proposal is actually an update based on current trends including new subjects which prove the progress and challenges we are facing in complying with international commitments.

Colombia welcomes the UN system-wide document which expresses the commitment to support states in the implementation of international commitments. For Colombia, cooperation based on evidence and based on its future root policy means that we can make informed decisions and deal with the risks and benefits of our planning.

Finally, I would like to highlight the discussions in CND based on WHO recommendations on changes to cannabis control and related substances, and highlight the leadership of Ambassador Khan. We hope that the decisions made will enable us to move towards a more efficient international control system more in line with new realities and benefits to regulation and access to cannabis for medical purposes.

Lao PDR: Our country is located in one of the main drug producing regions of the world. Lao PDR remains committed to the three drug control conventions and the Outcome Document of UNGASS of 2016. The location of Lao PDR means we experience the drug problem in many aspects. Our country provides a transit for drugs. Methamphetamine, crystal, we seized more than 5 tonnes. ATS, heroin, opium, precursor chemicals, all pass through our borders and have production sites in our country for consumption abroad. For this reason, we are implementing UNGASS 2016. The Safe Mekong initiative is an important forum for our countries to exchange on policy. For instance, patrolling the Mekong River. Lao PDR is a centre of the Initiative and we continue to support it. Following UNGASS, we have also taken steps in implementing evidence based treatment services. ATS are the main drug of concern. We have expanded the access to community based treatment. We have expanded the specialised hospitals to 28. In terms of Alternative Development, in poor and marginalised areas where opium is cultivated, we continue to invest. Drug control measures in Lao PDR are guided by our Plan 2016-2020. This is the last year. The National Commission has formulated a new Strategic Plan to combat drugs 2020-2030 to supplement the Plan. To conclude, I reaffirm Lao PDR is committed to work with CND, international partners to find solutions to the world drug problem in our country, region and the world. We support the UNGASS 2016 and continue to supplement the Master Plan with the recommendations in that document. We continue to ask for support for Lao PDR in addressing drug problem.

Portugal: We have many important issues to consider and Portugal will fully cooperate to carry this out. Portugal fully aligns itself with the EU statement. One year ago, we adopted MS2019. Evidence show the adverse consequences of drugs are more serious and widespread than previously thought. We need to build on shared commitments as saying . Portugal supports efforts in the principles of humanism and human rights and health. The Portuguese approach is considered a model of best practice due to the fact we recognised drug use as a health issue and address addiction as a complex disorder. And direct efforts in law enforcement against drug trafficking. We continue to share our approach. Today’s reality emphasises that the international community needs to step up its responsibility to address this challenge. Including human rights, development perspective. Embed drug policy in UN wider frameworks for human rights, peace and development. We support the UN system common position on drug policy which will consolidate UN system-wide coherence. This framework reflects the cross cutting nature of the drug control objectives of promoting the health and welfare of humankind. We have supported UNODC’s efforts to strengthen the ARQ. The improved and streamlined questionnaire will include indicators that are reliable and more comprehensive in line with UNGASS. We underscore the importance of civil society in developing and implementing drug policy at all levels. Members States need to ensure drug control is anchored in human rights to protect people.

Pompidou Group: As a Council of Europe entity, the Pompidou Group upholds the core values enshrined in the Council of Europe’s statute the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law, promoting a balanced approach to drug policy, supporting both demand and supply reduction of illicit drugs. It offers a forum for open debate, exchange of experiences and as a platform for science and evidence-based innovation, it also links policy, research and practice. The 40 Member States of the Pompidou Group reaffirm that drug policy must be developed, implemented, and evaluated in full respect of human rights. The Portuguese Presidency welcomes the publication in 2019 by the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, UNAIDS, WHO and UNDP of the Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy as an important international reference instrument for governments, policy makers, experts, civil society organisations or affected communities working daily to ensure human rights compliance. The work programme 2019-2022 implemented under the chairmanship of Portugal and vice- chairmanship of Poland, entitled ‘Sustainable drug policies respectful of human rights’, emphasizes the need to integrate human rights into the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug policies. Indeed, human rights are a transversal issue taken into account in all Pompidou Group activities in support of Member States meeting their obligations under the Council of Europe and United Nations Conventions in the delivery of their drug policies. Reaffirming that drug policy must be balanced, evidence-based, comprehensive and aiming at promoting the involvement of civil society, people who use drugs and their relatives, the Group implemented activities in 2019 on gender perspective in drug policy, the role of the different stakeholders in drug prevention, drug related challenges for refugees and migrants and Sustainable Development Goals. The cooperation in the Mediterranean Region continues to be a priority for the Pompidou Group and MedNET, the Network on cooperation in the Mediterranean Region, which has been promoting the exchange and mutual transfer of knowledge between countries from both sides of the Mediterranean. Through its regional actions, it contributes to the training of human resources in addictology in order to respond to the needs of persons who use drugs and improve their access to treatment and care and therefore their access to health. In the demand reduction field, MedNET develops prevention activities focused towards youth based on the evidence of MedSPAD school surveys which are carried out in the region. Aware of the need to reflect, follow up and evaluate the new developments in the field of drug policies and the new challenges ahead, the Pompidou Group launched in 2019 its statutory review process. This was done through conducting an open discussion with its Member States on the mandate, functioning and working methods of the Group. The adoption of a new statute is foreseen for 2021, at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Pompidou Group. The Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe is committed to continue and expand its efforts to further cooperate with UNODC/CND, WHO, UNDP, OAS/CICAD, the European Commission, the EMCDDA and with civil society organisations towards our common goal to bring public health and the respect of human rights to the forefront of drug policy, as set by the outcome document of the 2016 Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGASS) and reaffirmed by the 2019 Ministerial Declaration.

Algeria: Algeria remains committed to respect its obligations arising from the Conventions, and statements adopted since 2009 – including the 2019 declaration. Drugs remain one of the main challenges facing the world; the most recent reports indicate an increase in production and global consumption, requiring the strengthen of prevention and combat strategies.

It remains a major cause of the spread of disease and psychological disorders. My country has adopted a national strategy for the fight against drugs 2020-2024 which emphasises scientific research and understanding of the phenomenon. It aims to reduce supply, a preventive targeted strategy, and effective treatment of users. Treatment being social insertion and other aspects.

Aware of damaging effect of the non-medical use of tramadol and other drugs, the government promulgated this year the technical aspects of dealing with substances which have psychotropic effects.

To treat people who use drugs, the opiate substitution programme will be introduced soon. My country continues to advocate further efforts to reduce and address the illicit cultivation of psychotropic drugs and substances including cannabis – which remains the most consumed drug, with a threat to health and security of world wellbeing.

Cooperation is required to combat drugs trafficking; we welcome the results of the 29th meeting which was held last September in Mauritius and its recommendations which range from regional cooperation to counter the world drug problem.

Algeria hosts AFROPOL and believe this has a major role to play in countering transnational crime and drug trafficking. We would like to commend the efforts of UNODC to make AFROPOL more operational.

I would conclude by saying how much Algeria appreciates the efforts the Chair has made and the proposals for addressing the WHO cannabis recommendations, which we hope will lead to the wise decision to postpone any decision on these recommendations. In this regard, Algeria is certain that these recommendations’ implications require careful consideration and there is absolutely no urgency to addressing them.

Sudan: We would also like to note the success of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, adopted during the Chairmanship of Sudan. The Sudanese Presidency was successful in that and admired by all for it. We align ourselves with the G-77 statement. We commend the efforts taken by UNODC as the responsible UN body for combatting the drug problem and commend the efforts by INCB and WHO in reviewing implementation of the relevant Conventions.

We would assure you of our commitment to the international framework. Sudan has made efforts on a repeated basis to implement the provisions of the three relevant Conventions; we have had some success but have also dealt with large challenges. We had gaps which hindered us in achieving these targets we were working towards with regard to cultivation.

Production of cannabis was estimated to be at 380,000 tonnes a year and countries have made a great effort to address this problem. We believe the fight against cultivation is not enough; we need alternative development programmes in order to address illicit production of drugs. We hope to be able to receive technical and material assistance from countries and international organisations in this area in order to fight this phenomenon.

With regard to drug production, some criminal groups have tried to establish a captagon laboratory in 2015. Thanks to information exchange with the USA, we have managed to put an end to these plans. This laboratory could have produced 300 pills a minute. We are following very closely the issue on precursors to ensure they’re only used for medical purposes.

On money laundering: we have worked with the World Bank and others. We have adopted a number of texts and regulations (including on insurance), and have established a financial intelligence unit – and independent body which looks into suspect cases. We have established a national committee to combat money laundering which brings together all relevant authorities.

We are a transit country for heroin; at present we are seeing the trafficking through the Red Sea. We were able to seize large quantities of heroin – 1,300kg destined for Europe. We hope to be able to receive technical assistance required in order to enable us to seize this assignments.

Captagon is also subject to trafficking; we seized very large quantities in 2014 – 14 million tablets. We also noted new trends in trafficking of cocaine.

We are certain that, in taking measures to reduce demand, we may take steps forward because this complementary interaction between these two areas.

On prevention, we arrange awareness raising activities and outreach with UNODC and have broadcast programmes through radio throughout the country.

On the danger of cannabis: there is a need to not take hasty decisions with regard to this substance. There is also a need to bear in mind the specificities of certain societies, and their fragility. In line with the Conventions, we have a council responsible for anti-drug efforts, which undertake a number of measures.

Sudan, last year, saw a people’s revolution which aspires to building a democratic regime. We hope to be able to completely put an end to the use and manufacture of drugs, and will continue to be active in all international programmes and efforts.

My country will continue to cooperate with the international community to fight drugs.

Mauritius: The threats and challenges posed by drugs worldwide require more concerted and coordinated efforts and measures for international platforms such as CND. The WDR 2019 indicates increases in production and supply of drugs, such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and synthetic drugs across the globe. On the other hand, there have been some record seizures of these drugs at times in tons and practically this is indicative of the effectiveness of law enforcement to dismantle drug networks worldwide. The situation, concerning drug abuse also requires a same attention, and particularly a human centred approach, where the consumer should be considered more more of a victim than an offender. More and more people are consuming a wide range of drugs and this is becoming a serious challenge to societies and to the detriment of healthy populations, as well as to the social and economic advancements. More importantly, the proliferation of synthetic substances in this drug landscape is alarming. The easy availability and accessibility is not dropping in particularly in between youngsters jeopardising their future. It is therefore paramount that the world community reflects much more on this growing issue and advocate stronger and tougher solutions that can effectively counter the potentially grave consequences looming over the spread of synthetic drugs. 

Mauritius sees no exception. With regard to the prevalence of drugs such as cannabis, heroin and synthetic cannabinoids, which are the three main drugs of concern, the entry of drugs into Mauritius is facilitated by maritime and air routes from island states of the Indian Ocean and African continent, except for synthetic substances which originate from Asia. For the past 4 years or so, Mauritius has witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of synthetic cannabinoid targeting mostly the youth and to some extent the education sector. I’m glad to say that the government of Mauritius has been addressing the drug issue holistically. In 2019, the National Drug Secretariat has been set up as an expert, under the high level drugs and HIV Council. It is responsible for the implementation of the National Drug Control master plan launched in September, 2019. We are thankful to the UNODC for his experts assistance in drafting this important action plan. The National Drug Control master plan describes a balanced, integrated and comprehensive approach to a drug issue. Striking the right balance between supply reduction measures on one hand, and demand reduction solutions, including harm reduction on the other is a policy adopted by Mauritius; a range of demand and harm reduction measures have been put in place. Recently, with UNODC support the Get Connected programme adapted from the European Drug Use Prevention Programme has been launched for 12 to 16 years old students. The government of Mauritius is very appreciative of the role of international institutions, such as UNODC, INCB, WHO and other expert buddies in providing expertise support and assistance in addressing the world drug problem.

Ecuador: In 2019 we kept its strong steadfast commitment to combat drugs in compliance with constitutional provisions. We decisively promoted a common, perhaps of public policy against drugs including all official institutions, private and public sector, as well as protecting human rights, especially of those who have committed drug related crimes. Ecuador continues to implement its inter-institutional commitment on drug prevention, and the National Prevention and Control of the socio economic phenomenon of drugs 2017-2021. That plan includes the use of alternative measures to imprisonment for minor drug related offences. We have also introduced the law of prevention, detection and eradication of money laundering, and financing of crime. The efforts made by our country are included in reports by the UN and the Inter-american Drug Abuse Control Commission, that highlighted that despite being in a critical area for the cultivation and commercialisation of drugs in South America, Ecuador is free of illicit crops. The reports highlight the international cooperation provided by Ecuador, a non producing country, to withdraw very high volumes of drugs from the global market, therefore the drug supply. 

Ecuador is implementing drug prevention and treatment programmes and we guarantee access to controlled substances for people who need them. We provide crime prevention programmes and within a framework of non criminalisation, without this leading to impunity for drug related crimes, we do use proportionality and aim for social reinsertion. Ecuador considers addiction as a problem of public health. We are also concerned about the increase of drug consumption throughout the world and the new challenges rising with regards to this problem. We believe we need to approach these in a shared and responsible way with the international community, fully implementing the provisions of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action 2009, the joint ministerial declaration of 2014, the provisions of Ungass 2016, and those of the HLMS of 2019. Ecuador appreciates all the efforts made so far by CND on changes in the reach and scope of the control of cannabis and related substances. We believe it is desirable before we vote for this body to spend additional time on examining the implications and consequences of the recommendations proposed by the WHO. We are grateful to the executive director valuable reports for the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action to combat the world drug problem, as well as the response to the prevalence of HIV, AIDS, and other transmitted diseases. We also acknowledge the valuable contribution of reports provided by the Secretariat on drug misuse and the global drug trafficking situation. We encourage UNODC to make progress in simplifying the questionnaire for reports on compliance with international commitments. Finally, Ecuador is interested in strengthening regional and international cooperation. We would like to reiterate the need to continue mobilising resources for technical assistance and capacity building for those MS most affected especially by illicit crops production and consumption.

Canada; I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about some priorities and recent activities, and achievements of Canada. The opioid crisis continues to affect Canadians. Moreover Canada is now facing an increase in crimes linked to the consumption of methamphetamine and certain regions of our country. The Canadian government is determined to continue to work with all levels of government, and with its international partners to counter the emergence of synthetic drugs and to improve the health and well being, as well as safety and security at regional and global level, whilst acknowledging that every purchase should be based on evidence and should respect the fundamental rights of drug consumers.

Harm Reduction is a significant aspect of Canada’s intervention. This includes supervised consumption rooms and overdose prevention centres. Canada currently has 40 supervised consumption centres and I’d like to underline that they have received more than 1.6 million visits and the impact of more than 14,000 overdoses have been tackled without any deaths, and more than 57,000 people have been reoriented towards health care and social services. In 2019 we opened our first overdose prevention centre in a federal prison. 

Regarding treatment. We acknowledge that there are numerous ways to achieve this. The Government of Canada is working to facilitate access to evidence based treatment and recently we approved Hydromorphone as a treatment for people who have opioid consumption issues. We also have a focus on enforcement and supply reduction measures as called for in the Ungass outcome document. It is critical that these measures be taken in conformity with national and international human rights obligations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in that any judicial and law enforcement measures are proportionate to the gravity of the offence. We remain gravely concerned about the ongoing violations and abuses committed globally in the name of the world drug problem, including application of the death penalty, and extrajudicial killings. As members are aware, Canada continues to implement our strict regulatory framework for cannabis as a domestic public health approach. We do not advocate for this approach as a solution for other States. This framework is comprised of four elements. Strict access controls, with an emphasis on preventing youth access, regulatory requirements and standards for the legal cannabis industry, extensive public health education on the risks associated with cannabis use and a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance Programme. It has now been nearly a year and a half since Canada put in place a new cannabis control framework. We committed to share data, and I will highlight a few early observations. First, the illegal market has already lost 30% of its market share. We have seen no corresponding increase in the overall size of the market. This represents nearly $2 billion in sales that did not go to criminal organisations. Second, initial data suggests that rates of cannabis use have not changed among youth and young adults. Finally, we have seen no increase in the illegal movement of cannabis across international borders. These early observations represent only a small portion of the data that will be available over the next few years through significant sustained investments. We will continue to collect data and evaluate the impact of Canada’s new regulatory framework and will ensure that any future decisions are well informed by this data. We remain committed to being fully open and transparent in our approach, and in sharing outcome data with CND members. Mr Chair, I would like to emphasise that Canada is continuing to make efforts to reflect a broader range of voices in the design of all of our domestic drug policies, including civil society organisations and people who use drugs. For the third consecutive year Canada is pleased to help members of civil society, including people with lived and living experience with substance use on our delegation. Canada would like to thank all MS who reported to the UNODC on their initiatives to reduce stigma. I would also like to take this opportunity to draw the Commission’s attention to Canada strong partnership with the UNODC to achieve the aims of the international drug conventions. Our partnership includes efforts to address illegal trafficking of opioids, their precursors and other synthetic drugs, through projects such as Smart Lab and Air Cop. We also contribute to the Container Control Programme which facilitates seizures of illegal drugs and interception of cash careers. Since 2015 Canada has delivered considerable technical assistance and equipment via the UNODC with disbursements totalling approximately $54 million. We acknowledge UNODC support in integrating gender equality in these efforts, and we look forward to continuing our strong and positive relationship in the years to come. Moving forward, Canada’s efforts will continue to align with the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, specifically the 2016 Ungass outcome document and take a common approach across the UN, while meeting the commitments made under the 2009 political declaration and action plan. We welcome the idea of pursuing our with the CND and our international partners in order to make progress with the goals of the international drug control framework, that is to say, promoted promoting the health and well being of our citizens.

Azerbaijan: Seizures show an unprecedented increase in heroin. Azerbaijan is committed to its Convention obligations. Combatting the drugs trade with a strong political will has been a state-wide task in Azerbaijan and is one of the key activities of our law enforcement bodies. We have a fifth state-wide drugs programme (2019-2024).

The drugs situation in Azerbaijan highlights the expanding status of Azerbaijan as a transit country. We are implementing a number of new projects. There are five international airports and a new international seaport with a freight capacity of 50 million tonnes.  With every year we note a growth of freight and vehicles crossing the country’s borders. However, this also draws the attention of drugs traffickers who use the country to transit drugs.

As a result of comprehensive measures take by Azerbaijan, law enforcement bodies on average detected a number of drugs crimes each year, which sharply increased in 2019 – 4,936 drugs crimes – a record number. Since 2016 we’ve seen an increase in seizures, particularly heroin. 2016-2019 the majority of the drugs seized were heroin, with volume increasing eightfold against the previous four years – more than 4.697 tonnes.

It is worrying that almost half of the drugs seized in this time were heroin. In recent years, attempts to conceal heroin in lorries to Europe is more frequent. In 2016-2019, we carried out a number of large seizures of heroin through law enforcement. All assignments of heroin were intended for European black markets.

Analysis of these incidents shows that the situation in Azerbaijan is mainly due to heroin from Afghan origin. We are seriously affected by the expansion in drugs trafficking. Since December 2018 we have a five-sided agreement in force through the international transit corridor. We are making great efforts to ensure that these future transport corridors and the great silk road cannot be used for the transit of illicit drugs from Afghan to Europe and precursors in the opposite direction.

We’ve concluded a number of bilateral agreements with other states, in which the problem of countering drugs has a special place. In recent years, law enforcement has been finding out about situations by taking part in seminars.

Our joint work in discussing these important issues in this meeting will provide new impetus to international cooperation and countering Afghan drug trafficking.

Kenya: I reaffirm Kenya’s commitment to countering the world drug problem which threatens the wellbeing of our people and future prosperity. Manufacture, trafficking and abuse of drugs threatens the commitments of the SDGs, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people who abuse drugs enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Kenya has adopted a four-pronged approach which addresses demand and supply, guided by national structures and policy documents in line with the international Conventions, Political Declaration of 2009, the UNGASS document and other resolutions and commitments.

We have put in place prevention and rehabilitation programmes aimed at reducing demand among vulnerable groups, including children, youth and women – among others. We have plans in schools and workplaces. The life skill programme has been piloted in several schools and led to positive impacts among primary school pupils. The challenge is upscaling the programme to cover 30,000 primary schools across the country.

We have adopted medically assisted therapy, harm reduction programmes and other programmes which prevent transmission risks of HIV and blood-borne diseases. This is in line with the UNGASS outcome document to ensure that persons affected receive utmost care without discrimination or prejudice.

The national campaign against alcohol and drug abuse is expanding treatment and rehabilitation. We are setting up a centre as a one-stop facility providing a holistic approach to hundreds of use across the region where injecting drug use is a big challenge. To ensure that everything is based on empirical evidence, we conduct surveys. We also coordinate responses with other countries to ensure that legislation and other policy guidelines and coordinated efforts.

Alongside illicit drug trafficking, Kenya is battling other crimes – including arms and human trafficking. We have put in place enforcement initiatives and capacity building, set up control systems and units to monitor the coastline and entry points, and a container control programme. These efforts are facilitated by information of key institutions, such as the financial reporting centre – which deals with the proceeds of crime and money laundering, to address issues of laundering.

With a view to eliminating diversion of controlled substances, we are engaging with audience to develop guidelines on pharmacy and medical-assisted therapy, piloting export systems. However, inadequate resources is a major impediment. We therefore call on the international community for increased assistance in order to build national capacity to effectively address the world drug problem in all its forms and manifestations.

It is our belief that the Conventions provide sufficient safeguards that allow access to these drugs for medical and scientific purposes. We echo our strongest opposition to any attempt to push for any legislation of cannabis and other substances for any reasons other than medical purposes. The majority of developing countries are yet to develop enforcement mechanisms and legalising these substances will strain already weak systems.

We are keen on developing strategic partnerships to strengthen efforts in tackling the world drug problem. In this spirit, Kenya has offered to host in Nairobi the meeting of heads of law enforcement in October this year. I welcome all members of the African group to take part in the meeting, among others.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: On behalf of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, I thank the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for inviting the Working Group to speak under item 3 of the General Debate of the 63rd session of the Commission. The Working Group welcomes the commitment of UN Member States “to respect, protect and promote all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies”. In the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, UN Member States expressed concern regarding responses to the world drug problem that are “not in conformity with applicable international human rights obligations”. Such responses represent “a challenge to the implementation of joint commitments of States based on the principle of common and shared responsibility”. Punitive drug policies continue to be used in many States, despite being ineffective in reducing drug trafficking or addressing non-medical drug use and supply. Such policies have resulted in the widespread use of arbitrary detention in the context of drug control. Evidence shows that the so-called “war on drugs” has failed to address the drug problem.  Abusive, repressive, and disproportionate drug control policies and laws are counterproductive, while also violating human rights, undercutting public health, and wasting vital public resources. Dear Chair, The former Commission on Human Rights established the mandate of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in March 1991 to investigate cases of detention imposed arbitrarily or otherwise inconsistently with the international standards in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) or in the international legal instruments accepted by the States concerned. In determining whether deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the Working Group refers to five categories outlined in its Methods of Work, namely: 1) when it is impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty; 2) when the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of certain rights guaranteed by the UDHR or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; 3) when the right to fair trial has been seriously violated; 4) when asylum-seekers, immigrants or refugees are subjected to prolonged administrative detention without the possibility of administrative or judicial review; and 5) when the deprivation of liberty constitutes a violation of international law on the grounds of discrimination of any kind. In fulfilling its mandate, the Working Group adopts opinions on alleged cases of arbitrary detention brought to it from individuals around the world; conducts country visits at the invitation of the relevant Government; addresses communications to Governments on allegations involving arbitrary detention; develops deliberations on topics concerning arbitrary detention, and carries out follow-up of the implementation of its opinions. In 2015, in its annual report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/30/36), the Working Group noted with concern the increasing, and in some cases, systematic, instances of arbitrary detention as a consequence of drug control laws and policies. Arbitrary detention for drug offences or drug use occurs across criminal and administrative settings, particularly when procedural safeguards are absent, causing a disproportionate impact on women, children, minority groups and people who use drugs. The Working Group has also expressed concern about the frequent use of various forms of administrative detention that entail restrictions on fundamental rights. In particular, detention imposed to control people who use drugs, especially when framed as a health intervention, can lead to involuntary commitment or compulsory drug treatment that is inconsistent with the international drug control conventions and international human rights law. In September 2019, the Human Rights Council, in its resolution 42/22, requested the Working Group to prepare a study on “arbitrary detention relating to drug policies to ensure that upholding the prohibition thereon is included as part of an effective criminal justice response to drug-related crimes, in accordance with international law, and that such a response also encompasses legal guarantees and due process safeguards”. Dear Chair, In the outcome document of the thirtieth special session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem in 2016 (UNGASS 2016), all States committed to “promote and implement effective criminal justice responses to drug-related crimes to bring perpetrators to justice that ensure legal guarantees and due process safeguards pertaining to criminal justice proceedings, including practical measures to uphold the prohibition of arbitrary arrest and detention” (recommendation (o), chapter 4). In 2019, on the occasion of the High-Level Ministerial Segment of this Commission, the Working Group issued a statement that outlined measures that States may consider to prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention in the context of drug control efforts. I will briefly highlight some of those measures.  The absolute prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of liberty and the safeguards to prevent it apply to everyone, including for those arrested, detained or charged with drug-related offences, as well as for those undergoing compulsory rehabilitation programs for drug addiction. States must take immediate measures to address all instances of arbitrary detention as a consequence of drug control laws and policies.   Some legal policies and practices lead to overcrowding of prisons and other places of deprivation of liberty, including tougher law and order approaches, mandatory use of pretrial detention, disproportionate sentences, frequent delays in the judicial system, poor monitoring of inmate status and release entitlements, and the failure to grant parole. States should consider measures to ease overcrowding including alternatives to detention, such as diversion, community service, and administrative and monetary sanctions. The principle of proportionality must continue to be a guiding principle in drug-related matters. Criminalization of drug use or consumption and minor drug offences should be avoided by all States. In order to meet the requirement of proportionate sentencing, States should revise their penal policies and drug legislation with the aim of reducing minimum and maximum penalties. These measures can contribute to implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. During the criminal justice process, members of vulnerable and marginalized groups who use drugs, people of African descent, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons often face discrimination, including arbitrary arrest and detention. States should prohibit discriminatory practices in the arrest and detention of all individuals, including during drug control efforts.  Evidence shows that “treatment” in many treatment centers includes painful, unmedicated withdrawal, beatings, military drills, verbal abuse, and sometimes scientific experimentation without informed consent. Forced labor, without pay or at extremely low wages, is used as “rehabilitation,” with detainees punished if work quotas are not met. These abuses are flagrant violations of the right to be free from torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and punishment and the right to health. Reported human rights abuses in drug rehabilitation centers (“rehabs”), run by private individuals or organizations in many countries, are a disturbing development that must be investigated and remedied. Denial of medical treatment and/or the absence of access to medical care in custodial settings may constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Equally, subjecting persons to treatment or testing without their consent may constitute a violation of the right to physical integrity. Such practices must be eliminated. Dear Chair, As mentioned earlier, the Working Group was requested by the Human Rights Council in September 2019 to prepare a study on “arbitrary detention relating to drug policies.”  The Working Group will submit a report on the study to the Council at its forty-seventh session in 2021. We will also bring the report to the attention of this Commission. In early 2020, the Working Group initiated consultations with States, international and regional organizations, including UN agencies, in particular UNODC, and civil society organizations. All stakeholders are invited to submit information, including by responding to a questionnaire available on the Working Group’s website, by 1 April 2020. Through the study, we expect to provide further guidance to States on practical measures to prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention in the context of drug policy. Dear Chair, In concluding, we acknowledge that the cross-cutting approach of UNGASS 2016 constitutes a new and better linkage of the objective of drug-control – protection of the health and welfare of humanity – with the key priorities of the UN system, including human rights, peace and security and the Sustainable Development Goals. Within its mandate, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stands ready to support States and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations and affected communities, in promoting and protecting human rights while addressing the drug problem, and in implementing the human rights commitments in the Outcome Document UNGASS 2016 and 2019 Ministerial Declaration. Thank you.

UNAIDS: Distinguished Chairperson and Honourable Members of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, I am honoured to speak on behalf of the new Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima. She asked me to convey her greetings and sincere hopes from UNAIDS that this 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will be different. That this CND will mark a change to evidence-based approaches to HIV prevention and support among people who use drugs. That this CND will be the beginning of the end the criminalization and detention of people who consume drugs. And particularly important for UNAIDS and the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, that this CND will keep the promise made by every member state to leave no one behind in the SDG era by protecting the health and human rights of people of use drugs. UNAIDS is a joint UN programme, not an agency. As such, UNAIDS reflects and supports the common position of 11 United Nations organizations—including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization—for an urgent, evidence-based response to HIV among people who use drugs. At a time when we should be entering the last mile in the decade of action for the SDGs, UNAIDS highlights with urgent concern that the HIV epidemic among people who use drugs is still increasing. Worldwide, 14% of the 12 million people who inject drugs are living with HIV. The risk of acquiring HIV for people who inject drugs is 22 times higher than for those who do not. In many countries, the quality, coverage and funding for HIV programmes among people who inject drugs are deteriorating. This is not just a worrying trend. This is a public health emergency. As we said in UNAIDS report, Health, rights and drugs, progress remains essential in three policy and programmatic areas: decriminalization, harm reduction, and zero discrimination. First, end the criminalization of drug use and drug possession for personal use. Under the leadership of the UN Secretary General, the UN system is united on this. The UN System Common Position on drug policy commits all of us to step up our joint efforts, including to end the criminalization of drug possession for personal use and call for changes in laws, policies and practices that threaten the health and human rights of people. Second, make harm reduction programmes accessible to all people who use drugs. Harm reduction is safe and cost-effective but in too many countries and communities, it remains underutilized and underfunded. Third, end stigma and discrimination faced by people who use drugs and people living with HIV. This includes ending the stigma and discrimination that people who use drugs face if they’re living with HIV, involved in sex work, migration, or because of their gender, race, or ethnicity. In the past, precious time was lost debating what to implement and at what scale. All three components must be fully implemented or we will not end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Usually at this point in our statement, we would say that UNAIDS stands ready to support member states. But if this CND is going to be different, standing by will not get the job done either. This year the UNAIDS Joint Programme, including our cosponsors, will be engaging governments, and donors and civil society and organizations of people who use drugs for a renewed push in this critical area. Time is working against us, so we will engage with member states to provide evidence, expertise and policy support to support these changes now. For example, in dozens of countries with HIV epidemics among people who use drugs, UNAIDS will work with you to prioritize these components in your applications to the Global Fund over the next six months. In closing, I have the honour remind the honourable delegates that 1st March was the International Day for Zero Discrimination. But as this was a Sunday, UNAIDS calls on all CND members to make today and indeed every day a day for Zero Discrimination for all people who use drugs. Thank you.

OHCHR: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) thanks the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for inviting the Office to speak at under the General Debate Item of the 63rd session of the Commission. OHCHR welcomes the commitment of all United Nations Member States, as stated in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration- “to respect, protect and promote all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies”, as stated in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. In the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, since 2016 our Office partnered with UNDP, WHO and UNAIDS and the International Centre for Human Rights and Drug Policy (HR-DP) of the Essex University for the development of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy. This initiative is the culmination of years of research and advocacy efforts to integrate human rights standards in the development of national and international drug policy;  and comes at a time when human rights and public health are now increasingly at the forefront of drug policy discussions at the United Nations. In June 2019, OHCHR and UNDP jointly held a consultation meeting with experts from human rights treaty bodies, special procedure mandate holders of the Human Rights Council, academic and civil society expert on the Guidelines in Geneva. The International Guidelines is the best tool that we have at our disposal to support States in the implementation of their human rights commitments as include in the Outcome Document on UNGASS 2016, and the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. In the last week, on 25 February, at the margin of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, OHCHR in cooperation with Mexico, Switzerland, the European Union, UNDP, WHO and UNAIDS and HR-DP  jointly organized an event to share the Guidelines with States and other stakeholders in Geneva, and explore various possibilities to promote the Guidelines through UN Human Rights Mechanisms for its implementation at the national, regional and international levels. In this regard, I note that in its report on “Women deprived of liberty”,  the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice recommended States to reform drug-related policies, laws and practices in line with international human rights standards and take steps to integrate the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy into policies that are relevant to women (A/HRC/41/33). The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health also endorsed the Guidelines. Dear Chair, For the protection of the right to health for people who use drugs, harm reduction measures have been recognized as essential– by the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, the World Health Organization,, UNAIDS, and multiple human rights Treaty Bodies and Special Rapporteurs. (A/HRC/39/39) More than 80 per cent of people who inject drugs are either living with, or have previously had, a hepatitis C infection. People who inject drugs are at 23 times greater risk of HIV infection than people who do not inject drugs. In her keynote speech for the 2019 Harm Reduction International Conference, held in Port, Portugal, the High Commissioner stated that: “Looking specifically at harm reduction programmes, the evidence is clear. Where they exist – and receive adequate funding – they have been markedly successful in reducing harm to the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs.” (https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24529&LangID=E) In her report on human rights and local government, the High Commissioner highlighted the importance of the role of the local government in providing harm reduction measures. (A/HRC/42/22) Dear Chair, During the first ever Geneva Drug Policy Week, held in Geneva from in June 2019, with the support of the Government of Switzerland, and jointly with the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Harm Reduction International, our Office organized an event on the General Comment 36 on the Right to Life of the Human Rights Committee. The event aimed to promote and discuss the contents of the General Comment 36 that are relevant to the drug policy related matters. OHCHR remains concerned about the continuing use of capital punishment for drug offenses in Thirty-five States, in violation of international human rights law. At least over four thousand people were executed for a drug offence in the last decade. However, there has been some positive movement with respect to the use of the death penalty, including a significant decrease in reported executions for drug offences since 2015. OHCHR strongly recommend States amend their penal codes and no longer impose the death sentence for any crimes, including for drug-related offences. Dear Chair, In 2018, 31 principals of agencies and entities in the UN system adopted the UN System Common Position on drug related matters, to provide coordinated support to Member States on human rights, rule of law, public health, development and security matters in the context of drugs. Within the framework of the UN System Common Position, OHCHR stands ready to support States and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, in promoting and protecting human rights while addressing drug problems. Thank you

World Health Organization: To address the drug problem as a global public health issue, we should prioritise public health strategies and interventions which respect human rights and put people at the centre of responses.

The World Health Organization is transforming into a more effective organisation for the world we live in. A new five year strategy was endorsed by the World Health Assembly last year. We have three strategic priorities: advancing universal health coverage; addressing health emergencies; and promoting healthier populations. All relevant for addressing the world drug problem.

The impact of drugs on wellbeing and populations cannot be overestimated. According to the World Health Organization’s latest estimates for 2017, psychoactive drug use is responsible for half a million deaths worldwide – preventable deaths, caused by infectious diseases, road traffic accidents and suicides. We need a global monitoring system to see the trends, rightly interpret them, and use them in developing public health policies and responses. The World Health Organization has an important role in interpreting this information.

Health is a human right. Nobody should just get sick or die because they are poor or because they cannot access services they need. This is universal health coverage, and it means that all those who use drugs…should have equal access to quality prevention, treatment and care, as they need it, without experiencing financial hardship. World Health Organization aims to advance universal health coverage for those with drug use disorders worldwide.

World Health Organization works with UNODC and INCB to provide training and support to countries to maximise access to controlled medicines for the management of pain, palliative care, and many other conditions. World Health Organization has intensified the work of the Committee on Drug Dependence; its review of cannabis and preparations resulted in recommendations which consider the scientific advances and progress in our understanding of the composition of cannabis. In addressing opioid overdose, World Health Organization works on an evidence-base. World Health Organization continues to advocate for harm reduction as part of a comprehensive public health response to drug use and related diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. World Health Organization promotes evidence-based interventions, including needle programmes, opioid substitution therapy, as well as testing and treatment for HIV and hepatitis.

These recommendations are reflected in the joint UN position on drug-related matters developed and endorsed by UN entities last year. The World Health Organization will continue in collaboration with UNODC, INCB and other partners, to assist countries in achieving health targets set by the SDGs, and implementing UNGASS targets.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization: SCO member states believe that trafficking, production and sale of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors poses a serious threat to the health, stability and wellbeing of the population. There should be broad international cooperation, as reflected in the 2009 Political Declaration.

We address serious concern about the expansion in Afghanistan and the golden triangle. We call for increase inter-state, inter-regional and global action to combat this threat. I would like to note that we adopted a Roadmap for further actions of the SCO contact group in June, aimed at working with Afghan authorities to combat drug trafficking.

According to experts, the drug trade accounts for 60% of transactions in the dark net. This has become one of the priority areas of cooperation. We are working closely with UNODC to counter these dangerous trends in illicit drug trafficking. I would emphasise the practical impact of the joint high level held by SCO and UNODC to effectively combat the darknet. …

The SCO member states pay increasing attention to the issues of growing symbiosis with drug trafficking and other threats – we are concerned about narco-terrorism, where proceeds of drug trafficking fuel terrorism. We held a joint high level event on this in New York in November last year, with the participation of the UN Secretary General to draw attention to this problem. The SCO member States stand for the inviolability of the drug control conventions, a cornerstone of international drug control.

We regret to note that the trends observed today towards legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes, contributes to the erosion of international anti-drug law. I confirm our readiness to engage in inclusive dialogue with interested states and organisations on combatting illicit drug trafficking. We look forward to collective and fruitful work with the UNODC, including involvement with the EU and ASEAN to turn the Euro-Asian continent into a space free of trafficking.

Organization of American States (OAS): I am pleased to see a woman in such an important post (head of the UNODC).

At the OAS we have been working with member states for more than thirty years on the drug problem. Through the Inter-American drug abuse control commission and the valuable support of its executive secretariat we have undertaken hemisphere strategies and joined efforts to speak with one voice for the common good of our region and the world. Pursuing what brings us together, not what divides us. Together with our member States, we contribute to global debate and progress by coordinating policies, pursuing scientific evidence, regional cooperation, and dissemination of good practices. In 2020, we will stop to define our roadmap for the next five year period; review and update our hemisphere strategy, now ten years old, alongside its plan of action. These documents are relevant, critical, in the current global context.

Why? Well more than two thirds of cannabis seizures take place in our region. Cannabis consumption has increased in most of our countries – especially by young people. More than half of the world’s cocaine consumers live in our region. Seizures of fentanyl have increased. Consumption of amphetamines and NPSs, and misuse of scheduled prescription medicines – especially by women and girls – have increased in the last decade.

These realities lead to damaging effects on health in the short and long term, destroying the lives of those who suffer from addiction and their families. The dynamics of the drugs markets generate illicit businesses which target security and welfare as well as the material goods of our citizens, and corruption linked to drug trafficking leads to impunity, violence and human rights violations. This is an illegal economy of billions of dollars managed by transnational crime  and stakeholders who take over communities; an economy which is expanding into arms trade, human trafficking, prosecutions and extortion. We know that it finances terrorism and many other threats, affecting our institutions and imperilling democratic governance.

In our region, more than 3.5 million are in prison – many in relation to minor drug offences. Many of these people are in prison and our systems cannot cope – they are overcrowded. This causes devastating effects on stigmatised individuals, who can never return to a normal productive life. These are tragedies with names. In the last decade we have managed to put human beings at the centre of public policy, looking for alternatives to prison. However we have to look on this as an opportunity.

We need a multi-faceted approach, understanding different realities, and we must be united in our diversity. In countries with weak institutions, drugs attack democracy. The drug problem needs a public health approach, a human rights approach and a gender approach. We should not be ashamed of our failures – we have to think of our successes, which are multiple – and we know we can design an effective roadmap.

Sovereign Order of Malta: We’re the oldest humanitarian entity. The order has a specific vocation in the protection of health and the assistance to the most vulnerable. We must confront the enormity of the problem we face. Drug misuse is a problem for individuals and community. But it also threatens the security of nations. We must treat it seriously and share what works in reducing supply and demand. Develop ways to measure and analyse successes and failures. In line with universal human rights and striving for true justice. The Order has supported UNODC where it counts most. The Order will continue to support financially the initiative of UNODC – Youth Forum, with young people not as targets but also as providers and actors in prevention and education. Supporting children and young people in schools and communities. The UN drugs bodies are supposed to take their part in wider UN goals. The drug problem cannot be isolated from other issues. One should ensure strategies support MDGs and UNAIDS, access to controlled medications. We commend and support the work of the WHO treatment, prevention and rehabilitation sections and support their work.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Substance abuse is one of the main causes of suffering, with millions affected, while not receiving adequate treatment. Despite declarations of good will, the majority of people who we can call “sick” for drugs are not treated, or receive inappropriate treatment. Too many governments don’t have a clear understanding of the essential role of care systems in addressing the drug pandemic. Facing this dramatic scenario, the Red Cross and Crescent advocate for a humanitarian drug policy. One that takes a realistic and non-judgemental approach to drug consumption. It takes care of people who use drugs through treatment and public health measures. Alternative measures in the criminal justice system (diversion and pre-arrest deflection) represent underutilised option. Prison and concentration camps won’t work to solve people’s sickness. Treatment and punishment cannot work together. This is an evidence based fact. This meeting should consider a humanitarian drug policy to reduce drug related suffering and a health centred approach. We need a new commitment for a human and effective drug policy based on reason, compassion and evidence. The Red Cross and Crescent, with civil society and the Italian government, will release the Rome Consensus 2.0, an opportunity for Member States and civil society organisations to learn and reflect together on how a humanitarian based approach could be a valid alternative and viable strategy in the spirit of the Outcome Document of UNGASS 2016. We need to address our efforts to those groups who live a miserable life because they are discriminated, tortured, deprived of health and social support, deprived of their rights and dignity because of their drug use disorders, the humanitarian purpose is to save lives, alleviate suffering. The Rome Consensus is a call from professionals and beneficiaries to make clear and urgent moves to public health and rights based approaches. All are welcome to sign this manifesto.

Grupo de las Mujeres de la Argentina: Nobody is above the law, but when the law is more damaging tan beneficial, it is time to rethink. This year, it’s the 63rd session of the CND. One year after the reiteration of UNGASS of 1998, more than 6 decades of consensus, over which the problems on drug trafficking and consumption have not been resolved. There’s a problem with health system. Problems are becoming worse. It’s a failure of prohibition policies. With regard to cannabis, it’s been a century of control. With regard to cannabis WHO said cannabis is a legitimate medicine and called on professionals to look into this. According to EMCDDA, France and Spain are the countries where most drugs are consumed among young people. They do not feature among producing countries. There’s statistical data in countries which regulate cannabis. In Uruguay, reforms go hand in hand with a reduction in the consumption of other drugs, like alcohol and tobacco. In Canada, recent data suggests a reduction in the consumption of cannabis by adolescents. In Colorado and Washington,  the end of prohibition was linked to a reduction in criminality. In 2019, the directors of 31 UN agencies called for the decriminalisation of the possession and personal use of drugs and the promotion of the principle of proportionality. Some countries in the Plenary have recalled this. It is clear that human rights are undermined by repressive drug policies. Out of respect for science and the dignity of all people and their fundamental rights, the Group of Women of Argentina, the European Observatory for the Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis, call to pay attention to WHO’s recommendations and guarantee access to cannabis for those who need it and protect health. From an international organisation, we call for an end to criminalisation and stigmatisation of users and growers of cannabis. That in the 2019-2029, guidelines on cannabis policies are included from the perspective of fundamental rights and sustainable developments. Thank you.

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