Plenary: Item 6. Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem (Continued)

Agenda item 6

Item 6. Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem

(a) Consideration of the improved and streamlined annual report questionnaire, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019

Chair: We have before us a number of documents, including from UNODC, and notes from the Secretariat.

Before opening the floor for statements, we will have presentations by the UNODC Secretariat. The first is by the UNODC to make some introductory remarks, including on 6a.

UNODC: I will show you trends at a global level in the use of drugs, then I will make an introduction in relation to the new annual report questionnaire.

I don’t have good news: the total number of persons using drugs – was 270 million in 2017, which is higher than 200 million in 2006. The data on drug use remains much weaker than drug supply, so there is uncertainty. Last year, India and Nigeria had their first drug use surveys. Having better data for these two countries improved data quality significantly. We thought in 2016 we had 30 million people with drug use disorder – but with this new data we could estimate that it’s 35 million. Even for opioids, we thought we had 34 million in 2016. In 2017, we now estimate 53 million. Clearly, you see the importance of having scientific data on drug use.

[Presentation on UNODC data]

North America has the highest level of opioid use, with Australia and New Zealand. They are the most harmful substance globally. In 2017 we had 500,000 deaths due to drug use, the majority of which were hepatitis C. The opioid crisis is in North America- fentanyl analogues – in Africa, the opioid crisis relates to non-medical use of tramadol. We have seen an explosion in the use of tramadol in the illicit market, and seizures. The new data from Nigeria shows us that in Nigeria alone over 4 million people were using synthetic opioids. It’s easier to monitor in America due to better data. In US, deaths are still increasing for fentannyl – even though opioid overdose deaths declined for the first time since 1999. The crisis remains a crisis.

We see an increase in cocaine use everywhere we have data – even in non-traditional markets. As well as an increase in methamphetamine use. Cannabis, also globally, we have a lot of uncertainty but we see an increase – it remains the most widely used drug globally. In the market it looks like there are more harmful drugs relating to cannabis, with higher THC content – particularly in Western countries – and particularly and increase on the frequency – more people using more cannabis.

The impact of drug use: injecting drug use remains a problem, 1.4 million estimated as injecting drugs are living with HIV.

Prisons remain an environment of higher drug use than in the community. Particularly for certain drugs like heroin, where the prevalence rate is definitely higher than outside prison.

So this is in relation to a global situation on drug use – the picture shows an increase in all substances and across many regions. To improve data, we have come to the CND with better data to give you a better idea of international trends.

[New presentation on data collection]

In 2017, at the request of the CND, we began looking into improving the ARQ. The new ARQ, it takes a modular approach (which rotate every 2,3,5 years). It meets the needs of the 2009 Political Declaration, the 2014 Ministerial Statement and the 2016 UNGASS document. It has quantitative and qualitative info. It ‘leaves no one behind’.

The new ARQ will be implemented in 2021; we will base this according to a network of national Focal Points; it will have web-based data collection; and we are strengthening coordination with regional organisations.

It remains an issue of supporting countries with capacity building.

UNODC (separate speaker): Member States continue to use resources for methodologies not found to be effective in preventing substance use disorders – including in prevention. There is a disproportionate balance between effective methodologies, with more in relation to intervention. Large part of countries do not use medication recognised as effective by science. In the past ten years – particularly three years – we see a reduction in psycho-social treatment with good methodology. What happened four years ago in 2016? The UNGASS Outcome Document was approved by Vienna and the General Assembly in New York. Although the outcome document is reiterated, science-based approaches are not at all utilised by member States.

In terms of protection from HIV and hepatitis, the coverage remains very low in most of the countries reporting data to UNAIDS. I remind you your commitment: how many member states have paid attention to social causes? Still, a lot of people are behind bars in prison and not admitted to rehabilitation. Still, humanitarian, compassionate, health centred, science- and human rights-based approach is not applied. This should be used for people who use drugs. And also, the UNGASS Outcome Document encourages participation of those who use drugs, and we should remove punitive attitude from health and social care interventions.  …

Cocaine, a stroke can be provoked by one exposure to cocaine alone. Methamphetamine – it is enough to have some. Here we have thrombosis provoked by synthetic cannabinoids – which are most unpredictable in terms of damage. Apart from these acute risks of using drugs, you have the risk of dependence. Dependency, I will not explain to you again, but it is a compulsive cycle. We have already identified vulnerability among children, make them perfectly matching conditions and cycles – including impaired executive function before taking drugs, they are more at risk.

The social causes of drug dependence: we go to see what are the main causes that put people at risk for developing drug dependence? We start with stress during pregnancy, adverse childhood experiences, broken families – families with domestic violence. Drop-outs from school and low-performing, disqualifying schools. Lack of connectedness in school and community. Children left behind. Children from displaced populations, or forced to work, conflict-affected children. In developing countries you can find associations between consumerism and drugs – children are at risk of substance use disorder; children who are not engaged are at risk. If you don’t take action on all these factors then the problem won’t decrease. We have to protect our children in a different way, particularly the international standard of prevention we publish, indicating the need to bond with the family – engaging productive parenting, undivided time given to the children, children protection exploitation.

For treatment, we have published today the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug use disorders. It indicates we need to start with low threshold, basic outreach in the community. We need basic needs to be met – food, housing, hygienic measures. Treatment has to be personalised, integrated, differentiated, flexible and friendly. Tailored for women and children. Treatment has to be an alternative to conviction or punishment. The response to the overdose epidemic: 1/3 of overdoses are suicides. We need naloxone available to all. Member States should invest in technical assistance in their operators all around the country – including those affected by HIV and hepatitis – voluntary testing, counselling, needles programmes.

We need to give these people another change and another again, provide support, appreciation and trust.

Chief of Organised Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of UNODC: I’d like to focus on the drug control repository. The drug control repository is hosted by the Sherloc management platform. UNODC has been providing tailor-made capacity building. In order to facilitate continuous development UNODC attached great importance to working with law enforcement and educational institutions to ensure effective and nationally-owned education programmes. Building on the success of the contained control programme which resulted in significant seizures of drugs world wide, the programme continues support post seizure and bilateral and multilateral investigations of these cases. UNODC continues to support the judicial networks in the South East Asian region and the Caucuses. In many countries across the globe, drug trafficking, terrorism and other forms of crime often have one common facilitator, which is illicit firearms. Illicit firearms are a lucrative trafficking commodity. The illicit trafficking of firearms threatens peace and security. Operation Trigger Six is aimed at supporting the detection, investigation and prosecution of illicit firearms trafficking and interconnected crimes. UNODC has launched a new project in central asia, through this project the linkages between drugs and arms will be addressed more closely. 

Chief of Sustainable Livelihoods Unit of the UNODC: I will discuss the implementation of ECOSOC resolution. Congratulations to the government of Thailand for implementing their alternative development programming, the concept of the late King has helped the Thai people and the world. Although alternative development has and continues to evolve. UNODC has witnessed the importance of working with the private sector. Myanmar private company is engaging in an alternative development programme and is sourcing coffee to France. Through our research branch we have been working better to understand what drives farming communities to opt to grow illicit crops. We have some gaps in our evidence base e.g. the simple understanding of how many households are involved in cultivation continues to challenge us. We have also come to understand the importance of the rule of law and its links to alternative development. Strong links with institutions aids the success of alternative development. Peru is a good example, where in a region where cocaine used to be grown prolifically, has now been replaced by alternative high quality products. Our climate cycle appears to be changing, to this end how alternative development’s effect on deforestation and land use, does indeed contribute to the climate change agenda. Multi-land use is now being seen as more critical, the columbian examples one to look to. Each of those member states agreed to UNGASS 2016 outcome document, in chapter 7 it encourages the development of viable and economic alternatives in urban and rural areas. Working with the governments of Germany, Peru and Thailand we have convened a group of expert meetings, to look at how to best advance this aim. What was made clear through the discussions, is that alternative development is used in marginalised communities and cannot be transferred into the urban context. Alternative Development does have some valuable lessons to be applied to the urban context. 

Secretariat of the Governing Bodies. On the implementation of all commitments following up to the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, I want to bring your attention to the Chair’s summary on the thematic discussions in October (E/CN.7/2020/CRP1) and E/CN.7/2020/CRP5. The CND wants to support the implementation of all commitments made in 2019. At the core of the CND follow up work are the thematic discussions on exchange of information in the implementation of policy commitments. IN June 2019, the CND adopted a multi-year work plan for 4 years in line with the commitments made in the Ministerial Declaration to foster broad and inclusive discussions involving all stakeholders, focusing on the challenges of the Ministerial Declaration and how these can be addressed through the implementation of the UNGASS OD, the 2014 JMS and the 2009 PD.

This is a forum for all stakeholders: member states, UN agencies, multinational agencies and civil society. We will hold the session this year in autumn 2020 focusing on drug treatment, the rate of transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases, the adverse health consequences of NPS and the availability of controlled substances.

We are aware that stakeholders cannot participate so we will ensure video messages and a webcast of the meetings.

A second key pillar is the meetings of CND subsidiary bodies (HONLEAs and sub-commissions) providing the commission a regional perspective.

With all the information shared during the intersessional meetings, we want to retain the information so that it can be shared further. We have a website used as a platform to share statements and share info on upcoming meetings and webcasting. We also have a Twitter account: @CND_tweets to reach a broader range of stakeholders. We also have a good practice portal to encourage member states to share best practices and lessons learned on UNGASS implementation.

We support member states o the implementation of commitments on the ground with national implementation workshops to bring together relevant authorities involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of national drug policies and strategies. We discuss the recommendations in the documents and how they can be implemented at national level. We bring good examples shared at intersessional meetings.

The first national workshops were held after the UNGASS, using a similar methodology, focusing on all international commitments, including in Nigeria, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, OAS/CICAD, in the Caribbean, St Kittis and Nevis and Antigua and Bermuda. We are grateful to the extrabudgetary resources to enable us to conduct these activities.

Chair: We now move to agenda item 6a on the ARQ. I express my appreciation for the discussions on the ARQ. I propose the adoption of the ARQ and we can then proceed to statements. The document is adopted.

Croatia, on behalf of the European Union, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Andorra, etc.: We committed to accelerate our commitments on evidence-based drug policy. We are welcoming the results of a process starting in 2017, confirmed by the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. The ARQ is the backbone of our international drug control system for data collection. We thank UNODC and all who engaged in this process, enabling the new ARQ version. Data is essential to a view of the drug phenomenon in criminal justice, treatment, human rights, to better define and assess our drug policies based on best practice to better reflect our actions at national, regional and global level and assess areas where we must accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments.

We support the proposed new ARQ and the guidelines for the completion of the ARQ, and the national focal points, as well as the need to exchange information with others such as WHO, UNDP, UN Women, OCHHR, and regional and international organisations on data collection, as well as support for inter-agency working group.

We also highlight the need for capacity building to fill in the ARQ and collect data.

We strongly supported this work at the heart of the EU Action on Drugs. The EU’s commitment to evidence-based policies has translated to a number of resolutions and side events at this CND.

This will help the CND to gain a better understanding of the world drug phenomenon and the state of implementation of our joint commitments.

Japan: We welcome the ARQ on the implementation of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. The expansion of international drug trafficking organisations is a major risk to health and security. The treat of ATS and NPS is also major requiring an immediate response. We need to strengthen international cooperation to dismantle transnational organised crime groups through information sharing. I direct the chair to Japan’s initiatives. National Police Agency and other law enforcement agencies are strongly committed to cooperation at a global scale. The NPA has hosted a national drug law enforcement conference for more than 20 years, providing attendees the opportunity to exchange experiences with others on drug trends, enhancing cooperation. Last month, the NPA held its event on drug trafficking. Japan continues to provide training courses for international law enforcement agencies, the Seminar of Drug Control Agencies by the NPA, the maritime law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the capacity of law enforcement officers in many countries, focusing on the implementation of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. We seized 2.5 tons of methamphetamines last year. But the flow of illicit drugs continues to increase in Japan. In response to this threat, Japan has reinforced border control, through Passenger Name Records, with stricter inspections of high-risk passengers, to combat smuggling and enhance customs. This underlines the importance of international cooperation to exchange international data and information.

Japan is going to host the Olympic and Paralympic games later this year. We will take steps to prevent international trafficking. We urge participants not to bring illicit drugs into Japan to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and participants.

The drug problem is a common and shared responsibility. We reaffirm our commitment to implementing the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, the 3 international drug conventions as the cornerstone of the drug control system. We underscore the role of the CND, the INCB and the UNODC. We will continue to support these parties in fulfilling their important role.

Indonesia. In the context of the implementation of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration and 2009 PD, we have concluded several bilateral agreements with several countries. We signed an agreement on proceeds of crime in 2019. Our efforts in combatting drug trafficking do not stop at incarcerating perpetrators and confiscating drugs. We also confiscate assets and combat money laundering. IN 2019, we uncovered 55 cases and seized assets of dealers worth 30 million US dollars. In 2019, we signed police to police agreements with the USA and Australia to combat criminal activities through training. This includes knowledge and best practices, etc. This has had benefits to expose drug syndicates via law enforcement and combatting deliveries. We look forward to more cooperation with more countries.

On prevention, we have experienced breakthroughs and innovations. We have carried out prevention programmes with UNODC, the Anti Narcotics Volunteers Programme involved volunteers in each region, calling on millennials. to engage in anti-drugs campaigns with posters and articles to prevent drugs. We have developed community-based interventions for rehab access, and for capacity building for rehab workers using our universal treatment module in collaboration with UNODC and the Colombo Plan. We have taken efforts for the Community Development Programme, focusing on Alternative Development in the greater outer region to confront cannabis cultivation. We use online platforms for anti-drugs activists and former addicts who can offer alternative products.

On existing data collection and analysis tools, we support the work of the secretariat to reflect all commitments. We reiterate our assurance to the implementation of the national and international efforts for closer international cooperation.

Nigeria: As part of our efforts to implement our commitments at all levels, we hosted with the UNODC a workshop on all international drug policy commitments, focusing on drug administrations, ministries and agencies. Nigeria led the UNODC team. The two-day programme was interactive and participants shared experiences and good practice to implement our commitments and ideas on how to address existing gaps. We had breakout group discussions on normative and technical work of UNODC and the treaty mandated role of CND. We focused on the thematic aspects of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration including demand, supply, cross cutting issues on human rights, international cooperation and alternative developments, as well as data collection. We were divided into working groups which returned innovative recommendations, especially on technical assistance, the need to develop prevention curricula, affordability of controlled substances and training, improve data collection, improve criminal justice responses, counter trafficking through border control, the need for tramadol reviews by WHO, operational activities, etc. Social media influencers could be involved in countering drug use. We discussed the need to address cannabis cultivation, tramadol consumption, strengthen inter-agency cooperation. We are grateful to UNODC for the workshop.

On agenda item 6b, we welcome the ARQ adoption which will enhance data collection based on evidence. By adopting the ARQ we fulfilled our commitments from 2019. Proper completion of the ARQ will help address the world drug problem. We take note of the chair in addressing the concerns of member states, including on gender identity in the guideline. We look forward to a new version of the Guidelines to reflect the comments of member states, we welcome the footnote stating that the Guidelines are not adopted alongside the ARQ.

We welcome the need to enhance technical assistance, quality of information and data shared through the ARQ.

South Africa: In 2019, the CND adopted the Ministerial Declaration – a ten year plan of action to strengthen action to accelerate the implementation of our joint commitment to address and counter the world drug problem. This enhances international cooperation on drug control matters, and member States committed. The significance is that it encapsulates the commitments of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, the 2014 Ministerial Statement and the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document.

The 2019 Declaration will continue to guide legislative frameworks and other measures to counter drug abuse and other ills. We continue to be guided by three international drug conventions and drug policies. In countering the world drug problem, South African continues to review its policies and programmes. While these provide legislative framework, they focus on early intervention, prevention, treatment, re-integration and aftercare, monitoring and evaluation. With these we have begun reaping achievements on many fronts. For instance, these include a drug awareness programme, targeting children, youth, parents and older persons. An outreach programme aims to take services to people affected by substance use disorders who cannot take initiative. Social mobilisation initiatives. Education and awareness at institutions of higher learning, aimed at creating a substance abuse-free environment, to help students aspire to agree to a substance free lifestyle.

During the festive season, many lives are lost by drinking and driving. Young people get involved in irresponsible sexual behaviour because of their use of alcohol and drugs. The government has successfully hosted a conference on substance abuse. It was attended by political leaders, government departments, NGOs, CBOs, faith-based organisations, research institutions, the disability sector, treatment sectors, the AU and international countries. Twelve resolutions were adopted.

In the area of countering money laundering, the criminal justice system continues to make steady progress despite delays in extradition of criminals. It is paramount for the international community to simplify cooperation procedures to ensure mutual legal assistance. South Africa remains committed to resolve the 2019 Ministerial Declaration and looks forward to its mid-term review. We welcome the streamlined ARQ.

China: China supports UNODC and appreciates the efforts and research done to improve and streamline the ARQ. China will take effective measures to continuously improve data collection ability. We hope the UNODC will continue to work in this area in an open, objective and just manner. So that the revised and improved ARQ will objectively reflect the current world drugs issue without adding heavy workload to member States.

We hope that the UNODC and developed countries will increase technical assistance and help States improve data collection facilities – including by training and practice sharing.

Egypt: We welcome the adoption of the ARQ. We hope that the new version will enhance data collection in support of our efforts at all levels to counter the world drug problem. Egypt hopes that the proper completion of the ARQ will facilitate communication between member States and addressing the world drug problem. The matter of gender identity and the interpretation of this new concept in the guidelines – these were not universally accepted or negotiated at any level. We look forward the new revision to reflect the consensus of member States. We welcome the footnote saying that member States are not bound by its content in the compilation of the ARQ. We are glad that the CND has recognised different data collection in member States. Finally, and in order to improve data quality, Egypt supports the call on the UNODC to continue to provide enhanced technical assistance, in particular to developing countries.

Iran: Welcoming the decision to adopt the ARQ, we wish to share the following points. Member States will complete and submit the ARQ in line with their national legislation and societal context; full consideration should be given to cultural and religious values and legal systems; enhanced technical support and sustainable capacity building should be provided by the UNODC. Different countries have different data collection practices, approaches to drug-related matters, and data collection. The capacity of countries should be enhanced by which the response rate to the ARQ will be enhanced. Finally, as already agreed, the adoption does not entail endorsement of the guidelines and its terminology by the Commission.

Canada: Member States face unique challenges. The Substances Strategy underscores Canada’s commitment to a balanced and public health approach to drug policy, under pillars including harm reduction. It continues to be a priority for Canada to look into root causes. We want to make fewer people vulnerable to substance use and related harms. This requires a comprehensive response include poverty, stigma and discrimination. Public awareness activities for people who use drugs. By addressing stigma, people who use drugs won’t face discrimination when they access care.

The majority of overdose deaths since 2016 are due to contamination of legal supply, including fentanyl. We are increasing access to naloxone, including in First Nation and Inuit peoples – indigenous people are most disproportionately affected by the crisis. We are working with provincial and territorial governments to make evidence-based treatment more accessible. This includes support for medical-assisted treatment for those with opioid disorders. We have funded community projects for activities related to reducing harms, and finding approaches to combat the rise in methamphetamine use.

Supply reduction: including through security screening and intelligence analyses. Intelligence and law enforcement play a critical role in relation to drug trafficking. The control of pill presses, as well as the trafficking of substances through domestic mail, are significant challenges. Canada supports efforts that promote comprehensive, balanced and evidence-based approaches grounded in human rights. We are committed to working with international partners to address the world drug problem while respecting human rights. We also have a statement on the ARQ:

We consider a strong evidence base at the heart of our strategy to monitor trends. We support the efforts of the UNODC to develop a revised ARQ and agree that the work will lead to a strengthened ARQ. We stress the importance that it’s completed in a centralised manner. Canada has contributed at all stages and acknowledges the thorough attention made by UNODC to address our comments. The UNODC should make shareable versions of the questionnaire modules. It will be necessary for Canada and other States to share relevant modules with partners and then provide a centralised oversight. A single, centralised, non-shareable online form would hinder effective communication, and potentially lead to lower quality data. Canada also agreed with UNODC that an establishment of national focal points would be essential.

India: India’s commitment to improve the data collection mechanism is reflected in our national robust data collection mechanism. Keeping in view the operating recommendations on drug demand reduction and related measures India has replaced a national action plan for 2018-25, this national action plan aims to reduce the consequences of adverse drug abuse, through treatment, counseling, rehabilitation, preventive education and awareness programmes. And the need to take professional help for treatment, last year 1000 awareness programmes were conducted across India covering 150,000 youth. For 2021 the target is to cover 400,000 youth. 20% of the population is below the age of 25 and 65% below 35, the average age in India is 29 years. It is important to focus on children both in and outside schools. They are largely influenced by our literacy level, peer pressure and availability of drug substances. These negative influences can only be bought with the involvement of teachers and parents. School-based interventions have been formulated with active roles for teachers and parents. Higher education campuses are receiving information to make informed decisions. Such interventions require adequate capacities for the service providers, we need intensive training for personnel and stakeholders. We aim to cover 10,00 such participants this year. Easily accessible treatments are established in medical colleges, hospitals, prisons, juvenile homes and special groups i.e women and children. There are 613 government-supported organisations, where 100,000 treatments are administered every year. Community Based peer -led programs, with youth being involved to be peer leaders, providing safe and secure drop in space for people who are drug users. These centres will have provision of screening and will provide referral to rehabilitation, treatment and aftercare services, they already already function in 400 districts in the country. In order to establish purpose and self esteem in individuals, programmes of employment and vocational training are established in India. India has a harm reduction programme, where people who inject drugs receive OST, needle syringe programmes and testing of blood-borne viral infections. India is taking all practical measures for the prevention of abuse of drugs and psychotropic substances, and the early detection, treatment, after care, rehabilitation and promotion of personnel in these areas.

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