Plenary – Agenda item 3: General Debate (continued).

Canada: As you know, the overdose crisis continues to impact Canadians with the loss of 19,355 individuals between 01/2016 – 09/2020, making this one of Canada’s most significant public health crises in recent history. The COVID 19 pandemic has worsened the overdose crisis and the harms of substance use, just having a tragic impact on people WHO use drugs, their families, and communities across Canada. Since 2017, the federal government has taken measures, and has invested some $7 million to prevent the negative impacts of drug addiction. Also has taken every measure to deal with the COVID 19 pandemic. Currently we have 37 supervised consumption sites operating across Canada. I would like to highlight that since 2017 there have been over 2.6 million visits, over 22,000 overdoses reversed without a single death, and more than 112,000 referrals to health and social services. In short, these harm reduction measures which prioritise the dignity, human rights and safety of people who use drugs have saved life and guided thousands of our citizens towards wellness, and multiple pathways to care. It falls upon member states to ensure access to demand reduction services in particular for marginalised people; that is why we have submitted a resolution this year to bring attention to this very important issue. [ ] At the international level, Canada engages with partners to help beneficiary countries monitor drug market trends and the emergence of opioids related analogues and NPS in order to quickly identify and mitigate threats to public health at both national and regional levels. As outlined in the UNGASS outcome document it is critical for enforcement and supply reduction measures to be aligned with national and international human rights obligations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We remain gravely concerned about the ongoing violations and abuses committed in the name of the world drug problem, including extrajudicial killings, and mass incarceration. Concluding, I would like to underscore the importance of reducing stigmatisation. This is a crucial step to recognising the fundamental rights and dignity of all people, including people who use drugs. Canada would like to thank member states who have co sponsored resolution this year in order to underscore the need for joint action to this end. [ ] continuing our work with the Commission, as well as other relevant United Nations entities including the UN system coordination Task Team. This week will provide us with a unique opportunity to discuss what we can do from a drug policy perspective to address the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and better prepare for similar future public health crises.

Namibia: During this unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic, my delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Africa group, and G77 and China. Like many countries, Namibia is negatively affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. No country can fight the proliferation of illicit drugs and associated crimes alone. It is a shared responsibility which requires an integrated and balanced approach. Therefore, my delegation underscores the importance of holding the views of multilateralism in addressing the world drug problem. Namibia maintains that the international drug control conventions constitute the cornerstones of the international drug control system and underlying the importance of achievable targets, provisions and goals set out in the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan. We have seen an increase in the usage of illicit drugs in recent years, with cannabis being the most commonly used; where incidents of cocaine and synthetic stimulants are also important. This has resulted in Namibia becoming attractive to drug smugglers and trafficking increasingly used as a transit and a consumer country. Several strategies have been put in place to deal with this phenomena and law enforcement agencies are making headway in arresting drug traffickers. Outreach programmes and projects involving national stakeholders are also carried out in an effort to raise awareness, particularly amongst students at learning institutions and the youth on the negative and destructive effects of illicit drug consumption, smuggling and trafficking. The successful interception of two reported drug cartels in Namibia is one of the success stories, derived from the collaboration of national law enforcement authorities and international and regional organisations in conducting joint operations to combat cross- and trans-border crimes. [ ] In conclusion, Namibia reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that all aspects of demand reduction and related measures, supplier reduction and related measures and international cooperation are addressed in full conformity with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, the principle of non-intervention, the inherent dignity of all individuals, and the principle of equal rights, and mutual respect amongst states.

Dominican Republic: The drugs policies in the Dominican Republic have as their focus human beings, their health, and the respect for human rights [with] a gender based approach expressed through the effective implementation of existing legal framework and reconciled with public safety policies. Our country seeks not only to treat people affected by the consumption of narcotics but also the support and commitment of all sectors involved, both public and private, to prevent and avoid the use and consumption of drugs. In this regard we are implementing a model for functional, coordinated and comprehensive care based on a study of the needs of the population. In this regard, we have strengthened programmes in the area of drug prevention and coordination with UNODC, such as the programme called “Play and Live”, the programme called “Building Families” and the programme called ”Parenting Skills”. In collaboration with the UNODC office in the country, which was inaugurated last year, we have taken steps to set up an early warning system which will identify NPS at the same time with the support and cooperation of CICAD; we would like to inform you about the reopening of the Dominican drug observatory. For the government of the Dominican Republic, the effects of COVID-19 had a serious impact on the consumption of drugs, narco trafficking and drug consumption in the country. We and a number of national and international coordinators are coordinating measures aimed at in dealing with the problem. The challenge for the Dominican authorities is to counter the trafficking, trade, and use of illicit drugs across the entire national territory, and also we need to strengthen policies to reduce supply and demand, with a public health based approach underpinned by evidence and respect for human rights. We would also like to underscore the collaboration between the Dominican Republic and the international community when it comes to legal cooperation. To conclude, Dominican Republic government would like to reiterate his firm commitment to the work of the CND and INCB.

Thailand: Thailand joins with all Member States to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1061 Single Convention and the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Convention which constitute as the cornerstone of the international drug control system. We reaffirm our commitment to all three international drug control conventions all adopted political declarations and the implementation of the UNGASS 2016 outcome document. We also support the work of CND, INCB, WHO, UNODC and other concerned entities in the UN system to counter the world drug problem. To address adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic every country including Thailand has undertaken new normal working practices at all levels. In response to travel restrictions and the social distancing practice Thailand could continue the communication with ASEAN colleagues from Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam through an existing online network under the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre or the SMCC mechanism. Against new challenges of increased online drug trade Thailand puts efforts into enhancing digital capacity of law enforcement agencies and investing in emerging technologies as well as strengthening international cooperation. To ensure that no one is left behind Thailand provides treatment and rehabilitation services by expanding a community-based treatment model using online platforms and encouraging village health volunteers to play an active role in the follow-up process. To overcome the rising trend of drug use Thailand placed more emphasis on drug prevention by expanding safety zones in the communities and promoting awareness raising campaigns for young people against drug use through education curriculums and social media. In conclusion the progress made over the last year proves that we are able to deliver an operational plan and make a tough decision even in the time of disruption from COVID-19.

Jordan:  We associate ourselves with the statement of the G77 and China, and to the statement of the African Group. My delegation reiterates the important and pivotal role played by the CND as a specialised agency in setting policies and programmes related to drugs. Besides the different measures to face the global drug problem we also reiterate our commitment to the three main international conventions to control drugs as a referential background in our national policies. Jordan is keen on enhancing all efforts deployed to address the problem of drugs and crime. Jordan is now one of the pioneers in fighting drug trafficking in the region. The 2019 WDR has highlighted the efforts deployed by the Jordanian customs and police agencies to fight drug trafficking and to ensure boarder control. We know that the region is witnessing today an inflow of illicit trade of drugs. The global report issued by UNODC notes that the increase in the numbers of unemployment due to COVID-19 would necessarily affect the most vulnerable and the poorest. As a result, they would be more prone to using drugs that would create an environment conducive to drug trafficking. The corona pandemic had economic and social impacts on Jordan, besides jeopardising the stability in the region. All of these are challenges that we have to face together. Hence the importance of intensifying all our efforts as international community and to provide the Jordanian authorities with all the needed support to stand up to these challenges by increasing the training programmes for the law enforcement agencies, and to supporting the rehabilitation centres that are offering free of charge services. The recent recommendations related to cannabis also require further assistance to develop our control mechanisms and to avoid the misuse of these substances. This will allow us to further the monitoring and treatment that we are offering to those who needed. Despite all these challenges, Jordan is keen on deploying further efforts to develop the legislative laws and regulations to fight drugs and to adopt a national framework that would clarify the responsibility of all the stakeholders. [Also, we are] creating a new fund called the fund to prevent drug use and psychotropic substances. To conclude we reiterate our commitment to promote our collaboration with the partner countries and international and regional organisations, and we support UNODC and its mandate and reinforcing the national, regional and international efforts to face the drug problem.

Venezuela: For the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela the fight against the world drug problem is an ongoing commitment. We have unreservedly implemented international obligations deriving from the drug control conventions as well as all relevant documents in this area. The current context of pandemic means that effective international cooperation is needed as never before. With coordinated, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary actions on the basis of scientific data and a non selective and non politicised handling of the topic. When we analyse the main challenges and difficulties that we as states are facing in this area, in the particular case of Venezuela, there are additional impediments. These include the imposition of illegal unilateral coercive measures, the manipulation of realities and facts in terms of the fight against the illicit trafficking, and the absence of cooperation due to political, military or economic motivations in the past for certain countries. Given the geo-strategic position of Venezuela which is in a place where various and many see corridors cross and as a result is attractive for criminal groups to try and use the territory for the illicit transit to satisfy the growing demand for drugs in the northern hemisphere, our monitoring system has had to be reconfigured in order to respond to the deal this phenomenon. We continue to have very difficult and complex scenarios, given the geographical proximity of Venezuela to some of the hubs; areas producing coca; these resulting from an optimization of profits generated in this illicit activity which has a tendency to overflow and to change international stability. Despite these limitations Venezuela has been undertaking important steps in combating illicit drugs trade with a comprehensive approach in the light of our commitments, not only in the area of supply demand but also focusing on the reduction of demand. In particular, in educational centres, and through promoting healthy ways of life, completely free. There is a need to highlight that Venezuela continues to have the status granted by the UN being a country free of illicit crops, in which there is not an endemic drug traffic problem nor high prevalence of consumption and our financial system is not being used for money laundering. We reiterate our robust rejection of unilateral lists or certifications which politically prejudge the efforts of states when it comes to addressing the drug problem, which undermine the pillars of international cooperation, whose response needs to be common in our collective action. Finally, we would like to reiterate that in order to move towards a more effective control and prevention strategies as a need to seek the real sense of the conventions and understand that without strengthening multilateralism and respect for the charter of United Nations a little can be done to stop this scourge which beset humanity. 

Iraq:  This session convenes at a time when we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1971 Convention and 50 years on the adoption of the 1961 convention. I would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the provisions of these conventions which have been serving the word throughout the years and which are the cornerstone in elaborating policies to counter drug trafficking worldwide. We also reiterate the importance of focusing on the links between organised crimes and illicit drug trafficking. The Iraqi authorities are deploying all efforts in order to counter the spread of drugs and to fight illegal drug trafficking. The law enforcement agencies are tracing the traffickers and the gangs that are specialised in drug trafficking. Unfortunately several law enforcement agents are falling prey to these gangs. In parallel the health sector is deploying long term efforts to treat those who have a drug dependency problem despite the difficult social circumstances, the lack of economic and medical resources, and the lack of health professionals. Our institutions are sparing no effort to put an end to the spread of drugs. We are trying to bridge the legal gaps; currently we are amending the anti drug trafficking law to take into account the necessary support that the victims of drug trafficking need, and the access we should provide to specialised rehabilitation centres. I would like to seize the opportunity to ask all these specialised authorities to provide us with the necessary support to treat those drug addicts because we know that they are largely affected by the circumstances, especially in light of the COVID19 pandemic. We reiterate our firm commitment to enhance international cooperation to stop cross border, drug trafficking, and to dismantle the criminal networks. We also encourage regional and sub regional cooperation through MoU in order to prevent the illegal trafficking of psychotropic substances. We should spare all efforts to protect our peoples and specially the youth, and protect them from the negative repercussions of drug abuse. I seize the opportunity to pay tribute to UNODC and welcome the continuing constructive cooperation between us and UNODC. We call upon UNODC to enhance its presence in Iraq and to provide the technical assistance and border control capacity building, training and empowering national authorities in order to live up to their mandate. It is also important to pursue our coordination with all the stakeholders. Considering the positive impact that such a collaboration would have on achieving our common goals. To conclude, we look forward to a greater cooperation with all the parties and to exchanging our experiences and information on all bilateral and multilateral levels to live up to our commitments and to fight together this scourge collectively.

Syrian Arab Republic: Syria is keen on modernising its laws and legislations taking into account the provisions of these conventions and we have also been adopting targeted measures to prevent the transfer or diversion of these substances. Syria has been suffering from the cross border drug trafficking. Due to its geographic situation Syria is a route for drug traffickers between the countries of origin and countries of destination. Unfortunately this phenomenon has grown in recent years because of the criminal networks supported by several countries which were controlling several cross border points and also the activities of criminal groups. This has created an environment conducive to the trafficking of drugs and the drug money has been used to fund the terrorist groups. This emphasises the close link between terrorism, trans-border organised crime and drug trafficking. Some countries who have been importing terrorism to Syria have been using drug as one of its terrorist tools by targeting disadvantaged groups in our city and society, especially the youth, in order to control them. Second, they have done so by using drug pills in order to control the minds of the young people and inciting them to commit hideous crimes against the Syrian people.  We are deeply concerned over the fact that the criminal groups are today inventing new tools and methods to spread the use of drugs. These groups are today using modern technologies and financial revenues to support these activities and of course this money comes from the illicit drug trade. This requires an effective international cooperation to face this threat including the continuing exchange of relevant information and intensifying our efforts by building the technical resources and providing new detection tools to control the borders. I would like to mention that one of the main challenges the Arab Syrian Republic is facing today in its efforts to preventing drugs is the unilateral coercive measures that have been imposed by some countries and the different forms of blockades imposed on Syria which have hindered our efforts and prevented us from implementing effectively the measures we need to fight this scourge.

New Zealand: New Zealand is pleased to join others in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the single Convention of narcotic drugs, and the 50th of the Convention on psychotropic substances. Both conventions have played a vital role in providing an international legal framework for drug control measures while ensuring the availability of important medicines. New Zealand remains a strong advocate of the conventions and the fundamental goal of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of humanity. Over the six decades since the 61 Convention was adopted the drug landscape has seen many changes. States and the international community have needed to adapt and respond to these, and in many ways, we have succeeded but there is still work to be done. New Zealand is strongly of the view that in order to successfully address the challenges we face it is important to give ourselves the space to explore new approaches to reduce harm and build evidence on what actually works. This will allow us to establish a balanced modern drug policy that harnesses the effectiveness of a health approach to reduce harm and to improve national security. In this vein New Zealand welcomes the vote by the CND to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. We see this as an important step in acknowledging the medical and therapeutic properties of cannabis and encouraging global research into its public health potential. However, while we see progress in some areas, there is still room for improvement in others. New Zealand shares the concerns of other member states regarding the disproportionate use of the death penalty in response to drug offending and we continue to advocate for its abolition. We also see the need to increase services and awareness of the needs of vulnerable members of society, not least, indigenous populations. We see this in our own country where often the burden of drug harm falls most heavily on our Marty communities. Domestically, New Zealand used 2020 to consolidate good work on drug issues. In April, our medicinal cannabis scheme came into effect improving access to quality medicinal cannabis products. Towards the end of 2020, temporary legislation was passed to allow limited drug taking at festivals. But despite progress methamphetamine, synthetic drugs and cannabis still remain a concern. But we believe that our compassionate, innovative and proportionate approach to drug issues puts us in a strong position to make significant progress on addressing the harm caused by drugs to our society.

Peru: Peru’s commitment to addressing and countering the world drug problem is based on the principle of common and shared responsibility of all states. Our country shares the concern of the entire international community, given the damage caused by the production trade and consumption of illicit drugs amongst our citizens. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified this problem in showing the existence of new trafficking routes and new modalities used by traffickers, along with the appearance of new patterns for the consumption of illicit substances, amongst other factors. This further complication of the drugs market means that we as states need to redouble our efforts to effectively address this scourge. For its part, Peru is implementing a series of steps to monitor illicit crops, along with a promotion of comprehensive and sustainable alternative development in accordance with the new national policy for drugs. [These data] have then been given to the UNODC and the INCB since it’s useful for the analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain of this narcotic. At the same time, when it comes to monitoring coca cultivation there is a need to underscore the implementation of the information system to combat drugs as a central tool of the national policy to combat this problem. I would also like to underscore the draft resolution submitted by Peru jointly with Germany and Thailand. On the sidelines of this forum which seeks to promote and reaffirm alternative development as an important legal viable and sustainable strategy replacing message drugs and the crucial role that is called upon to play in these times of pandemic. I would like to conclude this intervention by reflecting on the idea that the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious threat in addition to the long standing dangers of the world drug problem. So there is a crucial need to make our cooperation closer in accordance with the values and principles which inspire and underpin multilateralism which Peru is aligned with and committed to.

Qatar: The global problem of drugs is still exacerbating and the 2020 WDR has indicated that 269 million people have abused drugs in 2018, a 30% increase compared to 2019. The youth, women and the poor are the one that are paying the price for this global drug problem. COVID-19 pandemic has [intensified] his problem, whereby the circumstances of the pandemic led to increasing unemployment rates making the unemployed vulnerable and prone to abusing, trafficking and cultivating drugs. This pandemic also provided a new opportunity for organised criminal groups to sell drugs as well as counterfeit COVID vaccines. The pandemic also resulted in a drop in the control medications, an increase in prices of drugs as well as an increase in the overdose deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented dangers and threats for all humankind. This is why we would like to stress upon the importance of the principle of joint responsibility. This has to be the cornerstone of multilateralism in order to face this global problem. We would like to insist as well on the importance of providing priorities in giving assistance to developing countries, whereby the problem of drugs is growing very fast. Qatar has provided with very generous financial assistance to WHO as well as to the countries that have been most affected by COVID-19. Qatar has also provided $100 millions for research institutions that have worked on producing COVID-19 vaccines. Qatar takes pride in its national record in combating drugs and preserving the security and safety of society. All this has been done through a multi disciplinary and integrated approach at the level of prevention and cure. Qatar is also giving priority to prevention measures so that all citizens will have a healthy life with decency, security and prosperity. At the national level Qatar is pursuing its support to regional and international programmes in order to address the problem of drugs. I would like to mention the “Doha Declaration” global programme as a pioneering programme to provide support to countries in order to address organised crime as well as corruption, terrorism and drugs. We would like also to stress upon the importance of the implementation of the 2030 sustainable agenda. Qatar is proud that through its education for “Justice Initiative” it was granted the Innovation Award for 2020; and Qatar will pursue its cooperation with the UNODC in order to draw upon the successes in implementing the “Doha Declaration”.

United Kingdom:  We face unprecedented challenges despite our global efforts. Organised crime groups continue to profit from the global illicit drug market; worth 9.4 billion pounds a year in the UK alone and the cost to UK society is over 19 billion pounds. Lives lost to drugs highlight the urgent need to tackle drug misuse. We must step up international efforts to choke off the supply of harmful drugs and relentlessly pursue the organised criminals behind this. We also need to do more to ensure greater global access to treatment. The UK urges all member states who use the penalty for drug offences to abolish this practice which violates human rights. The government is committed to protecting individuals from the harm of drugs and to understand the complex factors involved. In January, the government announced 148 million pounds of investment to treatment and to tackle drug related crime. This includes funding for project “ADA” which will invest in the intensive whole system approach to tackling drug misuse in five of the hardest hit areas in England and Wales and will enable local police, drug treatment services and recovery services to work better together. COVID-19 has brought further challenges and highlights the need to take joint and sustained action to tackle the harms caused by illicit drugs. We must learn from the initiatives we have all taken during this time. In the UK we introduced guidance that has supported services to move most patients on opioid substitution therapy, from the daily supervised consumption of their medication to weekly or fortnightly collection to ensure continued access to treatment whilst reducing their contact with staff, and easing pressure on pharmacies. Our skilled drug teams continue to work with their community pharmacists to take a risk based approach to individual patients and their needs. As a result of COVID, a number of services and mutual aid groups have rapidly moved to telephone and online support, and also postal delivery of injecting equipment. Many service users have benefited enormously from these new or expanded forms of access, especially if they needed to shield themselves from COVID. Virtual support was easier to access and use than face to face. The UK will continue to take an evidence based approach to protect our communities from the wide ranging harms caused by drugs, balancing tougher enforcement with a need to turnover more people in supportive treatment, recovery. I will conclude by reiterating the United Kingdom’s commitment to international cooperation to address the world drug problem, and continue to support the work of the UNODC, the INCB and the WHO in this regard.

Morocco:  The holding this year of the 64th CND coincides with the 60th anniversary of the 1961 single convention, the 50th anniversary of the 1971 convention on psychotropic substances and the 33rd anniversary of the 1988 convention on illicit traffic of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and is a perfect opportunity to reiterate the validity of these three legal instruments and reaffirm our joint commitment to implementing the goals of this legal corpus which constitutes the bedrock of the international drug control regime. We need an approach which is integrated multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing, balanced and science based to counter the world drug problem. In this context, my delegation appreciates the decision to dedicate this general debate to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world drug problem in order to highlight the work needed to tackle this threat which seems to have become firmly entrenched and is fraught with various challenges and consequences. The measures taken throughout the world to counter the spread of the pandemic have generated new trends in drug trafficking and drug consumption with all that implications. These negative consequences whose nature and scope are yet to be assessed exhaustively require particular attention in order to offset the impacts on how we address the world drug problem and its entirety at the national and international levels. With this in mind we encourage the efforts of UNODC to contribute to facilitating the implementation of our Commission’s decisions which seek to govern the use of narcotic drugs for purely medical purposes and to identify best practices in this area. My delegation believes it is crucial that we mobilise to prioritise the world drug problem in our agendas and strategies for the post COVID-19 relaunch. Proceeding from the principle of common and shared responsibility my delegation took an active part in negotiating this year’s resolution on the impact of this pandemic on the implementation of drug control commitments. In that regard we welcome the appeal of the commission to UN member states, featured in paragraph 35. Despite the COVID related restrictions, Morocco has continued its tireless efforts to honour his international commitments to address the world drug problem. With that in mind, Morocco is continuing his implementation of its comprehensive and balanced drug control strategy on the basis of offer and supply reduction, preventing drug use, providing access for drug dependence and bilateral and international cooperation. As for demand reduction, the Moroccan authorities have undertaken several awareness raising activities including in schools, regarding the risks and harmful consequences of consuming drugs and psychotropic substances. When it comes to access to treatment for drug dependence, the Moroccan authorities have been able to ensure the supply of controlled substances while preventing their diversion. As for bilateral and international cooperation, the competent Moroccan authorities have redoubled that alertness and strengthened their interagency coordination, as well as operational cooperation with friendly countries in order to thwart the criminal plans of drug trafficking networks. [ ] This struggle must not be attempted in a narrow minded or non collaborative manner. It must be in keeping with our shared goal to achieve a world without drugs. That is something that is evident and something that we continue to note every day when we face up to these challenges related to the COVID 19 pandemic.

South Africa: South Africa uses a human rights approach in the implementation of prevention and treatment programmes for vulnerable groups. The MS19 is informed by the Conventions, the 2009 Political Declaration, 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement, and the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document, important instruments in our resolve to solve the world drug problem, which persists, negatively affecting the achievement of the SDGs; especially 3, 5 and 15. During this period, criminal syndicates took advantage of the situation in many countries, adapting their Operations. The use of the darknet is a cause of concern.  We are cognisant that substance abusers, particularly vulnerable groups, were impacted by the national lockdowns. Criminal networks are taking advantage of business networks, interconnected through globalisation, increased communications, to carry out their illegal activities. We also saw an increase in the use of crypto-currency for payment of drug transactions. And the trafficking of counterfeit medicines. The world drug problem will not stop until we neutralise criminal networks. We are cooperating closely with WHO and other governments and entities to foster a collaborative approach. We are appalled by the vaccine nationalism and greed of developed countries; against solidarity in these difficult times. We welcome the decision to delete cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention, recommended by the WHO ECDD. The placement of cannabis should be based on evidence. I conclude encouraging UNODC to provide technical support, particularly to developing countries, in the implementation of a balanced, evidence-based drug policies in the fight against the world drug problem and the COIVD-19 pandemic.

Kazakhstan: (Technical difficulties).

Afghanistan: Our country cultivates a huge amount of the world’s opium. Last year was challenging. Security being the main reason, locally; there are many other reasons that trigger cultivation internally. The consumption of heroin in countries is involved in this process. My country is one of them. As per the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document, this is a shared responsibility and global issue. Afghanistan has suffered the most from narcotics and their trade. The opium business earns more than 60 billion dollars around the world. Less than 2 billion remain in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, that money is used to run the terror machine in Afghanistan. It breeds insecurity. And leads to more than 2 million users. Recognising the concept of shared responsibility, I can assure you that the Afghan government is firmly committed to fight narcotics. At the policy level, the government has developed several laws, policies, and strategies. The Counternarcotic law is being amended according to this new law, a High commission will be established and chaired by the President, to lead on the fight against narcotics. This is part of the sincere efforts of the governments to bring the fight to the highest level possible. In addition, Peace and Development Framework of the country; and endorsement of the national Action Plan. Our law enforcement approach has led to over 3,500 arrests of traffickers and the highest number of arrest and operations in the region. Surgical airstrikes have been conducted to destroy heroin labs. The price of a litre of precursors went up thanks to our work. We cannot tackle this phenomenon alone. We conduct bilateral and multilateral meetings. Furthermore, with the help of UNODC, we are preparing to host the (…) meeting in Kabul. The idea is to strengthen cooperation and work for a comprehensive approach and programme. We need to build on this and establish regional cooperation in real terms.

Chair: Apologies, but I will have to ask you to share your statement online.

Cuba: We face a challenge on drugs. 190 million people consume cannabis. The pandemic has devastating effects on societies and economies, which has taken away many human lives and led to fragility in health. It has left us with a terrible reality: trafficking in falsified medicines. As a positive, it shows collaboration internationally is essential to safeguard health. The scourge of drugs extends to all regions. It fuels exclusion. It is difficult to resolve it. (Interpreter apologies for lack of quality of sound). Today is more important than ever before to acknowledge the common and shared responsibility of the international community. Some states do not comply with their ability to comply. Flexibilization and legalisation open up spaces for greater danger for our nations, which can have an impact on other aspects. There are experiments that show that drugs can be addressed when we develop and implement participatory, preventive, education policies drawn by states. It’s been demonstrated that a great deal can be done through inclusion, participation, rehabilitation, health without discrimination, complemented with a firm hand on crime and international cooperation. Our country has ensured that production, trafficking and consumption of drugs isn’t a significant issue in our country. The Cuban revolution offers great resources in this affair. Despite the blockade, we have managed to fulfil our commitments. We urge abidance to the three conventions of the UN on this area, the cornerstone of addressing this scourge. We need to take into account the 2009 Political Declaration, and the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, which underpin our consensus. We seek societies free from illicit drugs. And the need for sustainable development.

Lebanon: We are committed to all international instruments. For a year and a half, we have faced difficult economic and social circumstances. Our currency has devalued and poverty has risen. These circumstances are fertile ground for growing markets. Our authorities are deploying doubled efforts to face these challenges. Coordinating between the Ministry of Interior, Health, Justice and Social Affairs, in collaboration with UN entities and civil society, to face the drug problem in all fronts, including through prevention and awareness raising. Law 178 in 28 May 2020, on the licencing of cannabis culture for medical uses was adopted. Elaborated in line with our commitments to the 1961 convention.  Inclusive, consultative mechanisms that brought together official and civil stakeholders. Organising and controlling medical purposes of cannabis, achieving sustainable development in affected areas, education, awareness raising on health risks of cannabis, protecting public health, imposing strict requirements for storing, packaging and transportation; reducing word of organised crime based on illicit cannabis trade. It reflects a modern approach to address cannabis problematics. Avoids risks of illicit production of cannabis. And public to benefit from proceeds. We’re aware of the challenges we’ll face in implementing this law, of course. We welcome technical support from UNDOC. We have benefited from experiences from other countries too.

Azerbaijan: Illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse are serious problems. Threats to moral and intellectual potential of society. Trafficking leads to increase in crime but also one most serious international security threats, including terrorism. At the same time, increased economic integration, like transport links, is accompanied by drug trafficking from some areas of the world to our countries. (Sound quality is very poor). The Republic of Azerbaijan has benefit from efforts by international community, and international legislative framework. The purpose of state programmes on combatting illicit trafficking is the fight against trafficking, drug abuse, drug propaganda, prevention of trafficking, drug education (Sound quality is very poor).

Panama: (Technical difficulties).

Albania: The world drug problem poses a serious threat to our countries and our societies, straining the rule of law, safety and all related institutions and agencies. Our government pursues an unwavering holistic approach. The National Strategy Against Organised Crime intertwines national measures with international methods and tools, as well as methods to protect communities, institutions, and the economy, and preventing the grow of illicit activities. Upholding the rule of law for the development of our society is our national top priority, as well as fulfilling the aspirations of our citizens to join the EU family. Which is why we intensify our cooperation with neighbours. As noted by the European Commission, this has led to successful law enforcement cooperation operations. Dismantling drug trafficking networks. Repressive measures are coupled by preventative and awareness orientated programmes, including alternative development programmes. This is a complex, transnational phenomenon. We must move on with a shared sense of responsibility and determination.

Switzerland: We request the Commission ensures the participation of civil society even in these difficult times. We acknowledge the inclusion of matters pertaining to the lack of access to controlled medicines in the new UNODC Strategy. The pandemic has illustrated that member states and the INCB must display greater commitment to ensuring access to controlled medicines. We thank the INCB about this. Discussions on drug policy are crosscutting in the UN system because of their complex nature. Health, development, and human rights aspects are all important. All UN organisations dedicated to these issues must be involved. We urge us to address these matters holistically. We requested that an additional point is added to the next agenda on the Joint Common UN Position on drug policy. Enhanced cooperation between Vienna, Geneva and New York are crucial for comprehensive, coherent responses to illicit drugs. The international community must not overlook HIV challenges. It is unacceptable that discussions on HIV/AIDS among people who use drugs continue to being controversial, like in relation to measures aimed at reducing the negative impacts of drug use. We must reduce risks related to drug use. Putting human beings at the heart of drug policies is our priority.

Republic of Korea: Expanding drug markets, increased cultivation, evolving drug trafficking and organised crime are just some of the challenges we face today. A comprehensive and coherent approach is needed. Member States, international organisations and civil society must collaborate closely. Scientific and evidence based approaches are also essential. At the same time, we must continue to ensure access to controlled substances for medical and scientific use. In compliance with our drug control system, we have been bolstering our response to the world drug problem domestically and internationally. We have proactively strengthened resources, advance legislation, and technologies; like the darknet intelligence system devised by the national police to track drug dealings in the dark web. We have noted patterns of building capacity, working together with UNODC and INCB. We will continue efforts to tackle the world drug problem with international community. Strong commitment to 2019 Ministerial Declaration, and the 3 complementary and mutually reinforcement drug policy instruments of 2009, 2014, 2016. I remind our delegates that Korea is a candidate to CND 2021-2025, hoping to contribute further to tackle the world drug problem as a member of the commission. We would be thankful for your support.

Turkey: Turkey is fully committed to the three international drug conventions, the cornerstone of the international drug control system. Their full implementation is central. CND is the primary policymaking body. UNODC should offer support. INCB plays important role as well. 1) Criminal organisations and terrorist groups are trafficking and producing drugs to fund their heinous activities. Recent operations against PKK in Turkey uncovered large amounts of drugs and weapons. An increase in cultivation and production of drugs, including cannabis, will have a negative effect against the struggle against terrorism financing. 2) Our authorities successfully seize drugs in our country. 14 tonnes of heroin. 93.8 tonnes of cannabis. 96 tons of cocaine. 4.2 tons of methamphetamine. Etc. 3) Turkey is one of the legal and reliable opiate raw material for medical purposes. We apply strict controls to avoid diversion. 4) We are seriously concerned about the increasing use of NPS, especially among youth. Misuse of internet for drug crimes is also worrisome. We must adopt a multisectoral and transnational approach. The Turkish Green Crescent Society and other NGOs have assumed important responsibilities in the field. 5) Turkey also offers assistance to many countries, through training programmes, the counternarcotic training academy, and others, are main pillars of our programme. We witness that the pandemic and lockdowns and restrictions have influenced the substance abuse and trafficking routes and methods. People with drug use disorder are under increased risks. We must all address the world drug problem and problems arising during the pandemic. We are strongly committed to our joint efforts.

Greece: Greece aligns itself with the statement of the EU. We recently developed a national drug strategy and action plan based on the cornerstones of international community: human rights, evidence-based practices, a balanced approach between supply and demand reduction policies. The ‘war against drugs’ should not be a war against people who use drugs. We affirm the position of the EU against the death penalty. We must stay focused on our efforts to reduce the social stigma, discrimination, and marginalisation of our citizens, who for whatever reason are using drugs. We must support them and provide opportunities to minimise risks and harms associated with their habit and empower them for full social reintegration. Policies should be informed by science. All countries, in a coordinated way, should work to address the covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the use of drugs, for a better and sustainable future for all.

Belgium: We align ourselves with the EU statement. For several years now, Belgium has been proactive in promoting adequate access to and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. Although the Conventions, which we celebrate today, enshrine this principle, this remains a critical issue. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored we are still far from achieving access. More efforts are needed to close the global pain divide, which affects millions, including children worldwide. Belgium supports UNDOC and INCB programmes on this matter. The lack of access also leads people to source counterfeit products. We need to strengthen data collection, encourage scientific research and work with civil society. Drug abuse carries stigma, leading to discrimination, and complicating access to services. Women with drug use disorders are particularly vulnerable to stigmatisation, violence, and other risks. This needs our attention in implementing and evaluating policies. My country is also successfully addressing the challenge in relation to cocaine trafficking via our country as a trafficking route. More than a third of seizures take place in the port of Antwerp. Stricter national and local policies have led to successes in this regard. We have strengthened our cooperation with UNODC and partner countries in Central and South America and look forward to building more partnerships against trafficking and abuse.

Malaysia: As the world faces and unprecedented health and socioeconomic challenge due to COVID-19, the number of cases of illicit drugs remains high. Drug syndicates have deployed new strategies and modus operandi to further the nefarious activities, including couriers, e-hailing, and e-commerce platforms. Despite this, Malaysia is steadfast in executing measures to control supply and demand of drugs, while improving the quality and accessibility of treatment for drug dependence. We underscore three important elements in managing drug issues in the country: 1) We are revising the drug dependence act to expand access to appropriate treatment and rehabilitation services. 2) Malaysia has implemented strict enforcement activities and intelligence sharing at all levels during the pandemic, successfully implementing operations against syndicates in the region. We have confiscated more than 20 tons of drugs. There is a drastic increase of seizures in 2020. 3) We provide an extensive network of treatment centres, including service centres and client integrated centres fully managed by government agencies. In addition, community houses managed by the local community. The use of online platforms for treatment has been introduced. Tele-counselling was initiative to ensure recovery programmes are on track, helping those dealing with addiction issues. We reiterate the importance of a balanced and evidence based approach. No country would be able to address and counter the world drug problem alone. The strategic partnership must be forged among member states in our common fight to protect security and sovereignty and prevent the irreparable loss of human life. Our presence here is demonstration of our commitment and political will towards prevention of illegal drugs.

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