Home » Committee of the Whole (Afternoon session) Resolution L.5: Promoting quality, affordable, scientific evidence-based and comprehensive drug prevention and treatment services

Committee of the Whole (Afternoon session) Resolution L.5: Promoting quality, affordable, scientific evidence-based and comprehensive drug prevention and treatment services

Chair: We will continue considerations of L5. Colleague from Portugal, could you inform us of progress in informals? (…) I’m informed that Portugal is not with us at the moment. That is the problem of not being in the same room. Perhaps colleagues from Peru? Also not in the room.

I have to make a break until Portugal joins us.

Ok, we can resume. Portugal, the floor is yours.

Portugal: Sorry for the delay. The link wasn’t working. The externalities of working with this virtual environment. Today, negotiations were difficult but most or all delegations were very constructive. We agreed on PP12bis. On PP16alt, we agreed pending a Swedish reservation on ‘comorbidities’, but as this was agreed elsewhere, I think this reservation can be removed by our Swedish colleagues. On PP18, we managed to get agreement pending reservation from Egypt, which we can explore. PP19alt: we have agreed on ‘marginalised’ – this is being discussed in another resolution; we could import language from the other resolution or we consider we can move forward and agree it. PP20alt: Agreed pending Canada’s reservation on ‘drug use’. This is language on UNGASS. This was agreed last week on the discussions of the COVID-19 statement. OP1alt: The text in red is agreed ad ref, pending ‘marginalised’ and ‘gender diversity and sexual orientation’. On ‘marginalised’, we can either import language or simply not take use of this expression. On ‘gender diversity and sexual orientation’, a lot of discussion, so we hope on Chair to provide support in navigating these. OP2, on ‘affected populations’, ad ref pending reservation from Egypt. Finally, OP5, agreed ad ref. I call the attention besides the issue of sexual orientation and LGBTQ, a discussion on the mention to ‘torture’. Competing visions: ‘Torture’ has placed but not in this context vs. ‘Torture’ does have its place here. We’d appreciate your guidance. We’ll have a late-hour informal; and tomorrow we will have several. We don’t wish to postpone too much in this virtual setting.

Chair: Thank you for this introduction and your efforts. Straight into it.


Chair: Agreed by CoW.


Chair: Sweden has difficulties connecting. Should we break and start the system? Sweden now here!

Sweden: [Withdraws reservation].

Turkey: Very sorry for taking the floor now. Very difficult for some delegations to follow the meeting all the time so we missed this paragraph. We want to reserve ‘people with experience of drug use’, because this was wording that was also in other paragraphs and got streamlined.

Portugal: Indeed, further along, this was a discussion and, indeed, Turkey had this issue. But we did agree it on this PP. I don’t know if the setting of the CoW is the most adequate. We could try to draft here. Or take it to informals.

Chair: Let’s try to discuss the issue here. What would Turkey’s proposal be?

Turkey: Maybe we can use the same expression ‘affected populations’.

Portugal: As proponents, we prefer in this case to not interfere. We do prefer the current wording but if no one else has something to say, we are OK to go with this.

Egypt: Supporting Turkey’s proposal. But I need to consult my capital. Tomorrow, as soon as possible, I’ll get an answer to ‘affected populations’. Thank you, Chair.

Chair: I’m afraid we cannot reach an agreement so this will go to informal.


Chair: Is this reservation also something that you need to consult with your capital?

Egypt: I am waiting also from my capital. It’s the first day of Ramadan. Tomorrow morning we will have an answer.


Chair: We have the issue pending of Canada and the UK on ‘marginalised’. Could you compromise here? To whom can I give the floor of the UK delegation? I see the UK is asking for consultations. We break one minute. Canada and the UK are still needing some time. So, we break until 18:30 to wait for Canada and the UK to come in.

(Reminder of the way Interprefy works).

Canada: Apologies for the technical difficulties this afternoon. Regarding PP19alt, the question on which we have had discussion in the informals is regarding the issue of appropriate terminology relating to the issue of populations, and how best to describe them. In the current version of L5, there’s several references to ‘vulnerable populations’. The discussion has been about how to consider people who use drugs in a larger context. Which is why we have considered ‘marginalised’, which depicts a sense of exclusion that some individuals may experience and leads to negative impacts to them. We also note the need for consistency with terminology used in the UNGASS Outcome Document, in resolutions, in the Ministerial Declaration, which talk about ‘marginalisation’ and ‘social marginalisation’. We want to be constructive and ensure the discussions move along, because this is an important resolution. We would appreciate further discussions. If other options have been put forward, I would like to hear them.

United Kingdom: (…)

Chair: Let me use the waiting time to give the floor back to colleagues from Portugal. I give you the floor.

Portugal: Either we wait for the agreed language in the Canada resolution, or we agree without this language here, baring in mind the text is not contradictory with what is decided there. This is specific on treatment. From the start, we wanted to make a resolution that could have broad acceptance. If Canada links it to what is happening in their resolution, we can live with that.

United Kingdom: Thank you, Chair. We support Canada’s comments regarding the meaning of marginalised. That means ‘groups whose needs are not taken into account by mainstream services’. These groups face severe inequalities, like reduced average age of death, which is why this term is important.

Chair: Could you give up your reservation, colleagues from Canada and the UK?

Canada: Thank you for offering the floor again. I wouldn’t want to hinder progress in the resolution. If I could speak with my colleague with the UK, I’d be grateful for that and offer solutions. I respect and understand the need to advance these discussions.

Chair: You have five minutes.

Canada: I appreciate your patience. In the spirit of flexibility, Canada can agree to move beyond the reservation in this PP paragraph. But expect to discuss this further in the OPs.

Portugal: With this statement from Canada and the UK, this paragraph can be agreed, and replace the original PP19. I think it would be possible to close it because we had agreement on the rest.

Chair: Agreed by the CoW.


Chair: I would like to take this back to informals because the reservations raised by Canada

Portugal: We recall this language is from UNGASS and agreed yesterday by the Plenary on the COVID statement.

Chair: I ask you to discuss this bilaterally with Canada.

Portugal: We will take it to informals.

Chair: And perhaps also bilaterally first.


Portugal: We have references to ‘marginalised’ and to ‘gender diversity and sexual orientation’ here. Should we move this to informals?

United Kingdom: We would rather continue this in informals.

Chair: So, it is.


Chair: Reservations from Egypt too. We hope tomorrow, with information from your capital, we can move on.

Angola: I have no comments in the form of the document. I wanted to inform that Angola is officially co-sponsor of the present draft resolution by Portugal. We want to ensure the full support of Angola to Portugal in the draft resolution.

Chair: Thank you for this information. You have already sent a verbal note mentioning this.


Chair: This was agreed. I ask if anyone has oppositions of the paragraph agreed in informals. No? It is agreed by the CoW.

PP17 & OP3

Chair: Perhaps Joao, because many delegations couldn’t be here at 18:00, we can present the issues.

Portugal: On this particular OP, and in PP17, we have other issues to solve. The main one is the mention to torture. This paragraph talks about supervision of treatment facilities; essential for quality, which is a core matter. In UNGASS, when we deal with this issue, the Document does not mention torture. It is mentioned in a different context. In relation to the Convention against torture. The proponents suggested to add it here. A delegation says torture does not apply to private entities. The UNGASS paragraph applies to public ones. If we could bridge the divide, we could solve this issue in the OP.

Argentina: We propose, as said by the facilitator, to align ourselves with the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatme.tn, which is an international instrument widely adopted; almost universal. We believe that the addition, at the end, on national legaislation and applicatable international law, would resolve the issue of different interpretations of the meaning of torture by countries. It would align with Art. 1 of the Convention against Torture, which mentions relevant bidngin international intstruments and international legislation. This is what we propose.

United States: As discussed in informals, we strongly support the concept that this para is intending to address. We do have a concern with using ‘torture’ in this context because we discuss ‘torture’ are the actions of a member states; so, as highlighted in the informals, we would use the UNGASS citation in the same context, which does not have this concept. To get around, we would be prepared to propose new text derived from the International Treatment Standards. I defer to you whether I propose that here or take to informals.

Chair: If you have the text, please send it. Do you need time?

United States: I can propose the text now. Instead of ‘prevent any possible acts of torture’: Eliminate and prevent any inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in the name of treatment (from pg. 19 of the International Standards).

Portugal: The United States has been incredibly constructive and is intending to do so here too. This is an elegant way. It doesn’t mention ‘cruel’ but we could go with it if it reaches consensus.

Colombia: We have the expression ‘inhuman’ without the ‘e’. The new expression suggested by the US is a new one. The UNGASS Outcome Document does not make such a reference. We wanted to highlight that. We could use a full stop after punishment.

Chair: Could we do that?

United States: With regard to the removal of ‘in the name of treatment’, we can be flexible. We draw attention toward pg. 19 of the International Treatment Standards, as we took the expression directly from there. We can be flexible, though, in the use of the language from the Standards.

Chair: Colleague from Portugal, take this back to informals. You have a good way to go forward to find a solution on this.

Portugal: I take the opportunity to thank Angola for cosponsoring the resolution making it more cross-regional. Thank you Angola for your help, including the concepts in the resolution. And, as we said to Brazil, albeit with a different expression: ‘estamos juntos’.

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