Home » Plenary Item 9. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolution 72/305, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Plenary Item 9. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolution 72/305, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Chair: Recalls legal basis for this agenda item and the work of the UN CND on matters related to the SDGs. Declaration L2 will be submitted to ECOSOC as a contribution.

Secretariat: As you mentioned, the CND and also the sister commission, CCPCJ, are both functional commissions of ECOSOC. Thereby also asked to contribute to the work of ECOSOC. That was the case in the past. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, those contributions have become many more, and even more substantive and comprehensive. Therefore, as Secretariat, we have supported both commissions and created a sub-webpage where we make that information available ,so that it explains more in general how CND contributes to specific goals, but also information on the contributions to the HLPF. This year, as you mentioned, the HLPF will take place in July 2021, under the theme: Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development. The contribution for 2021 has been already posted in this sub-webpage and we will soon add the statement of the CND on the impact of COVID-19. The HLPF will review some goals in particular, Goals 3, 8, 16, 17.On behalf of the Secretariat of Governing Bodies, we continue committed to support the CND in its contributions to ECOSOC.

UNODC: UNODC contributes to the review of progress made toward SDGs through its support to the CND and CCPCJ within our scope. The Office also plays a role of the implementation of the indicator framework related to the SDGS, approved by the Statistical Commission, the cornerstone of the monitoring system. Last year, an important step on the availability of data on treatment coverage was accomplished when the CND adopted the new ARQ, the main form of data collection on drugs. It will allow us to more comprehensive data to address the world drug problem. As the custodian of 16 SDG indicators, on its own or jointly with other entities. Monitoring is carried out bu our Research Branch based on data provided by member states. Monitoring brings evidence to national and international levels. In 2020, another important milestone, UNODC and UNCTAD, co-custodians on SDGs related to illicit financial flows, produced reports on the methodological approach and statistical definitions of this complex concept, to produce comparable, disaggregated data on the matter. We conducted a number of pilot projects on some specific illicit markets, including drug trafficking in Latin America. UNODC has further launched the new eLearning module on staff on results-based management under SDGs to ensure UNDOC programme portfolio aligning with MS efforts to attain the SDGs goals, targets and reporting on achievements. A thematic session on inclusive peace at the recent ECOSOC Youth Forum emphasised interlinks SDG 10 & 16, and how youth are key agents for change in their communities.

United States: The US welcomes efforts to coordinate and deconflict the work of UN system and specialised agencies. The issues of this commission demonstrate interconnectedness of UN bodies. As you mentioned, and as the Chair contribution to the HLPF, efforts toward development and countering drugs are mutually reinforcing. The CND must continue to develop new and creative ways to involve UN bodies, through expert panels, side events and briefings to the commission. Commend CND toward commitment that pandemic did not halt important work of this body. And that transition to hybrid modalities has facilitated engagement from whom participation might have otherwise not been feasible. Civil society representatives, including from scientific community, also have important knowledge, expertise, and information to share with member states. Further, private sector can play valuable role advancing the goals of UN drug conventions. We encourage CND to continue to come up with new ways for involvement.

Dejusticia: Madam Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen I am speaking to you on behalf of Elementa, the Center for Drug and Security Studies of the Universidad de los Andes, the International Drug Policy Consortium, the Washington Office on Latin America, and Dejusticia. Regarding the agenda item in question, we want to highlight the worrying situation faced by rural farmers who cultivate coca leaf. An estimated one million people in the Andean region, who, faced with the precariousness of living in rural environments, grow coca as a survival strategy. A large part of coca crops are located in areas of special environmental protection – forest reserves, national parks, and strategic ecosystems -, highlighting the urgency of a sustainable development lens for this issue. The new initiatives created so that communities that grow coca can voluntarily transition to legality, through voluntary substitution, have been bittersweet, as their implementation has been very poor and few families have benefitted. Voluntary substitution competes in resources and political discourse with repressive tools,specifically forced manual eradication, and the imminent return of aerial spraying with glyphosate, this, despite the insistent opposition of the communities, civil society and special human rights mechanisms. The damages and risks caused by this activity – to health, the environment and sources of income – are directed against populations in marginalized conditions, with little or no access to health services, depriving them of their livelihoods, and risking the sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. For these and other reasons, seven United Nations Special Rapporteurs recently expressed concern about the possible resumption of aerial spraying with a substance declared as probably carcinogenic by the WHO. Moreover, the United Nations System Common Position on Drug Policy underscores, in its directions for action, that measures to promote sustainable livelihoods, including in areas of illicit crops, take into account environmental protection and sustainability. Aerial spraying with glyphosate threatens precisely these shared principles: it is directly linked with environmental degradation. We urgently call on UNODC to join the Special Rapporteurs and express their concern about the restart of fumigation. The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy recommend that States prohibit aerial spraying, under their obligations to guarantee the right to health and the right to the environment. Distinguished delegates, the programs of rural transformation based on proper sequencing, participation and rural development have better outcomes and also better protect health and human rights. The international community, and in particular the United Nations system, have a responsibility to express their rejection of aerial spraying with glyphosate, and promote initiatives that prioritize the security, dignity and livelihoods of the rural population, while protecting several shared and common principles, aligned with the 2030 Agenda: sustainability, protection of strategic ecosystems, gender equality, and of course, peace and security.

International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO): Excellencies and distinguished colleagues, I am making this intervention today on behalf of the International Network of People who Use Drugs, who are here as part of the delegation of the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations. The 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document encouraged member states to consider efforts to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals mutually reinforcing to the global drug policy response. We believe continuing to construct global drug policy around the goal of a drug free world impedes progress on the SDGs by escalating an oppressive environment towards people who use drugs. The pursuit of a drug free world has not only failed to reduce drug production or use, but has proliferated human rights abuses globally. Punitive laws enforcing criminalisation, informed through the three UN drug conventions, lead to denial of human rights and disruptions to critical health services for people who use drugs, including HIV prevention and treatment programmes for people who inject drugs. Stigma, violence and discrimination are commonplace in the lives of people who use drugs, who often experience state-sanctioned violence, including extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detention, justified by the pursuit of a drug free world. Actions taken by states to prevent the production of drugs, such as aerial crop eradication, contribute to food insecurity and poverty. The racist origins of many national drug laws persist today as Black, Indigenous and people of color experience state-sanctioned discrimination enabled by drug criminalisation. Women who use drugs face significant stigma and represent the fastest growing prison population worldwide, contributing to the problem of gender-based violence. States which maintain drug criminalisation despite these well-known and documented harms are signaling they are willing to overlook this human rights catastrophe in pursuit of the unattainable ideal of a drug free world. This is not a state of affairs in which the SDGs can be reached. A central pledge of the agenda is that no one will be left behind. So long as the global drug policy response continues to insist on an environment of criminalisation, this pledge is impossible to achieve. People who use drugs have been advocating for the decriminalisation of all drugs for decades, and around the world we are seeing the results of this work begin to bear fruit. More states have moved to depenalise or decriminalise drug use. The UN Common Position calls for the decriminalisation of drug use. The new Global AIDS Strategy includes targets on ending the criminalisation of key populations, including people who use drugs. To achieve the targets set forth in the sustainable development agenda, the international community must commit to a global drug policy response which centers the human rights, health and dignity of people who use drugs. This can be done by following the leadership of peers calling for the full decriminalisation of all drugs. Thank you for your time.

Mexico: (…)

Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina – Foro de VIH Mujeres y Familia: My group, and the international participants are very grateful for this chance to contribute to this exercise. As a civil society organisation, we have put forward several reports. We follow up national and international standards, we monitor compliance with the conventions and Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. Many social groups and civil society organisations family members, and farmers in all regions have fallen victim to marginalisation and arbitrary detention. This is increased, and during the pandemic international organisations deciding state policies via agreements and international instruments should bear in mind the right to health, the right to life. And all of this is linked. These are human rights. They are universal, they are inalienable, and they are interdependent. Ancestral, conventional, as well as traditional medicine, must be accepted and codified throughout the world, because this also reduces an adverse impact on the ecosystem. Many users, many family members are in custody, and deprived from treatment. But the medical drugs that in some cases are invasive, in terms of the human body are admissible, and are legitimate. So we would like to have alternative medical methods, fully authorised. There should be programmes in favour of sustainable development, gender equality, training of health professionals, information, public dissemination, and research work into this. And also bringing this to the United Nations, we should not have any further people punished because of what they are doing at the level of health systems

DRCnet Foundation Inc: Thank you Madame Chair.  I am David Borden, executive director of DRCNet Foundation, a US-based NGO also known as StoptheDrugWar.org.  This intervention addresses the contribution of the Commission to the Sustainable Development Goals. In partnership with NGOs from throughout the world, our organization has advocated at the CND since 2015 for policies rooted in health, development, human rights and security.  For the 2016 UNGASS, we submitted a statement with over 300 organizational signatories that additionally called for the UN to begin a process of updating the drug conventions.  Our coalition, which included leading human rights and health NGOs, further argued for the supremacy of human rights obligations vs. those of other treaties, in cases of irreconcilable conflict. The current drug control framework presents challenges to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  One of those is the illicit criminal economy that is fed by criminal prohibition of drugs.  This economy drives street crime, funds insurgencies and corruption, and creates other instabilities.  All these hinder the achievement of peace, justice and strong institutions. Prohibition drives the spread of infectious diseases, by placing drugs in a criminal underground, encouraging syringe sharing, and increasing marginalization.  The high financial price of street drugs drives some addicted persons to desperate behaviors like prostitution or property crime, undermining health and well-being. Arrest or conviction records for low-level drug crimes impede efforts to find good employment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.  This harms the goals of decent work and economic growth; reduced inequalities; and sustainable cities and communities. In many ways our prohibition-based system competes with the human rights system, ensuring that the worst human rights violations will sometimes erupt.  Some countries have decriminalized personal drug use, as called for in the UN Common Position, but others are engaged in extrajudicial drug war killings.  Some rely primarily on alternatives to incarceration, others have mass incarceration.  Some countries provide the full range of needed health services to address substance misuse, while some even ban methadone, an essential medicine according to WHO.  There is documenting of indigenous peoples’ medicinal plant varieties, to provide them with intellectual property protection, but there’s also aerial fumigation of crops using toxic chemicals. Good drug policymaking requires meaningful metrics, which in turn require taking a careful look at all of these issues and more.  The CND can play a role in elevating the global discussion to that level.  Without this, conversely, 2019 may stand in the way of 2030, rather than helping it. As a final point, I note the continued shortfall in global AIDS funding, including for programs addressing injection drug use.  It is our hope that UN member states will increase their spending in that area.  This is all the more important as we plan our steps forward from COVID-19. Thank you.

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