Plenary – Item 3. General debate

Costa Rica on behalf of the group of the 77 and China: We appreciate the preparatory work going into this event and maneuvering the pandemic. Common and shared responsibility that should be taken under in international cooperation based on scientific evidence to safeguard all humanity. Multilateralism and effective collaboration is essential, just as international law. We recognize the efforts undertaken by criminal justice and law enforcement institutions in upholding the conventions, the cornerstones of the international drug control system. Demand & supply reduction, universal declaration of human rights with full respect to the autonomy and integrity of the member states. The group reaffirms their commitment to reduce and eliminate production, trafficking of illicit drugs as well as preventing the diversion of medicines. Addressing socioeconomic issues – comprehensive and sustainable development and solutions to drug challenges. Technical assistant, national efforts – multidisciplinary approaches based on scientific evidence. Evolving challenges. Common and shared responsibility. Society free of drug abuse. We recognize the importance of appropriate measures for age, gender, and families. Access to treatment. Thank you.

Angola on behalf of African States: Common and shared responsibility. Cannabis – we recognize it remains under strict international control and MS should exercise that nationally. My group underlines the importance of our 2009 goals, international cooperation for an integrated and balanced strategy to reduce supply and demand. We reaffirm our commitment to 2014 and 2016 and 2019 declarations. We are concerned about the global scourge of drug abuse, particularly among youth that undermines our progress towards the 2030 goals. In the African continent, new trafficking routes have been noticed. Increased links between drugs and terrorism – cybercrime, money laundering, etc. This is a huge challenge for law enforcement and judicial authorities. We have made calls to eliminate or significantly reduce the illicit cultivation of crops, this is a major issue in Africa. Technical assistance and collaboration is required for successfully combatting these challenges. Tramadol – we need to collect and share more data to consider placing it under international control to prevent its diversion away from medical and scientific purposes. We are gravely concerned about the availability and affordability of pain relief and controlled medicines. Mutually reinforcing conventions and global support for UNODC. Field offices and senior policy making levels collaboration.

Afghanistan on behalf of Asia-Pacific States: The group reaffirms UNODC as the leading entity in drug control matters. We appreciate Chair’s efforts on facilitating discussions on effects of COVID-19. World drug problem remains multifaceted, common and shared responsibility. Support aim of reinforcing international coordination, including policy coordination and information sharing. Increasing provision of technical assistance. Counter the world drug problem with strong conformity to United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as principles of States’s sovereignty, non-intervention and fundamental freedoms and mutual respect among states. We underline the Critical importance of compliance, mutually reinforcing 2009, 2014 Ministerial, UNGASS 2016, 2019 Ministerial. Support all efforts at reinforcing regional, international coordination and exchange of information. Upholding multilateralism is essential. Complexity of drug problem dramatically evolved. Promoting and supporting data, research and analysis. Address specific needs of most affected, especially women, children and youth.

Portugal on behalf of European Union and its Member States: Thank you, Madam Chair and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Secretariat, for making this meeting possible, despite the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 crisis. It is essential that we continue to meet and discuss solutions to the challenges related to drugs, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Effective solutions can only be found if we involve civil society in our discussions, as was our established practice. We are conscious that the virtual format of our meeting is challenging, but we have to make every effort to facilitate an inclusive and transparent multilateral process using the technology available. The restrictions imposed for this session must not set a precedent. Civil society participation is a priority, and we believe that the experience now gathered from virtual meetings will make it possible to return swiftly to the pre-pandemic level of civil society participation and involvement, and that this can happen as early as the next intersessional meeting.

New European Union Drugs Strategy for 2021-2025 adopted in Decmber. Focuses on enhancing security, reducing drug demand, addressing drug-related harm. Respect, promotion and protection of human rights at its core, gender equality and health equity perspectives. Incorporates lessons learned from pandemic, research, foresight to respond accordingly and timely. Welcome to participate in our side event tomorrow.

We have submitted a draft resolution – aims to promote the development of quality, affordable, scientific evidence-based and comprehensive drug prevention and treatment services around the globe. Indeed assurance of the quality of drug prevention and treatment services, solidly based on scientific and evidence-based research and knowledge, is essential to the continuous improvement in this regard. These services should on the other hand be accessible to all, which can only be assured by their affordability. We know that we can count on your constructive involvement in the discussions on this resolution.

COVID-19 worsened an already grim situation. Organized crime quickly adapted their business models, for example to using maritime routes and darknet. For people who use drugs, prevention, treatment and care services have been disrupted worldwide. In Europe, following an initial disruption, innovative approaches were applied, which allowed for increased access to services, including a greater use of digital health options.

UNGASS 2016 outcome document remains the most comprehensive international drug policy document. 2019 Ministerial Declaration underlined a willingness to accelerate implementation – more than ever, this should remain priority. The EU and Member States emphasize that States have to respect, protect and promote all human rights and inherent dignity of individuals and the rule of law in development of drug policies. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the use of capital punishment in all circumstances and in all cases, as it violates the inalienable right to life and is incompatible with human dignity. The death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crime and makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible. The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy provide a comprehensive set of international legal standards that can in some ways provide guidance to governments in developing human rights-compliant drug policies. EU supports multilateral collaboration between UN, regional and international entities. we support the UN System Common Position on drug policy and suggest that its Task Team focus on stepping up efforts to ensure that no one is left behind, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Common Position inspires us to work together in developing and implementing balanced and evidence-based responses to the world drug situation, within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. We should now further accelerate our efforts to ensure that no one is left behind. EU Member States will continue working relentlessly with international partners to accelerate implementation of joint commitments.

Norway: We must identify and protect the most vulnerable groups, so nobody is left behind. We reiterate our commitment to the UN system common position. The World Drug Problem has multiple dimensions – we can go a long way with good intentions but our interventions must be well informed and based on best practices. I’ve been engaged in drug policy for over 20 years. The lessons I learned, my original and firm belief to punish and incarcerate people goes into the opposite direction of my intentions. These people deserve help. The new challenge of the pandemic has forced us to navigate a landscape without a map. It appears to have little infections among people who use drugs. They are just as responsible people as you and me – the stigma of people who use drugs is not accurate. Services based on the target groups needs can save lives. The service providers and receivers have my utmost respect and gratitude.

Colombia: […] policies based in public health and evidence. The pandemic did not bring the drugs problem to a halt. Traffickers established new pathways and alternative methods of distribution. Cocaine issues – we have seized more than ever. Technical and scientific evidence – crop eradication with social development. Major challenges of the illicit cultivation and production: in the environmental context, harmful effects and deep-seated insecurity as a result of criminal activities. Global cooperation is needed and taking action on precursors as well as assets of criminal groups put to use. Wish you a productive discussion and innovative strategies.

Singapore: Traffickers found novel ways even amid travel restrictions. We believe that governments have the responsibility to create a safe drug-free environment. Our national strategy relies on prevention through education, robust law enforcement and treatment based on science. We are a transit point and market. The issue is particularly salient for us. We reaffirm our commitment to the conventions and to working with CND. We are an observer and have contributed to regional initiatives and the work of the UNODC. We would like to take our participation to the next level and we will run for a membership.

Malta: Congratulations Madame Chair. Aligned with Portugal on Behalf of EU. In national capacity, pandemic accelerated complexities, vulnerable groups experienced added challenges to addressing services. Illicit supply increased against all odds. People who use drugs are not criminals, drug use can’t be considered a criminal activity. Should focus on assisting people. Malta adopted in 2015 the Treatment not Imprisonment Act, which has been very effective, very pleased with is. Determined to continue in this direction. Equal and non-discriminatory access to services is vital. We need to invest and make services available and accessible. Stigma and shame is a deterrent. People who use drugs are victims of all forms of violence, derogatory names, totally marginalized. Malta working on this, join us at our side event to promote approaches that reduce stigmatization. The task ahead of us is changing mentalities. They deserve dignitiy and every possible opportunity to not be left behind. This is a commitment.

Lithuania: [technical issues]

Spain: First time participating, it’s an honor. Thousands addicted to narcotic drugs, lot to do with Spain’s national history of heroin epidemic, greatly harming an entire generation at a time of transition to democracy. We still have heroin around, trafficking. In 1985 adopted first national plan with wide consensus, liases with other government structures. We have preventive policies, social reintegration as well as harm reduction. Addiction affects various levels of life, drug policy should build on consensus of all involved, including civil society and scientific organizations. Considering individuals with addiction as victims, criminalizing distribution but not drug use.

Sweden: It’s been 5 years since we adopted the UNGASS outcome document that helped to bring to the forefront a health perspective. Preventive work, treatment as well as harm reduction must be given greater priority. we are committed to the implementation of the UNGASS document. the drug situation in several ways is not improving. human rights need to be protected. drug related mortality rate is too high in Sweden – we take this very seriously and have a new strategy 2021-2025 and we have a vision of reducing drug-related deaths to zero. Equity in health and genre-equality need to be equally important variables. mainstream a gender perspective. the main focus of our policies is improving public health. we ant to pursue a balanced approach: accessible treatment for drug use disorders. Comorbidities are very common, a special commission of inquiry has been set up. We need to step up our efforts towards the 2030 agenda. Only by ambitiously working together will we be able to create a better future for us all.

Russia: Against the backdrop if the pandemic – we will host a side event. We have not thrown in the towel: Anti-drugs government strategy. It is a National Security challenge. We want to prevent the weakening of the global regime, including the legalization of drugs. As noted by Putin, the level of threat has been increased … Anti-drug conventions mark their jubilees this year. The conventions lay the basis on countering the drug problem. With our partners in the Shanghai cooperation, we will be holding a thematic event.  Capacity building is required (references Afghanistan). To counter international drugs related crime, including money laundering, we are working to expand our scope – trilateral cooperation. Next week at EcoSoc in New York, we hope our contribution will be given due recognition.

Secretariat: Next session is podium only, no seating possibilites. Keep a distance. See you soon.

Chair: Meeting adjurned until noon.

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