Resolution L.3 (Tuesday Morning Session): Ensuring access to drug treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation, and social reintegration services, for people within marginalized populations

Chair: Welcome back. Ramadan began this morning for many people so Ramadan Mubarak.
We have the schedule on the screen.

Secretariat: To co-sponsor a draft resolution, MS should send a note verbal to the Secretariat until Friday noon. We ask all delegations to produce a good sound quality so we can assure interpretation.

Chair: I didn’t get an notifications about technical issues, so we start the consideration L3. Not much is agreed here, so I hand it to Canada.

Canada: Ramadan Mubarak. We are moving forward despite the debate. Which services to include and some language consolidation is expected today. I’m handing over to our lead negotiator.

You can see here a balance between “promoting” and “strengthening”. We’d like to open it to the floor if we can find a consensus on the title – “promoting effective”?

Malta: “promoting effective access” is a good compromise, we add our names to that.

Indonesia: technical issues

Chair: So, are we agreed on “promoting effective”?

Russia: We are grateful for Canada for holding informal negotiations on this draft so we can better understand the intent of the resolution. For us, the most important part is to specify its scope, in particular the marginalized populations. This is a wording the commission has not used before and has not been agreed upon in informals. Russia stands ready to discuss the term. We would prefer “promoting access” rather than “promoting effective access” so it will not indicate that we should allocate more funds as our health systems are over-burdened during the pandemic.

Chair: “promoting effective access” is already a compromise – could you live with this wording?

Russia:  We’d like to specify what this wording means.

Canada: it’s a way of saying we’re going to do more than the minimal effort. Ensuring is a guarantee of some sort and goes further than “facilitating”. pp19 talks about different levels of national capacities – if there is concerns around resources, we address it later in the text.

Russia: We’d like some clarity – the INCB has been assessing each country in terms of their ability to provide their citizens with […] Therefore, there is a methodology. When it comes to applying standards for effectiveness, it is difficult… it is a new kind of term for us… it might be difficult to apply. We would like the language to be further worked on here.

Chair: I propose the discussion on the title will have to continue during informals. Which pp are we agreed on? Perhaps we can start there.

Canada: op11 and 12 have been agreed. There are two other elements in the title though. I would like to remind colleagues that a title does not bind any states, it is the text of the resolution that we aim to implement. Everything from “access” to “reintegration services” is close to being resolved – perhaps others can weigh in on them? From “social integration” to “recovery support, I believe delegations are close to agreement, but let’s confirm.

Chair: Is that so? There is no opposition. Agreed. Now we have “vulnerable members of society” that was originally “marginalized population” – would you like to discuss that here?

Canada: We’d like to move on to pp5.

Russia: As far as I understand, the COW decided to suspend consideration of the title.

pp11 and pp12

Canada: Regardless of the previous pps, where the language is very standard – reporting to UNODC on the implementations. So hopefully, these are not controversial, and we can move on.

Chair: Okay, any comments on pp11?

Russia: We have no objections on this wording, it is very typical – we would like to point out that this resolution has paragraphs that sets a priority for the UNODC that we can not agree on, so we would like to comment on this pp after the others have been agreed on.

Canada: Interpretation is confusing, let’s move on to pp5.

Canada: What we were originally proposing is a response to the COVID19 pandemic in regard to services and how it would further impact marginalized communities. During informals, it was proposed to use language that was agreed on during the discussion of L2.

pp5 alt “Acknowledging, that due to the nature of the corona-virus disease (COVID19) pandemic, traditional demand reduction infrastructure that often requires in-person engagement faced increasing challenges in providing prevention, early intervention, treatment, care, recovery, rehabilitation, and social reintegration measures, as well as measures aimed at minimizing the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse, at least at the same level as provided before the pandemic, and marginalized populations have been disproportionately affected in the circumstances. “ IT is taken verbatim from the approved language in L2, except for the last bit on the disproportionally affected population.

Russia: We share your opinion that it would be good to use language that was agreed on. We fully support this proposal and at the same time, we reserve our position on the new wording added at the very end “marginalized populations” since, as you know, we have not yet agreed on what groups are understood under this category. On the whole, we support this pp.

Chair: Is Canada okay to continue so?

Canada: I propose we erase it as it was a placeholder until L2 was agreed. Russia is right that we haven’t agreed on the specifics so can we just bracket “marginalized populations”?

So, the next would be OP1 where we clarify who are understood under “marginalized populations”


Chair: Canada, please introduce the challenges on here.

Canada: I would like to clarify what we talked about in informals already – this term describes individuals who don’t have the same level of access to services as the general population. They are excluded that can make them vulnerable, but they are not necessarily vulnerably – this would depict them helpless, and this is not something that we and some other MS agree with. Marginalization is due to a form of some exclusion that leads to vulnerability. This is not a new term; it has been used in texts in 2014 declaration and previous resolutions. We would like to highlight this term as to reference populations that are excluded from the services.

USA: We are cognizant of the risks of leaving someone out. In the context of marginalization, it is particularly ironic to be leaving people out of the list of people left out. We would like to keep this pp as short as possible and not define a group of people. Our proposal is that to say “marginalized individuals” and end the pp there to avoid issues with creating a list of marginalized groups.

Russia: “marginalized citizens” is not fully understood by other delegations and we’ve checked – the commission never used this wording before so it could be challenging to implement anything nationally. “vulnerable members of society” is an agreed term.

Turkey: We agree with Russia, definition is unclear. Vulnerable is broader, plus “employment and housing services” is also something new – we are not familiar with language around this.

Chair: There is support expressed in the chat for Russia’s statement by Indonesia, Algeria, Singapore….please take the floor as I can not access the chat function on my screen.

Canada: Unfortunately, while we do see the US proposal as a way to prevent marginalizing certain groups, we do have some concerns with keeping it too broad. Beyond that, we have greater concern with the wording “vulnerable members of society”. We mentioned before, we are depicting people as helpless – these people are not necessarily vulnerable in all situations; they ate socially excluded or excluded from accessing services and that makes them vulnerable. Marginalized has been used on many occasions. We are open to “marginalized members of society” but we can not except the reference as “vulnerable members”.

Netherlands: We support Canada and prefer to include “marginalized”. Maybe we can discuss this in informals, but it is important to us to include people living with HIV or gender issues.

Guatemala: It is sad to see that every time we work at the UN, we try to take out words that are agreed by in New York or in other HQs so I thank Canada for the flexibility they showed. I don’t see in the text “indigenous populations” which we don’t understand. We know some MS don’t want t see this terminology and we have a forum for indigenous populations and not duly reflecting it at the UNODC – this marginalizes them. They are not necessarily vulnerably but they do need special attention. We would like to see this term return to the text.

Canada: We appreciate the comments on key populations. We could include a “gender perspective” […]

Malta: There is a difference between vulnerable and marginalized. We support the wording proposed by Canada.

Egypt: […] sexual orientation […] we don’t support.

Chair: Our hour is up. These are the inputs of this morning’s COW for your informals. we will resume at 6pm with L5 for 1 hour and L4 is on the agenda for 7pm. Meeting adjourned.

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