Plenary Item 6. Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem (continued)

Chair: ‘Taking stock’ section of the Ministerial Declaration of 2019 specifies tangible achievements but also needs moving forward. Thematic discussions followed to address these. The most recent ones, in 2021, in October, were held in a hybrid format. Focus on: a. Thematic session 1: Increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in persons, trafficking in firearms, cybercrime and money-laundering and, in some cases, terrorism, including money-laundering in connection with the financing of terrorism, are observed (19 October 2021). b. Thematic session 2: The value of confiscated proceeds of crime related to money-laundering arising from drug trafficking at the global level remains low (20 October 2021). c. Thematic session 3: The criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug-related activities is increasing (21 October 2021). Each of those challenges was introduced in a panel discussion followed by a thematic debate. A summary by the Chair of CND 64th Session and Chair of thematic discussions, not subject to negotiations, is a conference room paper for this Session. In Res 53/16, re Commission requested UNODC to submit to it annual report on trends in drug abuse and supply of drugs in accordance to reporting mandate included in the Conventions. Furthermore, Res 64/9, the commission requested the ED with an overview of measures and activities by UNODC to enhance the scientific quality of its reporting mechanisms and data analysis capacity development to Member States. The Report referred to is submitted to the CND. The Secretariat also produced a report on drug trafficking, including information on the implementation of Res 53/16, in which the Commission requested UNODC trends in global drug abuse and illicit supply of drugs. Single track approach of Ministerial Declaration of 2019 entailed ensuring the collection of reliable and comparable data through strengthened and streamlined ARQ reflected all commitments. The UNODC was requested to adapt the biennial report to become a single report on a biennial basis on the basis of Member State responses on progress made on implementing all commitments at all levels. First report should be submitted at 65 sesion. The Commission will have a report by UNODC on progress made on all international commitments prepared on the basis of the new ARQ. As requested by Res 59/4 on prevalence of HIV and other bloodborne diseases and Res 60/8 to prevent HIV and other blood borne diseases associated with drugs and increasing financing for the HIV response and drug prevention and demand reduction measures, the CND has a report on responding to the prevalence on HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne diseases on drug users. Also Conference Room paper on implementation of all commitments in follow up of the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. Report of Secretariat on strengthening international cooperation in countering opiates from Afghanistan in reference to the Paris Pact Initiative. I give the floor to the Secretariat.

CND Secretariat: On the report of progress in implementing all commitments. It has been requested in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. States committed to ensuring that CND does follow-up in a single track. In its decision 63/15 on improving streamlined ARQ, adoption of new ARQ. Honoured to confirm that the first biannual report on the basis of new ARQ is before the CND for its consideration. Report structured by challenges identified by Member States in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019 (Lists the Stocktaking paragraph of the Declaration, available here). The 2020 ARQ had been submitted by 57 countries and territories, in part by an additional 26 – Official data for 83 countries. UNODC stands ready to continue providing direct support for the questionnaires.

CND Secretariat: Today I will touch upon several different areas on how the commission works on the implementation of drug policy commitments. First, the thematic intersessional meetings. They focus on challenges, good practices, and lessons learnt. The CND thematic discussion started in 2016, and in 2019 we adopted a workplan with thematic discussions until next years. We have had hundreds of MS statement, 150 expert contributions from UN partners, +100 NGO interventions. The 2021 thematic intersessional focused on the links of drug trafficking with other illegal activities, and the confiscation of proceedings deriving from policing. 2022 will focus on policies with the drug conventions and the human rights conventions. Second, regional meetings. The Commission will discuss in more detail the work of subsidiary meetings during item 8. Our CND also has a twitter account that allows us to reach out to a broader group of stakeholders. I would also like to highlight that we have developed an e-learning tool on the implementation of all drug policy commitments. In light of the pandemic we wanted to make sure that the information is also available in a complementary format in the UNODC e-learning portal. Mr Chair, another range of activities focuses on enhancing access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. The initiatives throughout the 65 session focuses on the implementation of commitments of the 2019, 2014 and 2016 commitments. We seek to raise awareness through events and social media campaigns.

UNODC Research and Trend Analysis branch: Very thankful to all countries that are making the effort to respond to ARQ. We have a lot of trainings, people of over 100 countries and over 1000 people with regards to ARQs. Some regions have multiple challenges and some countries have specific challenges to specific drugs, so we need to recognise the commonality but also the differences in what we are facing. The number of people who use drugs and the number of people with drug use disorders is increasing slightly, and some of it is due to population growth. It is hard to say how much has increased and where and how, due to lack of data. The information remains limited, particularly in Africa and in Asia.

What are the risks that we see ahead of us? One is a shift in regional trends. We expect a major growth of use in Africa simply due to population growth. Another risk that we face with regards to cannabis is the perception of risk. In the United States, THC has increased by 4 times since 1996, based on seizure data (this is date for the illegal market). So clearly the cannabis market that can be found in the US today is much stronger. In Europe the THC went from 6% to 11%. However, the percentage of young people who perceive cannabis as risky has decreased a lot. We have strong data from the US but from anecdotal information it seems that it is the same in other regions.

In the last 3 years there has been a strong increase in cocaine markets, particularly in Europe. There is more cocaine and it is cheaper. When it comes to methamphetamine, in Afghanistan where there has been a very high cannabis and heroin use amongst youth, we are seeing an increase of methamphetamine amongst young people. So we are seeing the emergence of new markets and this is an example. In terms of opioids, we see the opioid crisis in North America. New data shows that the deaths have become over 100,000, so this is clearly increasing. In terms of NPS, the good news is that the international system has worked in a way in containing the problem where it started, in high-income countries. We are seeing that there the big harm of drugs are not connected to NPS, but we are worried that the danger might switch to other regions. In connection to COVID19, we are not seeing probably a higher prevalence of cannabis use, but the same people using more. The same would apply to pharmaceutical medicines for non-medical use. To finish, I just wanted to emphasise the availability of controlled substances for medical uses, and how scarce they actually are.

Ms. Giovanna CAMPELLO, Chief of the UNODC Prevention, Treatment & Rehabilitation Section: This issue wasn’t included in the ARQ but the information in there and the WDR provides us with information. 90% of countries responding reported the existence of a policy on prevention, but only a minority required accreditation of staff and institutions involved. I invite you to listen to the Youth Forum. This will happen tomorrow. The call of youth is to invest in evidence-based and participatory prevention. The updated figures with regard to the coverage of treatment and care are still worrisome: 1 person with drug use disorders in 8 is in treatment. For women, the situation is worse. The new figures have been revised downward. Urgent points of action to be raised at the Plenary tomorrow on gender inequality in access to treatment. In addition, we want to mention initiatives we developed last year to work with you to meet your commitments, including family and social and emotional skills programmes in health and humanitarian emergencies, all backed by scientific evidence. Another tool is the developing of standards and quality mechanisms to avoid human rights abuses in treatment and care and that it’s effective. We are active in services for people who use drugs in contact with the criminal justice system, including alternatives to conviction and punishment throughout the system’s continuum and treatment and care in prison. Last year, we also presented the take-home naloxone as safe and saves lives.

Ms. Fariba SOLTANI, Chief of the UNODC HIV/AIDS Section: In 2020m key populations accounted for 65% of HIV infections globally. People who inject drugs have 35x more risk of acquiring HIV. HIV prevalence in prison is 4.3% (6x more likely to live with HIV compared to the general population). These figures are higher for hepatitis C. UNODC is committed to implement the Global AIDS Strategy and the UNODC Strategy in synergy to maximise their impact on HIV response among people who use drugs and in prison settings. MOU with Global Fund and UNODC – Instrumental to implement commitments in these strategies. In 2021, UNODC provided support to member states and civil society in 47 countries in implementing HIV response, including emergency response to COVID-19. As per our mandate, we work with a range of partners: drug control and law enforcement, prison authorities, justice and health sectors, community-led organisations, UN sister agencies and donors. Among other achievements, we have developed and disseminated  13 tools and guidelines on: prevention of mother to child transmission, HIV among women who use drugs, women in prisons, expanded the capacity building package on HIV prevention, treatment and care; and support for people who use stimulating drugs. Supported countries to ensure sustainability and continuity of HIV services funding HIV pandemic, including documenting successful adaptations like multi dose dispensing of OAT. The HIV programme collaborates with civil society with the informal group with civil society on drug and HIV, we established also a CSO group specifically on prisons. Last year we provided 15 grants to grassroots organisations to build their capacity to support the work. Last week, we brought together the scientific community and people who use drugs to discuss inequalities in the delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and care among people who use drugs and a statement on this will be delivered tomorrow. We follow developments that are worrying in Ukraine and Afghanistan to ensure people who use drugs and are imprisoned continue to receive lifesaving services like OAT and ART. UNODC supports countries in achieving universal access to HIV care and in prison. Large-scale capacity training on the matter on comprehensive HIV care with a focus on women in prison. Supported human rights and evidence based interventions on HIV for people in prison in the context of COVID 19. Sustaining opportunities to engage law enforcement in Global AIDS response – capacity building covering workplace safety, codes of conduct and referral schemes. Ending HIV among people who use drugs and prisons requires reinvigorated international contributions of resources, especially for community-led interventions. More detail on the report of ED.

Ms. Loide Aryaee, Chief, Organized Crime Branch: Due to the time constraints, I’ll refer just to a few examples. As part of its normative work, UNODC collected drug control information for the drug control repository – a compendium of legal resources on implementing the conventions, including 991 legislative entries from 174 countries on drug control matters. It’s linked to the directory of competent authorities – a tool to facilitate cooperation. Through the container control programme, UNODC and World Customs Organisation supported more than 70 states in improving border security and controls. IN 2021, highest number of seizures in 17 years of history: 171 tons of cocaine and other types of drugs concealed in shipping containers and air cargo. Facilitated seizure of falsified products. AIRCOP programme also enjoyed success with more than 400 seizures meant for air travel. CRIMJUST also contributed to facilitating multinational operations to dismantle operations with 126 seizures of 80 kg of drugs including 6 internationally controlled deliveries. On the arms programme, cross.border operations in Latin America and West Africa unveiling drug traffickings interwoven nature with other forms of organised crime, particularly firearms. Operations led to the seizure of 40 tons of cocaine, cannabis and precursor chemicals in Latin America. UNODC supported central national authorities globally and judicial cooperation networks in cooperation with member states like the Judicial Cooperation Network for Central Asia & Southern Caucasus, and WACAP and SEAJust. These networks facilitate cooperation in 130 criminal cases. In addition, 75 interregional judicial cooperation requests were facilitated by providing liaising and technical assistance between central authorities that do not participate in networks supported by UNODC. On the Global programme on cybercrime, it provides capacity building on identifying high risk opioid markets and operational strategies to counter them. The programme joined the global programme on opioids and produced an ‘Online trafficking of synthetic drugs and synthetic opioids in Latin America and the Caribbean’ which sheds light on increases in drug trafficking via information technologies. Online platforms including clearnet and darknet have allowed criminal groups to operate in a more flexible manner concealing their identity. 

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