Reconvened Sixty-fifth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, Austria, 8-9 December 2022
Chair: Welcome back.
Secretariat: (Reminder on COVID safety measures in Vienna)
Agenda item 4. – Strategic management, budgetary and administrative questions
Chair: We considered our consolidated budget yesterday. We, as a commission, are now required to take action. There have been 2 rounds of informal consultations – the amended text of the resolution was circulated on the 24th of November. Can we adopt? I see no objections, it is so decided. Now on to the FinGov bureau election. For the position of Chair, Ghana has been nominated, for 1st Vice-Chair is Japan, Vice-Chairs representing regional groups are Albania, Costa-Rica and Spain. Can we confirm? It is so decided, thank you and congratulations.
Agenda Item 5. – Implementation of International Drug Control Treaties.
Chair: May I ask the WHO to present the outcome of their recent Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) meeting to aid the commission to prepare for the decisions to be made at the upcoming CND. You have a conference room paper in front of you that presents the findings of the ECDD.
Chair: Okay, we will first hear from UNODC on this agenda point.
UNOC Laboratory and Scientific Section (Justice Tetty): In less than a decade, the number of NPS has risen to 1150 as reported by over 100 territories worldwide. IT is a problem. A rapidly growing number is related to fentanyl, and we are seeing the increase of sedative hypnotics. When you are on opioids, it means that you are impaired and should not be behind the wheel. We also see the increased use of nonmedical Ketamine. The increase in global manufacture and use of met amphetamines is also concerning. Organized crime and traffickers are using new avenues such as alternative precursors: the seizures of methamphetamine continue to rise despite the decrease of seized precursors. We need to promote coherent and effective decisions. We express our gratitude to the WHO and ECDD for their continuous evaluation process. The increase of more than 20% of substances under international controls as a result of CND´s decisions presents challenges in the implementations of the conventions in the absence of guidelines. The UN toolkit on synthetic drugs now provides a one-stop-shop of relevant resources that is available in all 6 UN languages and consolidates the latest knowledge from various agencies.
Chair: Let us now refer to the report of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD)
WHO: Our Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) convened 10-13 October 2022 to conduct independent scientific assessment of a list of substances – 9 were critically reviewed, as per our mandate. A summary of assessments, findings and recommendations of the 45th World Health Organization’s (WHO) can be found here as they regard Substances to be added to Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961): 2-Methyl-AP-237, Etazene, Etonitazepyne, Protonitazene. Substances to be added to Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971): ADB-BUTINACA, Alpha-PiHP, 3-Methylmethcathinone.
Chair: Colleagues, now I have the honor to introduce the Availability and Access initiative that is tasked with improving the medical and scientific access to scheduled substances. We held a Special Forum on Availability and Access in Vienna in October <video>.
Singapore: First off, I would like to express our full support to the three drug control conventions. Drug abuse has a large price to our communities. We believe in the importance of impartial research, prevention, rough regulations, effective education, robust enforcement, rigorous rehabilitation and aftercare. Our holistic approach has resulted in us successfully keeping the drug problem under control and treating drug abusers. We appreciate international cooperation in addressing this world-wide issue. We have committed to Singapore’s flagship capacity building programs. We believe local responses must be tailored to local needs but we reiterate the importance of adherence to the three drug control conventions to safeguard the global community from drugs and its harmful effects. We look forward to continuing working with the CND and its members.
Kazakhstan: (no interpretation) … the drug problem knows no borders so we must address it vi joint action. We are ready to work with the entire anti-drugs community.
Indonesia: We take note of the committee’s decision as per the WHO´s recommendations. At the national level, our Ministry of Health has regulated a number of substances to a category that means they can be used for scientific or medical reasons only. International cooperation remains to be of high importance to us. Our active participation includes online participation in specific forums, such as regarding import/export licenses for medical use of substances. Our Health Ministry also reports vigorously to the INCB. Regarding NPS, we have witnessed some issues about technical and pharmacological data and know-how. The international cooperation is key in addressing these issues – to continue studies and capacity building as appropriate. The World Drug Problem is our common and shared responsibility, we call for a robust international cooperation therefore. We also are a candidate for a full membership to the CND and we hope for your support.
Japan: We express are deep gratitude to the INCB, UNODC, CND and various bodies that support our informed work. In response to the introductory presentation, I would like to share our ideas regarding drug supply reduction. According to the latest World Drug Report, approx. 50 new NPS have been identified and this continues to expand the trafficking channels. The report also indicates an increasing production in Afghanistan, as methamphetamine is the most trafficked drug into our country. Our return to normal after eh pandemic also signifies the expansion of illegal drug supply chains. In any approach, substantial and reliable data is critical, so we request UNODC to keep MS updated through discussions here and via other initiatives. We need to strengthen international and regional cooperation across law enforcement agencies. Japan acknowledges that various measures, including prevention and treatment measures, are of equal importance as supply reduction measures. We stand ready to continue to work with UNODC.
Pakistan: The three drug control conventions remain the cornerstones of our drug policies, recognizing INCB´s treaty mandated role, we are committed to the idea of a drug free world. Even though we are maintaining a poppy-free state status, our neighboring countries are threatening the wellbeing of our citizens. We continue to be committed to our commitments in the treaties, as we confirmed in the 2019 ministerial declaration. (…) rehabilitation of drug-affectees (sic). We appreciate the consistent hard work of the UNODC, INCB and CND.
Honduras: We reiterate our commitment to the conventions and the 2009 political declaration, promoting the health and security of humanity. Capacities expansion to address the world drug problem is very welcome by Honduras, and we will continue to work together with UNODC. We also commend the work done on NPS, including the early warning system and the SMART program. We would also like to mention the highly relevant work done by the INCB learning program. I would like to also mention the need for predictable, adequate and secure funding.
Belgium: We align ourselves with the statement made yesterday by the EU. We appreciate your excellent work as chair, specifically the extra efforts you made towards increasing accessibility of scheduled substances for medical and scientific reasons.
Chair: Thank you and I thank the entire Belgian delegation for their support during my chairmanship.
Mexico: Thank you for the presentations earlier and we would like to consider them this March. We fully understand that there is a great influx of NPS and therefore we must look at the laws more closely (interpreter confused) Quantum change in the production puts greater requirements on us. Are we ready to accept we are in a paradigm change in drugs, do we have the necessary tools to address these new challenges? We must be aware of the damages caused by drugs cartels (…)
Azerbaijan: I would like to address Agenda Item 9 – normative capacity building support should be comprehensive. In order to achieve peace, security, SDGs and health, we must take comprehensive broad actions in technical cooperation with MS and other stakeholders, supported by specialized assistance.
Peru: We are fully aligned with the commitments we agreed to in the three drug treaties as they are the cornerstones of our work as well as the declaration of 2019, the UNGASS outcome document and therefore, we have implemented a national anti-drug policy that aims to achieve these objectives: development of licit production in place of coca and reduce drug use problems. We provide alternatives to coca growers to be part of a legal economy and free themselves of the vicious circle of the drug economy. We are promoting a new paradigm to build relationships with the citizens of the Andes region and improve our democracy. We have signed the very first social pact with women in the production chain of coca along (name of river). We must also contain international demand from drugs that comes mainly from North America and Europe. This has harmful consequences for global health and our lands´ bio-diversity. Criminal groups have contaminated our lands and rivers through their production practices, and we wish to bring about an SDG guided program to address this issue and reduce drug demand and drug use. We have a shared global responsibility. We will hold an international conference next year in Lima, with particular attention to drug control in the Andes region. Finally, thank you for your leadership this past year.
Syria: We are a state party to all international instruments meant to control illegal substances. We are seeking to review our national legal system to make sure we are aligned and effective. We are making efforts to raise awareness among the public and to build national capacity to promote and help international efforts to combat the world drug problem. We have suffered from the nefarious consequences of cross-border trafficking. The problem has exacerbated since terrorist organizations have taken control of Syrian territory, supported by other states. This leaves a fertile ground for the trafficking and abuse of narcotics. A number of states responsible for the delivery of terrorism to Syria have used the means of drugs by targeting segments of our population, notably young people, so that they fall victim to this scourge. Terrorists use drugs ans a means of income to affiliate crimes on the Syrian population. We need to have increased and effective cooperation to combat drugs – through technical cooperation. Unilateral coercive measures and the economic blockade prevents our country to effectively combat the drugs issue and undermines our efforts to require resources that we need to combat the drug problem. We are concerned about the legalization of cannabis for nonmedical purposes as it runs counter to the efforts of the international community since 2009 and it also is in violation of the UNGASS outcome document recommendations
Austria: We condemn Russia’s war on Ukraine. The increasing number of durg related deaths worldwide is just one of the concerning trends included in the latest world drug report. We must increase our international cooperation and CND has the responsibilty to discuss all issues including international trends. We must keep in mind the multifaceted nature of the drugs issue – meaning, that an effective response needs to be holistic in its approach. We believe that addiction can not be reduced to crime. In our country, addiction is condered to be an illness that needs medical and healthcare response, while criminal activities need law enforcement response. The two are disticntly different. We appreciate your work and we support the Secretary General´s “common agenda”.
Chair: Please receive our warmest gratitude as a host nation during these difficult times.
Australia: We condemn Russia´s illegal war on Ukraine that resulted in unnecessary death and suffering. We call on Russia to hault their operation immediately. We have pursued the implementation of scientifically informed demand and supply reduction strategies. Adequate global access to medicines is a strong commitment of ours, as is set out by the SDGs – we thank the chair for champioing this issue. It is one of the fundamental points of the conventions here. Increasing availabilty and preventing diversion both support the health of our citizens and a balance must be striked.
Venezuela: New and persisting challenges must be overcome with full respect to the 3 conventions, without any politicization. We believe in the multilateral framework of this commission, the principle of non-interference and human rights.
Algeria: The drug problem is a big worry for the international community for its harmful affect on our societies, particularly youth. It is our common and shared responsibility to ensure the right of access to medicines those in need, to make sure noone is left behind while preventing the diversion of these scheduled substances.
Russia: We would like to call MS´s to focus on the topic at hand in this commission and we reject the accusations made against our country. We support the role of the INCB as mandated by the three conventions. We are an active contributor to the work of the INCB, in fact we are the sole donor to the INCB learning project. In december 2021, a training course was successfully conducted under this project in supporting our partnes in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia. Our financial contributions were used to develop a russian lagugage module on access to controlled medicines and we plan to organize more INCB training courses for states in Central Asia as well. We are concerned by the attempts of some countries that decided to violate the conventions and legalize scheduled substances. We call on all MS to observe their conventional obligations. It has come to our attention that one delegation is attempting to rewrite the relevant provisions of the proosed program budget as pertains to INCB and the commission, as the polic forming body, did not comment on that segment of the document. We deem it unacceptable to use budgetary discussions to essentially rewrite the mandate of the INCB. We are looking forward to constructive dialogues. we will continue to advocate for an enhanced mandate of the incb.
USA: We condemn Russia´s aggression on Ukraine. We need to implement the treaties as they are written, not as they are interpreted. The treaties are flexible and highly respectable of the different national contexts of member states because the aim of conventions is to reduce the harms – whether its the scourge of drug use or trafficking. We are not immune to the threats those groups that use drugs to finance their terrorist activities, but not all drug use finances terrorism. We have to be cautious about what we say in this regard. The treaties are very clear about our focus being on trafficking, so what happens inside the country (re personal use) is not the concern of other MS, unless it endangers the international observation of the convention. We have been a bit dismayed at the increasing sharpness, so to say, to use the treaties as an enforcement mechanisms rather than what they were designed to be used for, which is to promote cooperation to prevent harm and promote health for all humans. So, I want to ask Justice Tettey – we are extremely concerned with the numbers of deaths on an annual basis as it pertains to synthetic opioids as opposed to cannabis, that indeed is a widespread drug but we do not see the same level of personal harm connected to it. When governments have budget restrictions, are we on short-footing to focus our efforts on methods that will help reduce the actual harms?
Chair: I will first give the floor to other delegations, and then we will come back to dr. Tetty.
Cuba: The scourge of drugs spans the entire world and creates all kinds of criminal situations. the number of cannabis consumers have grown drastically in the past few years. in order to curve this trend, we must have the political will of all states for drugs control. we appreciate the work of INCB – it must continue in an impartial manner. we must address the root causes and unequal international economic situation, where there is a corrupt global system. in cuba we have a zero tolerance against drugs and we reiterate our full commitment to societies free of drugs so that we may be able to attain the SDGs.
EU: We didnt plan to take the floor today, but in light of many of the delegations taking the floor today, we feel compelled to strongly echo the words said by colleagues of the USA. It is important that if we want to remain relevant, we ought not to limit the focus of the commission on one aspect.
Thailand: I just want to say that we recognize the important role of INCB, and we have financially contributed to the learning program of the INCB that has been reportedly recognized by the INCB.
IAHPC: My name is Maria Adelaida Cordoba, I am a palliative paediatrician in Colombia. I am speaking on behalf of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care IAHPC. The civil associations have the duty to inform you that there is a great inequity in the availability and consumption of medicines for the relief of pain and other symptoms in the American continent. The response to the opioid over-consumption crisis in the United States and Canada has affected the rest of the countries, further diminishing the limited access to controlled medicines in countries experiencing the “under-consumption” crisis. Efforts must continue to ensure access for people with health and pain relief needs. Currently about 1,100 out of every 100,000 people in the Americas are living with serious health-related suffering. The COVID 19 pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of health systems and the need to strengthen supply chains for controlled medicines and the capacity of the health care system to provide services in the area of palliative care and pain relief. In Colombia, substances for the management of pain and other symptoms are included in the basic health care plan, but they are not widely available, especially in oral and paediatric presentations. In Mexico, coverage of 36% of the population’s needs is reported; Chile has continued its efforts to improve access to controlled medicines for the relief of pain and suffering. This situation is similar in other Latin American countries. The only Latin American country that manages to cover all patients’ needs at present is Argentina. We draw your attention to the INCB, UNODC and WHO Declaration on Ensuring Access to Controlled Medicines in Humanitarian Emergencies, published in August 2021. According to the INCB report: Availability of controlled medicines 2021. Ensuring access does not mean increased abuse and diversion, but it is necessary to maintain a balance between control on the one hand, and availability and accessibility on the other. This requires international cooperation and assistance, the involvement of the whole community, and the commitment of governments and civil society organisations. All member states are responsible for working to ensure access to controlled medicines for the relief of pain and suffering. We suggest that measures be taken to ensure the training of health professionals and the general community in coordination with academia, civil society and governments. Palliative care associations are ready to support you in the design and implementation of strategies to improve access to essential medicines so that you can respond to the commitment of member states under the international drug control conventions.
UNOC, Dr. Tetty: I think we all agree that the main goal of conventions is the protection of all humankind, bearing in mind the sovereignty of nations. CND gives us a chance to come together with the spirit of international collaboration. The priorities that each country attaches to issues is not one the Secretariat determines, so in terms of where we put the problem of cultivation and death prevention, it is determined by the United States, and we are ready to assist.
Agenda 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: The Secretariat will prepare a written contribution to the SDG Summit (20-21 September) where a midterm review will be conducted. It will bring together many diverse stakeholders, the outcome will be a negotiated political declaration. I strongly encourage the incoming chair and bureau to work closely with the facilitators. Together with my esteemed collague, the chair of CCPCJ, we have made efforts to represent the Viennese views to be represented at EcoSoc, but this brings a new opportunity, so thank you for your attention on this item. I see no comments, that concludes this item then.
Agenda Item 10 – Looking ahead.
Chair: Plan adopted as follows:
CND dates: March 13 – 17, 2023
Pre-session consultations: 10 March, 2023
Reconvened Session: 7-8 December, 2023
Submission of draft resolutions: 13 February, 12:00
Side events and exhibition applications: 9 – 20 January, 2023
Chair: As per decision 2022/329, I propose that delegations link their statement during the 66th session, during the general debate, to the main theme of EcoDoc and HLPF that is accelerating recovery from COVID and attaining the SDGs. The UNODC Advocacy Section has taken care of guidelines for participation. These are shared publicly. The COVID situation continues to be unpredictable, so we will continue with our traditions in organizing side events and closer to the date, we will consider feasibility.
Agenda – Any Other Business
Chair: I see no requests from the floor.
Secretary: Before we move on to the next agenda item, I would like to call your attention that the parts of the report are now available in hard copy. Can we have a short suspension, so delegations can get a copy?
Chair: Indeed, we reconvene in 5 minutes.
Chair: Now we move to our very last agenda item. In accordance with past practice, the finalization of the report will be done by myself with the assistance of the rapporteur. Are there any comments? I see none. It is decided. May I request delegations to abstain from taking the floor for editorial comments, as we would like to receive these in writing. Now I invite you to turn your attention to L1/Ad.8. Any comments? None. Adopted. Now L1/Ad.9. Any comments? None. Adopted.
I owe a big thanks to everyone who helped make these sessions happen, the secretary, the bureau, the INCB and NGOs. Now we close the 65th session and will open the 66th for the sole purpose to elect the new Bureau. Session closed.
In line with relevant EcoSoc resolutions, in view of the rotation of regional offices, our new Chair is ambassador Ruiz Blanco, from Colombia, representing GruLac. It is so decided.
Incoming Chair: (personal remarks) Now on to the election of the officers.
1st Vice Chair: Ghana from the African Group
2nd Vice Chair: Nepal from the Asia and Pacific Group
3rd Vice Chair: Slovenia from the Eastern Europe Group
Rapporteur: Canada from the West European Group
Elected by acclamation. It is decided. Elections are now concluded. We will meet again in March.