Committee of the Whole L3. Promoting alternative development as a development-oriented drug control strategy, taking into account measures to protect the environment and recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples

16/3/2023 Thursday 5pm

Chair: I would like Peru to update the room since we last considered the draft resolution

Peru: good afternoon, well today was an intense day of work and we were able to make significant progress on this resolution. We have agreement formally on a number of paras however we have almost reached agreement on other paras where we have pending confirmation from 1 or 2 countries and these are related to gender issues, human rights issues and the environment. My suggestion is to start working on the paragraphs already agreed on in informals and after that move on to those where we have pending confirmation from 1 or 2 delegations. also the para we were working on yesterday on traditional licit uses, we haven’t finished on that para yet so we will have to revisit it.

Chair: I want delegations to be constructive and only speak about language, I do not want explanations.


Chair: PP11 is deleted.


Chair: PP16 is deleted.

OP3ter alt

Chair: Do you agree that we keep the paragraph as shown on the screen?

Bolivia: I think we came here this afternoon in a very good mood and there is an error which I see now again. It says ‘illicit cultivation of drug crops’ which is quite odd to say ‘drug crops’. We have to say illicit cultivation of ‘plants’ or ‘crops’. There is no such thing as drug crops.

Russian Federation: we’d like to revert to the original text because that is agreed language from the outcome document of the UN general assembly. This is terminology which is used in said document thus we would not be ready to change it.

Chair: this is the place where we take decisions. Was the Russian federation in informals? Russia, do you prefer drug crops?

Russia: That is correct.

Bolivia: We have been discussing this extensively and it is about distinguishing the fact that drug production and the production of psychotropic substances is based on the cultivation of certain crops or certain plants but the plants or harvests of them are not drugs. The drug is what is prepared, manufactured or produced and that is the spirit that we are seeking to reflect in this paragraph. We need to ensure that we are consistent and that it makes sense when we are talking about alternative development. That is why we proposed deleting the term drug here. 

Chair: Even though it creates some misunderstanding, is it something that you can let go of?

Bolivia: We need to be consistent. When we talk about illicit cultivation of drug crops, there is no such thing. We are talking about scientific evidence and in turn that means objectivity. The contribution that we are trying to make in this paragraph needs to be in that same vein. I don’t want to waste time but I would urge them to consider our position. I will propose an alternative to the proposal from Brazil. We discussed his idea and our proposal was to use agreed text from the outcome document. In Russia, people understand drug crops. It’s not hard to understand in russian. It’s used in all political documents. In this case we would not be able to be flexible unfortunately. If we are supposed to be consistent then we can go back to using the term in all of this resolution. However, we understand the position of other countries and have listened carefully and in the cases where we are able to be flexible we are, but not in this case, not in this para.

Guatemala: indeed, both delegations are quite right and it’s because in the 2016 UNGASS document you will see drug crops used in 2 paragraphs but in many other paragraphs a different version is used. What worries me is that this may be distancing us from reaching a consensus, even though we had agreed in informals. When we come to CoW we find ourselves back discussing something that was agreed in informals. In an attempt to be constructive, in many of the paras in the 2016 UNGASS document you find reference to crops used for the illicit production and manufacture of drugs. That is also agreed language from UNGASS 2016 and in the Spanish version at least I think it is very easy to understand, same thing in English. so maybe we could use that expression if the 2 delegations are unable to reach a consensus – “of crops used for the illicit production and manufacture of drugs”. This is agreed text but chair, as my delegation said yesterday. If this is going to reopen a still greater discussion and make this paragraph longer than it already is, then I will be the very first one to withdraw it. If the discussion starts and people start to cherry pick, I am happy to withdraw it. We might be here til midnight as I feel it is a race to see who burns out first.

Chair: There seems to be no agreement.

Indonesia:We have discussed these terms this morning and agreed on these words because they are agreed in other documents. So both are agreed in international guiding principles. Whatever is good, narcotic plants, cultivation of crops for drugs… In many paras, we use “crops used for illicit production” so it would be consistent to keep using it.  

Chair: We have reach agreement. Sometimes it is good to be confused. Bolivia, I understand where you are coming from, but if this is something you don’t have serious concerns about, I suggest you let it go, so we can go on, and the good spirit can remain in the room. 

Bolivia: I would suggest a solution. We can’t accept “narcotic plants”. In Spanish, this doesn’t exist as a phrase as such, but if we reverse the word order? Illicit crop cultivation is a wording you will find in the ‘61 convention. 

Chair: Let us ponder over this a little. Russian Federation, have you shifted your stance?

Russia: Thank you – we are always paying lots of attention to the propositions of other countries, but this is terminology all MS have agreed on, so we do not see the point in changing it.

Guatemala: As I said, it might not have been a timely proposal. I am saddened. I heard the phrase is coming out from the UNGASS outcome document, when in fact … I am taken aback. We are on the point of withdrawing our proposal. When UN documents are being prepared, the people working on them are not necessary experts. In my case, I am a mere lawyer, so my point is that if these earlier documents include some mistakes, it is our responsibility to recall and fix those errors. These papers are not a source of law, so we can rectify errors. This is a document drafted decades ago. In light of what has been said by Russia, that this line applies differently in their language. Well, this is true for my language. This line including “narcotic plant” it says “plants used for cultivation of drugs”. Spanish is quite a rich language, wouldn’t you agree? So who is right? Of course, we are all right. Our proposal was aimed at coming up with a text that refers to the same document as Russia was referring to. We would like to press ahead, and it seems my proposal is not helping that. I will leave you with that, Chair. 

Chair: I propose to take the last intervention from Brazil …and it is my hope you will make my work easy after you hear the Spanish text. 

Brazil: Let me try my hand at this: let’s say “illicit crop cultivation” then strike “of the crops”.

Chair: I think we have to move on because I don’t see any change in the positions of MS. If Bolivia would be nice to me, we could shorten this discussion on the matter.

Bolivia: We will leave it as it was but would like this flexibility to be considered we are putting on the table.

Chair: Noted. Agreed.

OP5 bis


OP5 ter






OP14 bis





Agreed. Deleted.






Chair: I would like you to ponder over this. I can see Iran doing last minute consultations on this matter.

Iran: I like to have good news but unfortunately no. We want to keep our reservations on that, especially on gender. We will come back to you. We want to change pending to objection.

Peru: We have been working with this formula that was maybe acceptable for Iran. instead of including gender dimension, we could use empowering women and girls and the environment.

Iran: We fully support that, but it should be deleted from the text. Environment should be taken out.

Mexico: We could use “to protect the environment” which is the language used in existing documents. 

France: We too like this very constructive proposal from Mexico. We would support it.

Iran: My proposal is to put full stop after girls. I want to clear this issue once. Only once in the conventions, in article 14 the protection of the environment has been used. It is not a good excuse to put it everywhere, but I am not in position to accept this terminology. I know how much it is important to others, but it is important to delete it for my delegation.

Germany: I think we could be flexible on the proposal, I just have a comment on a grammatical issue because we would have to add “and to help to empower” because the beginning of the para refers to develop policies and programmes that take into account. Perhaps someone who is an English native speaker can help.

Egypt: I am not a native speaker but maybe we say and aim to help to empower women and girls, and maybe this is something Iran can take into consideration. And “as appropriate to protect the environment”. I think this is a very good solution. Thank you.

Peru: Let me suggest another try in order to reach the consensus – for my delegation and for the sponsors the environmental issue is very important. I see that Iran does not feel comfortable with the presence of this term in the text but when we are talking about sustainability it relates to protection of the environment now. We can try rural socioeconomic development and maybe we can satisfy the expectation of the sponsors. But it is just a try and hope it works for everyone.

France: im wondering, the extent to which i’ve understood correctly. this draft resolution is on alternative development, environmental protection and the right of indigenous people so the topic of the environment is indeed at the heart of the resolution. What I’m wondering also is how this para comes from UN guidelines on alternative development, these include the initial mention or reference that you see on the screen. I can read the end – the gender dimension related thereto and the environment. Indeed, this was agreed in 2013 at the UN general assembly, it’s just copy paste of a para from the guidelines so I guess I am wondering why we’re coming up against this opposition to agreed language. We are indeed trying to accommodate the Iranian delegation but certain questions do arise. For now, we wouldn’t be ready to renounce the agreed language.

Australia: I am intervening as a native English speaker as requested. As I understand, everything launches off ‘that’ on the first line then we have ‘that’ aim or that help, we don’t need an and there, because we’re launching from ‘that’ on the first line.

Sweden: we would like to concur with France that we are perhaps running little too fast with regard to erasing the reference to gender dimension here. This is agreed language from last year. We are concerned because we are discussing this this morning where gender equality is being challenged by many delegations when this is agreed language. we would therefore like to reserve. We cannot go below agreed language on gender at this point. 

Iran: I wanted to only because some delegations are repeating this “coming from this, coming from that”. I mentioned yesterday that if they accept the para which I tabled from the resolution from general assembly, I will accept all paragraphs. This is double standards, only blaming Iran. when it benefits you, when it benefits us it should be changed. So there is no way on that. I assure you if we want to have this resolution which is very important for Iran, alternative development because of neighboring Afghanistan. Without implementing this project they cannot live. They are cultivating poppies. So, it is very important for Iran, I assure you. But you have some red line. We have some red line. But it is better not to put blame on my delegation. You know I will not accept that. So we cannot go along with the environment but we will see.

Colombia: clearly we do not have consensus yet but we are concerned by the proposal made by Egypt “as appropriate”. why? because there is an international obligation to protect the environment which is crucial. we know the conversation is still ongoing…

Guatemala: we are worried about a number of things. for us hearing that we cannot go further than what is stated in the text, so we will be wondering why a number of things are not working because we keep doing the same thing. Like we said yesterday it is one of those irrational arguments like you are going to attain different results by doing the same thing over and over again. More than 50 years have passed since the conventions, the drug situation has not changed. We have social, scientific evidence whatever you need to understand that the drug situation has worsened. So in an attempt to be constructive, bringing in a paragraph from a general assembly resolution that we could use: “and that includes measures to protect the environment” so we are watering it down but this is agreed language from a general assembly resolution and so at this stage chair, resolution 68/196 on the guide to alternative development. My question is also to colleagues who are opposing the environment as an issue. If we do not have a healthy or protected environment, then where exactly are we going to be planting or sewing? Well clearly the environment is involved in all of this so denying this is even more irrational. So the alternative I read out earlier from OP7, I can read it out again. “and that include measures to protect the environment” because we are talking about policies that include measures to protect the environment. Maybe the English speakers could help me here. So once again, it’s a general assembly resolution specifically on the subject of alternative development adopted by the general assembly, not only by the CND.

Egypt:We are flexible with retaining the original language or even move these suggestions in. In the beginning, other delegations have tried to change agreed language and we are facing the consequences right now. We are trying to be helpful so this is not something we intentionally want. We go along with whatever agreed language because we don’t want to divert from it like other delegations do.

Chair: Since you left the room, we have evolved… and the evolution has been quite specific on the protection of the environment. Would this new construction satisfy Iran? I give you time. Are there any other delegations wanting to take the floor? 

Chair: Okay, we move on to OP 13 bis for now.

Algeria: To be constructive, my delegation can go along with this para as it is on the screen. 

USA: (…)

Chair: Okay. Agreed.


Chair: Any objections to deleting this? Agreed to delete.

PP3 ter

Colombia: Can we have a few moments to consider this a I cannot recall the agreement from the informals in the morning?

Chair: Sure. 

PP3 bis

Peru: Some delegations were not in favor of the phrasing “a society free of drug abuse” so now you have that reflected on the screen. I must say other delegations have concerns about this phrase, however, exercising a big effort and constructive approach they withdrew their reserve with a possibility to advance on other paras particularly those relating to human rights.

Chair: Which one?

Peru: PP6, PP6bis1, PP6bis2. We are suggesting now to take a look at PP6bis2. It was not really a package deal, just a proposal. This is the situation that we are in now. And one final comment: this PP6bis2 is agreed language from past resolution 65/1.

Chair: Any other delegations?

Switzerland: I have a question, if Peru says the package deal is not on the table anymore with human rights and “society free of drug abuse” then what are we suggested to do?

Chair: I will freeze this discussion now, I would like to advance. Let us move on to PP9.


Iran: Our position has not changed. There is no package deal on this issue. 

Chair: Okay, we move on.


Peru:: A brief clarification – I believe my colleagues have a misunderstanding, there was no package deal.

Chair: I want us to make progress, we will return to this an other time. PP11 now.  

Peru: We did not work on these paras today. Both are in the same stage where we left it yesterday. The first proposal is almost at consensus pending reservation from Russia and Egypt. We are talking about almost the same words, the difference is the insertion of Articla 14.

Chair: Okay I suggest we look at PP11 bis alt. Russian Federation, do you still have issues?

Russia: We would propose the deletion of this para. We are not able to support the ideas reflected in here because we don’t think this commission is empowered to deal with indigenous peoples. 

Iran: we have the same position with Russia, we cannot go along with this. we are not in the position to talk about the right of indigenous people within CND.

Guatemala: i think if things go on like this i will not get tired of taking the floor but not today. could someone explain the following: in article 14, where it says there is historic evidence – what is ‘historic evidence’ referring to? historic does not mean tomorrow. you are referring to the past – local peoples and indigenous communities have used plants for health, chair with all due respect, we were the ones who nominated this as illicit as a result of the abusive use of these plants. Many of these communities never engaged in illicit use because these plants have medical properties and continue to have medical properties. So again, we are engaging in a debate, why aren’t cigarettes banned for example? Are we saying this doesn’t have historic precedence? I don’t see anyone here saying why can’t we smoke in the corridors of the VIC. So chair, when we start staying that this is not the appropriate forum for discussing indigenous rights, that is really not something I can support. I cannot support this at all. We do have historic evidence in Article 14 and if it is only stated once it is in a convention that was adopted in an entirety. Within a convention. You will see it in the legal body of text and we adopted it and ratified it. So chair, yes it’s problematic for us if this paragraph is taken out because it would mean that I, Guatemala are denying the indigenous peoples their rights, even before the times that the UN existed, even before the League of Nations. If we are going to start talking about deleting, deleting, deleting, then chair I am ready, and not just on this. My delegation is ready. It is easier to delete isn’t it, instead of build.

Chair: we need to be flexible going forward. How can delegations insist on one hand that things should be there, then on the other hand, not been there. I have seen efforts to take out what was created in pp11bisalt, it has been taken out and reference has been made to the article. so i would be grateful that those who will subsequently take the floor do not tell me why or why not it should be there, i just want a way out.

Germany: i dont have the silver bullet. we have spent roughly 50 hours of negotiation in informals on this resolution so far. we have exchanged all the arguments why we are sure that indigenous rights are part of the CND. It is clearly referenced in the convention. Our point is that we cannot agree to delete it. We have spent a lot of time to work on this text. We are not ready to give it up, especially as we do not see the flexibility of other delegations. We already have 2 OP’s agreed with language on indigenous peoples and local communities. If we have language agreed already, we need to simply include them in the PPs. 

Egypt: i heard other delegations speaking about art.14 and also that there is historical evidence but also we have to put in mind that there is when we are talking about historical evidence that also there is limitation. 1961 convention… traditional medicine is stated in the commentary. However in spirit to try to solve this issue, maybe we can end a paragraph until health services. we are talking here about the access to indigenous people and local communities to health services. i think this is very good and we can leave this until the end. We are gonna go around in circles on this issue. We are not going to end it I think. We are flexible on a lot of issues but we want also to… or maybe we can end it until the right to preserve traditional health practices. we are flexible this way and flexible until health services. 

Bolivia: i was very flexible in our position but we have to take into account what is about – the title of this resolution – speaks spanish – is about alternative development taking into account protection of environmental issue, talking about rights of indigenous peoples. when we talk alternative development, we are not talking about that on the moon, it is indigenous areas and indigenous populations. it is not an abstraction what we are putting here. my delegation was very open to take into account the different position as expressed by Iran and Russia and Egypt to put also the local communities. We were quite flexible to have an inclusive paragraph but when you see in 1961, so there was this unique convention, at that time there were not yet the rights of indigenous recognised, there were no human rights either before the WW1 because the development of international law is going on and we are in this sense incorporating these rights also into our.. it is not about only seeing one aspect of alternative development, we have to see all aspects. the human aspect is fundamental, that is why we would like to keep the first paragraph as it is and we would be not in a position to delete this. as well, we have endorsed to be a co-sponsor of this resolution and at the condition it stays the protection of environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. 

Chair: for us to make progress, we have to agree. I take note of the construction of language that Guatemala provided us and I take note of the comments made by Egypt suggesting that we should go by what Guatemala has given us. Is it possible that we are agreeable that we can delete the last part of that rendition? Taking out the ‘convention’ and the ‘article 14 of the 1998’ from that point? stopping at practices? are we comfortable with that as a middle ground? im addressing this to the Russian federation being flexible and consideration with the construction. I wish you would address this. we need to bridge the gap.

Russia: indeed we have heard enough but I feel I was not heard. yesterday i made advances on our approach towards indigenous peoples. we have due respect to approaches of other countries including Bolivia. For us, we want to say we already acknowledge in this resolution in pp3, traditional licit use of drugs when we quote 98 convention. Secondly we already agreed pp11 the declaration on the rights of indigenous people. We are stretching the limits of our flexibility in that. If we accept any links between indigenous people and traditional licit use, for our country it would mean an extension of our indigenous people. we want to protect our indigenous people. we do not want any ambiguity in our issue. We cannot have these two contradicting issues in one paragraph. I am suggesting without final confirmation from the capital which I would need to confirm, probably we could consider “recalling the importance of engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities, in alternative development programs, taking into consideration the UN guiding principles on alternative development.” We will not be able to consider the second part at all. We already stretched the limit of flexibility on that issue. As I said yesterday, the right of traditional licit use of drugs was also discussed when declaration on rights of indigenous people was discussed but that was not accepted for very concrete reasons. it is not acceptable for everyone so we cannot invent new concept here. 

Colombia: PP11 bis is a reformulation of one that is not appearing on the other screen. Is the room working on PP11 bis alt or that one?

Chair: when you have intractable positions on an issue, and by the benevolence of one individual, the person has brought us a draft which has been given to us as a compromise. i think it goes without saying that you would focus attention on the one that is purported to bring us together rather than the one that others are saying it is absolutely no. So my approach has been to deal with the guatemalan proposal and that is what the russian federation has contributed to us in the intervention before yours. if we play around with it a little we might be able to get the right balance for us all to move on.

Egypt: I just wanted to respond to the intervention that stated we suggested including local communities. It was not us, just wanted to make it clear. We have no problem with putting both. Listening to our colleague from Russia explaining their position, it is something we were concerned about as well. This is something we need to work on, my capital was talking about this as well. We cannot enforce something, we have to come to an agreement.

Brazil: Having heard the intervention from Russia, instead of breach, but we could maybe retain the mentioning of rights. So, maybe we could keep “reaffirming the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities” and then full stop at the end of this.

Uruguay: It seems the conventions were born on the day as the World… so we don’t have traditional people, no communities existed before? My proposal is to finish with “access without discrimination … in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 14 of the 1988 Convention” and we would like to keep reference to “traditional use”.

Egypt: We thank the suggestion from Uruguay. We could put a full stop after “social services”.

Bolivia: We would of course like to retain the reference to paragraph 2 of Article 14. Myself, I was negotiating this very paragraph. We have to take into account that this is about the right to have your medicine, the right to have your people long before we had modern medicine, these communities used plants before we had chemicals and western medicine. This is an article that has been ratified. For those cases where there is historical evidence, this applies to only a few countries where indigenous peoples are living still, I believe this is important. We would have preferred the first paragraph but in order to reach an agreement on a very important paragraph for us… you know, we became a plurinational state, and it is about highlighting the 36 nations of indigenous peoples in our country. We are not taking anything that is not accepted by the international community. 

Chair: Those opposing this paragraph are opposing something already in the conventions, so I think Brazil did a good job pointing it out. How do we balance these three conventions? It is a problem. For us to insist, we are pulled apart… what is important here is how we can bridge the gap. The Russian Federation is comfortable with the Brazilian proposal? Are other delegations comfortable leaving this without an explicit reference?

Russia: It is not our intention to complicate things. Yesterday, we agreed in CoW PP1alt which recalls the importance of promoting sustainability and etcetera for indigenous people. We agreed on it here. This seems somehow forgotten. Russia is also a plurinational state, we have 190 indigenous peoples and 52 ethnic minorities, we know what we are talking about here, and it is very important to us. Maybe we make more progress when we listen to each other more carefully. 

Indonesia: We know this is a difficult task to discuss these sensitive issues. We accept the situation of countries…

Chair: Excuse me, we are not having a meeting within a meeting. Please resume your seats. Please resume your seats. Back to Indonesia.

Indonesia: We have to thread balance and take into account suggestions. We understand the two positions of including as well as opposing this reference. “…while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities” would be enough in our opinion, so then we can have a full stop. 

Iran: I thank the delegations taking their time to explain their stances, especially those in South America. I would like to ask them to also respect our concept. Our regions are different and so we have our own preferences. I would like to put a full stop after “development” because there is no reference to discrimination or health services or social services in Article 14. We want to change Article 14? I would ask clarification from colleagues. Here, in this session, we are not positioned to discuss these important issues at the CND. CND has a different mandate, so Iran cannot go along with this.

Colombia: I hope we are getting closer with this – we hear delegations and their concerns. The Indonesian proposal is not working grammatically but maybe we are not using proper wording here, maybe we have to “recall” those rights? Making references to paragraph 2 of Article 14 limits the scope of rights as there are other international instruments that are important for the recognition of rights of indigenous peoples. So we would prefer to “recall” and keep “access, without discrimination, to various services.

USA: We think “respecting” or “taking into account” could work here. The reason this is preferable over “recalling” because we are looking for these rights to be really acknowledges. To get to the question of what the treaty requires, it talks about traditional licit uses – we know these are medicinal, scientific, etc. So in this context we would not think of research, right? That is why we would like to include health services. We would prefer “while taking into account … without discrimination to social and health services, such as traditional medical practices.

Guatemala: I believe it is the delegations that are proposing are more constructive. Requesting deletion is easy. We are not trying to reinvent the conventions, we are fully committed to them. We heard so many things today. We haven’t heard what the cosponsors of the resolutions wanted to say here. All that I know is that it is getting late… it is getting late for the commission to take action on the pending issues. We can consider the USA’s proposal, we can be flexible. I can try to explain it to capital why we chose these words. I am showing contortionist flexibility here.

Bolivia: I am not insisting on putting the reference to Article 14. It is there anyway. We would have preferred to keep it but to go along with the proposals, we can use the synonyms suggested. We can delete Article 14. 

Venezuela: It is curious for me that Russia said we already approved a paragraph on this. PP11 bis, it was only an alternative to that. If it is approved, why are we discussing this? 

Chair: Now we break for 5 minutes now and will discuss your question.

Peru: it has been very difficult to reach a consensus and i would prefer to go back to informals in one hour, but we need the sponsors to make some consultations with particular delegations to try and build a common ground. and return to informals at 08:30. i know everyone is tired, sorry for that. i kindly request the orientation of the secretariat. the informal is to be convened at 08:30 that could be hybrid if possible?

Secretariat: I need to consult on the matter.

Peru: the idea is to build common ground and resume the cow tomorrow. hopefully tomorrow we will have good news

Chair: Do we agree to break the cow now? Any objections? That is the decision. Meeting adjourned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *