Home » Plenary Item 7. Inter-agency cooperation and coordination of efforts in addressing and countering the world drug problem

Plenary Item 7. Inter-agency cooperation and coordination of efforts in addressing and countering the world drug problem

March 16, Thursday 12:00pm

Chair: (Introduction of agenda item 7.)

UNODC: (…) The UN Common Position is an attempt by the whole UN system to have a united position on this multifaceted issue, informed by strong research, and deep discussions. This relies on inter-agency collaboration and 8 key principles. I pick the most important to talk about today: recognizing the world drug problem as complex and needing a comprehensive approach. Please follow the QR code on the screens, it will lead you to the full text on the website. You will find all the tools and documents, brought together from across the U system and country teams, to aid the implementation of the common position. This is lead by UNODC. In 2019, we have published a report about what we have learned – this contributed hugely to the deliberations in the 2019 ministerial meeting. It has been shared with country teams and is meant to feed into local strategies. One example is mainstreaming human rights into drug policy in the Philippines. The UN toolkit on synthetic drugs is also a good example of making connections between multiple agencies. Due to time constraints, I would like to refer you to our documents and the website.

European Union and allied countries: (full statement TBA)  

Indonesia: No country can solve this problem alone. Our national narcotic strategy has been enhanced by e-learning modules developed in collaboration with UNODC. Promotion of the use of counseling techniques in prisons (…) Injecting is one of the main modes of drug use that is mainly concerning us.

Namibia: With regard to promoting coordination and alignment, we made significant progress in addressing the HIV epidemic which includes testing and various support programs, especially to prevent mother-to-child infections. Among adults, the infection rate is 11.8%. We have achieved, among the estimated people living with HIV above 90% are aware of their status and 99% of that are on ART and 99% of them are virally suppressed. We have received recognition for our efforts, and we appreciate that. We are still reporting new infections, due to limited access to services, gender-based violence and alcohol and drug abuse among youth and women. We are developing economic empowerment, prevention, and treatment programs, we are also considering it a key to addressing gender-based violence in our national strategy. We need all the partners in business, communities, civil society, faith-based organizations, women-led organizations, youth-led organizations, people with disabilities, man-led organizations and others. Besides all the achievements, we are also facing a new epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. This is our second leading cause of mortality. We are prioritizing detection and prompt treatment.

United States: This is an important topic. Today the CND faces involving complex challenges. Fundamental shift in drug threat landscape. As criminals try to evade law enforcement, the international community must take commensurate activates. 2016 UNGASS doc makes clear that we must leverage knowledge across UN system. The UNODC, INCB, WHO work in concert – and make great strides in drug control challenges. UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy ensures coherence in like with treaty bodies. Robust cooperation with WHO, UNODC to develop international standards and enhance contributions regarding substance use. The INCB has been partnering effectively with the Postal Union to expand usage of info sharing platforms. These are a few examples of impactful work across UN system. We urge UN entities to think about expanding opportunities to collaborate and galvanise opportunities with MS like us, CSO and other UN bodies. We look forward to working with MS along others to combat challenges to synthetic drugs.

Jamaica: Thanks for the reports fro m the Secretariat. The Report underscored the need to tackle the WDP in the pandemic. Welcome the work of the UNODC and the UN agency taskforce of on HIV/AIDS. We appreciate the work of the entities to collaborate. Jamaica announced all nation efforts to ensure availability of drugs for medical and scientific purposes. We noticed the popularity of MDMA in Jamaica among youngsters and this is now a concern of ours. Regional partners and other international partners cannot be overstated.

Republic of Korea: We recognised the importance of shared responsibility with member states to end the WDP. Korea implements drug policies adapted from the 2016 and 2019 documents in cooperation with UN agencies. Korean prosecution has organised an annual drug conference supported by UNODC since 19?9. This meeting has contributed to maintaining a close partnership and information sharing between UNODC and participating countries. In terms of drug trends, we witness a replacement of NPS and fentanyl which have risen. The INCB has been operating multilateral cooperation including on public private partnerships such as the opioid project and project ION. Korean prosecution has, since 2017, worked to improve personnel to fight drugs. For cross-border cooperation, Korean and Asian members have established an AP cooperation centre for drug control in 2012. As a result, we have made meaningful progress in drug demand and supply reduction to prosecute criminals and crack down on trafficking. Changes in drug related trends over the past 3 years because of COVID-19 pandemic. More active intervention of UN agencies to support us with these challenges are needed.

India: We prioritise our citizens’ well being and that’s why we’re committed for drug demand reduction. In 2018, we launched a framework through a multi pronged strategy focusing on awareness, treatment, care for drug addicted individuals. Building capacity and capacities in demand reduction is a primary priority. Rehabilitation and treatment centres, detox, counselling and medical care to help individuals overcome dependence and prevent youth and other vulnerable populations. Free services. Including also through the national helpline. Important to acknowledge the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, which calls for further cooperation between national and international authorities and relevant stakeholders. Reflected in Drug Free India campaign in 2020, instrumental to engage with many stakeholders. Through this campaign we educate youth about dangers of drug use, providing them with skills to make healthy choices. Support families with information and resources to prevent drug use. Preventative efforts, involving teachers, peers, parents, through school based interventions, are helpful to divert young people into meaningful activities. Accent in border areas to reduce vulnerabilities of people in this area. UNDP has aided implementation on the ground. India recognises the importance of addressing drug demand reduction and remains committed to combating drug abuse. These measures will go a long way preventing and reducing use and mitigating consequences.

United Kingdom: We support the UN Common Position. Drugs are harmful to individuals and communities and we recognised the importance of a balanced and human rights based approach. Remain firmly committed to UNODC and the wider family and is committed to the drug control conventions and rules-based international system. We seek to continue workinga together.

Nigeria: We recognise the importance of interagency cooperation and note the work done in collaboration, and the 2009 and 2019 documents. The emergence of a Africa in transnational trafficking routes remains a concern of ours . We appreciate the work of he lead agency as revised in our national drug strategy. At the international level, key partners across board lines to counter the WDP. These include the airport project, aimed at strengthening airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to share intelligence. We also work with the DEA of the USA. We also have a joint border force strengthen border management -with UNODC and Interpol. WAJO – to enhance work among west African counties. Largely funded by Nigeria. The agency in the past 20 months has revitalised partnerships across the world. This improves sharing of real time information and intelligence. We are implementing lie detection machines in airports.

Switzerland: Thank the US, UK and EU for their statements. Common position of the UN is an important development – consistent message on drug policies. Important link between Vienna, Geneva and NY. Important to understand that drug policies have a context. These impact risk reduction and human right. Civil society contributions are important.

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights: Madame Chair, Destinguished Delegates, The past few decades of the so-called ‘war on drugs’, that is grounded in a punitive, stigmatizing approach to people around the globe who use the internationally controlled psychoactive substances, has shown how complex drug policy is and how many negative consequences it may and does have for numerous aspects of people’s lives. Restrictive laws criminalizing drug use and possession, which are still dominant around the world, populate prisons and detention centers, add to stigmatization and discrimination, and have a disastrous impact on public health, among others, hindering efforts to stop the HIV epidemic in regions such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia. According to UNAIDS, up to 90% of people who inject drugs will end up in prison at some point in their life. The militarized response of some of the Member States to the cultivation of plants, which have been for centuries integrated in the culture and way of living of numerous communities in different areas, is not only a wrongful and disproportionate method of addressing the issue, but it also contributes to the devastation of the natural environment while entrenching poverty and marginalisation. Altogether the current drug polices deepen social inequalities, disproportionately targeting those who are already vulnerable and marginalized. It often overlaps and exacerbates the social and racial injustice as well as gender inequality. This inevitably brings us to the conclusion that when such a complex issue is discussed and decided in the environment as diversified as the UN system, we need more stakeholders with different expertise to be present and to have a stronger voice. Therefore, we call on the CND and member states to prioritise and strengthen inter-agency cooperation among all relevant UN bodies and entities in reviewing the current global drug policy and planning future solutions, as envisioned in the UN Common Position on this matter. Particularly, we see the incredibly important role the World Health Organisation, the UNAIDS, the UNDP, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Women can play in this regard. Ahead of the mid-term review in 2024, we call on the CND to strengthen inter-agency collaboration as well as engagement with civil society organizations, which offer first-hand knowledge about the country-level situation and – last but not least – with people and communities mostly affected by drug policies. Thank you for your attention.

International Drug Law Advocacy and Resource Centre (IDLARC): Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak today. Madam Chair, excellencies, dear colleagues, I am delivering this statement today on behalf of the International Drug Law Advocacy and Resource Centre (IDLARC) and in collaboration with DRCNet Foundation who completely endorse this statement. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Despite this impressive milestone, egregious human rights abuses continue to be committed in the name of drug control all over the world: extrajudicial killings, torture, the death penalty, police violence, racial discrimination and the racist profiling of people of color, gender-based discrimination, and the impeding of access to essential medicines. In December 2022 in New York, I witnessed the passage of UN ‘Omnibus’ Resolution 77/238. This contains unprecedented support for, and some of the strongest language to date on human rights, harm reduction, racial discrimination, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is crucial this language is incorporated into future CND resolutions and implemented by Member States on the ground. As Civil Society we support the role of multi-agency groups, such as the UN System Coordination Task Team, to consolidate system-wide coherence and improve interagency coordination. This, and the UN System Common Position on Drugs, will assist with, and I quote, ‘the development and implementation of policies that put people, health and human rights at their centre’. Interagency cooperation and coordination is crucial for ending AIDS and viral hepatitis by 2030. People who inject drugs are being left behind. The 2021 Political Declaration on HIV notes, and I quote, ‘that the majority of countries and regions have not made significant progress in expanding harm reduction programmes,’ and that the application of restrictive laws hampers access to HIV-related services. We express concern about the shrinking space for civil society. We call on UN Agencies and Member States to champion the inclusion of civil society, including academics and organizations run by people who use drugs. We are the ones most often working on the ground and bring real-world experiences to the table. There is a clear mandate for interagency cooperation and coordination, which can be found in both the the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document and the UN Common Position on Drugs. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, we call on member states and Vienna-based drug control entities to welcome and incorporate contributions from OHCR and other UN entities into the drug control mechanisms here in Vienna. Thank you.

Chair: Afternoon session will start with item 8

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