Plenary Item 9. Contributions by the Commission to the work of the Economic and Social Council, in line with General Assembly resolutions 75/290 A and 75/290 B, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Chair: (Introduces Item 9 and alludes to official documentation)

Secretariat: Contributions of the CND to ECOSOC. New coordination segment was held in February 2023. A video highlighted the work of the CND and ECOSOC subsidiary bodies in general. The CND has been invited to contribute to HLPF on SDGs in July 2023 under the theme of ‘accelerating the recovery from COVID-19 and implementation of 20230 agenda’. It will provide important inputs for the SDG Summit in September 2023. This is the midpoint of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Returning to this year’s HLPF, the goals to be reviewed are 6, …, 9, 11, and 17. The CND provide da written contribution to the HLPF based on its work on alternative development, non-diversion of chemicals, on the proliferation of precursors, early prevention and international cooperation in countering illicit trafficking. 

UNODC: The CND addresses the implementation of the 2030 agenda as part of its mandates and submits contributions to the HLPF. UNODC in conjunction with other agencies is responsible to monitor progress on SDGs indicators, by our research branch. Evidence to policy debates on development at national and international levels. UNODC plays an active role in the indicator framework, cornerstone of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. CND promotes expanding data collection of SDG target 3.5 on prevention and treatment of substance abuse including narcotic drug abuse and use of alcohol, as well as 16.4 in trafficking, drug crime and illicit financial flows. Revised ARQs improved comparability on target 3.5 with clear statistical definitions and support to countries as provided by UNODC. IN 2022, UNODC rolled out an online data collection platform and held 5 regional capacity building events attended by over 300 participants. To be noted, data availability on SDG on 3.5.1 remains limited as less than 30 countries have the capacity of monitoring treatment coverage. Crucial to increase capacity on this. Besides SDG3, UNODC promotes better indicators on SDG 16. OHCHR, UNODC and UNDP are working to pilot data collection on this target in 7 countries. 2023, UNDOC compiled information on estimates on illicit financial flows on trafficking and drug related crime, for the first time, which provides clarity on the scope of the problem. UNODC has supported all Agenda items related to its mandate but also has been working on peace, corruption, global digital compact, youth empowerment, strategic foresight and data analysis. As outlined by the Secretary General, we hope these activities can boost implementation of SDGs. The Common Agenda will be important. The HLPF will take place in NY, on clean water, sustainable energy innovation, sustainable cities and … Following the HLPF, review of the implementation of the 2030 agenda and political guidance on transformative action to the target of 2030. In preparation, the UN system is promoting high impact actions and communications and new opportunities for accelerated implementation of the SDgs at country and regional levels.

United States of America: We recognise the CND as the primary policy making body on drugs for its contributions to ECOSOC. CND technical expertise underscores the work of ECOSOC. US underscores efforts to achieve SDGs and address WDP are complimentary. The theme of the summer forum is a timely one. During the early day of lockdown the CND was a model for the UN system in ensuring COVID19 did not halt its work. Commend CND for quickly adapting to hybrid modality. To accelerate our collective recovery we must look ahead. (…)

China: Appreciation of CND contribution to 2030 Agenda within its mandate. We are committed to a people centred development approach. Illicit drugs in China come from the Golden Triangle which is why we cooperate with governments of Myanmar and Lao in alternative development programmes to reduce dependence on poppy cultivation, thus undermining the source of drug issues. 44 enterprises in China are working in Myanmar and Lao on alternative development —projects with sugarcane, rice, corn, and tropical fruit. Last year, 245 thousand people worked in alternative development projects, including many thousand poppy farmers. Alternative development is only one component of antidrugs efforts. Only effective when combined with legal crackdown. We stand ready to collaborate on this matter.

Thailand: (Video presentation —poor sound quality).

Canada: (…)

OHCHR (UN SR on Health): Dear Chair, Excellencies, I wish to thank CND for inviting me to speak. The SDG 2030 Agenda is putting the dignity, health and rights of people and planet at the centre of sustainable development. Drug matters are intertwined with all aspects of sustainable development. All areas of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) shape the nature and dynamic of the drug problem. From my mandate’s perspective, I wish to fucus on SDG 3 on Good health and well-being. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all, as envisaged in SDG 3, requires effective measures to address the world drug problem. Despite various harsh approaches to deter drug use, evidence indicates that prevalence of drug use continues to increase. Each year people die from drug overdoses and/or for the lack of treatment and harm reduction services. These deaths are preventable. There is overwhelming evidence that health dangers can be easily prevented through non-discriminatory access to general health care, as well as well-funded and widely available harm reduction services. Even though the original aim of the drug control conventions were to protect the health and welfare of humankind, this legal framework has been heavily tilted towards a criminalising approach to suppress the illicit drugs market. Evidence is clear: criminalization of drug use and minor drug offenses aggravates the stigmatization of and discrimination against people who use drugs. Women who use drugs face increased stigma and discrimination, especially if they are pregnant or have children. They also have reduced access to harm reduction, drug dependence treatment and basic healthcare. This inevitably has an impact on the achievement of SDGs 3 on health and well being and 5 on gender equality. This year, CND is preparing the 2024 mid-term review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on the global drug situation. This is a significant moment, which could be also an opportunity to assess the progress made towards SDGs. Some progress have been recorded for achieving SDG goals, however, a long way to go. We need to take action now! I wish to recommend following five actions to consider: 1. Consider transformative change in addressing the drug related challenges trough promoting a human rights and public health based approach to drug use, and ensuring that they are in line with the SDGs. 2. Strengthen mechanisms for discussing, sharing best practice and collaborating across the UN family to ensure more system-wide coherence between drug policy and the achievement of the SDGs. 3. Ensure effective engagement of civil society and the effected community, including people who use drugs throughout the 2024 review process; and beyond. 4. End prohibition, decriminalize drug use or the possession, purchase or cultivation of drugs for personal use and other related activities; and introduce appropriate regulations. In concluding, let me emphasize that everyone has a right to health and to be treated with respect, dignity and equality – regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, nationality, legal status, health and other status, including drug dependency.

Medecins du Monde: (…)

Hepatitis Australia:Esteemed Members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, I am honoured to address you today on behalf of Hepatitis Australia, a civil society organisation dedicated to ending the viral hepatitis epidemics and empowering affected communities, and a member of the World Hepatitis Alliance. Viral hepatitis is a major public health concern globally, with the World Drug Report telling us that hepatitis C is the number one cause of death among people who inject drugs. However, viral hepatitis is preventable and treatable. and hepatitis C has a cure, while hepatitis B has a vaccine and effective treatment. For example by providing unrestricted access to direct acting antivirals, Australia has halved the number of people living with hepatitis C in five years. Recalling Resolution 62/7, we note with concern that not enough has been done to prevent and treat viral hepatitis C attributable to drug use since its adoption. In order to effectively address this issue, we urge Member States to prioritise and implement the full spectrum of responses, including prevention, harm reduction, education, testing, treatment, and care and regulatory responses. We note the World Health Assembly’s approval of the Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections 2022-2030 in May 2022, which highlights the need to accelerate action. Harm reduction, in particular, must be emphasised as a key component of responses in both viral hepatitis and drug policy. Effective harm reduction strategies such as needle and syringe programs, opioid agonist therapy, and overdose prevention interventions must be prioritised and implemented in the community and in prisons. Attention to drug laws is also vital: specifically decriminalisation of possession for personal use, noting the stigma and discrimination and barriers to healthcare from criminalisation for people who use drugs. It is crucial to take a human rights-based approach to implementation, with particular attention to the intersectional needs of Indigenous Peoples, people in prisons, people with lived experience of viral hepatitis and people who inject drugs. Racial justice and other social and structural determinants of health must also be considered in addressing the world drug situation and viral hepatitis. We urge Member States to strengthen their domestic and global efforts, including through their health systems, to effectively address viral hepatitis. This includes promoting political commitment to achieve targets 3.3 and 3.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which respectively aim to end communicable diseases epidemics and strengthen the prevention and treatment of drug issues. We have a significant opportunity to embed viral hepatitis responses within global drug policy at next year’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the mid-point review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, including strengthening the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Strategy Outcome 5 to include viral hepatitis. We note the importance of Member States having clear guidance and technical support to integrate viral hepatitis responses into their drug policies and programs, and working across the UN system, including with the World Health Organization, to achieve this. Despite the world not yet being on track to achieve the 2030 elimination goals, viral hepatitis elimination is possible, we have the tools, and where implementation has been prioritised we are witnessing positive outcomes, with many of these successful programs being community-led. In conclusion, we urge the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs to prioritise and integrate viral hepatitis responses as a highly effective and cost-effective strategy to save lives, and as an inherent part of evidence-based and human rights-based drug policy. Together, we can achieve Sustainable Development Goals 3.3 and 3.5 by 2030 by working in partnership and implementing the full spectrum of responses. Thank you.

Youth RISE: According to research published by The Lancet A survey done to 10,000 children and young people (16 – 25 yo) in 2021 in Australia, Brazil, Finland, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US have responded (more than 50%) they feel anxious, angry, powerless, guilty and worried about climate change. 75% of them reported they think the future is frightening and 83% think that people have failed to take care of the planet. Also, these young respondents rated governmental responses to climate change negatively and reported greater feelings of betrayal than reassurance. There’s no surprise that these young respondents reported such feelings as climate change is one of the greatest challenges for humanity, particularly for us, young people. For this reason, we must act now! On this matter, the UNODC in its 2022 World Drug Report, identified the negative effects of illegal drugs on the environment. Some of the main conclusions of this report are: ● Illicit crop cultivation and drug manufacturing’s impact on the environment is more significant at the local level. ● Illicit production of drugs has a direct impact on the locations where it occurs, such as affecting the flora and fauna of forest reserves and dumping or discharging of drug-related waste in forests, rivers or into sewage systems. ● The carbon footprint of illicit production of drugs (eg. cocaine manufacturing’s foodprint is 2600 greater than for sugar cane) is another main issue, as the use of fertilizers and pesticides and its impact on the soil, water and living organisms. ● The methods used in the illicit production and waste of drugs. ● Illicit crop cultivation can affect deforestation directly and indirectly (eg. in Colombia, the illegal cultivation of coca trees is associated with 43 to 58 per cent of all deforestation in those regions). ● The lack of research on the link between illicit drugs and the environment. The drug prohibition approach over the last 60 years has led to organized crime being in control of the production and trade of several drugs. This is one of the main reasons for the negative effects of illegal drugs on the environment, as drug production has no quality control, regulation of location for production, or the use of environmentally friendly substances or methods. Also, the civil society organization from the UK, Transform, has well documented the harmful consequences of drug prohibition on public health but also to the environment. Some of these are the chemical eradication that threats biodiversity (These chemicals designed to kill flora indiscriminately threaten biodiversity) in really important areas such as the Amazonian forest, the displacement of drug producers has fulled deforestation putting at risk species of flora and fauna, pouring toxic chemical waste into waterways or onto the ground, among others. Prohibition has not reduced de production and use of drugs, nor the environmental harms caused by unregulated drug production, these have reallocated such harms into more ecologically sensitive areas such as the Amazon forests. Evidence has shown that the harms and damages of such illegality and the lack of drug regulation not only affect those who use drugs and their communities, it affects also the environment. It contributes to the contamination of lands, and water and the destruction of the home of many flora and fauna, and to our home, our planet. Our planet is under threat due to climate change, and prohibition has been counterproductive in its attempts to stem environmental harm. The war on drugs exacerbates and spreads these harms. It is clear that these harms occur less in a legal framework of the production of different drugs. Prohibition is a policy choice, and evidence has demonstrated the negative consequences of said choice and the poor impact it has in the prevention of consumption and healthy behaviours. Youth RISE, as a civil society organization that stands for the health of young people, demands and asks for drug policies that actually take action in the care and protection of the lands, the water, and the biodiversity of our magnificent home. We must protect children, adolescents, adults, and everyone, but also the flora and fauna of our planet. Thank you so much for your attention. 

Open Society Institute: This week we heard again from several member states about the need for better coordination to address the phenomena arising from the drug phenomenon. Once again we are confronted with the call to reduce the production, trade and consumption of substances. This imperative has resulted in the subordination of human rights and development to such control and control. From civil society, once again, we call for coherence, coordination and sequencing of the United Nations system. In particular, we call the attention of this forum to the agencies and entities in charge of dealing with the drug phenomenon, to join the coherence of the United Nations system, the main and only system for the protection and guarantee of human rights that we have as a society. This forum can no longer be an apocryphal version of the institutional framework chosen by our nations to advance common objectives, summarised in the sixteen Sustainable Development Goals. Civil society is convinced that drug policies are based on science and evidence, and therefore we support concrete progress towards the 2030 development agenda. We remind this forum that the goal of this agenda is to use all available resources to “reduce poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty”. Without systemic coherence and decisive drug policy reform, it will be impossible to achieve Goal 2 on ending hunger, food security and sustainable agriculture, when the subsistence crops of hundreds of thousands of peasant families are still being forcibly eradicated. Or when it comes to the concepts of development we should call it alternative. Without systemic coherence and decisive drug policy reform, it will be impossible to achieve Goal 3, which seeks healthy lives and well-being for all, without still stigmatising people who use drugs, or forcing them into treatment. Without systemic coherence and decisive drug policy reform, it will be impossible to achieve Goal 5, which seeks gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, if the vast majority of women in prison are deprived of their liberty for drug-related offences. This list could go on for each of our Goals, and show us an agenda that is disconnected and fragmented from our common Sustainable Development Goals. The control of drug-related phenomena is thus a paradox within the UN system and a paradox that is clearly manifested in the 2030 goals. However, we also recognise that this week we have seen statements and actions from several other governments that seek such coherence from a renewed approach. From civil society, we ask this forum to join the global declaration to achieve the global goals of the 2030 goals.

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