Home » CND Thematic Discussions 2023 // Session 1 – Expanding & diversifying range of drugs and drug markets

CND Thematic Discussions 2023 // Session 1 – Expanding & diversifying range of drugs and drug markets

Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed delegates, and distinguished guests, I welcome you to the 23 thematic discussions focusing on the implementation and interests of policy commitments following up on the 2019 declaration. Before we proceed, I invite the meeting to adopt the provisional agenda, which has been shared along with an invitation. Are there any points on the agenda? I see none. The agenda is approved. Before we continue, I would like to give the floor to Miss Jo.

Secretariat: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good morning to everyone, including our delegates joining us online. I kindly request those who wish to speak to indicate so in the meeting chat. With over 700 registered participants, it would be challenging to use the raise hand feature. Please type your request in the chat. Once given the floor, please ensure your microphone is unmuted and your video is on. Kindly state your name and country for easier identification. Thank you.

Chair: Distinguished experts, esteemed colleagues, and delegates, we embark on the first international thematic discussion, addressing the implementation of international policy commitments. A warm welcome to those present in the room and those connected online. The challenges outlined in the declaration are vast and varied. During the next three days, we will examine six of these challenges, with a focus on drug supply and organized crime. The remaining five challenges will be addressed in the second session, concentrating on health-related topics from the 4th to the 6th of December. Our discussions will cover the following topics: expanding and diversifying the range of drugs this morning, followed by discussions on illicit cultivation, production, manufacture, and trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, we will focus on the links between drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime. In the afternoon, we will delve into the low value of confiscated proceeds of crime related to money laundering arising from drug trafficking. The day after tomorrow, in the morning, we will discuss the criminal misuse of information and technologies for drug-related activities. In the afternoon, we will address non-compliance of responses with international drug control conventions and international human rights obligations. We aim to foster inclusive discussions through a hybrid modality, allowing experts from across the globe to participate. I look forward to a fruitful exchange of ideas, focusing on key lessons to address these challenges and build upon our existing knowledge.

UNODC ED: Mr. Chair, I have the honor of delivering this statement on behalf of the Executive Director of the United Nations, who is currently unavailable – Distinguished Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to address this intersessional session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. These thematic discussions are a crucial step toward the midterm review of international drug policy commitments scheduled for next year. In the midst of the current global challenges, our focus on the world drug problem remains paramount. I extend my condolences to all victims of conflict and violence, emphasizing the importance of not neglecting the global drug issue, which affects millions worldwide. Our attention is essential now more than ever due to the chaos and uncertainty prevailing globally. Drug-related challenges are integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the evolving global drug landscape demands our attention. Illicit production and trafficking of drugs are rapidly shifting, with synthetic drugs posing urgent and complex challenges. Seizures of pharmaceutical opioids, amphetamines, and synthetic drugs have reached alarming levels. Criminal groups are adapting to new business models, making drug trafficking less centralized and more agile. A recent global cocaine report highlighted the increasing involvement of smaller criminal groups in cocaine trafficking, forming loose networks that control various points of the supply chain. Non-traditional cocaine markets in Africa and Asia are expanding, posing significant concerns for development, health, and security. Illicit drug sales on the dark web and through cryptocurrencies further complicate law enforcement efforts. Money laundering related to drug trafficking continues, often with impunity. The intersection of drug trafficking with other forms of organized crime and terrorism must be prioritized, given the current volatile global context. Drug trafficking exacerbates conflict cycles and threatens lives and public health. Furthermore, illicit drug markets accelerate other illicit activities that harm the environment, especially in regions like the Amazon. To combat these challenges, global solidarity, cooperation, and consensus building are essential. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs serves as a platform for such collaboration, rooted in shared obligations and commitments. Member states, with support from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, must address these dynamic and complex drug markets. Tailored technical assistance is crucial to improving interdiction, bolstering law enforcement, and countering online and offline drug trafficking. Early warning systems and international operations are vital to reducing illicit cultivation and supporting affected communities. Sustainable livelihood programs, such as those in Bolivia, Colombia, Laos, and Myanmar, play a key role in transitioning communities away from illicit economies. In our efforts to combat the drug problem, we remain committed to implementing all international drug policy commitments based on science, evidence, and human rights obligations. I am encouraged by the diverse partners participating in these discussions, sharing best practices, and identifying opportunities for effective action. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime stands ready to support member states in developing the necessary responses to address current challenges. In conclusion, I urge us to unite, focusing on urgent challenges and fostering a global response to pave the way for a successful midterm review next year. Thank you, and I wish you fruitful discussions.

INCB: Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, First and foremost, I extend my deepest condolences to every family that has lost a loved one during these challenging times we are enduring. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting member states in implementing the three drug control conventions and international drug policy commitments. These commitments, underlined by states, are the cornerstone of the international drug control system. The fundamental concern of the conventions is to safeguard the health and welfare of humankind. I encourage all of you to keep this concern at the forefront of your discussions as we approach the midpoint review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration and the midpoint of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is disheartening to note the slow progress on sustainable development, particularly in the areas of health and well-being. I have dedicated decades to supporting patients and improving their mental health, helping them overcome drug and substance use disorders. I have witnessed firsthand how the issues discussed by this Commission, both in Vietnam and at the United Nations, impact the lives of individuals, families, and communities globally. Over the coming days, along with my esteemed colleague, Miss Jackie, the former president of the board, and our Secretariat, we will share INCB’s perspectives on the progress made in addressing the challenges identified in the 2018 Ministerial Declaration. These challenges include the expanding and diversifying range of drugs and drug markets, the threat posed by trafficking in new psychoactive substances and non-medical synthetic opioids, and the support provided to national authorities under the INCB grants program. We will also discuss the record levels of production and manufacture of drugs, trafficking in drugs and precursors, and the increasing domestic diversion of precursors. I would like to highlight the work of the INCB precursors control program, ongoing efforts under Article 12 of the 1980 Convention, and initiatives under Article 13 to address the equipment used in illicit drug manufacture and support government cooperation with industry. For instance, through our new industry marketing initiatives, operational support under these programs can assist member states in addressing the growing threat posed by trafficking in synthetic drugs and their precursors. This will be the focus of our consultations with member states during the upcoming INCB session, and I hope to see many of you there. Later this week, we will share our perspectives on the increasing exploitation of internet-based platforms for trafficking in controlled substances and non-medical synthetic opioids, along with the measures taken to support governments, including partnerships with legitimate industries. The misuse of social media is also a topic addressed in the informatics chapter of the INCB annual report for 2023. Our response to these challenges, in conformity with drug control conventions, will address the legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes in some countries. It is crucial to recognize the need for controlled substances for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes. Drug control measures must also respect international human rights obligations, and the integration of human rights into drug control discussions this week will pave the way for governments to align their policies with international standards during the midterm review and beyond.

Switzerland: I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the following 47 Member States: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, the European Union and its 27 Member States, Honduras, Iceland, Mexico, Moldova, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, and United States. This group of member states would like to convey the following key messages in relation to diplomatic discussions and the forthcoming 2024 midterm review. As we convene, we witness the continued suffering caused by the illicit use of drugs. The number of people afflicted by drug or drug use disorders has skyrocketed to a 39.5% increase over the last 10 years. Drug use disorders are multifactorial health disorders and can only be effectively addressed through evidence-based treatment, healthcare, and social protection within the context of the healthcare system. Evidence-based voluntary treatment is effective in decreasing not only illicit drug use but also crime and recidivism. It is more cost-effective than no treatment or incarceration. Additionally, alongside the damage caused by other drug use, synthetic drugs have rapidly transformed the illicit drug market, leading to a relentless approach that has claimed hundreds of lives. Despite the multitude of individual and collective efforts that member states have undertaken for decades, there is still a long road ahead. Moreover, illicit drug manufacturing, trafficking, and use contribute to sky-high rates of violence, as the profits of organized crime groups continue to soar, fueling and prolonging conflicts and generating social and economic costs, hindering our efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals, including Goal 3 and Goal 16. As we come together to assess the progress made in implementing all international drug policy commitments, let us work collaboratively to pursue a more balanced, humane, and effective drug response that puts people first. We firmly advocate for more balanced evidence-based drug policies that protect and promote human rights, in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. We call for member states to place human rights at the center of drug control policies. We also welcome the report recently released by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on human rights and drug policy as a tool for further discussion. We are convinced that under the current international context, the right to the highest attainable standard of health applies equally in the context of drug rules, policies, and practices and includes access to harm reduction services and drug dependence treatment. It is of great concern that the demand for treating drug-related disorders remains largely unmet, and access to international controlled medicines for medical purposes, including the relief of pain and suffering, remains inadequate in many parts of the world. People who use drugs are still disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and other infections. To move forward and better understand and analyze the multiple impacts posed by drugs globally, we must continue our work with a more humane approach to respond to the challenges and disregard the progress made. Progress means ending stigma and discrimination toward people who use drugs, ensuring that every person in need has access to treatment, and that human rights are respected. We must work together to advance public health approaches in drug policies, accelerate the implementation of commitments made in line with the 2030 Agenda and the recommendations of August 2016. As we strive to implement all international drug policy commitments, drug-related policies and programs need to mainstream gender perspectives and ensure the involvement of women in all stages of development. These elements are critical steps in recognizing the rights of all people. We invite all relevant stakeholders to contribute to addressing the common challenges we face and stand ready to continue intensifying international cooperation and the exchange between member states, United Nations bodies, civil society, and the scientific community to attain our common goals. As Member States, we need to continue strengthening efficient and sustainable prevention efforts, starting with addressing the root causes of drug use, focusing especially on those who are particularly vulnerable. This is also essential to have a better understanding of the social dimensions of drug fusion. In connection with this purpose, we must continue our unwavering efforts to confront organized drug gangs, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations decisively, and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Additionally, efforts to combat drug-related crimes may require revisions that go beyond regression-oriented perspectives, which have had disproportionate implications and impacts on specific groups, particularly people of African descent, indigenous people, and women. We also reaffirm the dream of rebalancing repressive policies that have for so long affected farmers and instead promote community development and generate economic alternatives. Such endeavors are in line with international drug policy commitments. As the chair of previous intersessional meetings has demonstrated, this forum provides an excellent opportunity for a fruitful exchange. We encourage all participants to consider this as a platform to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices that can contribute to accelerating the implementation of our shared commitments and defining a new approach to address the specific challenges we face. Finally, Mr. Chair, allow us to commend your leadership throughout this session, and we look forward to these discussions and the convening of the ministerial in 2024, which will be critical to achieve our common objective to leave no one behind.

Chair: I will now commence our first discussion, focusing on the challenge of the expanding and diversifying range of drugs in the market. Welcome, Mr. Price, from the Research and Analysis Branch, who will be providing insights from this year’s research. I am also joined by Mr. Justice, the Chief of Laboratory Services, who will be assisting me throughout today’s session. Before we delve into the discussions, I would like to cover some administrative points regarding the format. We will have three presentations, one from UNODC’s Research and Analysis Branch, focusing on key trends and data, and one from a relevant UNODC section, highlighting lessons learned in addressing the respective challenges. After each presentation, I will open the floor for questions and comments on the content. This will be followed by a guided discussion on the session. When opening the floor for interventions, we encourage participation from Member States, United Nations entities, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society representatives. To ensure a dynamic exchange, please limit your interventions to three minutes. Longer written statements can be posted on the dedicated website. If you haven’t already done so, please refer to the discussion guide on the thematic discussion website, which we will use to facilitate our discussions over the next three days. The session is divided into morning and afternoon segments, with the morning session from 10 AM to 1 PM and the afternoon session from 3 PM to 6 PM. To indicate your wish to speak or ask questions, please raise your delegation’s placard in the room or use the meeting chat feature. I will select speakers based on the flow of discussions and the availability of time. Please keep your remarks within the allotted three minutes to allow for as many interventions as possible. The outcomes of our discussion will be summarized in a non-negotiable format, which will be presented to the CND in the form of a conference room paper during its March session.

UNODC Research and Analysis Branch: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, delegates. Today, I will recap some of the analyses provided by UNODC’s Research and Analysis Branch in the most recent World Drug Report. As we all know, problems associated with the distribution and use of drugs are increasing globally, with an expansion of drugs in parts of the world and a diversification of markets driven by new cocktails, mixtures, and substances. Drug markets are constantly changing, with buyers and dealers often unaware of what is being traded due to the introduction of new substances and experimental combinations. Online platforms allow distributors to reach buyers worldwide, creating challenges for law enforcement and public health authorities. Many new drugs have emerged due to advances in chemistry, large chemical industries, and easy access to information on synthesizing new compounds. The rapid emergence of new drugs is facilitated by the ability to advertise novel substances online. The shift from plant-based drugs to synthetic drugs is significant, with synthesis benefiting criminal suppliers by reducing the risk of detection and allowing rapid scaling of production. Unlike plant-based drugs, synthesis enables production anywhere and at any scale, eliminating the need for controlling large territories. Synthetic drugs, including potent opioids like fentanyl, have rapidly replaced traditional drugs like heroin in certain markets. The expansion of synthesis contributes to drug-related harms, including overdoses, as new and unknown substances flood the market. To address these challenges, continued monitoring of markets and innovative responses are essential.

Drugs, Laboratory and Scientific Services Branch at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Over the past decade, member states have grappled with the diversification of substances available in illicit markets. This diversification encompasses not only traditional plant-based drugs like heroin, cannabis, and cocaine but also synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines and other amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). These substances have had a detrimental impact on public health globally. Illicit drug markets have witnessed the proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS), with over 1200 of these substances reported by 140 countries and territories. Illicit manufacturers consistently attempt to bypass existing controls through the innovative design of new uncontrolled precursors. This is particularly evident in the production of methamphetamine, ecstasy, and fentanyl analogs. The emergence of synthetic opioids has exacerbated the ongoing health crisis. Incidents related to substance use, especially involving synthetic drugs, continue to dominate toxicology reports, especially in cases resulting in fatalities and incidents of driving under the influence. Addressing this complex situation requires a multifaceted approach. Member states, in collaboration with UNODC and our partners, have implemented various responses to adapt to the ever-changing nature of drug markets. Firstly, monitoring NPS markets is a challenging task. To tackle this, Member States to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs have taken unprecedented action by placing substances and precursor chemicals under international control. Several countries have enacted innovative national legislative responses, such as generic or class-based scheduling. According to the 2022 World Drug Report, long-term trend data shows a general decline in the use of new psychoactive substances, indicating that international and national controls have played a role in mitigating this issue. Secondly, strengthening forensic and advisory capacities worldwide is vital. Significant progress has been made in developing early warning systems to identify emerging harmful substances promptly. These systems rely on reliable scientific information gathered through a network of forensic drug testing and toxicology laboratories. UNODC has supported over 300 laboratories in 95 countries, enhancing their proficiency through our quality assurance program. Thirdly, our response involves a strategic, collaborative effort. Rather than working in isolation, our approach harnesses existing expertise and partnerships. Programs like the Container Control Program, Cooperative Program on Maritime Crime, Anti-Money Laundering initiatives, and the AIRCOP program collaborate on various aspects related to the proliferation of synthetic drugs. By collaborating with several agencies, we continually refine our strategies to counter the dynamic nature of drug markets. Lastly, cooperation and information sharing are paramount at all levels. Increased knowledge of drugs and markets, coupled with cooperation among stakeholders through national mechanisms, regional networks, and international platforms, enables UNODC and partner agencies to stay ahead of new developments and adapt strategies to assist member states in facing drug-related challenges.

Italy: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson, for granting me the floor. I want to express my gratitude once again for your guidance during all the meetings and appointments of the 66th session of CND, especially during the initial stage of this interview. My thanks also go to the Secretariat for their excellent preparatory work, with a special mention of the discussion guide for the upcoming exercise. As we are about to begin, I would like to highlight a key point at the outset of our stocktaking exercise. It’s crucial to note that the political declaration of 2019 outlines 12 challenges, not the usual 11. The missing challenge underscores the need for improved geographical coverage and availability of reliable data regarding various aspects of the drug-related issues. This challenge was supposed to be addressed in the subsequent sessions following the submission by UNSC, which presented an enhanced and streamlined report questionnaire. Although the questionnaire was adopted and recommended, discussions on this challenge were not included in the agendas of the October and December thematic sessions. We acknowledge the efforts made to streamline the issue of data availability over the past four years. Moving forward, I urge you, Mr. Chair, to guide our discussions effectively. It is imperative that we give due consideration to the questions raised by the Secretary regarding data. Reliable and objective data form the foundation for comprehensive policies and evidence-based decision-making.

EU: Distinguished Chair excellencies ladies and gentlemen, first of all, the European Union and its member states wish to express our gratitude for you as chairman, the vice chairs and the Secretariat of the UN ODC for your work during the 66th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs I would like to thank you and the Secretariat for organizing this intersessional meeting. I will read a short version of our statement the full motion will be available on the website. Distinguished Chair before we dive into our sessions, we would like to underline that our activities within this commission are not immune from the challenging realities we live in. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine affects us all. It’s a flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter and thus threatens the foundation on which our activities here today are based. The EU and its member states condemned in the strongest possible terms. Russia was unprovoked unjustifiable and illegal military aggression against Ukraine. And we stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. The European Union condemns also in the strongest possible terms Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks across Israel, and deeply deplores the loss of lives. There is no justification for terror. We strongly emphasize Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law in the face of such violent and indiscriminate attacks. We reiterate the importance to ensure the protection of all civilians at all times in line with international humanitarian law. Distinguished chat Turning now to this session, we will see that the range of drugs for non medical and non scientific purposes and related drug markets are expanding and diversifying, while the UN ODC World Report 2023 notes that drug related situations may be global, they do not affect all the world equally. We have also experienced that a trend in one part of the world today can affect another one tomorrow. In that context, sharing information, evidence, best practices and lessons learned is the Changing God situation creates new challenges for the health of all people and we need to adapt our actions including prevention and early early prevention, treatment and harm reduction interventions. It is important for example, to have adequate capacity for identifying substances involved in drug related overdoses and adjusting our response based on evidence to better understand the markets, emerging trends and threats. We need reliable data and research. Increased exchange of data at all levels. To your bodies play a key role in this matter. The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the European Union agency for law enforcement cooperation. As of July 2024, the EMCDDA will become the European Union agency. The collection, analysis and dissemination of data will continue to be a key task of the uda and will be reinforced the new agency will monitor and address probably substance use, which is common in Europe among people who seek treatment for drug related problems. The network of forensic and toxicological repositories will also be set up to foster information exchange on new trends and developments. And train National Forensic experts. As a criminal Information Hub, Europol holds a unique capacity for criminal intelligence that directly supports the drug trafficking investigations led by the member states. Criminal analysis, indeed, is a core element of the support provided by the drugs unit to national law enforcement agencies. The 2022 recast with legal basis a Europol regulation further enhances this capacity, creating new opportunities to engage in joint operational analysis with national authorities extending the possibilities to cooperate with private parties, and offering new possibilities to process personal data in support of criminal investigation, as well as for research and innovation. Distinguished Chair, the European Union and its member states continued to strongly support an integrated, balanced evidence based approach, which addresses demand and harm reduction alongside supply reduction in the implementation of joint commitments to address the world drug situation.

USA: I want to express my gratitude to you, Mr. Chair, and extend a warm welcome back to Vienna. I also appreciate the efforts of the UN ODC Secretariat throughout the 66th session of the CND, including their work in preparing for this intersessional meeting and the exceptional presentations we’ve witnessed today. The United States is honored to participate in these thematic discussions, and we are eager to engage in an open, honest evaluation of the progress made, sharing valuable lessons learned, and fostering productive discussions for the way forward. We have observed firsthand the alarming expansion and diversification of drugs and drug markets. The US overdose crisis, which began in 2010 with a surge in heroin-related deaths, followed by a spike in fentanyl-related fatalities in 2013, exemplifies this evolving trend. Recently, we identified fentanyl adulterated with other substances as a significant emerging threat, underscoring the dynamic nature of the synthetic drug market. While we have achieved some success with class-wide scheduling of fentanyl-related substances, the market has shifted towards synthetic opioids and various new compounds, necessitating our continuous adaptation. Class-wide control of substances, coupled with robust enforcement, can deter traffickers from creating new analogues that require international or domestic regulation. Numerous national models have demonstrated effectiveness in this regard. We urge the CND to examine and endorse these models, providing recommendations for countries seeking to implement similar strategies domestically. These lessons can also enhance the efficiency of the International scheduling system. Furthermore, we are investing in financial tools such as the Precursor Incident Communication System (PICS) and Project Ion Incident Communication System (Iyonix) offered by the UN ODC. These tools are invaluable, providing real-time information on existing and emerging narcotic trends, especially related to synthetic drugs and their precursor chemicals. We encourage all member states to fully utilize these tools, emphasizing their significance for regulatory and law enforcement officials. For instance, information shared via PICS prevented the illicit production of nearly 50 tons of amphetamine-type stimulants between 2022 and 2023. Despite these successes, traffickers adeptly adapt to international initiatives, often outpacing our efforts. To address this challenge, the United States launched a global coalition in July, now comprising participants from over 120 countries. Detecting emerging drug threats and usage patterns is a top priority for the coalition, addressed through expert-level sub-working groups initiated last week. We extend an invitation to all interested countries to join our collaborative efforts.

Mexico: Thank you, Mr. Chair. It’s a pleasure to see you presiding over this meeting. I also extend my gratitude for the insightful presentations. Let me outline Mexico’s approach to the upcoming review exercise, building on our engagement since 2019. We will focus on the specific political commitments within the three key documents of 2014 and 2016, closely related to the challenge under discussion. Our approach involves addressing two fundamental questions: whether a commitment has been implemented and if it remains relevant. Certain commitments, such as those in Action 41 of the 2009 plan and those confirmed by INCB, have been fully executed. However, the majority of commitments, including those in the 2014 joint ministerial statement and the 2016 operational recommendations, are continuously upheld by states and other actors. Some commitments, particularly those related to the diversification of drugs, are outdated. The market’s constant influx of new substances, particularly synthetic drugs, presents new challenges. These challenges, including local production, disrupt international trade and require adaptation. The traditional division of countries into origin, transit, and destination will blur, rendering current political commitments ill-equipped to address this evolving reality. Thank you, colleagues.

UK: Good morning, colleagues. The United Kingdom appreciates your facilitation of these thematic discussions in preparation for the midterm review next year. We also express our gratitude to Mr. Teti, Mr. Pardo, and the Secretariat for their valuable contributions. We echo the joint statement made by Switzerland on behalf of numerous member states addressing this challenge. In 2019, the UK government initiated an independent two-part review of drugs, responding to its recommendations and unveiling a long-term drug strategy, “From Harm to Hope,” in December 2021. This strategy embodies a comprehensive government approach, combatting drug misuse by reducing both supply and demand, supporting individuals through treatment and recovery, and taking a robust stance against criminal supply networks. The UK diligently monitors emerging substances, particularly synthetic drugs, sharing this information across our network. Access to UN ODC’s database, containing substances detected in EU countries, enhances our vigilance. Moreover, we are prepared to respond swiftly to the threat posed by synthetic opioids, collaborating with experts and international partners. Lastly, let me emphasize the United Kingdom’s unwavering solidarity with Ukraine and its people in the face of continued, unprovoked aggression. Thank you.

Thailand: For the first time, I extend my gratitude to you and your secretariat for organizing this intersessional meeting. As of the current date, in terms of the implementation of internal and external commitments, we are acutely aware of the challenges posed by illicit production and manufacturing of drugs in the Golden Triangle, a region significantly affected by these illicit markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated these challenges, adding complexity to addressing these markets effectively. I would like to commend the content presented. On August 1, significant progress was made with the introduction of the new single narcotic code, which came into effect in December 2021. This consolidation of narcotics laws into a single code introduced new dimensions, bolstering Thailand’s approach. Prioritizing the safety of our people, we focus on harm reduction, treatment initiatives, and the regulation of minerals and commodities. These efforts are aligned with international principles while also considering the unique socio-cultural context of our nation. Additionally, measures have been implemented to further enhance our approach, disrupting the cycle of illicit activities. I present these developments for your consideration. Thank you.

Iran: My delegation emphasizes the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the realization of one of the main objectives of the international drug control regime: ensuring the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for all individuals and the safety of society. However, the evolution of national policies from the three international conventions has led to increased addiction, particularly among teenagers and young people, challenging their mental and physical well-being. To address this issue, the Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted an inclusive and balanced approach, implementing a wide range of plans in the fields of demand reduction, production, prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. We prioritize community-based approaches and focus on providing special treatment and rehabilitation for children and addicted mothers through special centers. At the national level, we have cooperated extensively with UNODC country offices and other specialized agencies, establishing drug prevention and reduction centers, especially for girls. The National Center for Addiction Studies, in collaboration with WHO, has been designated as a regional center for the treatment of disorders. Iran has made significant efforts in fighting drug trafficking, conducting numerous operations to dismantle local, regional, and international networks. We have seized substantial quantities of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, dealing major blows to the financial backbone of drug trade. Despite our extensive efforts, international support, especially in the form of modern equipment for border control, analyzing, intercepting, and discovering narcotic drugs, remains insufficient. We urge the international community, UNODC, and beneficiary states to provide effective support for Iran’s anti-drug campaign, including technical assistance, equipment, and technology necessary for monitoring drug traffickers. It is crucial to emphasize the impact of sanctions imposed on Iran. The United Nations has condemned the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, such as sanctions, as a selective approach. These sanctions politicize international cooperation and disrupt Iran’s relentless fight against international drug trade, constituting a flagrant violation of international law. Iran’s contributions should be met with sustainable, sufficient, predictable, and proportionate international support, which unfortunately has been lacking.

Peru: At this first intersessional meeting addressing the expansion and diversification of drug and illicit markets, my delegation underscores our strong commitment to combating drugs with a comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable approach. Peru’s national anti-drug policy for 2030 aligns with the objectives of the 1961, 1971, and 1982 conventions, as well as the final document of the August 2016 special session, the political declarations of 2009, 2014, and 2019. The drug problem poses significant challenges across all levels – production, illicit trafficking, consumption, and related crimes – causing extensive harm to vulnerable populations, the environment, security, and democratic institutions. Our national response must be multi-sectoral, enhancing the state’s capacity to address this multifaceted issue. Regrettably, the drug market’s profitability has led to increased cocoa cultivation, driven by rising demand for cocaine. According to the 2022 coca cultivation monitoring report, Peru’s coca cultivation has surged from 40,300 to 95,000 hectares between 2015 and 2023, marking a 135% increase in eight years. This expansion has also facilitated increased cocaine production, intensifying chemical use and related criminal activities. Previously restricted to traditional cultivation areas, cocoa cultivation now extends to protected zones, involving indigenous communities. Controlling this expanded territory demands significant time and resources. The steady rise in Peru’s cocaine production, from 43.5 tons in 2018 to 256 tons in 2022, underscores the need for enhanced international cooperation. Joint police operations, intelligence exchange, and the implementation of the container control program in ports have been instrumental. However, we recognize that more can be done, especially in collaboration with countries that serve as primary drug destinations. Crucially, our national drug policy emphasizes integral, sustainable, and inclusive development. To reduce illicit cocoa cultivation, we offer families support to transition from illegal cocaine production to legal, peaceful, and dignified economic activities. This assistance encompasses the entire value chain. It is important to note that our approach recognizes the ancestral, traditional, and cultural value of the coca leaf. Illicit cultivation areas will be duly regulated. Our efforts are guided by the principle of shared responsibility, where international cooperation plays a central role. The complexity of drug trafficking, intertwined with other serious crimes such as corruption, money laundering, extortion, human trafficking, and environmental crimes, necessitates a comprehensive approach. This approach is vital not only for our security and democracy but also for the health of our economy and the well-being of our people. Lastly, we commend promising examples of international cooperation, such as the global effort against synthetic drugs, of which we are a part. Given the rapid expansion of synthetic drugs in the global market, collective action is imperative. Thank you.

France: First and foremost, I extend my gratitude to you, Mr. Chair, and to the Secretariat for organizing this significant discussion today. France is fully prepared to actively participate and make a substantial contribution to the 2024 midterm review. We are pleased to have you with us today, Mr. President. I want to reaffirm our commitment to implementing the outcome document of the 2016 special session and the concerns highlighted in the 2019 ministerial declaration. We acknowledge the commitments made by Member States on that occasion, as emphasized by the EU in its statements. This review is crucial to collectively ensure effective strategies are in place to address the global drug problem while respecting and implementing the three international conventions. France emphasizes the importance of adopting a balanced approach to the drug issue. We are actively engaged in fighting trafficking networks, collaborating specifically with countries of origin of narcotics directed towards the European Union, France, and the US. We are dedicated to implementing measures for prevention, including early intervention and alternative development, all while fully respecting human rights. In this context, France remains committed to cooperating in the fight against organized crime and developing projects to combat drug abuse. We express our concern over the influx of cocaine into our country, mainly through our preferred entry point, accounting for 75% of our seizures. Techniques such as dropping cocaine from cargo ships using small boats have been observed. For instance, in 2022, an exceptionally large seizure of 20 tons of sugar in the Paris region was found to be cocaine. Prevention is a key focus for France. We have successfully reduced consumption levels through ambitious, long-term, age-appropriate prevention measures spanning from early childhood to adolescence. Our prevention programs emphasize developing life skills to reduce risky behavior, targeting children, families, teachers, and other adults who interact with them daily. We provide them with essential tools and information to prevent drug use and increase their awareness of associated risks. Our approach aligns with the “Listen First” program, a joint initiative by France, UNFCC, WHO, and the Swedish government, promoting psychosocial skills globally. This initiative demonstrates the added value of prevention in the fight against drug abuse. Lastly, I assure you, Mr. Chair, of France’s commitment to actively contribute to the discussions to ensure a successful midterm review.

Venezuela:  Venezuela remains committed to addressing the global drug problem with unwavering political will, adhering to the foundational principles of our work – the international conventions. Our approach is rooted in reducing both drug supply and demand, and fostering rigorous international cooperation. Venezuelan drug-related policies align with the United Nations Charter, international law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We emphasize respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-intervention in other states’ internal affairs, and the principle of equality and mutual respect between states. We continue to value the research conducted by the university, exploring connections between drug trafficking and other crimes. We urge them to persist in this important work. In our fight against drug trafficking, international cooperation and technical assistance are indispensable. We stress the need for fair and balanced administration of assistance, free from political or other forms of discrimination. Unilateral coercive measures, contrary to the UN Charter, violate human rights, including our right to development. Venezuela insists that the global drug problem be addressed impartially, objectively, and without selectivity. Consequently, we vehemently reject unilateral certifications that politically prejudge states’ efforts in combating drugs. Such certifications undermine the fundamental pillars of international cooperation that necessitate a collective and unified response from all.

MS??? (TBA): First and foremost, I express my gratitude for the comprehensive presentations made today, aligning my remarks with statements delivered by the European Union on behalf of its member states and the delegation of Switzerland. The dynamics of drug markets have proven to be highly adaptable to changing circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the conflict in Ukraine, has disrupted traditional drug routes. We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its independence, self-determination, and territorial integrity. In Europe, cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit drug. During the pandemic, the prevalence of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine increased. Of significant concern are new psychoactive substances that are not regulated by international drug conventions. These substances are distributed on the illegal market in various attractive forms, like synthetic cannabinoids found in herbal smoking blends or sprayed on dry leaves. Additionally, dangerous substances can be present in electronic cigarette liquids. The widespread use of new psychoactive substances is exacerbated by the lack of awareness about the associated risks. These substances are often entirely new and unknown, making it challenging to determine their toxicity levels. Even low concentrations of certain substances can result in poisoning. Furthermore, the misuse of industrial substances like GBL and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for recreational purposes has become a significant concern. These substances, originally intended for industrial and medical applications, pose serious short and long-term risks when used recreationally. Strengthening international cooperation is paramount in developing a balanced approach to address specific substances and related harms. It is crucial to regulate their legal industrial use. Emphasizing the protection of young people and teenagers is vital in this endeavor. A focused effort in this direction will contribute significantly to mitigating the challenges posed by these substances.

Ecuador: First and foremost, I would like to address the issue of the diversification of the drug market in Ecuador, which has become a significant concern for our national Secretariat of State Security. The increased influx of drugs, particularly cocaine, in recent years is a result of escalated production in neighboring countries and the expansion of drug trafficking networks. This surge in drug-related activities has led to a sharp rise in gang violence and conflicts involving both national and transnational organized crime syndicates. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the Public and State Security Council of Ecuador officially declared drug trafficking as a threat to national security since May 2022. In a democracy founded on the rule of law, such challenges pose a threat to our institutional framework. While cocaine remains a prominent drug in the international market, other substances such as heroin, marijuana, and newer synthetic drugs have also made significant inroads into our cities and international markets. For instance, between 2019 and 2022, Ecuador seized nearly 30,000 grams of methamphetamine, close to 10,000 grams of ecstasy, and around 200 grams of LSD, most of which originated from the northern regions. The epicenter of cocaine production lies in the southern departments of Colombia, with an estimated 70 to 80% of the cocaine passing through Ecuador for international distribution. Three primary routes are utilized: the Pacific route, the Avila Sierra route through the highlands, and the Amazon route known as Rota Amazonica. Land transportation methods such as mules, couriers, and even drones are employed, adapting to changes in international law enforcement efforts. Notably, legal businesses unwittingly become part of the drug trade, often due to increased market demand, leading to higher profits and consequently, elevated levels of violence. Ecuador has identified specific transportation modes used by drug traffickers, including 36% utilizing maritime routes and 16% through container contamination since 2018. Banana containers, in particular, have been heavily polluted, totaling a significant number. Moreover, approximately 2,000 unregulated trucks and aircraft are exploited for transportation, highlighting the scale of the issue. In tackling this multifaceted problem, we emphasize the need for holistic policies, including measures targeting consumption countries. It is imperative to adhere to the principle of shared and common responsibility, wherein international cooperation provides the necessary resources and means to fulfill the commitments outlined in the 2019 ministerial declaration. Cooperation on this scale is essential to effectively combat the challenges posed by drug trafficking and its associated crimes.

Jordan: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Before I begin, I want to highlight Jordan’s ongoing efforts to establish a ceasefire in the conflict, aiming to prevent its escalation and spillover into the region, emphasizing our commitment to providing immediate humanitarian aid to Palestinians. We stress the urgency of safeguarding civilians and upholding international humanitarian law, opposing any forced displacement. It’s crucial to comprehend the root causes of this conflict, emphasizing the need for a political solution to the Palestinian issue. Shifting to our agenda, esteemed Chair and colleagues, we gather today fully aware of the persistent threat posed by drugs, endangering the security and stability of societies, transforming friends into foes. Jordan stands at the forefront of the battle against synthetic drugs, confronting daily attempts to smuggle them across our Syrian border. In recent years, we’ve seized over 65 million Captagon pens, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to safeguarding our national security. Addressing this menace mandates unified global efforts, necessitating effective mechanisms to shield our resources from its nefarious grasp. This requires sharing border security technologies, intelligence, and knowledge exchange to heighten public awareness and rehabilitate victims. Synthetic drugs are proliferating perilously, prompting Jordan’s active participation in the inaugural meeting of the Global Coalition to counter synthetic drug threats. We express gratitude to the United States for spearheading this collective endeavor to protect our youth. Jordan’s resolute stance against these drugs resonates deeply within our society. The 2022 report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) commended Jordan’s commitment to international drug control conventions, acknowledging our government’s cooperation in implementing the INCB’s recommendations following their mission to Jordan. Here, I reaffirm Jordan’s dedication to the three United Nations treaties constituting the global drug control regime: the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971), and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988). We also endorse the provisions of the Political Declaration and Action Plan of 2009, the Ministerial Statement of 2014, and the outcomes of the 30th Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem in 2016, along with the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. In closing, Jordan stands ready to collaborate, advocate, and act against this shared threat, working collectively towards a drug-free world.

Russia: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Colleagues, since 2009, our world has undergone significant transformations. The rise of local production of dangerous synthetic drugs, chemical precursors, and new secretive substances has substantially increased illicit drug sales, shifting to cyberspace, complicating law enforcement efforts. Criminals have adeptly laundered proceeds through digital financial tools, consistently altering trafficking routes and methods to evade government scrutiny. Currently, we observe a surge in drug trafficking via sea routes from Latin America to St. Petersburg, utilizing reportedly free port infrastructures in the northwestern region of Russia. Additionally, there’s a concerning increase in the smuggling of illicit drugs through the Caspian Sea Basin into Korea. Our experience emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach to combat these evolving challenges, encompassing three key components. Firstly, it is crucial to promptly share information about new dangerous substances and emerging criminal tactics as they appear on the market. Averaging international early warning networks and information exchange platforms, such as various initiatives, facilitates the sharing of expert data on new trends and best practices. Secondly, competent authorities must be well-equipped to actively counter technologically advanced drug criminal groups. Russia is committed to capacity building and training in West and Central Asia, collaborating on financial investigations related to drug crimes, forming mobile operational groups, and deploying new technologies that have proven effective and cost-efficient in detecting illicit drugs and disrupting drug trafficking. An illustrative example is the DC project in Kyrgyzstan, implemented in collaboration with Russia, emphasizing the critical role of preparedness in detecting new trafficking routes and combating drug-related transnational organized crime. Moreover, significant resources have been allocated to establishing Counter Narcotics operations under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. High-level interaction in these forums provides a comprehensive assessment of common threats. Yet, we observe an alarming trend of criticizing regulations introduced earlier, which negatively impacts cooperation among law enforcement authorities. Such discord benefits drug dealers and undermines our collective efforts. Addressing these challenges necessitates intensified international collaboration, rooted in the principle of common and shared responsibility. We must adhere to the political commitments and obligations we have undertaken, enhancing our joint efforts to counter the evolving landscape of drug-related crimes.

Australia: Allow me to begin by echoing the sentiments of others in condemning Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine. This act constitutes a blatant violation of international law and Australia firmly stands for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are actively collaborating with our partners to support Ukraine, empowering it to bring an end to this conflict on its own terms. Beyond the devastating loss of life and destruction in Ukraine, this war has led to widespread human suffering and triggered a global crisis in food and energy security. This crisis has subsequently escalated into a cost-of-living challenge, making it increasingly difficult for patients to afford essential medications, forcing some to prioritize basic necessities like feeding their families and staying warm over their own pain relief. Australia joined 46 other member states in supporting the joint statement delivered by the distinguished ambassador of Switzerland. In recent years, Australia’s illicit drug markets have remained relatively stable, with primary concerns centering around traditional substances such as methylamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA, cannabis, and their precursor chemicals. However, the rapid rise in the production and trafficking of illicit synthetic drugs poses a significant threat to both health and security. Particularly troubling for Australia is methamphetamine, the leading cause of reported drug use disorders in our country. This issue is not unique to Australia but is shared across our region. Emerging threats include anitrazines and the potential risk of xylazine, both known to be used in combination with fentanyl, especially in the United States. Although our situation with fentanyl does not mirror the crisis in North America, the potential threat remains, necessitating proactive collaboration among Australian agencies. Australia fully supports the emphasis placed by the UNODC on demand and harm reduction. In our country, efforts to reduce and prevent drug-related harms to individuals, families, and communities are guided by our national drug strategy. This strategy focuses on effective demand, supply, and harm reduction methods, fostering cooperation between health and law enforcement agencies. We also recognize the global devastation caused by the synthetic drug crisis. Serious organized crime groups divert precursor chemicals from international industries for illicit drug production. Complicating matters is the dual use or entirely uncontrolled status of many of these chemicals globally. Australia believes that international collaboration, intelligent information sharing, capacity building, and addressing key challenges are essential. Additionally, there is room for improved data sharing concerning international chemical flows and disclosing details about companies facilitating the diversion of chemicals to illicit markets. In this regard, we welcome the increased cooperation among member states resulting from the establishment of the Global Coalition to address synthetic drug threats.

Brazil: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to extend my congratulations to you, Mr. Chair, for your exemplary leadership and outstanding work as the facilitator of the negotiations on the modalities of the midterm review. Brazil, like many other countries, has approached the drug problem guided by the belief that strict law enforcement and incarceration are effective measures to reduce drug trafficking. However, over time, this punitive approach has proven to be both costly and ineffective. It has led to overcrowded prisons, increased violence, and the stigmatization of people who use drugs. Failing to address the root causes of drug abuse and drug-related crimes has disproportionately impacted marginalized communities, particularly along racial lines. Brazil currently has one of the largest prison populations globally, with a quarter of these inmates facing criminal charges related to drug trafficking. Among women in prison, over half have been charged with drug-related offenses. Homicides in the context of the War on Drugs have imposed significant social costs on our country. According to the Institute for Applied Economic Studies, the annual social cost of the War on Drugs amounts to around $10 billion, equivalent to 0.8% of our country’s GDP. Over the past decade, drug trafficking groups have expanded their activities into illegal logging and mining, further exacerbating the social costs. The impact of these issues is particularly concerning for specific communities, such as Indigenous peoples, black individuals, and those living on the streets. In response, Brazil has launched special initiatives to target these vulnerable communities. Our government is addressing all aspects of the drug problem through an integrated, balanced, and evolving approach that respects human rights. We are tackling social vulnerabilities, racial discrimination, and environmental concerns while directly addressing the expanding and diversifying range of drugs and drug markets. One of our initiatives is the implementation of a rapid alert subsystem, which has been collecting data on the use of synthetic drugs in the country, including psychoactive substances. This system has confirmed the international trend of expanding and diversifying drug markets. We recognize the importance of international cooperation as a means to intensify the sharing of knowledge and technical support. Brazil’s National Secretary on Drugs Policy highlights cooperation modalities as essential to addressing new trends in all aspects of the drug problem. This includes the transfer of forensic technology, applied genetic identification of drugs, sharing analytical standards, and exchanging best practices and laboratory detection experiences. Additionally, we are focusing on clinical management procedures for acute cases, poisoning treatments, and addressing problematic drug use. Thank you.

Japan: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to express my gratitude to you, Mr. Chair, and to the Secretariat for organizing this informative session this week. I want to provide an overview of the situation in Japan and our government’s efforts in tackling the drug issue. Statistical data indicates a significant reduction in cases related to ATS (amphetamine-type stimulants), especially methamphetamine, due to a comprehensive approach addressing both demand and supply reduction. However, we have observed an increase in cannabis use cases, particularly among our youth. This situation can be attributed to the evolution and sophistication of drug trafficking, especially in cyberspace, making it easier to distribute illicit drugs. Additionally, the spread of cannabis use among young people is influenced by misconceptions that it is not harmful, information readily available on the internet, and trends from other countries. In response, Japan introduced a comprehensive desalinization system in 2013, which led to a reduction in outlets selling New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). Despite this progress, substances like synthetic cannabinoids continue to emerge. To address this, we analyze products imported to Japan and emphasize the need to collect and share international data on this growing trend, utilizing resources from UNODC and INCB. I want to highlight the importance of a balanced approach, recognizing that various drug control measures are implemented globally, including both supply and demand reduction efforts. It is crucial to find the right balance between these measures while protecting and promoting human rights. Drug use patterns vary by country, with some having low rates and others high rates. Each country should adopt drug strategies in line with international commitments and tailored to their specific needs. Through discussions like these, we aim to promote dialogue, sharing current challenges, and best practices in addressing common drug-related issues. Thank you.

Egypt: Before I dive into my statement, I’d like to emphasize a few key points. First and foremost, we strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians anywhere, anytime. This act goes against international law, human rights principles, and the very essence of humanity. We express our deep concern about the discriminatory and disproportionate use of force by Israel against Gaza, leading to a devastating loss of life, including over 3900 deaths and injuring more than 12,000 Palestinian people. The complete siege of Gaza by Israel, amounting to collective punishment, has resulted in one of the most severe humanitarian crises affecting over 2 million civilians. Any attempts to forcibly displace or relocate Gazans to other areas violate international law. Such actions not only exacerbate the suffering of the Palestinian people but also undermine our collective efforts to achieve a two-state solution and lasting peace in the region. We urgently call for an immediate ceasefire, followed by the provision of immediate humanitarian aid, and the resumption of negotiations towards a two-state solution that respects the rights and aspirations of both Palestinian and Israeli people. Shifting our focus, we are deeply concerned about the significant toll society has paid due to the drug problem. Over the past decade, we have observed a worrying increase in drug use, particularly among young people. Cannabis remains the most widely used drug, with an estimated 219 million users in 2021, followed by opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine. The diversification of drug markets over the years necessitates tangible progress in addressing both the supply and demand sides of the issue. The expansion of these markets, along with the rise in nonmedical drug use, continues to impact countries across Africa and Asia. In light of these challenges, Egypt proposes the following measures to address the issue effectively: Strengthening international cooperation is paramount. Sharing expertise, best practices, and providing technical assistance, especially in detecting new synthetic drugs, precursor chemicals, and illicit drug trafficking, are essential steps forward. We must recognize the shared responsibility in combating the drug problem. A comprehensive and balanced approach based on evidence is crucial. This approach should encompass measures to reduce both demand and supply, in alignment with the National Drug Control Conventions and the policy commitments outlined in the ministerial declaration. Preventative measures are key to reducing drug abuse, particularly among young people in schools, universities, and rural areas. We advocate for the development of national guidelines, policies, and procedures to address the specific needs of youth. Additionally, online initiatives and support services, including those provided by hospitals, should be expanded to address sexual abuse and assist individuals in need. In conclusion, our collective efforts must focus on strengthening international cooperation, adopting evidence-based approaches, and investing in preventative measures to effectively address the challenges posed by the drug problem. Thank you.

Colombia: We appreciate the statement made by Switzerland, and we would like to add the following points regarding this challenge. Firstly, we firmly assert that coca cultivation is a direct result of underdevelopment. Therefore, the drug problem, for us, is fundamentally a development issue. The expansion of markets is evident not only in drug-related activities but also in the widespread destruction of our environment. Colombia, known as the world’s most biodiverse country per square kilometer, is witnessing environmental devastation due to the drug economy, particularly in regions like the Amazon Basin. Criminal activities associated with drugs, such as illegal logging, mining, land occupation, and wildlife trafficking, are causing irreparable harm to the environment of the world’s largest rainforest. Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities bear the brunt of this convergence of crime, experiencing displacement, mercury poisoning, and violence. Environmental defenders, who bravely protect our natural resources, are specifically targeted by traffickers. For us, safeguarding the environment is intricately linked with our development goals. Recognizing the drug problem as a development challenge, Colombia has decided to shift its approach. We will no longer penalize and persecute our farmers. Instead, we are instituting a new national drug policy with two key pillars. The first, named “Oxygen,” aims to liberate the population from the clutches of the drug economy and prevent the criminalization of peasants. This pillar primarily focuses on the territories, communities, people, and environments disproportionately affected by the expansion of the drug market. The second pillar focuses on dismantling and diminishing the influence and capabilities of criminal organizations profiting from drug trafficking. Looking ahead to the next session in March, as we engage in this technical exercise, Colombia urges the members of the CMD to view the drug conventions as living documents. It is our responsibility to adapt these conventions to the evolving world, not to force the world to conform to outdated conventions. Various interpretations of the conventions abound, and Colombia believes it is imperative to confront the issue of the relevance of these conventions in today’s context. We assert all these points because we firmly believe in the necessity of establishing an effective international regime for controlled substances. If we continue to shy away from discussing the relevance of the conventions in the contemporary world, we risk rendering the entire framework obsolete. Thank you.

Singapore: The world drug problem remains a persisting challenge that undermines the livelihoods of communities and obstructs the efforts of countries towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2023 World Drug Report revealed a staggering statistic: approximately 600,000 drug-related deaths occurred in 2019. Additionally, the global estimate of people who injected drugs in 2021 stood at 13.2 million, an alarming 8,018 more than previously estimated. Globally, over 296 million people used drugs in 2021, marking a 23% increase over the previous decade. Equally concerning, the number of people suffering from drug use disorders witnessed a drastic surge, increasing by 39.45% over the span of ten years. Singapore acknowledges the growing nexus between drugs and crime, despite the sincere efforts of the international community and member states. This challenge is exacerbated by the adoption of policies that support non-scientific, non-medical, or recreational drug use. Misconceptions about the harmful consequences of substance use also contribute to this issue, with some perceiving it as less harmful or not harmful at all. To address these perilous trends, Singapore has noted the rising demand for new psychoactive substances (NPS). The threat of NPS was first identified in Singapore in 2009 and has since grown. Among the prevalent NPS in Singapore are synthetic cannabis and its variants, which mimic the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Singapore is pleased to be part of the US Tech Club coalition, a global initiative combating the growing scourge of synthetic drugs. Countering the world drug problem is a shared global responsibility, necessitating collaborative efforts. Singapore urges all states to fully comply with the three drug control conventions. It is imperative to utilize the high-level midterm review and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2024 effectively. These platforms can hasten the implementation of existing drug policy commitments, effectively address and counter the world drug problem, and actively promote a society free of drug abuse. Every individual deserves the right to live in a society that provides safety, security, health, and dignity, regardless of their moral compass. Thank you.

Chile: In Chile, as well as in many other countries, we are grappling with the rise of online sales, making it increasingly challenging to track and regulate the distribution of products. Additionally, the availability of precursor chemicals in the AEC further complicates the situation. Specifically concerning synthetic drugs, the use of these substances poses significant health and safety risks due to the varying composition and purity, all while public awareness about these dangers remains insufficient. A major concern for Chile is the early initiation of drug use among our youth, knowing that it can lead to enduring health and social consequences. This situation extends beyond mere threats to our country’s security; it permeates areas such as human rights, gender equality, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Therefore, we believe it’s crucial to intensify our efforts in prevention and treatment, all while adapting our strategies to the evolving demands of this issue and the new challenges we face. In this context, Chile firmly asserts that all treaties, including the three international drug control conventions, must be interpreted in harmony with concurrent human rights obligations. These instruments fundamentally seek to safeguard the health and welfare of humanity. To align with these principles, our updated national drug strategy will be intersectoral, involving various government institutions. We are committed to gathering diverse perspectives on problematic substance use, including those of expats and individuals directly affected by these challenges. A critical area of focus in our efforts is women. We recognize that women dealing with substance abuse face particularly severe consequences, including discrimination and stigmatization. In regions like ours in the Americas, the number of women incarcerated for minor drug-related offenses has reached alarming levels. It is imperative for our members to reaffirm their commitment and urge the incorporation of a gender perspective into international drug policies and programs. By doing so, we can combat the discrimination and social vulnerabilities faced by millions of women globally. In addressing the global drug problem, multilateral cooperation must adhere to its guiding principles: a comprehensive and balanced approach, shared responsibility, and the understanding that public policies must be grounded in scientific evidence. We appreciate this opportunity, Mr. Chair, for exchanging views and for continually striving to find approaches to address drug-related issues, all with a central focus on people. Thank you.

Morocco: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to begin by extending my warm congratulations to you and the other members of the new Secretariat for your commendable efforts in organizing this meeting focused on thematic discussions related to the implementation of international drug policy commitments outlined in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. As we gather today, it’s crucial to recognize the upcoming review in 2024, where we will assess the progress made in implementing international drug policy commitments to address the global drug problem, as emphasized in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. This review underscores the significance of international agreements, such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. These conventions form the cornerstone of the international system. Our discussions occur in a world where the drug situation is undergoing profound changes, presenting us with complex challenges in combating the global drug problem. New challenges and trends are emerging, and drug consumption is reaching unprecedented levels. In light of these challenges, it’s imperative for us to reinforce our consensus, determination, and innovative approaches to effectively address the problem and promote a society free from drug abuse. This endeavor requires a multifaceted approach that ensures security, peace, health, and dignity for all individuals. I want to draw attention to the initiative undertaken by the United States of America, the Global Coalition, in which the Kingdom of Morocco actively participates. I’d like to share three key recommendations from Morocco stemming from our participation in the virtual ministerial-level meeting of this coalition. First, there is a need to establish an effective mechanism to notify new emerging strategic substances, facilitating rapid exchange of information and intelligence among member countries. Second, there is a necessity to enhance prevention, treatment, and early healthcare interventions by strengthening research partnerships and certification mechanisms. Lastly, promoting international cooperation through the creation and enhancement of capacity-building partnerships is vital. In line with these recommendations, Morocco proposes that the next thematic debate in our commission’s next session focuses on the specific traits of synthetic drugs and their rise. This proposal aims to create synergies between the Global Coalition and address the issue of synthetic drugs comprehensively. It provides us with an opportunity to discuss this matter further and contribute meaningfully to the midterm review in 2024, evaluating our progress in implementing international drug policy commitments and addressing the global drug problem. In conclusion, I want to reaffirm Morocco’s active participation in the negotiations related to international drug-related documents. We are fully committed to implementing international drug policy commitments and look forward to substantial contributions in the upcoming segments of the 67th session of this assembly. This session provides us with a valuable opportunity to rejuvenate our approaches, effectively address the root causes and manifestations of the world drug problem, and make significant progress collectively. Thank you, Mr. Chair.


Canada: I wish to echo the sentiments expressed in the joint statement delivered by the distinguished ambassador of Switzerland earlier today. Canada joins in denouncing Russia’s ongoing, brutal, and illegal invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, we express our unequivocal condemnation of the tragic events unfolding in Gaza. Canada remains actively engaged with governments in the region and across the world to address the repercussions of these violent acts. Canada firmly supports Israel’s right to defend itself, a right enshrined in international law. We extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of all innocent civilian lives lost in these conflicts. In any conflict zone, adherence to international humanitarian law is of paramount importance. Canada, like many nations, is grappling with an alarming surge in overdose deaths and harms. From January 2018 to March 2023, over 38,000 Canadians lost their lives to opioid-related overdoses. Shockingly, fentanyl was involved in over 81% of these deaths in early 2023, and nearly half also involved stimulants. This crisis is characterized by increased toxicity, driven by the presence of dangerous substances like analogues, such as Carfentanil. The risk is compounded by high-risk mixtures of opioids and benzodiazepines, as well as the introduction of unknown substances with unpredictable effects and interactions. Misleading physical presentations of drugs, including disguises and manipulations, further contribute to the danger. Synthetic opioids have largely replaced heroin in Canada, as heroin is no longer one of the most frequently analyzed substances. The rise of fentanyl has led to significant shifts. While heroin remained a significant core currency up until 2020, a decline in the co-occurrence of fentanyl with heroin has been observed since mid-2020. Benzodiazepines are increasingly found in combination with fentanyl in Canada, and the combination of fentanyl, benzodiazepines, and xylazine was first identified in Canada in 2019. Canada employs mechanisms to provide information to drugs users and healthcare workers regarding the contents of toxic substances. Drug checking technology plays a critical role in harm reduction by providing insight into the presence of deadly substances like fentanyl or benzodiazepines. This empowers drug users to make informed decisions that may reduce their risk of overdose. To tackle the challenges arising from diversification in the drug markets, Canadian law enforcement agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are adopting a comprehensive approach that focuses on organized crime activities as a whole rather than singling out specific communities. However, the adaptable and ever-evolving methodologies used by these criminal groups present new challenges to law enforcement efforts. Canadian legislation and regulatory instruments provide flexibility by regulating categories or families of illicit substances, which has been recognized as a model by the INCB. In terms of international cooperation, Canada actively collaborates with implementing organizations like the UNODC to enhance cooperation and information sharing. For example, Canada has supported the UNODC in helping national authorities in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago create or strengthen national early warning systems to provide evidence for placing multiple new synthetic drugs under international control. In addition to these efforts, Canada explores innovative data collection methods, including wastewater analysis, targeted online surveys, and automated monitoring of online marketplaces and dark web forums. The illegal drug market in Canada has become increasingly volatile and unpredictable, with a rising presence of substances like benzodiazepines and xylazine. This uncertainty places all drug users at risk of unknowingly consuming toxic products. Certain marginalized groups, including those facing unemployment, homelessness, poor mental health, and those relying on social assistance, are at disproportionate risk. Indigenous people, black and racial minorities, as well as men employed in trades, individuals experiencing pain, and young and middle-aged adults are also more vulnerable. Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is a tool employed to consider how different identity factors impact policy outcomes. We encourage fellow member states to integrate a gender perspective into drug policies to avoid one-size-fits-all approaches. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for your time and consideration.

Pakistan: I stand before you today deeply disturbed by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Pakistan unequivocally condemns the vicious attack on the hospital in Gaza and denounces the inhumane blockade that has caused immense suffering to innocent Palestinians. The indiscriminate air strikes, disproportionate use of force, and crimes against humanity committed in a territory forcibly occupied by a foreign power cannot be justified as self-defense. Pakistan urges for an immediate ceasefire and the repatriation of Palestinians to their homes. We call for the establishment of safe corridors to ensure essential supplies reach the Palestinian people. I express my gratitude to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for this opportunity to discuss our commitments outlined in the 2019 ministerial declaration. Pakistan has faced significant challenges in the implementation of these commitments, particularly in the impoverished areas spanning over 430 kilometers. For over four decades, Pakistan has also hosted millions of refugees, many of whom engage in cross-border trade activities, fostering cultural and linguistic ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Due to these connections, there has been frequent movement of people and goods, both legal and illegal, across border points. Furthermore, Pakistan’s geographical location has made it a significant transit country for illicit trafficking of opioids, psychotropic substances, and amphetamine stimulants like Freedomain. The country has experienced a rise in the trafficking of these substances to various international destinations, particularly affecting the younger generation, especially in educational settings. Pakistan also faces the challenge of illicit drug trafficking and the diversion of precursor chemicals into Afghanistan, contributing to the manufacturing of new psychotropic substances. In response to these complex challenges, Pakistan has devolved the issuance of licenses to provinces, enabling decentralized efforts to counter illicit activities. Our 2019 anti-narcotics policy is designed to address persistent and emerging challenges, including the evolving landscape of drug trafficking and the increasing use of synthetic drugs. Pakistan remains committed to international drug control conventions and the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Government of Pakistan envisions a society free from the scourge of illicit drug trafficking and abuse. We work closely with UNODC to align our national response with global efforts, emphasizing the principle of common and shared responsibility. Thank you for your attention.

UAE: The United Arab Emirates, through its national platform for controlling medications and markets, expresses deep appreciation for international efforts in monitoring, mitigating, and ensuring the global availability of essential medications. We extend our gratitude to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotics Control Board for their commendable endeavors in overseeing medications, preventing misuse, and ensuring timely delivery to those in need, thereby paving the way for a safer future. In this regard, the UAE has established a national platform for drug medication, serving as an advanced health support gateway. This platform aims to enhance and facilitate the tracking of drugs from their entry into the country until they reach the patients. It is a result of collaborative efforts with strategic partners, employing a comprehensive approach to manage and control medications. The platform covers various aspects, including prescribing, dispensing, and administering control medications for outpatients. It also provides integration and linkage services for inpatients within hospitals and maternity facilities. The platform ensures stringent inventory management to guarantee the availability of medications both within and outside healthcare settings. With the advancements in medical technology, the platform offers telemedicine services, enabling efficient communication between doctors and patients. Through scheduled appointments, doctors can prescribe and dispense controlled and semi-controlled drugs, promoting efficient healthcare delivery. Additionally, the platform provides comprehensive technical support through support services and a dedicated call center, ensuring that healthcare professionals and patients receive the necessary assistance. Thank you for your attention to our efforts in ensuring the safe and efficient distribution of medications in the United Arab Emirates.

INCB: Your Excellencies, The challenge of expanding and diversifying markets presents a multifaceted issue, involving intricate dynamics intersecting ecology, regulation, and consumer usage patterns. Across various news sources, chemically engineered substances are designed to circumvent system controls, leading to a constantly evolving landscape in illicit drug manufacturing. This growth has resulted in a significant increase in the number of new substances for manufacturing controlled products and new psychoactive substances, averaging one new substance entering corporate markets each week. Consequently, the number of internationally controlled substances now lags behind, with a ratio of three to one. Chemical engineering provides nearly limitless opportunities for drug traffickers to source chemicals synthesized with substances that bypass regulations, using designer precursors or spray precursors. The novelty and diversity of these compounds make classification difficult for regulators and enforcement agencies. The adaptability and flexibility of manufacturers who can swiftly modify or circumvent legal controls pose a challenge to regulating production, distribution, and misuse. Thus, specific regulatory frameworks must continuously adapt, necessitating increased partnerships with industry sectors involving their use, manufacture, and handling. The current international framework focused on controlling specific chemicals faces challenges due to the rapid evolution of illicit drug markets. New substances replace controlled ones, and online suppliers exploit global next-day shipping services, creating intricately linked synthetic drug markets. These markets respond to consumer demand as people seek novel experiences, leading to diversified ingredients, methods, and attributes that mimic or extend the effects of traditional drugs. The composition and potency of synthetic drugs pose significant public health risks, contributing to a growing number of overdoses worldwide. Synthetic opioids are increasingly combined with other illicit drugs, such as benzodiazepines, adding complexity to overdose cases. Understanding consumer motivations, preferences, and trends is crucial to identifying effective demand reduction interventions, including professional risk awareness programs. Addressing the challenge of expanding and diversifying markets requires international cooperation, industrial partnerships, and information sharing for both supply and demand side responses. The difficulty in detecting emerging substances necessitates real-time information exchange between law, regulatory, health agencies, and the private sector. A comprehensive approach involving international, intergovernmental cooperation with the private sector is imperative to effectively manage the persistent growth and diversification of synthetic drug markets. Thank you for your attention to this pressing issue.

Chair: Calling in the Rules of Procedure, rule 45, the right to respond, I give the floor to Israel, Russia, the USA, the UK and Ukraine.

Israel: I would like to thank all the European Union and Canada for the support today. I’m frankly shocked that some delegations chose to use this thematic discussion to spread lies, propaganda, and vicious blood libel. That after the worst massacre of Jews in one day, after the Holocaust. On Saturday, October 7, Israel was barbarically attacked by Hamas terrorists … more than 1400 people met men, women, children, the elderly, and even babies. They were Jewish. They were Christians. And they were muslims. Many were burned alive with their hands tied behind their backs. And worse, blood thirsty terrorists proud of these crimes. Can anyone in this room tell me what would be proportionate response to these heinous actions? We would like to remove the terrorist threat posed from the Gaza Strip for Hamas and other terrorist organizations to protect our borders and citizens, like any other countries. Hamas is also holding at least 200 abducted persons, including the bodies of murdered victims who have tapped into Gaza. Many of the abductees need medical assistance and are being in complete violation of international law, in grave danger… Israel demands that the Red Cross be permitted to practice and supply medicine and medical treatment and expects the international community to initiate humanitarian measures. Following the terrorist attack, and the ongoing roughly over 100,000 Israelis have so far been displaced inside Israel, in the community surrounding the Gaza Strip, and the northern border and this dispersed in various shelters throughout. Israel is doing everything possible to prevent harm to non involved persons, but  terrorist organizations purposefully operate in civilian population and adjacent humanitarian buildings and institutions. And by doing so, are committing double war crimes, using the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields. We suggest delegations who mentioned the explosion in a hospital in Gaza last week, to put pressure on the terrorist organizations to cause them to stop launching rockets indiscriminately in the aim of murdering Israelis since since it has been proven that the explosion was a result of a missile sent by them to hit innocent Israelis. We are calling on all all member states and even parties here in Vienna to condemn Hamas and support Israel & Israel’s right to protect itself and its citizens. Thank you.

Russia: […] we are initiating a discussion with the UK. Photos and video materials do not have any impact on the situation. The Assistant Secretary of State has presented the statements. Microsoft was encouraged to continue its efforts. The UK maintains its position is unchanged. Germany recently began using Ukrainian channels, adding to the complexities. Let’s proceed cautiously. Special representatives from the UK, Germany, and France are closely involved. Ukraine needs to implement the agreed plan […] However, there are many intricacies within the system that need consideration. In this context, it’s worth mentioning that a specific coding mechanism, referred to as “better code” (?) has been devised. This mechanism addresses the key issues related to […] need to justify their actions based on what has been possible since 2014.

USA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have several rights of response to several of the statements made today. Firstly, two delegations questioned the legitimacy and legality of sanctions as a tool in our district. Sanctions are a legitimate, important, appropriate, and effective tool for responding to harmful activity and addressing threats to peace and security. Now turning to the statement by the English delegate of Egypt, I want to reiterate the US’s concern for Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn categorically the October 7 attack, and we support the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law and protecting civilians. We call for the release of all pending hostages. Finally, in response to the intervention by the ambassador of Russia, we reiterate our full support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion and its attempt to occupy Ukrainian sovereign territory.

UK: I won’t respond directly to the Russian ambassador, especially the propaganda directed to my own country. The UK is outraged by attacks in Israel and supports Israel’s defense in line with international humanitarian law. Thank you.

Ukraine: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to exercise my right to reply regarding the statement of the Russian Federation. My delegation condemns statements made by the Russian Federation. All allegations against the government of Ukraine are baseless and unfounded. Russia carried out an unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February 2014. It was Russia who carried out an attack on Ukraine and attempted to annex Ukrainian territory. Russia began the invasion in February 2014, which continues to this day. UN General Assembly resolutions define the actions of the Russian Federation as aggression against Ukraine. We call on the Russian Federation to completely withdraw its forces from the territory of Ukraine. I think that’s all.

Chair: Excellencies, colleagues, please be informed that over the next three days, a series of events will be held on the margins of these discussions to commemorate the 10th anniversary of development, highlighting their continued development as a crucial piece of supply with options. Today at 1.5, I will be chairing the operation event for the 10th anniversary in covered rooms online. I highly encourage you to attend. I look forward and back here in the ballroom. The meeting is adjourned.

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