Home » CND Thematic Discussions // Session 2 – Record levels of drug abuse & illicit cultivation, production & trafficking

CND Thematic Discussions // Session 2 – Record levels of drug abuse & illicit cultivation, production & trafficking

Chair: Welcome back to the CND thematic discussions. What we will be focusing on this afternoon is the abuse, illicit cultivation and production and manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as the illicit trafficking in those substances and the courses have reached record levels and the illicit demand for the domestic diversion of precaution chemicals are on the rise. Let us start with a presentation from Mrs. Carpenter from the Drug Research Section of the Research and Analysis Branch of the UNODC.

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.

UNODC Drug Research Section of the Research and Analysis Branch: I will briefly outline the main factors contributing to the current state of drug trafficking and drug use. We are observing diverging trends in the supply of drugs. Notably, the production of cocaine has reached a record high, whereas opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has drastically declined, affecting global opium production. In terms of trafficking, the growth rate for the trafficking of amphetamine type stimulants is significantly higher than other drugs, although the trafficking of various drugs is increasing. The methamphetamine market has seen a rise in seizures but a decrease in the number of dismantled labs. This indicates a shift in manufacturing locations, possibly to areas with lax controls. There’s also a diversification of substances used in methamphetamine production. Additionally, there’s a clear diversification of trafficking routes and new trafficking hubs worldwide. For instance, West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea are used as transit points for cocaine from Latin America to Western Europe. Another example is Captagon, mainly manufactured in the Netherlands and trafficked directly to consumer countries in the Gulf and indirectly through Europe, reaching North and West Africa. Regarding drug use, there has been a 23% increase in the number of users globally in the last decade. However, it’s crucial to note that half of this increase is due to population growth. People with drug use disorders have increased by 45%. Injecting drug users, especially, are still at high risk of HIV. Cannabis use is rising in many countries, causing strain on healthcare systems due to the sheer number of users. Young people are more vulnerable to drug use, with higher rates of drug use disorders and greater representation in drug treatment. The gender gap in drug use is decreasing, but women are more vulnerable to the harms of drug use. They progress more rapidly to drug-related issues and are more likely to be contaminated by HIV. The decline in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan will impact farmers’ livelihoods and consumer markets for heroin, potentially leading to a shift to more harmful drugs. Cocaine markets are expanding globally, with more efficient supply chains and new trafficking hubs emerging. Methamphetamine markets are also expanding beyond traditional regions. In summary, we must closely monitor the impact of the decline in opium production, the expansion of cocaine and methamphetamine markets, and the increasing harm from drug use. Service provision needs improvement, especially for vulnerable groups like women and youth. Reflecting on the impact of the decline in opium production in Afghanistan, it will affect farmers’ livelihoods and may lead to a shift to more harmful drugs like synthetic opioids. Additionally, there is a surge in both the supply and demand for cocaine. There is a more efficient supply chain and an expansion of methamphetamine markets beyond traditional regions. Regarding seizures, many countries face challenges in safely storing and disposing of large quantities of drugs and chemicals. Not all countries have adequate systems to ensure the safety of officers and surrounding populations during disposal. Efforts are underway to promote innovative and environmentally responsible practices for drug disposal. We have successfully identified best practices, including cocaine encapsulation and repurposing illicit substances for legitimate industries. Tomorrow, we will be launching the UNODC Practical Guide on Alternative Development and the Environment to ensure environmentally sustainable projects. Thank you for your attention.

Chair: Any questions?

Canada: My question for the UNODC. We looked at certain drugs and certain trends related each of them and we noticed cannabis was not listed or trafficking patterns in Cannabis […] Is there anything you can tell us about the development of trans border cannabis over the last say five years?

UNODC: In the realm of drug products, we observe two main categories: herbal cannabis and cannabis resin. Trafficking in both these forms has been on the rise, particularly due to shifts in North American policies, where the focus has shifted away from herbal cannabis production. Additionally, there has been an increase in human trafficking, partly driven by these policy changes. However, a recent development worth noting is the decline in chemical introductions. Having clarity on this issue is essential for addressing the problem effectively. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Chair: I see no other questions. So we move on to the interactive sections. Is there anyone wishing to take the floor?

Iraq: Good afternoon, colleagues. I condemn all the crimes committed by the occupation forces against the Palestinian people. They have been subjected to a process of genocide, with civilians targeted in residential complexes, schools, and hospitals. One prominent incident was the attack on the hospital. Today, this situation poses a new challenge for the National Committee, which has struggled to uphold the values of humanity and justice. The freedom and dignity of Palestine stand as a strong testament to the resilience of its people. It is imperative that we acknowledge and address the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people, as ignoring their struggles only fuels instability in the region. Mr. Chairman, Turning our attention to the issue of local drug problems, it is crucial to recognize the complexity of the war on drugs, requiring a comprehensive approach. Iraq acknowledges the multifaceted nature of the drug problem and stresses the importance of international cooperation. Addressing this challenge necessitates collaboration among multiple countries and international organizations. Iraq advocates for a holistic approach that encompasses various aspects of the drug problem, striking a balance between supply and demand reduction efforts. International cooperation is paramount, and countries must work together, offering support and assistance. We fully endorse efforts to strengthen cooperation at both regional and global levels, involving policy coordination, operational cooperation, and the exchange of crucial information. It is essential to address the intricate challenges arising from the growing nexus between drug trafficking, corruption, and other forms of organized crime. This connection often involves activities such as arms trading, cybercrime, money laundering, and terrorism financing. To combat this, a comprehensive approach is vital. In conclusion, we urge all parties to engage in collaborative efforts on bilateral and multilateral levels. Sharing information and consolidating joint initiatives are essential to fulfilling our commitment to combat illicit drugs. Thank you.

Germany: Since August 2016, there has been a shift in international drug control, moving away from the traditional classification of global drug policy between the supply and demand sides. Member states have established a system of seven pillars, one of which is Chapter Seven, focusing on development-related measures. For the first time, drug markets and trafficking were identified as targets for development interventions. Germany, along with the Kingdom of Thailand and Peru, has played a significant role in these efforts. We have co-sponsored Annual Resolutions on alternative development, broadening the scope of development in international drug control. Development-oriented drug policies have transformed from a niche topic to an integral part of global drug policy. At the 66th CND, 42 member states co-sponsored our resolution, a significant increase from previous years. Over the past years, we have seen a diversification of development responses to the drug problem. Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, supports south-south exchanges with 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, sharing best practices and lessons learned. Our efforts now extend to non-traditional settings such as urban areas affected by drug trafficking, water areas, indigenous territories, national parks, and protected areas. Additionally, integrating traditional farmers into illicit medicinal cannabis and hemp value chains has become a focus. Gender-responsive alternative development measures are a priority. Despite growing recognition of gender issues at the policymaking level, there is still much work to be done. Germany has developed tools, including workplace training and practical guides, focusing on value chain development and institutional capacity building, to assist members and implement agencies. Furthermore, Germany has adapted its approach to environmental and climate policies in cooperation with countries like Colombia through the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD). The practical guide on alternative development and the environment, supported by Germany, will be launched soon, emphasizing environmental protection. The latest special chapters of the World Drug Report on the environment and the Amazon, made possible by contributions from France and Germany, underscore the need to promote green drug policies. Looking ahead, there are three aspects that need strengthening. Firstly, recent developments in normative changes must be reflected at the CMD level to ensure alignment between realities on the ground and UN drug control policies. Secondly, the growing political commitment to development-oriented drug policies by member states must be met with on-the-ground interventions, assisted by UN agencies and international civil society. Lastly, the increased commitment to implement these policies should be supported by additional funding. Exploring new funding sources like public-private partnerships and climate finance instruments is crucial. Thank you for your attention.

Mexico: The political commitment outlined in the various policy documents focusing on the alarming rise in drug abuse, specifically in illicit cultivation, production, and trafficking, has been insufficient. None of these commitments, whether aimed at prevention, harm reduction, or ongoing efforts, have been fully implemented or provided a clear timeframe. The CND has already acknowledged the failure of these commitments, evident in the 2019 data showing record levels of drug-related issues. The crucial data often overlooked includes morbidity rates related to different drugs and the rate of violence resulting from the so-called “war on drugs.” It is essential to address the specifics of substances, such as fentanyl-related compounds, rather than generalizing them as drugs. Existing data reveals that the number of drug users continues to rise, especially among women and vulnerable groups, who still lack adequate access to treatment. Unlike heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine-type substances, cannabis overdose deaths have never been documented, while fatalities from fentanyl-related substances are alarmingly prevalent. In my region, the challenges posed by new synthetic drugs’ higher toxicity have prompted reactions, not only from users and law enforcement but also from other stakeholders like first responders, medical staff, and customs officers. Strikingly, these concerns are absent from existing political commitments addressing illicit cultivation, production, and trafficking. There is only one commitment directly tackling this issue, outlined in paragraph six of the 2009 political declaration. This commitment had a specific target date of 2019 for states to significantly reduce or eliminate illicit drug production and trafficking. However, the CND has admitted that this commitment was neither implemented nor realistic, considering the record levels. This serves as clear evidence that changes in cultivation, production, trafficking, and consumption are driven by their own dynamics, not the measures arising from political commitments. For instance, cannabis cultivation worldwide continues to decline, not due to efficient measures taken against it, but because it’s no longer profitable for cartels. Similarly, the shift from methamphetamines to opium in Afghanistan illustrates these changing trends. The upcoming review must acknowledge the failure to implement paragraph six of the 2009 political declaration. Additionally, commitments related to harm reduction should be revised, prioritizing individuals’ health and well-being in our policies.

EU: The World Drug Report 2023 highlights the alarming record-level production of various substances globally, leading to high availability of illicit drugs. This widespread drug trafficking and usage affects all regions worldwide. In Europe, cannabis continues to be the most consumed substance, raising concerns about the expanding cocaine market, rising use of amphetamine-type stimulants, and opioids. The new drug strategy and action plan adopt an evidence-based, integrated, balanced, and multidisciplinary approach, focusing on drug supply reduction, drug demand reduction, and addressing drug-related harm. Our agencies, Europol, Eurojust, and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, play a crucial role in this approach. Strengthening early warning systems on new psychoactive substances, especially those sold on the Darknet and social media and trafficked through postal and courier services, is imperative. Coordination between customs authorities, police, and relevant institutions, along with collaboration with the private sector, is essential. The increasing seizures of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, new psychoactive substances, and drug precursors pose new challenges. Proper storage, disposal, and addressing their environmental health and safety impacts are outlined in this year’s CND resolution on safe handling and disposal of synthetic drugs, as well as the latest UNODC World Drug Reports. Consideration of the associated economic costs of disposal is vital. At the EU level, we continuously evaluate our legislation and activities. We engage in drug-related dialogues with third countries, fund cooperation programs, and develop drug policy interventions based on shared responsibility, development-oriented approaches, respect for human rights and dignity, the rule of law, and adherence to international drug control conventions. The 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Alternative Development is being celebrated concurrently with this session. The development-led approach, a key pillar of global efforts, enables member states to address the cultivation of illicit drug crops and related phenomena in cooperation with partner countries. Turning to drug precursors, the diversion of non-scheduled substances and proliferation of trafficking of designer precursors pose unprecedented challenges to drug control and legislation. The rapidly changing landscape of drug precursors necessitates innovative methods to address this issue effectively. Scheduling specific precursors and their derivatives has proven successful in some countries, leading to more seizures without adversely affecting the country. The surge in designer precursors is a global phenomenon, demanding international action to reduce their availability in illicit drug manufacturing. The EU is committed to global collaboration to tackle the challenges posed by non-scheduled chemicals and designer precursors. We recognize that the impact of illicit drug use is pervasive in society. Substances with psychoactive properties have the potential for drug use, affecting individuals directly or indirectly. It is crucial to address the associated health and social risks, including deaths, infectious diseases, dependency cycles, mental health problems, and social exclusion.

Brazil: Brazil does not engage in significant cultivation of illicit crops, yet it is not immune to the global drug problem. As a transit and consumption country, Brazil faces challenges related to drug abuse and trafficking. The country acknowledges the informative presentation by UNODC, shedding light on these issues. One concerning trend highlighted by the presentation is the growth in the production and trafficking of cocaine. The Brazilian Federal Police have observed a nearly threefold increase in cocaine apprehensions in the last decade, amounting to around 100 tons per year. Consequently, Brazil has become the second-largest cocaine consumer globally. Brazil actively cooperates with neighboring countries and international surveillance studies to address this challenge. Additionally, seizures of cannabis and synthetic drugs have risen significantly. There are growing reports of intoxication by New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in Brazil, leading the country to invest heavily in the development of its rapid alert system to monitor and identify these substances. Another trend emphasized by the presentation is the disproportionate impact of the drug problem on vulnerable communities. Indigenous people, women, and individuals of African descent in Brazil are significantly affected by the social and economic repercussions of drug use and trafficking. The Brazilian government has launched special initiatives tailored to support these communities. The multifaceted approach includes prevention actions and the promotion of alternative income sources, among other initiatives.

Australia: Australia employs various domestic data collection activities and multiple data systems to assess its drug situation at both national and sub-national levels. These include the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, the National Surveillance System for Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse and Overdose, and the National Drug Strategy Households. While these efforts aim for comprehensive coverage, challenges remain in capturing data for marginalized populations, such as First Nations Australians and individuals in contact with the criminal justice system. According to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 43% of Australians had consumed illicit drugs in their lifetime, with 16% reporting non-medical use of pharmaceuticals in the last 12 months. The National Drug Strategy provides a framework identifying priorities related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, emphasizing a balance between health and law enforcement approaches. Priority populations, including First Nations Australians and those in contact with the criminal justice system, are recognized due to their higher risk of experiencing drug-related harms. First Nations Australians constitute 18% of individuals aged 10 or older receiving treatment or support for alcohol or other drug use, and their treatment rates remain high nationally. While cannabis is the most consumed illicit drug in Australia, the market for it operates independently of serious organized crime groups. Consequently, cannabis-related seizures and arrests are common. Australia faces challenges due to high demand for illicit drugs and limited domestic supply, resulting in very high street prices. The 2023 World Drug Report highlighted that the street price for cocaine in the Australian and New Zealand markets remains the highest globally, making Australia an attractive market for drug traffickers. Methamphetamine is the dominant illicit stimulant in Australia, valued at $8.3 billion in the year leading up to August 2023. Cocaine importation surged in 2023, and seizures of ketamine are increasing within Australia. While detections of fentanyl are low and small-scale, the market has not undergone significant changes. Tracking precursors and related agents is challenging due to the vast volume and diversity of imported substances, as well as their dual-use nature, making oversight difficult. Additionally, drug traffickers are using encrypted telecommunication devices, such as Apple AirTags and their Samsung equivalents, to track products, posing challenges for law enforcement. Australia is actively addressing this issue with its own technology to identify and counter these methodologies.

Bolivia: The Plurinational State of Bolivia operates under a comprehensive policy council, the highest agency for approving, monitoring, and evaluating Bolivia’s policies related to controlling illicit trafficking of controlled substances, excess coca crops, and preventing drug consumption within the international drug control framework. Bolivia promotes the 2021-2025 Strategy to Combat Illicit Trafficking of Controlled Substances, emphasizing gender, human rights, and environmental concerns with four key points: Control of expansion of focal crops: This involves consultation, rationalization, and eradication to prevent access to crops. Control of illicit trafficking: Aimed at dismantling criminal organizations engaged in this activity regionally. Safety against drug trafficking: Bolivia aims to strengthen the Anti-Narcotics Intelligence Center and implement policies focusing on healthy lifestyles to prevent drug abuse. Protection of coca leaf: Bolivia asserts its cultural right to use coca leaves for traditional purposes and opposes their classification as narcotics. Bolivia commits to combating drug trafficking, controlling chemical substances, and addressing addiction through public health approaches and gender complementarity. It incorporates new criminal investigation tools, technologies, and updates in international control standards. Bolivia emphasizes the protection of its cultural heritage and traditions, particularly regarding the coca leaf. Bolivia contests the classification of coca leaf in its natural state as a narcotic drug under the 1961 convention, arguing that it has cultural, ritual, medicinal, nutritional, and therapeutic uses. Bolivia requests a critical review of the coca leaf’s status from scientific, legal, and historical perspectives, advocating for its declassification to promote its industrialization for health and cultural purposes.

Belgium: As this is our first intervention, I would like to express our gratitude. Recognizing the challenge of adapting legislation to new substances and the potential for a substantial market in unscheduled substances, Belgium has taken proactive measures. We have modified our legislation to subject new psychoactive substances to the same rules and controls as non-scheduled substances sharing the same chemical structure. This adaptation aims to anticipate the emergence of new products derived from similar structures and limit the proliferation of unlicensed drugs. Belgium is well aware of its exposure to the production, distribution, and trafficking of new psychoactive substances. To address this, effective collaboration between member states and public and private entities involved in this issue is crucial. This collaboration is a top priority for Belgium, and we have consistently invested efforts in this area. On February 17, 2025, Belgium and the Netherlands signed the Declaration on the Fight Against Cross-Border Organized Crime. This agreement outlines new efforts, including the intelligent use of encrypted containers, mutual information exchange, and the development of stricter international security standards. Belgium has also fostered strong cooperation with national postal services and relevant agencies to combat drug trafficking comprehensively. I would like to highlight four key points in our approach: Project Lounge (?): Launched in 2019, this initiative involves close collaboration between federal police, local police, customs, justice, post, and private courier services. While it primarily focuses on enforcement, it also raises awareness among postal service employees to help identify suspicious shipments. Collaboration with Dutch National Police: We have strengthened cooperation between the Federal Judicial Police and the first intervention team of the Dutch National Police, enhancing the exchange of information and expertise. Specific Control Actions Plan: Belgium collaborates with the Netherlands and France on specific control actions to address drug trafficking. Our country actively participates in Europol’s specific operational action plan on drug trafficking through postal systems. I extend my gratitude to all distinguished delegates for your attention and cooperation. Thank you.

Thailand: I am honored to represent the Royal Project Foundation of Thailand and share our success story in the realm of alternative development for sustainability. Our journey began in 1969 when the Royal Project was founded by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This initiative aimed to address the challenges of illicit drug cultivation, specifically opium poppy, while fostering community and environmental development in the highlands. The Royal Project, guided by the principle of sufficiency economy, has achieved remarkable success in reducing opium production and promoting sustainable practices over the past 55 years. Mr. Chair, the evolving landscape of socio-economic and environmental dimensions continues to be our focal point of concern. We are committed to nurturing our successes by extending the wisdom of the Royal Project to the national and international community. Adapting our strategies to combat economic challenges is essential, and the Royal Project has been pivotal in transforming traditional farming methods to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. The shift from opium cultivation to diversified crops symbolizes our commitment to a brighter future. In light of our 55-year success story, I propose four key priorities to promote alternative development towards sustainable development goals: Promote Research and Development: Invest in research and development initiatives to enhance the success of alternative development programs and align them with sustainable development goals. Utilize UNDP and Royal Project Models: Maximize the utilization of UNDP and the proven Royal Project modules as valuable resources. Learning from our 55-year journey can guide future endeavors. Empower Youth and Women: Integrate youth and women empowerment activities into comprehensive programs, focusing on social equity. These efforts should be incorporated into national policies to ensure continuity and widespread impact. Confirm Confidence and Adaptability: Express confidence in the efficacy of alternative development initiatives based on our 55-year success story. Emphasize the adaptability of our approaches to navigate future global changes effectively. Lastly, I am pleased to announce two significant events in 2024. First, during CND 67 in March, Thailand, the Royal Project Foundation, alongside partner organizations, will host an exhibition showcasing Thailand’s alternative development efforts towards sustainable development goals. Second, in August 2024, the Royal Project Foundation will organize an International Conference on Highland Alternative Development for Sustainable Development Goals in Bangkok. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Center in our province, where we have successfully eliminated opium cultivation over the past five years.

Ecuador: The UNODC Secretary for AIDS highlighted the significant challenges faced by countries, especially Ecuador, which is one of the largest global drug producers. Ecuador has been working diligently to establish proper procedures for the safe handling, storage, and disposal of chemical precursors and psychotropic substances. From January to October 2023, Ecuador successfully destroyed approximately 117,000 kilograms of chemical precursors and 210 tons of psychotropic substances across 4,000 cases. In collaboration with UNODC, Ecuador’s Undersecretariat of Controlled Substances, along with the Interior Ministry, implemented innovative methods for drug disposal under the LSS project. These methods involved repurposing chemical substances, encapsulating large amounts of cocaine, and neutralization. UNODC’s laboratory support was crucial in efficiently processing and disposing of these substantial quantities of drugs. Additionally, Ecuador organized an international meeting, supported by the US government and UNODC, addressing challenges related to illicit drug manufacturing. The event focused on the detection, identification, safe handling, storage, and final disposal of chemical precursors used in illicit drug production, as well as the dismantling of clandestine laboratories. The meeting proved successful, with 21 delegations from the Americas, Latin America, Europe, and Asia in attendance. During the 31st meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean region in October, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized the effectiveness of Ecuador’s measures against illicit trafficking. Ecuador, although not a major drug-producing country, concentrated its efforts on removing these substances from the market. The country prioritizes preventing domestic and international consumption and curbing the economic gains of criminal activities. Implementing these actions requires substantial human and economic resources. Given the increasing challenges in the fight against drugs, Ecuador stressed the importance of promoting trust and mutual cooperation. Establishing robust communication channels between states is essential to address these challenges effectively. Thank you.

Russia: Mr. Chairman, esteemed colleagues, Synthetic drugs have recently taken center stage in international and regional drug-related discussions for valid reasons. Criminals now find it easier to access drug materials, chemical resources, and manuals for drug production. Social networks are being misused for the sale of drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, and new synthetic drugs are being distributed in the shadows. At the same time, traditional plant-based drugs remain a significant concern. Cannabis continues to be widely abused, and levels of cocaine and opium cultivation and production remain high, despite temporary disruptions due to weather conditions. This exacerbates the problem further, raising crucial questions about our efforts. Do these statistics signify failure, or do they demand a stronger commitment from the international community to combat the global drug issue? Russia firmly believes that the goals set in 2009, aiming for the elimination or significant reduction in illicit drug cultivation, production, trafficking, and money laundering, must be approached with a renewed understanding of our shared objectives. We recognize that criminals will always find new ways, as indicated in the 2020 World Drug Report, which revealed a concerning global trend: the rise in drug abuse among children and youth. In response, the Russian Federation adopted a comprehensive strategy this year, focusing on the negative impact of drugs on the physical, intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of children. Government agencies are now tasked with promoting healthy lifestyles, educating children and their families, and instilling a conscious negative attitude toward drug abuse and participation in drug trafficking. We emphasize that evidence-based prevention rooted in scientific knowledge is the most effective and economical strategy to reduce illicit drug demand. We appreciate your efforts in this area and commend the UNODC initiative that empowers young leaders to engage in drug prevention activities. The Central Asian region pioneered a regular regional network for a healthy, safe, and drug-free society, showcasing the importance of such initiatives. We urge replication of these efforts in other regions to achieve our ambitious goal of creating a global society free from drug abuse. Thank you.

Venezuela: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and greetings to all distinguished delegates and experts. On behalf of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I would like to contribute to the discussion on the main developments, challenges, and results achieved by my country. Venezuela acknowledges that the global drug problem is a complex, dynamic, and multicultural phenomenon. In response, our country has committed to developing and implementing strategies to effectively address this issue. In February 2021, the National Anti-Drug Office was elevated to the National Anti-Drug Superintendence. Since then, tangible results have been achieved. In 2021 alone, a record number of seizures were made, totaling almost 130 tons of drugs. Cocaine ranked first, followed by cannabis as the most intercepted substances, with significant activities occurring in states along the western border and coastal areas. A new modality has emerged in Venezuela, involving the recruitment of sailors from the eastern part of the country due to their extensive knowledge of navigation in open waters. They use go-fast boats to transport drugs through the Colombian waters, transiting between the Venezuelan state of Florida and the islands of Aruba and Curacao, aiming to reach Europe. The National Armed Force and Defense Security agencies have executed operations, including dismantling logistical support centers in mangroves along the Orinoco River. In terms of international cooperation, Venezuela has engaged in effective bilateral cooperation since late 2021 with authorities in France and the Netherlands, facilitating reliable and immediate exchange of information about drug-related substances. Additionally, Venezuela has actively participated in regional initiatives, such as the Regional Airspace Interoperability Conference led by Mexico, resulting in the interception of aircraft linked to drug crime. Regarding the control of chemical precursors, Venezuela has conducted numerous procedures in collaboration with competent agencies. A significant portion of these procedures has successfully prevented potential illicit production, while others have led to the dismantling of clandestine laboratories, disrupting organized crime groups and their sources of supply. Furthermore, Venezuela has undertaken relentless preventive activities benefiting nearly 4 million people. Additionally, almost 4,000 individuals have received free attention and care through the National System for the Treatment of Addiction. In conclusion, based on our national experiences and leveraging our capacities, Venezuela calls for national cooperation through multilateral mechanisms. We advocate for the provision of technical assistance, particularly to developing countries, to enhance the effectiveness of our collective efforts in addressing the global drug issue. Thank you.

Iran: My country, as a neighbor of the main producer of illicit opium worldwide, has always been at  the forefront of the fight against illicit drug trafficking and advocates for a world free of drug abuse. Given that more than 80% of the world’s opium originates in Afghanistan, opium and opiates have been abundantly and illegally produced throughout the region. However, recent seizure statistics from Iran’s anti-narcotic police, particularly since August 2021, have shown a rapid increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized across the eastern border. Considering Iran’s situation as a country, the formation of these confiscation patterns may be seen as an early warning sign. We can safely assume that the production and manufacture of synthetic drugs are alarmingly expanding. I would like to draw your attention to a part of our seizure statistics from recent years: Opium: 2021 – Almost 835 tons, 2022 – Approximately 136.20 tons, 2020 – 214 tons. As you can see, the trajectory is downward. In contrast, methamphetamine seizures have increased significantly: Methamphetamine: 2021 – Almost 25 times, 2020 – 30 times, 2019 – 370 times (approximately 20% CAGR increase). Although precise data is lacking, a similar trend is observed for other synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals in our region, as clearly reflected in the 2022 and 2023 World Drug Reports. The new surge of cannabinoids and related analogs worldwide should not be overlooked. We firmly believe that the world’s drug problems should not be downplayed or ignored. Instead, these challenges must be addressed vigilantly. We call upon the parties to provide consistent, persistent, and indiscriminate support to frontline countries like mine through materialized technical assistance, technology transfer, and necessary equipment, especially for border management. It is crucial to bear in mind that drug problems should be tackled comprehensively, and unilateral coercive measures should be avoided. In conclusion, we are all in the same boat, and it is our belief that the legalization and commercialization of drugs would lead to an increase in demand and subsequently result in an increase in supply. This situation would translate into ongoing costs for frontline countries, which we must collectively address. Thank you.

Peru: I express our firm commitment to a comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable perspective, aligning with the objectives outlined in the political declaration, the national plan of 2009, the joint ministerial statement of 2014, the outcome document of August 28, 2016, and the ministerial declaration of 2019. In this regard, my country has implemented a multisectoral national policy against drugs up to 2030. The primary objective is to strengthen the state’s capacity to address the public problems associated with the damages caused by illicit crops, trafficking, and drug consumption in production areas and vulnerable groups, especially indigenous peoples. This policy encompasses comprehensive, sustainable, and inclusive alternative development as a public policy initiative aimed at generating basic income and reducing the vulnerability of families to the criminal influence of illicit drug trafficking, which deeply infiltrates the social fabric, particularly among those engaged in the illicit cultivation of coca leaves for cocaine production. We recognize the traditional value of the coca leaf and have duly delimited cultivation areas. Simultaneously, it is crucial to reduce the cultivation area, considering its essential role as raw material for the manufacture of cocaine drugs. Failing to do so would inevitably lead to an increase in cocaine production and pose significant risks to affected families. Our approach is focused on comprehensive, sustainable, and inclusive alternative development, embedded in the federal model and adhering to United Nations conventions, which are the foundations of our global anti-drug efforts. The model emphasizes the presence of the state, the strengthening of the institutional framework, and the promotion of peace. Through this approach, we aim to integrate drug trafficking chains into a sustainable, market-based economy, ultimately reducing illicit cocoa cultivation areas. In this context, technical and financial cooperation plays a vital role in supporting alternative development programs. This cooperation is essential to enhance access to national and international markets for products derived from these programs. We take pride in the positive outcomes achieved through the implementation of our development programs. These initiatives have enabled thousands of families in rural communities to transition away from the illicit drug economy. They have established successful enterprises producing goods such as coffee, cocoa, honey, chocolate, gems, condiments, and handicrafts. This shift has given them opportunities to integrate into national and international markets, significantly improving their communities’ and families’ quality of life. I firmly believe that when producer and consumer countries collaborate under the principle of common and shared responsibility, we can achieve better results in the global fight against drugs and significantly impact the quality of life for vulnerable families. We are all committed to this battle against a complex crime that has vast resources and severely affects our societies’ security, democratic governance, rule of law, economy, life, and health. This fight is intricately linked to various other serious crimes, such as corruption, money laundering, homicides, human trafficking, all of which have detrimental effects on the environment. In conclusion, this is a truly global fight, a threat that spares no country. It is a fight for life, undertaken with the purpose of safeguarding the present and future of our people, which stands as our greatest asset and ultimate goal as representatives of our nations. Thank you very much.

Japan: In terms of drug abuse, we have observed an increase in cannabis cases, particularly among young people. To address this issue, we have implemented drug prevention activities targeting youth. We have distributed educational materials and organized lectures in schools focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. These efforts have contributed significantly to spreading knowledge about the harmful effects of illicit drugs. In particular, the proliferation of synthetic drug production, especially clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in regions like Southwest Asia and East Asia, is of great concern to us. We emphasize the importance of strengthening technical assistance and capacity building for national authorities in these regions to prevent the spread of synthetic drugs. Additionally, as a donor supporting UN LDCs and target development projects, we emphasize the importance of sustainable long-term development. We believe working with the private sector to facilitate market access and exploring branding strategies can significantly enhance the value of sustainably developed products. Moreover, building partnerships with international organizations such as FAO can optimize the use of resources. In the context of precursors, chemical companies and industries play a crucial role in preventing the diversion of precursors to illicit drug production. We appreciate the initiatives taken by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to enhance cooperation with the private sector, including the chemical industry. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

USA: The evidence is indisputable: the production, manufacture, and use of synthetic drugs are on the rise, and the harms to individuals, families, and society at large are also increasing. Nearly 110,000 Americans died last year of a drug overdose, and two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids. Cocaine also took its toll. In 2020 alone, the estimated cost of the overdose crisis on public health and criminal justice systems was nearly 1.5 trillion US dollars. Of course, we cannot put a figure on the human costs. Therefore, we remain committed to addressing these challenges through our law enforcement efforts, capacity building, demand reduction, treatment, and alternative development initiatives. The United States is pursuing a balanced approach that protects public health and safety by addressing both the illicit supply and demand for synthetic drugs. We have allocated an unprecedented $43.8 billion to address substance use in our own country. This includes expanding access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services. We are also focused on disrupting the illicit supply of drugs through specialized efforts. We are closely monitoring changes in the drug supply through the National Forensics Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), which systematically collects data from local, state, and federal forensics laboratories analyzing drug evidence across the country. In just the last year, the labs have detected 35 new substances. This information is publicly available, and we encourage member states to utilize the website. We also rely on the international scheduling system to help protect our respective populations by ensuring that harmful substances are placed under international control. In this regard, we recently requested the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to initiate a review of fentanyl and its precursors for possible inclusion in Table I of the 1988 Convention. We encourage other member states, as well as the INCB (for which we express our gratitude), to similarly use the treaty-mandated scheduling process to place harmful substances under control. Thanks to the hard work of UNODC and INCB, we have several tools to address our shared challenges. These tools are effective when used properly. For example, the UN Toolkit on Drugs has supported more than 53,000 partners across more than 200 jurisdictions with information, resources, and best practices. The use of INCB’s PENS platform prevented the diversion of nearly two tons of pseudoephedrine preparations in Africa and West Asia. Additionally, as we heard this morning, we have launched the Global Coalition on Synthetic Drugs to help us address the shift towards these synthetic substances. Finally, I would like to note that nationally imposed sanctions are important tools to protect the interests of our people. These sanctions prevent illicit drug traffickers and other corrupt actors from using our banks and financial systems to launder their proceeds of crime. Thank you.

Colombia: I will focus my remarks on coca cultivation. According to the last monitoring report published last September, for the second year in a row, coca cultivation reached a historical maximum in Colombia. The detected area of coca in Colombia in 2000 was 230,000 hectares, representing an increase of 13% compared to 2021. 65% of the crops are concentrated in three bordering regions: in the Southwest, in Reno and butuh module next to Ecuador, and in the northeast area in North and the South, in the watering area with Venezuela. What have we learned in Colombia in the past decades? We learned that voluntary eradication has a more sustainable impact in the long term. Forced eradication had an immediate gain in terms of reducing the density of the coca bush, but this gain appears to be of short duration and unsustainable too. We also learned that the viability of voluntary eradication depends on how well the accompanying alternative development projects fulfill the income-generating needs of rural and indigenous communities. In Colombia, alternative development programs shifted from being considered a complementary component of forced eradication to being the spearhead of state and UN agencies’ intervention in areas with coca crops. The targeting of alternative development programs shifted from areas with low amounts of coca crops to areas with greater persistence and production of coca. This shift shows the changing approach to directly reach coca-growing communities with the purpose of achieving a more significant impact on the transformation of the territories. Our new drug policy considers alternative development an opportunity to reduce inequalities in areas historically affected by coca cultivation. These projects have been more successful when they encompass an ethical approach and courage associate DBT and promote gender empowerment. What has proven to be more successful when projects include private sector partnerships with fair trade conditions, as it generates competitiveness, improves commercialization potential and market access, adds value to alternative products, and promotes entrepreneurship and the legal growth of local economies. Mainstreaming alternative development at a larger scale should be seen as the backbone of economic growth and development targeting vulnerable communities. Now, having said this, let’s bring some pragmatism to this issue. The challenge is to scale up alternative development at a cheaper cost. The question is whether we will be able to do so. Alternative development is very expensive. While we can fund alternative development by ourselves and are grateful for international cooperation, it is not enough to fund alternative development projects to eradicate 230,000 square hectares. This feels like a Sisyphean task. We push the rock during the day, and we push it down with force to find ourselves back at zero. We clear one area of coca, and it pops up in another place. The government plans to move 50,000 families in the next three years to transition them into the legal economy. What about the other 65,000 families? We recognize the cultural importance of the coca leaf and, of course, respect the beliefs attached to its cultivation. But at this point in Colombia, we are asking ourselves if we should not go farther and try to find uses for it instead of continuing to fight with the plant. The solution so far has not worked for us. Perhaps it’s time to put our heads together and think about something else.

Canada: We are deeply committed to addressing the challenges posed by the rapidly changing global drug market. We acknowledge the importance of relying on scientific evidence, and we continue to work hard to obtain quality data, although it remains a persistent challenge. In Canada, we collect surveillance and research data from various sources, including national surveys, targeted surveys, such as those conducted at supervised consumption sites, and online surveys related to psychoactive substances. Additionally, laboratory analysis of suspected illegal drugs seized by Canadian law enforcement agencies and record-level information from chief coroners or chief medical examiners contribute to our data collection efforts. We have identified seven key substance use data collection areas where further disaggregated surveillance is essential, including national data on substance use treatment and recovery services. We emphasize the importance of national and gender-responsive approaches to drug policies, as they are crucial for an effective and sustainable response to the drug epidemic and for accelerating progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Gender mainstreaming is essential, and we need to design and implement gender-responsive policies and services. Regarding drug trafficking, the Cannabis Act of 2018 established a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis in Canada. Transporting cannabis across the border in any form without a permit or exemption authorized by Health Canada remains a serious criminal offense, subject to arrest and prosecution. The Canadian Border Services Agency collaborates closely with federal and local police to maintain laws governing the cross-border movement of cannabis. Despite the legalization of cannabis in Canada, permits or exemptions to import or export cannabis are granted only under very limited circumstances, such as for medical, scientific, or industrial hemp purposes. When it comes to the impact of fentanyl and other dangerous drugs, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) operates clandestine laboratory enforcement and response teams across Canada targeting organized crime groups involved in the production of illegal substances, including fentanyl. Canada, in partnership with UNODC, has supported law enforcement agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean to fight illicit trafficking, enhance border security, and facilitate legitimate trade. Canada’s support for the UNODC Container Control Program in Latin America and the Caribbean has contributed significantly to the seizure of illicit substances, including cocaine. We are deeply concerned about the clear and growing dangers posed by synthetic drugs. In response, Canada has implemented precursor control regulations to regulate precursors frequently used in illegal synthetic products. These regulations facilitate the exchange of information between industry and border enforcement officials, and suspicious transactions can be reported to Health Canada. Canada also operates the National Chemical Precursor Diversion Program, a public-private partnership model, which assists in identifying specific traffickers and transnational organized crime groups involved in the acquisition of essential chemicals for producing and trafficking synthetic drugs. We extend our gratitude to UNODC and INCB for their efforts and stand united with international partners in addressing these pressing issues.

Chair: There are no more interentions from the floor from delegations, so we are moving ont o inter-governmental organizations.

Interpol: Today, the world faces a significant challenge as the supply of illicit drugs becomes more abundant, sophisticated, and diverse than ever before. This complexity hampers law enforcement efforts to effectively address and contain the global drug problem. Criminal networks exploit regulatory gaps through the use of new psychoactive substances, while also diversifying trafficking routes, especially in southern regions. These criminals leverage new technologies such as the dark web and social platforms to expand drug markets. Illicit drug markets are saturated with a wide array of synthetic drugs, posing a severe threat to public health. Unlike plant-based drugs, synthetic drugs can be produced anywhere, making law enforcement’s task more challenging. Interpol urges all member states to utilize its relational database, which was transferred from the Czech Republic in 2019. This database, encompassing data from 195 member countries, assists law enforcement by analyzing drug seizures, examining logos, and trademarks on drug packages, linking them to criminal networks, and facilitating real-time secure communications. Interpol has also established the Iread program to specifically address challenges posed by synthetic drugs. This initiative includes setting up dedicated impact groups, such as the one established in Takata, to provide a national platform for law enforcement, decision-makers, and specialists to discuss challenges and share best practices. Notably, Interpol’s impact groups emphasize the crucial training of law enforcement personnel in safely handling synthetic drugs, aligning with a CND resolution passed last year. In conclusion, as the drug market continues to evolve and expand, Interpol encourages its 195 member states to fully utilize available communication channels, tools, and services. By doing so, international cooperation can be fostered, supporting law enforcement efforts worldwide and effectively addressing the complex issue of illicit drugs.

Executive Secretary, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD): I am grateful for the opportunity to address this forum and discuss the significant global challenges we face in implementing international drug policy commitments. The global production of cocaine has reached a record level due to the expansion of coca cultivation, improved agricultural techniques, and enhanced processing methods. Illicit cocaine laboratories have become more efficient, enabling criminal organizations to produce larger quantities of cocaine hydrochloride. Mismanagement of precursor chemicals used in drug manufacturing poses significant risks to human health, communities, and the environment. In the Americas, we are witnessing the proliferation of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine, psychoactive substances, and deadly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and its analogs. The hemispheric drug strategy and its corresponding plan of action urge member states to strengthen their capacities to counter the illicit manufacture, trafficking, and distribution of drugs. Enhanced control measures are crucial to addressing the trafficking and diversion of precursor chemicals. CICAD utilizes a unique peer review tool, the multilateral valuation mechanism, which highlights the need for greater attention to controlling new psychoactive substances and synthetic drugs. Many countries lack early warning systems or innovative regulatory approaches for these substances. To address these challenges, our InterAmerican Observatory on Drugs is working to strengthen national drug observatories and early warning systems in member states. We conduct projects to enhance member states’ capacity to control production, trafficking, and distribution, and strengthen the capacities of law enforcement and forensic laboratories in the investigation, detection, and identification of synthetic drugs. We provide technical assistance to enhance the capacities of regulatory agencies and precursor chemical control, ensuring the proper disposal of these substances. Additionally, the meetings of SI Kads group of experts on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, currently chaired by Ecuador with Brazil as vice chair, facilitate the exchange of information and the sharing of best practices on these critical topics. In closing, I emphasize the importance of collaborative efforts to overcome the challenges posed by the drug problem. CICAD recognizes the long-term partnership with UNODC and looks forward to continuing this fruitful collaboration.

France: France, like many countries, is deeply affected by the rising levels of drug seizures. In recent years, the quantity of drugs seized in France has increased exponentially. Cannabis seizures have risen by 136% in the last 10 years, while cocaine seizures have surged by 395%. MDMA seizures have seen an 887% increase for the fifth consecutive year. French authorities have seized one-third of all new psychoactive substances (NPS) detected, highlighting a significant diversification in the drug supply. In July 2023, the French Monitoring Center for Drug and Drug Addiction identified 368 NPS in France. While the majority of narcotics come from abroad, domestic production is also on the rise. France is increasingly exposed to aerial cannabis cultivation, mirroring trends in Europe. Moreover, laboratories manufacturing cocaine and drugs are being detected in France. There is also a rise in the trafficking of drug precursors and designer substances. These issues are expected to become even more significant in the future. Thank you for your attention.

Universal Postal Union: I would like to discuss the actions undertaken by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to support the international community in advancing the overarching goals of the three international drug control conventions. Acknowledging the world drug problem as a common and shared responsibility and ensuring a comprehensive and balanced approach with 192 UPU member countries and their associated 217 designated postal operators, the UPU initiated activities focusing on mitigating illicit drug threats within the postal supply chain since late 2018. Most of these efforts have been made possible through the generous support of the United States Bureau of International Law Enforcement Affairs and the US Postal Service, with funding concluding in 2023 and 2025, respectively. The UPU recognizes the ongoing challenges posed by illicit drug threats and collaborates with external stakeholders to build capacity, enhance understanding of safe handling of illicit items within the postal system, and reduce illicit drugs in the postal supply chain. A significant step was taken in 2018 when the UPU entered into a cooperation agreement with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) focusing on capacity building and mitigation activities. This successful collaboration has resulted in the creation of guidance materials, proposals, and express carriers available in six languages. The partnership has also led to an increase in registered postal security focal points from 40 in 2018 to 56 this year. Within the INCB’s platform, reported postal parcels with illicit goods have risen from 1,765 in 2018 to 6,000, with postal locations accounting for 49% of reported seizures within INCB. The UPU engaged regional postal security managers globally, enhancing electronic advanced data transmission. This cooperation has contributed significantly to the increase in VAT transmission from 45% to 95%, aiding customs officers in identifying items requiring further examination and mitigating dangerous and illicit goods in the postal supply chain. The UPU has also partnered with UNODC to integrate the postal security module within the UN toolkit on drugs, benefiting 54,000 users and fostering a comprehensive understanding of postal security worldwide. Collaborative efforts with Interpol have facilitated educational opportunities for personal security focal points, resulting in training for postal security experts from 35 countries. The UPU remains committed to securing the supply chain through a holistic approach and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. We look forward to ensuring postal operators are actively engaged in discussions and are integral to the solution. Thank you.

Europol: Thank you, Mr. Chair, for allowing me to share observations on the evolving landscape of drug trafficking. Producers continue to organize for profits, and criminal groups are adapting. It is concerning that vulnerable groups in society are increasingly attracted to the profits of drug trafficking. In recent years, several EU countries have seen an uptick in drug-related violence, leading to incidents where innocent citizens or law enforcement officers were targeted. Criminal networks exploit various sectors, including the public and local authorities. Addressing drug trafficking must also tackle corruption and violence, preventing drug money from destabilizing our society. Cocaine and cannabis remain the most seized drugs, primarily in transit. Most seizures occur in shipping containers at maritime ports. There is a diversification of trafficking routes in the Americas, with coastlines becoming a notable trend. Cocaine remains the most consumed drug in the EU. Criminal networks are highly organized, providing services for cultivation sites and transportation, including innovative methods like submarines. Overall drug production is rising, with an increase in labs for secondary extraction. Herbal cannabis connections within the EU persist. Synthetic opioids are a growing concern, with a dynamic and innovative market. Law enforcement agencies must enhance their capabilities to monitor and address these emerging threats, particularly on social media platforms that target young people. Thank you for your attention.

INCB: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity to discuss the escalating challenges we face in the realm of drug trafficking, an issue that has become increasingly complex and rapidly changing. The manufacturing of new synthetic drugs has grown more sophisticated, often on an industrial scale. The use of new sourcing methods for chemical precursors and specialized equipment presents a challenge due to the control frameworks at both international and national levels. INDB has observed a significant gap between seizures of key precursors and the corresponding products, specifically synthetic drugs, in several regions of the world. The downward trend in precursor seizures since the 1980s contradicts the upward trend in seizures of illicit drugs, usually manufactured from internationally controlled chemicals. Southeast Asia and North America accounted for almost 30% of seizures globally from 2017 to 2021. Yet, few seizures of internationally controlled precursor chemicals have been reported, indicating a concerning trend. Possible explanations for these discrepancies include the diversion of chemicals from domestic distribution channels, as highlighted by recent surveys. Loopholes in monitoring the final destinations and control of chemicals domestically traded may be contributing factors. Additionally, scheduled chemicals, including designer precursors, have been used to evade regulations in illicit drug manufacturing for nearly a decade. Countries across continents have reported seizures of these substances, highlighting the challenges posed by non-scheduled chemicals and designer precursors. To address these issues, a proactive, innovative, and dynamic approach is essential. The Port’s Pre-Export Notification (PEN) Online Light system, launched in October 2022, facilitates the exchange of export expectations for scheduled substances on a voluntary basis. Approximately 700 pre-export applications have been submitted by 12 exporting countries to 50 importing countries or territories. Involving industry in preventing the diversion and sourcing of equipment for illicit drug manufacture is crucial. The concept of industry partnerships has proven invaluable, as industry partners can quickly adapt to changing circumstances. Understanding the range of industries dealing with chemicals is key, as traffickers often target these industries unknowingly. This also applies to equipment-related industries, which operate in more specialized and smaller markets. Illicit drug manufacturing is evolving rapidly, and criminal operators are quick to adapt to legal and economic environments. ICD stands ready to support governments in their efforts to control precursors through partnerships with national industrial sectors. Thank you very much.

Chair: Now we move on to NGO statements.

VNGOC / Corporación Humanas: My name is Juliana Rojas Bohórquez, I am an advocate for women’s rights in Colombia, I work in Corporación Humanas, an NGO committed to gender equality, and I’m speaking today under the umbrella of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs. Today, I will discuss the lessons learned and offer recommendations based on our experience working with rural women beneficiaries of the Illicit Crop Substitution Program in Colombia. I will start with some context. The Illicit Crop Substitution Program is intended to pave the way toward peace and women’s right in Colombia. The Peace Agreement of 2016 between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla group, FARC-EP, one of the hegemonic actors of the local markets of cocaine in the countr, acknowledges the importance of the resolution of illicit drug-related activities such as cultivation, production, and trafficking.
With this objective, the Program intended to reduce the economic dependence of communities on illicit crops. Seven years after the start of the implementation, this program has been implemented in targeted regions that account for more than 82% of the country’s coca crops, yet without reducing illicit cocaine production in Colombia. Based on our experience with program beneficiaries, we recommend the following to contribute to a
gender-inclusive peace: 1. To address payment delays in the Program and provide essential crop substitution assistance, it is essential to prioritize the commitments made. We recommend establishing an efficient communication channel between the government and beneficiaries, and actively engaging
women in the program’s decision-making processes. 2. Due to the valuable contributions of women in crop substitution efforts and caregiving activities, we recommend the program to offer tailored solutions that acknowledge the disproportionate caregiving burden. Providing targeted assistance, such as affordable childcare services and access to comprehensive healthcare, including reproductive health support. 3. Ensuring safety and security measures for everyone, especially women, is important for sustainable progress. We recommend enhancing women’s involvement in justice and security sectors, while also strengthening mechanisms to report and address cases of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. The Program began as an exceptional idea, understanding the urgent need to replace illegal crops and support rural communities. That’s why we understand that Illicit Crop Substitution offers an alternative solution to very harmful practices, such as the use of glyphosate. A Program implemented in a sustainable way that respect the dignity and well-being of our communities and the heterogeneous impact on women could pave the way to ensure peace and inclusive growth. The time for action is now. We make an urgent call to ensure that the promises of Peace Agreement made to the Colombian people are fulfilled, particularly for our resilient women who continue to bear the brunt of these challenges. Thank you.

VNGOC / Parent Child Intervention Centre – Peggy Ijeoma Chukwuemeka: The cultivation, production, manufacturing of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances and abuse as well as trafficking in Nigeria has quite increased despite the existing drug laws, policies, and strategies for prevention. In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the production of methamphetamine within its borders. Nigerian criminal networks have been involved in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine, often utilizing makeshift laboratories and precursor chemicals imported from countries like China. Nigerian drug traffickers have also established connections and collaborations with transnational criminal organizations, such as Latin American drug cartels and West African criminal networks. This enables them to access a global market and sophisticated smuggling techniques. The significant amount of drugs confiscated by the revitalized National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from drug traffickers at Nigerian airports over the past two years provides a vivid insight into the unfortunate predicament faced by young people in Nigeria. No wonder why we have the rising number of young individuals who find themselves entangled in addiction and dependency issues. There are also evidences of states in Nigeria that have been assessed as being at highest risk for cannabis cultivation. While in some other states, there are evidences of some communities or families cultivating cannabis in their backyards as well as scattered cultivation of cannabis in their forest areas and all of these contributes to overall cannabis production in Nigeria.  Currently, across streets of major cities and communities are free buyers and sellers of varieties of illicit drugs and psychoactive substances. Some of this locally produced illicit substances are unbelievably very cheap and readily available particularly among the youths. Sadly, these sellers are also the traffickers with footprints locally and internationally. These substances range from Diazepam, Rohypnol, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, colorado, codeine, opioids, tramadol and other psychotropic substances. Most of these illicit drugs and substances have street names like molly or X, roofies, banku, white, Thailand, Ice, schoolboy/little C, upper speed, special k, Acid, loud, Arizona, Eskay, kush, skushies among others. While the local drug scene is becoming more aggressive and expansionist in grabbing new markets, the international drugs cartels are arming their local agents with ever changing distribution patterns and with increasing skill in concealment and in handling the money from their sales. It’s important therefore, to note that tackling drug consumption requires a long-term commitment, adequate resources, and a multi-sectorial approach involving the government, civil society organizations, healthcare providers, educators, families, and communities. By combining these strategies, Nigeria can make significant progress in reducing drug consumption and its associated harms.” At Parent-Child Intervention Centre, a civil society organization based in Nigeria, we invest more in evidence-based prevention working in collaboration with communities, government, families and religious bodies and our Preventive measures target the youths and particularly high-risk groups, such as vulnerable youth, school dropouts, and marginalized communities.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: We understand that the illicit drug trade in Nigeria is fueled by our geographic location, economic disparities, unemployment, poverty (which has been spiked-up by the current fuel subsidy removal), political instability, and global demand for drugs. We therefore recommend that the government should address the underlying social and economic factors that contribute to drug abuse, including poverty, lack of education, unemployment, and inadequate social support systems. There’s need to Strengthen collaboration and cooperation with international organizations, neighboring countries, and partners involved in drug control efforts. They should engage the local communities, religious organizations, civil society groups, and other stakeholders in drug prevention efforts. Thank you!

UNODC: […]

VNGOC / NZ Drug Foundation & representative of the International Indigenous Drug Policy Alliance, Tuari Potiki (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha): Tena rā koutou katoa (I greet you all)  He mihi tenei ki a koutou aku rangatira (I greet you all as Chiefs) . Aotearoa New Zealand has a world-leading and hugely successful early warning system and legalised drug checking, which I will speak to today.  And yet, even with our drug checking and early warning system, it feels as if we have put on metaphorical life jackets and are waiting for a tidal wave to hit us.  Waves of new synthetic drugs & exponential increases in the volume of drugs like cocaine and methampetamine are already hitting our shores.   This tsunami is man-made. Who created it? Suppliers?  Behind them is a global control system, that has criminalised the supply & consumption of plant-based substances and incentivized the on-going creation of new synthetic drugs.  Global drug control has hindered and blocked indigenous access to plants (e.g. opium & cannabis) and replaced them with synthetic (man-made) drugs (synthetic cannabinoids & fentanyl) that cause more harm.  Thank you to the Office of the Human Rights Council for its recent report for acknowledging the impact of the world drug control system has on Indigenous Peoples.   Today I represent The New Zealand Drug Foundation Te Puna Whakatiki Pāmamae Kai Whakapiri, and the new International Indigenous Drug Policy Alliance, who aim to grow Indigenous representation at CND.  Indigenous Peoples share a history of disconnection from our lands, language, families and culture. It is upon this devastation that new illicit substances and the global drug control system have landed.   In Aotearoa New Zealand, the drug market is diversifying and increasing in supply and potency. We have seen increased adulteration and a rise in the prevalence of cathinones, novel benzos, ketamine analogues, synthetic cannabinoids, and novel synthetic opioids, primarily nitazenes.  Drug checking – or pill testing – has been fully legalised for 2 years. Civil society organisations are licensed and funded to run static clinics and clinics at events.   Police, Customs, Health, and civil society groups work together to govern our early warning system.  Our early warning system data sources include: drug checking, wastewater, customs & police seizure data, and hospitalization data. We share information with the Australian early warning system.  Our early warning system has needed to carefully build trust and safeguard the information we collect. It is to be used for health and harm reduction purposes only. Its success relies on trust.  We have prevented fatalities.  But we must do more to reform the global drug control system if we want to protect against novel synthetic drugs. The global control system has failed and has actually increased the harm to our communities, most importantly to Indigenous Peoples.

VNGOC / Canadian Drug Policy Coalition: Good day, thank you for this opportunity. I am here under the umbrella of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs. I work with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – a non-partisan, evidence-based, policy advocacy organization, comprised of numerous NGOs and civil society groups in Canada. International drug control conventions were intended to protect the health and welfare of humankind. Unfortunately, enforcement efforts have worked against this and, in Canada, have created a context for mass death. An unintended but inevitable consequence of supply-side interventions is the expansion and diversification of novel, often more potent, drugs. We prohibit one drug, another replaces it. We restrict precursors but different formulas develop. UNODC documents now discuss banning pre-precursors. Soon, will we restrict pre-pre-precursors? Canada’s drug laws are rooted in euro-centric, colonial, racist, and classist ideals that specifically targeted Indigenous, Asian, and Black communities – communities now most impacted by the global “war on drugs”. A country of 38 million people, we currently have one of the world’s most volatile and toxic illicit drugs markets. In 6 years, close to 40,000 humans died from opioid-related toxicity. We now average 21 deaths per day. This may be contributing to a loss of life expectancy at the population level. Compounding trauma and grief are affecting the well-being of whole communities. In the last decade, heroin has almost entirely been replaced by numerous fentanyl analogues – but fentanyl may not have proliferated had we sensibly regulated, instead of prohibited, heroin. Fentanyl is not inherently dangerous – it is used widely in human medicine – but in the unregulated market, dosage and purity are never assured. Prohibition is killing people. Beyond the deaths, there are thousands of hospitalizations, a growing cohort of people surviving with brain damage after non-fatal overdoses, and traditional opioid therapies, such as methadone, are less effective due to increased drug tolerance. Fentanyl is a short acting drug – people use more frequently than with heroin, increasing the chances of communicable infections and the need for more income. Sometimes people resort to transactional sex or low-level crime. People are consuming drugs that unknowingly contain multiple substances. Benzodiazepines and nitazine type compounds now contaminate the supply, adding complications. The diversification of drugs has caused unprecedented mortality, negative health outcomes and social impacts, creating an untenable situation. It may sound incredible, but I wish we could go back to simply contending with heroin. Cartel violence, corruption, and environmental degradation are other issues noted in the current World Drug Report, and human rights concerns are documented in the recent Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights report. Solutions to the world drug situation and Canada’s toxic drug crisis require a shift away from the various harms of prohibition. We are apprehensive that the recently launched Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats may further entrench enforcement responses and accelerate the range and diversification of drugs. We urge all member states and UN bodies to develop a new approach. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for the consideration of “responsible regulation” including “a regulatory system for legal access to all controlled substances”. This is desperately needed. Thank you for your attention.

VNGOC / Associação Brasileira de Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis, Transexuais e Intersex: Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, We are grateful for the opportunity to be here, for us it is an honor. We would like to express our special thanks to the support of REDUC – Brazilian Network for Harm Reduction and Human Rights Regarding the issue of diversification and expansion of the market and drug use, we bring here the issue of CHEMSEX, chemical sex, in Brazil, problematized during our actions in the LGBTQIAPN+ Harm Reduction Manual Project, which carried out a broad listening process with virtual activities and face-to-face meetings reaching all regions of our country, financed by the Brazilian Drug Policy Platform, which we also thank for their support. Given the institutionalization of Working Groups on the topic in Brazil and other countries, we bring here the importance that interventions aimed at these practices that involve Drugs and Sexualities, are supported by Harm Reduction actions, and are close to the people served. and avoid reinforcing stigmas and stereotypes, facilitating access to specific inputs, protective information and referrals for assistance and health, emphasizing the importance of control over violence, awareness and consent in these relationships. This universe presents many variations of sexual and gender styles, orientations, identities and performances, with a great diversity of trajectories, experiences and origins. This context presents the use of multiple licit and illicit substances, widely known, and new cocktails produced from combinations, generating new substances, which are named and used for this specific purpose. The characteristics of this practice also allow us to verify that even regulated substances are sold clandestinely, used for purposes other than those prescribed, can cause dependence and overdose and can also be used for prohibited activities, such as abortion, intoxication due to sexual violence and suicide, for example, exposing the superficiality and inefficiency of regulatory and prohibitive models. Thus, the diversification of these markets is linked to advances in the production and availability of substances, but also to the dynamics presented by everyday life, in the ways of being, acting and feeling mediated, enhanced or relieved by the consumption of substances. This signals to us the need to invest in affective education for drug use, but also in the management of situations and feelings, in the management of pleasure, pain, hatred, fear, in the recognition of violence, in the fight against prejudice, with the objective of developing self-care and Good Living in the Community. For this reason, we believe that an improvement in this scenario requires the celebration of a new global treaty, reviewing the Prohibition-Punishment model with a focus on Social mitigating factors (Deflection), Education for feelings and Harm Reduction.  We defend the decriminalization of drug consumption, the eradication of hunger and poverty, exploited and criminalized by the drug market, the reduction of inequalities, the end of mass incarceration and poverty, investment in social reparation for affected populations and territories for the War on Drugs, investments in research, social assistance and institutionalization of active care models that decriminalize and also empower users to manage situations, feelings and harm reduction practices, forming multipliers capable of working with different populations and contexts. We believe that it is necessary to Integrate the Bio-Psycho-Social issues of Subjects, Contexts and Substances to find more solutions to the problems we face. We are grateful for this opportunity! 

UNODC: I would like to emphasize the key lessons learned from our discussions on the challenges we face today. These include the intricacies of drug creation and the dynamics of precursor substances used in their production. Additionally, we highlighted the expansion of drug markets, both traditional and synthetic, including New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). Lastly, the rising activities related to illicit drug markets, such as abuse, cultivation, manufacture, and trafficking, have reached unprecedented levels. Addressing these challenges demands a comprehensive, balanced, scientific, and evidence-based approach. Early warning systems play a crucial role, enabling countries to gather data on emerging substances and enhancing the capabilities of national laboratories, while also ensuring the safety of law enforcement officers. Furthermore, effective alternative development strategies are essential to combat illicit crop cultivation. Guided by the principles of alternative development, partnerships with the private sector, local ownership, and a focus on environmental protection and sustainability are of paramount importance in the implementation of these projects. Understanding these developments and adaptive strategies requires increased cooperation on all levels. UNODC remains committed to working closely with Member States and our partners to support your efforts in addressing the ever-evolving complexities of the global drug problem. We will continue our work in alignment with the three international drug control conventions and other relevant instruments. With these points in mind, I would like to conclude our session. Thank you all for your valuable contributions.

Chair: Israel invoked Rule 45, the right to respond.

Israel: I would like to address statements from this morning session from memberstates that use this thematic discussion to spread lies and political propaganda and vicious libel. I particular, from countries such as Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq, where true cities and human rights violations are endemic, I think it is outrageous.

Chair: Meeting adjourned. See you tomorrow at 10am.

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