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CND Reconvened 66th Session

Chair: Good Morning. The focus of our discussion pertains to Strategic Management budgetary and administrative motions in the context of our economy. Yesterday, in collaboration with the CCP CJ, we deliberated on the Consolidated budget for the biennium 2024-2025 for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, referencing Containers document 5.2 (2013) and 15/2017, along with the draft proposed program plan for 2025 and the program’s performance in 2023. Now, the commission is poised to take action on the draft resolution concerning the budget for 2024-2025 for the funding of the United Nations International Drug Control Program, outlined in document Health Aid. I am aware of several rounds of informal consultations that led to amendments in the draft resolution. The revised text was disseminated via a special message on November 13th, with print copies made available to all. I hereby invite the commission to adopt the resolution, as amended, contained in document 8. If there are no objections, the resolution stands adopted. Looking ahead, I anticipate the bureau election for 2024, and I would like to remind you that the members of the Bureau for 2024 are expected to be elected by the Commission following joint nominations by the Bureau service and CCPCJ. For your consideration, the following nominations have been received: Eastern European Group: First Vice Chair – Germany, Latin America and Caribbean Group: Vice Chair –  Colombia, Western European and Other States Group: Vice Chair – Spain. Nominations for the remaining positions are still pending. I now seek the commission’s decision on electing the nominated candidates as members of the Bureau for 2024. If there are no objections, it is so decided. Congratulations to the newly elected members of the Bureau. Lastly, I draw attention to the first agenda item, which involves the implementation of the international drug control treaties.

UNODC: Good morning, esteemed delegates. In the past decade, the global count of new psychoactive substances has surged from 254 in 2013 to a staggering 1,230 unique substances reported by 141 countries and territories. Stimulants and substances imitating cannabis effects remain prevalent, and the third-largest group involves opioids, presenting challenges due to their potent nature and potential inclusion in various substances, including alcohol-treated heroin and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization and its expert committee play a pivotal role in evaluating and recommending substances for international control. Our collaborative efforts aim to provide scientific information and advisory support on new psychoactive substances, including through the toxicology portal. Since 2014, the commission has taken action to control 17 substances and 10 precursor chemicals internationally. However, the growing number of substances poses challenges without effective tools and guidelines for translating scheduling decisions into actionable measures. The United Nations Toolkit on Synthetic Products serves as a comprehensive resource, available in all six UN official languages, offering innovative tools and multidisciplinary resources. I encourage countries to leverage this resource for the implementation of the Commission’s scheduling decisions. Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

Chair: Moving on to Resolution 11 of the Committee on Drugs, I have the pleasure of inviting the World Health Organization (WHO) to present their report on the outcomes of the 14th Committee on Drug Dependence held in October 2023. The document titled “Drug Dependence: Document ECDD/7/2023/CRP.16” will assist member states in preparing for upcoming decisions on controlled substances during the 67th period of sessions.

WHO ECDD: The committee, mandated by the 1961 and 1971 conventions, assesses substances’ risks, recommends international control, and conducts critical reviews. The recommendations include adding synthetic opioids and substances with opioid effects, such as TCDD, to schedule two of the 1971 Convention, considering their abuse potential and substantial harm.

Butonitazene, also known as butoxynitazene, is a synthetic opioid that is liable to abuse and to production of ill effects similar to those of other opioids that are controlled under Schedule I of the Single Convention onbNarcotic Drugs, 1961. Its use has been reported in a number of countries. It has no known therapeutic use and is likely to cause substantial harm. The Committee recommended that butonitazene (IUPAC name: N,N-diethyl-2-[(4-utoxyphenyl)methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1-ethanamine), also known as butoxynitazene, be added to Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.

3-Chloromethcathinone or 3-CMC is a synthetic cathinone with effects similar to those of other synthetic cathinones, such as mephedrone and 4-CMC, which are listed as Schedule II substances under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Its mode of action and effects are similar to those of other cathinones. There is evidence of use of 3-CMC in a number of countries and regions, where it has resulted in fatal and nonfatal intoxications. The substance causes substantial harm, constitutes a substantial risk to public health and has no therapeutic use. The Committee recommended that 3-chloromethcathinone or 3-CMC (IUPAC name: 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)propan-1-one) be added to Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. These recommendations, endorsed by the WHO Director-General and the UN Secretary-General, will be published in a technical report series, providing valuable information for member states and facilitating informed decisions. Thank you for your attention and collaboration on these critical matters.

Dipentylone or N-methylpentylone is a synthetic cathinone with effects similar to those of other synthetic cathinones and other psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine that are listed under Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Its mode of action suggests the likelihood of abuse, and it poses a substantial risk to public health. It has no known therapeutic use. The Committee recommended that dipentylone or N-methylpentylone (IUPAC name: 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)- 2-(dimethylamino)pentan-1-one) be added to Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

2-Fluorodeschloroketamine has effects similar to those of dissociative substances such as phencyclidine, which are controlled under Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. The results of studies in experimental animals indicate a high likelihood of abuse. There is evidence that this substance is used in a number of countries in several regions. 2-Fluorodeschloroketamine causes substantial harm, including impaired driving, emergency department presentations and deaths. It has no known therapeutic use. The Committee recommended that 2-fluorodeschloroketamine (IUPAC name: 2-(2-fluorophenyl)-2- (methylamino)cyclohexan-1-one) be added to Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

Bromazolam. The mechanism of action and ill effects of bromazolam are similar to those of other benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam and diazepam, that are listed under Schedule IV of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Reports of seizures and detection in fatal and non-fatal intoxications have increased over time. There is sufficient evidence of its abuse to conclude that it constitutes a significant risk to public health and has no known therapeutic use. The Committee recommended that bromazolam (IUPAC name: 8-bromo-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H- [1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepine) be added to Schedule IV of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

Carisoprodol. The increasing evidence of misuse and abuse of carisoprodol in a number of countries is a growing cause for concern. Carisoprodol has been shown to produce a state of dependence and central nervous system depression. It has only limited medical use. The Committee recommended that carisoprodol be subject to a future critical review.

Flubromazepam is a 1,4-benzodiazepine. Although it is chemically similar to other benzodiazepines listed under Schedule IV of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, little information is available on its effects. Few studies in experimental animals and no studies in humans were found on its effects or abuse potential. The limited information on its effects provides insufficient evidence to justify the placement of flubromazepam under international control. The Committee recommended that flubromazepam (IUPAC name: 7-bromo-5-(2- fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydro2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one) be kept under surveillance by the WHO ECDD secretariat.

Nitrous oxide is a widely used inhalation anaesthetic and is listed on the 2023 WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and Essential Medicines List for Children. While the Committee acknowledged the concerns raised by some countries, it recommended that nitrous oxide not proceed to critical review because of the absence of evidence of illicit manufacture and of common trading across borders, and in recognition of its global therapeutic value.
The Committee recommended that nitrous oxide not proceed to critical review but be kept under surveillance by the WHO Secretariat.

INCB: (…)

Chair: Floor open.

USA: Thank you, Chair. I extend my gratitude to UNODC, IAMCP, and WHO for providing valuable updates on international efforts. We commend the collaborative efforts of UNODC under the Global SMART Program and express our support for this initiative. Anticipating the recommendations from WHO and IAMCP ahead of the 67th session, we also appreciate the INCB’s commendable suggestions on precursors. We hope for the room’s endorsement of these recommendations. The mandated scheduling process, a crucial responsibility of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, faces challenges due to the diversity of chemicals impacting our populations. We acknowledge the limitations imposed by the treaty and commend UNODC for its proactive use of Article 12. However, as member states, we must reflect on how to enhance and streamline this process for greater efficiency.

Egypt: I extend my appreciation to all for organizing this session, especially the distinguished delegates. In addressing our nation’s drug-related challenges, we have formulated a comprehensive national strategy focusing on both supply and demand aspects. Our actions encompass security, surveillance, and combating illicit drug crops, along with addressing proceeds of crime, precursors, and chemical products. International cooperation has been strengthened through active participation in regional and international meetings. We emphasize the importance of combatting trafficking while witnessing an increase in new drugs imported into our country. The strategy’s second thrust aims to reduce demand through national collaboration, prevention efforts, workshops, and media campaigns. As we conclude, I call for heightened cooperation to effectively combat this issue on a global scale.

Japan: Excellencies and distinguished colleagues, I express sincere appreciation for your dedication in the fight against drug-related challenges. The UNODC’s contributions to public safety are commendable. Today, we will share key concerns during the 2024 midterm review. Addressing the challenge of synthetic drug production, we highlight the ease of manufacturing, large-scale production, and surprising affordability compared to traditional plant-based drugs. To counter this, we emphasize the need for increased technical assistance and strengthened law enforcement capacity. Dealing with the sophistication of illicit production and trafficking, sharing best practices and utilizing innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence, are essential. Challenges persist on the demand side, emphasizing the importance of prevention and treatment access. We applaud the recent launch of the CHAMPS program, focusing on social and emotional learning. We commit to working closely with UNODC, IAMCP, and the Chair to address the global drug problem comprehensively. Thank you.

Kazakhstan:  Thank you, Chair. I want to assure you of our full support. Esteemed delegates, addressing the issue of drug trafficking and abuse is a vital aspect of our domestic and foreign policies. We staunchly adhere to all three drug conventions, providing the foundation for international control. Globalization has not spared our country from the impact of drug-related crimes, driven by geographical and economic factors. Currently, key factors characterizing the drug situation include our local cannabinoid group and the production of substances from locally grown crops. We have faced challenges with Afghan opiates transported along the northern route, influenced by the spread of new psychological categories. In response, we have taken significant measures, amending our legislation in 2019 to simplify the procedure for scheduling active substances and combat incitement to consumption. Internet-based entrepreneurial activity related to drugs is now classified as a serious crime. We have criminalized the promotion and advertising of drug-related driving insecurity. Interagency cooperation, established by Prime Ministerial Decree in 2011, coordinates government bodies involved in drug crime control. We are actively involved in preventive work, implementing comprehensive plans to combat drug dependency, reaching over 500,000 people. Foreign NGOs assist in preventive control, and we conduct media campaigns to raise awareness of drug risks. Practical efforts with law enforcement have yielded results, with over 7,300 drug offenses detected last year, including dismantling transnational organized crime groups and shutting down underground drug laboratories. We remain committed to international cooperation and are actively involved in regional initiatives, including the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center. Kazakhstan is ready for collaboration with the international community to combat drug-related challenges effectively.

Syria: My country is ready to support and ensure the success of this session under your chairmanship. Syria is a party to all international drug control conventions and instruments, demonstrating our commitment to combating illicit drugs. We have adopted laws to counter illegal drug trafficking and aligned our national legislation with international conventions. Syria actively cooperates with the UNODC, submitting periodic reports and participating in international operations against drug trafficking. However, the problem of drugs has intensified due to control by terrorist groups supported by certain countries, leading to illegal transfer and trafficking. These groups employ new and innovative means, including modern technologies, for smuggling narcotic drugs. Effective international cooperation is crucial to counter this danger, providing states with necessary financial, technical, and other means, along with border equipment like scanners. Unilateral coercive measures imposed by certain countries pose challenges to Syria’s anti-narcotic efforts, hindering access to essential technologies. Syria shares concerns about the legalization of cannabis in certain countries for non-medical purposes, violating the three drug control treaties. We call on member states to comply fully with all three conventions without selectivity.

Pakistan: The Commission on Narcotic Drugs plays a crucial role as a principal decision-making body within the UN control system. Pakistan fully supports and engages in the Commission’s mandate, emphasizing the vital control dimensions of the international drug control system. Pakistan has committed to addressing the drug problem in line with the 2019 ministerial declaration, implementing policies focusing on supply and stock reduction, international cooperation, and coordination. Pakistan maintains strong border controls, enhances law enforcement and criminal justice responses, and collaborates with international agencies for real-time intelligence sharing. Regarding the legalization of cannabis for non-medical and scientific purposes, we highlight its adverse effects on public health, posing a significant challenge to the implementation of UN conventions. We appreciate the INCB’s meticulous work in monitoring compliance with drug control conventions. Pakistan remains committed to collaborative efforts, safeguarding the international drug control system and addressing persistent challenges. (….)  The information presented has been instrumental in enhancing my understanding, aiding well-informed decision-making on substance scheduling. In line with the 1988 convention, the scheduling of substances hinges on evidence of abuse or likelihood, aligning with the convention’s objectives and legal framework. I seek insights into two key aspects. Firstly, how does the INCB collect evidence to determine the abuse potential or involvement in illicit drug use of substances proposed for scheduling? Secondly, could you provide information on the number of countries responding to evidence requests for substances under consideration and, among them, how many offered sufficient evidence indicating abuse potential or illicit drug manufacturing yields?

Algeria: In light of the proliferation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and their adverse impact on public health and security, Algeria, in May 2023, introduced amendments to the 2004 law on countering narcotic drugs. These amendments focus on preventive measures, treatment, and civil society engagement. Our measures include adopting a national strategy for prevention, awareness, and international cooperation. Notable initiatives involve creating a national electronic index of medical prescriptions and implementing a licensing system for precursor chemicals. Algeria remains committed to combating drug-related challenges, ensuring a positive impact through coordinated efforts.

Canada: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the insightful presentations by WHO and INCB. Canada fully supports the UNODC drug strategy toolkit and values the work of WHO, ECB, and INCB in supporting evidence-based scheduling. Canada has proactively scheduled precursor chemicals by grouping chemically related substances, preempting attempts by the illegal market to engineer new precursors. The approach has been effective, with evidence of seized variants. We note the proactive scheduling recommendations by INCB, emphasizing the need for innovative, evidence-based approaches within the conventions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Indonesia: I seize this opportunity to address the committee’s decision on changes in substance scope and the WHO expert committee’s review. In Indonesia, all recommended substances undergo scrutiny, and we remain vigilant on various substances, including psychoactive plants and metal oxide. While some substances are unregulated, we closely monitor cases involving specific substances. Indonesia aligns with recommendations by CND, WHO, and INCB, emphasizing evidence-based assessments, international cooperation, and balanced control for preventing abuse while ensuring access to essential medicines. Indonesia emphasizes the importance of international collaboration to maintain the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, pledging continued cooperation with INCB, the Ministry of Health, and relevant entities.

Colombia: So very quickly, as I mentioned yesterday, my country’s fully committed to international efforts, both against drugs themselves and against precursors, so we will comply with whatever decision is taken but Columbia would like to support the request by Pakistan inquiring about the scientific evidence that led to the recommendations and led to the proactivity that Canada mentioned. We would like more information. Thank you.

Russia: Thank you, Chairperson. The Russian Federation emphasizes our commitment to the complete and effective implementation of the 1988 drug conventions. We express extreme concern over the legalization of cannabis by certain countries, viewing it as a challenge to international drug control frameworks. We share INCB’s assessments and urge all Convention parties to uphold their international obligations. We call on the board to continue monitoring state compliance and providing support for effective implementation. We seek clarification on the new scheduling substances procedure proposed by the board, requesting written information for our review. We highlight the significant difference in the number of controlled precursors since 2014 and propose scheduling additional precursors. Additionally, we echo Pakistan’s question about data on these substances. Thank you.

Sri Lanka: The government of Sri Lanka is actively addressing the rising concerns of drug abuse through multifaceted efforts. Legislative amendments have been introduced to combat drug trafficking effectively, enhancing the legal framework for law enforcement. Educational initiatives focus on raising awareness among students, teachers, and parents, with prevention programs in schools. Rehabilitation centers and web-based treatment programs cater to individuals with addiction, emphasizing family support. Sri Lanka collaborates with UNODC on prevention and treatment initiatives, conducting national surveys and engaging in international partnerships to combat drug trafficking. The coordinated approach aims for a drug-free community. Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care: Chair, I express gratitude to member states for their interventions during Wednesday’s thematic session on ensuring access to essential controlled medicines. The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, a global organization, appreciates the panel presentations and member state engagement. We anticipate collaboration with UNODC and support the pledge for action proposed by Ambassador Johnson for the safe availability of essential medicines. Our global network of professionals is committed to collaborating on advocacy campaigns, technical assistance, and normative work to improve the availability of essential medicines for palliative care and substance use disorder treatment. We stand ready to assist member states in our area of expertise to relieve pain and suffering while preventing diversion and non-medical use. Thank you.

Chair: Now we can adress the questions.

INCB: Thank you, Chair. We appreciate the questions from Pakistan, Colombia, and Russia. To address how we collect information on abuse potential, countries’ responses, and seizure quantities, we employ various tools and initiatives. The GRID program informs us about drug trafficking networks, while our ionic programs help monitor synthetic precursor activities. Collaboration with WHO on substance integration is invaluable, and we rely on the Precursor Incident Communication System, where countries voluntarily share incidents. At the initiation stage of scheduling proposals, we gather information from member states and utilize the precursor incident communication system. A questionnaire is then sent to governments during the mitigation stage, and approximately 60 countries responded for the different substances discussed today. The details of these responses can be found in conference papers. Additionally, an operation was convened just before our board meeting, where seizures for amphetamine and ecstasy precursors were reported, totaling 19 and 23 tons of chemicals, respectively. Some substances initially proposed have seen changes, and 10 precursor chemicals have been scheduled since 2014. We are open to more questions, but due to time constraints, we suggest another efficient method for addressing inquiries. Thank you for your understanding.

Pakistan: Thank you to every floor and reason for me for insisting on the floor is that these decisions are really sensitive and they are not impacting only one country that we could have a bilateral so we are all countries need to know what discussion is going on and what’s what decisions are we collectively being taken? So my question is very brief. I won’t take much time but but do we think the out of 196 countries maybe aground and only 60 countries focusing 1/4 of the global countries… is sufficient for the for INCB to proceed further? I mean, this is just a follow up question and we can have a discussion.

Russia:  Thank you, and I appreciate the clarifications provided by the representatives of the Secretariat. We share the belief that with the considerable number of precursors proposed for international control, it is crucial to ensure not only compliance with Article 12 procedures but also that member states are equipped to implement these decisions at the national level. The substantial quantity of substances presented in a single session prompts us to seek clarification on whether there have been prior instances of placing master or precursor substances under international control. If such measures were not taken previously, we are keen to understand the reasons behind this decision. Your insights on this matter would be highly appreciated as we consider the scheduling approach and aim to align our understanding with current practices. Thank you for considering our request, and we look forward to receiving further information on this important aspect.

INCB: The question raised by the Pakistani delegation is crucial and highlights the challenge we face on the board in acquiring information from member states. We rely on member states to submit mandated information, and not all states comply. This underscores the underlying issue that not all member states possess the necessary information. The current number of compliant states is relatively high, but this situation prompts us, as a board, to consider a different approach. It is time for us to adopt a more proactive strategy, appealing to member states for their cooperation to ensure our effectiveness in meeting this challenge. Additionally, I would like to address the comments from the Russian delegation. We agree that submitted proposals, especially those related to substances without medical or scientific applications, should be carefully considered to avoid incorrect procedures that may lead to complications. While there have been instances before, as referenced in the document I presented regarding a proposal since 2019, we suggest making this a standardized approach rather than an occasional one. This approach allows for a comprehensive examination of the substances involved, ensuring a systematic and effective response.

Chair: I would like to remind everyone that this is a reconvened session, not our regular one. Please keep in mind the time restrictions we have.

USA: I’ll be brief due to our time constraints. This debate underscores why it’s not the role of the INCB to make decisions on scheduling; it’s the responsibility of member states, as demonstrated in this discussion. When we reconvene at the next commission meeting, member states will decide on this matter. We appreciate and share the concerns outlined by the INCB, as per its mandate, as carefully explained to be primarily in reference to the data mandated by treaties for states to provide, and the INCB is empowered to assist in this regard. Let’s prioritize implementation to achieve our shared goals, supporting the INCB in its treaty-mandated functions. We welcome the actions taken and anticipate the commission meeting in March where decisions on this matter will be made. Thank you.

Chair: Now I would like to highlight the discussions at the high-level political forum on sustainable development under the auspices of ECOSOC. The forum focused on goals 1 to 13, 16, and 17. Following the agreed practice, the Secretary will compile a written contribution for review by the extended bureau and subsequent distribution to all member states. Resolution 66/1 outlines the Commission’s decision to convene a high-level segment during its 67th session in Vienna in 2024. This segment will assess the implementation of all industrial policy commitments and set the course for 2029. The high-level segment, spanning two days, will include a general debate and two interactive multi-stakeholder roundtables on the progress since 2019 and the road ahead. The list of speakers for the general debate will be established in an intersessional meeting in early 2024. The Commission aims to adopt a concise, action-oriented document at the opening of the high-level segment. Thematic discussions held in October 2023 and December 2023 covered challenges outlined in the 2019 ministerial declaration. I express gratitude to representatives of member states, entities, international and regional organizations, and non-governmental bodies for their active engagement in these discussions. A summary of these meetings will be provided during the 67th session. I also refer to the presentation made by the Chair, the Secretary, and myself on December 6, available on the website, providing insights into the organizational arrangements. Now, let’s turn our attention to the CND biannual report for 2023-2024. The Commission received the biannual report on the progress in implementing international drug policy to counter the world drug problem, aligned with the 2019 ministerial declaration. The report, based mainly on the Annual Report questionnaire 2020, aims to strengthen and streamline the reporting process. While the first biennial report was presented in 2022, the Secretary prepared this report primarily based on ARQ 2020 for relevance to the CMD high-level midterm review. I encourage you to refer to the scoping review document (CM/720/23) for further details as we approach the midterm review. Any questions so far?

USA: I wish to reference previous statements made during the intersessional period, where we discussed progress across the 11 pillars outlined in the 2019 ministerial declaration. While I won’t reiterate all the points made during those interventions, I want to emphasize our focus on understanding the evolving patterns of both controlled and uncontrolled substance use since 2019. It is crucial for us to pay special attention to the changing landscape of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, particularly in North America. Our outcomes should align with this priority. We emphasize that any conclusions derived from the framework of the 11 pillars should not only identify challenges but also provide actionable recommendations. These recommendations, in collaboration with civil society and the private sector, will assist us in achieving our goals by 2029. I’d like to remind our fellow commission members that our mandate is to adhere to international controls, with a primary focus on drug trafficking having an international dimension. Our scope is not to delve into the domestic affairs of states but to address areas where domestic practices impact other members of the global community.

OHCHR:  The human rights report highlights various aspects of ongoing work and progress. The report aims to be presented to the council and shared with the Commission, having been initially presented during the 54th session last September. The report highlights key areas of concern, such as inadequate access to treatment, prioritizing target reduction over incarceration, and addressing prison overcrowding. It also addresses issues like the use of the death penalty, particularly for offenses that disproportionately impact specific groups, including people of African descent, indigenous peoples, and women. The report delves into challenges in humanitarian crises related to controlled substances, as well as issues concerning the right to health and environmental concerns, the war on drugs, and militarization. Emphasizing the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the report’s key recommendations suggest adopting existing models to tackle human rights challenges linked to the health of drug users. This includes providing harm reduction services, recognizing the rights of people who use drugs, ensuring informed consent and voluntariness in treatment, and addressing social inequalities and injustices. It also calls for a gender-responsive approach, humane law enforcement, and alternatives to disproportionately enforcing laws on specific communities. In light of the 2020 inter-ministerial declaration on persistent and emerging challenges related to the world drug problem, the report underscores the opportunity to renew a strong commitment to human rights as part of transformative change. It is hoped that the recommendations from the report will contribute to addressing these challenges effectively.

Chair: We will now address item 11 regarding the dates for the 67th session. The proposed dates are as follows: High-level segment: March 14-15, 2024. Regular session: March 18-22, 2024. Pre-session consultations on March 13. Reconvened session: December 5-6, 2024. Any comments or objections? No objections were noted.

Regarding the pre-session consultation, it is suggested to conduct it in English only to save interpretation resources. Any comments? No objections were raised.

Now, concerning the suspension of remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) technology, effective January 2024, due to the decision on dedicated funding for RSI by the General Assembly, the option to submit video messages for translation and follow proceedings in official languages via UN LED TV remains. Any comments? No comments were made.

The firm deadline for draft resolution submissions is February 6, 2024, one month before the session’s commencement. Any comments? I see none.

Moving on to the provisional agenda for the 67th session, it is proposed to align discussions with the main theme of ECOSOC for 2024. The main theme is “Eradicating Poverty in Times of Multiple Crises: The Effective Delivery of Sustainable, Resilient, and Innovative Solutions.” Any comments? I see none.

Regarding side events and exhibitions, member states are invited to organize high-level side events linked to the 11 challenges identified in the 2019 ministerial declaration. Guidelines have been shared, and the application period for high-level side events is from January 4-11, 2024. Finally, we move to agenda items 12 and 13: any other business and adoption of the report of the 66th session. If there are no requests or comments, we can proceed with the adoption of the report. I see no comments. Report Adopted.

Let’s move on to the fourth document, CM/720/23, addressing Item 4 on the agenda concerning vital strategic management and administrative questions. No comments were raised by the Commission, and it is decided to adopt this part. A comprehensive report will be compiled and forwarded by the Chair. The Commission will transmit a decision to bring its report to the attention of the Economic and Social Council, as done previously. The report will include a draft decision for adoption by the Council. No comments or questions were raised, and it is decided.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the closure of the 66th session of the Commission. The Chair expresses gratitude to all involved, including the Secretariat, the permanent mission of Colombia, and the Ministry of External Relations of Colombia. I would like to emphasize the importance of multilateralism and the need for collective efforts to address international drug policy issues & call for redoubled efforts, tireless work, and shared responsibility to move forward.

(In concluding the chairmanship, the Chair quotes from “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and expresses hope for a global drug policy that is more attuned to the needs of the 21st century and aligned with the principles of the 2030 agenda. The Chair expresses gratitude to the Bureau, extended Bureau, and all contributors. The microphone is handed over to the incoming chair for a statement.)

Thank you. We will proceed with the opening of the 67th session of the Commission, where the permanent chairperson and the Bureau will be elected. According to the rules of procedure, the Commission will elect a chairperson, three vice-chairpersons, and a rapporteur for its 67th session. The chairperson is nominated from the African group, and I am pleased to inform the commission that the African group has nominated His Excellency Ambassador Philbert Johnson of Ghana to be the chairperson for the 67th session. I request the commission’s approval by acclamation. On behalf of the commission, I congratulate Ambassador Johnson.

Mexico:  I express appreciation for the work undertaken by Ambassador Miguel Ruiz Blanco during the 66th session and commend the preparations for the upcoming session in March 2024. I support the preference for a high-level session aligned with previous political commitments. I emphasize the importance of negotiating a focused document to take stock of efforts between 2019 and 2023 and plan for the period from 2024 to 2029. We reaffirm our support for Ambassador Johnson as the chairman of the 67th CMD and stress the strength of our group lies in diversity and the principle of shared responsibility.

Chair: I appreciate being elected as the chairperson and express gratitude for the exemplary leadership of the outgoing chairperson. I commit to guiding the commission based on rules and neutrality. We have a significant task ahead, including the midterm review and adopting a policy document. I will be a neutral facilitator, fostering a constructive atmosphere where all members’ interests are considered. I believe this collaborative approach will enable us to succeed. By working together, we can demonstrate the benefits of multilateralism in addressing global issues. I count on your support and cooperation.
Now, we proceed with the election of other members of the Bureau within regional groups. Eastern European Group: First Vice Chair – Germany, Latin America and Caribbean Group: Vice Chair –  Colombia, Western European and Other States Group: Vice Chair – Spain, African Group: Vice Chair – (audio glitch)
Thank you for your cooperation, and I wish you a festive season and a prosperous new year. The session is adjourned.

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