Home » Committee of the Whole (Wednesday afternoon)

Committee of the Whole (Wednesday afternoon)

Chair: Good afternoon. We made some good progress in the morning, and managed to agree on some paragraphs so I hope we can continue with this in the afternoon. We will start with L3 from Chile.

Chile: Can we start with the paragraphs that have been agreed in informals, before returning to the others.

Chair: We start with PP3 on the screen. Any comments? No? PP3 is agreed in the CoW. And we can delete the previous versions of PP3, so as to clean the text. We now move to OP1 alt, which has been agreed in informals, and replaces OP1. Can we agree on OP1 alt? 

USA: [Small editorial to add a comma.]

Venezuela: Sorry for coming late, and have missed the reason for removing the word ‘sustained’, and I place my reservation on this removal.

Chile: after long discussions we came to an agreement to use the terminology “recovery support services” with the agreement that in some paragraphs we would include the term “when required and as appropriate” and that we would not keep the word “continual” or “sustained” which are problematic. So we all agreed that this would be changed and replaced with “recovery support services.”

Venezuela: We have no problem with that and can accept.

Chair: Can we agree on OP1 alt as agreed in informals? No comments. OP1 alt is agreed in CoW. I continue with OP4. Any comments? 

Italy: Maybe there is a mistake, is it “services and programmes”?

Chile: “Programmes” should be deleted.

Chair: Thank you. OP4 is agreed in the CoW. Chile, how should we proceed?

Chile: We can begin with the PPs again, but I also want to return to PP6 alt as there was some confusion. It should not say “sustained”, this was a mistake.

Chair: Thank you. PP6 alt is still agreed in CoW with this change, and we can clean up the text too. Chile, how should we proceed?

Chile: In PP5, we had a discussion about mentioning the resolutions with their titles, or just the numbers and content of the resolutions. In general, the consensus is going towards only mentioning the titles, rather than the content. Our suggestion would be to keep to the numbers and titles alone.

Chair: Is there a reservation from Iran?

Iran: Not yet, I hope we can resolve later today in the informal session.

Chile: I understand that the reservation cannot be lifted yet, but could be adopted by CoW ad ref.

UK: A number of delegations did not agree to the text in red, so this can be removed and we are still in the same place as yesterday.

Chair: OK, so we can agree PP5 pending Iran?

Russia: We do not object to deleting the text in red. This was a compromise proposal developed by our delegation. But if it does not help move us forward, we are OK with it being deleted.

Chair: Thank you for that flexibility. Can we agree PP5, pending Iran? OK, let’s put it agreed in CoW ad ref pending Iran. Can we go to PP7?

Chile: I think we can go to PP6 bis, where there is still a reservation from Iran.

Chair: OK, let’s look at PP6 bis.

Russia: We have a proposal to replace “persons” with “people”, twice in this paragraph.

Chair: Thank you. Any other comments? 

Chile: We are proposing “recovery and related support services” but Iran has proposed “treatment and rehabilitation programs” instead.

Chair: Iran, can we agree “recovery and related support services” as this is the topic of the resolution?

Iran: Not yet, no.

Chair: OK, we move to PP7.

Chile: PP7 and PP7 ter are connected. PP7 has a reservation at the end, and PP7 ter has a list and some delegations prefer to keep the list, and other prefer not to have one.

Chair: So let’s start with PP7 ter. Any comments?

USA: This was the last thing to discuss in informals, so we have not had much time. I propose to add “from drug use disorders” and “transferring to” before “long-term recovery management”. There are elements on this list which we feel are important and would like to retain, so please undelete “including” and the phrase “active linkage to recovery communities, and rapid access back to treatment when needed”. There was discussion about different models around the world, but these are universal elements.

UK: We are happy with this proposal, so you can remove our reservation at the end.

Australia: We support the paragraph but would like to delete the first reference to “long-term”, so as not to restrict things.

Russia: We think this is an important paragraph, and propose an amendment – instead of “linkage” we propose “connection with”, and add “from drug use disorders”, and we would like to liaise with our experts from our capital.

Canada: “Recovery communities” are networks of peers or support workers that form a community of interests supporting recovery, we understand. We seek rationale for deleting ‘recovery communities.’

Italy: Our comment is the same as Canada. We would like to retain “recovery communities” and wonder if “can benefit” is appropriate to retain, can we delete it?

Russia: Our idea consists of not limiting interaction to recovery communities only – we would like more general wording here.

United Kingdom: Would adding “and other” between “recovery” and “communities” work?

USA: Our suggestion is along the same lines. Suggest we delete “and other” and retain “connection to recovering communities, social and community integration,”

Chair: Italy, can we live with “as appropriate”? Thank you. Russia?

Russia: We are currently in a process of consultation with our experts. Right now, we would like to add “and reintegration” after “integration”.

Chair: Any other comments?

Iran: We, like Russia, need to consult with our capital and see how we can go forward with this paragraph. Please add our reservation and we will get back to you.

Chair: OK, we will wait for member states to come back on this. Chile, what is next?

Chile: In PP9, we have a proposal to replace the old version with a new sponsor’s proposal.

Chair: Thank you, this is now on the screen. Any comments? 

Russia: We would like to add “and reintegration” after “integration”, as we did before.

USA: We are OK with this concept. But in many cases, reintegration is not relevant. A person may not leave the society or lose their social ties, so reintegration is not needed. Perhaps we could and “and/or” although that is a bit unorthodox.

Egypt: We can put “or” only, as it is used to cover “and” and “or”.

Iran: The similar reservation on this para, on “social and community integration.” We haven’t received any answer yet from capital – please put our reservation here because we usually use “social re-integration” therefore need advice from capital for any changes. “Social risk and protective factors” make sense and we can go with this.

Australia: A minor grammatical change in fifth line “people with drug use disorder” please add s so that it reads “disorders”. I will hand over to our expert: “environmental” includes issues such as drug availability, occupation, change of attitudes, most recently included in previous CND resolutions, and used by WHO, UNODC and INCB. E.g. in 2019 the INCB said that environmental factors can enhance vulnerability, and that various environmental levels and individual characteristics interact. Therefore we call for retaining “individual factors” and “social and environmental factors”. 

Russia: We prefer the words “social reintegration” because those are what has been used. It is important too to ensure that people are not isolated from the community. We would like to keep “and” before the word “reintegration” here because it changes the meaning of the para.

Chair: First a question after the explanation from Australia: can we now leave the last part of the paragraph as it was, as this language has been used in resolutions and by WHO.

Iran: Thank you for the clarifications. The agreed language is “individual and environmenta, including social and protective factors” and now we are putting “and” before them. We can go along with the agreed language.

Chile: That is perfect for us, as worded by Iran.

Chair: Please put this language in so we can see. [Now: “individual and environmental factors including social, risk and protective factors”]. No comments. Now we look at “social and community integration” and “reintegration”.

Canada: In order to capture everyone, “integration and reintegration” would work better. Or perhaps “social and community reintegration and integration”. 

Chair: Does this proposal [for new PP9] work for the rest of us in the room?

Russia: We have to place a reservation on this paragraph.

Chair: Are these changes agreeable to Iran?

Iran: We want to retain our reservation on this formulation of “social integration”.

Russia: At this point, we cannot support “social and community integration”. We can only agree to “reintegration”.

Chair: Chile, where shall we continue?

Chile: We can replace PP9 with the new proposal, even though we do not have full agreement yet.

Chair: This paragraph is still in discussion.

Chile: Then we can move on to PP10. It consists of two compromise paras. The Russian Federation suggests that PP10 bis replace PP10 but the first part of PP10 is still pending regarding the difference between “recognising” or “noting.”

Russia: We propose adding “its” before “symptoms”. We would also like to delete the part relating to “medication and timely therapeutic support” and replace it with “medication assisted programmes and psychotherapeutic support”.

Chair: has this language been used before?

Russia: i’m not sure but this is the proposal from our experts.

USA: This new proposal narrows the scope of the paragraph quite a bit. When we talk about medications, we do not only mean treatments for opioid disorders. We are talking about any medicines that the person might need, including antiretrovirals for HIV and other medicines that the person may be using. So narrowing this down is something we would oppose.

Venezuela: My delegation was not in the informals, but we wanted to keep the reference to “vulnerable to relapse” which is the terminology used when an individual relapses. We haven’t yet heard from the sponsors any convincing explanation standing in the way of using that terminology. It is no longer being used by a number of countries, but this is not a reason to drop it. If there was a technical explanation from the Secretariat that would be useful.

Chile: Referring to medication, responding to the USA, we are concerned about only leaving in medicines for assisted programmes. In many countries, these programmes are not relevant as we do not have opioid consumption and it would leave out lots of medicines in general. The same goes for psycho-therapeutic support. This leaves out lots of other evidence-based treatments, such as occupational programmes, which also provide benefit. So we need to find some other way of addressing that. Coming to the “recurrence of symptoms”, this is a resolution on recovery and support systems. So rather than focusing on relapse, we lose sight of what is predictable and preventable in the recovery process. So talking about the symptoms that appear allows us to focus on recovery and avoid relapse. So bearing in mind that this resolution is not about treatment itself, but about how we provide support services – we prefer to focus on that.

United Kingdom:  we wish to retain “medications” but can live with “medicines” though prefer “medications”. We share the positions shared by Chile in their previous intervention.

Italy: Since we are talking about barriers, I suggest using a broad term including “health care”.

Venezuela: Our concern is the recurrence of symptoms. People are not recovering from flu but relating to drug consumption so something relating to that disorder such as anxiety and the desire to consume again but they can’t just be qualified as symptoms. Previously we talked about drug use which seems more appropriate here. 

Chair: I give the floor to the Secretariat.

UNODC: “Relapse” and “reoccurrence of problems” is used but the current description you have here is quite factual. 

Chile: To address the concerns of Venezuela, it was previously “symptoms of drug use disorder.”

Russia: The proposal that we read out was based on wording used from the Political Declaration and Plan of Action. It is aimed at improving the situation in access for medical assistance and therapeutic care. Our proposal is to keep this text, we would like to see it not struck out and to reserve our position on other wording in this para, ie. “peer support”. We do not stand ready to accept this wording.

United Kingdom: Maybe its better we move away from this wording as we seem to be moving backwards which is disappointing. We understand that Russia introduced this text to help us, but i’m not sure it is the right wording. The proposal from Italy is too broad. When people have a recurrence of their drug use disorder, there is a need for medication, e.g. if you have someone taking drugs through a needle, for example someone with diabetes, we don’t want someone to stop using insulin. We also want them to have access to therapeutic support. We just want wording that matches the reality of what we see. Maybe we can combine all these words. We are just trying to find common ground and consensus. We propose instead of “healthcare” use “medicines” and add “timely therapeutic” in front of “or psycho-therapeutic support.”

United States: The proposal from the UK is broad enough to cover what we are looking for, and draw attention to the fact that the words “barriers may include” which is very broad and covers what is specific to each country. On the “recurrence of symptoms,” we understand relapse to refer to a specific behaviour which is a return to a former level of consumption. We are not concerned with that here, there are symptoms that we do not wish to seek a return to, e.g. return to drug use.

Venezuela: I wish to conclude this issue and accept the proposal from Chile. In “from drug use disorders” it can be added “of drug use disorders” after “symptoms”

Canada: Our view is that current wording captures view around the world.

Russia: Therapeutic support and psycho-therapeutic support are different things so we cannot agree to “or” between them. Perhaps we might add “affordable, adequate” before “and appropriate medicines, medication assisted programmes”

Chair: I suggest that we return to informals to discuss PP10. 

Chile: We agree. With regard to PP11 and 12, we haven’t had time to go through them. We ask your suggestions on whether to read through them now.

Chair: we can look at pp11 now – can you give us some background.

Chile: This refers to need for services to help people stabilise in recovery. In absence of these services, it is more likely that it falls to women to care for these people. We draw attention to the importance of having these services, to make sure that people around them are not burdened in supporting their recovery.

Mexico: Realising how well that pp 11 has progressed through the informals we are happy to support pp 11 without the amendments.

China: on pp 11 we have some suggestions. REgarding unpaid care work, we understand that in a family we not only have to take care of previous drug users but also those who are sick or have kids, they are all unpaid. We don’t find “unpaid” is appropriate here because taking care of families of people who take drugs, it is all unpaid in a family.

Russia: In pp11 we would like to delete the word “often”. There is a great burden on the community. We support the views of China on pp11 regarding unpaid work.

United Kingdom: on pp11, we like the word “peers” so would like to keep that in. On pp 11 bis and the comment from China, we would use the word “informal” rather than “unpaid.”

Mexico: We are in favor of keeping “partners” and “peers”. 

Egypt: We can live with the word “peers” but not “partners”. 

UK: we are attached to “peers” but can live without “partners” which can be interpreted in different ways. After “falls” perhaps adding “disproportionally” might garner more support.

United States: Editorially we need to lose the word “programmes” in the second line as it is redundant in the second line. In our view, spouses would be included in “families” however alternatively we support adding “and others” after “peers”.

Russia: We seek clarification on what “disproportionally” refers to.

Canada: This is not a red line and if it causes confusion, happy to withdraw.

Egypt: there is no need for “others” as “communities” is already very broad. We can stick to what was there before. Also “spouses” are included in “families”.

Philippines: on “disproportionally” after “falls” – if we strike it out, it becomes absolute that all burden falls on these 3 categories whereas there might be other mechanisms that could be state-driven or government-sponsored that share in the process of healing and recovering from drug use disorders. Perhaps to reflect that we can use the word “largely” rather than “disproportionally”.

Iran: let’s stick to consensual wording and concepts. We suggest that “families, peers and others” be replaced by “the family and communities”

Chile: may we ask why peers is deleted? This refers to classmates, friends etc which are important.

Iran: I ask for wording that reflects consensus in the room. Words like “peers” do not cover all interests in the room.

Chile: Peers is not the same as partners, that’s why we had both words there. Peers are colleagues, friends, significant individuals in someone’s environment but not family members. We are happy with family and communities, but “peers” is important.

Chair: we asked if “peers” has been used before and it has, in resolution (??)

UK: Peers is important to our delegation so we would like to keep it in. There are people for whom family members are not in their lives and so it is important to keep in “peers” for them.

Chair: can I ask Iran to reconsider “peers” as we have found a resolution that uses this word?

Mexico: “peers” was also used in UNGASS 2016.

Iran: we don’t have a definitive understanding on this. There have been developments after the resolution mentioned. Some interpretations have been given that are not subject to common understanding, so that we became worried. Nothing to do about our dear colleagues. Perhaps you can highlight “friends” which has a different meaning in our legal system and could be accepted. However “peers” has a particular meaning in our legal system.

United States: Can we make this clear and use language from a more recent resolution, that is, the Omnibus Resolution from November 2021, number 76/188: “individuals in recovery from substance use disorders and the peer groups”?

UK: We wish to retain the words “peers” but are not trying to import controversial language. We know what the delegate from Iran means, and that is not how we interpret “peers” here.

Chair: Let’s take a break from this for a few minutes and look at L5 when we return.

[L3 informals tonight 5.30 – 7pm, C3]

Chair: we ask for informals at 5.30 – 7pm

Egypt: we cannot make this time because we break fast and the entire delegation cannot make it.

Pakistan: we support the delegation of Egypt because we break fast at 6.10pm and it takes time to go get something to eat and then return. Please bear this in mind in future scheduling to avoid duplication of efforts where what is discussed in informals will not be agreed.

UK: we have a large and sizeable Muslim population, and understand the needs. We will speak to Chile and come back.

US: The time has come to address the elephant in the room, and while we hoped that the discussion on overdose prevention would be at the centre of discussion, it has been overtaken by the words “harm reduction.” Today there was a proposal for new language that did not include agreement to include “harm reduction.” There were compromises attempted but they were rejected by others. Some agreed to removal of the term “harm reduction” in the PPs only if they appeared in the OP. So we drafted an OP1 here as an experiment to test this.

Chair: Can we go to OP1 then. I thank you for your introduction.

US: I uploaded a new para today to e-delegate, below OP1. Sorry i made a mistake and will send it to the SGB now.

Chair: a slight delay – apologies to everyone. [5 mins later] We will now put the text on the screen, the sponsor’s proposal for OP1.

US: OP1 “Calls upon Member States to develop and implement…”  We have taken out drug consumption sites amongst others because of the objections in the room. I repeat, we are not calling on governments to adopt any of these measures, especially if it goes against their national laws. 

Russia: Prevention and response to narcotics overdoses, in Russia this problem also exists and the number of mortal outcomes from substance use is increasing due to the appearance of novel psychoactive substances. Our delegation is interested in the adoption of a resolution on this issue since it came up first in the 55th session. Since then, we have developed new programmes and have a new awareness of the issue. At the same time, it seems this discussion is more moving into discussing specific issues and specific ways of responding to them, medical and non-medical interventions rather than on terms. The discussion of terms is acceptable to some countries. The term “harm reduction” is banned by Russian legislation. It is clearly indicated that treating addiction using drugs is prohibited. The strategy for the anti-drug authority includes a provision that part of the measures that some countries call “harm reduction” is a threat to the national security to the Russian Federation. Therefore our opposition to this term is based on our national legislation. The Russian Federation cannot agree to the PP, OP or the resolution as a whole if it contains the words “harm reduction.” Having said that we stand ready to find compromise, especially to find ways to prevent overdose so that what is agreed does not cross red lines for our delegation.

Egypt: we have minor amendments. At the beginning we would like to have “encourages” instead of “calls upon” and after “Member States” “voluntarily (develop” and if we go down to after “drug checking services…” we can remove “wound care” and “sexually transmitted infection testing.”

Netherlands: Netherlands was one of the delegations that was willing to not have the words “harm reduction” in the PPs depending on if it would come back in the OPs. The word “harm reduction” is widely applied. I think more than 100 countries have harm reduction measures and the term is used for most of them. I understand that countries can use or not use the term. But every country has the latitude to do or not do so. The fact that it is prohibited in some countries would not prevent countries from having this text. We refer to the evidence base and numerous presentations on this. We support these words from the sponsor in the form that it was proposed. 

Colombia:  in this version of the text, there are various aspects that allow us to specifically address the concerns of some delegations to what is being proposed here, whether is is aligned with national legislation. We believe this is a constructive proposal, and that we can achieve consensus on this proposal, and stand ready to support it. Technical amendments can be proposed, we can be flexible. 

Czechia: we support the proposal.

Venezuela: We support the first amendment proposed by Egypt. On the words “harm reduction”, we prefer not to have them. In some cases we can have it. From the word “including” onwards we have difficulty accepting the rest of the para because those measures are costly, and treatments that we don’t all have access to . This is micro-managing and so we would like this para to end after the words “onwards.”

Norway: We support this proposal. Including harm reduction measures in this paragraph is important because it’s the reality on the ground in many members states. It’s absolutely essential in this context related to drug overdose prevention. When it comes to other amendments, we can be flexible with the ones proposed by Egypt re: “voluntarily”. We question the reasoning or would like more information about the deletion of ‘wound care and STI testing’ —this is a central element to us.

Spain: We’re aligned with governments who spoke before re: necessary ‘filters’ to include all the points related to this topic. In this regard, we would like to see this text adopted by all. We understand that in a joint agreement in order to adopt a resolution we will all have to see ourselves reflected to a certain extent. With this text, which has all safeguards so that countries do not adopt measures if they don’t want to, because it’s clear it’s not obligatory.

Switzerland: We commend the efforts of the sponsors to make a proposal that is inclusive of concerns expressed during informals. I want to respond to Russia. Understand the argument and the constraints nationally. But the proposal has taken that into account —all national laws and constraints and limitations. I’ve rarely seen a paragraph that’s so caveated…It’s a safe proposal. 

Mexico: Utmost flexibility from sponsors. Considering comments from colleagues, it’s normal to see an evolution in the concept of harm reduction. This session has hosted so many panels, side events, presentations on harm reduction. Regret one of those events was canceled, the one organised by Iran, for unforeseen reasons. 12 years ago we couldn’t even say ‘death’…we had to use ‘fatalities’. Even if we were speaking about people dying from neglect. Of course, what that means for each country is up to each country. The caveats are clear and sufficient to encompass all countries’ desire. In my country and region, nuclear weapons are banned —but we understand that’s not everywhere, so we simply add caveats to documents of this sort. We hope fo the same reciprocity.

Pakistan: our position on “harm reduction” is that it has the potential to aggravate the dependence instead of promoting prevention. We do not agree with this concept because we allow people to continue with their dependence and so the demand continues, and then the demand-supply continues. This is against our national interests and do not agree with this concept. Demand is generated elsewhere then my country becomes victim to illicit drugs in our society.

Saudi Arabia: We support Egypt’s amendments to the proposal from the sponsor. I need time to consult with the capital. “Supervised consumption sites” are a new concept and i cannot accept this at the moment.

EU: Thank you for the sponsor’s efforts to accommodate reservations on this concept. We have a lot of caveats here, and words on “national policies”. I wonder if we have not gone too far, whether all aspects of harm reduction are covered here, e.g. the individual health components. To address another concern raised, on having a list of possible interventions, we hear from some delegations that there is not an understanding of harm reduction or what is contained. We also hear that some interventions could be expensive, but not treating drug use related problems could be expensive too. For example, a person dying from an overdose is more costly than naloxone so I think the cost argument is not valid here. I wonder if we need to take out “wound care” as it is not controversial and we wish to hear some explanation. 

China: the original proposal is that all references to “harm reduction” should be replaced with “demand reduction”. We cannot accept “harm reduction” and to demonstrate flexibility we are willing to consider other words but some delegations are not willing to do so. We support Egypt’s proposal in the first part of the para, Venezuela’s proposal in the second part of the para, and Pakistan’s position as well as that of Saudi Arabia: we cannot accept “supervised consumption sites.”

Australia: strongly support the inclusion of “harm reduction” and will hand it over to our expert to explain this but before I do, we think it is good to provide context to the measures that have been included, especially on supervised consumption sites because there is evidence to support this as being of benefit. I hand over to our expert: Australia has 3 pillars in its drug strategy: harm reduction but also demand and supply reduction. Australia has demonstrated commitment to demand and supply reduction that does not undermine harm reduction. Australia reviews what it does in the context of past evidence and amends what it does in the light of emerging evidence. Harm reduction does not undermine what we do under supply and demand reduction, and it helps save lives. Demand reduction strategies are diverse and without narrow definitions. We have evidence that measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases works. We have measures to reduce the risks of HIV and other bloodborne diseases that benefit society. We use information about toxicology to inform health interventions that save lives and benefit the whole community. We have strategies for mental health and laws to prevent drug-impaired driving. We have support for children and families of people who use drugs, and overdose strategies and to prevent longer term problems for people who might experience overdoses that are not fatal. The evidence for harm reduction strategies is strong. It is important to provide health services for all people so they can lead long healthy lives and harm reduction complements supply and demand reduction. After all, this is a principle for why we are all here for this meeting.

Germany: I join others in thanking the sponsors. It’s remarkable the sponsors explained they don’t want to propose something to urge member states to follow. Every member state is entitled to their own way to achieve our common aim, which is preventing overdose. We have a lot of caveats to take into consideration, like the concerns of the Russian Federation —they’re on the safe side because this language does not urge them to do something against their laws. What we see on the screen is an offer. We can take it, we can take some of it, no one is forced to take the whole menu. It’s an example based on good experiences a lot fo states have made, to be shared with others…without force. Germany can support the changes made by Egypt on the first line to make it clear that there’s no encouragement. As Australia has explained, we cannot substitute harm reduction by demand reduction; these are different concepts. So that would not work. Germany would like to retain the language from ‘including’ to the end of the paragraph.

New Zealand: Also thank the sponsors. Our preference was to have ‘harm reduction preferences’, including in the PPs, but understand why removal. We can retain proposal from sponsors. Like Switzerland, Mexico and the EU, we think the caveats are enough and we can go along with the text as proposed. 

Belgium: Good wording and balance. There’s no less than 6 caveats in total. Let’s do a reality check. It’s not just about doing things in line with Conventions and other instruments but also the reality on the field. People are suffering and dying. Harm reduction works. People who help these people perform harm reduction every day. Important this Commission takes into consideration this reality.

Singapore: Commended the sponsors for the constructive compromise. Echo Pakistan’s statement. Singapore’s position is that harm prevention is equally important and should be prioritised. We cannot just reduce harm after it occurs. The caveats do not address our concerns with regard to the consequences and implications of harm reduction. The essence of harm reduction is elaborated at the end of the paragraph. Perhaps we could compromise on the explicit reference to harm reduction, given the concerns proposed. We want to propose the following wording: instead of harm reduction, ‘measures aimed at reducing and preventing harm as well as minimising…’. We support Egypt’s proposals. We will not be able to support the mention to supervised consumption sites.

Egypt: we would like to delete the reference to supervised consumption sites. Allow me to explain why, and why we have requested the deletion of healthcare. One might think that the addition of healthcare does not play a role, and reference to bloodborne diseases is covered by WHO. We propose deleting the list and supporting the proposal of Singapore. For countries that adopt harm reduction, this might be a compromise we can accept.

Russia: we listened carefully to the positions of other countries and respect them, and stand ready to work on a consensus draft. We appreciate and respect our Commission which helps us to counter the threat of the world drug problem, and understand that what comes out of the Commission are guidance. But we cannot accept this, we already tried to adopt these measures and it led to an increase in diseases. So we wish to know how these measures will help Russia. We call on the entire Commission to consider how we can preserve mutual respect and trust, which we have done since the moment of its founding.

Canada: support the Sponsor’s proposal without amendment but can consider amendment to supervised consumption sites to be replaced with drug consumption sites but can live without this too. There is substantial evidence that drug consumption sites saves lives. There is no evidence that naloxone encourages drug use. If any member states have such evidence i would like to see it. People are dying from overdoses at high rates, this includes people with substance use disorders but also people consuming drugs for the first time. Harm reduction and demand reduction are absolutely not the same and we are not willing for this change to be made as suggested by China.

Czechia: we strongly support the intervention by Canada.

China: we now know the situation. Our US colleagues made a suggestion. I have noticed in the title that they have already used the words harm reduction. Our Singapore colleagues have made a good suggestion. It is very clear that there is no space to accept harm reduction. What is the next step? Should we repeat our positions again and again? We should think about how we should solve this problem. I support the suggestions by our US and Singapore colleagues. For the next informals, if we want to make some progress we should accept a different voice and use a compromise. Only in this way can we finish this resolution as soon as possible. I hear that the plenary has gone smoothly and will close soon. I don’t want all the member states to wait with us here. If we can solve this harm reduction issue, i think we can. Our position is clear, and we can show our flexibility as much as we can. I hope that we can focus on the practical way forward. Any good suggestion we can accept.

Chair: I’m here until Friday 13:00. We need a compromise.

Iran: I join our colleagues in appreciating the efforts of the sponsor. We would support Egyptian proposal and Saudia Arabia’s, to remove all those things. And respect the different positions. Non-consensual terminology makes this difficult. When I navigated through the text, and according to the latest reports from capital —it includes services like drug checking equipment, MMT, naloxone… We have been facing a lack of these medicines. They’re crucial. We need to ensure safety and quality in access to these drugs and medicines. We would like to propose some language on technical assistance, internaitonal cooperation, and removing barriers in access to these important medicines and ensuring their quality for developing countries. Because barriers, access is hindered. We will come up with language on these problems.

Switzerland: We listened closely and would like to come back to a point that suggests we don’t know what harm reduction is. We have all the caveats provided by the sponsors. It means what it nationally means. The definition may differ, the possibility of having it differs, but that’s why we have the caveats. Re: Singapore proposal about ‘preventing harm’. Why do we have more than 100 countries globally that use the concept of harm reduction…and yet it remains difficult to recognise this practice so widely used. Each time we were compelled to paraphrase. We have an expression for it. And reflects what it is we do internationally.

Saudi Arabia: Underscore our request to delete ‘supervised consumption sites’. We had a reservation earlier. Equally, STI testing. On the other hand, we are prepared to ‘using and prevent harm as well as minimising’. This is a good proposal and we can look into it. I’m awaiting instructions from capital on this.

Norway: My colleague from Switzerland said almost exactly what I was going to say. We should use the proper terminology here. And stick to harm reduction. I question why this is appearing as it is on the screen. The term ‘harm reduction’ has been struck through. We would like to keep harm reduction in. If there is a proposal to have both the new term and harm reduction to be added, i can accept it.

United Kingdom: hopefully colleagues can come together on harm reduction. I suggest instead of “as appropriate” we add “voluntarily”. Can we clean up the para so we can show our capitals the progress made?

Chair: we have lost interpretation. Are you willing to continue? Canada please continue

Canada: I suggest instead of striking out “sexually transmitted” but kept “infection testing”

Finland: We would rather see harm reduction stay in – our delegation is strongly in favour of the term and have supported it for many years. We also think that the world has evolved, and words have evolved. So we would really hope that we would be evolving in other terminology. My delegation is flexible with the list.

Colombia: thank you Secretariat for removing the striking out of harm reduction because we do not agree. The Sponsor’s proposal is good with many caveats for flexibility in the language. Some proposals as made by Venezuela and Egypt could be considered but not Singapore.

Iran: We should put voluntarily in brackets. We haven’t decided yet. When I look at the second line, the caveat needs to be amended ‘in line with their obligations…’. Instead, ‘in conformity with the three…’.

Portugal: I want to join the others campaigning for keeping the expression harm reduction because it is terminology that we have been discussing. I agree we have a shopping list and some are controversial but i also think it is time that we use the terms that have been used for a long time.

China: we extend our thanks for the creative suggestions. Norway has said that over 100 countries use harm reduction, but not for narcotics only HIV. In response to Australia and Canada explaining how they use harm reduction, but there is no definition in UNODC. Maybe it is a good practice in one countries but here we are not about practices in some countries but reaching consensus. Until there is a real definition then we cannot accept that kind of wording. In response to Germany, we never asked for demand reduction to replace all references to ham reduction. I hope we can move on because we never denied the need to save lives. We agree to save lives but to tackle it from the roots and reduce demand.

Singapore: the term harm reduction as we have been discussing for many years now, is not a term that we can agree on. We don’t reject that many countries have used it successfully. To address Switzerland’s comment that over 100 countries use it, but there are 193 member states. There is still strong disagreement over the term and it has never been used in a resolution. So what can we do to move ahead to save lives. The discussion has to continue until Friday but the delegation has to understand that they are asking everyone to accept the language. The delegate of Switzerland says that he cannot understand why others cannot understand, but I cannot understand why he cannot understand.

Czechia: I feel I need to propose alternative wording to the term drug consumption rooms. I offer alternative wording and it will be overdose prevention centres.

Egypt: I would like to thank Czechia but in Egypt we don’t have overdose prevention centres. That is why I do not want a shopping list here. We cannot even agree on the term harm reduction. We have OAT but we never refer to it as harm reduction. We hear that the interventions in all countries are different. I don’t think we should expand this list.

Switzerland: I need to react to Singapore. She says ok there are over 100 countries using harm reduction, well the rest doesn’t so she doesn’t understand why we don’t understand. But it seems to me, this is a glass ok, so it is not that other delegates call it a headphone that we can call it a headphone. So perhaps we can use the term that is used commonly and not use expressions that don’t accurately reflect the glass.

USA: Thank you, I’d like to thank all the delegations. See lots of positions stated booth here in the and the informals. There are strident positions on all sides and the USA will take this back to the informals. 

Chair: thank you i would also like to stop considerations for today and ask the Sponsor and co-sponsors to meet me to discuss further. We will inform you later which resolutions will be discussed. See you tomorrow at 10am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *