Home » Item 5. Implementation of the international drug control treaties (Monday afternoon)

Item 5. Implementation of the international drug control treaties (Monday afternoon)

(c) International Narcotics Control Board

Colombia: (TBA)

Pakistan:  Pakistan acknowledges and appreciates the effective role and efforts of the INCB in the collection of data, in-depth analysis, and compilation of the comprehensive report. We believe that the INCB report for 2023 will provide assistance to member states in aligning their national priorities and responses to the world drug problem. Pakistan is fully cognizant of its obligations as a responsible member of the international community and has always contributed positively towards curbing the menace of drug trafficking. We will continue to do so, recognizing the evolving nature of the drug trade, particularly with the rise in trafficking of synthetic drugs. Pakistan has undertaken robust enforcement measures to combat drug trafficking. We appreciate the US initiative and leadership in launching the global coalition to address these synthetic drug threats and play our part in the coalition effectively and actively.  Mr. Chair, Pakistan has significantly increased its counter-narcotic efforts through sector monitoring of vulnerable areas and international entry/exit points. These efforts resulted in a large number of anti-drug operations since 2019, seizing more than 2,100 metric tonnes of various types of drugs and precursor chemicals, which demonstrates Pakistan’s unwavering resolve and zero tolerance towards drug trafficking.  Mr. Chair, I would also like to appreciate the supplement to the annual report of the board regarding the availability of internationally controlled substances. Pakistan’s drug control legislation is fully compliant with the international drug control treaties. Pakistan is making all efforts to ensure access to controlled substances for medical and other licit uses. In this regard, Pakistan has evolved a well-defined and comprehensive framework to co-regulate the availability of controlled substances for medical use, which is aligned with international protocols and INCB guidelines.  Mr. Chair, I would like to reaffirm the full support of Pakistan in combating the menace of trafficking in illicit drugs and their precursor chemicals. Pakistan remains steadfast in its zero tolerance policy against the illicit production and trafficking of narcotics, as well as other drug-related crimes. Pakistan stands ready to provide its utmost cooperation to the international community in their endeavours to address and counter the world drug problem. We look forward to continued and enhanced support from other countries, as no one country can do this alone.

Indonesia:  Mr. Chair, excellencies, thank you for this opportunity. Indonesia recognizes the vital role played by the INCB in implementing the UN drug control conventions and expresses its appreciation for the annual report, which serves as a critical resource. The international drug control infrastructure benefits from the role played by the INCB to ensure appropriate access to narcotic and psychotropic drugs for medical and scientific purposes, while also identifying challenges within national and international control mechanisms.  In the broader landscape of Global Drug Control, Indonesia’s stance is a testament to our initiative aimed at bolstering the capabilities of frontline officers in detecting illicit substances, highlighting our commitment to collaborating with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in its capacity-building programs. Furthermore, Indonesia’s support for the INCB’s capacity-building program extends beyond training initiatives, through the sharing of resources, collaboration on research projects, and participation in regional workshops and conferences.Indonesia actively contributes to the collective efforts of the international community to combat drug trafficking and abuse. Thus, in fulfilling our responsibilities, we emphasise the necessity for international organisations, including the INCB, to partner with states in combating drug-related challenges while respecting their sovereignty. Thank you

Turkey: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am representing the Turkish Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction of the Counter Narcotics Department, which is responsible for all drug-related data collection, analysis, and reporting to the National Drug Report and the international report questionnaires. I would like to express our gratitude for all the efforts by the INCB and member states in preparing the 2023 INCB reports. As always, the reports are very comprehensive and objective.Unfortunately, there was a statistical error and an inaccurate comment on the sales figures in the annual report, which states that Turkey has observed a considerable increase in seizures of methamphetamine since 2019. On this point, we would like to once again bring to the attention of the board that the commission and the member states have accurate statistics. We believe that the board has misinterpreted the same amount and the number of cases for methamphetamine. We once again reiterate our commitment and support to the board and to the 2023 reports.Lastly, we would like to recommend to the board to share the statistical numbers with the member states beforehand to prevent such mistakes.”

Mexico: My country has always been an active part of counteracting the world drug problem. We signed the single convention in 1972. The 1971 and 1988 convention too. We provide information to the INCB report and provide information in due time. Also part of an industry mapping process whose industries could be used for creating drugs. In addition to our efforts supporting the INCB. For Mexico, what is crucial is common and shared responsibility in demand and supply reduction, with a human rights based approach, taking into account social inclusion, gender. Mexico has a national authority on the matter and we’re candidating a person to the INCB. In view of addressing health, creating links with WHO, and showing a firm commitment in relation to drug consumption not being about criminalising consumers. It’s a health threat. Our colleague’s experience is outstanding when it comes into researching drug use. Into the genetic underpinnings of addiction, methadone treatment programs, he was responsible for public policies in addition to preventing and treating substance use. He coordinated over 400 treatment centres and worked with federal authorities. Developed national strategy on prevention. Knowledgeable in creating a barrier to the tsunami of addiction. A candidate who will prioritise scientific evidence. He will promote a holistic approach taking into account legislative and regulatory levels. And most importantly, people’s wellbeing. 

Algeria: World drug problem complicated, multidimensional —holistic and balanced approach to address it in line with principle of common and shared responsibility. Single convention as amended, as well as 1871 and 1988 conventions, the 2009 Declaration, 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, 2019 Ministerial Declaration, the cornerstone of the global drug control system. Full support for them and the work of UNODC and INCB. Because of geography, we’re at a crossroads —a transit point of drugs. During 2023, law enforcement agencies seized more than 17 million units of psychotropics and 45 tonnes of cannabi. New law against illicit trafficking. Introducing national classification of narcotic and psychotropic substances in addition to the international commitments, to counter proliferation of diversion, counter addiction among young people, especially pregabalin and tramadol. Need to ensure access to controlled medicines. Procedural measures as controlled deliveries. Enhance international cooperation. Working on treatment and rehabilitation with detox —pursuing detox: no prosecution. 5 big treatment centres. CND’s President initiative — Algeria pledged 3 more modern treatment centres.

Malaysia: In June 2023, Malaysia took a significant step by amending part of its penal code and drug control legislation to end the mandatory death sentences for various offences, including in relation to drugs. The Parliament passed a bill on the matter. All individuals sentenced to death, can get their sentences reviewed allowing for potential resentencing. 1020 prisoners sentenced to death or natural life imprisonment, considered for this review process. Legal change signifies Malaysia’s proactive approach to addressing the complexity of drug related offences. Balancing law enforcement with a human and rehabilitative approach to deal with involvement in drug offences- Prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, harm reduction alongside law enforcement is the balance we strike with our systems. We combat trafficking and abuse, whilst in conformity with human rights and justice. The amendment of the Penal Code goes in that direction. We look forward to collaborating in this regard.

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of): Thank you very much, Chair. We would like to take this opportunity to comment on items 5C and 5D, where Venezuela recognizes the work of the INCB as a body responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the implementation of the three international drug control conventions. We also welcome the publication of the annual report by the board for 2023. We take note of its innovations regarding regional trends and recommendations to address and combat the World Drug Problem (WDP).  We would like to reaffirm our commitment to continue complying with the information collection form, with the review and updating of registered national users online and via specific platforms. These efforts provide ongoing fault monitoring to strengthen and reinforce our national efforts to prevent and address the diversion of controlled chemical substances. My country is eager to recognize best practices in terms of international cooperation. We highlight the activities carried out together with the INCB, such as the awareness-raising workshop on the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and a training seminar for competent national authorities from Latin American countries, held in my country in December 2023.  This collaboration will allow for the continued improvement in the implementation of the international conventions. We are grateful for the fruitful work carried out by experts, panellists, and participants from seven countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, which allowed us to enrich and expand our views on this subject matter.  However, we have noted a concern from this activity and from the 2023 report of the board: the alarming gaps in the availability and access to controlled substances for medical purposes, particularly in developing countries, with Venezuela being no exception. Moreover, this situation is aggravated by the legal imposition of unilateral coercive measures.  Despite these challenges, Venezuela has made significant efforts to guarantee access to universal and free public health, including analgesics and palliative care. Tramadol is the first-line substance used for patients who require it. A few days ago, we committed to assessing the situation and coming up with new proposals. In this regard, it is crucial to bolster and promote international cooperation, technology transfer, and technical assistance.Venezuela wishes to reaffirm its complete readiness to work with interested parties to find solutions to ensure the well-being of our people. Thank you.

(d) International cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion

UNODC:  Thank you, Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. Ensuring adequate access to controlled substances for legitimate purposes is fundamental to our international legal obligations. As parties to the 1961 and 1971 conventions, we committed to ensuring that narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are available and accessible to those who need them for medical use. These medicines are vital for life-saving surgical procedures, treatment of mental illnesses, drug use disorders, and neurological conditions. Yet, 80% of the global population, predominantly in low and middle-income countries, cannot access medicines containing controlled substances. Vulnerable populations, including children, women, the elderly, minorities, and those in humanitarian settings or enclosed environments such as prisons, are especially at risk of not having access to essential medications containing controlled medicines. This situation compromises the quality of life, leaving people to endure treatable pain, including in treatments for cancer.  This is not the outcome our international commitments intended. Our obligations aim to safeguard people from the harms that drugs can cause when misused outside of medical practice, but this should not result in a scarcity of availability or inaccessibility, particularly concerning affordability for those in urgent need. Scientific and research activities also require access to substances under international control, leading to the development of new medicines and more accurate forensic laboratory analyses to support both law enforcement and health responses, such as in treatment centers.  In 2022, a UNODC partnership with the WHO and the INCB led a call to action to identify and eliminate barriers limiting the availability and access to controlled substances. This follows over a decade of concerted action to change the narrative on the need for the availability of substances under international control for medical and scientific purposes. We have made progress, but our actions must go further. We should ensure affordability for those who need them without compromising on quality, safety, and efficacy. UNODC continues to support a number of countries in assessing national legislation and policies, mapping gaps in the supply chain, and training policymakers and health workers to ensure access to controlled medicines for management.  UNODC also supports member states through the provision of chemical reference standards for controlled substances for scientific purposes. We cannot afford to let our efforts for the most recent period go to waste. We need to act, and we need to do it now, for the benefit of those who suffer, those who are neglected, and those who are often left behind. UNODC is expanding its programme on access to controlled substances for medical purposes while preventing diversion and non-medical use. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to scale up and accelerate our efforts through innovative lines of action, addressing the factors which lead to limited access and availability, learning from our mutual past experiences, and building on achievements so far. We continue to count on the support of the international community in this essential undertaking.

Junior Doctors: Despite the necessity of controlled medicines for pain management and palliative care, barriers remain. Strict regulatory frameworks, education for professionals, stigmatisation and others. PReventable suffering for millions. As junior doctors we play a crucial role in access. Through rational prescribing, raising awareness, shaping strategies to tackle this issue. Health professionals must balance the therapeutic objectives while addressing the risks of dependence and overcoming exercise restrictive and overly permissive regulatory frameworks. With our crucial role Recognising signs of dependency, improving community, monitoring patients, we call for action. Providing sufficient resources and regulations for pain management —a national pain treatment plan should encompass prevention, treatment and education on how to manage. Regulators and health professionals should learn about access to controlled medicines. Listening to junior doctors is crucial to achieve rational prescription. Addressing the stigma of controlled medicines is also important, and apt education related to this. Acknowledging the unique position of junior doctors in this, we need support from member states and relevant stakeholders.

WHO: Effective quality assured and affordable medicines are necessary regardless of control status. WHO notes global shortages in the availability of medicines, vaccines and critical health procus. Controlled medicines pose a greater availability challenge. Including many considered by WHO essential, for opioid agonist therapy, surgical care, epilepsy treatment and others. In many countries where controlled medicines are available, WHO recognises they’re not necessarily equitably accessible. Special medication for children and babies involve supplementary considerations. Making them available in humanitarian settings and rural areas is also important. Lack of access to safe medications, and increased mortality and morbidity related to the use of controlled medicines for nonmedical purposes is a concern. Balance prevention of harm associated with nonmedical use with access. WHO, INCB, UNODC —joint statement to put in place appropriate medicines facilitating access to controlled medicines in humanitarian settings. WHO released guidance on the management of chronic pain in children and how to achieve nañanced medicines. Disparities in morphine availability, particularly in LMICs. WHO regularly updates the list of essential medicines, based on efficacy, medical value and cost. Normative guidance can be provided where needed. WHO operates on the guiding principle that the highest attainable standard of heath is a right, without distinction of background or status. Continued international cooperation is needed, positioning public health and human rights at the centre. End lack of access to safe medicines. International resolutions and commitments also compel WHO. WHO committed to supporting countries to achieve UHC and SDGs. Foster collaboration with member states, INCB, UNODC and other partners including civil society.

INCB  Thank you, Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. I am honoured to express my gratitude to all delegates who have shared their support. I assure you that I will take any necessary measures to address the issues raised. So, thank you again for the insightful report.  Returning to item 5C, more than half a century ago, the international community adopted the 1961 and 1971 conventions with a commitment to ensure—not unduly restrict—the availability of drugs indispensable for medical or scientific purposes. This mandate supports governments in carrying out activities related to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. This includes facilitating international systems for the licit trade of controlled substances, providing technical support and guidance to governments on implementing provisions of international drug control treaties, and monitoring actions taken to improve the availability and rational use of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes.Since the publication of the first report on the availability of controlled substances for medical purposes in 1980, we have continually assessed and monitored their global availability. The board’s latest availability report, the supplement to the 2022 annual report titled “No Patient Left Behind,” shows progress in ensuring adequate access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, yet reveals considerable regional imbalances in the availability of controlled substances globally. Such imbalances, concentrated in Western Europe, North America, and Australia, New Zealand, contrast with other regions where consumption levels often do not meet the medical needs of the population. There is evidence that a large number of countries may not accurately report to meet the medical needs of their populations, contributing to this disparity in availability.  Low and middle-income countries struggle to obtain affordable controlled substances, while North America continues to confront the dire consequences of the opioid overdose epidemic. When inadequate controls contributed to an exponential increase in the prescription of hydrocodone opioids, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, the result was a significant increase in overdose deaths and the number of people with opioid use disorders. Specifically, the regional imbalance is notable in the following aspects. First, the consumption of morphine and other opioid analgesics remains very low in most of Africa and parts of Asia, alongside a continued decline in the global manufacture of morphine since 2015. Second, the consumption of anti-epileptic drugs, including phenobarbital, is low in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, despite a relatively high prevalence of epilepsy in these regions. Third, the use of methadone and buprenorphine for opioid agonist therapy is limited or non-existent in countries with a high prevalence of injection drug use  These disparities underscore the structural challenges faced by many low and middle-income countries, including a lack of reliable data on conditions requiring controlled medicines, issues in estimating national requirements for controlled medicines, limited financial resources, and problems in procurement and sourcing.  We have made progress since the 2019 ministerial declaration, which reaffirmed our shared commitment to equitable access and rational use of controlled substances. However, accelerating our efforts to ensure this goal is reflected in all national drug control policies and practices is necessary. We recommend governments allocate sufficient resources to ensure the adequate availability of controlled substances and review pricing and production policies for low and middle-income countries. Additionally, we encourage increasing the amount of morphine designated for palliative care and facilitating low and middle-income countries’ access to affordable morphine.For people who inject drugs, governments and medical authorities should consider using methadone and buprenorphine for opioid dependence treatment. Strengthening national or regional production of pharmaceuticals and generic forms can enhance affordability and reduce dependence on imports.  There is an urgent need to increase the availability and access to opioid analgesics and improve prescription use, especially in countries reporting inadequate levels of consumption. The INCB calls for targeted public policies supported by governments, health systems, health professionals, civil society, the pharmaceutical industry, and the international community.In closing, I thank governments for their ongoing cooperation with the board in ensuring the functioning of the international system for the licit trade of controlled substances. I am delighted to announce the publication of the INCBs 2023 technical publications on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which will be invaluable for your competent national authorities in ensuring availability for medical and scientific purposes while preventing diversion to illicit channels.  Thank you.

European Union: Following countries align (Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Iceland, Norway, Armenia, San Marino, Bosnia and Herzegovina). With the adoption of the UNGASS Outcome Document we understored the strategic approaches in developing a policy of access to controlled medicines. In relation to legislation, regulatory systems, available affordability,e education, awareness raising, benchmarks for consumption of substances, international cooperation and coordination. Affordability is an impediment in access to controlled medicines for many patients around the world. With regard to the availability of controlled substances, children have different needs. When it comes to the treatment of children in pain, data required to monitor access is insufficient. Progress made and awareness are growing, despite commitments however, huge imbalance globally. Goals against the aim of the international drug control conventions of promoting health and welfare, but also numerous instruments protecting medical care and right to health. Right balance preventing misuse and enabling adequate medical use. The EU tabled a resu¡olution this year to accelerate progress in access to and availability, particularly in relation to children. Specific focus on capacity building and data collection. All obstacles must be assessed. An HLS side event was organised on this to discuss the progress towards the 2029 goals. To ensure rational use and prevent diversion. Aligned with EU Drug Strategy where we committed to ensure access to treatment and care services. Access to and availability of substances included. We will continue working toward this goal. The EU underscores concern for populations without access to essential controlled medicines in emergency situations caused by natural disasters or armed conflict.

South Africa: Align with G77 and China, and Africa Group, on the matter. Concern with disparities in progress made toward ensuring accessibility, availability and affordability of controlled substances for medical and scientific use, particularly for pain management and palliative care. INCB report confirms disparities in regions.  Almost all consumption in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Africa not sufficiently serviced. Proliferation of black markets. Hundreds of thousands of deaths in relation to falsified antibiotic use, and anti malaria medication. We call for the removal of barriers tha impede local manufacture, including tech transfers, import, distribution, and —in line with the AU position on the matter. Importance of generic preparations. South Africa adheres to scientific and evidence based scheduling of narcotic psychotropic substances and other substances under domestic law. In countering the world drug problem, South Africa is committed to the principle of common and shared responsibility and underscores the importance of the UN and relevant organisations to support South Africa in complying with obligations. Public health challenges, with social and economic root causes. People who use drugs should benefit from treatment, services of health and relevant programmes. South Africa reaffirms its commitment to upholding international drug control system.

Belgium:  Mr. Chair, your excellencies, distinguished delegates, Belgium aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the EU and its member states. The debates surrounding the midterm review of the 2019 political declarations have made it very clear: the situation remains alarming, and progress is slow. The dramatic debates in December last year have sent a clear message from the CND: it is time to scale up initiatives and accelerate our efforts, aiming for 2019 to mark a year where we can report more positive news.In the past three years, awareness and support for this topic have grown. Through our actions, we aim to ensure access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. To achieve this, all barriers must be evaluated and addressed. To this end, Belgium, on behalf of the EU, has tabled a resolution that addresses one of the major barriers to accessing controlled substances: the lack of education and training. In doing so, we aim to draw attention to the complex needs of children in assessing, developing, and implementing policies to improve access to and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. We look forward to your support. Mr. Chair, Belgium organised a high-level side event on the 14th of March titled “On The Road to 2029: How to Accelerate Our Efforts to Ensure Safe Access to Essential Controlled Medicines for All Patients in Need, While Ensuring Rational Use and Preventing Diversion.” We thank you and the many co-sponsors for their support. During the high-level segment, Belgium also pledged a financial contribution to UNODC aimed at continuing in 2024 its advocacy efforts to scale up the implementation of international drug policy commitments to enhance the availability of and access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes.This initiative is part of a series of activities that commenced in 2021. Belgium and UNODC organised awareness-raising events in Vienna in 2022 and in Brussels in 2023, aiming to draw attention to the issue of limited access in many regions worldwide and to encourage action among CND member states. Belgium has also pledged to invest in improving the availability of data and information concerning the medical needs and unmet gaps in accessing appropriate pain management medication and care, with a specific focus on paediatrics in the DRC.  We firmly believe that evidence-based policy starts with reliable data. Therefore, a research team comprising members from the DRC and the Institute of Tropical Medicine will conduct a study to enhance our understanding of the barriers encountered by children and adolescents in accessing pain management treatments. In the meantime, we’re also continuing our efforts in our partner countries in Africa, namely the UNODC project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which aims to disseminate tools and provide training to healthcare professionals, and the Belgian support to the Team Europe initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines, and health technologies. This works with African partners to strengthen their local pharmaceutical systems and manufacturing capacity.  I thank you, Mr Chair.

Singapore: As a party to three conventions, Singapore is committed to ensure the availability of controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes whilst preventing diversion. Balance through legislation and pragmatic solutions. Revisingin regulations in 2021 to allow collaborative prescribing practices to registered pharmacies and other professionals —more accessible for patients. Also to make clear that delivery companies may possess and transport controlled medicines as part of their business. Refining guidelines on the delivery of medications from clinics to patients. Reiterate the importance of ensuring robust scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of substance before medical use. Since 2023, we share info on import/export using the INCB system. Facilitating authorised movement of controlled substances within estimates approved by INCB. Singapore encourages authorities to share such information through the INCB system. Singapore is mindful of the risk of diversion and only allows drugs for medical and scientific purposes, in line with the conventions. Essential balance in access and non-diversion. To ensure the international drug control system is not weakened.

Thailand: Strict controls and regulations throughout the supply chain. Ensuring access while preventing diversion —challenging. Thai FDA, under the ministry of Health, prepared to implement policy in this regard. Concurrently, efforts were made in domestic law reform to include flexibility and alignment with the current situation of access in remote areas, facilitating access to controlled medication as prescribed by doctors. This amendment aligns with international policy and addresses Thailand’s commitment to access to controlled medication. Thailand supports the private sector in developing and researching narcotic medications, aimed to strengthen security by increasing the availability of substances. Encouraging domestic producers with potential to export substances to neighbours in need. Cooperation between the public and private sector is paramount in achieving our commitments. Including medical personnel and pharmaceutical professionals is also important. Promote appropriate adequate distribution of substances in the system. For pain relief and … (…) We underscore the importance of the conventions to ensure access and prevent diversion. Committed to prioritising support and supervision in accordance with international agreements, maintaining a balance between access and non diversion.

China: Thank you Mr Chair distinguished delegates, while strengthening the control efforts to prevent the abuse of controlled substances, China has actively promoted the availability and accessibility of an output of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. For medical and scientific purposes we have taken the following measures. We have taken the following measures first encouraging enterprises to research and import narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in the light of clinical needs, so as to provide a rich variety of drugs and dosage form for clinical use. Second, determine the number and layout of enterprises designated for the production of narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances based on the total demand for such Drugs and Substances. With the number and the layout adjusted and announced according to the total annual demand. Third, continuously as Johnson regulation over the production and operation of non narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to make the production and operation standardised and orderly, Raise the supply capacity and prevent their diversion to illegal channels. First, we find the procedures for the scheduling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, was the impact on clinical use fully justified when scheduling upgrading or downgrading the levels of control  of those varieties and medical value for different dosage forms of the same type of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, different control measures are taken according to the different risks of abuse s as to facilitate medical use,fitts the issue in a timely manner – the import and export permits for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to provide legal documents for their international trade in accordance with the requirements of the international control conventions. Six, increased outreach and training efforts to raise public awareness of the rational use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. China will continue to actively honour its obligations under international drug control measures, and continue its active engagement in international cooperation to ensure the supply of the Drugs and Substances and prevent the diversion of these substances into other illegal channels. Thank you. 

United States of America: Thank you, Chair. The United States continues to be troubled by reports suggesting that international drug control efforts might inadvertently create barriers to the access and availability of controlled substances in some countries. We were pleased to co-sponsor Belgium’s high-level side event on this critical issue last week, during the high-level segment.The conventions clearly acknowledge the indispensable nature of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes. Ensuring the availability of controlled substances for these purposes stands as a fundamental obligation of the Parties to the Convention.We recognize that many internationally controlled substances are essential medicines. Narcotic drugs like morphine are critical opioid analgesics for pain management and palliative care, while others are essential for treating mental disorders and drug use disorders.Efforts to improve access and availability are a crucial component of the international strategy to address all aspects of the world drug problem and should never be perceived as conflicting with international drug control obligations. Therefore, we encourage all stakeholders to enhance cooperation and seek joint solutions to these challenges, ensuring that patients in need of these vital medications are not overlooked.As we strive to increase the rate at which dangerous substances and synthetic drugs are placed under international control, it is equally important to bolster the capacity for effectively implementing these controls at the national level, in a manner that ensures continued access and availability for medical and scientific purposes. For instance, placing a substance under international control should not automatically lead to an outright ban of that substance for medical purposes and research within a national framework.We appreciate the Commission’s efforts to spotlight this crucial issue and are pleased to participate in the negotiations of the resolution concerning this matter on the sidelines of this week’s session.Thank you, Chair.

Burkina Faso: We greatly value the international regulations on the import, management and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Reiterate commitment to implementing all three conventions. Since 2015, Burkina Faso has had a security context marked by terrorist attacks —causing loss of human life, trauma among the population. Situation bringing about demand for drugs. Necessitates surveillance of the supply chain. In Burkina Faso, supply of narcotic drugs to healthcare establishments is ensured by the Ministry of Health. Stipulating narcotic drugs cannot be imported apart from the Ministry of Health by a special arrangement. Generic essential medicines centre only entities empowered to import and handle these products. Health ministry’s medical section trains professionals. Preventing diversion and ensuring access. Verify compliance with procedures (data quality assurance, handling procedures and rational use). Management handbook in 2010 updated in 2023. Ensure availability of controlled substances while preventing diversion. Difficulties when placing orders for these drugs because of discrepancies between statistic submitted by INCB and those collected by INCB on international trade happen often —we need to reduce those discrepancies. We call on INCB to support Burkina Faso in building the capacity of all stakeholders involved in these licit supply chains.

Algeria: Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all, I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in organising this meeting, in line with the Ministerial Declaration of 2019. We are convinced that cooperation is crucial to addressing the global drug problem. We believe in the necessity of implementing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. To this end, Algeria has introduced several regulations and legislations to ensure the availability of such drugs for scientific and medical purposes. I would like to highlight some key activities undertaken by Algeria to fulfil our commitments: Firstly, the narcotics office has been tasked with collecting data on these substances to prevent their illegal and illicit use at the national level. Secondly, the law mandates all pharmacists to notify authorities of any prescriptions not complying with regulations. Furthermore, we have established an electronic portal on psychotropic substances accessible to police, customs services, and law enforcement to avoid illegal and illicit uses. These regulations have introduced a licensing system, stipulating that no individual or entity can import such substances without a licence from the Ministry of Health. Moreover, the competent authorities, within the framework of their authority and mandate, have implemented a system to control the illegal purchase of such substances and narcotic drugs. To date, according to our statistics, no precursors have been seized in Algeria. Mr. Chair, the implementation of these activities has presented several challenges in accessing substances for scientific and medical purposes while preventing their diversion. These challenges will be further elaborated in the report that will be issued by the office in charge.  In cooperation with the various competent authorities Thank you very much. 

United Republic of Tanzania: Tanzania adopted pragmatic measures to ensure the availability of medicines for treatment and research while preventing diversion. PRevention of the diversion of precursors in illicit manufacturing. Tanzania strengthened controlled mechanisms by: strengthening enforcing legislative measures on the control of import export storage disposal of chemicals. Laws provide for registration, restriction, testing, inspection of chemicals, including controlled drugs. Regional and international conventions. Including protocols con combating trafficking in our region, including the AU Action Plan on the matter. Tanzania has ratified all UN international conventions and protocols by domesticating requirements of the conventions in written law. Also, infirmation sharing mechanism using INCB online platforms. Systems to monitor. Locally, customs integrated system —database live monitoring cargo and custom chemical management. Use of INCB platforms, including GRIDS and others. Despite all these strategies and achievements, seizure of substantial amounts of drug simported. Including diazepam, ketamine, midazolam, clonazepam, tramadol and others which did not follow regulations. Challenges in the increased use of the dark web, digital currencies, and precursors. INsufficient capacity building, lack of modern equipment, limited research, financial limitations. We encourage all stakeholders to work together to ensure controlled pharmaceuticals are used for intended purposes.

Kenya: While addressing access and affordability of controlled substances two important truths. Narcotic and psychotropic substances are highly addictive and prone to abuse. Despite addictive nature, medical use —including in pain relief. Three conventions are clear on this. Kenya has taken advantage of this provision, and through its competent agency, ensures adequate supply for legitimate purposes. But affordability is a challenge. To enhance access and prevent diversion, we undertake the following diversions. Strengthening the pharmacies board —the relevant authority. Several medicines with controlled medicines are now part of Kenya’s essential medicines. Accredited professionals can prescribe and administer these substances. Ensuring adequate supply of controlled substances in the country. Regular training is also important. Simplified import-export process for controlled substances which can otherwise be very slow. (Translation turned to Chinese by mistake). Ensured regular reporting to the INCB. Finalising a framework on price control to improve affordability of controlled substances to ensure quality, effectiveness and efficacy. One major challenge inhibiting access is affordability and fluctuations in pricing in developed countries. A majority of palliative care facilities are privately owned. Only those that can afford access some of these substances. The question of pricing and affordability is fundamental. We ask for support in capacity development to ensure the objectives of the conventions. Using private-public partnerships, medical care workers, medical facilities and other stakeholders to ensure our purpose.

Nigeria: Importance of cooperation on this matter, as per the 2009 and 2019 documents. Nigeria grapples with the dual challenges of improving access to narcotic and other controlled substances, while controlling access. Efforts to prevent diversion. Some of the interventions made in the past include carrying out quantification of narcotics and estimation of psychotropics to provide evidence-based data to determine legitimate national need. To ensure continuous improvement, stakeholder engagement and multi-agency responses, technical working group on access and control of controlled medicines, with members from health, law enforcement, drug control, and sectoral groups. Intelligence led drug control master plan 2021-2025, integrated and balanced policy combining law enforcement and public health whilst promoting interagency cooperation and collaboration in countering the world drug problem. To address and counter the world drug problem Nigeria has continued to strengthen collaborations and partnerships with relevant international organisations like the CRIMJUST project, INTERPOL, UNODC, and other global platforms to enhance intelligence sharing and monitoring of drug trafficking routes. Regional and international cooperation in intelligence sharing, undercover and joint operations, has disrupted and dismantled illicit drug activities in Africa and Nigeria. Such cooperation should be leveraged to develop and implement the alternative development drug control strategy in nigeria. Sustained cooperation on alternative development can make illicit drug cultivation unattractive, especially for youth. Nigeria seeks strengthening partnerships and cooperation to counter and address the world drug problem.

Malaysia:  Malaysia remains deeply concerned over the lack of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, including pain relief and palliative care. This shortfall is leading to unnecessary suffering for millions of individuals in need worldwide. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure the availability and accessibility of internationally controlled substances, particularly in low and middle-income nations, to alleviate unnecessary suffering. We emphasise the necessity of robust policy and regulation to prevent the misuse and diversion of these substances and underscore the importance of intensifying efforts to educate healthcare professionals and stakeholders on the proper utilisation of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes.  Additionally, it is crucial to ensure the availability of adequate treatment facilities and services for individuals requiring pain relief and palliative care. In this regard, the Pharmaceutical Enforcement Authority of Malaysia, as a competent national authority, is fully dedicated to ensuring the sufficient availability and appropriate use of internationally controlled substances for medical research and industrial purposes.While committed to preventing diversion and abuse in accordance with international conventions, Malaysia affirms that adherence to international drug control conventions should be accompanied by governments’ sovereign rights to determine the most suitable approach to international policies and societal norms to fulfil this obligation.

Indonesia: : Under this urgent item, Indonesia wishes to highlight several key measures at the national level aimed at ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, while also preventing diversion.Firstly, we are committed to ensuring the supply of pharmaceuticals required by healthcare facilities and expanding the use of narcotics for palliative care across Indonesia.Secondly, the National Research and Innovation Agency is conducting research on Schedule I narcotics, as defined under our national law.Thirdly, robust coordination and cooperation with relevant agencies within Indonesia are crucial to ensure the availability of narcotic and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes.Furthermore, Indonesia has developed a digital application for the import and export licensing, production, distribution, and use in pharmaceutical facilities. This process includes submitting reports to the INCB through the I2ES and BAN application.These measures have aided the government in ensuring the availability of narcotics, psychotropic substances, and pharmaceutical precursors for the benefit of health services and the development of science and technology, while preventing their diversion to illegal channels.

Russian Federation: I’m a palliative care doctor in the ministry of health, and chair of russian association for hospice care. Major changes in the availability of opioid for medical purposes. Experiences and conclusions. The medical and social importance of this matter has been acknowledged. In 2014 a strategic document was adopted at the federal level. Main emphasis on relaxing regulations. Legal barriers reduced to a minimum, to prevent diversion too. Working group created with ministry of internal affairs, health, and representatives from academic,professional community and civil society. Adoption of a document on this matter. Perfecting estimations. Hotline on complaints for irregularities in prescription. Problems addressed in 1 working day. Access for children has expanded. Oral morphine use to safely calculate different preparations. Additional financing for procurement of narcotic drugs like opioid analgesics, guaranteed free of charge to patients. Also for chronic pain. Educational model developed and publicly available. Application developed, a digital calculator, available with any software to calculate dosage. Continuous education is fundamental. Monitoring of declared purchases. Declarations analysis by the Ministry of health. Data used as an indicator of performance of regional ehealth ministries. 2014, the association of hospice care was created. Seminars, schools, forums on palliative care and pain management. 2000 doctors annually learn online and in-person. In 2019, a federal scientific practical centre for palliative care was created. Twice a year, the Centre reunites palliative care chiefs from all regions to discuss the situation. Records of the meeting are sent to the Ministry of Health. The MInister holds meetings with ministers of all regions on this issue. Over 10 years of intense efforts, average consumption of narcotic drugs, in defined daily doses per million, 5x increase. Receiving opioid, 10x increase. 100,000 people. This is a complicated challenge, filled with barriers. As a doctor, academic, teacher, daughter of ailing father —this matters. Caution against half measures. The only thing that will help is complex, organisational decisions made by decision-makers on the matter. Work should begin now. 

Iran: I wish to use this opportunity to present the views and proposals of the Islamic Republic of Iran for addressing challenges and dangers in the region and beyond, reaffirming our support for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as the main policymaking body of the UN, as well as the INCB for facilitating licit access by patients to drugs, and recognizing the role of UNODC as a leading entity within the UN structure. We emphasise the importance of the three drug control conventions as the cornerstone of the international system for addressing the global problem of narcotic drugs, including synthetic opiates. Countries that produce synthetic drugs and their precursors, as well as countries along the trafficking routes and destinations, should implement control measures to prevent any acts of diversion at the national level and ensure stringent exchange of information within international mechanisms. This includes participation of relevant UN bodies such as the CND, WHO, and ISCP for sharing information and holding scientific consultations on methods of preventing transmission of diseases to infants and children, including HIV and acute hepatitis C caused by synthetic drug use, based on initiatives by UNODC.  We are deeply concerned about the legalisation of cannabis for so-called recreational purposes and fully share the INCB’s assessment that this growing trend to allow the use of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes contravenes the 1961 Single Convention, posing a significant challenge for the international community and state parties to the drug control conventions. We underscore the principle of protecting human rights, particularly the right to life and the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides for the right of the child to be protected from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In line with the INCB’s view, we affirm that the three conventions, as specialised legal frameworks, dictate that human rights must be observed in the realm of drug control. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mexico: Rational and appropriate use of these substances is key. The use of these controlled substances for recreational use among children and young people has been increasing excessively. It limits access by people with mental health and other needs, including palliative care. Need to strike a balance between control and availability. Mexico following the pandemic, highlighted the ned for a national supply of controlled medicines and increase in the treatment of mental health. International cooperation efforts on this matter with our neighbours. Drug control policies include programmes in areas such as health promotion, early intervention, treatment, care, rehabilitation, social reintegration, recovery. Other initiatives and measures to reduce to a minimum to reduce the adverse impact of the inappropriate use of medications on health and society and reduce consumption of illicit drugs.

International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL): INTERPOL’s role in preventing diversion is deeply embedded in our core activities and initiatives. 196 member countries. Central hub for facilitating seamless information exchange and collaboration between law enforcement agencies worldwide. 19 police databases housing crucial records on wanted individual, stolen properties —swift information sharing. In 2023, INTERPOL intensified efforts to counter illicit trafficking disrupting criminal networks orchestrating global drug trade. Capacity building and training, transnational police operations, targeting maritime, aviation etc. routes. Identifying new smuggling pathways and emerging drug threats impacting community safety. Key initiatives like the ? programme, promoting capacity building, partnership development, instrumental in addressing trafficking. Operations like TRIGGER, PANGEA and others, shows INTERPOL’s international profile and efficacy at disrupting criminal networks. Global and regional initiatives target covid 19 related crimes, in the charge against pharmaceutical crimes, promoting international security and cooperation with innovative strategies. Establishment of task forces like the fentanyl impact group. Intelligence sharing. All underscore INTERPOL’s commitment. INTERPOL multifaceted approach underscores its pivotal role in safeguarding health and preventing diversion.

Sovereign Order of Malta: I would like to convey my congratulations on behalf of the Sovereign Order of Malta on your election as Chair of the 67th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We look forward to a productive meeting working together under your leadership. We also recognize the critical role played by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in garnering international support for addressing psychotic issues. The Sovereign Order of Malta, with over 950 years of history, stands as the oldest humanitarian entity worldwide, maintaining diplomatic relations with 113 states and holding permanent observer status at the United Nations among other international organisations. The Order has a specific vocation in protecting health and providing assistance to the most vulnerable and impoverished individuals affected by disease and suffering. Therefore, the Order of Malta has been proud to support, where it matters most, among the most vulnerable. A recent example of the Order’s support includes financial contributions to the UNODC Youth Initiative and the annual youth forum, which promote the role of young people worldwide not only as targets of drug prevention initiatives but as protagonists of prevention and health education. The awareness of drugs affecting various social phenomena at global, national, regional, and local levels is not new. This has led the international community to adopt legal regulations to establish a worldwide drug control system. The Order of Malta shares the belief that respecting human rights while achieving public health program goals is a key aspect of drug policy. This belief stems from the simple conclusion that drug users and abusers are equal members of society. We must prioritise human rights in the global drug control narrative. Millions of people, including children caught using drugs, are sent to jail instead of receiving treatment, highlighting the negative health consequences of failing to respect human rights for both psychoactive substance users and the communities they inhabit. The Order wishes to express appreciation for the health-oriented approach adopted by UNODC in implementing international treaties, especially for its work in drug demand reduction, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation targeting children and adolescents at risk. In its commitment to strengthening multilateralism, the Order of Malta seeks to consolidate the protection of human rights for all and promote human dignity in every effort to address the world drug problem, also from a humanitarian perspective.In conclusion, the Sovereign Order of Malta pledges its full support and active participation in addressing substance abuse from a united humanitarian perspective, commending and supporting the work of UNODC’s prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation section in this regard. Further, we call on Member States to join forces in support of its work, both in regards to youth participation and evidence-based prevention of drug use, actively promoting a society free of illicit drugs.

Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA):  This intervention is on behalf of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), representing thousands of healthcare providers and millions of patients around the world in need of palliative care services, especially access and availability to essential controlled medicine for the relief of pain and serious health-related-suffering.We thank the International Community for bringing to the forefront the issue of massive global disparities in access and availability through the 2019 Ministerial Declaration as well as in this year’s CND High-level Midterm Review.Paramount in these discussions and any action of addressing these global disparities is to consider the voices of those with lived-experiences as well as their families and communities who experience and witness the profound suffering that accompanies unmanaged pain.The WHPCA welcomes progress on access to essential medicines for medical and scientific use. We would particularly urge commitments to increased appropriate medical use of controlled substances by member states, including opioids for patients with serious health-related suffering and palliative care needs, especially mindful of, and with input from, those with lived-experiences, and acknowledgement of the widespread lack of access to palliative care in most countries. Since the Single Convention of 1961, wherein its Preamble stated that these medicines are “indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of [these] drugs for such purposes.” The 2019 Ministerial Declaration and this year’s midterm review give us opportunity to take stock of what needs to be done to make this a reality worldwide.WHPCA calls on the CND to support a public-health approach to Palliative Care which involves working with communities to improve access, availability and people’s experience’s when faced with serious-illness, death, dying and bereavement, to prevent and address preventable pain and suffering.

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing: Our NGO is working on the international problem of opioid overprescribing. In the US, aggressive prescribing minimises risk of addiction. Disguised as advocacy against pain. Soaring prescriptions. Powered opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Illicit fentanyl is flooding the US because of demand for it from Americans who became addicted to it because of aggressive prescribing. Many countries are starting to follow in our footsteps. Sweden, Switzerland, England, France, Norway, etc. opioid prescribing wrigint faster than clinically ended. INcreasing addiction and overdose. PRescribing rising there because of the playbook that worked so well in the US. Pharmaceutical companies are targeting these countries, WHO and others. WHO responded to an investigation showing opioid guidelines were influenced unduly. UNODC distributes materials downplaying the risks of medical use. We need balanced policies. The harms of use within a medical framework need to be addressed. Patients who take medications as prescribed can and do develop dependence. Risks cannot be minimised. Countries with overconsumption are not examples of adequate consumption. Time for action from the UN and WHO on overprescribing. If current trends continue, millions of people will become newly addicted and demand will continue to grow. Millions of lives will be lost.

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC): Thank you Chair, excellencies, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen. Thank you, Belgium and Ghana, for taking the Pledge to improve availability of controlled medicines and committing to fund practical ways forward. You are the early adopters of this important issue and I have no doubt that other countries will follow suit as they observe the successes your pledges will bring to all people, including children and those at the end of life, who suffer severe and preventable pain all over the world.The INCB has reported that lack of health workforce training and unaffordability of controlled medicines in the licit market are significant barriers to rational availability in more than 85% of the world where access to essential pain medicines is inadequate. The INCB has also reported that these deficits actually configure the illicit or parallel markets, which are often violent, and supply sub-standard medicines, compromising public health and welfare.The good news is that member states can fix these deficits, and by doing so, reduce the public health harms of illicit markets people turn to when they can’t get the medicines they need at the pharmacy. Evidence based regulatory frameworks take control back from the traffickers who supply people’s priority health needs.Our global membership organization can help you take this control back through workforce education that supports safe and confident prescription practices by qualified professionals. By designing shorter, more resilient supply chains for generic medicines such as oral morphine, which can be publicly procured through regional organizations and secretariats such as PAHO and preventing direct marketing of expensive brand-name opioids by the pharmaceutical industry, you can improve affordability, and reduce overdose and dependence.This is the 21st century. The example of the 15% of the world that does have balanced and adequate access to opioids, most western and northern Europe, shows that leaving your populations in pain, or provoking an overdose epidemic, is not an inevitable consequence of increasing availability for medical and scientific use. Our global professional organization is ready to support you at the national, regional, and international levels. Please call on us. I thank you.

Union for International Cancer Control: The Union for International Cancer Control is keenly aware of the lack of access to and availability of essential medicines, especially Controlled Substances for medical purposes, as stated and under the rubric of the Principle of Balance in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the protocol of 1972.We are also grateful for the extraordinary efforts of this year’s CND High-level Midterm Review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, which called upon the global community to strengthen actions at national, regional, and international levels to accelerate implementation of joint commitments to address the world drug problem, including scaling-up actions to effectively address massive global disparities in access and availability to essential controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes.UICC asserts that the needs for Palliative Care, including cancer pain relief, cannot be ignored, as cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. About 1 in 5 people develop cancer in their lifetime; approximately 1 in 9 men and 1 in 12 women die from cancer. More than 40% of those undergoing cancer treatment and more than 80% at the end-of-life experience moderate-to-severe pain.Yet nearly 86% of the world’s population, primarily populations in low- and middle-income countries, have little or no access, availability or affordability to essential controlled medicines for the relief of pain and suffering.This is not only an issue of individual suffering as families and communities are profoundly affected. It is a matter of highest urgency to Humanity.Therefore, UICC applauds the work of the UNODC as well as WHO and INCB in their recent Joint-Call-to-Action and this year’s CND High-level Midterm Review and urges increased collaboration, concerted action, and measurable outcomes to collectively address this global pathos of unmanaged pain and human suffering, particularly among those who live with cancer.

(e) Other matters arising from the international drug control treaties

UNODC: Drug markets around the world continue to see increase. 1235 NPS have been reported to UNODC. Parallel challenge in criminals trying to circumvent controls through innovative design of precursors. We must increase preparedness. Emphasis should be on predicting and preventing these threats and protecting health and welfare. Across the world, progress. 10 precursors have been placed under international control. (…) We continue to provide guidance and methodologies in all UN official languages. Support national officials to seize drugs and precursors. We will protect communities and the environment. Synthetic drugs are one of the challenges of the 21st century. The UNODC Strategy on the matter on early warning, strengthening counternarcotics capacity. Through the strategy, UNODC continues to develop capacity and other UN agencies to counter this problem. UNODC Toolkit On Opioids. 57,000 users. Please continue to use and benefit from these resources.

Georgia: On behalf of the government of Georgia it is my honour to address such distinguished audiences this week to discuss drug related modern challenges.  Georgia aligns itself with the statements delivered by the EU and its member states and will use this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to essential objectives of the international drug control conventions and other international instruments. existing data and statistics available in the World Drug Report and the European drug reports make it clear that the demand and supply of illicit drugs have reached an unprecedented level and fostering the proper and rapid implementation of international treaties and strategic goals remain indispensable. With this aim, Georgia prioritises close sectoral and trans border cooperation with international tax partner countries and international organisations. and on the other hand, we strengthen human centred approaches and implement evidence based policies at the national level in order to improve preventive measures and reduce the supply and demand. It goes without saying that drug related issues require complex and multidisciplinary approaches where the dissemination of scientifically valid information on drugs and integrated steps proved to be most effective for addressing the world drug problem.  For this part, Georgia acknowledges the landmark importance of strengthening data collection, scientific research and evaluation policies, as well as within the four pillars drug strategy approach, we put a focus on the health side of drug problem, including prevention, treatment and haemorrhage. In the light of this, Georgia actively collaborates with the European Monitoring Centre of drugs and drug addiction, the new European drug agency, the new capacity and the mandate of the agency. We also have strong partnership with the UNODC…the Council of Europe and other relevant regional and local organisations, as well as academia and scientific communities. Moving forward we will come all forwards to strengthen start cooperation and accelerate the implementation of our joint commitment to address emerging threats.  Thank you for your kind attention

Algeria:  Ever since the ratification of the three international conventions and the related protocol, Algeria has left no stone unturned in fulfilling its international obligations in the fight against the world drug problem. It has diligently cooperated with international and regional organisations, as well as on a bilateral basis, to implement these obligations, particularly those set forth by the UN Convention on Narcotics of 1988. Algeria has undertaken numerous preventative measures to limit the effects of drugs and psychotropic substances, collaborating with international organisations on administrative, technical, and security aspects related to narcotic and psychotropic drugs and plants. To track these substances, prevent abuse, and limit supply, Algeria issued, in 2023, official certificates for every import or export operation of raw materials or finished products related to drugs, psychotropic substances, chemical precursors, and dangerous products, in accordance with the requirements of importing and exporting countries. The sector concerned has reviewed various applications from economic stakeholders and pharmaceutical institutions related to these certificates, resulting in Algeria issuing 204 official certificates for imports and eight certificates for exports. Mr. Chair, with respect to activities related to the distribution of narcotic and psychotropic drugs facilitated by the pharmaceutical sector that determines the administrative, technical, and security management of such products, they are subjected to a licence for sourcing, transportation, shipment, and distribution, delivered by the competent authorities responsible for the manufacturing, importation, and distribution of pharmaceutical materials. The competent authorities issue such licences for the acquisition, sale, purchase, storage, shipment, and distribution of psychotropic and narcotic substances. Regarding the inventory of such substances, the national committee for drugs and psychotropic substances has studied 22 reports relating to violations identified during inventories by pharmaceutical institutions. We are following up on such violations. In this regard, a new electronic portal was created for applications for the issuance of certificates related to the supply, sale, purchase, storage, shipment, and distribution of these substances, and another portal was also created for the certificates. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation: ‘My name is Steve Rolles, I am the Senior Policy Analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation, a UK based charity and NGO seeking more just and effective drug policies in the UK and around the world. Thank you for this opportunity to address the CND today.More and more jurisdictions are implementing or actively exploring the legal regulation of cannabis markets for non-medical or recreational adult use. For the UN drug control institutions this is not an issue that can be marginalised or ignored any longer as somehow being the action of a rogue jurisdiction.Such reforms are now being implemented or actively explored in multiple jurisdictions and member states, on every continent. There are now more than half a billion people living in jurisdictions with legally regulated cannabis markets for non-medical adult use.Certainly this raises important questions about what best practice regulation should look like, and how we can learn lessons from alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical regulation. It also raises important questions about international trade and sustainable development, and of course, it raises a series of questions about the future of the UN drug control treaty framework.The global consensus around the prohibition of cannabis for non medical use is now decisively fractured. The trend towards formally regulated markets is accelerating – as more and more jurisdictions critically evaluate the failings of the past and growing evidence that responsible regulation can help deliver on the treaty aspiration to protect and enhance the ‘health and welfare’ of humankind.It is this inescapable reality of accelerating change in approaches to cannabis regulation that must be the basis of discussions in high level multilateral forums moving forward.Certainly, the cannabis debate remains challenging and contentious – often characterised by strongly held and polarised positions. But if the CND, and other relevant UN entities, cannot meaningfully engage with the reality of change already happening across the world, then they will forfeit their ability to influence and guide the reform process in ways that can support our shared aspirations of the UN charter, and of the `Sustainable Development Goals.As the UNODC has noted, the drug treaties are not ‘written in stone’. A range of mechanisms exists for treaties to evolve and modernise in response to changing circumstances, new evidence, and shifting political realities.The need for such evolution and reform of the treaties could hardly be clearer than on this issue – where many member states have already felt compelled to move, albeit reluctantly, into situations of technical noncompliance with specific treaty obligations.But, if the CND does not engage with this vital discussion, and instead continues to entrench around inflexible and condemnatory positions of the past that no longer meet the needs of a growing number of member states, the international drug control system risks drifting slowly into irrelevance as more and more member states unilaterally, or acting in concert, distance themselves from its rigid rules.On the important drug related issues of the day, citizens and member states look to the CND and UN institutions for normative guidance. This much needed leadership cannot be achieved through entrenchment and finger wagging.It requires an open minded and pragmatic dialogue between relevant stakeholders; member states, UN institutions, and civil society expertise – including the voices of people who use or produce illegal cannabis. This is the only way that challenges such as this can be resolved, and the exacerbation of existing tensions be avoided.’

Organization of American States:  The OAS Hemispheric Drug Strategy, approved by Member State consensus in 2020, along with its corresponding five-year plan, supports the commitments reaffirmed in last week’s CND high-level declaration. Through these documents, OAS member states address the drug problem with an emphasis on public health and human rights, taking into account gender and cultural factors. The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission serves as a forum for OAS member states to discuss and develop responses to the drug problem. Its Executive Secretary, which I am proud to lead, provides technical assistance in demand and supply reduction, institutional strengthening, and data gathering and analysis, and maintains strong ties to other international organisations and civil society. Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs pose a grave threat due to their lethality and increasing availability. The presence of these dangerous drugs in the United States and Canada is well documented. However, the challenge is spreading rapidly. Key to addressing this issue is information dissemination, as evidenced by the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism process, which evaluates drug control policies. In 2023, it was reported that the majority of our member states have yet to fully establish national early warning systems. CICAD’s Inter-American Observatory on Drugs assists our member states in establishing and strengthening these systems and creating the Early Warning System of the Americas to amalgamate national data and share it among Member States. The increasing use of illicit drugs by minors is of particular concern. Hence, much of our demand reduction programming continues to focus on prevention for youth, with initiatives such as our Drug Prevention Youth Forums and UNODC’s CHAMPS initiative for child prevention. These efforts are strengthening the resilience of this vulnerable population and contributing to a safer and healthier global future.  Thank you, Chair.

Dejusticia: Thank you, Mr. President, on behalf of Dejusticia, Elementa DDHH, organisations advocating for structural and profound changes to drug policy and regulation, we wish to acknowledge the importance for the United Nations system to heed the numerous calls regarding the current deficiencies of the international drug control regime. We support the commitment made by the Colombian government to promote its critical review and urge other states participating in the CND to open channels of dialogue to address the mistakes made in drug policy. The outcome document approved on the high-level segment and the midterm review concluded on March 15 does not reflect the evidence of the current failure of the monitoring system and its human rights impacts, nor does it incorporate inputs provided by civil society organisations or other United Nations agencies in recent years. In particular, we note that the document fails to mention progress made by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which in August 2023 published a report on human rights challenges in addressing and countering all aspects of the global drug problem. This report was presented as a contribution from this agency to the midterm review process, yet it was not mentioned in the outcome document of the high-level segment. Despite the report’s emphasis on promoting the right to health for people who use drugs globally, reducing violence, ensuring equality and non-discrimination, seeking alternatives to criminalization, moving away from punitive measures, applying drug control laws with a human rights-based approach, investing in alternative development, and ensuring civil society and community participation in discussions and policy development. The outcome document of the high-level segment and midterm review also made no reference to the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy, promoted by WHO, UNAIDS, and UNDP, which frame the relationship between drug control treaties and states’ international human rights obligations. Furthermore, the document fails to mention the United Nations system’s common position in support of the effective inter-agency collaboration for the implementation of international drug control policy, which was endorsed following discussions in the Chief Executives Board sessions of 2023, declaring this document “remains the reference point to guide policy work, advocacy, and training activities of the organisations.” We regret that the United Nations system tasked with governing global drug policy continues to ignore the call to incorporate a human rights perspective, despite progress made in other United Nations spaces, reflecting a significant oversight by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs regarding the urgency of greater internal coherence within the United Nations system. As civil society organisations, we will continue to advocate for the inclusion of human rights issues on the agenda of this Commission and in the implementation of obligations arising from international drug control treaties. Thank you very much.

Instituto RIA: My name is Zara Snapp and I am the director of the RIA Institute in Mexico. Thank you for the opportunity to participate. The world is changing. Drug users are becoming politicised, recognising that we do not want to be part of prohibitionist regimes. According to the UNODC World Drug Report, most drug users do so without causing problems in their personal or professional lives. Most people would choose to buy psychoactive substances that do not promote violence, corruption, or provide greater income to non-state actors. However, without legal regulation schemes with a focus on social justice, this is not possible. In Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Latin America, efforts to build democracy, combat corruption, uphold the rule of law, and build lasting peace have not been possible with prohibitive and punitive policies. Amidst this crisis, which we have heard a lot about here at the CND, there is an opportunity for a radical paradigm shift: towards legal regulation that not only addresses the risks associated with drug consumption but also strengthens democratic institutions, reduces corruption, and recognises that pleasure and well-being are also part of the consumption of plants and psychoactive substances. Legal regulation offers a viable alternative. Not regulating means the state abdicates its responsibility. Over the past 50 years, studies on coca leaf and cocaine products have been suppressed or manipulated within the international drug control system. While it would be premature to make definitive statements about how the cocaine market could be affected by legal regulation, evidence from regulated cannabis markets suggests that legal regulation with a social justice focus can reduce risks, improve health, and provide economic opportunities in regions or communities affected by prohibition. Regulation seeks to strengthen government institutions by defining clear rules and providing safe and legal access. Drug policies should prioritise the guarantee of human rights. Legal standards respect individuals’ autonomy and dignity, ensuring that they are not subject to arbitrary detention or violence simply for having a relationship with illegal drug markets. The transition from an illegal to a legal market can begin to provide development opportunities to communities and individuals who traditionally cultivate these plants, including coca leaf, cannabis, and poppy. The harms of prohibition are undeniable. Legal regulation offers a way forward that prioritises human rights, development, and social justice. By adopting this paradigm shift, we can build a future where people involved in drug markets are treated with dignity and respect. The time for change is now: our present and future depend on it.

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