Home » Opening of the 67th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs & Item 3. High-level segment (Thursday morning)

Opening of the 67th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs & Item 3. High-level segment (Thursday morning)

UN Web TV recording








Chair: Welcome. Inform you that for the opening session of the HLS, there’ll be a video transmission of the proceedings from this Plenary into BR-A. The HLS will also be webcast on UN Web TV. Before I open, organisational matters that the CND must consider. Extended Bureau: 4 meetings to deal with organisational matters. Also discussed during the pre-session consultations held yesterday. Thanks colleagues in the Extended Bureau and Permanent missions in Vienna. Thanks to Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco of Colombia, Chair of 66th session. First item of the provisional agenda: Election of officers. CND opened its 67th session at the reconvened session. First Vice Chair: Bangladesh, Asia Pacific States. Second Vice Chair: Slovenia, Euro…. Third Vice Chair: Malta WEOG. Rapporteur: Colombia, GRULAC. Chair: Ghana, Africa Group. Chairing with support of Bureau and Extended Bureau. The provisional agenda and proposed organisational work for CND67 are in the documentation. [Chair recalls documentation relevant to organisational matters and provisional agenda and proposed organisation of work]. It is so decided. We will continue this agenda item on Monday for the regular session. Immediately after the opening segment, which will take place shortly, we will proceed with the general debate over the course of today and tomorrow. After the morning session, resume at 2:45 pm. And 7:30 PM for the evening session. Tomorrow, we will continue with the general debate at 10AM. And the last session will be at 7:30 PM until we exhaust the list of speakers. During the 2nd intersessional meeting of this year, the order of speakers was subject to drawing of lots. I’ll provide further details shortly. Organisation and chairing of the roundtables. Briefly outlining the organisation and chairing arrangements for the HLS roundtables in parallel with the general debate in the plenary. Themes agreed by CND resolution. Two roundtables: Taking stock: work undertaken since 2019 & The way forward: the road to 2029. Each roundtable is composed of a panel of 5 panellists nominated by regional groups. 1 by CSOs through the VNGOC. 2 speakers from UN entities. Each one is co-chaired by 2 reps of 2 regional groups. The roundtable discussion Taking stock: work undertaken since 2019, chaired by Bangladesh and Mexico. Tomorrow morning, from 10AM to 1PM, the roundtable discussion The way forward: the road to 2029, will be chaired by Germany and Slovenia. The roundtable discussions will take place in BR-A. The co-Chairs will prepare a summary of salient points. Summary is not negotiated. I now open the HLS. A profound sense of duty embraces us today as we reflect the journey since 2019. One of the most pressing challenges of our era: the world drug problem. The scourge of the drug problem knows no boundaries, millions of lives affected. Evident that no single entity or nation can confront this issue in isolation. As the world becomes more increasingly interconnected, collective response is essential, indispensable. Importance of collaboration. Sustainable solutions can only be forged through international collaboration and solidarity. We should not and cannot undermine multilateralism. We undertake the midterm review since 2019. Incumbent upon us not to only assess but reinvigorate our commitment to action. For this purpose, I launched the Pled4Action Initiative, seeking commitments towards the goals in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. Eagerly anticipate the strong pledges from the high-level representatives here. As we look to the final review in 2029, let’s be cognisant of the gravity of our mission. Safeguarding communities, preserving humanity’s dignity, and the future of our youth. Approach this issue with compassion, determination, and commitment to action. Open, constructive, and inclusive dialogue, steeped in evidence-based approaches. Now to the formal opening. Before giving the floor to our guest, the President of the UNGA, I’d like to proceed with the adoption of the Outcome Document. CND decided to adopt this document. MS conducted intense negotiations in the intersessional period ahead of this HLS. The outcome of this is the document to be adopted. As the silence procedure was not broken, I take it the Commission is ready to adopt the document. I invite the HLS to adopt the document: High-level declaration by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the 2024 midterm review, following up to the
Ministerial Declaration of 2019. I see no objections. Outcome Document is adopted. Thank you for your cooperation and collaborative spirit in the preparation of this document. 

President of the UN General Assembly: Great pleasure returning to Vienna for the 67th session of CND. Extend my gratitude to the Chair of CND. Congratulate the Chair and Bureau on elections. Thanks to the UNODC Executive Director in implementing all commitments to address the global drug problem. My message to you today is that we need to supercharge our multilateral cooperation efforts. In every workstream. Including effectively tackling the world drug problem. Complex and multifaceted. Permeates every sector. Breeds corruption, terrorism and violence. 2016 UNGASS was an inestimable opportunity to assess achievements, challenges, and make additional commitments toward combating this scourge. Record level drug cultivation and consumption are beyond alarming. The geo-Political climate is fraught with crisis and conflict. WDP exacerbates existing challenges and conflicts, disproportionately harming those marginalised and vulnerable in our societies. Thoughts with those who have lost lives and loved ones to the global drugs pandemic [….].Lawlessness breeds trafficking. The most impoverished bear the heaviest burden as victims of drug abuse and trafficking. GLobal South endures the harshest consequences. Scourge is immense. No single nation can confront alone. We must shoulder the responsibility collectively, enhancing cooperation within the framework of SDGs. Both engagement with civil society, youth and affected communities; recognising links with other cycles of harm, such as poverty, abuse, and systemic disenfranchisement, critical to craft effective responses. Ferocious emergence of synthetic drugs, particularly fentanyl, must also be decisively tackled in our response to this ever widening crisis. Addressing WDP requires coordinated efforts to approach different dimensions holistically, including protecting human rights, sustainable development, health, as well as the fight against corruption and organised crime. Welcome the Ministerial Declaration adopted by CND, where MS evaluates implementation of commitments. Clear path forward and we must advance its implementation leading up to its final review in 2029. Commend Pledge4Action initiative and encourage you to take pledges towards a brighter future. In closing, cannot overemphasise the importance of reimagining multilateral cooperation to secure a better future for present and future younger generations. As part of this, highlighting implementation of drug commitments and the Summit of the Future are paramount. These processes call upon us to envision how multilateral cooperation can address current issues affecting present and future generations. Encourage you all to engage and follow preparations for the Summit. From New York to Vienna,  efforts to integrate drug control issues in SDG agenda must be synergised and bolstered. We can build equitable, resilient and compassionate futures.

UN Secretary General (video message): The CND is a vital platform for solutions to advance drug policy commitments. More crucial as challenges grow complex. Our world faces record numbers of drug use, deaths and illicit production of many drugs. This session creates an opportunity to address WDP through balanced responses and collective action, countering trafficking, investing in prevention, equal access to health and treatment, protecting human rights and dignity of everyone, through our common position on drugs, we commit to provide support as you work to tackle challenges of illicit drug markets. Put people first by ending stigma, discrimination, stressing prevention and rehabilitation, human rights of people who use drugs, expanding prevention, treatment programmes and health services. Promote SDGs and leave no one behind.

UNODC: Delighted with high level engagement and strong participation. INcluding civil society partners. As you review the implementation of all international commitments, ground discussions in reality. The WDP is ever more complex and contributes to holding back SDG progress. Synthetic drugs have changed the landscape, making it easier to traffick and produce extremely potent and often lethal substances. Drugs like fentanyl are causing a record number of deaths. While clandestine labs are sprouting up in all corners of the world. This phenomenon has added to but not replaced the threat of traditional plant based drugs. Cocaine market is expanding and spreading violence – biggest seizures in recent years in port cities like Antwerp and Rotterdam. Meanwhile, drug production methods and trafficking models are evolving, smaller, more fragmented, and highly specialised and network criminal groups are cooperating across different segments of the supply chain. The Internet is growing as a marketplace for drugs, precursors and chemicals, and technologies. Drugs trade overlaps with conflict violence, and instability. The trade fans the flame of gang violence in Haiti, threatens order in Ecuador. Tandem with other criminal activities in Myanmar’s borders. Complex situations in the Middle east, from Syria, to Lebanon to Iraq are becoming more grave. WDP undermines lives, livelihoods. First line responders are losing their lives every day. Commitments in 2019 are still relevant. As you review them, focus on goals that unite you. Delighted to know you have adopted an Outcome Document despite challenging geopolitical context. The spirit of Vienna prevails. Multilateralism can work. Division breeds inaction and this is a time for action. Commend Chair for Pledge4Action initiative. Looking forward, emphasis areas where action is needed: 1) Right to health – people with DU disorders need access to treatment. Women face greater barriers which intersect with other barriers. Affects people in contact with the criminal justice system, humanitarian settings, people who inject drugs who are more likely to live with HIV and HCV. Drug use disorders amplify harms and risks associated with other disorders. We must close gaps in treatment and care. Approach problems with treatment not punishment. Focus on children too, and adolescentes, more likely to develop disorders than others. We develop collaboration with WHO on overdose prevention, HIV prevention, treatment, and care for people who use drugs in prison. We work with civil society to reach those at risk of being left behind. 2) Help farmers find livelihoods away from drug cultivation. Crucial in Afghanistan where 95% reduction of poppy cultivation without alternative sources of income – and in Latin America and SEA where cultivation increases. We need your support to generate more opportunities. Agile responses to disrupt drug markets. Criminal organisations should be targeted by their common characteristics. Profit motive and flow of money, cybertechnology, firearms and violence. More engagement with private sectors (chemical producers, transportation, tech, financial system). Threats and opportunities of AI. Monitoring darkweb. Avoiding traffickers exploiting machine learning. UNODC supports interdiction efforts. Adapt to new criminal models. 4) Vital importance of science, data, research and evidence. Over the past decade, CND placed 80 substances and precursors on international control. UNODC supports implementing scheduling, supporting laboratories, and UN Toolkit for Synthetic Drugs. We must keep up with the pace of criminal markets. UNODC strives to make global, reliable data available, including through WDR, regional and thematic reports, and cultivation surveys. We ended cooperation to address gaps (mainly in Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Pacific). 5) Urgent need for balanced and collective responses. No amount of policing will end the illicit drug market as long as there’s enormous demand. No amount of prevention, treatment and harm reduction will change the situation if …. No country can secure borders alone. Timeless goal of Conventions: health and wellbeing. Global common ground when international cooperation is needed most. In times of division and tensions, importance of common framework. Conventions are flexible and can be adapted to our time and practices. CND can support implementation today. We can promote responses that protect rights without surrendering the security of our communities to drugs and traffickers. UNODC stands with you for a healthier, safer, more prosperous future.

INCB: Mr Chair, and distinguished ministers excellencies ladies and gentlemen. This road to 2029. comprises recommendations in the ICD annual reports over the period from 2023. Policies in two key areas..Two key areas: First, promote availability of controlled substances while preventing diversion. Secondly, health and evidence based drug policy that take into account human rights and provide responses to drug criminality that are proportionate. INCB contribution takes stock of board efforts since 2019 in implementing conventions and addressing emerging challenges. Supporting states to accurately estimate needs. Modules and seminars. 2022 Annual Report entitled ‘No patient left behind: Progress…’ following up on recommendations in UNGASS Outcome Document. The Board annually reviews 600 estimates, processes over 100 for psychotropic drugs, and thousands of shipments. INCB recommended 25 chemicals for international scheduling since 2019, complementing the scheduling functions over the past 5 years the government’s use of an improved export notification online system for precursor chemicals has prevented the diversion of nearly two tonnes of pseudoephedrine preparations To address the challenges of diversion equipment. New initiatives to facilitate private-public partnerships to prevent diversion of specialised equipment. Our systems have prevented significant amounts of ATS and GBL trafficking. INCB established the GRIDS programme. Cooperation has assisted South Asia governments to identify and arrest dealers in dark web and similar trafficking operations in Europe. Over 250 recommendations published for practical guidance in booklets, self assessment booklets. The number of incidents communicated through the ION project increased to almost 80,000. Some of the concrete ways INCB works with MS to safeguard health and welfare. Stand at the midpoint of implementing SDGs and the 2030 agenda. First section of the INCB contribution outlines how INCB’s work in contributing to projects, particularly SDG3 and SG16. Frustration as a health professional because. Too many people continue to suffer. Lack of access to controlled medicines and preventable substance use disorders. Keep the health and welfare of people and communities at the heart of your deliberations. The Conventions and CND came about from concern to wellbeing and health. INCB pledges its support.

WHO:  Your excellency, Executive Director, excellencies, delegates and friends. The nonmedical use of psychoactive drugs leads to nearly 600,000 deaths a year – largely due to hepatitis, HIV and overdose. These are largely preventable. With the use of evidence based services for prevention, treatment and harm reduction in line with the WHO and UNODC guidance and while minimising the harms related to nonmedical use of controlled substances is important.  Many of them can play a vital role in patient care. Opioid analgesics and psychotropic medicines are indispensable for pain management, palliative care and treatment of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.  However, access to these controlled medications remains largely inadequate, particularly in low and middle income countries.  Additionally, many people who use drugs face barriers to accessing the care they need, and effective treatment is often not available or affordable. The lack of access is made worse by stigma and discrimination, as well as policies and laws that prioritise criminal sanctions over public health needs. It doesn’t have to be either or, we can strike a balance between policies that protect people from the harms of drug use, while enabling access to treatment and care for those in need (…..) Because health is a human right, and so is access to medicines and services to protect it. I thank you 

OHCHR: I very much welcome the opportunity to address this Commission. At such a critical moment for global action on the world drug situation. After decades of following a largely punitive approach, we can see this simply is not working. Not by any metric. The number of people using drugs has sharply risen. Criminalization, including the use of the death penalty, has neither diminished drug use nor deterred drug-related crime. Instead, more and more lives ruined, not just by the use of drugs in itself, but also by the fallout of counterproductive policies. Mass incarceration; communities stigmatized, impoverished and plagued by violence; arbitrary detention; the escalation of lethal force that can descend into extrajudicial killings taking place with impunity. A list that goes on. Representing a roll-call of misery and violations of human rights. It does not have to be this way. We have the evidence of what works. And the means to implement it. With the 2024 mid-term review very much in mind, my Office issued a report last August on human rights challenges related to the global drug problem. Clearly setting out the serious human rights consequences of the “war on drugs”. And highlighting positive developments in the form of drug policy approaches that are health- and rights-centred. Approaches that do not resort to condemning people who use drugs as criminals. But, instead, view their situation through the lens of human dignity and rights. A number of countries have ventured down this path, applying an evidence-based harm reduction approach, and decriminalizing the use of some drugs. In Portugal and Switzerland, for example, decades of decriminalization of personal consumption and possession have lowered drug-use, overdoses and HIV infections. In Colombia, a new national drug policy is anchored in human rights and development. Focusing on improving the living conditions of communities that depend on the drug economy. Targeting prosecutions at those who benefit most from criminal activity while dismantling criminal networks. Pakistan ended capital punishment for drug-related offences last year. I urge all countries to embrace this positive shift to evolve their own approaches. Our report sets out recommendations on how to do this. Building on the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy. We need inclusive and gender sensitive drug policies that ensure access, on a voluntary basis, to medical care, drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services. And which are designed, implemented and evaluated through processes that facilitate the meaningful engagement of people who use drugs, affected communities, youth and civil society organizations. We need urgent action to end discrimination in law enforcement against people of African descent, Indigenous Peoples and marginalized populations. And, as we revitalize efforts towards the 2030 Agenda, we must stop leaving behind people who use drugs, their families and affected communities. This means, as the Commission has recognised, investing in alternative development. We must also address the poverty, lack of opportunities, insecure environments – the whole range of underlying, structural, socioeconomic factors – that increase the risk of people using drugs or becoming involved in the drug trade. As for decriminalization of personal use, if well designed and implemented, this can also be a powerful instrument to ensure better protection of the rights of people who use drugs. Excellencies, colleagues, This mid-term review is a moment of great opportunity. For setting in motion the transformative change that is needed globally on drug policies. I welcome the renewed commitment to human rights in the High Level Declaration, adopted today, along with commitments to evidence-based policies, the mainstreaming of age and gender perspectives, and to the health of individuals, families and communities. In relation to the gaps that the Declaration identifies in meeting international commitments, I urge States, civil society and other stakeholders to implement the recommendations in my Office’s report. And to work with us and the broader UN human rights system to move forward together in embedding an approach to the world drug situation that is as humane as it is effective. Thank you.

Chair:  We will have one minute to allow the president of the General Assembly to leave. Please remain seated. Now let us move to agenda 3B – general debate.  We have over 14x seats attended to the high level segment of the commission.  With over 100 speakers. The commission has divided that the statements in the general debate should not exceed 5 minutes. I appeal to all the speakers that they strictly adhere to the speaking time, as also decided by the Commission, chairs of regional groups will be allotted the speaking time of seven minutes max. The Pledges4Action would also take place during our general debates. If you’re making a pledge, please read out your pledge or the end of your statement within the 5 minutes of speaking. 

Group 77 and China: In Vienna, the rates of commitment continue to work to address and counter the world drug problem.  The group would like to express its appreciation for the commendable efforts of the chairperson and the secretariat for the preparation and organisation of the session. The group of 77 and China now welcomes the convening of the high level segment of the commission and expresses its support for the high level declaration of the CND and on the 2024 midterm review, following the 2019 ministerial declaration agreed by the member states. The group views this as a positive step forward.  It is important for our joint commitment to address and counter the world drug problems, the group would like to express its appreciation for the work carried out in the negotiation process. The group also take a positive note of all initiatives and effects of its member states which contribute to the world to eh commission, in addressing the world drug problem is a common and shared responsibility that should be undertaken in a multilateral setting through effective concrete and increase subregional, regional and international cooperation based on integrated multidisciplinary mutually reinforcing balanced, scientific evidence base and comprehensive approach with a view to promoting group stresses the importance of international cooperation and has companies capacity building initiatives, programmes and activities, provision of equipment and technology and technical assistance, particularly for developing countries in an open, transparent and equitable way to allow them to have sufficient resources to address encountered the world drug problem.  The group remains strongly convinced that the upholding alternative including supporting an effecting UN development system and avoiding creating and entering unilateral coercive measures and actions on the developing countries in accordance with international law and the charter of the UN is essential to proof solidarity international cooperating frame and the international cooperation framework and for the sustained stabilities to address and counter the world drug problem (….) the 1972 protocol, the Convention on psychotropic substances of 1971. The United Nations Convention against illicit trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances of 1988 and other relevant international instruments constitute the cornerstone of the international drug control system. The group reaffirms its committed to ensuring that all aspect of the main reduction and related measures like reduction and related measures and international cooperation are addressed in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the charter of UN international law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states the principle of non-intervention internal affairs of other states or human rights, fundamental freedoms in the current dignity of all individuals and the principles of equal human rights and mutual respect among states. The group reiterates the efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals and effectively address a worldwide problem…and mutually reinforcing The growth nodes with great concern the persistent disparity some progress made in ensuring the access availability and affordability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, particularly for pain relief and palliative care. The group urges all member states to take concrete actions to ensure access availability, availability and affordability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and remove any imposed barriers. The group acknowledges that drug use disorders face challenges that should be addressed effectively through treatment, healthcare, rehabilitation and recovery.  The group recalls the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognises the importance The group underscores the significance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, emphasising the need to support sustainable livelihoods for indigenous peoples and local communities affected by the illicit crop cultivation and drug trafficking. It highlights the importance of promoting domestic economic alternatives through long-term, inclusive, and sustainable development programs aimed particularly at those communities and regions vulnerable to illicit crop cultivation and drug-related activities in both urban and rural settings…..The group points out the detrimental effects of transnational criminal organisations on public security and societal well-being, advocating for a comprehensive approach to combat the spread of these activities. Concerns about the growing threats posed by synthetic drugs to the illicit drug market are raised, with a call for member states to prioritise addressing this challenge. The adverse environmental impacts and the broader consequences of drug-related activities are acknowledged, with a stress on the necessity of addressing these issues and their root causes.  The group calls for ongoing support from the UNODC to assist member states in adopting integrated, multidisciplinary and evidence-based strategies to counter the WDP in line international drug control conventions and other intentional drug policy commitments.   acknowledges the persistent, new, and evolving challenges in drug control, advocating for ambitious, effective, and possibly innovative actions within the framework of the international drug control conventions. Lastly, the group notes the conventions’ flexibility, allowing states to tailor national drug policies to their specific needs and priorities, reaffirming the principle of common and shared responsibility and adherence to international law. The group emphasises the need to integrate gender and age perspectives into drug-related policies and programs, focusing on the well-being and safety of individuals, families, communities, and society, with special attention to women, children, and youth. This includes promoting health and access to treatment. The group expresses concern over the lack of equitable geographical representation and the underrepresentation of developing countries in the UNODC…. on implementing this principle, the progress made, and suggestions for improving member state representation in the UNODC Secretariat. Furthermore, the group, including G77 and China, calls on the international community, especially developed countries, to provide necessary support to enhance efforts to address and counter the world drug problem, underscoring the importance of global cooperation and support.

Group of African States: I have the honour to deliver on behalf of the African group. We align ourselves with the G77 and China statements. Warm congratulations to his excellency for election as chair. We thank the secretariat for excellent preparations for this session as he is tasked with conducting a stock taking review on progress made on 2019 MD and thank you for tireless efforts and leaderships and work to reach consensus and uphold Vienna spirit. We express support for innovative pledges for action to ensure impactful efforts to address WDP. Commend Ghada Waly for able leadership and guiding our efforts to address WDP and strategic vision for Africa 2030. We urge UNODC to provide sufficient financial and technical support for African countries to ensure successful implementation of SDG mandate and agenda 2030. Addressing and countering WDP is common and shared responsibility and we reiterate our commitment to the 2009 Political Declaration, 2014 Ministerial Declaration, 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, and 2019 Ministerial Declaration. We note appreciation of efforts of the African Union to craft collaborative submissions to mid-term review. Welcome African Union plan of action on drug control. We note grave concerns on disparities of accessibility and affordability of controlled substances for pain and palliative care. We urge the UNODC, member states and the private sector, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, to remove barriers in this regard. We are concerned about linkages between organised crime such as terrorism, financial crime, and drug trafficking, and call for collaboration with law enforcement agencies. We take note of the decision to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from schedule 4 and place it in schedule 1 while we note that states have domestic control in this regard. We express concern about the threat of synthetic drugs and urge states to tackle this challenge. We note with concern the increasing non-medical use of medical opioids and note we should consider placing these under control while ensuring access for medical and scientific purposes. We note the increasing use of the dark net and increased trafficking of precursors. We affirm the role of CND as principle decision making body on drugs and treaty mandated roles of INCB and WHO. We commend ED for ensuring geo representation and gender balance in recruitment policy of UNODC. Resolve to review 2029 progress made on commitments and ensure efforts to reach goals in period 2024-2029

Group of Asia-Pacific States: Chair, ED, excellencies, delegates,etc. On behalf of the Asia Pacific group we thank and congratulate the chair. We congratulate other elected members. Extend full support to ED of UNODC and DG of UN Office in Vienna. We work together on collective efforts to tackle drug use. We affirm that UNODC is the principal entity to tackle drug related issues and the CND is the principal fora. We acknowledge with appreciation the adoption of high level declaration and note the work to prepare for this session. We affirm our belief that the world drug problem is a multifaceted challenge with a need for a multidisciplinary approach within the principle of common and shared responsibility. We recognize efforts of national authorities in law enforcement, criminal justice, health and education and recognize the provision of technical assistance for these authorities where necessary. We recognize efforts to counter the world drug problem through demand reduction, supply reduction, and through international collaboration through principles of UN charter and with respect for international law and sovereignty of states as well as principles of equal rights and respect among states. We recognize that efforts to counter the world drug problem and to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are complementary and mutually reinforcing. We recognize the key drug control conventions as the cornerstone of the international drug control system, as well as the 2009 Political Declaration, 2014 Ministerial Declaration, 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, and 2019 Ministerial Declaration. Group fully supports efforts to counter illicit cultivation, production, trafficking and drug supply and demand, as well as precursor chemicals. We note the need to strengthen interregional and international collaboration and exchange of information where appropriate. In the context of this mid term review we reflect on  the achievements and challenges in these commitments from the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. We express with concern the threat of spread of amphetamine type stimulants, especially methamphetamine and new psychoactive substances and non scheduled precursors. We ensure we will work towards comprehensive access to treatment programs in compliance with control conventions. 

Group of Latin American Countries and the Caribbean: GRULAC recognises that despite progress, the WDP continues to pose challenges to health, citizen safety and the wellbeing of our people and countries of the region. The progress in raising awareness on the impact of drug activities on the environment is positive. The WDP has worsened internationally. We must redouble our efforts to find joint solutions to tackle this challenge. Our region is affected by the rapid transformation and expansion of these challenges and the links between illicit drugs and arms trafficking. Undermines the forces of law and order. Drug trafficking and rise of violence, have a negative impact on the well-being of our people. Urgent need to adopt ambitious, innovative, preventive, multidisciplinary, balanced policies in addressing WDP respecting national legislation and on the principle of common and shared responsibility. In keeping with the principles in the Treaties and all relevant instruments that are the keystone of the UN drug control system, and in lights of the UN Charter, international law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we recognise the importance of the critical reviews with scientific basis organised by WHO in contributing to implementing the Treaty-based system. We acknowledge the measures by countries to promote such reviews of substances, products and plants. More integrated responses are needed to tackle the economies linked to illicit drugs and related crimes. Deplore impact on the environment and the damage caused to remote communities and Indigenous peoples. We understand the need to strengthen all efforts towards promoting viable alternatives among affected communities. Particularly those risked being affected by illicit crop cultivation and production of drugs and other illicit activities related to drugs in rural and urban areas, including by developing alternative sustainable and inclusive alternative developments programmes. Indigenous peoples have a right to their traditional medicines, including through their medicinal plants, in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. GRULAC highlights the importance of international cooperation, capacity strengthening programmes and activities, and technical assistance, equipment, technology, etc. In particular for developing countries so that states have sufficient resources to tackle and curb the world drug problem in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. Concern for trafficking of NPS and synthetic drugs that lead to irreversible harm among the youngest and underscore the need to strengthen solutions. Commend the Chair for the Pledge4Action initiative to progress commitments in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. GRULAC is committed to examining, at the CND in 2029, the progress achieved in complying with all international commitments, and review our policy for the health, safety and wellbeing of our peoples. Congratulations on the Outcome Document.

European Union: The following states align with the statement: north macedonia, montenegro, serbia, albania, ukraine, republic of moldova, bosnia, georgia, iceland, lichtenstein, norway and san marino. We witness conflict and violence in many parts of the world. The EU and member states call for respect of the UN Charter and international humanitarian law. Whether in relation to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine or ongoing conflict in the Middle East, Sudan, DRC or elsewhere. EU and MS strongly and unequivocally oppose the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, including drug related offences. Challenges in the World Drug situation are increasing. Recent data on deaths and drug production and trafficking and their consequences are of great concern. 128,000 deaths globally due to drug use disorders. Seizures, particularly on cocaine, are growing. In the EU up by 400% in the last decade. Trafficking and production are at an all time high. At the same time, the sharp rise of NPS comes about with new health challenges. The production of drugs damages the environment. Unequal impact of the world drug situation on vulnerable individuals, families and populations. Access to and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes remains extremely low in many parts of the world, causing suffering for individuals, families and communities. The EU and MS are convinced the situation can be tackled effectively and sustainable only through an evidence based, balanced, multidisciplinary approach that upholñds human rights. The Conventions, international law and UN charter, and particular international human rights law should be cornerstones of international drug policy. And in particular the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document.  Our efforts should contribute to the SDGs. The EU drugs strategy and related action plan set out the EU policy in this field. The European Commission will evaluate the implementation of this action plan to review our action on this. The European Commission recently published a roadmap to fight drug traffcking and organised crime. Priority actions such as launch of European ports Alliance. To safeguard ports from criminal infiltration, targeted actions against criminal networks are essential for enhancing crime prevention. Recognizing drug use primarily as a health issue, it’s acknowledged that no singular cause or solution can address drug use disorders. The EU and its Member States (MS) follow a science-based approach to implement policies covering prevention, early detection and intervention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, social integration, and recovery. Including innovative services such as online treatment, or developing community based programmes and mobile services to reach the most vulnerable populations. Complacency? No. Drug health policies must constantly improve and respond to health challenges. Be innovative. Protect the most vulnerable. The vulnerable, the poor and excluded pay the highest price. Stigmatising drug use is unacceptable and counterproductive, and needs tackling and eliminating. As policy makers, we must listen to people in civil society and lived experience. Access for healthcare for women is more limited than for me and when it comes to stigma, harder, especially if they have children. Women are proportionately more convicted too. Essential role of data, monitoring, scientific research. From July this year, the EMCDDA will become the European Drugs Agency, with a reinforced mandate improving capacity to recacti fto current and future challenges. To implement all commitments, in addressing challenges that the range of drugs are expanding, the EU increases its capacity to react to future challenge sempowrign the Drugs Agency to carry out proactive threat assessment and develop a rapid european drug alert system to complement the early warning system, to contribute safeguarding public health and security. There are many challenges, and jointly we can address them sustainably.

Colombia (video message): Distinguished authorities, ladies and gentlemen delegates, greetings from Colombia, the epicentre of the war on drugs for half a century. The international drug control regime, centred in Vienna, has failed. The latest global drug report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime demonstrates this. Illicit drugs are readily available to all, while controlled medicines do not reach the patients who need them most. In other words, this antiquated and lethargic global system has been unable to destroy the market for illicit substances or promote the market for licit medicines. It insists on pitting the state against the market, thus endangering our countries and our people. This war on drugs has failed mainly due to: one, the increase in fentanyl consumption in the United States, resulting in over 100,000 deaths per year; two, a million murders in Latin America, making it the world’s most violent region due to drug criminalisation; three, tens of millions imprisoned throughout the drug trafficking chain, including peasant farmers who grow coca leaves; and four, the destruction of democracy through corruption and the armed takeover of territories by criminal organisations. In Latin America, the health of our societies is at stake. The risk posed by the use and abuse of illicit drugs, both natural and synthetic, can only be mitigated through a harm reduction policy that prioritises a public health approach. Colombia calls on the membership of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to place the right to health at the centre of its debates. The health of our democracies is at stake. Drug mafias created by prohibition and criminalisation transfer their funds northward to benefit the financial system controlled by major capital, leaving violence and destruction in our global south. They do not want strong institutions to combat them or empowered and educated peoples with their basic needs met. They need them weak to corrupt them, and they need them poor and subjugated to put them to work cultivating, producing, and trafficking. Colombia urges the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to recognise that arms trafficking, money laundering, and corruption are part of the driving force behind the global phenomenon of illicit drugs. Colombia implemented all the wrong formulas imposed on us from abroad for a war on drugs. We sacrificed lives, gave soldiers and police an impossible mission, wasted our budget, turned our peasant, indigenous, and Afro communities into enemies, violated rights massively and systematically, contributed to the destruction of our ecosystems, and sacrificed our development for a war desired by others. What the world calls the global drug problem reflects primarily the loneliness of millions in developed societies today addicted to drug consumption and the lack of opportunities for communities within the framework of licit economies. There is not a drug problem but one of development and existence. The denialist spirit prevailing in the face of the multilateral drug system’s shipwreck is forcing countries to respond within the framework of flexible interpretation of conventions. Colombia is doing this on two levels. Internally, our national drug policy places the fundamental rights of Colombians at the heart of our action. Coca leaf is part of our history, and it is not the problem you have in Vienna. We will provide oxygen to the peasants who cultivate coca leaves and suffocate those who profit from trafficking cocaine. This drug policy is part of the search for total peace within and beyond borders, peace with local communities, and peace with nature, with the right to life above all. Internationally, Colombia has initiated a process of rethinking the approach to the global drug situation. We will start in our region of Latin America and the Caribbean and aim to take this debate to the rest of the world. A former president of the United States said, opening quotation marks, “with the United Nations when possible, without the United Nations when necessary,” closing quotation marks. We believe that everything should be done with the United Nations, but not with a United Nations that is deaf, blind, and silent.

Colombia: This group of member states convey the following messages at the opening of the HLS of the 2024 midterm review. We are gathering at a time when the international community needs urgent action against drug challenges that endanger the health, human rights, wellbeing and security of peoples. Then demand for and supply of drugs have reached unprecedented levels with illicit trafficking and manufacturing leading to violence, causing people to fear and lack of protections and lack of trust in their government’s capacity to protect them. At the same time, despite their indispensability, millions of people suffer because of inadequate access to and availability of controlled medicines due to affordability, and other system obstacles. In many communities, illicit drugs are available, controlled drugs aren’t. This leads us to conclude the international drug control system as currently applied needs rethinking based on concrete evidence to make progress together. Drug related organised crime thrives worldwide, disrupts governments, diminishes democratic institutions, incentivises corruption, leverages the internet, undermines rule of law. Proceeds of crime exacerbate an array of illegal economies including human trafficking and crimes against the environment. Disrupt societies, harms the functioning ofs tates, economic costs, hindering the achievement of the SGDs. Patterns are changing rapidly. Synthetic drugs are expanding at an alarming pace. Global threat against young people. Extreme lethality and ease of traffic. Unprecedented overdose deaths and poisonings. Ultimately, human rights issues directly impact the health and wellbeing of our people. The number of people with drug use disorders: 39.5 million. 45% increase in the last decade. Evidence shows these disorders are multifactorial health conditions that need rights based inclusive harm reduction healthcare, social protection, rehabilitation, and protection within the context of health systems that provide non-stigmatising approaches. Those in need of treatment of services face significant obstacles. Importance of harm reduction approaches grounded in human rights and gender perspective. To contribute to the realisation of gender equality and enjoyment of all human rights. Putting people first is part of our broader efforts, prioritising public health, developing prevention, eliminating stigma associated with drug use disorders, and ensuring access to availability of controlled substances for medical purposes. Our global policy should be to treat people with dignity and uphold their human rights. It should increase viable economic alternatives, including through alternative developments, including economic solutions for people of african descent, indigenous people, homeless population, youth, women…at risk for drug related activities. We regret the impact of drug use and trafficking on marginalised people. International guidelines on human rights drug policy is important. Welcome report by OCHRH as a tool for further discussion. And the presence of representatives from UN bodies here in Vienna. Important step to avoid working in silos. Enhance exchanges between Vienna, Geneva an dNew York. We commend civil society’s role in developing effective policies. We appeal for global solidarity and cooperation to relieve the harms of this worldwide phenomenon. If we want to impact households around the globe, transformation of our vision on drug policy. Realistic evidence based assessment and pragmatic response. We resolve to jointly review and resassres the international drug control system to ensure that issues of implementation are addressed and that we rightly focus on protecting the rights and wellbeing if humankinds, IN this difficult decisive moment, let’s do this for future generations. Despite the challenging social and political environment we face today, let’s unite for our people. Starting here and now. Now allow me to voice the pledges and commitment on behalf of COlombia: 1) Design and implement an international harm reduction network so that this approach becomes a lynchpin of global drug policy. 2) Adopt pragmatic approach that protects rights

Bolivia (Plurinational State of): Natural coca leaf is like an emblem that protects the identity of the ancestral Andean Masonic people’s brothers and sisters. In 1961, the United Nations organisation took the political decision without scientific basis that the coca leaf is the same as cocaine. Classifying the natural coca leaf for over six decades as a drug was an error and a scam. In order to monitor analyse the industrialization of the natural coca leaves for energy drinks, and pharmaceuticals without in any way stamping out the use of coca leaf for drugs for increased crime, my man for murder and for dirty profits for the transboundary industrial peoples living in the territories of Bolivia Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.  The natural coca leaves.  There is a profound social purpose conciliatory in nature, providing equity and respect among peoples.  Classifying for over 6 decades as a drug was an error and a scam, in order to monopolise the industrialization for energy drinks and pharmaceuticals without stamping out the use of coca leaves for crimes… murder and dirty profits. For us, living in the territories in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, the coca leaf has a profound purpose – equity, respect among peoples. This proof, that the coca leaf is not a drug, is gaining ground in our collective word . The first step was decriminalising the chewing of coca leaves in our national territories. It cannot be considered a drug, for millennia, it has been used to support the survival of our civilization, an excellent therapeutic and nutritional guide and spiritual tool. It is a perfect genetic masterpiece of mother earth – Our request was submitted and is being reviewed by the WHOs relevant committee. This is an excellent opportunity to engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples and forge bridges between academic and natural medicine. We have reaffirmed our commitment to the drug controls system – based on the three conventions that control illicit production of coca leaf. In turn, in the reservation under the single conventions, we have ratified that Bolivia will take necessary steps to … we restated our strategic commitments in our national counter-drugs policy with results we shall present during a side event later today. Freeing the coca leaf will generate great health benefits and opportunities for marketing and industrialization, for humankind. 

Spain (video message): Distinguished chair, delegates, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings. As the Minister of Health of the Spanish government, I am honoured to address the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, a pivotal multilateral forum of which Spain, as a member since the First Vienna session, fully aligns with the declaration delivered by the European Union.  We gather here to engage in the midterm review of the 2019 ministerial declaration. I wish to emphasise the importance of a shared roadmap to evaluate the progress we have achieved and to outline future steps towards fulfilling our commitments. In Spain, our national addiction strategy is spearheaded by the government’s delegation for the National Drug Plan. This strategy is the result of a comprehensive consensus among public governance, the scientific community, civil society, and both the public and private sectors. Through our collaborative efforts, we have been able to establish priorities and design tailored responses within our national drug plan, demonstrating our commitment to addressing addiction comprehensively.  This is a balanced approach and actions are based on full respect for human rights and are aimed at creating better awareness, safety and health of all people – free from discrimination and stigmatisation. We place importance on the most vulnerable. These findings underscore the critical need to address drug-related disorders, which often coexist with other mental health issues. This represents a particularly vulnerable group within our population, including young individuals. Furthermore, international cooperation is essential, based on shared responsibility and commitments outlined in international treaties and laws. Our collaborative efforts extend across various regions, with a particular focus on the Americas.  We are committed to strengthening partnerships between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), through a series of programs funded by the European Union. On a multilateral level, we provide both technical and financial support to various projects. Additionally, we participate in the coalition against synthetic drugs led by the United States, underscoring our dedication to tackling the global challenge of drug-related disorders through international collaboration and support.A number of programs are funded by the EU and we are providing technical and financial support to a number of initiatives, worldwide. The Ministry of Health emphasises the necessity for decisions to be informed by reliable data and scientific evidence, particularly in the realms of prevention and treatment of drug-related issues. Highlighting the importance of political support and adequate resources for these activities, Spain plans to address this topic further during a side event next Monday. In support of the “Pledge4Action” initiative launched by the chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Spain commits to enhancing the implementation of international drug policy commitments and tackling health service and drug treatment challenges. This commitment includes actively promoting the development of treatments based on scientific evidence, adhering to international norms and standards, and focusing cooperation efforts on countries in the Latin American region. Spain will continue its collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, particularly in prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, by providing institutional and technical support, and actively contributing financial support through to 2024, with intentions to sustain funding into 2025. As the Minister of Health, I extend our best wishes for success in our ongoing and future endeavours.

Kazakhstan:  Dear colleagues, it is an honour to participate in this commission’s review of our international policy commitments. Kazakhstan, as a signatory to all three major narcotics conventions, steadfastly adheres to the principles of the UN Charter in addressing global challenges. Nationally, our approach transcends enforcement, emphasising respect for human dignity, which aligns with our President’s guidance and the essence of the 2019 ministerial declaration. Last year, Kazakhstan introduced a comprehensive plan to counter drug trafficking, developed in close collaboration with local experts, the UNODC, and other international bodies. This plan is grounded in compassion and understanding, while also updating law enforcement techniques. Its implementation has already led to significant achievements, including the arrest of numerous traffickers and the dismantling of 81 illicit labs. This strategy exemplifies our commitment to both humane principles and effective action in the battle against drug-related issues. Trafficking transcends national borders and personal boundaries. International collaboration has a critical role in addressing this challenge. We must address root causes and tackle impacts on communities. Our priorities in combating trafficking in central asia are: monitoring the infamous northern route, confiscation of synthetic drugs have increased more than 10 fold that poses a major risk to our national security. Therefore we will convene with UNODC next month and join efforts to address these synthetic drug threats. Addressing the situation in Afghanistan, it’s important to note that international isolation only worsens the country’s humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis, potentially leading Afghan farmers to return to cultivation practices. In response, we are actively engaging in meaningful multilateral dialogue with the de facto authorities in Kabul, focusing on security issues, including drug trafficking. This approach aims to address both the immediate challenges and the underlying causes contributing to the crisis. In this context, I propose the establishment of the UN centre for AD in Central Asia to promote synergy among international organisations. We stand ready to engage with stakeholders in the spirit of good faith and multilateralism. Drug trafficking carries harmful implications for youth. We hope for a drug free world. In addresing the challmegs of drug treatment, I declare that Kazakhstan will build specialized health and rehabilitation facilities. I am honored to joined by the whole family of those fighting against illicit drug trafficking.

Honduras: The government of Honduras restates our commitment to the three drug control treaties, political declaration, UNGASS 2016 outcome document to combat world drug problem, and Ministerial Declaration of 2019. We recognize the need to cooperate to combat drugs. At this time it is clear that we need joint efforts and a resounding response and equally fundamental that we address other crucial issues such as poverty, health, education, based on respect for human rights. Need to ensure we can tackle multifaceted challenges effectively. Purpose of our democratic and socialist government is to forge an equitable country, however the world drug problem poses significant obstacles and without cooperation progress is unlikely. We are here to take stock and learn. Recognize the link between production and consumption and need to tackle the increase in production. Need to promote social wellbeing and protection of our people. We face multiple challenges as a country of transit but we are fully committed to this global challenge which has had severe impact on our region, compelling families to leave their homes. We are committed to tackling challenges of organised crime over the past dark years in Honduras where trafficking invaded the state to unprecedented degree. Our country has made headlines due to the conspiracy of the former president to traffic drugs into the United States. This was forged by funds from the state, leading to electoral fraud and tens of thousands of deaths among the civilian population. This was initially stemming from a coup in 2009 overthrowing the President. In this time we shifted from being a country of transit to a producer country and we are committed to making Honduras a safe country to prevent and combat trafficking once again. We have announced flagship interventions and have achieved a reduction of 11 points in homicide rate, to 41 per 100,000 people. We have announced a state of partial emergency in conflict areas under cartel control. We have eradicated 4.5 million coca plants, 4.7 tonnes of cocaine, 11.5 tonnes of weed, as well as 11,000 doses of fentanyl, highlighting the need to tackle the increase in synthetic drugs. We request the UN to establish a mechanism to tackle corruption. To this end the General Assembly adopted a resolution mandating Secretary General Antonio Guterres to implement this mechanism and continue to make progress to this end. We see multilateralism as a key component to tackling the scourge of drugs. We hope to build a more equitable country and equally tackle difficulties caused by shortage of controlled substances for medical use. We urge protection of public health for all. My country states its commitment to reduce trafficking in drugs, precursors and money laundering to mitigate impact on public health and negative impact of drug use. We hope to continue to contribute to regional efforts to combat drug use and combating transnational crime. 

Albania: The World Drug Problem poses a significant threat to countries and societies, impacting social and economic conditions and threatening the rule of law. The increasing complexity of the drug market exposes users to a wider array of psychoactive substances, which can lead to severe health risks, including death and poisonings. Notably, many drugs are now leading causes of death among middle-aged citizens, signifying the complex challenges spreading throughout society and placing a massive toll on public health and the criminal justice system. The urgency of addressing these issues is underscored by the support of the United States, with Secretary Blinken expressing concern and urging global action to combat the synthetic drug threat—a commitment we share. Addressing this requires investments in treatment facilities and a robust criminal framework. We are actively engaged in combating drug trafficking, focusing on collaboration among authorities and cross-border initiatives. However, challenges remain in detecting emerging threats and providing adequate treatment and support for recovery.  We continue our efforts to harmonise our legislation with EU codes, aiming to protect security, health, and prosperity, particularly among the youth. Efforts to dismantle drug distribution networks in schools have led to prosecutions related to cannabis cultivation. We are aligning our efforts with international efforts and pledge to establish by 2025 a national early warning system to continuously update the list of drugs posing harm to public health, and by 2026, a national drug observatory to analyse and process drug-related data to reduce both drug demand and supply. These initiatives will be supported through close collaboration with international partners, such as UNODC, INCB, EMCDDA, and the global coalition to address  synthetic drug threats. A shared responsibility is essential to ensure prosperity for all.

South Africa: We align with the statements of the Africa Group and G77 and support the initiative led by the US to form a global coalition against synthetic drug threats. We express our objection to the ongoing violence and the disregard for international law in Gaza, emphasising the necessity for an immediate ceasefire, access to humanitarian aid, and life-saving medicine. The enduring solution lies in the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, based on the 1977 borders and in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and international law. Reflecting on progress since the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, South Africa reiterates its commitment to the three drug conventions, complemented by our national drug master plan aimed at addressing and countering the World Drug Problem (WDP). In our efforts, we hosted our third national summit on substance abuse and international trafficking to reduce the demand, supply, and harm caused by the use, misuse, and abuse of drugs. The persistent and emerging challenges underscore the need for international collaboration, particularly on issues affecting access to controlled substances for medical use. The prevention of access to medicine contradicts international standards, and the challenge of affordability must be addressed. We welcome efforts by the African Union to expand local manufacturing of these essential commodities.  We also take this opportunity to announce our nomination of Professor Zingala (?) for President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and seek support for her candidacy.  Recognizing the gap in drug treatment and prevention efforts, South Africa pledges to implement evidence-based strategies for treatment and prevention within the next 12 months, underscoring our commitment to addressing this challenge effectively..

Chair: It is my pleasure to first give the floor to two representatives, Pauline Laurie and Elias Hague who would address the meeting on behalf of the Youth Forum held on 12th and 13th March 2024. 

Youth Forum: We, a group of 35 youths from 27 countries, stand before you to express our concern about the dangers of substance use. It’s not only harmful to our health but also to our societies. We highlight the importance of understanding the root causes and vulnerabilities associated with substance use to effectively implement solutions. Acknowledging that our resources are limited, we believe that an approach based on evidence can guide us toward long-term social well-being, increased global productivity, and healthier lifestyles. No one should be left behind in this endeavour. Having witnessed the harmful effects of drug use among our peers, we stress the need for substance use prevention to catalyse change. By offering youth leadership roles, facilitating entry into peer-to-peer networks, and effective monitoring, we can pave the way for a better tomorrow. Without your support, achieving our goals is impossible. We invite you to empathise with us, to imagine what it’s like to be young and witness our futures threatened by dangers beyond our control. Increasing youth engagement falls under your responsibility, ensuring that we are empowered to stand as your equal partners. We advocate for the establishment of systematic youth inclusion grounded on consent-based processes. We urge decision-makers to collaborate closely with NGOs and social groups, providing substantial support including funding and other resources. Investing in early and youth-centred prevention strategies is essential for our collective well-being and future.  We can create a brighter and healthier future for all. We have the passion and we have the heart – give us the support and change will happen. 

UNODC-WHO Informal Scientific Network: Good afternoon, everyone. I serve as the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH (??). Today, I represent the UNODC’s informal scientific network. I want to commend the youth for their passionate and compelling call for the prevention of addiction and substance use disorders, which is precisely the focus of my statement today. Adolescence is a critical time of growth and transitions, often marked by the risk of experimenting with substances. Early substance use not only increases the likelihood of developing substance use disorders but can also disrupt neurodevelopment and educational achievements, underscoring the crucial need for prevention. Despite the availability of evidence-based prevention interventions, as outlined in the UNODC-WHO International Standards for the Prevention of Drug Use, their implementation remains woefully inadequate. We need more resources to sustain implementation. Mental health conditions are key to look at – screening for comorbidities in adolescence can prevent substance use disorders. The factors that heighten the risk for substance use and substance use disorders include untreated mental health conditions. Screening adolescents for comorbid mental health conditions, so they can receive early treatment, can help in preventing substance use disorders and enhance outcomes for those already affected. Evidence-based treatment interventions, aligned with the UNODC-WHO International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders, are readily available. These treatments range from behavioural and psychosocial interventions to pharmacological treatments if necessary, including the treatment of comorbid mental health disorders.   There’s a critical need for more investment in adolescent-friendly and safe treatment and support services that are non-discriminatory, punitive-free, equitable, and accessible. Additionally, expanding the qualified prevention and treatment workforce is essential. Digital interventions for prevention and treatment hold promise for reaching more adolescents but must be closely monitored to ensure their safety and effectiveness. We need to increase our understanding on adolescent substance use. Quoting our own resolution, children are our most precious asses and we must protect them. Governments must put efforts into putting theories in practice. I am going to read the statement of the UNODC consultation with (help) People who use drugs disproportionately are impacted by hepatitis – C being the most common reason for death (?). Criminalization and over-policing of drug users hinder their access to healthcare, while insufficient funding and implementation of harm reduction services elevate the risks of overdose, HIV, and viral hepatitis. Stigma and discrimination against drug users, particularly affecting women, young people, indigenous people, and those in prison, marginalise them further, violating their human rights. Moreover, the exclusion of communities from the research, policy formulation, and the planning, execution, and evaluation of harm reduction strategies makes these programs less effective.  Our consultations have underscored that needle and syringe programs, opioid agonist therapy, and naloxone for overdose management are critical components of a person-centred, evidence-based response to HIV and hepatitis. Countries that have scaled up these services and uphold human rights see significant reductions in HIV and hepatitis transmission rates among people who inject drugs, without an increase in drug use or related harms. Therefore, we urge the CND to reaffirm its political commitment to a sustained public health response aimed at drug users to curtail the intolerable rates of overdose mortality and transmission of HIV and hepatitis. We advocate for action based on evidence, continued support for data collection, research, innovation, and community leadership.  We call upon the CND to renew its commitment to people who use drugs to prevent the unacceptable levels of mortality and blood borne spread of viruses. To increase collaboration with the widest possible partners, especially those historically excluded, we must fund the implementation of harm reduction programs. Only like this will we truly be on our way to putting people first and leaving none behind.

VNGOC/NYNGOC: Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates, excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen, thank you for allowing me to speak today. I am here to represent both the Vienna and New York NGO Committees on Drugs. This past year has been particularly challenging yet remarkably successful in terms of membership growth for the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, reaching a milestone of 400 members globally. Despite facing legitimate concerns about the diminishing space for meaningful civil society engagement, especially exacerbated by COVID-19 in drug policy processes, we have successfully reversed this trend, enhancing civil society’s presence across many areas, including at the UN level.  Last year marked a significant collaboration with the European NGO Committee on Drugs, working together to ensure the most inclusive civil society engagement for the 2024 midterm review. Together, we selected 36 civil society speakers for thematic discussions in October and December, and 11 speakers for the midterm review itself. Through extensive consultations, including a global online survey and regional consultations, we developed a global civil society report published in February as an official contribution.  I am pleased to share key insights from this report, which reflects contributions from over 200 NGOs worldwide, covering a broad spectrum of expertise and perspectives on drug-related issues. The report underscores the critical importance of meaningful civil society engagement in drug policy formulation and implementation at all levels. It identifies several key areas for action: capacity building and public health training beyond the civil society sector, investment in evidence-based prevention interventions, improved access to harm reduction, treatment, recovery services, and controlled medicines. It also highlights the need to address root causes of drug-related issues, such as poverty, structural violence, and lack of access to education and healthcare. A shift towards health-oriented policies, greater coherence between the international drug control system and human rights obligations, and prioritizing quality and non-discrimination in drug policy are also emphasized.  This report is not a consensus document but a compilation of diverse civil society discussions and perspectives on drug-related challenges. It aims to enrich dialogue among all stakeholders and contribute to developing more effective, balanced, and humane drug policies. Additionally, a significant achievement includes our collaboration with the African Union Commission and UNODC in launching the African civil society platform.  These efforts and findings reflect our collective commitment to fostering a more inclusive, informed, and effective approach to addressing the complex issues surrounding drug policy globally(….)  In closing, I wish to express profound gratitude to all board members of the Vienna and New York NGO Committees, whose relentless dedication has been instrumental in preparing for the high-level segment and the 2024 midterm review. Special thanks are also extended to Portugal, Slovenia, and the United States for their contributions to this effort, along with the UNODC Civil Society Unit, the African Union Commission, the European Commission, the African Civil Society Forum on Drugs, the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs, the American Coalition on Drug Policies, and our Vienna NGO Committee working groups, particularly the regional ones, and…NGO from Argentina for their support in collating civil society inputs for the midterm review. Our efforts would not have been as impactful without the support of many others whose contributions are deeply appreciated.  I extend my gratitude to the members of the Vienna and New York NGO Committees, and all civil society organisations, including those working under challenging conditions in conflict zones, dedicated to enhancing the well-being of their communities. Your efforts are recognized and valued. Furthermore, on behalf of the Vienna NGO Committee and the New York NGO Committee, I pledge our ongoing commitment to collaborate with member states and relevant UN bodies to bolster meaningful civil society participation across all areas of drug policy. Our members are eager to continue endorsing evidence-based, public health-oriented strategies to navigate the complexities of the global drug situation.  Lastly, it’s my honour to submit over 50 pledges from civil society organisations to you, Mr. Chair…to our collective resolve to address drug-related challenges. Thank you

UNAIDS:  It is a great honour to stand among leaders whose decisions have the power to save lives, combat social exclusion, and safeguard public health for all. As leaders, you possess the capability to fulfil the collective commitment to eliminate AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, ensuring that everyone can access the HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care services they need. However, current laws and policies often further marginalise people who use drugs, who are subject to severe penalties in 145 countries and face the death penalty in 35 countries. This stigma and fear deter individuals from seeking health services, significantly affecting those in dire need of them.  Shockingly, people who use drugs are seven times more likely to contract HIV compared to the general adult population. Moreover, women who use drugs face almost double the risk of HIV infection than their male counterparts. The current approach of penalising drug use exacerbates harm, pushing the most marginalised to the fringes of society and hindering global efforts to end AIDS and promote health for all.  Yet, this scenario is not inevitable; it can be changed. Evidence shows that effective strategies exist. For instance, Estonia, which led Europe in new HIV cases due to injecting drug use in 2012, witnessed a dramatic decrease to just five new infections in 2021 related to drug use. This transformation underscores the impact of implementing evidence-based approaches to HIV prevention and care, highlighting the potential for positive change when supportive policies and interventions are adopted.   Estonia achieved its remarkable turnaround by decriminalising the possession of drugs for personal use, prioritising public health, investing in harm reduction, and placing communities at the centre of their approach. Similarly, Ghana has recently taken steps to remove criminal penalties for the possession of drugs for personal use, witnessing early benefits to public health from these changes. The evidence is clear: stigmatisation exacerbates the pandemic, whereas harm reduction and the upholding of human rights save lives and propel countries towards more effective, evidence-based drug policies.  What would an effective, harm-reducing policy framework for drug policy look like? It would entail decriminalising the possession of drugs for personal use, investing in HIV prevention strategies, including harm reduction initiatives led by people who use drugs, and involving these individuals in policymaking that impacts their lives. This approach aligns with the political declaration on HIV/AIDS, the global AIDS strategy, the sustainable development goals, and recommendations by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The success demonstrated by communities and countries leading in this area underscores the viability of these approaches.  The critical question we face is whether we, as a global community, are willing to prioritise evidence over prejudice, inclusion over exclusion, and laws that support health and well-being over those that inflict harm. Formulating policies to ensure universal access to essential health services is a matter of justice, not a privilege. Given the high stakes, it is imperative that we act with courage. Thank you.

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