Commission on Narcotic Drugs passes 18 resolutions and places HIV and drug use at the heart of the global agenda
15 March 2013 - The 56th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) closed today in Vienna after five days of discussions on issues ranging from international cooperation in combating drugs to public health and safety concerns, including the threat of new psychoactive substances. Over 1.000 representatives from Member States and civil society, as well as high level speakers and government ministers from across the globe attended the meetings.
With 18 resolutions on international drug control passed, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, highlighted the importance of the CND as the building blocks for crafting an international response to illicit drugs and defining the international drug control system of the 21st Century. One of the resolutions concerning the preparations for a high-level review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action in 2014 was described by Fedotov as "a milestone in our collective journey, which starts … next year at the CND, and continues at the special session on drugs at the UN General Assembly in 2016." These reviews will help refine the international community's approach to illicit drugs in years to come.
HIV and drug use at the heart of the global agenda
At the CND opening on Monday, 11 March, Fedotov stated that illicit drugs and crime were roadblocks to the rule of law and to democracy, representing a clear threat to the stability and security of entire regions and to economic and social development. He also placed HIV and drug use at the heart of the global agenda and said that human rights and public health must be at the core of the international response to this issue: "HIV transmission through injecting drug use continues to be one of the main unresolved challenges of the international community. Widespread stigma, discrimination and lack of access to evidence-informed HIV services are among the key challenges".
On Tuesday, 12 March, a side event chaired by UNODC Director of the Division for Operations and Global Coordinator for HIV/AIDS, Aldo Lale-Demoz, explored the opportunities and challenges facing women who use drugs and how to make care and support services more gender-responsive. Moreover, a draft resolution calling for the intensification of efforts to reduce HIV to attain the targets of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS was discussed and adopted during this year's CND.
UNODC launches new publications
The CND is the central policy-making body within the United Nations system dealing with illicit drugs and is the governing body for the work of UNODC in this area. During this year's session, UNODC presented its new International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, which summarize the currently available scientific evidence and identify the major components and features of an effective national drug prevention system. The document describes interventions that have been proven to be effective in various countries, broken down by age category, and is intended to guide policymakers worldwide to develop programmes, policies and systems that are a truly effective investment in the future of children, young people, families and communities.
UNODC also launched at the CND a technical report on the challenges presented by new psychoactive substances, sometimes referred to as 'legal highs', which are multiplying in numbers and becoming more widespread geographically. Defined as "substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation, that are not controlled by the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat", their use is often linked to health problems.