The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 9(I) in 1946, to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. In 1991, the General Assembly (GA) expanded the mandate of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the UNODC. ECOSOC resolution 1999/30 requested the CND to structure its agenda with two distinct segments: a normative segment for discharging treaty-based and normative functions; and an operational segment for exercising the role as the governing body of UNODC.

The CND meets annually when it considers and adopts a range of decisions and resolutions. Intersessional meetings of the CND are regularly convened to provide policy guidance to UNODC. Towards the end of each year, the CND meets at a reconvened session to consider budgetary and administrative matters as the governing body of the United Nations drug programme.

At the ministerial segment of its 62nd session in 2019, the Commission adopted the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on strengthening actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem. In the Declaration, Member States resolved to review in the Commission in 2029 the progress made in implementing the policy commitments, with a mid-term review in 2024. The Commission works on the follow-up to the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, with a view to accelerating the implementation of all international drug policy commitments.