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Round-up Release

UNIS/NAR/838
19 March 2004


United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs Concludes Session, Calls for Enhanced Drug Control Efforts

VIENNA, 19 March (UN Information Service) -- The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the central policy-making body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters, concluded its forty-seventh session in Vienna today.

“The Commission took note of progress made in the reduction of opium cultivation in the Golden Triangle and coca cultivation in the Andean region. At the same time, it addressed new threats and challenges, such as the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS among the drug-injecting population in Eastern Europe, Central and South East Asia, as well as in China; an upsurge in synthetic drugs production, trafficking and abuse; mounting evidence of the close connection between trafficking in drugs and human beings, organized crime and terrorism,” said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in his closing remarks. “As the world drug problem evolves, staying the course is not good enough: our strategy has to adjust to meet newly emerging threats.”

The session recommended the adoption of fourteen resolutions. Some of the proposals include:

  • Enhanced prevention of the drug-related spread of HIV/AIDS. The Commission notes that 10 per cent of all people infected with this deadly disease are injecting drug abusers, and sharing of needles, syringes or other infected equipment is a major route for HIV transmission.
  • A call for a more efficient control of precursors used in the illicit drug manufacture. States that do not have mechanisms for the real-time exchange of information related to precursor control are invited to put them in place. Law enforcement agencies need to focus on links between drugs and precursors smuggling networks in order to plan appropriate interdiction activities.
  • A request to UNODC to provide greater assistance to countries emerging from conflict in their drug control and crime prevention efforts. Those countries are more vulnerable to the threat of organized criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking.
  • A call to enhance financial and technical support for counter-narcotic efforts in Afghanistan. As the world’s largest producer of illicit opium and its derivative heroin, the country needs assistance in creating sustainable alternative livelihoods for a population dependant on an opium economy.
  • A request to UNODC to undertake a global survey on cannabis and work on a strategy to eradicate cannabis crop.
  • One of the resolutions urges Member States to identify and dismantle Internet Websites used for unauthorized trade in internationally controlled drugs. CND pointed to a need for rules and regulations governing the sale of drugs on the Internet.

Sixty representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended the session. On 17 March, an NGO Forum was held with nine organizations from Europe and the United States presenting their work in drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation. Priorities in international drug policy were also discussed. The meeting called for increased interaction between the UNODC and the NGO community on concrete activities that can alleviate drug addiction.

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