Director General/Executive Director
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the 2015 Scientific Consultation, hosted once again by UNODC.
It is a pleasure to have so many scientists and experts here with us today.
I would also like to thank our partners from the WHO and other international organizations for joining us.
The UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem will take place in just a few months' time.
In their deliberations towards the UNGASS, Member States have repeatedly emphasized the importance of balanced and comprehensive drug control policies, focused on health, prevention of drug use and treatment of drug use disorders.
The need for a response to drug use and drug dependence that is based on scientific evidence is also included in the 2009 Political Declaration, in which Member States reiterated their "commitment to promote, develop, review or strengthen effective, comprehensive, integrated drug demand reduction programmes, based on scientific evidence and covering a range of measures".
As the UN Secretariat's lead entity in assisting countries to address illicit drugs, organized crime and related challenges, UNODC continues to support a truly balanced international policy on drugs, focused on public health, prevention, treatment and care, within the framework of the three international drug conventions, in full compliance with human rights standards.
Working with a community of experts, UNODC has developed and disseminated the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, which have been recognized by Member States as a useful tool to promote evidence based prevention strategies.
In the field of drug treatment, UNODC's long-standing partnership with the WHO has been formalized under our joint programme on drug dependence treatment and care.
This programme is founded on the complementary mandates, experience, competencies and networks of each organization, to develop concerted action towards evidence-based drug dependence treatment and care services in response to the needs of people.
As part of this ongoing joint programming, and in partnership with WHO, we are also developing International Standards of Treatment of Drug Disorders.
An essential part of our overall efforts is helping to ensure that the available science can be taken into account by policymakers, and that people can receive care and treatment based on the most up-to-date science, as with any other health condition.
We must also work together to dispel ignorance, and eliminate stigma, discrimination and marginalization of people who use drugs and who need support.
This Scientific Consultation can help to advance these goals by providing a space for experts to share their research and views on the most urgent and crucial issues related to the science of drug use prevention, and treatment of drug dependence.
The Consultation builds on the Informal International Scientific Network launched by UNODC at the High Level Review in March 2014, bringing together a group of prominent scientists who are working very actively in support of Member States, UNODC and preparations for the UNGASS.
The Scientific Consultation also responds to the CND resolution, adopted at its last session in March, calling for strengthening cooperation with academia and promoting scientific research.
As the international community works towards the UNGASS, it is important that we continue to focus health-related initiatives on the human dimension, and seek to promote strategies that link science, policy, clinical practice and grass root interventions.
Thank you for your contributions to this process so far, and I look forward to hearing the results of your discussions.
I wish you a fruitful debate. Thank you.