Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director


Remarks at the opening of the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

13 March 2017


Distinguished delegates,


Welcome to the 60th session of the CND. This is your first meeting since the milestone UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem.

As we just heard from the Secretary-General, the UNGASS has reinforced a forward-looking and more comprehensive approach to the world drug problem.

The CND-led, purposeful and inclusive preparations for UNGASS have paved the way to the unanimous adoption of its outcome document.

And the Commission has since been pursuing a follow-up process  based on this consensus, bringing together all stakeholders.

Today we have a large community gathered in Vienna, contributing to the successful work of the Commission, including UN Member States, many intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives of youth groups and the scientific community.

A special welcome goes to our colleagues from the UN family. It is my particular pleasure to welcome WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan.

Margaret and I just met in Geneva a few weeks ago to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and WHO, which will further strengthen our long-standing partnership to promote health and science-based and rights-based approaches to drug challenges.

I also welcome INCB President Werner Sipp to our meeting.

We have with us today UNODC's newest goodwill ambassador on the rule of law for Southeast Asia, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.

In her new role she is helping to raise further awareness of the links between drugs, criminal justice reform and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

I can't miss this opportunity to commend the Chair of the current session, Ambassador Angell-Hansen, for her leading role, and to thank Ambassador Moitinho for his tireless efforts in facilitating the post-UNGASS work of the Commission.

The follow up process, which is focusing on practical implementation of commitments, under all thematic areas agreed at UNGASS, continues to show the strength of the CND as the policymaking body of the UN with prime responsibility for drug control.

Furthermore, it has highlighted the fact that balanced, evidence-based approaches in line with the three international drug control conventions are mutually supportive and reinforcing.

You may always count on UNODC in putting these approaches into action.

Through our global, regional and country programmes, and through initiatives like Networking the Networks and others, we are building bridges between regions, linking countries as well as regional and global organizations along major drug trafficking routes.

We are also seeking to strengthen coordination mechanisms to address abuse of new technologies by drug traffickers, and target illicit financial flows.

UNODC will keep helping the international community stay up to date on new challenges.

Our Early Warning Advisory on New Psychoactive Substances continues to assist the international community in identifying the emerging threats and enhancing national capacity to address NPS.

Just last week we launched a report on the growing public health threat posed by potent synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues.

The thematic section of this year's World Drug Report will focus on the nexus between the drug problem and transnational organized crime, corruption, illicit financial and arms flows and terrorism - issues of increasing concern to the Security Council and the entire international community.

While helping to build capacities to ensure that drug lords are brought to justice, UNODC supports alternatives to conviction or punishment for minor offences, as well as proportionate responses, as highlighted in the UNGASS outcome document.

UNODC promotes justice and health sector cooperation, and we have started a new initiative with WHO to document best practices in using treatment for drug use disorders as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions.

With our WHO partners we have also launched the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders, which address challenges highlighted in the UNGASS outcome document.

As a UNAIDS cosponsor, UNODC is working to fast-track HIV/AIDS responses among people who use drugs and people in prisons.

UNODC continues to promote evidence-based drug prevention, including through the global Listen First campaign.

We support countries in implementing family skills training as well as personal and social skills education in school, and we are working to strengthen the resiliency of vulnerable adolescents through sports.

UNODC will continue working to strengthen access to controlled drugs for medical purposes, and raising awareness of this issue through venues including the World Cancer Congress and the UN Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases.

We are also helping to achieve the SDGs and promote peace and security through alternative development in the countries most affected by illicit crop cultivation.

Alternative development is aimed at not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities.

All of UNODC's work to help countries address the many challenges posed by drugs is backed by our network of field offices; our research, guidelines and standards; and our cooperation with our UN partners, and with civil society and academia.

As ever, we look to you for guidance to further strengthen and advance our support to you, and we rely on you to provide the necessary resources so we can follow through on the duties you give us.

A busy week lies ahead. I wish you every success in your deliberations.

Thank you.