Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director


Remarks at the opening of the 61st Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

12 March 2018


Distinguished delegates,


It is a pleasure to be here with you at the start of this busy and important week.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs has proven time and again its value in bringing the world together to address drug challenges - Member States, UN agencies, regional organizations, civil society, young people and scientists.

The political commitment, expertise and experience gathered here represent a vital resource as we seek to find balanced, integrated solutions, drawing on the mutually supportive and reinforcing international drug control conventions and human rights obligations, and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Commission has advanced the consensus forged at the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem two years ago.

The post-UNGASS process, with the involvement of all stakeholders, has helped to focus attention on practical implementation of the commitments contained in the outcome document.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Chairs and the bureau for their hard work, and to thank Ambassador Moitinho de Almeida for facilitating the post-UNGASS discussions.

This session also has the important task of discussing preparations for the ministerial segment next year, in view of the 2019 target date of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the world drug problem.

In order to turn what has been agreed in these policy documents into effective action on the ground, we need partnerships.

Along with our partners, UNODC continues to support Member States to scale efforts to meet SDG targets and improve prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

This includes further strengthening our support to Member States to mainstream gender in addressing drug control and prevention.

In fact, we will be holding a side event Wednesday to tell you more about our new strategy for gender equality and the empowerment of women at UNODC and the UN Office at Vienna.

This week we will be presenting the updated second edition of the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention, prepared in close cooperation with WHO.

We are also working closely with UNAIDS to promote gender-responsive and rights-based HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who use drugs, including in prisons.

We are promoting increased access to controlled, pain-relieving medicines while preventing diversion and misuse.

Moreover, at this session, UNODC and WHO will present a new report on treatment and care for people with drug use disorders in contact with the criminal justice system, and addressing alternatives to conviction or incarceration.

Collaboration with UN agencies continues to be high on our list of priorities.

In 2017, the Secretary General tasked UNODC to lead a system-wide coordination effort relating to drug issues.

A number of activities have been initiated in response, including the development of a matrix of UNGASS-related action at all UN headquarters and in the field; a joint UN calendar of events; and shared UN-wide messaging.

UNODC is looking forward to continuing this role in 2018 by leading comprehensive UN system-wide strategic work in support of the preparations for the 2019 process.

At the same time, UNODC continues to provide the international community with quality research and analysis, including though our flagship World Drug Report, as well as our regional and country-level reports and surveys.

We are helping to monitor coca and opium poppy cultivation, and working with Member States to promote alternative development solutions.

This includes our historic agreement with the Government of Colombia to support the peace process with the FARC through alternative development.

UNODC is promoting sustainable livelihoods and supporting coffee growers in Lao PDR and Myanmar.

We are working to address record opium poppy highs in Afghanistan, with the area under cultivation up to 328,000, and estimated production up to an unprecedented level of 9,000 metric tons.

This is a genuine crisis that requires decisive action. UNODC is enhancing its integrated support to Afghanistan, the wider region and beyond to tackle opiates and related challenges, including precursor trafficking.

Building on successful experiences in other regions, UNODC and Member States in South Asia are establishing SARICC, a regional platform for intelligence coordination on organized crime, including illicit drug trafficking.

Within our still expanding programmes in Africa, UNODC is helping to achieve results in the Sahel as part of the UN Integrated Strategy.

Southeast Asia has become the world's largest synthetic drug market, especially for methamphetamines, and UNODC is seeking to expand support to the region, including through the Mekong MOU on Drug Control.

The global SMART Programme is continuing to help Member States address the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances and amphetamine-type stimulants.

This session will also discuss the scheduling of six analogues of fentanyl, including carfentanil, which are contributing to the deadly synthetic opioid crisis.

UNODC continues to support efforts to address supply challenges globally through a broad range of technical assistance.

This includes the joint WCO-UNODC container control programme, Networking the Networks and our global cybercrime and maritime programmes.

It also includes many other programmes and projects focused on building capacity and promoting intelligence-led policing, use of special investigative techniques, effective border control measures, and regional and international cooperation in law enforcement, prosecutorial and other matters, as well as dismantling illicit financial flows and ensuring recovery of assets.


Our Office looks to the Commission to further support and guide our work here at headquarters and through our network of field offices.

We rely on Member States to provide the necessary resources so that UNODC can carry out the responsibilities that you entrust to us in important resolutions, including those before you this week.

You have before you the revised version of UNODC's consolidated budget for 2018-2019, prepared based on the requests made by Member States at the reconvened sessions of the Commissions in December.

UNODC also remains an active participant in UN reform discussions, on Management, the Development System, and Peace and Security. We count on your continued support to ensure that our mandates receive due attention in this ambitious overhaul of the UN system.

As the leading UN entity in addressing the world drug problem, UNODC remains committed to supporting you in all your efforts to improve balanced, evidence-based responses to the challenges to health, security, safety and development posed by drugs.

I would like to thank and commend the Chair of the current session, Ambassador Buenrostro Massieu, and wish her every success with the session and the preparations toward 2019.

Thank you.