Director General/Executive Director
Closing Remarks at the 55th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 55 th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs has reached its closing point.
With 20 high-level side events, 15 exhibitions, more than 1,200 participants, from 120 countries, observers, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, this year's Session has seen a lively debate.
You have voiced your opinions in the discussions, and through the drafting of the resolutions.
The result is a set of strong CND decisions that, in their depth and breadth, reflect our shared concerns.
From the social reintegration of individuals released from prison, to measures that support African states to combat the world drug problem.
From strategies that assist females at risk of drug use and drug dependence, to the promotion of an international response to the challenges posed by new psychoactive substances.
I wholeheartedly agree with the message contained in the resolution on the 100th Anniversary of the Opium Convention to strengthen action and cooperation at the national, regional and international levels towards the goals of the conventions, which remain the cornerstone of the international drug control system.
The resolution on the Paris Pact not only adds to the gathering international momentum to assist Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, but also contains specific requests addressed to UNODC, on which we will follow-up.
These resolutions are the strength of this Commission. They reflect the need of democratic societies to debate and to reach consensus.
Other important events were the very first steering committee meeting of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, and the meeting on regional cooperation in law enforcement and border management.
Since its launch in December, the Regional Programme has helped develop a number of practical activities, including:
- Joint/simultaneous operations facilitated by the Triangular Initiative and CARICC.
- Drug seizures, and meetings to promote regional cooperation on operations.
- The development of new initiatives: the Maritime initiative MARES, the money laundering programme CASH, and the alternative livelihoods' programme STOP.
I was particularly pleased with the focus of this CND session on alternative development.
Yesterday, I chaired a high-level event on alternative development between Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand.
All of them shared their own experiences in this area and provided solid evidence that these programmes are working.
However, at present, only between 18-25 per cent of farmers engaged in cultivating illicit crops have access to alternative development programmes.
This must change.
One important development from the meeting was the idea of Thailand that countries should create focal points to ensure that best practices are shared with other countries.
I agree and I look forward to working with Member States on this idea in the future.
Aside from the resolutions, another role of the CND is to promote engagement with civil society.
This year, the VNGO Committee held an informal civil society hearing followed by a "question and answer" session with NGOs.
I found these discussions helpful and informative.
As I said at these meetings, UNODC looks forward to continued interaction with NGOs not only in the VICs conference rooms, but also in the most vulnerable countries and regions of the world.
In the field, NGOs have an ability to make a real difference in the lives of those affected by illicit drugs. We must work together to achieve this objective.
The UNODC Youth Initiative, launched in a side-event this week, will also make use of the passionate engagement of young people with the world around them.
In my meeting with members of the Youth Initiative, I was impressed by the actions they are taking against drug use in communities, as well as their work as youth leaders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My opening speech began with two words, illicit drugs, let me close with two other words that represent the international response: drug control.
The strength of drug control is in its balanced approach. I hope that you will continue to support UNODC in refining our approaches on the supply and demand sides.
In this work, we are guided by the Conventions that require us to prevent drug use, while also ensuring the highest standards of medical treatment for drug dependency and HIV/AIDS. These activities must always be founded on human rights and respect for the rule of law.
Let me also be clear about why drug control remains so necessary.
It is only by acknowledging the drug conventions as the foundation for our shared responsibility that we can make successive generations safe from illicit drugs.
Once again, I thank all of you for your participation in this event, and I look forward to welcoming you once again next year at the 56 th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.