Vienna (Austria), 2 March 2020 - The 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) began today with a call for concrete progress in strengthening responses to the world drug problem. Ghada Waly addressed the Commission for the first time as Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlighting the value of the Vienna spirit of consensus: "Every country, every region faces unique challenges and contexts, but working through diverging views, to find and expand common ground, remains an essential basis for effective action to make a difference on the ground."
Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan of Pakistan is chairing the 63rd session. The opening session was also addressed by Cornelis de Joncheere, President of the International Narcotics Control Board and featured a video message from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Ms. Waly, who served as Minister for Social Solidarity of Egypt until December 2019, drew on her own experience as head of Egypt's delegation to the Commission, underscoring the role of the world's central policy-making body on drug matters in driving action by UNODC to support Member States with "a direct and real impact on the lives of people everywhere. Now I am proud to be here again, but this time as UNODC Executive Director and a member of the UN family, in the 75th year of the United Nations, at the start of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals".
Resolutions under consideration by the Commission address topics including partnerships with the private sector and improving the collection and analysis of data to strengthen evidence-based responses to the world drug problem; involving youth in drug prevention efforts and ensuring the access to and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, as well as promoting alternative development approaches to illegal crop cultivation. The list of draft resolutions can be found here.
The 63rd session brings together more than 1,100 participants from 131 countries, 17 inter-governmental organizations, 97 civil society organizations and the scientific community and continues until 6 March. Some registered participants cancelled travel in view of continuing global developments surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19). No restrictions on events or general travel are currently in place for Vienna. The situation is being monitored and all precautionary health measures are being taken, following the guidance of the World Health Organization and the host country authorities.