The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations (Geneva), the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the United Nations (Geneva) in its capacity as the Chair of the Forum on Small States (FOSS)
, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
. The event saw participation from an array of Member States and United Nations entities and was broadcasted live to a global audience through the Commission's Twitter account. More than 3.000 viewers watched the live broadcast. Visit @CND_tweets
to watch the recording of the event.
The event was chaired and moderated by Ambassador D’Hoop, with welcoming remarks by the Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations (Geneva and Vienna) and the Chair of FOSS
(Geneva and Vienna), Ambassador Umej Bhatia. Ambassador Bhatia said that "there is no cookie cutter solution" to solving the issue of availability and access
, and highlighted the importance of taking a "pragmatic and non-ideological approach to this and other issues," while "continuously looking at ways to refine our drug control approach to ensure that it remains fit for purposes".
Notably, the event brought together, once again, the heads of the treaty-based organizations – the Executive Director of UNODC
, Ms. Ghada Waly, the Director General of the World Health Organization
, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the President of the International Narcotics Control Board
, Ms. Jagjit Pavadia – to raise awareness for the critical need to improve availability and access
to controlled medicines. In her remarks, Ms. Waly said, "Ensuring that controlled medicines can be accessed by those who need them is very much within the letter, spirit, and purpose of the international drug control system, and its three conventions." Dr. Tedros emphasized the importance of positioning public health and human rights at the centre of the international drug policy dialogue; while Ms. Pavadia called on the international community and all relevant stakeholders, including governments, health systems, healthcare professionals, civil society, and the pharmaceuticals industry, to take tangible action to ensure that all patients have access to the controlled medicines they need.
The event also included participation from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, who explained how improving availability and access to controlled medicines was a vital step towards achieving the full enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United Nations (Geneva), Ambassador Paul Empole Efambe, provided insight into the challenges Member States face in terms of availability and access, as well as the range of collaborative efforts undertaken to address those challenges.
The event was closed by Ambassador D’Hoop, who reminded the audience that "given the state of international affairs, a unified global effort to improve availability and access
to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes has become especially critical to ensure that no patient, or person, is left behind as a result of the world drug problem".
The CND is the policymaking body of the United Nations with principal responsibility for drug-related matters, and a governing body of UNODC. The Commission is the forum for Member States to exchange knowledge and good practices in addressing and countering all aspects of the world drug problem, including availability and access to controlled medicines.