1559 (XLIX). CONCERTED UNITED NATIONS ACTION AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ESTABLISHMENT OF A UNITED NATIONS FUND FOR DRUG-ABUSE CONTROL
Pages: 1 to 3
Creation Date: 1971/01/01
Within less than four months in 1970, the international community, through the United Nations, came to agreement that the drug problem in the world had become so alarming that forceful and realistic counter-measures should immediately be taken, on the basis of what might indeed be called an emergency.
The United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, recommended by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on 2 October 1970, was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council on 11 November and the Secretary-General was invited to set it up "as an initial measure and as a matter of urgency ". The Fund would be financed by voluntary contributions mainly from governments but also from private sources.
On 15 December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution by which it endorsed the decision taken by the Economic and Social Council to set up a programme of action for the implementation of short-term and long-term policy recommendations to deal with drug abuse, and welcomed "the establishment as an initial measure and as a matter of urgency of a United Nations fund for drug-abuse control ". (A/RES/ 2719 (XXV)).
The Fund would finance immediate action to expand research and obtain more precise information on drug abuse, together with technical assistance to strengthen national control and enforcement in the drugs field, and to expand the material and personnel resources of the United Nations drug control bodies. Alongside these immediate measures, the Secretary-General would draw up a long-term plan which would reinforce and entrench as permanent programmes the measures taken in the short-term, and which would in its most important part seek to put an end to the illicit or uncontrolled production, processing and manufacture of drugs; the replacement of narcotic crops, for example, would be an essential and important part of such a long-term plan.
These decisions of the Commission were taken in very special circumstances. In the normal order of things, the Commission could not have met in 1970, and its next session would only take place in autumn 1971. However, in the mid-summer of 1970, the United States announced its intention of moving the Economic and Social Council-the Commission's parent body-to authorize the Commission to meet in special session to consider urgent international action against the abuse of, and the illicit traffic in, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. After a debate marked by general concern about the dimensions the drugs problem had taken, the Council on 24 July decided that a special one-week session of the Commission should be held at the end of September. The mandate of this emergency session would be to make short-term and long-term policy recommendations for integrated action against drug abuse with particular reference to :
more effective measures to suppress the illicit drug traffic by strengthening national and international means of enforcement;
putting an end to the illegal and uncontrolled production of narcotic raw material by all means, including the development of alternative economic programmes and activities such as the substitution of crops as envisaged by General Assembly resolution 2434 (XXIII); and
reducing the illicit demand for drugs by means of educational and social programmes, and by means of the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts.
Once the session had been authorized, the Secretary-General prepared a study containing suggestions for short-term and long-term measures against drug abuse, drug supply (illicit or uncontrolled) and illicit traffic. The study presented drug abuse as the "demand" which was in an inter-relationship with the "supply "; the criminal activity of the illicit traffic made the link between the "supply" and the "demand".
The Secretary-General's study suggested simultaneous and concerted action against drug abuse, against illicit, uncontrolled or inadequately controlled production of drugs and against illicit traffic. It suggested the establishment of training and information centres, replacement of narcotics crops, measures for the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, the improvement of the enforcement machinery both in personnel and material resources, and measures of education and public information about the dangers of abuse.
In its one-week charged session at the end of September 1970, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs discussed the world drug problem in all its aspects, and in the end it adopted, without a negative vote, by 18 votes in favour and 5 abstentions, a resolution recommending that the Council ask the Secretary-General to set up the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control.
The report of the Commission containing this resolution had hardly come out of press before it was tabled in the Economic and Social Council in early November. There was general satisfaction in the Council that the Commission had been able to execute the difficult mandate that had been entrusted to it in the short space of one week, and that it had come up with proposals on which the Council could go further. The discussion in the Council found it unanimous that the drugs problem must indeed now be tackled frontally and resourcefully, and the Council went on to ask that the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control be set up by the Secretary-General, in its resolution 1559 (XLIX) of 11 November 1970. It recommended "the need for immediate action on an urgent basis ", as well as for a plan for long-term action to deal with the problem of drug abuse at its three critical points of supply, demand and illicit traffic. The Council invited inter-agency and inter-organizational co-operation in the Secretary-General's elaboration of a long-term plan of action.
When the proposal for the United Nations Fund was made, the United States had announced an initial contribution of $2 million and it is hoped that in the first year, i.e. 1971, the Fund would reach about $5 million. Apart from governments which have indicated that they will contribute, it is open to philanthropic and public foundations, other non-official organizations, as well as private individuals, to contribute.
The duty put upon the Secretary-General to do the initial organization and administration of the Fund is now being taken in hand, and work is starting on charting out the long-term plan which inter alia will come to grips with the deep-rooted problem of the agricultural production of narcotics crops, either illegal or outside control in certain parts of the world.
In this campaign of urgent action against drug abuse, the psychotropic substances had also been referred to and the urgent measures being taken now will in time also help to curb the abuse of these substances. And meanwhile the treaty framework for formally controlling these substances by international agreement was completed at the United Nations Conference for the Adoption of a Protocol on Psychotropic Substances which met in Vienna from 11 January to 21 February 1971. The Conference adopted the Convention on Psychotropic Substances which is now open for signature, and will come into force after it has been ratified by forty States.
By realistic, energetic and properly financed counter-measures, and with the application of national controls within a treaty system that covers both narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the world community may now be on its way to finally attacking drug abuse in terms that can give positive results. In this work, the establishment of the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control will be a milestone.
The following is the text of the resolution adopted by the Economic and Social Council on 11 November 1970 requesting the Secretary-General to establish the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control and setting out the long-term action to be taken :
The Economic and Social Council,
Recallingits resolution 1532 (XLIX) of 24 July 1970 by which the Council convened a special session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to consider short-term and long-term policy recommendations for integrated international action against drug abuse,
Having considered the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its second special session, and the resolution contained therein  calling for (a) immediate action to expand the research and information facilities of United Nations drug-control bodies, to plan and implement programmes of technical assistance in the establishment and improvement of national drug-control administrations and enforcement machinery and the training of needed personnel, and to enlarge the capabilities and extend the operations of United Nations drug-control bodies and their secretariats; (b) the establishment of a United Nations fund for drug-abuse control; and (c) the elaboration by the Secretary-General of a plan for long-term action against drug abuse involving the entire United Nations system of organizations as appropriate,
Recognizes the need for immediate action on an urgent basis as well as for the establishment of a plan for concerted long-term action by the United Nations family of organizations to deal with the problem of the abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances simultaneously at its three critical points: supply, demand and illicit traffic;
Endorses the resolution of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as a basis for achieving these ends;
Requests the Secretary-General, in keeping with the recommendation of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, to establish, as an initial measure and as a matter of urgency, a United Nations fund for drug abuse control to be made up from voluntary contributions, such fund to be initially used for the purposes which were approved by the Commission and administered by the Secretary-General pending the development and consideration by the Council of the proposed long-term plan of action, including permanent arrangements for administration and financing;
Invites the appropriate United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other competent international organizations, with such assistance as may be appropriate from the United Nations fund for drug abuse control, to co-operate fully in the planning and execution of short-term and long-term measures and programmes pertinent to the drug-abuse problem in all its aspects;
Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Economic and Social Council at its fifty-second session through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the implementation of the present resolution;
Transmits the present resolution, together with the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its second special session, to the General Assembly at its twenty-fifth session for any further action it may deem appropriate.
1727th plenary meeting,
11 November 1970.
1. Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, Forty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 12 (E/4931).
2. Ibid., chap. V.