UNODC Chief: UNGASS momentum can drive progress in addressing world drug problem

UNGASS 201621 April 2016 - UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, urged the international community to seize the opportunity provided by the UN General Assembly special session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem to address shared challenges. He also pledged UNODC's support for putting the session's recommendations into practice.

"We must take advantage of the momentum provided by UNGASS to strengthen cooperation and advance comprehensive, balanced, integrated rights-based approaches that help to protect and promote the health, safety and security of people everywhere," said Mr. Fedotov.

The landmark special session, only the third such meeting held by the UN General Assembly on global drug policy, concluded on Thursday.

At the opening of the plenary, Member States adopted the outcome document of the session, which reaffirms their commitment to undertake innovative approaches to drug control within the framework of the three international drug control conventions. It also recognizes that the conventions allow for sufficient flexibility for States parties to design effective national drug policies according to priorities and needs.

The outcome document recommends measures to address demand and supply reduction, and to improve access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion. The recommendations also cover the areas of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development.

The text puts new emphasis on proportionate national sentencing policies and practices for drug-related offences, and features a strong focus on prevention and treatment.

Mr. Fedotov underscored UNODC's long-standing experience in supporting Member States in all of these areas, and welcomed the document's recognition that "efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to effectively address the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing".

"Whether we are talking about illicit cultivation, production, trafficking or use, the world drug problem is closely interlinked with development challenges - a fact that has also been clearly recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," said Mr. Fedotov.

"The outcome document provides a strong framework for moving forward, and UNODC is committed to working with all countries to put its recommendations into action."

On the final day of the session, Mr. Fedotov also addressed two roundtable discussions - on new challenges, and strengthening shared responsibility and international cooperation, as well as on alternative development and development-oriented balanced drug control policies.

In his remarks, he highlighted UNODC's support to address challenges including new psychoactive substances and exploitation of the internet for trafficking; to promote the use of reliable, objective data and evidence-based policies; and to strengthen international cooperation, as well as advance work to develop sustainable livelihoods.

"These challenges, and many more posed by the world drug problem, will continue to evolve and emerge," he said. "In order to meet them, we need a solid foundation - one built on agreed frameworks, informed by evidence and based on the principle of shared responsibility."

Additional information: 

Official website of UNGASS 2016

Contribution of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to the 2016 Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Drug Problem