UNODC Chief sets out global efforts being taken against illicit drugs

UNODC Chief sets out global efforts being taken against illicit drugs. Photo: UNODC Vienna, 13 March 2017 - The efforts of UNODC against illicit drugs is helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as promote peace and security, UNODC Chief Yury Fedotov told a high-level audience in Vienna today.

"Alternative development is aimed at, not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities," said Mr. Fedotov. 

In a video message played at the opening ceremony, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: "The Commission led an open and inclusive preparatory process for the UN General Assembly Special Session in 2016. Its unanimous outcome is rich and forward-looking - promising a more comprehensive approach to the world drug problem." 

Mr. Fedotov used his keynote speech to set out the full range of UNODC's global efforts against illicit drugs. He pointed to the help being given to countries to bring drug lords to justice, the promotion of cooperation in the justice and health sectors, and UNODC's support for alternatives to conviction or punishment for minor offences.

UNODC was, he said, working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on a number of activities, including best practices to treat drug use disorders as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions. HIV/AIDS responses were also being fast-tracked by UNODC, as a UNAIDS co-sponsor, among people who use drugs, and people in prisons. 

Mr. Fedotov was firm in stating that UNODC would continue to help strengthen access to controlled drugs for medical purposes. He said UNODC was raising awareness of this issue through the World Cancer Congress and the UN Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases.

On the follow-up to last year's UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, Mr. Fedotov said UNODC was focused on the "practical implementation" of the recommendations made in its outcome document. "You may always count on UNODC to help put these approaches into action," he said.

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the opening of the 60th Session of the CND. Speeches were also delivered by the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the United States, Dr. Nora Volkow, the President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Werner Sipp, and representatives of youth and civil society.

The 60th Session of the CND brings together around 1,500 delegates annually representing Member States, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society for a global discussion on the world drug problem. This year, the Commission will discuss 12 draft resolutions, hold around 100 side events and a series of exhibitions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres Message on the 60th anniversary of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Remarks of the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, at the opening of the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

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