12 March 2018 - The need for inclusive partnerships to address drug challenges and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals was the focus of the opening of the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs today in Vienna.
The meeting began with a video message from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who said that on drug control, the international community had an "opportunity to chart a better and balanced path for decades to come".
"With the UN General Assembly special session consensus as our blueprint, we can promote efforts to stop organized crime while protecting human rights, enabling development and ensuring rights-based treatment and support," he said.
"I have called on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop a comprehensive strategy that works across the three pillars with other UN entities to advance our efforts."
Speaking at the opening, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that UNODC was looking forward in the coming year to continue leading UN-wide strategic work relating to drug issues.
He also highlighted the important role of the Commission: "The Commission on Narcotic Drugs has proven time and again its value in bringing the world together - Member States, UN agencies, regional organizations, civil society, young people and scientists."
"The political commitment, expertise and experience gathered here represent a vital resource as we seek to find balanced, integrated solutions, drawing on the mutually supportive and reinforcing international drug control conventions and human rights obligations, and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals," said Mr. Fedotov.
The opening session was also addressed by the President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, and featured a video message from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The 61st session, chaired by Ambassador Alicia Buenrostro Massieu of Mexico, will consider over the next week resolutions on topics such as combating the synthetic opioid crisis, protecting children, strengthening drug prevention in schools, measures to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and preparations for the planned ministerial segment at the Commission session in 2019.
The Commission on Narcotic Drugs serves as the central policymaking body within the United Nations system on drugs. Along with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, it is one of the governing bodies of UNODC. Its resolutions and decisions provide guidance to Member States, UNODC and the broader global community.