CND Thematic Discussions Foster Interactive Debate on Implementation of International Drug Policy Commitments

© UNODC / Nancy Cao

Vienna (Austria), 22 October 2020 – From 19 to 21 October 2020, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) held the second round of Thematic Discussions, following the adoption of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration.

Focused on the exchange of good practices, challenges and lessons learned in the implementation of the international drug policy commitments, the 2020 CND Thematic Discussions brought together national practitioners and policymakers from over 100 UN Member States, UN entities including WHO, UNAIDS, INCB, OHCHR and IAEA, as well as other intergovernmental and international organizations and civil society experts from around the world.

In the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, Member States committed to accelerating, based on the principle of common and shared responsibility, the full implementation of the joint drug policy commitments contained in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement and the 2016 UNGASS outcome document, and the annual thematic discussions are a core-part of the Commission-led follow-up to the implementation of international drug policy commitments made over the past decade

In his opening remarks H.E. Ambassador Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, Second Vice-Chair of the Commission and Permanent Representative of Switzerland, who chaired the 2020 Thematic Discussions, recalled “With the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration we jointly committed to strengthen the practical implementation of our joint commitments. We also committed to foster through the CND a broad, transparent and inclusive discussion”.

The 2020 Thematic Discussions, held in a hybrid format, enabled an interactive and inclusive exchange of good practices and lessons learned in addressing the following challenges identified in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration: insufficient levels of drug treatment and health services; increased number of deaths related to drug use; high rate of transmission of HIV, the hepatitis C virus and other blood-borne diseases associated with drug use; adverse health consequences of and risks associated with new psychoactive substances; and low or non-existent level of availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes.

Each day of the Thematic Discussions consisted of an introductory presentation and a panel discussion followed by interventions by international organizations and UN entities and an interactive debate. The panels included representatives from Member States nominated by the regional groups, as well as civil society.

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