The 64th Session of the CND Adopts Joint Statement on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic


Vienna (Austria), 13 April 2021 — The 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) started with a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and a call by the Secretary-General for solidarity, shared responsibility and international cooperation to improve health coverage, protect societies and recover better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the opening of the General Debate, the Commission adopted by consensus a joint statement on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the implementation of Member States’ joint commitments to address and counter all aspects of the world drug problem.

The Chair of the 64th session, H.E. Ms. Dominika Krois, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Poland, had tabled the statement on behalf of the Commission and led the negotiations. The joint statement expressed grave concern about the devastating impact of the pandemic across the world, and outlines new challenges, good practices and actions to take in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement also highlights new trends, challenges and obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; recognizing that due to the nature of the pandemic the traditional demand reduction infrastructure faced increasing challenges in providing drug-related services, potentially affecting drug treatment and health services; and noting that people with drug use disorders, including those incarcerated, may be at increased risk of more severe illness and mortality from COVID-19;

Through the statement the Commission encouraged Member States “to strengthen bilateral, regional, and international cooperation to counter drug traffickers’ exploitation of traditional and online trafficking methods and routes during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” and prioritize the improvement of access to treatment of drug use disorders.

Member States highlighted that the principle of common and shared responsibility should remain at the core of international cooperation in addressing and countering all aspects of the world drug problem.

In the statement, the Commission welcomed efforts by Member States and urged them to ensure that no one affected by the world drug problem was left behind in the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in efforts to mitigate the drug-related consequences of the pandemic. The importance of providing technical assistance and capacity building in addressing and countering the world drug problem; in particular Member States most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, was further highlighted in the statement.

The CND convenes annually and is the foremost drug-policymaking body in the United Nations (UN) system, responsible for monitoring the world drug situation, developing evidence-based strategies for drug control and recommending measures to address the world drug problem.