Vienna (Austria), 14 April 2021 — The 64th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) continued today with renewed efforts towards international cooperation in combating the world drug problem, protecting societies and recovering better from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plenary session met today and welcomed an address by the UNODC Youth Forum. The youth delivered their joint statement before Member States, urging for youth inclusion in the policy-making process for drug prevention, and requesting for the international community to actively “raise youth voices and provide more platforms, opportunities, and positions for youth to actively contribute to policy-making decisions, supportive services, and drug prevention strategies.”
Thirty side events took place on the third day of the CND, marking an inclusive approach towards multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Organized by the UNODC Civil Society Unit, the dialogue ensured that an open and direct dialogue between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UNODC remains an integral part of the CND process. At the meeting, Ms. Waly addressed a range of questions raised NGOs, including about the operationalization of the UNODC’s strategies on drug policies, youth empowerment, partnerships with civil society or UNODC’s actions to support Member States during COVID-19 pandemic, especially developing countries to facilitated international collaboration, among others. Ms. Waly stressed that, “civil society is an integral partner for UNODC and for Members States in preventing and treating drug abuse and drug-related disorders, and advocating for fair, humane, and effective drug policies that protect the health and human rights of everyone.”
Organized by the Programme Development and Management Unit of the UNODC Research and Trend Analysis Branch (RAB), this side event presented updated research findings on the impact of COVID-19, one year after the pandemic started. Angela Me, Chief of UNODC RAB, marked the urgency of the task at hand, explaining that “traffickers have proved to be resilient and highly dynamic, and quickly adapted to changes induced by COVID-19”. Examples from countries across the globe were presented to illustrate how the pandemic has affected drug trafficking, use, treatment and service delivery for PWUD and how the impact has varied geographically. The event focused on the relationship between COVID-19 and drugs, providing a global overview and future outlook. Discussions also delved into the regional impact of COVID-19, presented by UNODC offices from South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. More information, here.
The event was organized by the Government of Finland and the Laboratory and Scientific Section at UNODC to respond to challenges faced by the frontline in handling and disposal of dangerous drugs and chemicals. The event highlighted the necessary safety considerations, protective equipment, on-site drug and precursor chemical detection technologies and the training available to forensic scientists and law enforcement officers to do their job safely and effectively. The interactive event also emphasized the importance of handling and disposing seized substances safely in an environmentally sustainable manner. H.E. Ambassador Pirkko Hämäläinen attended the virtual event, noting her country’s advocacy of the important role of drug analysis laboratories in producing data to inform criminal justice systems, law enforcement, health authorities, and policy makers. She said: “Over several years, Finland has supported the UNODC Forensic Services in delivering its mandate of ensuring that Member States have access to, and use quality forensic science services in their efforts against drugs and crime.”
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.