‘Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives’: CND special event emphasizes central role of data in tackling the world drug problem

 © UNODC

Vienna (Austria), 25 June 2021 – Marking this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) today held a special event to launch the 2021 World Drug Report, which provides a wealth of information and analysis to support Member States’ efforts in implementing drug policy commitments, including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was held under the overall theme for this year, ‘Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives’, which is being rolled out to counter misinformation and promote the sharing of facts around drugs, which ranges from health risks and solutions to tackle the world drug problem, to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care.

“Data about when, where and why people use drugs are key to develop, implement and monitor effective responses at the national, regional and global levels,” commented Dominika Krois, Chair of the CND at its sixty-fourth session, in her welcoming remarks. They are, she stressed, “a cornerstone of evidence-based policymaking and monitoring.”

Ghada Waly, UNODC Executive Director, meanwhile emphasized how promoting health and safety depend on reliable information. “Using the World Drug Report and its data as a basis,” she noted, “UNODC will continue to be a partner to the CND and to all Member States in sharing facts on drugs, in order to promote health, ease hardship, and save lives.”

Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report – which was presented by Angela Me, Chief of the UNODC Research and Trend Analysis Branch – provides an in-depth analysis of the global drug markets. It also paints a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world drug problem, aiming not only at fostering greater international cooperation but also assisting Member States in anticipating and addressing challenges that may arise in the near future.

The event also provided an opportunity for young people to share their perspective, with two youth representatives, Wang Pengchao and Sarah Jul-Rasmussen, delivering statements. “The pandemic will end in the foreseeable future,” noted Wang Pengchao, “but this will also bring long-lasting impacts to the youth and the younger generation”. His co-presenter, Sarah Jul-Rasmusse, concluded with an appeal: “As youth we are ready to help create solutions. Together we can do more, so please work with us.”

The World Drug Day commemoration featured an interactive panel discussion with interventions from the members of the Bureau of the 64th session of the CND: Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations in Vienna; Suleiman Dauda Umar, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in Vienna; Begaiym Nurlan from the Permanent Mission of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations in Vienna; as well as Jagjit Pavadia, President of the International Narcotics Control Board; and Jamie Bridge, Chair of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, and saw statements made by over 30 Member States and three Civil Society Organizations.