VIENNA, 11 March 2013 - Speaking at the opening of the 56th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said that illicit drugs and crime were roadblocks to the rule of law, and to democracy. As such, they represented a clear threat to the stability and security of entire regions and to economic and social development.
UNODC, he said, was working hard to respond to these issues by introducing regional and country programmes that deliver assistance where it is needed, building strong UN partnerships and promoting political commitment at the highest international levels, particularly in the post-2015 development agenda.
In the area of international drug control, Mr. Fedotov said, "we must also ask ourselves tough questions about whether we have managed to reduce the global drug threat. There are no easy answers." But he also stressed the important role played by the drug conventions to contain and stabilise levels of drug consumption.
Mr. Fedotov noted that, in recent decades, there had been declines in the production and consumption of cocaine, and the majority of opium cultivation and production is now localised in Afghanistan. However, these trends were offset by the rise of synthetic drugs, as well as new psychoactive substances. The overall prevalence of drug use remained stable, but illicit drugs continued to kill more than five hundred men, women and children every day.
The international community had responded to these threats by holding a high-level review of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action to be carried out by the CND in 2014. It will be followed by a UN General Assembly Special Session on the drug problem in 2016. These reviews will help refine the international community's approach to illicit drugs.
Mr. Fedotov also noted that a roadmap for the way forward had been unanimously adopted at the General Assembly in the form of Resolution 67/193. In this process, the CND had a primary institutional role in defining the international drug control system of the 21st Century.
In the area of health, Mr. Fedotov said there was a need for a balanced approach to deliver real solutions to those in need and to reduce the health and social consequences of drug abuse. He said that UNODC was working in the spirit of the drug conventions to deliver results in the areas of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration.
Concerning HIV/AIDS, Mr. Fedotov said he was fully committed to reaching the 2011 UNGASS target. He also noted that human rights and public health considerations must be at the core of the international response to drug use and to HIV.
Closing his speech, Mr. Fedotov reiterated the need for cooperation and coordination. "Building synergies between our approaches to law, health and alternative development is a necessity. All of these activities must also be reinforced by a sense of shared responsibility, which we should never allow to be weakened."
The sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs are attended by over 1,000 representatives of Member States and civil society organisations. Other notable speakers at the opening session included Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma and a number of government ministers from across the globe.
To read the full statement of Mr. Fedotov, please go to: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/speeches/opening-remarks-56th-session-of-the-cnd.html
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