Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


Closing of the 63rd session of the CND

6 March 2020


Distinguished partners,  colleagues and friends,

My warm congratulations on the successful conclusion of the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

Over this week, nearly 1,500 people from more than 130 countries came together. Delegations from Member States were joined by engaged young people, scientists, some 370 civil society representatives, and colleagues from some 17 international and regional organizations. 

The world meets  every year  in  March  in Vienna  to discuss the complexities and contexts of  the world drug problem , and to find joint solutions. 

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime is here to support you to take forward the decisions you made this week and translate them into effective, balanced action s  on the ground. 

In the resolutions you adopted, you have made several strong commitments  to help the people who need us most

Your  pledge to expand opportunities for the meaningful participation of youth in drug prevention is  essential . Young people , like the participants of the Youth Forum who met alongside the CND, have shown that they can  drive solutions when it comes to addressing drug challenges , and that they want to work with us

Your call for increased support of comprehensive alternative development programmes reinforces the status of such programmes as a pillar of drug control strategies, helping lift communities out of the cycle of poverty and insecurity that is fuelled by illicit crop cultivation. 

You have recognized that  education and training  are required to ensure  access to ,  and the availability of ,  controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes , and you have emphasized the importance of partnerships with the private sector to secure an affordable and safe supply of controlled substances for licit purposes.  

You also committed to  improving  data  collection and analysis  to support  evidence-based responses to the world drug problem , recognizing the need to strengthen capacities in this area.

To  see these commitments through ,  we rely on Member States to provide the necessary resources, in a spirit of shared responsibility.

I very much welcome the adoption of the revised Annual Report Questionnaire . UNODC developed the new questionnaire, as requested by you , including in  the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, to support the international community to improve the evidence base and ensure that UNODC's flagship World Drug Report  can draw  on the best available data possible. 

To get the right answers, we need to ask the right questions.  Over many months, we have worked with you to bring in  leading  experts and hold inclusive consultations ,  to ensure that the questionnaire can be an effective tool. 

But tools alone are not enough. We need the capacities to wield them. We need all countries to show political will and share information, and we need donors to scale up their support.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I can say that I have seen the Vienna Spirit in action throughout  your discussion s  during  this busy week.  Clearly, all of us gathered here  with  the same objective: to protect communities and enable people to live productive, healthy lives.

In the 75th year of the United Nations and at the start of the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to do all we can to elevate our support, most of all to developing countries, to address global drug challenges, and truly commit to leaving no one behind.

Now, I cannot close my speech without mentioning that t his Sunday is International Women's Day .   W e are marking 25 years since the Beijing Declaration. We  have to  be acutely aware that still today, far fewer women than men have access to prevention and treatment services for drug use and associated disorders.  

It is unacceptable that discrimination and stigma are keeping women from seeking the help they need. UNODC is committed to  help bridge the gap between what women need and how the international community supports them .

Ladies and gentlemen,

UNODC is here to inform you, listen and learn from you, and to support you as we work together for progress, and for justice , for health, for human rights, and for peace and security.

A s my first CND session serving as UNODC Executive Director  comes to a close , an important task lies ahead of me  now .

The international drug control conventions and the outcome document of the 2016 UNGASS provide a strong foundation for UNODC to develop a strategic vision that encompasses the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights and development.  

It will also require a management strategy to allow us to translate our commitments into efficient and effective action, optimizing available resources and delegating responsibilities within a solid framework of accountability.  I will be working hard on this in the coming months.

For now, let me say c ongratulations once again, to Ambassador Khan and the bureau, to my able colleagues who support the Commission and make this conference possible, and to all of you. 

Please accept my  gratitude  and best wishes, stay healthy, and for those travelling, have a safe journey home. Thank you .