H.E. Ambassador Khaled Shamaa
Chair of the UNGASS Board
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to address you today in my capacity as chair of the UNGASS Board – a Board established by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and tasked with the preparations for this special session pursuant to CND Decision 57/2.
At this special session, representatives of Member States, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to share information and views during the general debate, five roundtable discussions as well as a wide variety of events. Representatives of Member States will have the opportunity to commit to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem in its complexity and numerous manifestations, recommending operational measures to be taken for the health, safety and well-being of all humanity.
I have today the honour to present the report of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on its preparatory work, as contained in document A/S-30/4.
The document reflects the main highlights of the past two years of commitment and intense preparatory work undertaken by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, acting in an open-ended manner.
The Commission embarked on an intensive journey of preparatory work, starting
from the 57th session in March 2014, which was followed by adoption by the
Assembly of resolution 69/200.
Fourteen intersessional meetings and four formai preparatory special segments were held in the margins of the fifty-seventh, fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth sessions of the Commission.
In addition to formai meetings, a series of informai events were held throughout the two-year period. These included special events, consultations, informai interactive discussions, and other events, in Vienna and elsewhere. It was crucial to hear the different perspectives, the different schools of thought, reflecting also the different situations, challenges and lessons learnt on the ground.
Inclusiveness, openness and substantive information sharing have been the key feature of the preparatory process. The Board worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including intergovernmental organizations, UN entities, regional organizations, civil society, scientific community and the youth. The dedication and determination of ail stakeholders in their efforts to bring their experiences to the attention of Member States and each other is to be applauded.
Statements, outcomes and presentations delivered during ail events have been continuously posted on the website dedicated to the preparations, which became a repository of in-depth information on approaches to the world drug problem around the world, and which allowed those not able to participate to closely follow the preparations and contribute to the process.
Turning to the modalities of this special session, a significant moment in the preparations was the 58th session of the Commission in March 2015, with the adoption of resolution 58/8, containing recommendations which the General Assembly acted upon in adopting resolution 70/181.
Organizational arrangements for the round tables that will be held during this special session, in parallel to the plenary, were defined in decision 58/16, adopted in December 2015. These modalities mirror the five interactive discussions held during the special segment on UNGASS Preparations in March that year. These were also chaired by the members of the Board, and supported by a panel consisting of representatives of Member States nominated by the five regional groups, civil society and UN entities. These “Vienna interactive discussions” served as “template” for the five round tables that will be held during this special session, dedicated to the same themes. I very much look forward to the round tables and I am sure the discussion on each topic will be as useful as was the case in Vienna last year.
As far as the outcome document is concerned, the Commission started its elaboration in early autumn 2015. All the information gathered during the numerous events I came to describe, coupled with over 200 pages of inputs received from Member States, served as the substantive foundation for an Elements paper, which the Board presented on 24 September.
During a first phase of negotiations in autumn 2015, Member States focused on defining the main elements. In the second phase, starting in January this year, delegations engaged, building upon that Element paper, in intensive, open-ended negotiations on the draft text of the outcome document, shaping structure and substance.
Finally at its fifty-ninth session a month ago, the Commission agreed on the document, entitled “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem”, decided to transmit the text to this special session and to recommend its adoption.
The outcome document addresses the multiple dimensions of the world drug problem. It contains a comprehensive set of operational recommendations covering prevention and treatment as well as other health-related issues, including HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care; availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes; prevention and countering of drug-related crime as well as the links with other forms of organized crime; human rights including those of youth, children, women and communities as well as proportionate and effective policies and responses; evolving reality, trends and existing circumstances, emerging and persistent challenges and threats, including NPS; strengthening international cooperation based on the principle of common and shared responsibility; as well as socio-economic issues, alternative development and viable economic alternatives.
The preparatory process has demonstrated that there is no “one size fits all” approach — the challenges and situations on the ground vary from region to region, within regions, and from country to country. Responding to the common albeit differentiated challenges, the document contains important operational recommendations and demonstrates our common determination to address and counter these various aspects of the world drug problem together.
Ail these challenges require our most urgent attention. It is of great importance that the outcome document is translated into concrete actions on the ground and I would urge all Member States, UN entities, civil society and all other relevant stakeholders to promote and contribute to its implementation to the maximum possible extent by taking the necessary steps. I also call on all to share timely
information with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the progress made and resuits achieved, during the period leading up to 2019 and beyond.
On behalf of the members of the Board, I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Lykketoft, who has provided support and guidance throughout the process and with whom I have had the pleasure to work closely together and also the PGA of the 69th session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa of Uganda; the chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its 59th session, H.E. Ambassador Vladimir Galuska, as well as his predecessor H.E. Ambassador Srisamoot, chair of the 58th session for their cooperation with the Board. I would also like to thank the Secretariat to the Commission, who had been at the disposai of the Board, the Commission and delegations throughout the two-year preparatory process as well as UNODC at large, through their Executive Director Mr. Fedotov, for their substantive expertise and technical support.
Finally, to all members of the Board, I am truly grateful for your hard work and commitment throughout the process.
This special session is and has to be about human beings. It is our collective responsibility to make sure that our response to the world drug problem in 2016 and beyond is built on international cooperation, solidarity, common and shared responsibility and concerted international action in order to promote and ensure the well-being of peoples and societies.