United Nations Drug System
Three United Nations conventions set out the international agreements concerning drug control:
Several UN Agencies are responsible for UN Drug Control:
- United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)
The United Nations International Drug Control Programme is the UN agency responsible for coordinating activities relating to the international control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances
- Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
The functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is the central policy-making body within the United Nations system for dealing with all drug-related matters
- International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB or Board) is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions, established in 1968 by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. The INCB publishes an annual report.
Language: English, French and Spanish
- Papers presented at the presented at the Senlis Lisbon International Symposium on Global Drug Policy, 23 to 26 October 2003:
- The Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme: politics, policies and prospect for change by Cindy S. J. Fazey, in the Special Issue on the UNGASS Mid-term Review of the International Journal of Drug Policy April 2003 (Volume 14, Issue 2)
- Illicit Drugs Convention Reform & the UN Agencies, by Andrew Wilson (Summary February 06, 2003; and Full text September, 2002).
Abstract: This background paper, prepared for the September 2002 Comité des Sages Meeting, provides a brief summary of the positions (stated or implicit), interests and potential contributions of various UN agencies regarding reform of the three main international conventions on illicit drugs. It should be noted, however, that none of the agencies have publicly mooted the need for such reform, nor published any statements explicitly dealing with it
- The History and Development of the Leading International Drug Control Conventions
prepared for the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs by Jay Sinha, February 2001
- WHO Project on Health
Implications of Cannabis Use
In December 1997 a long-awaited report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the United Nations about marijuana came out, the first in 15 years. A scandal erupted when the British science magazine "New Scientist" in its February 1998 issue exposed the suppression of a chapter in the document. In the censored chapter the authors, three leading addiction researchers, compare the dangers of marijuana, as documented by science, against those of the legal drugs alcohol and nicotine and illegal opiates. They point out that where risks exist these are actually more serious for these two legal drugs. They exposed the double standards that are being applied in the drug debate, and according to an insider quoted by New Scientist some WHO officials "went nuts"
UN Drug Conventions Reform
- Transnational Institute: United Nations Drug Control
The United Nations conventions are the backbone of current international drug control policy. In June 1998, in New York, the United Nations held a General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS). Despite many indications that current drug control policy has not worked, the UN member states did not change their ways during the Special Session and reconfirmed their intentions to fight the drug problem.
Language: English and Spanish
- International Coalition of NGO's for Just and Effective Drugs Policy (ICN)
ICN is committed to reform of International Drug Control. ICN was created as an effort to present a coalition of citizens at the United Nations' General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in June 1998 (UNGASS 1998). On that occasion, a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drugs Policy was presented. Since then ICN formulated, in five languages a document containing basic Guidelines for Alternative Drugs Policy in the 21st century [PDF document].
See also: Open Letter to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs March 11, 2002.
See also: Vienna 2003: A Chance for the World
New website of the International Coalition of NGO's for a Just and Effective Drug Policy (ICN) on the UNGASS Midterm Review. Another drug policy is possible. Sign the appeal to reform international Drug Policies
- Opening the Debate on Global Drug Policy
Website of the Senlis Council Drug Policy Advisory Forum, on the UNGASS Midterm Review: "The use of licit and illicit drugs is a harmful societal reality with potential negative impact on
individuals and communities and needs to be tackled in a more realistic, dynamic way. Policies based solely on criminal sanctions have failed to demonstrate effectiveness: economic corruption increases, organized crime prospers and developing economies are hard hit by military and environmental (crop eradication) interventions. At the same time the marginalisation of drug-users is compounded. It is now widely recognized that an effective international drugs policy should be based on the minimization of harm both to individuals and to the community at large."
- Vereinte Nationen und
Cannabis Legal: Argumente für eine realistische Drogenpolitik.
UN-Halbzeitsberichtskonferenz in Wien, April 2003
Im Jahre 1998 beschloss die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen einen Zehnjahresplan zur Drogenpolitik, der sich die Ausrottung des illegalen Anbaus von Koka und Schlafmohn sowie die erhebliche Reduzierung anderer Drogen zum Ziel setzte - mit den selben Mitteln, die schon seit Jahrzehnten gescheitert sind. Im April 2003 findet in Wien eine internationale Konferenz statt, wo über die bisherigen Ergebnisse gesprochen wird. Drogenpolitische Reformer aus aller Welt wollen die Gelegenheit nutzen, um auf das Scheitern der Prohibitionsstrategie und auf Alternativen dazu aufmerksam zu machen.
The wisdom of the UN Drug Conventions is increasingly being questioned. In some countries NGO's and parliamentary commissions held inquiries on the reform of national drug policies that also touch on reform of the UN Drug Conventions. See: Drug Policy Reform Debate
- Papers presented at the presented at the Senlis Lisbon International Symposium on Global Drug Policy, 23 to 26 October 2003:
- Legal Opinion on the UN Conventions Regime and Policy Reform British Institute of International and Comparative Law, September 10, 2003
Abstract : This paper describes and evaluates the options highlighted in the context of key scenarios for reform. The legal consequences that flow from the different options are addressed. One conclusion is that a route to Convention reform may be founded on collective action based on alliances
between like-minded states
- Challenging the UN drug control conventions: problems and possibilities [PDF document], by David Bewley-Taylor, in the Special Issue on the UNGASS Mid-term Review of the International Journal of Drug Policy April 2003 (Volume 14, Issue 2)
- The Mechanics and Dynamics of the UN System for International Drug Control by David R. Bewley-Taylor and Cindy S. J. Fazey, Forward Thinking on Drugs Research Paper, March 14, 2003
- A review of the evidence-base for harm reduction approaches to drug use by Neil Hunt, Forward Thinking on Drugs Research Paper, March 14, 2003
- What Will a Legalized Drug Regime Look Like? by Frederick Polak, Drugs & Development Nr. 34, August 2002
- Legalisation: The First Hundred Years. What happened when drugs were legal and why they were prohibited by Mike Jay, lecture presented at a conference in London, July 17th 2002, organized by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
- Cocaine, Marijuana and Heroin: What would actually happen if drugs were legalized in America? by Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter, American Prospect , 3, June 2002
- Time for Breakthrough – Polarisation and Paralysis in Global Drug Policy by TNI fellow Martin Jelsma in Drugs & Conflict nr. 5, May 2002
- Habits of a Hegemon – The United States and the Future of the Global Drug Prohibition Regime by David Bewley-Taylor in Drugs & Conflict nr. 5, May 2002
- European Cannabis Policies Under Attack TNI Briefing - April 2002
- Europe vs USA, first round by Joep Oomen, Drugs & Development Nr. 32, April 2002
- Revising and Integrating Drug Policies at National and International Level: How Can Reform Be Achieved? by TNI fellow Martin Jelsma, presented at the Wilton Park Conference on Drug Policies and their Impact, March 27, 2002
- New Possibilities for Change in International Drug Control TNI Drug Policy Briefing 1, December 2001
- The secret of world-wide drug prohibition by Harry G. Levine, October 2001
- Stumbling in the dark The Economist, July 26th 2001
- Why Does Research Have So Little Impact on American Drug Policy? [PDF document], by Peter Reuter, Editorial in Addiction, Vol. 96 (3), March 2001 pp. 373-376
- Does Europe
Do It Better?: Lessons from Holland, Britain and Switzerland by Robert J. MacCoun and Peter Reuter, The Nation, September 20, 1999
- Rethinking Drug Prohibition: Don't Look for US Government Leadership by Peter Webster, International Journal of Drug
Policy, 9 (5) 1998
Links and Documentation on UNGASS 1998
- Official page of UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem
- Resolutions and declarations adopted at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in New York, June 8-10, 1998:
- Political Declaration (A/RES/S-20/2)
- Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction (A/RES/S-20/3)
- Measures to enhance international cooperation to counter the world drug problem (A/RES/S-20/4), including Action Plan against Illicit Manufacture, Trafficking and
Abuse of Amphetamine-type Stimulants and Their Precursors (Annex A), Control of Precursors (Annex B), Measures to Promote Judicial Cooperation (Annex C) , Countering Money Laundering (Annex D), and Action Plan on International Cooperation on the Eradication of Illicit Drug Crops and on Alternative Development (Annex E).
See also the UNDCP Page on UNGASS
Official documents. A collection of official UN documents on SCOPE and UNGASS and subsequent resolutions, including documentation on the preparatory process for the Action Plan on International Cooperation on the Eradication of Illicit Drug Crops and on Alternative Development:
- Consolidated first biennial report of the Executive Director on the implementation of the outcome of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly, devoted to countering the world drug problem together, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, 4 October 2001, (E/CN.7/2001/16 [PDF document])
- First biennial report of the Executive Director on the implementation of the outcome of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly, devoted to countering the world drug problem together, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, 22 December 2000 (E/CN.7/2001/2) [PDF document]
- International cooperation against the world drug problem, General Assembly, December 4, 2000 (A/RES/55/65)
- International cooperation against the world drug problem, General Assembly, February 2, 2000 (A/RES/54/132) [PDF document]
- International cooperation against the world drug problem, General Assembly, 9 December 1998 (A/RES/53/115)
Appeals and Statements against UNGASS
Statements of Coca Producers. A collection of statements of coca producer at UNGASS:
Documents on UNGASS 1998
Official documents of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) for the preparatory body of the UNGASS on Drug Control, on Eradication of Illicit Narcotics Crops and Promotion of Alternative Development Programmes:
UNGASS Mid-Term Review 2003
For an overview of Mr. Pino Arlacchi's management of the ODCCP and UNDCP and
his forced resignation Press Reports on UNDCP.
- Letter of Resignation [PDF document]
Michael vd. Schulenberg, UNDCP Director Division for Operations and Analysis, December 2000
- World Drug
Report 2000: Contents, Omissions and Distortions by Carla Rossi
- Report on the Triennial Review of the Implementation of the Recommendations Made by the Committee for Programme and Coordination at its Thirty-Eight Session on the In-depth Evaluation of the United Nations International Drug control Programme, UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), May 4, 2001 (ECOSOC E/AC.51/2001/4 [PDF document]
- Report on the Inspection of Programme Management and Administrative Practices in the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), June 1, 2001 (General Assembly A/56/83)
- Report on the Investigation into Allegation of Misconduct and Mismanagement of the "Boat Project" at the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), December 7, 2001 (General Assembly A/56/689 [PDF document]