UN High-Level Segment on Drugs, March 2014

Preparations for the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS)
28 February 2014
Article

On March 13-14, 2014, UN member states will gather in Vienna, Austria, for a High Level Segment of the annual UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The purpose of this meeting is to review the progress made, and the challenges encountered, since the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the World Drug Problem. The main focus of the High Level Segment will be the negotiation of a Joint Ministerial Statement, which will set the scene for the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), as well as recording member states’ views of progress.

The Action Plan has a target date of 2019 for the achievement of a significant reduction or the elimination of the demand and supply of drugs. UN member states have committed to undertake a mid-term review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Action Plan and this process is now underway. Since September 2013, UN member states have been negotiating a Joint Ministerial Statement that has to be adopted at the High Level Segment of the CND.

IDPC recommendations on the Joint Ministerial Statement

In preparation for the High Level Segment of the 2014 CND and the negotiation of the Joint Ministerial Statement, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) is working with TNI and other partners and members to draft recommendations to promote the drafting of a cohesive statement that reflects the changing priorities and realities of drug control around the world. We have issued a series of recommendations as the process developed:

IDPC recommendations for member states on 5th draft Statement (December 11, 2013)

IDPC recommendations for member states on 3rd draft Statement (November 4, 2013)

IDPC recommendations for member states on 2nd draft Statement (October 9, 2013)

IDPC recommendations for member states on 1st draft Statement (September, 25 2013)

The United Nations debate on drug policy, IDPC Briefing for the International Parliamentary Seminar on Drug Policy Reform, October 2013  

Official documents for the CND/high-level segment

 

CND Resolution 56/12 – it sets out the preparations for the high-level review of the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

Click here to access official documentation available on the UNODC website in preparation for the high-level review.

To support these deliberations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released two important documents: a Contribution of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to the high-level review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, and Drug Policy Provisions from the International Drug Control Conventions.

Both documents formalise an emerging rhetoric from UNODC that we have seen develop over recent years: that drug policies need to focus more on health than crime, but that the three international drug conventions – as they currently exist – provide sufficient flexibility to do this. The changing rhetoric from the agency – of flexibility and health-based policies – is very much welcomed. Similar to the previous UNODC Executive Director’s acknowledgement of “unintended consequences” from drug policy, the UNODC's positions have the potential to push the debate forward in Vienna. However, the debate needs clearer legal analysis and more extensive normative guidance. For this purpose, IDPC prepared an analysis of the documents:

UNODC’s shifting position on drug policy: Progress and challenges, IDPC Advocacy Note, February 2014

For more information about the High-Level Segment, please click here or visit the CND Blog or TNIs CND page.