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The 2016 UNGASS on drugs was hailed as an opportunity ‘to conduct a wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options’. Although the UNGASS fell short of expectations, it was nonetheless a critical moment for global drug policy reform. The next opportunity to build on progress made will be in 2019, when the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action will be up for review. The document established 2019 ‘as a target date for States to eliminate or reduce significantly and measurably’ illicit drug supply and demand, the diversion and trafficking of precursors and money laundering. Evidence from the UN itself shows that these targets are unachievable.

Yet the existence of a ten-year Plan of Action from 2009 inherently implies a review, renewal or some form of closure in 2019. The holding of the 2016 UNGASS – an event that was originally unforeseen in the lead up to 2019 – has resulted in procedural uncertainties for the mandate, procedure, coordination, nature or outcomes of the 2019 event. The 60th Session of CND will be a key opportunity for member states to discuss the 2019 process, in particular with the negotiation of Resolution E/CN.7/2017/L9. entitled ‘Preparations for the sixty-second session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019’.  

To inform the discussions, this IDPC advocacy note outlines key issues and possible options for 2019, drawing lessons from the 2009 process.

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