Reflections and guidelines to formulate and follow up on comprehensive policies to address the world drug problem in the Americas


Reflections and guidelines to formulate and follow up on comprehensive policies to address the world drug problem in the Americas

21 September 2014

(Adopted at the first plenary session held on September 19, 2014, and subject to review by the Style Committee)

RECALLING the commitments set forth in the “Declaration of Antigua Guatemala: For a Comprehensive Policy against the World Drug Problem in the Americas” [AG/DEC. 73 (XLIII-O/13)], adopted by the OAS General Assembly on June 6, 2013, during its forty-third regular session, and the instruction to the Permanent Council through resolution CP/RES. 1028 (1960/14) of March 28, 2014 to convene a special session of the General Assembly to follow up on the issue;

RECALLING ALSO resolution AG/RES. 2868 (XLIV-O/14) of June 5, 2014, on “The promotion and protection of human rights in the search for new approaches and effective solutions, in the development and implementation of policies for addressing the world drug problem in the Americas”, adopted at the forty fourth regular session of the General Assembly of the OAS;

REAFFIRMING the commitments of the Member States within the framework of the international drug control system, consisting of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and taking into account the international obligations assumed by each state;

REAFFIRMING that the world drug problem must be addressed, including a crosscutting human rights perspective in line with the parties’ obligation under international law and in order to promote and achieve,the well-being of individuals, their social inclusion and access to justice and health, with a focus on gender;

RECOGNIZING the importance of improving efforts to counter the effects that the world drug problem has on society, development and health, as well as to prevent those effects from developing;

RECOGNIZING that despite the efforts made by States to address the world drug problem, the scale of the problem in the Hemisphere is significantly greater in some countries in the hemisphere than it was a decade ago;

MINDFUL of the complexity of the world drug problem and that it must be addressed in an integral and balanced manner, recognizing the different impacts, manifestations, and realities of this problem in each Member State, and fully respecting the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of the States, and taking into account the principle of common and shared responsibility;

RECOGNIZING the need for the rehabilitation and reintegration of persons affected by drug abuse or dependence in order to avoid their marginalization, stigmatization and discrimination. Recognizing also the need to address the social consequences such as crime and violence, and that the breaking of social ties and family disintegration, hinder persons from pursuing their individual goals, vocational training and access to the workforce;

UNDERSCORING the progress made in the hemispheric debate on the world drug problem in the Americas and the region’s commitment to combat it through comprehensive policies that address all its causes and components in a balanced and multidisciplinary manner. Said commitment is based on the shared vision that human beings, their dignity, and their social inclusion should constitute the core of public policies, so that said policies may help strengthen the social fabric, justice, human rights, health, local and national development, and citizen security that include preventive actions against violence based on a better understanding of the causes of these problems among others measures to prevent violence;

UNDERSCORING ALSO the progress made in the Hemispheric debate and the commitments contained in the OAS Hemispheric Drug Strategy and Hemispheric Plan of Action on Drugs 2011-2015 and the importance of the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) as its evaluation mechanism, the Pan American Health Organization Plan of Action on Psychoactive Substances Use and Public Health, adopted in 2011, and recognizing the need to continue progress to face new challenges and thus respond to the new realities;

REITERATING the importance of advancing in a coordinated manner in the Hemisphere, in order to confront the world drug problem, considering new approaches that are based on knowledge and scientific evidence, contribute to the strengthening of national strategies in an effort to seek effective solutions and achieve better results in response to challenges that have arisen in recent years;

TAKING NOTE of the reflections from the Summit of the Central American Integration System held in Antigua, Guatemala, in 2012; the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in 2012;1/ 2/

TAKING NOTE of the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas presented by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States;

CONSIDERING the need to initiate the process of preparation of the 2016-2020 plan of action of the Hemispheric Drug Strategy, noting the importance of a vision that deals with the new causes of the world drug problem, challenges and the different realities of member states in order to reduce the different costs and harmful effects in our societies and strengthen the social fabric while promoting, amongst others, comprehensive public policies with an emphasis on public health, education, justice, social development, the rule of law, citizen security, democratic institutions, and human rights; and

RECOGNIZING the importance of Member States sharing their experiences and new approaches to address the world drug problem, which may provide evidence to improve current drug policies, particularly when they are focused on individuals and their surroundings as center of such policies,


  1. To reaffirm the importance of Hemispheric and international cooperation to jointly tackling the world drug problem, by promoting and strengthening comprehensive policies and, where appropriate, the modernization and professionalization of government institutions.
  2. To recognize the importance of effective implementation of the three United Nations Drug Conventions which constitute the framework of the international drug control system.
  3. To recognize that is necessary for the states, in accordance with their obligations under international law, to consider:
    1. Regularly reviewing the drug policies adopted, ensuring that they are comprehensive and focused on the well-being of the individual, in order to address their national challenges and assess their impact and effectiveness, and
    2. Develop, according to the reality of each State and on the basis of an increased understanding of the causes of new challenges posed bythe global drug problem, responses that prevent social costs or contribute to their reduction. When appropriate, review traditional approaches and consider the development of new approaches, based on scientific evidence and knowledge.
  4. To encourage Member States todevelop or adopt policies and programs with a holistic, strengthened, balanced, and multidisciplinary approach that have a concrete impact on solving the world drug problem and are designed to:
    1. To strengthen national health systems and harmonize or align the State’s response to prevent drug abuse and dependence, as well as offer programs for health promotion, prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation, and social reintegration for persons affected by drug abuse and dependence, with the objective of reducing the impact on public health and reducing stigmatization, marginalization, and discrimination and to promote education for tolerance in society, by allotting sufficient resources to facilitate access to national health systems, and seeking, as appropriate, technical assistance from PAHO, in the framework of the CICAD-OAS Agreement;
    2. To promote, according to the circumstances of each State, equilibrium among citizen security measures, public health, human rights, and mending of the social fabric, in order to achieve individual and community well-being;
    3. To promote, where appropriate, and in accordance with domestic laws alternatives to incarceration taking into account, inter-alia, gender perspective, the severity of the crime, and the appropriate sentencing, with a the view to deterring crime, to achieve the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of incarcerated persons, in order to ensure the well-being of individuals and communities and reducing overcrowding in prisons with full respect for Human Rights and to strive to incorporate the relevant provisions of the United Nations Standards and Norms into their practices;
    4. To recognize the challenge posed by the emergence of new psychoactive substances and encourage cooperation in terms of sharing information on the production, distribution, consume and identification of such substances;
    5. Strengthen demand reduction, prevention and treatment strategies and policies to address the challenge of drug abuse, including the use of new psychoactive substances, and emphasizing the value of campaigns targeting vulnerable populations in the hemisphere;
    6. Urge countries that produce, export, import and transit chemicals substances and precursors that are used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic and psychotropic substances, including new psychoactive substances, to strengthen, in cooperation with the private sector, their measures for controlling production, distribution, and domestic and foreign sales of chemical substances and precursors, in order to prevent their diversion toward illicit activities, and to encourage international cooperation and strategic public–private partnership;
    7. To develop comprehensive and balanced measures designed to reduce the available supply of the illicit drugs, and
    8. To continue to encourage Member States to promote within the framework of their national policies, programs and measures for comprehensive sustainable alternative development, including, as appropriate, preventive development measures, preventive alternative development, aimed at eliminating the factors that cause poverty, social exclusion, and environmental degradation, and in order to, inter alia, prevent the reinsertion of vulnerable populations in activities linked to production and illicit trafficking of drugs.
  5. To promote and strengthen comprehensive development programs with social inclusion that:
    1. Promote mechanisms and other tools that confront the vulnerability of sectors affected by drug-trafficking networks, and
    2. Address the global drug problem, including, the illicit trafficking of drugs in small quantities.
  6. To call upon the member states to consider, when developing comprehensive polices to deal with the world drug problem, measures, programs, and actions that address the needs of the victims of violence, and crime.
  7. To continue investing in the specific needs of at-risk groups, including children, adolescents, and youth, both in and out of school, with an emphasis on education and training to develop skills and opportunities that enable them to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
  8. Request the Committee on Hemispheric Security to conduct an examination, through the appropriate body of the structural causes, triggers and the multiple factors, that contribute to violence and crime such as the global world drug problem, so it can be taken into account along with other elements for the drafting of the Hemispheric Plan of Action on Drugs 2016-2020.
  9. To encourage all social actors and civil society as a whole, to continue contributing to the efforts made by member states and to provide their inputs to address the world drug problem.
  10. Also to encourage Member States to share information, data collected, and scientific evidence on the results of implementation of new policies and control of illicit substances and instruct CICAD to work with the national authorities of Member States when they so request, to analyze the impact of those policies on regional efforts to address the world drug problem.
  11. Request the General Secretariat by the appropriate organs and in consultation with Member States, analyze the economic factors that contribute to Drug Trafficking in the Hemisphere.
  12. To address by, Member States, and as appropriate, through the competent fora of the OAS the need to continue to reduce levels of impunity with which organized criminal groups operate, by pursuing the following measures, among others, by:
    1. Strengthening regional and bilateral cooperation mechanisms for institutionalizing instruments for the exchange of operational information and/or intelligence on the matter;
    2. Preventing organized criminal groups the access to financial systems and illicit wealth, by implementing the “International Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Finance of Terrorism and Proliferation” issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the recommendations of CICAD Group of Experts for the Control of Money Laundering, and, to urge Member States as appropriate, to update legislation on the matter on money laundering, and confiscation;
    3. Continuing to develop and strengthen legislative and administrative control over precursor chemicals and substances to prevent their diversion toward the production of illicit substances and illicit activities, and to encourage international cooperation and strategic public-private partnerships to meet the challenge posed by new psychoactive substances;
    4. Promoting the exchange of good practices and experiences in border control;
    5. Continuing to strengthen the regional measures to keep organized criminal groups, including those dedicated to drug trafficking, from acquiring weapons ammunition and explosives, and
    6. Continuing to improve the institutional capacity of Member States to prevent, detect and punish corruption linked to illicit drug trafficking activities.
  13. To reaffirm that the evaluation of drug control policies must be a multilateral exercise.
  14. To continue to support implementation of the 2010 Hemispheric Drug Strategy and instruct the General Secretariat to evaluate the results achieved as of December 2014 of the plan of action 2010, 2015 and the Hemispheric strategy and the Plan of Action and request CICAD to prepare its Plan of Action for 2016-2020, emphasizing scientific evidence, experiences and impact indicators provided by the Member States with regards to the causes of the world drug problem and the new challenges generated in the region and taking into account the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism and the contributions and progress made by both specialized agencies and other relevant sectors.
  15. To instruct the Chair of this special session of the OAS General Assembly to forward, in accordance with the resolution CND 57/5, to the President of the United Nations General Assembly and to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations, this resolution for consideration of the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the world drug problem, to be held in 2016.


  1. … are inappropriate, in that during that event, the Heads of State and Government were unable to consider or adopt the Political Declaration, which reflected the common will of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for the sister republic of Cuba to participate unconditionally and on a footing of sovereign equality. We reaffirm that a “Summit of the Americas” cannot be held without the presence of Cuba. The mandates and operative paragraphs on the core themes were part of the Political Declaration and as the latter were not adopted, nor were the former. For that reason, Nicaragua disagrees with making references to these documents and mandates, which were not adopted.

  2. AG06685E04.doc
    without prejudice to the contents approved by Ecuador in other negotiation contexts, as appropriate.”

1. The Government of Nicaragua considers that the reference to the Summit in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and the appeal to strengthen the so-called “Summit of the Americas” …

2. The Republic of Ecuador enters its express reservation to references to the Sixth Summit of the Americas, held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on April 14 and 15, 2012, …