2014 marks the midway point of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the World Drug Problem. 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.

On 13th and 14th March 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 negotiation of the Statement started in September and will continue during a series of ‘intersessional meetings’ – these have already taken place on 25 September, 16 October, 5 November, 18 November, 11 December 2013, 14 January 2014 and 27 February 2014, with other "informal" meetings taking place in between. The Chairing of the CND has now been transferred from Peru to Egypt.

At these formal meetings in Vienna, member states are negotiating key messages and ideas that they want to include in the Joint Ministerial Statement. Two predictable political lines have appeared, between governments wishing to promote openness and progress towards reform (for example, the European Union, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, etc.), and others who argue for status quo and a recommitment to existing efforts (i.e. China, Pakistan and the Russian Federation). For a more detailed account of the positions of each member state at these meetings, please visit the CND Blog.

During the 14 January inter-sessional, government officials negotiated the first part of the Statement, which includes the introduction and the demand reduction section, having finalised 8 paragraphs and deferring the rest for further review. Ahead of the meeting, UNODC Executive Director Yuri Fedotov released a report which includes his "contribution" to the debates. The report is available here. The INCB have also now submitted their own contributions to the debates.

The latest inter-sessional took place on 27 February. Despite numerous rounds of negotiations, both formally at that meeting, and informally throughout January and February, member state delegations have yet to agree on a final Joint Ministerial Statement. So far, contentious issues continue to include harm reduction, the death penalty and the acknowledgement of "debates on drug policy". A new inter-sessional took place on Tuesday 11 March

The High Level Segment took place on 13th and 14th March 2014. For information about country statements, please visit the CND Blog. The Joint Ministerial Statement was adopted after much debate around the issues of the death penalty and harm reduction - both of which were removed in the final version of the Statement. For more information about the debates, please click here

Civil society engagement

The negotiations on the Statement will be conducted by the capitals and Vienna Missions of member states. There are several ways in which it is possible to influence the process:

  • Directly offering ideas and suggestions to your own governments and with other “friendly member states” – IDPC has put together a list of recommendations (see below) to influence the text ahead of each intersessional, which may be useful to influence governments’ positions.
  • Attending the intersessional meetings – These formal meetings run according to normal CND procedures. This means that NGOs accredited by ECOSOC are able to attend as observers. To nominate your representatives (up to 5 per organisation, in addition to the NGO’s director), you will need to draft a letter signed by the director of the NGO listing the names, affiliations and email addresses of the representatives, and send it to If you do not have ECOSOC accreditation (which can take several years), IDPC may be able to assist in getting a  pass – please email for more information.
  • Checking theCND Blog –  if you are unable to attend meetings, you can visit where IDPC will post information on the negotiations. 
  • Becoming a member of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) – The VNGOC has a mandate for ensuring NGO involvement in CND processes and is an important mechanism for coordinating NGO input. It is therefore important that as many NGOs as possible become members of the VNGOC. For more information, please click here.

Read the short IDPC Guide below for more information on how NGOs can engage at the HLS.

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, IDPC is working with its 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.

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

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

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

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

IDPC recommendations to Parliamentarians at the Parliamentary Seminar on Drug Policy Reform (28th to 30th 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.