FAQ on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs & High Level Segment: A guide for the media

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FAQ on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs & High Level Segment: A guide for the media

7 March 2014

What is the Commission on Narcotic Drugs?

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was created in 1946, and is the principal policy-making body of the UN system on drug control. The Commission is composed of 53 member states, and supervises the implementation of the UN drug conventions.

On the basis of advice from the World Health Organization, the CND can add, remove or move drugs from the schedules established by the drug conventions. On the advice of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the CND can also bring under international control chemicals frequently used in the illicit manufacture of controlled substances. It is also the governing body of the Drug Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The CND meets annually in March, usually for five days, at the Vienna International Centre. Each meeting includes roundtables and plenary sessions to debate thematically on key drug control issues, as well as a “Committee of the Whole” where member state delegations negotiate a series of resolutions that are adopted by consensus.

This year, the CND will have a High Level Segment (taking place on 13th and 14th March) as well as a regular session (from 17th to 21st March).

What is the High Level Segment?

Goal: The High Level Segment (HLS) will conduct a mid-term review of progress and challenges since the agreement of a Political Declaration and Action Plan on drugs in 2009.

Who: Ministers will take part in the HLS to exchange views on the challenges and priorities relating to drugs, and to sign-off on a Joint Ministerial Statement.

What: The Joint Ministerial Statement is to be adopted by consensus and launched at the High Level Segment. It has so far gone through numerous rounds of negotiations, which in a way largely reflected how governments defined their own success and priorities. Expectedly, this has led to open conflicts and disagreements with some governments failing to do an honest appraisal of current policies, while others are now standing strong in defence of public health-centred policies. In many ways, this disagreement is healthy and reflects on honest debate. But the consensus-based process can also lead to a very weak statement, and the possibility of no statement at all.

Topics discussed: The HLS will include three roundtable sessions: on demand reduction, supply reduction and money laundering. These discussions will cover the whole spectrum of drug policy, including law enforcement, harm reduction, crop eradication, and access to essential medicines. Some countries have very divergent views on many of these issues.

See below the full FAQ.

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