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 process had some challenges, it was nonetheless a critical moment for global drug policy reform. In June 2017, the UN Secretary General welcomed the UNGASS Outcome Document as a ‘forward-looking blueprint for action’ and called on governments to ‘honour the unanimous commitments’ made.
The next opportunity to build on the important progress made at the UNGASS is the ‘High Level Ministerial Segment’ of the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), as agreed in CND Resolution 60/1: ‘Preparations for the sixty-second session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019’. 2019 is the target date established in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action ‘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, and in the 2017 World Drug Report, the UNODC states clearly that the ‘drug market is thriving’.
The 2019 moment is fast approaching, and the modalities for the event will likely be finalised with the approval of Resolution L3 ‘Preparations for the sixtysecond session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in 2019’, presented by the CND Chair for discussion at the 61st session of the CND.In this context, it is critical that a clear process be established to:
• Review progress made in light of the 2019 target date set in paragraph 36 of the 2009 Political Declaration, including main trends, achievements and gaps
• Conduct a genuine debate on the state of global drug policy, considering ‘all options’, and involving all relevant stakeholders
• Delineate a roadmap for 2019 and beyond to effectively operationalise the recommendations included in the UNGASS Outcome Document.
To inform these deliberations, this IDPC advocacy note outlines some of the key issues and possible options for 2019.