Over the last decade, member states of the United Nations have agreed on three high-level policy documents on drugs: the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, 1 adopted at the high-level segment in 2009; the Joint Ministerial Statement of the 2014 high-level review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action;2 and the 2016 Outcome Document of the 30th special session of the General Assembly, entitled Our Joint Commitment to Effectively Addressing and Countering the World Drug Problem. 3 Member states have agreed that these three documents “are complementary and mutually reinforcing”.4 For example, in the UNGASS Outcome Document, member states “reaffirm our commitment to implementing effectively the provisions set out in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action, mindful of the targets and goals set therein”.

In March 2019, the CND will hold a high-level ministerial segment in Vienna to lay the foundations for the coming years. However, as the CND prepares for the approaching 2019 target date that was set by the 2009 Political Declaration (Article 36) – a tension has persisted in relation to these documents, and the role they each play in the coming decade of international drug control. To support these debates and reconcile tensions, this paper provides a detailed analysis and comparison of the 2009 and 2016 documents.

The primary aim of this analysis is to explore to what extent the content and commitments of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action are reflected in the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, and vice versa.