CND58 – Most Relevant Issues

Prevention poster

Prevention was one of the issue addressed during 58th session of CND

The 58th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) of this year was a longer and more intense than usual, as it combined the annual session with a special segment on UNGASS preparations –the highest level meeting regarding drug policies that will take place in 2016. High-level representatives attended the special segment section from the member states (at the ministerial level), which allowed having a more substantial debate.

Since 2008, Dianova International is attending this encounter annually. This time it counted with a delegation that participated in diverse activates, fulfilling various functions.

The summary below does not intent to make an accurate and complete report of CND58 session (official report online), as it only pretends to share with our readers some aspects that were relevant during this session, and that we consider, could set trends. 

Among the most prominent aspects of the session were:

The issue of prevention, which is so familiar to Dianova, has eventually taken a major position in Finland and hopefully this will set an example in other countries. Finland announced that it was about to establish the equivalent of a "Ministry of Prevention", that will have competencies among all government initiatives and programs. This new department will replace all prevention sections present at various government levels (in general directions, health agencies, schools and hospitals). Having a unique prevention department (health, education environment, etc.) will enable the issue to be treated holistically. This announcement was warmly welcomed by UNODC

Evaluation has also become an essential element in the UNODC projects. This organism has created an ad hoc department that counts with both employees and freelance evaluators. The evaluation process starts from the project design and goes from design up to implementation and follow-up stages.

Research is another area that advances without question. During CND 58, UNODC gathered the most prominent researchers from all around the world. This group discussed the statutory bases in order to establish a new unit, designed strategies and started working on their implementation. There is consensus on basing the actions in scientific evidence-based practices. As UNODC President Mr. Yury Fedotov stated "We must remove the damaging influence of ideology and provide assistance solely on the basis of science and research."

Human right standards regarding drugs are a source of concern and debate, as in the last CND sessions. Death penalty for drug dealers that is still in place in certain countries and the use of prisons as an alternative to minor drug dealer treatments. The horror of Latin America overcrowded prisons was also referred to. 

Access to drugs for medical purposes in developing countries is unbalanced and deserved a good deal of attention. One of the main functions of INCB is to establish a list of narcotic drugs that should be controlled, and control its production. The problem is that there are serious distorts in their distribution.  A very alarming figure is that 75% of the world population has no o very limited access to morphine or other heavy pain relief analgesics. Civil society representatives requested governments and INCB to ensure accessibility to drugs with medical use to all people that for medical and humanitarian reasons needs these. 

Finally we are heading towards UNGASS session that will take place in April 2016. What is to be decided by the heads of state and government during this session will mark the drug policies for the upcoming decades. For the moment, there are two tendencies. One the one hand, one position aims to maintain the current three drug conventions with a greater flexibility. On the other hand, other positions advocate for signing a new convention

The challenges are already ahead of us. A great deal is at a stake and it is our responsibility to face it and get together with other actors to position ourselves. As we know in Dianova,Together, farther!