4 March 2009


UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs to Review
Effectiveness of Drug Control

VIENNA, 4 March 2009 (UN Information Service) - The effectiveness of drug control will be the focus of the 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which will meet in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 20 March. The first two days of the session will be held at the ministerial level to assess progress made in the decade since a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) set targets to reduce global supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs. This will be the first meeting to take place in the new M building at the Vienna International Centre.

The media are invited to a press conference by Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Members of the Bureau of the CND on Wednesday, 11 March at 13:00 hours in Press Briefing Room MOE71A of the M building. Mr. Costa will address the issue of organized crime - one of the unintended consequences of drug control. In a paper presented to the Commission, entitled "Organized Crime and its Threat to Security", he warns that "a criminal market of staggering proportion risks undermining drug control". He will outline a three-pronged approach to tackle drug-related crime.

The CND is the policy-making body at the United Nations dealing with illicit drugs. It is also the governing body for UNODC's work in the drugs field.

Ministers and top anti-drug officials from the 53 CND Member States will discuss issues ranging from preventing drug abuse and dependence, to reducing the supply of drugs, controlling precursors and amphetamine-type stimulants, alternative development, countering the laundering of drug money and strengthening international cooperation. The CND is expected to adopt a Political Declaration on the future of drug control and a Plan of Action to counter the world drug problem.

The opening session on Wednesday, 11 March at 10:00 hours at the Vienna International Centre is open to the media. Throughout the CND, an extensive programme of side events will also be open to the press, including the launch of the Joint Action Programme on Drug Dependence and Care by the World Health Organization and UNODC, a presentation of the Cannabis Commission Report by the Beckley Foundation and NGO perspectives on drug control in an event hosted by HRH Queen Silvia of Sweden.

For further information, please contact:

Walter Kemp
Spokesman and Speechwriter, UNODC
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: walter.kemp@unodc.org

For accreditation: Media are encouraged to pre-accredit for the briefing; forms and criteria are available on www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/media_accreditation.html or by writing to press@unvienna.org. Journalists already accredited to the VIC do not need re-accreditation. Please note that accreditation is required to attend the briefing. For information on facilities and briefings for the media, write to jaya.mohan@unvienna.org, or call (+43-1) 26060-4448.

Access to the M building is via Checkpoint 1 of the Vienna International Centre. Camera crews should inform of their participation in advance by writing to jaya.mohan@unvienna.org. Media are advised to come to the venue at least half an hour before the briefing to avoid delays at security.