12 March 2009

Political Declaration and Action Plan Map Out Future of Drug Control

VIENNA, 12 March (UN Information Service) - The 52nd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) adopted a Draft Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the future of drug control at the conclusion of its high-level segment today. The two-day segment saw Heads of State and Ministers review progress in drug control since the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on drugs in 1998 (UNGASS), and agree on further steps to reduce the threat posed by drugs to health and security. The CND is the policy-setting body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in drug-control matters.

The Political Declaration recognizes that countries have a shared responsibility for solving the world drugs problem, that a "balanced and comprehensive approach" is called for and that human rights need to be recognized. Notably, it stresses health as the basis for international drugs policy. "The Declaration will be a valuable tool to spur national efforts and strengthen international cooperation," said the Chairperson of the session, Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, Libertina Amathila.

Governments also approved an Action Plan proposing 30 remedies to problems in six areas of concern, namely,

The Action Plan places emphasis, among other things, on scientific evidence to support interventions; mainstreaming drug treatment and rehabilitation into national healthcare systems; and ensuring accessibility to drug demand reduction services.

The Action Plan addresses, for example, new trafficking trends and calls for greater exchange of intelligence, better monitoring of the impact of cyber-technology and effective regulation of online pharmacies. It also supports drug control and alternative development approaches as part of measures to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development.

In his concluding remarks, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa thanked NGOs for "helping set the agenda beyond 2008." He also paid tribute "to all those people around the world who put this plan into action every day: the teachers, health and social workers, parents, police officers, mayors, mentors and members of civil society who - through their engagement and example - create a safer and healthier world."

The CND is meeting from 11 to 20 March. Over 1,400 participants from 130 countries, international organizations and NGOs are taking part in the current session.

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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