Commission on Narcotic Drugs: Report on the fifty-ninth session (E/CN.7/2016/16)
157. The important linkages between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the work of the Commission were highlighted. It was noted that one of the mandates of UNODC was to assist Member States in achieving target 3.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (“Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”), which was also a key element of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, which had been adopted in 2009. Reference was also made to the UNODC mandate to promote HIV prevention, treatment and care among people who use drugs or are in prisons so as to contribute to ending AIDS by 2030, as part of target 3.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (“By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, waterborne diseases and other communicable diseases”). Reference was made to the fact that the parties to the international drug control conventions had recognized that it was indispensable to ensure the availability of internationally controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes and that the availability of those drugs and substances to relieve pain and suffering should not be unduly restricted. UNODC had partnered in particular with WHO and civil society leaders to meet part of target 3.8 (“Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”) and target 3.b (“Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines […]”). Additionally, the Office’s research work supported countries in the monitoring of and reporting on Goal 3 (“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”) by implementing drug monitoring systems for the collection of reliable data.
158. It was noted that UNODC would support Member States in reaching the targets under Goal 5 (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”) by, inter alia, promoting access to justice for women and girls and supporting the development of legislation and policies to protect the rights of women and girls and prevent as well as respond to violence against women and girls. It was also mentioned that the Office’s global work on the prevention of drug use and the treatment of drug use disorders specifically addressed the unique needs of women and girls, as did the fact that the empowerment of women was at the core of the Office’s alternative development programmes.
159. Particular emphasis was placed on Goal 6 (“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”), Goal 8 (“Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”) and Goal 10 (“Reduce inequality within and among countries”). The Office’s activities in assisting Member States in reducing illicit financial flows, which contributed to achieving Goal 10, including, in particular, target 10.b (“Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes”), were highlighted. Activities contributing to the implementation of Goal 15 (“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”) were mentioned as well.
160. Of particular relevance to the work of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and UNODC (which are all based in Vienna) in the 2030 Agenda was Goal 16 (“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”). Whereas traditional development interventions were focused on vulnerability, the inclusion of Goal 16 in the 2030 Agenda acknowledged the need to deal with the root causes of that vulnerability, as impunity, lawlessness and other problems created opportunities for exploitation of the vulnerable. In that regard, Goal 17 (“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development”) was also important, since improved policy coherence and increased multistakeholder partnerships were one of the key elements of the 2030 Agenda, within the respective mandates of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
161. It was stressed that the Sustainable Development Goals provided a unique opportunity to enhance cooperation within the United Nations system. The efforts by the Economic and Social Council to coordinate and harmonize the work of the United Nations system were welcomed. It was also stated that, while the Commission played a leading role as the central policymaking body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters, other entities, such as WHO, UNAIDS and UNDP, played important roles in formulating drug policy, and the preparations for the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016 had shown that there was a need for increased coordination between the public health and justice sectors. It was suggested that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs should work to develop new and creative ways to involve other United Nations bodies in its work through expert panels, briefings to the Commission or side events. It was further proposed that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, together with the International Narcotics Control Board and UNODC, should help Member States to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of public health, criminal justice and law enforcement, consistent with their obligations under the drug control treaties. It was noted that the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice should also be involved in those efforts, given, inter alia, the links between drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money-laundering. It was also noted that the Office’s expertise should be fully and appropriately utilized in programmes focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and that the Office should help Member States and other United Nations agencies to monitor and evaluate progress made in achieving Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and develop evidence-based responses to drugs and crime.