|For information only - not an official document.|
|Press Release No: UNIS/NAR/680|
|Release Date: 2 March 2000|
| Commission on Narcotic Drugs to Hold Forty-third Session
In Vienna, 6-15 March 2000
To Discuss Follow-up Action to General Assembly Special Session:
Drug Demand Reduction, Eradication of Illicit Drug Crops, and World Drug Abuse Situation
VIENNA, 2 March (UN Information Service) – Progress in reducing illicit demand for drugs and in eradicating illicit drug crops will be the key focus of attention as the United Nations` principal policy-making body on drug control meets here from 6 to 15 March. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its forty-third session will review the steps taken by Member States to implement the action plans and measures adopted at the Twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly, and will also look at ways and means to enhance international cooperation to counter the world drug problem.
• have comprehensive drug demand strategies in place;
By 2008 the countries agreed to:
• eliminate or significantly reduce the manufacture and trafficking of psychotropic substances and diversion of precursors;
At the upcoming session, the Commission will review progress achieved by Governments in meeting those goals and targets giving highlighted attention to implementing the Declaration on Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction and measures taken to enhance international cooperation on the eradication of illicit drug crops and on alternative development. Apart from assessing what has been achieved, delegates are expected to consider the establishment of common, more comprehensive indicators that would make reporting easier to interpret.
Few Governments have comprehensive demand reduction strategies and programs in place, and many countries lack the capacity to assess their drug abuse problem through a systematic collection and analysis of information. To help countries reach specific drug control targets agreed at the Special Session, the Vienna-based United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) has drawn up business plans, as part of a broad strategy to globally reduce the illicit demand and supply for drugs by the year 2008.
The Commission at its current session will review a report containing an assessment of how the UNDCP, particularly through its network of field offices, could support the implementation of the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction adopted at the Special Session, to fight the abuse of illicit drugs, particularly among children and youth. The two principal goals for UNDCP are to provide guidance and assistance for the national information systems and for the development of demand reduction strategies; and to facilitate the sharing of information on best strategies in a number of areas.
In the field of crop eradication another major development under review will be the on-going programme for the monitoring of illicit crop cultivation through space-based technologies as well as aerial and ground surveys. UNDCP, with the support of the European Space Agency will provide technical assistance and cooperation to the countries in which the bulk of world illicit crop cultivation occurs namely Bolivia, Colombia the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Peru and possibly Afghanistan.
The Commission, in its capacity as the governing body of UNDCP, will also review the overall activities of the Programme for the past year and provide policy directives and guidance to UNDCP. As the international reference point for drug control, UNDCP in 1999 was a catalyst in stimulating action at the national, regional and international levels through a portfolio of technical cooperation programs supported by a network of field offices located in key regions and countries. It strengthened its presence in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation, South Africa and the States of Central America.
The Programme not only initiated measures to promote judicial cooperation, but it also helped Governments draw up drug laws aimed at precursor control and combatting money-laundering. A new initiative known as the “Offshore forum” involves an action-oriented approach to fight money-laundering through offshore facilities.
The Commission will also examine how to strengthen the overall United Nations machinery to combat drug trafficking and abuse including innovative means of increasing the resources for drug control programmes.
World Drug Situation
The current session will consider the world drug situation with regard to drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Based on an annual questionnaire submitted by 112 countries, thirty-one countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe reported increased abuse of heroin and thirty countries reported the growing abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants. A source of considerable concern is the rising trend in the abuse of methamphetamine in south-east Asia in general, and in Thailand in particular. Increasing abuse of amphetamine is also reported in many countries of the European Union.
According to a report on the international drug abuse situation, developing countries have become highly vulnerable to drug abuse, which puts a heavy burden on their already fragile health and social infrastructures. The paper also points out that there is a critical need to ensure a full understanding of the patterns and scale of the global problem of drug abuse. To facilitate this, the Commission is expected to initiate the development of standardised indicators for assessing drug abuse trends and will also promote capacity-building exercises in developing countries.
The Commission will also review the recommendations and conclusions targeting illicit drug trafficking emanating from the regional meetings held in 1999 of the heads of national drug law enforcement agencies (HONLEA).
Membership of Commission
The 53 members of the Commission include Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote d`Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
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