PRESS RELEASE

Consensus key to advancing balanced action on drugs, says UNODC Executive Director

Vienna, 16 March 2018 - Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlighted the importance of consensus in addressing world drug challenges at the conclusion of the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) today in Vienna.

Speaking at the closing session, Mr. Fedotov commended the efforts of the CND to discuss and agree joint solutions.

"Consensus is the shared conviction that working together, we can solve common problems," he said. "This is true whether we are talking about ensuring access to pain-relieving medicines, stopping organized crime and trafficking, enabling alternative development or ensuring evidence-based treatment and support."

"It is a great strength of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs that it has been able to build, and continue building on, a hard-won consensus to address the complex challenges posed by drugs, with the international conventions as our foundation and the Sustainable Development Goals as our objective." 

The meeting began with a video message from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who urged governments to take the opportunity to advance "efforts to stop organized crime while protecting human rights, enabling development and ensuring rights-based treatment and support".

The UNODC Executive Director underscored UNODC's support for Member States' efforts: "UNODC is here to help you turn commitments into effective action on the ground, and to continue coordinating comprehensive UN strategic support on drug challenges."

The 61st session, chaired by Ambassador Alicia Buenrostro Massieu of Mexico, agreed 11 resolutions on various topics among them enhancing international cooperation to combat the synthetic opioid crisis, removing stigma as a barrier to the availability and delivery of health, care and social services for people who use drugs, and on preparations for the planned ministerial segment at the 2019 session.

The Commission also agreed to schedule six analogues of fentanyl, including carfentanil, under the international drug control conventions. Abuse of fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine, has led to thousands of overdose deaths around the world.

More than 1,500 participants from Member States, inter-governmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector took part in the session.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs serves as the central policymaking body within the United Nations system on drugs. Along with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, it is one of the governing bodies of UNODC. Its resolutions and decisions provide guidance to Member States, UNODC and the broader global community.

For further information, contact:

Brian Hansford
Advocacy Section Chief, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060- 83225
Mobile: (+43-699) 1458-3225
Email: brian.hansford[at]un.org