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Welcome to the 55th session
of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
100 years ago the Hague open convention
formed the basis for drug control
and we have followed the long road since then.
Today in 2012 we recognize that
progress has been made
but there is still a need to strengthen action
and co-operation at the national, regional and international levels.
It is a 100 years since the first
international agreements on drug control.
Whether you see that 100 years of success
or a 100 years of failure I think there are all views across the spectrum.
My personal view and the view of International Drug Policy Consortium
is primarily we are talking about failure.
The architects of the system sat out to resolve
the global drug problem by repression,
so that these supply of drugs was stifled
and people did not want to use drugs
and that demonstrably has not happened,
so we can't call this in any way a success.
There are some people including I think Mr. Fedotov
who is calling on us to be better at repression to be stronger
and to be better coordinated but I think most of our members
and our movement are saying we know enough now,
there is enough clear evidence
that we have to change direction.
TNI made a position paper on this anniversary,
what do you say in your position paper?
The facts that consumption level of opium in Asia
has reduced so much is used as the main argument
to claim success for the control regime itself.
Part of the reduction of that widespread consumption
has to do with the introduction of a whole range of new medicines on the market.
The first treaties were not introducing immediately a prohibition regime
it only tried to put some restrictions on the international trade
of the controlled substances.
Yesterday Mr. Morales presented a couple of coca products
and he urged governments to correct a historical error
which is banning of coca chewing.
How do you comment this?
Yeah he is perfectly right of course,
it is one of the most blatant errors I would say
in the history of this century of drug control.
There is one article in the 1961 convention
that literally says that the chewing of coca leaves has to be abolished,
it is impossible to defend today.
They withdrew from the single convention
and that came into effect on the 1st of January
and they are now trying to become a member again to readhere
with a reservation which says
in Bolivia the use of coca and the consumption of coca
in its natural form will be allowed
and also cultivation and distribution, marketing
for the uses in its natural form will be allowed.
We had Evo Morales here on Monday
talking about why his country wants to make some changes
to their drug control policies
and there are many other Latin-American countries now
starting to explore these options.
At the moment we see still from the UN agencies
an attempt to try to stop these processes
where we do need to encourage them to be engaged with them
and look for carefully planned improved policies
rather than try pretend that everything is fine.
What we have learned does not point us to legalisation as an answer
in fact it is precisely because we recognize
the drug problem as a public health issue
that the United States steadfastly opposes the legalisation of drugs.
Yesterday Gil Kerlikowske the US drug czar probably posed his message
to the Latin Americans when he said that they strongly oppose legalisation
at the same time you hear from Latin American leaders that they are,
they need an open debate on legalisation
what do you think what are the chances of
of this kind of movement which is coming from Latin America now?
To at least open the discussion about it
including about the possibility of a legal regulated market
is getting more and more support from Latin American countries.
The countries that are now calling for opening of this debate
most of those countries have not allowed
also this past few years even relatively minor legislative changes
in their own countries, that they could introduce without
challenging the treaties.
What do you think about the impact of the resolutions
adopted here at the CND,
what is the afterlife of these resolutions?
CND resolutions, mostly you will never hear from them again,
at least not at national level, they do very little impact at national level.
What they do is that they enter into the UN lexicon
which is where a lot of these ideas around drug policies
are thashed out at the international level.
What is the most important issue for you here at the CND?
One of the things I am really excited about this week
is one of the resolutions is about reducing opium over dose deaths.
If that resolution goes through it means
the countries, member states of the UN can go to WHO, UNODC
and ask for help in setting up overdose death prevention programs
which will really, it is a real practical resolution and will save people's life.
ADVOCACY WORKS!
The UN listened to the voice of civil society!
The CND adopted the first resolution on overdoes prevention, that you can read here:
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100 Years of Global Drug War (Sub: Eng, Hun)

758 Folder Collection
James published on June 21, 2015
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