Commission on Narcotic Drugs discusses how COVID-19 is impacting world drug problem


The 64th regular session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs-the policymaking body of the United Nations with prime responsibility for drug-related matters-is being held from 12 to 16 April, at which the anniversaries of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances are being marked.

In addition to the opening, operational and normative segments, more than 100 side events are taking place addressing various aspects of drug programmes and policies, including the impact of COVID-19. Five resolutions are being debated, including one on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of Member States’ joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem.

The normative session is looking at the implementation of the international drug control treaties, including the follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the ministerial declaration of 2019, as well as the inter-agency coordination of efforts in addressing and countering drugs.

In addition, the session will see deliberation on the contributions by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to the work of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, including follow-up to and review and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The opening segment included a message from the United Nations Secretary-General, who noted that the COVID-19 crisis has shown the world how much the world needs solidarity, shared responsibility and international cooperation to improve health coverage.

Speaking for UNAIDS at the opening plenary, Ninan Varughese, a UNAIDS Senior Adviser, noted that the new global AIDS strategy calls for the intensification and redoubling of efforts to scale up comprehensive harm reduction for people who inject drugs in all settings and commits to promote and support community-led responses. He added that the engagement of key populations, including people who inject drugs, is critical to a successful HIV response everywhere and reminded the plenary of UNAIDS’ call on all leaders to come together to support the High-Level Meeting on AIDS from 8 to 10 June 2021.

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