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Third Committee of the 56th General Assembly

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  • Statement by Ms. Ivana Grollova, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the 56th Session of the General Assembly, Third Committee - Agenda Item 111, International Drug Control

    New York, 15 October 2001

Statement by Ms. Ivana Grollova, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations at the 56th Session of the General Assembly, Third Committee - Agenda Item 111 International Drug Control

Mr. Chairman,

The Czech Republic fully identifies itself with the statement made on the issue of International Drug Control by the distinguished delegate of Belgium on behalf of the European Union, last Friday.

As the Czech Republic has been holding the chairmanship of the 44th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), let me, however, present several additional comments to this topic from the point of view of the Czech chairmanship.

The period from March 2000 until December 2001, which is the term of the office according to a new schedule, represents, with no doubt, a considerable period within which a lot of things have changed and a lot of events are taking place on the drug scene.

First of all, it should be emphasised that documents adopted by the 20th UNGASS have guided the work of CND. Within the follow-up process, CND at its 44th session reviewed, inter-alia, The first biennial report of the Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) on the progress achieved by Governments in meeting the goals and targets for years 2003 and 2008, .... CND commended the Executive Director of UNDCP for this report and reviewed ways in which the reporting process could be improved in order to bring about clarity and compatibility into the future monitoring.

The report, based on the first round of replies of Governments to a newly introduced biennial questionnaire, reflected the efforts of Member States to meet goals and targets as set out by 20th UNGASS. The level of response being relatively low at the beginning, UNDCP was asked by CND resolution 44/2 to identify elements of the biennial questionnaire needing adjustment for the consideration of the Commission at its reconvened session in December. UNDCP was also requested to include in future reports more information on difficulties and deficiencies perceived by governments in meeting the relevant goals and targets. Future reports should also reflect the successful experiences reported and specific recommendations on the implementation of each action plan of the 20th UNGASS.

Mr. Chairman,

Whereas the follow-up to the 20th UNGASS represents a major substantive change in the work of CND, a new formal methodology has been introduced by ECOSOC resolution 1999/30 to the functioning of CND. Since the 43rd session in March 2000, CND has structured its agenda in two segments: an operational segment followed by a normative segment. At the normative segment, CND exercises its normative functions vis-a-vis international drug control treaties. Moreover, CND monitors progress in the implementation of mandates received from UN GA and ECOSOC. Under the operational segment, CND fulfills its role as the governing body of UNDCP, approves the budget of the Fund of UNDCP, sets the priorities and provides policy guidance, particularly for the operational activities of the Programme.

In addition to the above changes, CND held, at its 44th session this year for the first time ever, a thematic debate, animated by international expert panellists on the following issues:

(i) approaches to building partnerships within and across sectors, including health, education, law enforcement and justice; and

(ii) prevention, education and early intervention strategies and trends in drug abuse among children and young people.

Through this new approach CND moved away from national statements traditionally presented during the General Debate towards a more dynamic, interactive discussion on specific issues. Brief presentations from the panellists were followed by an open discussion of the issues. The debate attracted a high degree of participation by countries and a the Chairmanship did note a satisfaction of many with it. Indeed, this practice is to be retained and developed further.

Speaking of the highlights of the Commission´s 44th session let me remind of the priorities identified to further strengthen UNDCP´s role as the central coordinator of international drug control efforts:

1. increased priority should be assigned to curtailing drug demand;

2. increased support should be provided to Governments in countering the threat of synthetic drugs, in particular amphetamine-type stimulants; and

3. at the regional level, increased attention should be given to countering the drug problem in Africa, without neglecting other regions.

It is the sense of the Czech Republic that, given the international efforts pursuant to UN SC res. 1373, an increased attention to the UNDCP activities related to the strategy for Afghanistan will be necessary. For the immediate, assistance to countries fighting drug-trafficking in the region should be strengthen and the strategy itself should be adjusted to reflect new developments.

Another innovation during the Czech CND Chairmanship has been the inter-sessional meetings of CND, which provided an opportunity for its Members to better prepare for the annual session of CND, to receive up-to-date information on pertinent issues, to exchange views on developments on the world drug scene and to give policy guidance to UNDCP during inter-sessional period. Broad consultations with the CND=s extended bureau preceded the annual session of CND as well as a series of its inter-sessional meetings. The Chairman of CND interacted regularly and directly with the Executive Director of UNDCP and established a dialogue between the CND bureau and the Executive Director on UNDCP activities and priorities. Meetings between the CND bureau and the Executive Director of UNDCP have become part of our practice and deserve due attention by both sides. All these new methodological measures contributed to an increased effectiveness of the work of CND.

Mutually beneficial interaction has also progressed between the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). For the first time in the history, the Chairman of CND, Ambassador Vacek addressed INCB during its session and maintained a regular personal contact with the President of INCB. INCB, for its turn, has increasingly made concrete inputs into CND inter-sessional meetings. Such a positive feed-back, which somewhat exceeds standard relations of INCB towards CND as inscribed in the treaties, has already proven very useful. According to the Czech chairmanship of CND, it should be maintained and further cultivated without necessarily institutionalising it.

Mr. Chairman,

Budgetary questions stay always very high on the agenda of UN bodies. CND cannot be an exception to the rule, as during its reconvened 44th session in December 2001 it is to approve the 2000-2001 UNDCP final budget and the initial budget for 2002-2003 biennium. You may be aware that the Fund of UNDCP depends entirely on voluntary contributions. Voluntary contributions to the Fund of UNDCP account for 93 per cent of all resources available to the United Nations for drug control, with the regular budget accounting for 7 per cent of the total budget of UNDCP. This is perhaps the single most important factor determining the work of UNDCP since voluntary contributions increasingly tend to be earmarked. Should this trend be reversed, UNDCP would have more flexibility to react in a speedy manner to rapidly changing needs of countries in their struggle against drugs. However, there is a more imminent problem faced., i.e. the decline in total resources available within the UNDCP Fund, which results from a multitude of factors, the decreased contributions by donors being among them.

While fulfilling its mandate to provide policy directives to UNDCP, CND has taken through its resolution 44/16 new initiatives to broaden the dialogue between donor and recipient countries on programmatic activities, including the initiation, formulation and execution of projects. Such projects - financed from the Fund of UNDCP - are mostly implemented through UNDCP field offices. CND has also encouraged independent evaluations of UNDCP´s operational activities and called for a continued improvement in management and strengthened dialogue with Member States. Through an improved dialogue among Member States, CND will strengthen its governance role vis-a-vis the UNDCP and strengthen the ownership of the Programme. This process of regular informal consultations is now underway. The first two meetings of donor and recipient countries were held in July, another one on 9th October 2001. There has been a generic three-tier agenda adopted which allows for adressing all issues relevant for the increased governance role of the CND. The two hitherto meetings resulted in an open discussion on issues such as the priorities and strategies related to the drug situation in Afghanistan and the drug control strategy for Africa.

In this connection, I also cannot fail to observe that there has been an increasing attention paid by CND to the UNDCP management. It is worth noting that two reports by OIOS were released this year: one Aregular@ on triennial policy review and the other specifically commissioned on programme management and administrative practices. The reports seem to have dispelled some of the speculations around UNDCP but also identified problems and underscored the importance of Commission´s governance role vis-a-vis the Programme. It is the hope of the Czech Chairmanship that the ongoing internal reforms and developments within the UNDCP, being also monitored by CND, will restore the confidence of member nations in the Programme management.

Mr. Chairman,

Finally, let me convey the call of the Czech Republic and namely of the acting Chairman of the CND, H.E. Ambassador Vacek, for further intensive international cooperation in this highly important field.

Thank you.