19 April 2016, New York – Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, at the Thirtieth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) on the world drug problem
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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The EU and its Member States welcome the opportunity for this much needed debate on addressing the world drug problem. We welcome the re-balancing of global drug policies towards a multi-disciplinary, sound public health and human rights approach. Effective drug policies must be based on evidence and reliable monitoring systems. The role of the civil society and the scientific community must be recognised. It is important that the different needs of men, women, children, young and vulnerable people are treated adequately. The EU has a longstanding commitment on all these issues.
We reiterate our strong commitment to the UN Drug Control Conventions which are the cornerstones of the global response to the world drug problem. They provide sufficient scope and flexibility to accommodate a wide range of approaches in accordance with national and regional specificities.
The EU strongly supports the anchoring of drugs policy in a wider socioeconomic context in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda to promote health, democracy, rule of law and sustainable livelihoods. In order to tackle the root causes of the illicit cultivation of drug crops, alternative development should be actively promoted to provide alternative and sustainable livelihoods and reduce the dependence of affected communities on illicit drug economies.
The EU fully supports the call for enhanced coordination between UNODC, the main responsible agency, and other UN entities and specialised agencies, notably WHO, INCB, UNAIDS and UNHRC.
We welcome a strengthened international cooperation to counter drug trafficking and its links with corruption, organized crimes and, in some cases, terrorism. We are firmly committed to address the growing threats of new psychoactive substances and the use of Internet for drug trafficking. Moreover, the EU will continue to play its role to the full to prevent the diversion of precursors.
Human rights are an integral part of any response to the drugs problem. Consequently, we fully support proportionate sentencing for drug related offences and the promotion of alternatives to incarceration and coercive sanctions. We, however deeply regret that the outcome document does not address the abolition of death penalty for drugs offences. The EU is strongly and unequivocally opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, since it undermines human dignity and fails to act as deterrent to criminal behaviours.
The ultimate objective of the international drug control system is the protection of public health. Drug demand reduction policies must include the full range of measures from prevention, treatment to social reintegration and recovery. Risk and harm reduction measures must be further promoted and implemented. They have proven effective in many countries worldwide in preventing overdose deaths, the transmission of HIV, viral Hepatitis and other blood borne diseases.
Mr. President, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
All these elements are of defining importance ahead of our high-level meeting on drugs in 2019 to review the implementation of the UN Political Declaration and Plan of Action on drugs.
Firm commitment from all parties is required to implement effectively this renewed UN approach to the world drug problem and put into practice the operational recommendations. This is what our citizens expect from all of us.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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