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Foreign Minister of Guatemala and Secretary General Insulza Presented OAS Resolution on Global Drug Problem to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna

  January 19, 2015

The Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Raúl Morales, and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today presented to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) the resolution on the drug problem adopted by the XLVI OAS Special General Assembly in Guatemala in September 2014, to be considered as an input for the special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS 2016) on the issue, to be held in 2016.

Following the presentation of the document, Foreign Minister Morales said “the historic opportunity to agree on a more humane and more effective global drug policy must begin at UNGASS 2016.” He said, “In discussing and exploring new strategies and policies to address the world drug problem, we have to consider not only prohibition and liberalization.” “We do not need to go from one extreme to the other in order to find effective policies, but we do have to accept that the new policies will have to be comprehensive, diverse, and find the right balance between supply and demand reduction measures,” added the Guatemalan Foreign Minister.

For his part, Secretary General Insulza highlighted that the OAS “has been very active over the last three years” on the issue of drugs, “analyzing the issue from technical and political points of view.” The OAS leader recalled that the institution presented in 2013 an extensive Report on the issue, which was the result of a mandate from the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia in April 2012.

Following up on the Report, the Resolution that emerged from the Assembly in Guatemala City, titled “Reflections and Guidelines to Formulate and Follow Up on Comprehensive Policies to Address the World Drug Problem in the Americas,” highlights "the importance of hemispheric and international cooperation to jointly tackling the world drug problem, by promoting and strengthening comprehensive policies and, where appropriate, the modernization and professionalization of government institutions."

In addition, the document recognizes the importance of implementing the three United Nations conventions on drugs, which constitute the international system's drug control framework, as well as the need for States to consider "regularly reviewing the drug policies adopted, ensuring that they are comprehensive and focused on the well-being of the individual, in order to address their national challenges and assess their impact and effectiveness." The resolution also proposes developing responses to the new challenges posed by the world drug problem "that prevent social costs or contribute to their reduction; and, when appropriate, reviewing traditional approaches and considering the development of new approaches, based on scientific evidence and knowledge."

The Secretary General expressed his hope that the document, together with others that will be developed by the OAS this year, “will serve as valuable contributions to the UNGASS 2016.” “In fact,” continued the OAS leader, “we are confident that they will demonstrate the leadership that the Hemisphere can exercise with respect to the rest of the world on the drug issue. An approach focused on the human being, not the substance, and oriented more toward treatment and rehabilitation of drug users, not incarceration.”

The Secretary General also highlighted several key areas of the Resolution approved in September 2014: its special focus on the human aspect of the drug problem; its call for a review of traditional approaches and consideration of the development of new policies based on scientific evidence; its emphasis on the importance of strengthening national health systems and programs for prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social integration; its promotion of alternatives to incarceration, of the need to analyze new drug policies and of international cooperation on money laundering, among other issues.

With respect to the Report on the Drug Problem, produced under his direct supervision, Secretary General Insulza recalled that in the first part of the report, "we follow the entire process of drugs in the region, the only part of the world in which all of its stages are present in a dominant way: cultivation, production, distribution and the final sale of controlled substances. In each stage we review the various forms this activity assumes, as well as its environmental impact and the reaction of the State, its implications and its limitations." He said this part of the Report examined "the consumption of the different drugs in our countries, their effects on social exclusion and the exercise of human rights, the possible forms of treatment and prevention practiced today and, again, the reaction of our States.”

Upon concluding his presentation, Secretary General Insulza expressed his hope that “all the CND member states will take a close look at this document and give it careful consideration for inclusion in the UNGASS 2016 process.”

In summer 2016, a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) will be held, dedicated to the issue of drug policies. The General Assembly is the highest policy-making body and the most representative of the United Nations (UN) and its rare special sessions focus on specific issues at the request of the Member States. The UNGASS on drugs is intended to be an open and pioneering debate on the international system of drug control.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-009/15