CND meetings during COVID-19

The VNGOC chair met with Ms. Jo Dedeyne-Amann, the Chief of UNODC’s Secretariat to the Governing Bodies (SGB) to discuss civil society participation in upcoming CND meetings.

Dear VNGOC Members,

I hope that this short message finds you all safe and well. 

Last week, myself and the Chair of the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice had an opportunity to speak with Jo Dedeyne-Amann, the Chief of UNODC’s Secretariat to the Governing Bodies (SGB) which supports the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). 

Since the global lockdown measures began, almost immediately after the CND took place in March, they have been working hard with Member States to set up mechanisms so that some discussions can continue using virtual meeting platforms – and have maintained their position of ensuring that civil society participation is an important part of this.

There are several important discussions that the CND needs to have in 2020: further deliberations on the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis-related substances (due for a vote / decision in December 2020); the launch of the UNODC World Drug Report 2020 on 26th June; the thematic CND intersessionals on drug treatment, harm reduction, new psychoactive substances, and the availability of controlled medicines*; and the reconvened session scheduled for early December. In addition, there are the postponed Crime Congress and CCPCJ meetings to be rescheduled. The CND Chair and Secretariat are working hard to ensure that all of these happen in one way or another.

Member States have already been using Microsoft Teams as a platform for informal meetings, and the entire UN system is currently exploring the different options to hold formal meetings (to which civil society are invited as observers) online with interpretation into the six official UN languages. As soon as details are agreed, we will let our members know how they can participate – both ‘live’ or by accessing the recordings after the events. Throughout, we will give consideration to the needs to facilitate broad and balanced participation even if people are unable to travel.

Yours faithfully,
Jamie Bridge
VNGOC Chair

*These are short-hand titles: the official thematic intersessional topics can be found at https://www.unodc.org/documents/commissions/CND/2019/Follow-up_to_2019_Ministerial_Declaration/Intersessional_Meetings/CND_Workplan_2019-2023.pdf.

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