The 2nd intersessional meeting of the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) took place on October 9 as a hybrid meeting, with many participants joining via MS Teams and only a few representatives in the Vienna International Centre. The discussions focused on the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances and were a continuation of the deliberations started in 2019.
After several closed “topical meetings” over the summer, member states came together to review the discussions so far and deliver concluding statements as well as to discuss the voting procedures for the Reconvened CND meeting in December.
The Chair of the CND, H.E. Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Khan of Pakistan, opened the meeting with a summary of the “topical meetings”, which was then followed by statements from member states throughout the morning. Several member states, including Germany on behalf of the EU, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland reiterated the importance of including civil society in the discussions, and welcomed the civil society statements on the WHO recommendations.
The meeting continued in the afternoon with statements from NGOs selected by the VNGOC through an open call:
- Birgit Karner, Society for the Advancement of Global Understanding (Austria) – Statement
- John Redman, Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth (United States) – Statement
- Society of Cannabis Clinicians, Dr Joel Wren (Australia) – Statement, Video Message
- Familias y Retos Extraordinarios AC, Margarita Sandra Garfias Hernández (Mexico) –Video Message
- Everest Green Crescent, Pujan Sharma (Nepal) – Video Message
- Centre for Corrections and Human Development, Obioma Evelyn Agoziem (Nigeria) – Video Message
Following the NGO statements, the CND Secretariat briefly sketched the scheduling procedure as outlined in the ECOSOC rules of procedure including necessary majorities under each convention, and the Chair then presented a “non-paper” (an informal discussion paper) on the suggested vote currently planned for 2nd December. The document had been circulated among Member States prior to the meeting, but not to civil society.
According to ECOSOC procedural rules, the CND would by default vote separately on each recommendation in the order of submission by WHO (i.e. 5.1, then 5.2.1, then 5.2.2, then 5.3.1, and so on). Based on the discussions during the “topical meetings”, the Chair proposed to combine the voting on recommendations 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 to avoid having the same substance scheduled both under the 1961 and the 1971 Conventions. The Chair further proposed the following alternative voting order:
- Vote on recommendation 5.4 (simple majority necessary)
- Vote on recommendation 5.5. (simple majority necessary)
- Procedural vote to combine voting as outlined above (simple majority necessary)
- Joint vote on recommendations 5.2.1, 5.2.2., 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 (two thirds majority necessary)
- If joint vote is accepted: Vote on recommendation 5.6 (simple majority necessary)
- Vote on recommendation 5.1. (simple majority necessary)
In depth discussion of the Chair’s proposal was postponed to informal (closed) sessions in the coming weeks.
The CND intersessional concluded with a presentation from the CND Secretariat, who introduced their new e-learning tool “Introduction to Scheduling”, designed to help all stakeholders better understand the normative functions of the CND and the scheduling process.
A written record of the event is available on the CND Blog including all statements from member states. The CNDmonitor provides an overview of member states positions on this matter. Other documents related to the event can be found on the CND website.