Mr. Chairman

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I am pleased to convey to you our pleasure in seeing you presiding over the 48th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The Group is confident of your ability to successfully conduct the activities of this session and I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead. I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of our meetings and for making the documents available.

Mr. Chairman,

Before I present some observations and comments of the Group 77 and China on some of the issues on the agenda of this session, I would like to take this opportunity to make a quick reference to the Report of the "High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change" and to raise an issue of utmost concern related to this important report. While the report acknowledges that drug trafficking and other organized crimes are among the new and emerging threats to international peace and security, the report failed to make any specific recommendation on providing the UNODC with the wherewithal to assist Member States in meeting the Challenges posed by these emerging threats. The Group believes that this shortcoming should be highlighted in the report of the Secretary General.

Mr. Chairman,

This session, for our thematic debate, we have two important issues i.e. "Community capacity-building" and "prevention of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases". Drug users living with HIV/AIDS require special care and attention in dealing with their condition. Many societies require expertise and other support to strengthen their capacity to address the problems of drug users living with HIV/AIDS. We call upon UNODC to design programmes for supporting drug users living with HIV/AIDS including projects related to community capacity building. The Group believes that HIV transmission is not only related to injecting drug use but also to risk taking behaviour due to the influence of drugs and related substances.

In this context, the Group expresses the hope that the UNODC gives priority attention to addressing risk-taking behavior resulting from drug abuse within the context of the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction (GA resolution S-20/3 annex) and in particular, the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (GA resolution S-26/2 annex), which calls for the provision of a wide range of prevention programmes aimed at reducing risk-taking behavior.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group considers that international cooperation should be strengthened to tackle the problems transit countries are facing as they constitute the main link between producers and consumers countries. We note with deep concern the dramatic increase in the abuse of various types of drugs that has developed along transit trafficking routes, thereby creating lucrative markets in transit countries. This development has led to the increase of transnational organized crime and terrorism in transit countries and along the trafficking routes.

The Group re-affirms its conviction that the fight against supply of and demand for drugs requires an integrative approach in preventive and enforcement measures. It is in this connection that the Group strives for further synergy to counter jointly the global drug problem through partnership and shared responsibility at the international, regional, sub-regional and bilateral levels. In the same vein, it calls upon international organizations and donor countries, to provide adequate resources, technical assistance and support for drug producing countries and transit countries in the fight against narcotic drugs. In this context, we note with concern the attempt to reduce the proposed amount allocated in the budget outline for the biannual 2006-2007.

The Group notes the decline of opium poppy cultivation in some countries. However, the Group is concerned about the growth in the illicit cultivation, production and trafficking of opiates in Afghanistan. Adequate support should be provided to that country as well as the neighbouring and transit states in their fight against drug production and trafficking originating from Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

The G77 and China welcomes the INCB Report for 2004 and would like to commend the outcome of this report regarding the linkage between the illicit drug supply and demand. The mutual interdependence of the two elements necessitates a balanced and integrated approach aiming at reducing both supply and demand.

We appreciate the successes achieved under Operation Purple, Operation Topaz and Project Prism. We encourage the role of the Board in ensuring the continuing success of those operations and call for additional resources, in particular, increase in regular budget to INCB. The Group also calls upon Member States to strengthen their mechanisms for control of precursor chemicals, in particular, mechanism for prior notification of exports and to share relevant information in order to prevent their diversion into illicit market.

The G-77 and China is concerned about the drug liberalization policies of some Member States contrary to the three Narcotic Conventions, which could promote drug abuse and fuel supply and trafficking of illicit drugs. We note with concern the report of INCB about public incitement to drug abuse in some member states. The Group, therefore, calls on all States to adhere strictly to the provisions of the three conventions. We believe that the judgment of the INCB as an independent monitoring and evaluation mechanism should be respected.

Mr. Chairman,

The G-77 and China wishes to recall the new commitments in the Joint Ministerial Statement issued at the 46th session of the CND. We have earlier requested the Secretariat to take note of these new commitments and to follow-up on them appropriately, particularly in drafting the biannual Questionnaire Report. However, we do not find the information on such follow up in the biannual assessment report. We would, therefore, once again urge the UNODC to include the follow up in its future assessment.

The G-77 and China also wishes to recall that the Joint Ministerial Segment of the 46th session urged Member States to prevent proliferation of sources of licit opium. If this appeal is not heeded, this has the potential to disturb the delicate balance between supply and demand for licit opium, which had been achieved over the years through the efforts of member states and INCB. ECOSOC adopted resolution 2004/43 on this subject, which specifically underscored the need to maintain this balance. The Group urges all States to exercise utmost caution and, to adhere to the established system in order to prevent proliferation of sources of licit opium.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group 77 and China notes with concern that the abuse of ATS is rapidly spreading, regardless of nationality, age, gender or income with the attendant health problems and hazards. The Group calls on Member States to urgently develop their supply reduction programmes for ATS, to complement and ensure the effectiveness of demand reduction initiatives.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group would like to make some observations and remarks regarding the consolidated Budget outline for 2006-2007 presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Group is pleased that the consolidated budget outline has been elaborated in a more transparent way and the priorities established by the CND and the concerns of Member States are duly taken into account. The Group supports the efforts made by the ODC in all the geographical regions in the fight against narcotic drugs. Nevertheless, the Group notes some decreases in the proposed budget allocated to some regions which belong to the G-77, specially the Latin America and Caribbean Region and in the fields of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as Alternative Development and Preventive Alternative Development programmes. The importance of equitable distribution of resources for the fight against drugs and crime in all regions cannot be overemphasized. Lack of resources in some regions could result in criminal networks using these regions as a platform for their activities. Therefore, the Group encourages UNODC and the major donor countries to allocate and implement a more balanced program based on equal geographical distribution. In addition, the Group calls on the Secretariat to allocate more resources to INCB and to ensure that the priorities set by the CND are given higher share of its regular budget.

In this regard we would also like to point out that the priorities led down by CND sometimes differ from the priorities of major donor countries and therefore we would like to encourage more dialogue among the UNODC, and all stakeholders especially those countries where projects are implemented to ensure that UNODC has sufficient funds to carry out projects in all the regions in accordance with priorities set by the CND.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to assure you that the Group will continue to provide its active support towards achieving the goals of the Commission and will work with all members and the Secretariat to that end. Our will and commitment is reflected in the measures taken by member states and in promoting cooperation at the international community in our common goal of combating illicit manufacture, trafficking and abuse of narcotic drugs.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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