13. March 2017
STATEMENT BY DR JOHNNY THABO PITSWANE, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AT THE 60TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS, 13 MARCH 2017, VIENNA
AGENDA ITEM 5:
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2009 POLITICAL DECLARATION AND PLAN OF ACTION ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TOWARDS AN INTEGRATED AND BALANCED STRATEGY TO COUNTER THE WORLD DRUG PROBLEM
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Allow me to join other delegations in congratulating you on your election as Chair of the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotics and Drugs and let me assure you of my delegation’s full support during this meeting.
I would also like to congratulate the Members of the Bureau and extend my delegation’s sincere appreciation to the Secretariat for their hard work in preparing this Conference.
South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Africa Group and Group of 77 and China respectively.
Since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, the international community undertook to implement a balanced and integrated approach to counter the world drug problem, within the framework of the three international drug control conventions. Like other countries, the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration and the Plan of Action resulted in major improvements in legislation, policy coordination, engagements, research, and capacity building with a view to promoting the health and welfare of its people and to realise a society free of drug abuse.
We are aware that despite progress made, drug trafficking and its associated challenges remains a major threat to security, health, and the socio-economic architectures of many countries. In developing countries, this phenomenon has provided a breeding ground for violent organised criminal groups and other illicit criminal activities. In addition, this challenge has led to an unprecedented surge in drug abuse and addiction which continue to ravage our families, communities and societies as a whole, thus undermine our efforts to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
The year 2017 coincides with the revision of the National Drug Master Plan (2013-2017), which among others has informed our approach to dealing with the challenges posed by drug abuse and drug trafficking and their associated ills. The South African Government is also reviewing the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act of 2008, (Act No. 70 of 2008) towards a holistic, balanced and integrated drug fighting strategy.
Further to the above, South Africa is looking into passing one key bill, namely the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill aimed at regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages. To ensure the availability of standardised quality assured cannabis solely for medical and scientific purposes, South Africa is currently in the process of formulating a framework to control the cultivation, production, manufacture and use through provisions of the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965, (101 of 1965). Currently, access to unregistered medicines containing cannabis can be accessed via Section 21 and 22 of the Medicines Act on a specific named patient basis prescribed by an authorised prescriber when used for a justifiable therapeutic indication.
I am pleased to inform that the Central Drug Authority of South Africa is in the process to review the National Drug Master Plan within the context of the UNGASS Outcome Document, particularly aimed at adopting a comprehensive and balanced drug demand reduction efforts with a view to minimising the adverse public health and social consequences of drug abuse, including appropriate medication assisted therapy programmes. Currently, two South Africa Universities are offering a postgraduate diploma on addiction care with a view to capacitating the responsible officials and agencies.
South Africa has put in place and operationalized Nine Provincial Substance Abuse Forums with 244 Local Drug Action Committees as their supporting structures to help combat drug abuse. These structures compliments the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Combating Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Presidential Working Group on Youth Stream for Health Care and Combating Substance Abuse as coordinated by the Central Drug Authority.
It is also my pleasure to announce that in 2015, South Africa adopted its National Youth Policy 2020. The policy clearly categorises amongst others, youth who abuse drug as part of our targeted vulnerable groups and is the base on which government initiatives and interventions derive from. These includes programmes that seek to discourage drug abuse through the Ke Moja National Drug Awareness Programme, the Anti-Substance Abuse Festive Season Campaign , National Youth Camps and coordinating international Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking that promote the involvement of youth in sport, arts and recreation.
To date, the South African Police Services, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, have dismantled 37 clandestine drug laboratories in an effort to reduce the illicit manufacture and supply of illicit drugs. As we strive for a world free of drug abuse, my Government reiterates its commitment to the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan as reinforced by the Joint Ministerial Statement. South Africa calls for intensified international cooperation to accelerate the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and its supporting documents.
Other measures to fight crime nationally will include the establishment of specialised units focusing on drug related crime and firearms and further enhance the utilization of investigative aids such as forensic leads.
In conclusion, my delegation supports the initiative to kick start the preparatory process for the 62nd Session of the CND in 2019 led by Her Excellency Ambassador Angell-Hansen of Norway. It is our wish that the UNODC will continue to play its leadership role as the principal policy making body on drug matters. At the same time, we also welcome the signing of a Memorandum of Understating between the UNODC and the World Health Organisation and call for closer collaboration with other relevant UN agencies. To this end, South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement as reinforced by the UNGASS Outcome Document within the three drug conventions.
I thank you