Tuesday, 19 January 2021

UN in your language

What does the UN do?

CocaineThe end of the first century of drug control (it all started in Shanghai in 1909) coincided with the closing of the UNGASS decade (launched in 1998 by a General Assembly Special Session on Drugs). These anniversaries stimulated reflection on the effectiveness, and the limitations, of drug policy. The review resulted in the reaffirmation that illicit drugs continue to pose a health danger to humanity. That’s why drugs are, and should remain, controlled. With this sanction in mind, Member States confirmed unequivocal support for the UN Conventions that have established the world drug control system.


The General Assembly recognized that despite continued and increased efforts by the international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health, the safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and the national security and sovereignty of States, and that it undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development. It encouraged the Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue their work on international drug control and urged all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to enable UNODC to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities, within its mandates.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (www.unodc.org) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90 per cent of its budget.

UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. In the Millennium Declaration, Member States also resolved to intensify efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, to redouble the efforts to implement the commitment to counter the world drug problem and to take concerted action against international terrorism.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the central policymaking body within the United Nations system dealing with drug-related matters. The Commission monitors the world drug situation, develops strategies on international drug control and recommends measures to combat the world drug problem, including through reducing demand for drugs, promoting alternative development initiatives and adopting supply reduction measures. The Commission provides Member States with a venue to exchange expertise, experiences and information on drug-related matters and to develop a coordinated response. It also has functions under the international drug control treaties, for example with regard to the substances under international control.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is the central body within the United Nations system dealing with crime prevention and criminal justice policy, including trafficking in persons, transnational crime and aspects of terrorism prevention. It monitors the use and application of relevant United Nations standards and norms and guides policy development in response to emerging forms of crime. The Commission offers Member States a forum to exchange expertise, experiences and information, to develop national and international strategies and to identify priorities for combating crime. The Commission coordinates its efforts with other United Nations bodies that have specific mandates in the areas of crime and criminal justice, including the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Commission also acts as preparatory body to the United Nations Crime Congresses.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice are both functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

”Source: UNODC”  



    • Around 210 million people, or 4.8 per cent of the population aged 15-64, took illicit substances at least once in 2010.
    • Cannabis users comprised the largest number of illicit drug users in 2010 (129-190 million people).
    • The cocaine production is decreasing, due to less production in Colombia in 2010. The United States remains the biggest marked for cocaine, although consumption has decreased dramatically.
    • In 2007 and 2008, cocaine was used by some 16 to 17 million people worldwide.
    • 74 percent of the opium production world wide took place in Afghanistan in 2010. The production was at 3,600 tons.
    • In 2008, global heroin seizures reached a record level of 73.7 metric tons.
    • There is evidence for the existence of opium poppy in Europe as long ago as 4,200 B.C. and even earlier.
    • There are indications that cannabis was used as early as 4000 B.C. in Central Asia and north-westernChina, with written evidence going back to 2700 B.C. in the pharmacopeia of emperor Chen-Nong

The first international conference to discuss the world’s narcotics problem was convened in February 1909 in Shanghai. This forum became known as the Opium Commission and it laid the groundwork for the elaboration of the first international drug treaty, the International Opium Convention of The Hague (1912).131