56th Regular Session of CICAD: Guatemala, 19-21 November, 2014

  • On behalf of Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, I’d like to extend all of you a warm welcome to Guatemala for this very important meeting of CICAD.
  • Thanks especially to my good friend Foreign Minister Lopez Bonilla and his team at the Ministry for their hospitality and their excellent organization of this conference.
  • And thanks to my good friend Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales for his leadership on the drug issue.
  • Let me also welcome our current CICAD chair Colombia, in the person of another, Carlos Morales, the undersecretary of Foreign Affairs.
  • Señores Tocayos, Carlos y Carlos, un gran gusto poderlos acompañar en esta mesa.
  • Those of us who work on security and the drug issue in particular have spent quite a bit of time in Guatemala in the recent past – SICA Security Strategy, two OAS General Assemblies – one in Antigua last year, and one in Guatemala City two months ago and now a CICAD Session– devoted to these topics.
  • I would also like to thank the SG for his leadership and willingness to create the space and platform for this work.
  • Things got started in the private discussion at the Cartagena Summit of the Americas in April 2012, where regional heads of state focused largely on two areas of broad concern: increasing drugs trafficking and consumption throughout the hemisphere, the inherent violence and transnational organized crime that accompanied it.
  • The mandate from Colombian President Santos to the OAS on drugs at the closure of summit was expressed as follows:
    •             “We, the region’s leaders, held an invaluable discussion on the global drug problem. We agreed on the need to analyze the results of the current policy in the Americas and to explore new approaches to strengthen this struggle and to become more effective. We have issued the OAS a mandate to that end”.
  • Based on this mandate, the OAS prepared a two part report for the hemispheric heads of state: an analytical report on the status of the problem and a scenario report on potential futures.
    • This was a large, multi-stakeholder and multidimensional process with over 300 experts involved.
  • Final reports were submitted to President Santos in May 2013 – eight volumes of work: the analytical report, the scenario report, and six accompanying thematic studies. I was pleased to have played an active role in the preparation of the reports. I have to say it was a fascinating and rewarding experience and I think it left us with a clearer definition on multidimensional security.
  • International press and member state reaction to our drug report was uniformly positive, with many commentators noting that it had opened up a long awaited debate on drug policy in the hemisphere.
  • And here in the CICAD, all of you have devoted extensive time to analyzing the reports and their implications.
  • As you know, many of the messages in both the analytical and scenario reports echoed the themes of our existing Hemispheric Drug Strategy, adopted by consensus by the 34 OAS member states in 2010. Key elements of that strategy include:
    • Treating drug dependency as a chronic, relapsing disease with the need for a public health focus
    • Strong focus on human rights, especially for vulnerable populations
    • Gender-appropriate policies
    • Inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach
    • Evidence-based policies
    • Need to explore alternatives to incarceration for drug dependent offenders.
  • One month after publication, we presented the drug report to our foreign ministers at the OAS General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala. We had an extensive public as well as private debate with 28 of our 34 foreign ministers on the drug issue at that meeting, and adopted by consensus the “Antigua Declaration” on June 6, 2013.
  • Key elements of the Antigua Declaration include the following:
    • Importance of broad and open debate on the drug problem, including civil society
    • Importance of institutional strengthening
    • Public health approach to prevention, treatment and social integration
    • Human rights focus
    • Strengthening international cooperation on money laundering and chemical precursors
    • Focus on alternatives to incarceration, proportionality of sentences, and reducing prison overcrowding.
  • Finally and perhaps most importantly, the Antigua Declaration charged member states with launching a comprehensive process of consultations on the drug problem, with the cooperation of the OAS, taking into account our report and other recent resolutions.
  • Those consultations would take place in a variety of different fora, including:
  1. At the national level;
  2. In regional multidisciplinary groups;
  3. In the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, our own regional forum of hemispheric drug leaders;
  4. In Meetings of regional public security ministers;
  5. And in other specialized meetings coordinated by the General Secretariat of the OAS with other regional organizations and entities.
  • The purpose of all these consultations would be to develop inputs for a special session of OAS ministers, to be held some time during 2014.
  • We spent the next 16 months carrying out the consultation process laid out in the Antigua Declaration, through an extensive process of dissemination in both the Americas and Europe.
  • Among the highlights of this process, we presented the report to Central American and Caribbean presidents at their respective summits.
  • We also traveled to Uruguay and Chile to present the report to heads of state and Congress. In Mexico, we presented the report to the Senate. We also presented the report to the British Foreign Secretary.
  • In New York, SG Insulza had extensive discussions with Heads of State at the UNGA last year on this issue.
  • We convened regional health ministers at the Pan American Health Organization to receive the report, as well as regional security ministers in Medellin.
  • We also presented the report to the European authorities in Spain, Portugal, and Brussels.
  • And we had a lively discussion in Vienna at the Conference on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on the report and its findings.
  • We presented the report at a number of civil society events, through Chatham House, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Inter-American Dialogue.
  • We also reached out and presented the report to large, multidisciplinary groups in the S., Brazil, and Colombia.
  • And we held two meetings of this CICAD commission in the intervening months.

       Those meetings were particularly productive, leading to a number of new initiatives and focuses to our work.

  • First, a more intensive focus on Public Health, through a partnership between CICAD and PAHO. We are pleased with all the progress being made in implementing the joint work plan, focused on strengthening capacity building and institutions in the health sector throughout the hemisphere.
  • Second, a more intensive focus on judicial and sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration. We salute Colombia for its leadership in chairing a working group on this issue and look forward to a stimulating discussion on this item later in the meeting.
  • Third, more intensive international cooperation in money laundering and asset management.
  • Fourth, a more active debate on new hemispheric drug policies, including proposals relating to cannabis. We will have an opportunity to review recent developments in depth at this meeting, continuing a trend over the past four CICAD sessions.
  • Fifth, a more intensive focus on synthetic drugs, new psychoactive substances, and chemical precursors.
  • And finally, an enhanced role for civil society in all our deliberations.
  • By the time of the OAS Special General Assembly, chaired by my colleague Minister Morales, on September 19 of this year, we had made major progress in defining a new hemispheric agenda on drug policy.
  • Indeed, in the Secretary General’s introduction speech before the Special General Assembly, I laid out four points of hemispheric consensus on the drug problem:
    • First, the importance of a public health approach, and greater urgency and resources for this task,
    • Secondly, the importance of addressing judicial reforms to provide alternatives to incarceration, proportionality of sentencing, and reduced prison overcrowding, all in an effort to shift the focus away from the penal system for minor drug offenders.
    • Third, the need to prevent and combat transnational organized crime in a framework of hemispheric and international cooperation.
    • And finally, the importance of strengthening judicial and law enforcement institutions in all our member states to bolster the rule of law.
  • These points were all captured in the Resolution adopted by consensus by our Foreign Ministers in Guatemala, which as the Foreign Minister mentioned, SG Insulza presented to the President of the UN General Assembly last week.
  • We hope this document as well as other products you are developing here in CICAD will provide valuable inputs for the UNGASS special session in 2016.  
  • The Guatemala resolution reiterates and reinforces many of the innovative proposals in the Hemispheric Drug Strategy and the Antigua Declaration. At the same time, it also goes beyond Antigua in several key areas:

It focuses on the individual and human aspect of the drug problem

  • It asks member states to review traditional approaches and consider development of new approaches based on scientific evidence
  • Is stresses the need to strengthen national health systems and programs for prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration, focusing on a CICAD/PAHO joint work plan.
  • It promotes alternatives to incarceration, sentencing reforms, and relief of prison overcrowding.
  • It asks CICAD to work with member states to analyze the impact of new policy approaches to the drug problem, on the basis of scientific evidence.
  • It promotes international cooperation on money laundering and asset forfeiture, working through intelligence and information exchanges, and institutional strengthening.
  • And finally, it asks for an evaluation of the results of the current Hemispheric Drug Strategy and plan of action, and requests CICAD to prepare a new plan of action 2016-2020, taking into account new challenges, scientific evidence, and appropriate indicators.
  • This is a tremendously challenging agenda. I pledge to you the support of the OAS, the Secretariat of Multidimensional Security, and the CICAD in particular, as you address these challenges.
  • We are convinced that hemispheric cooperation is essential to enable all of you to successfully meet your very diverse range of drug related challenges.
  • Let me wish all of you a very productive meeting, and many thanks again to our Guatemalan hosts for their leadership on this important issue.

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