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UN Background


The Economic and Social Council is the principal organ that coordinates the

economic, social and related work of the 14 United Nations specialized agencies,

functional commissions and five regional commissions. It serves as the central forum

for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy

recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system.


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been actively engaged with the

United Nations  (UN) since its inception in 1945. They work with the United

Nations Secretariat, programs, funds and agencies in various ways, including in

consultation with Member States. NGOs contribute to a number of activities

including information dissemination, awareness raising, development education,

policy advocacy, joint operational projects, participation in intergovernmental

processes and  in the contribution of services and technical expertise.

ECOSOC consists of 54 Member States elected by the General Assembly for

overlapping three-year terms.


The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established in 1946 as a functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Functional Commissions are provided for under the UN Charter to carry out specific responsibilities assigned to ECOSOC.


The CND meeting is every March, and the next one is March 9-16 in Vienna. It is not necessary to be present everyday at the meeting.


As a functional Commission the CND assists ECOSOC in supervising the application of international conventions and agreements dealing with narcotic drugs. It is the principal policy-making body within the UN system on drug control issues.  It is also the governing body of the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime). The primary purpose if the CND is to establish drug policy that all nations agree to.   



The CND reports to ECOSOC and advises on all aspects of the control of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors. Under the Single Convention (1961) and the Psychotropic Drugs Convention (1971), on the basis of advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the CND can add drugs to or remove them from international control under the conventions, or can change the schedule(s) under which they are listed. Under the Illicit Trafficking Convention (1988), on the advice of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the CND can bring under international control chemicals frequently used in the manufacture of illicit drugs.




NGOs can formally apply for special consultative status with ECOSOC. CADFY has this status, but even groups without status can attend CND meetings, meet with high level officials, sponsor side-events, give speeches and presentations to UN delegates, and work closely with UNODC and CND officials.

We are also active with the NGO committee for drugs, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC). VNGOC works to provide and develop the link between NGOs and the international drug control bodies based in Vienna. Its objective is to support Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) work with the United Nations (UN) system on matters related to drug policy, strategy or practice. It has over 300 members, including large international NGOs with millions of members and specialist NGOs at international, national and local levels providing a wide range of interventions to prevent illicit/harmful drug use and related problems. The organization has 1 paid staff and all its activities are developed and managed by volunteers who take on this work in addition to or as part of their employed post.

In 2012 it held the first informal Civil Society Hearing during the 55th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The use of a civil society hearing is a common and accepted process within the UN system, including at the General Assembly.




The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established by the Secretary General, “to enable the organisation to focus and enhance its capacity to address the inter related issues of drug control, crime and international terrorism in all its forms“. The UNODC is jointly governed by the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

UNODC is a global leader in addressing the problem of illicit drug use and transnational crime, and is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. UNODC has an important role in assisting States Parties to the international conventions in the implementation of their obligations under the international drug control treaties (the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (as amended in 1972), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988), the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols and the UN Convention Against Corruption, as well as international anti-terrorism instruments. Acting as the custodian of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice,  UNODC has the mandate to assist Member States in reforming their criminal justice systems to ensure the practical application of these standards.  


The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)


It was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 1992/1, upon request of General Assembly (GA) resolution 46/152, as one of its functional commissions.

The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. ECOSOC provided for the CCPCJ's mandates and priorities in resolution 1992/22, which include improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems. The CCPCJ also offers Member States a forum for exchanging expertise, experience and information in order to develop national and international strategies, and to identify priorities for combating crime.



The CND takes place at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) - M Building, adjacent to the other buildings that comprise the Vienna International Centre.  The M Building is a simple name for a complex facility encompassing dozens of meeting rooms with the capacity to service up to fifteen hundred people.  Other meetings take place in the other buildings surrounding the complex.  The M Building is a new facility.

John Redman CEO, CADFY speaking before the CND in opposition to the WHO’s attempt to distort the science on CBD. 

Colleagues at a CND side event

CADFY Representative presentation before the CND on the need of scientific rigor and a robust regulatory system in regards to CBD.
CADFY participates in and supports the Istanbul Initiative 





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