Statement of the Order of Malta: UNODC March 2016 Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

22/03/2016

Statement of the Order of Malta: UNODC March 2016

Statement by H. E. Ambassador G√ľnther A. Granser

Permanent Observer to the United Nations and
other International Organizations
at the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Vienna, 14 to 22 March 2016

Thank you, Chair.

First of all I would like to congratulate you on behalf of the Sovereign Order of Malta on your election as Chair of this 59th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We look forward to a valuable and productive meeting, working together under your able leadership. We also continue to look to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to play a substantial role in leveraging international support for counternarcotics issues.

With a focus on drug prevention, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, the Sovereign Order of Malta aims to elaborate and expand synergies with UNODC towards UNGASS 2016.

We must confront the enormity of the problem we face. Drug misuse is a problem for individuals and communities. But the phenomenon also threatens the political and economic security of nations. We must treat it with the seriousness it needs.

Drug abuse can be also prevented by providing young people with opportunities, skills and information that advises against risky behavior and in favour of healthy lifestyles.

The Sovereign Order of Malta, since over 900 years the oldest humanitarian entity, having diplomatic relations with 106 States has a specific vocation in the protection of health and assistance to the poor people affected by disease and suffering. In this context the Order has been proud to support UNODC where it is counting most, amongst the people that are vulnerable. We are willing to show this engagement also to future generations by our strong dedication to the Youth Initiative, also financially.

In fact, the Order supports the UNODC Youth Initiative and the Youth Forum. These initiatives have been launched in 2012 to empower youth to take the lead in preventing drug use and drug use disorders in their schools and communities. The Youth Initiative reaches more than 90 countries in 5 continents in many different ways. The Youth Forum has gathered leading youth active in drug prevention to bring their experiences and hopes to us.

Given that this Commission will take care of the final preparations for the UNGASS next month, their contribution is more than crucial. We ourselves requested that youth should be involved in the preparation of this important international forum in Resolution 58/8 last year.

And it is important to look even beyond that. Youth is our most valuable asset for the future. Investing in the safe and healthy development of young people is investing in a sustainable future for all of us.

In this context, the Sovereign Order of Malta is particularly pleased that supporting the Youth Initiative will also mean contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3.5, where member states have committed themselves to strengthen substance and drug use prevention and treatment and where we expect UNODC to take a leading role.

The Order of Malta wants to express its appreciation for the health oriented approach adopted by UNODC in the application of international treaties, and particularly for the work of drug demand reduction targeting children and adolescent at risk, and people affected by drug use disorders.

The preparation of UNGASS 2016 has to be inspired by this new orientation, looking to the person as a value and responding to the population affected with humanitarian spirit, social cohesion and science based methods.

In conclusion, Chair, the Sovereign Order of Malta is pledging full support and active participation in all efforts of UNODC in addressing the problem from a humanitarian perspective in the debate leading to UNGASS 2016.

Thank you, Chair, for your attention