Documents of Interest
The Preparatory Commission that worked to create the United Nations after its Charter was adopted in 1945 noted in its final report the importance of the person who would head the Secretariat: “The United Nations cannot prosper, nor can its aims be realized without the active and steadfast support of the peoples of the world. The aims and activities of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council É will, no doubt, be represented before the public primarily by the Chairmen of these organs. But the Secretary-General, more than anyone else, will stand for the United Nations as a whole. In the eyes of the world, no less than in the eyes of his own staff, he must embody the principles and ideals of the Charter to which the Organization seeks to give effect.”
The Secretary General
Sidelights to History
The annual Report on the Work of the Organization (A/70/1) is one of the rare UN documents that gets media attention.
That is because it is submitted to the opening session of the General Assembly every year and its Introduction reflects the Secretary-General’s primary political concerns.
The Report itself is a distillation of many departmental submissions and traditionally it has been a committee-designed horse, its ill fitted parts of varying worth and integrity.
The Introduction to the 2015 Report is remarkable for several reasons. At the top of my list is that it makes no mention of a major change in UN policy announced sotto voce in the penultimate section of the Report itself: “The United Nations advocates a rebalancing of the international policy on drugs, to increase the focus on public health, human rights, prevention, treatment and care, and economic, social and cultural measures.”
That is the closest the UN has ever come to calling for an end to the prohibitionist approach to psychoactive drugs which has for over a century failed in its main purpose while rewarding organized crime with sky-high profits. It is certain to raise expectations that the 2016 General Assembly special session on drugs will rewrite international drug policy.
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