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Audio Guide: The Next Page - Transcripts

Welcome to the UN Library and Archives Geneva's Audio Research Guide! Here you'll find episodes from our own podcast, The Next Page, as well as podcasts and audio from or on the UN system and multilateralism.

Episode 50 - Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz on the interconnectivity of the Sustainable Development Goals

by Katrine Knudsen on 2021-04-30T09:00:00+02:00 in Development, Sustainable Development, United Nations | Comments

Natalie Alexander: Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Next Page, I'm Natalie Alexander, and this is our podcast here at the United Nation Libary and Archives Geneva. 


Natalie Alexander:  So today, Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz, who is a medical doctor, pediatrician, and the Liaison Officer for the UNODC at the WHO, joins us for a conversation with Karen Lee about the Sustainable Development Goals. How do global efforts on drugs and crime actually relate to the SDGs? And vice versa, why do our efforts to achieve the global goals matter to prevention and treatment in this field? Dr. Sáenz specialises in drug-dependence treatment with a special focus on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. She speaks in this issue with the perspective of the SGDs, and how quality education, gender equality and decent work and economic growth are all intertwined in these efforts. She also speaks about the role of multilateralism and these two bodies, the UNODC and WHO advance work through the lens of justice and health. It's an interesting insight into how interconnected the STGs really are and the importance of international corporation. I hope you enjoy it. Let's have a listen.  

- JINGLE -  

Karen Lee: Hi everyone, today I'm so excited to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz, who is the Liaison Officer for the UNODC at WHO. 

Welcome, Dr. Sáenz! 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. Good morning. 

Karen Lee: Good morning! So, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you came to dedicate your work and research in drug dependence, treatment and rehabilitation? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen, that's a very nice question. Well, first of all, thanks again and I'm very happy to be part of the podcast. I am a medical doctor and pediatrician by background and then I moved into public health because of this idea of having an impact in the larger population – that was my drive. I worked previously back in my country, Venezuela with PAHO with UNFPA, but because of family reasons, I moved to Vienna. And in Vienna, there is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), where I work nowadays and they have a health branch that deals with prevention of HIV for people who use drugs and that's where I thought I could fit in, but then I discovered this area of prevention and treatment of drug use disorders. 

I managed to start working back 14 years ago with UNODC in the drug treatment area, and immediately realized how important it is for the public health dimension. And I know that we're going to be talking about that. And moreover, the interesting thing is that recent research has showed us the trajectory and in the development of the drug use disorders and how these start from a very early age, sometimes the changes in the brain even occur during pregnancy. 

So, I very much realized, wow, addiction and drug dependence are very much a pediatric disease, or at least a health issue in which pediatricians and people working with children have a big and important role to play. So, this is it! This is how life somehow brought me to work in this very important, and I would say, fascinating topic. 

Karen Lee: Amazing, I really do think that it's so interesting to hear about your trajectory and also how your different interests kind of led you to where you are today. It's really funny how life works. 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: That's it, it’s interesting. For many years I thought this issue is very tough, it’s very complex – you know, there is a lot of stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs and with drug use disorders. So, sometimes I feel like wow, from the emotional point of view, it's difficult. 

And there are many deficits in the health system when it comes to covering the needs for people with these kinds of problems. But then when I looked at it in that perspective, we're talking about something that really can affect a whole individual's life from childhood, the dynamics in the family... so, for me, it took the dimension of a purpose and that has been fascinating as well. 

Karen Lee: Amazing, so that actually perfectly segues into my first question, which is, you know, the topic of drug dependence and abuse is often stigmatized as you mentioned, and as a result the subject is prone to misconceptions, misinformation and misrepresentation. I think it is also often seen as a topic that is, you know, reserved only for health and medical experts, such as yourself, and it doesn't have much to do with the everyday person. But why is it important for everyone to know about the work towards prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in drugs and health? 


Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. That is very interesting. Well, first of all, when we talk about drugs and we talk about prevention and or treatment, people tend to think that yeah, we need to inform people about drugs. We need to tell them which are these substances, what are the effects and why they are dangerous. 

And in fact, this is an important part of the work and the drug control system and the three conventions on narcotics and psychotropics precisely were established by Member States to have a framework to protect people from the negative effects of these substances. However, when we understand what I already mentioned before, the factors that contribute to create the conditions or what we call the vulnerabilities for individuals to eventually when they come in contact with these substances, to start using them. 

But remember that only 1 in 10 people that start using drugs may develop a drug use problem or drug use disorder, so not necessarily everybody that uses a drug will develop it, and this is very important to mention. But then the question is how to protect people, how to identify all these elements that bring people to their vulnerabilities of developing a drug use disorder and then doing something. And I refer back to my comment about the pediatricians, about people working with children, teachers, the communities, etc. So, just to put a somehow in this scope or the magnitude of the problem we're talking about, according to the World Drug Report that is produced every year by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, around 300,000,000 people between the age of 15 and 64 would have used an illicit substance the year before when asked. And out of this number – from last year’s World Drug Report –close to 37 million people are in need of treatment, meaning that they already have a problem with the drug use. And when we talk about a problem with the drug use, we're talking about people that are already having problems in their jobs or have lost their jobs, people that have financial problems or disruptions in the family or violence, or anything that is created by the dynamics of a person that is using a psychoactive substance – a substance that is altering the state of you mind.  

Now one of the dramatic situations is that of these 37 million that need assistance, only 1 in 8 get the assistance that they require, and this again bring us to the topic of stigma and discrimination because not only there are not sufficient services available, oftentimes we see that the access to these services is limited. 

So, when we talk about education, and I think that if we manage to overcome this barrier that is imposed somehow by the stigma, by the judgmental attitudes that we have towards the people who use drugs and develop drug use disorders, then we can see how prevention can be done from very practical and sometimes easy measures, such as listening to your children. And I take the opportunity of mentioning UNODC’s Listen First campaign - devoting quality time to your children, for example, spending time having dinner with them, keeping abreast with their development at school, promoting healthy lives – that is what prevention is about. It's not about talking about the drugs, and "be careful if you use this!”  

And for many years prevention strategies, and unfortunately, in many countries we still see this, use a lot of scary tactics and techniques, “if you use drugs your brain will be fried in a pan”, it doesn't work. 

It doesn't work because when the brain has been changed, let’s say in a 14-year-old adolescent, the pregnancy was very stressful for the mother, so that little brain in development was exposed to a lot of stress hormones like cortisol. If the child was not properly attached to the mother in the early days following birth, if the love because there are many ways of expressing love and I would say that all parents expressed their loss in their own very specific ways, but sometimes even the negative actions are driven by love for the children but the important thing is the perception that the child has about love and acceptance and building confidence because it is then later usually in adolescence that when they are exposed to the substances, they have the capacity of saying no, I won't take that. But that's why we talk about very complex mechanisms that lead to those vulnerabilities, and those factors include genetics, early onset of mental health disorders, include the small family group dynamics, but also the community. 

What is the community dynamics? What are the interactions between those children with other children? What are the economic activities or the activities in the community where that child is growing up? Is there a lot of drug trafficking, for example? Is there a lot of drug consumption in the community? So again, it's not telling a child, “Don't use drugs,” that will end up preventing that child or that adolescent from using that drug – it's much more than that. 

And when we talk about treatment, then it is important to understand first of all, that once a person develops a disorder – like I said, not everybody develops a disorder – there are several that take categories from problematic drug use to what we call the extreme of dependance to a substance, an addiction, which is a very specific stage in which there is a compulsive behavior towards the use of drugs that dominates every other aspect of a person's life. 

Karen Lee: So, there's a difference between “dependence” and “addiction”? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Yes, a person becomes dependent on a substance, and oftentimes it's because of the properties of that substance. For example, opioids. Once a person starts using opioids, they develop something that is called tolerance. So, because of tolerance, they need to increase the amount of the drug that they consume in order to get the same effect, so that person becomes dependent. 

But not necessarily does a person needs to use a particular substance for a specific period of time to develop addiction. And therefore, because addiction is a complex mechanism that is related to the reward system in the brain, addiction is a mechanism, a compulsive behavior that dominates every aspect of a person's life. Meaning people don't eat, people don't sleep, people don't enjoy doing exercise, because the only thing they can think about is using the drugs, using the substance. 

There are very interesting research studies showing that there is a point in the evolution of the addictive disorder, in which the person no longer uses the drug to feel good but because they feel so bad when they don't use it, because of the withdrawal that they need to continue using in order to minimally function. And those are complex mechanisms and the reason I'm mentioning this is, we're talking about education and about understanding. If people understand that this is what is happening to that person, then you become more understanding, compassionate then you think that that person, because it's very easy to say this person did this to herself or to himself. He's using drugs, this was his choice. No, it's not his choice, and it's very difficult and complex, and therefore, I was talking about the complexity, the chronicity, the relapsing nature of drug use disorders that require not only long term but also multidisciplinary and multisectoral approaches and this links to our conversation on the SDGs because it's not only a health issue, it’s a social issue – it touches on the financial, it touches on labor.  

One of the first things in adolescents, when they start using drugs, one of the first signs is the drop in the grades, and the same for people in their work – absenteeism, not being productive at work, to eventually losing the job. And another important thing that I would mention is that many people who use drugs, depending on the national legislation or because they are engaged in drug related criminal activities to maintain their drug use, end up in prison. And that is an additional component of this vicious cycle of drug use. I'm going to use the term I don't think exists, but like a social impairment sort of condition, where dynamic social dynamics are all entangled around the drug use, and of course impair or hamper the possibilities and probabilities of people to achieve the development goals.  

It’s a complex thing, and I believe that when people can see that in a person – the whole area of a person's life being affected – then the attitude and the response to these people has to be different. 

Karen Lee: Thank you so much. I think you covered so many bases in your answer, but I think at the end of the day, what I'm taking from this is that really education and the willingness to learn and understand, and even just show a little bit of compassion is so key in this all and those kinds of things are things that everyone can do.  

Thank you so much for mentioning the SDGs because as we all know, the SDGs are not only 17 individual goals, but they are also 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. And we already kind of touched upon how education plays a part in this realm. But it is also quite obvious that the issue of drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation connects most with SDG 3 which is the global health and well-being SDG, but I wanted to ask you how does it also connect with even something like gender equality, which is SDG #5? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. 

Well, I have to say that since I have been working in the UN for so long, I remember the Millennium Development Goals and how nice it was in the environment of working in the UN to have something specific to work towards. But then the Sustainable Development Goals, even from the image that they brought, you know this very colorful and the definition of the goals... I was thrilled, honestly, on a personal note. The effect that you have to immediately start seeing the interconnectedness of the specific topics that you deal with as a member of the UN family, of agencies, with other areas of development. 

And for example, at UNODC, one of our main areas of work is advocacy. We advocate, you know, raise awareness about the dangers of drugs or the threats of these substances, but also the importance of recognizing as chronic disorders, etc. I have the importance of engaging women, but the SDGs provide the perfect tool to see those connections, to see how if we work towards preventing drug use and treating drug use disorders, we're going to have an impact on a person's life in general. 

So, you asked me specifically about gender, but I want to mention that within SDG 3, there is SDG 3.5 that specifically calls for prevention, and the treatment not only of drugs, but also includes alcohol. And this is very important for us, because it has given visibility to these issues that we for so long have been working on. Now in regard to women, I want to talk again about some numbers coming from the World Drug Report. 

Remember I told you only 1 in 8 people that needs treatment gets that treatment? Well, guess what? 1 of every 3 persons that have a drug use problem is a woman, but only 1 in 5 of those that get treatment is a woman. Access to treatment services is usually even more limited for women because they face the double stigma and discrimination. This is particularly true when they're pregnant because they tend to be blamed for getting pregnant, knowing that they're using drugs, or because they use drugs when they're pregnant. And the truth is that these women, like any other woman, they love their children, they want to have children, they get pregnant, and even in undesired pregnancies, they want to take care of that child, but I want to go back to it is a chronic complex relapsing disorder. 

So, they are dealing with their own challenges as a person who has a drug use disorder plus the challenges of a pregnancy, the challenges of a delivery and then later on after the baby is born, the challenges of raising 1, 2 as many children in this situation. So yeah, women find especially difficult circumstances. 

Also, depending on the culture, depending on the religion, depending on the social dynamics, sometimes it is induced because women are sometimes more diagnosed with mental health issues like anxiety, and it is the even the medical professionals that are given them these substances that if not limited in – and I'm referring specifically to some substances – then a woman can become dependent. Or maybe women are more expressive when they are in pain, for example, so they tend to be medicated more than men. So, unwillingly they can become dependent on these substances. So, why blame them? 

The other thing is many women engage in drug use because they have a partner who is a drug user and another important connection in regards to gender, is that in many of these couples were there is drug use and drug use problems, there is violence. So, in short, women are double discriminated and stigmatized because of the drug use, so it's a vicious cycle, difficult to tackle, and women, particularly women, are affected. 

We could talk even more about this, for example, when the drug abuse of opioids, these mothers have to struggle with having an opioid dependence. Luckily there is treatment for that. There are pharmacological and psychosocial support measures to treat women who are dependent on opioids without being pregnant, but also when they are pregnant. And then when the child is born, these babies are usually born also dependent, which is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, so these newborns can be treated, and the idea is that these models we see if the support that they need through pregnancy, through childbirth and then while raising their children with support and love. 

But for that the health system, and the social welfare and social support system need to be ready to respond and getting completely away from the stigma and the judgmental attitudes towards them. 

Karen Lee: Wow, I am learning so much! I think it's so true that as women not only our treatment will look different, but also our needs outside of just medical needs are also different and so that affects as well how rehabilitation, recovery, and healing goes. 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Of course! And when we talk about drug treatment, we're talking with psychiatrists, psychologists, with sociologists – it requires a person to really open up to their deepest feelings and dynamics. Sometimes culturally, it’s very difficult for these women to already disclose their drug use status. But if the system is not ready to adapt to those specific needs, then these women are completely left out and that's why we talk about limited access to treatment services. So, for example, treatment services need to understand these women have probably not only one more than one child, they need to take care of the house or many of them work, and then in addition for some of them, they need to go relatively often, even sometimes daily to get their medication to treat their drug dependence. 

So, if you don't offer them the option of childcare, how can they comply with the treatment? You know, we have an expression, “put the other person's shoes on”, so that you can really understand the complexity of the needs, which are simple. They can be very simple to resolve, but for that you need to understand, be compassionate, be open minded.  

For example, waiting list for people with drug use disorders are a catastrophic thing to do in a Treatment Centre, because you limit opportunities for them. Not everybody is ready to go to treatment, there are different phases of change during the evolution of the drug use development, and when a person is ready to go and ask for help, if they call and nobody picks up the phone, if they knock on the door and the treatment center is closed, you lose that patient. 

Of course, UNODC and WHO have developed international standards for treatment of drug use disorders, which outline and describe very clearly the different settings of the health and social systems, where depending on the stages in which the addiction problem is, then you can respond. And there is one in particular which are the outreach teams and because of the behaviors of these populations, they go out – they try to communicate, try to engage them in treatment. But again, going back to women in all of this, women need to be seen with a particular lens. A lens that looks into all the... we tend to think women only have reproductive health issues, not that reproductive health is not probably crucial, but it's much more than just reproductive health when we talk about services for women, and in particular women with drug use disorders. 

Karen Lee: So, you briefly touched upon the aspect of socioeconomic status and welfare, and that's great because we can now lead into SDG #8, which is about decent work and economic growth. So how does this sustainable development goal intertwine with this bigger picture of drug treatment? And not just in relation specifically to women, but in general, as a whole? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. This is very important. Indeed, we can see these in two dimensions: unemployment and lack of opportunities. I'm going to mention a particular group, like for example migrants and refugees and displaced persons. You know, there is this saying that there is more drug use amongst these groups – no, it's about opportunities, it’s about integration, it’s about having a livelihood in your own country or in another country. So definitely, not having a decent job, one that really provides for your own individual needs and the needs of your family could build to despair, to anxiety. Again, remember that we're talking vulnerabilities a person does not become addicted or dependent to a drug by choice. So, it’s those conditions that create the fertile ground for the initiation of drug use, because a call of warning, not only adolescents start using drugs, but we can see this in elderly people because they're lonely or because they're overmedicated. But you know, there is no age to start using drugs. 

So, a person that undergoes a catastrophic event in their lives is very vulnerable and the drugs are always there. The drugs will always be there – those that you can buy in the supermarket like alcohol and tobacco – but the drugs will always be there, it’s the circumstances around the person. 

So, in that sense, having decent jobs is very important, and on the other hand, one of the first areas that is affected when people develop a drug use disorder or an addiction, is losing their jobs. 

So that's when they fall into this spiral that brings people to the very unfortunate situation that we oftentimes see – people in the streets, homeless, without families – and getting out of there is very challenging. And that's why when we look at the international standards of treatment, sometimes we need to start with the very basic assistance – providing these people for a place to take a shower, a warm soup during the winter, blankets. But as soon as possible bringing them out of that, engaging them in treatment, and there are many modalities that adapt to the severity to the evolution, to the condition of the person and to what really works, because that's another thing in treatment of drug use disorders: not one size fits all. That's like a slogan, but it's true. 

So again, going back to the issue of employment, once you manage to provide the basic assistance, engage this person in treatment, then once the person is stable, you need to think OK, what comes next and then we talk about rehabilitation, we talk about reintegration. So, because of the long history of these people, some of them have not developed a particular skill or don't have specific knowledge. So, good treatment programs include all these components, include vocational training, include the spiritual area of development of a person, include working in groups, and eventually should also include developing coordination mechanisms to support people to be allocated to job opportunities. So, when we talk about the social dimension of treatment, it is related to that – this person needs a place to live, this person needs a job so that they can generate some income to pay for a place to leave, etc. So again, that's the beauty of the SDGs, all these things are connected. 

Karen Lee: Thank you. Even in treatments and approaches alone, those things have to be adapted and are also multidisciplinary and multi-faceted, which is such an important point to remember. So, I wanted to ask what is the UNODC’s role as well as the WHO’s role in engaging and encouraging this kind of multilateral action but also dialogue on drug dependence and treatment? 

 Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. In what we call the Drug Control System, both agencies have a very particular role. UNODC as a Secretariat to the Commission of Narcotic Drugs and WHO in its role as the health agency that needs to look into the substances to research and provide the Commission or the Drug Control System with the recommendations as to which substances have to be scheduled and put into this system of control.  

Specifically in terms of prevention and treatment, both the UNODC and the WHO, because of their complementary roles, have been working together. You know that UN agencies have specific mandates and we have therefore, our counterparts. So, for WHO it is the ministries of health, but for UNODC it is ministries of justice and interior.  

So, this is leading me to something very interesting because since the time when the International Convention were endorsed by the Member States, countries develop their own legislations to respond to these threats. So still in many countries, but particularly from the beginning, their response to people with drug use and drug use disorders was coming from the justice, law enforcement, criminal justice systems. So of course, that raises lots of questions with regards to human rights, to why people are going to be incarcerated, these people require treatment and now we have several documents making the case for that.  

So, as we have evolved in knowing more about the nature of what is really causing the changes in the brain and the preconditions to drug use disorders, we have seen this increasingly important role of the health system. So, by working together with the WHO, we have managed to bring UNODC’s mandate –which is mostly to contribute to global peace and security, human rights, etc. – to bring it down and work together with WHO to move countries towards a response to drug use and drug use disorders that is led by ministries of health. 

Remember we said multisectoral and multidisciplinary, and by being led by the Ministries of Health, we are giving the public then this message also: this is a health issue, but it is not only a health issue, it is complex and requires other sectors to be involved. 

So that's why the SDGs, but also the structure of the UN system, and the collaboration between UN agencies is crucial. The way I see it now is that the drug problem is really at the center of many. When we look at things from the perspective of the harm that drugs are causing in people, they are at the center of all these other development areas. 

Karen Lee: Thank you so much for sharing that, because just like you mentioned, of course it is so much so a health issue that needs to have the participation of other health ministries, and health professionals, and health research not only to advance better treatment and better rehabilitation, but also the social aspect of what people view it as. 

 Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: That's it, absolutely. 

Karen Lee: You know, as we mentioned, the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 is a collection of global goals that require the cooperation and collaboration across borders, across sectors, across teams and individuals. And of course, the UN and its many specialized agencies – just like we mentioned specifically the UNODC and the WHO – are very committed to advancing not only the conversation, but the participation of multiple actors in realizing these goals. 

But I also wanted to ask how we and all of our listeners as citizens and as individuals, can contribute to the goals we spoke about today, in the context of drug treatment and rehabilitation? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Thank you, Karen. Well listen, this question has come so timely for me. Yesterday, our Executive Director Ms. Ghada Fathi Waly launched the UNODC strategy for 2021-2025. And this is particularly important because for the first time, Ms. Waly really put a lot of emphasis in this new strategy for our agency to be participatory in its development, so that we in UNODC have developed in the process this sense of ownership. And you know her words are still echoing in my mind, when she called us to devote to the implementation of the strategy, to think broadly, to cooperate. But she also highlighted the challenges that we have, because it means getting out of our own little boxes, and precisely start looking at other UN agencies at other international and collaboration mechanisms and engage them in the work of UNODC.  

In my role now, as UNODC Liaison Officer in Geneva working with WHO, one of my most important activities has been precisely to bring to the Geneva ecosystem, the information about UNODC – because the headquarters of the agency are in Vienna – by presenting UNODC to this rich ecosystem where not only UN agencies but also other international organizations, there is a large number of civil society organizations working in an incredible variety of topics of issues. So, in that sense, it's really fascinating to be in this moment in time. 

So again, your question is also for the general public. To the general public I would say, don't see issues of crime and justice as something that is not yours. When we understand where these things come from, then we can get involved. From our little hopes, from whatever activity we are doing in the world, because UNODC’s mandate is very broad, we cover not only the world drug problem, but also organized crime, corruption, and economic crime, we are also guardians of the UN Convention against Corruption, we support combating terrorism but also crime prevention and criminal justice... And it goes brought to cover issues related to wildlife crime to cyber-crime to border control, container control, so UNODC has really a very broad mandate.  

So, it’s an invitation to the public to look into our website, to look into the newly launched strategy – even Ms. Waly’s statement is there and it's very nice the way she presents our strategy – and to get engaged into these topics, which are when properly addressed, can really contribute to a better world and a safer world. 

Karen Lee: Thank you and I hope that this podcast can also become a resource to our listeners to learn more and to really understand and realize that this is not just an issue that is separate from me, but really involves and needs the involvement of everyone. 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: Absolutely. 

Karen Lee: So, are there any final thoughts before we close? If you would like our listeners to take one thing from our conversation today that was so rich, so it might be a bit hard, but what would that be? 

Dr. Elizabeth Sáenz: You know, Karen, I think probably have mentioned it, but probably that it can happen to anyone you know. There are countries in the world, I don't want to mention any particular, where rarely you will find one family that has not been touched by drug use and drug use disorders and so it can happen to anyone. 

But the message is don't panic, it is an issue for which there are solutions. Just be compassionate, be open. So, while it is important to learn about drugs, it's important also not to develop an aversion to drugs. It can happen to anyone. 

So, the more people learn about this, and of course it's good to learn about these drugs, what they are, what are the effects, but it is most important is to know why would my child, my adolescent, myself, or my grandmother eventually start using these substances and then to think about that. 

I would say please be proactive in helping reduce the stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs and have drug use disorders, particularly women, for all the issues that we have discussed. And be inclusive rather than judgmental... if you're in health service and as a doctor, I can tell you, and there are studies also showing the rejection that even health professionals have towards people with drug use disorders. So, wherever you are providing a service, either medical or social, be open and remember that a person who may have a drug use disorder, have needs.  

Be open, be receptive, be compassionate, and if you are a parent, just because of the pediatrician that I am and because we have this campaign, "Listen First” – I invite everybody to look at on our website, Twitter, and all sorts of communication strategies – if you are a parent, listen to your children.  

Devote and spend quality time with them. You don't need to give expensive presents to your kids for them to feel loved and show them that you love them, tell them that you love them, that you care. And it doesn't matter what age, even if they are 18 or 19 and they will not react positively to you trying to give them a kiss or hug, do it because they will get the message. 

So, there are other things that I can discuss, UNODC is launching a new strategy for Africa – I mean that is out of what I'm saying, but I didn't want to forget to mention that. And I am in Geneva, whoever is in Geneva that would like to contact me, I'm happy to give my email, we can e-meet. I'm completely at the disposal of anyone who wants to know more about my job, about what I do, but also getting them connected to the colleagues at large. 

Thank you, Karen. 

Karen Lee: Thank you so much and we will be sure to link all of the resources including your contact info, and also the UNODC resources and the WHO resources down in the podcast notes, so please check them out after this episode. 

So yes, thank you so much again, Dr. Sáenz for joining us and for really speaking about the SDGs in this context. It was great learning so much from you and really seeing how these goals are on the ground and how we can collectively advance this kind of positive and sustainable future. 

Thank you. 


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