This month we wrote to Mr Srisamoot, Chair of the 58th Commission of Naroctic Drugs regarding the post-2015 development agenda.
Letter Dated: 4th February 2015
Dear H.E. Mr Arthayudh Srisamoot, Chair of the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs,
We write to you regarding your request for input into the work of the ECOSOC on the post-2015 development goals, which you expressed during the inter-sessional meeting of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs, which was held on 29th January 2015. We, an ECOSOC registered civil society network based in Europe and made up of 50 NGO’s, would therefore like to take this opportunity to make a contribution to this important agenda item and we hope that you can find some way to incorporate our feedback into your draft paper, ahead of the regional group consultation.
The Right To Life, Health, Adequate Drug Treatment, Rehabilitation and Recovery
We would like to take this opportunity to affirm our commitment to realizing the Right To Health for all people and feel that the right to life and health should be strongly reflected in the final post-2015 development framework.
In relation to this, our network supports access to the mutually reinforcing measures of prevention (environmental, universal, selective and indicated), early detection and intervention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and recovery in relation to drug demand reduction, which are core components of the EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020). We would like to see such measures reflected in the post-2015 framework, to ensure that there are adequate, predictable and sustainable resources made available in the field of drug demand reduction at international and domestic levels in the future.
The lack of focus on inequality in the Millennium Development Goals
Whilst the Millennium Development Goals were clear, concise and measurable and relatively easy for policymakers to adopt, we are concerned that they did not account for inequalities which have emerged over the last decade. We therefore believe that there needs to be a much stronger focus on inequality in the future.
We believe that inequality is widely ignored in regional and international drug policy agreements and that it has become the “elephant in the room” in inter-governmental forums. Evidence suggests that individuals in highly unequal societies have incentives to engage outside legal markets, in crime and in robbery. A large scale review even showed that countries with an average of a 1 per cent increase in the Gini coefficient appears to increase crime rates by between 1 and 4 percent. For reference, the most unequal of the developed countries (Portugal) has a coefficient of below .4 whereas the average for Latin America is .52. There is also much evidence about the relationship between drug use and inequality.
The Integration of Alternative Development
In a recent survey carried out with our members, 100% of respondents agreed that alternative development should be considered an important component of tackling the world drug problem. We believe that alternative development should be embraced as part of an effective long-term strategy that aims to improve the livelihoods of those living in drug-producing areas as well as reducing illicit drug supply at the same time.
To this extent, we urge Member States to advocate for effective alternative development measures as well as for the rights of those living in drug-producing areas (for example the right to basic education, healthcare and citizenship) to be included as components of the post-2015 framework.
Finally, we wish to thank you for your efforts in contributing to the final post-2015 development framework on behalf of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Signed: Stig-Erik Sørheim (President of EURAD) and Fay Watson (Secretary General)