This year a High Level Segment and an Informal Civil Society Hearing took place the week before the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Find our summary here.
Over the last two weeks, several EURAD members and partners have been attending the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs, where world leaders and officials meet to discuss the global drug problem.
This year’s meeting was attended by decision makers from across the world, as well as notable figures such as the Queen of Sweden and the Princess of Thailand. British Comedian and former drug user Russell Brand also made an appearance.
The Informal Civil Society Hearing
This year, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs hosted an Informal Civil Society Hearing the day before the High Level Segment, were Fay Watson from EURAD gave a presentation on behalf of the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs about what practices are possible within the UN Drug Conventions and posed the question as to why these evidence based practices were not being implemented. You can find a copy of the presentation here and you can also find a full summary of the event here.
At the same event, Kevin Sabet spoke on behalf of Stig-Erik Sorheim, to introduce the new Drug Policy Futures platform. A side event was then held to officially launch the new initiative during the main Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the following week.
The High Level Segment
The purpose of this meeting is to review the progress made, and the challenges encountered, since the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the World Drug Problem. The main focus of the High Level Segment will be the negotiation of a ‘Joint Ministerial Statement’, which will set the scene for the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), as well as recording member states’ views of progress. As far as discussions went, the Greek delegations (speaking on behalf of EU because they have the EU Presidency at the moment) regretted the lack of reference to the death penalty in the Joint Statement. They highlighted support for the INCB’s call to abolish the death penalty for drug offenders. This was furthermore backed up by Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Iran (speaking on behalf of Malaysia, Saudi, China, Vietnam, Singapor, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Syria), then stated say that the death penalty is not under the mandate of the CND and that it is a criminal matter which should be decided by each sovereign state. The Central African region highlighted that they would like to see development on the agenda at the UNGASS 2016. The High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted the rights of children not to be subject to criminal proceedings, aerial spraying or compulsory drug treatment. Japan stated that they would like to strengthen countermeasures on precursors as well as on new psychoactive substances.
Roundtables were held on Demand and Supply Reduction during the High Level Segment. Fay Watson of EURAD spoke at the Roundtable on Demand Reduction on behalf of the Vienna NGO Committee. Here is the transcript of that presentation.