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UNGASS 2009: UN review of international conventions on narcotic drugs

The United Nations has started a process to assess the results of the international efforts to combat illicit drugs and to review the international conventions on narcotic drugs. The process will be completed with a special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) in New York in 2009.

The preparations for the UNGASS in 2009 is a great challenge to all NGOs concerned with development and public health, and we appeal to all contacts of FORUT/ADD to

  • involve in the preparatory process by your respective governments;
  • contribute to international meetings and processes (see below for details)

Please feel free to contact the ADD secretariat in Norway in case you need assistance on how to address this issue.

The previous UN General Assembly Special Session on Illicit Drugs (UNGASS) was held in 1998. That meeting concluded by adoptinga political declaration where ambitions and actions for the next decade were outlined. Among other things the declaration said that participating governments commit themselves to “achieving significant and measurable results in the field of demand reduction by the year 2008”.

Now the time has come to take stock of results achieved since the UNGASS declaration was adopted in 1998. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the lead agency in the UNGASS process and the CND will meet for its 51st session in Vienna in March 2008. At this session governments will assess the progress achieved in meeting the goals defined in 1998. This will then serve as a report to the UNGASS in 2009, together with an identification of future policy-oriented priorities and further actions beyond 2009.

International and national NGOs have a parallel process to the UN, a process which is recognized by the CND and which is expected to bring the views of the NGO community into the government discussions. The process is called “Beyond 2008” and is organized by the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs. This is an opportunity for NGOs all over the world to bring in their perspectives on legislation, policies and practical activities.

The NGOs will meet in a parallel conference – “Beyond 2008”  - to the meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, March 2008. The Beyond 2008 conference will be prepared through a series of regional consultations for NGOs. The preliminary list of such consultations is as follows:

  • Kiev, Ukraine – Sept 2007
  • Belgrade, Serbia – October 2007
  • Cairo, Egypt – October 2007
  • Johannesburg, South Africa – October 2007
  • Macau SAR, China – November 2007
  • Dakar, Senegal – November 2007
  • Nairobi, Kenya – November 2007
  • Lima, Peru – November 2007
  • Australia/New Zealand – November 2007 (date and location TBC)
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh – January 2008
  • St. Petersburg, USA (North America) – January 2008
  • Vancouver, Canada (North America) – January 2008
  • Budapest, Hungary (Western Europe) – January 2008

The objective of the NGOs process is three-fold. The first is to highlight tangible NGO achievements in the field of drug control through a questionnaire that has now been posted online in all six official UN languages. The questionnaire can be found here: www.xxx.xx The second objective is to review best practices related to collaborative mechanisms among NGOs, governments and UN agencies in various fields. The third objective is to review international drug Conventions, to identify key principles within those agreements and how those principles affect the way drug policy is applied locally from day to day.

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