CND day 4 – Plenary statement of the UK/INPUD on drug demand reduction

This is the full test of the statement:

‘Thank you chairperson and colleagues.

The UK would like to align itself with the position of the Presidency of the European Union.

Before I start I would like to note the marked improvements in the World Drugs Report and we look forward to continuing progress in data collection and presentation. I am pleased to speak to you as a member of the UK delegation. The UK has a commitment to the inclusion of all stakeholders in its international development work whether at country level or on the global stage. This is why I have been included in the UK team as an NGO member for INPUD – the International Network of People who Use Drugs. I am grateful to DfID for once again giving INPUD the space to voice the concerns and interests of people who use drugs in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

INPUD has been on a steep learning curve over the last year developing our understanding of the global architecture and models of international development and we are now very much engaged with the UN family and the Global Fund. Further, we can more genuinely claim to be a global network of people who use drugs, albeit one that is still very much under development.

Significantly, INPUD has joined the UNAIDS Programme Co-ordinating Board NGO Delegation, which has allowed us, a key population affected by HIV, to have a voice at the top table where the world plans its response to the HIV epidemic. We are now actively working with both arms of UNDOC in relation to the work of the HIV team and with regard to the TreatNet and the Effective Treatment Programmes. While UNODC and INPUD continue to acknowledge our different positions on drug law reform, this has not prevented us from developing mature and respectful relationships at country, regional and global levels around our shared objectives in the arenas of public health, drug treatment and human rights.

The UK has extensive experience of deploying pragmatic harm reduction responses that have seen the UK address and contain its HIV epidemic. These are community based responses that UK has adopted at a national level and that are now well recognized on the global stage. The UK is committed to pursuing policy alignment between between the UNAIDS PCB and here at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on this issue. In the view of the UK this is crucial to ensuring system wide coherence around one of the key public health crises of our time, and supporting UNODC in its role as lead agency on HIV and injecting drug use.

UNAIDS PCB has drawn attention to the significant challenge posed by the criminalisation of key populations. Criminal laws and policing practices that fail to take account of public health priorities can act as a barrier to HIV prevention. INPUD and our members at country level know and experience this all too well. Responding to this challenge is no easy task and will require the engagement of all stakeholders in a respectful and open partnership. This has to include police and prosecutors, doctors and front line workers, policy makers and of course people who use drugs. INPUD stands ready to support the continued engagement of our organisations and community in these processes.’

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