3rd Informal Civil Society Hearing – Closing discussion

Michel Perron, VNGOC. This is the first hearing with a chair and co-chair including UNODC and WHO. We are therefore delighted for them to be with us today.

Mirella Dummar Frahi, UNODC. This has been an interesting hearing. Not many member states are here today, but a few are, including the Finland delegation. NGOs are setting an example. It will be different when government delegates come – there will be a lot of pre-prepared speeches and so there is little space for real debate. Today, the debate has taken place and we have identified some key messages to pass on to member states. There are of course still differences, and the debate will continue. And it is why the participation of NGOs is crucial for UNGASS 2016. For Beyond 2008 we had budget, which is not the case here, but I will help and support NGOs in the process.

Vladimir Poznyak, WHO. We have dealt with very complex issues today. And there are no simple solutions. Many approaches such as drug courts are new phenomena and are in the process of evolving. Of course, the system is not perfect, but at the same time it is more and more clear that there are a lot of flexibilities allowing member states to implement policies and programmes that put forward public health and rights of people and protect young generations. We are grateful for VNGOC for convening this meeting. These have been a matter of ideological debate for a long time. There is now a platform where different organisations with different views on the matter have the possibility to enter into a dialogue from which new approaches can emerge.

Finland delegation. The main focus here is an informal dialogue where we can address issues. We do have lively debates here among Vienna member states. The issue is that these are done in informals. The result is not always satisfactory but there is indeed a debate taking place. We have debated harm reduction, death penalty, and human rights, over the past months. For UNGASS there is a way for NGOs to participate in the process before the UNGASS takes place. Now is the time to be in touch with your delegation to have concrete proposals at hand and hold transparent discussions on how to frame these proposals. Many delegations are open to discussing these. I encourage you to take up on that in the next few days.

Michel Perron, VNGOC. There are a series of tools for NGOs to participate in UNGASS such as a Task Force, through VNGOC, etc.

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