3rd Informal Civil Society Hearing, Opening Session

Michel Perron, Chair of Vienna NGO Committee.  We have convened this meeting to discuss how best to address drug abuse together through a health based approach, as part of the framework of the international drug control conventions.  We need to discuss scope of practice and what the current framework allows.  Look at what should we be focusing on as NGOs.  Identify priorities we can further investigate toward 2016.  Start a dialogue around health based approach to conventions.  VNGOC membership now includes well over 150 organizations.  49 countries.  Truly global membership.  Partners in communities and most world communities, large cities, harm reduction, rehab and recovery, and policy.  Conclusions from today will be presented at high level briefing.  High level reps will be speaking at panel tomorrow.  Mr. Michael Boticelli here today.  Other MS today in the room vocally supporting participation of NGOs.  Governments here today, and a first, important contribution to discussions.  This is webcast and streaming live around the world.


Yury Fedetov.  ED UNODC.  Great pleasure for me to be here with you.  Welcome Amb. Shama of Egypt, chair of CND.  Thank VNGOC and chair for organizing the event and for his leadership in promoting NGOs and drug policy.  Particularly important meeting given HLR and preparation of UNGASS.    UNODC has long relationship with NGOs and civil society.  Voices of all NGOs can be represented and interact with MS on sensitive issues and provide input into strategies and practical application in field.  Added value to have so many NGOs present.  Put health at the heart of the international drug control system.  Three conventions created to protect health and welfare.  Treatment, rehab and integration have result.  HIV prevention based on scientific evidence saves many lives.  Civil society has experience and is vital in this regard.  Effective and efficient practice.  Yesterday heard from academic community in scientific meetings.  Will report tomorrow on their findings. NGOs crucial partner in plan of action and doing work on the ground and helping to protect and save lives in many countries and many areas.  From Afghanistan to Columbia and SE Asia.  Key implementation partners and we thank all of you for that.  Need to further promote active and meaningful participation in implementation of drug control policies. Regular and consultative dialogue with all stakeholders will contribute to balanced approach to world drug problem.  Look forward to briefing tomorrow and meeting next week in interactive briefing.  Wish you every success in deliberations and all the best.

Ambassador Shamaa. Chair of 57th CND.  Pleasure to have you with us.  Glad that Mr. Fedetov has laid down the view that we share both as MS and as Secretariat re civil society.  You have hands on experience.  You are the ones who work on the ground and are in direct contact with people who are affected by scourge of drugs in communities.  Leads me to practical points.  MS are in preparation for UNGASS in 2016.  We have already started the discussions and contacts and launched several tracks of interactions with various stakeholders.  Discussion with scientific forum yesterday.  Your role cannot be more obvious or does not need to be reemphasized but what is in the period ahead?  Recommendation based approach.  All of you representing 49 countries.  Should be increased.  Very valuable and important element in devising and implementing policies in better addressing and countering the world drug problem.  Most importantly, ways and means for us to get together and have a more interactive discussion so we are able to hear more, initiatives and concrete proposals that you would like to share with us in our collective effort toward 2016.

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