On behalf the Institute for Policy Studies/Transnational Institute
But I am also delivering this statement on behalf of the International drug policy consortium
The UNGASS is a welcome opportunity for the international community to respond to the rapidly changing realities of the global drug market. There are increasing demands for an open and broad review of the international drug control system and drug-related issues and how to address and tackle these issues.
As we move towards that critical moment, member states should be seeking to ensure that the UNGASS will be the much needed honest and serious debate on the future of international drug control. However, the UNGASS preparation process should take into account some of the weaknesses and frustrations of the recent mid-term review of the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan.
There are many challenging and important issues that the process of negotiations for the Joint Ministerial Statement has not been able to adequately address. In particular we would like to list the following:
– Access to essential medicines
The international drug control conventions declare that member states are responsible for ensuring the availability of controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes. Yet just one paragraph in the Joint Ministerial Statement currently acknowledges this issue. Given that 80 per cent of the world’s population have inadequate access to pain relief and other essential medicines, much more needs to be done to improve access.
– Harm reduction
There is need to scale up harm reduction interventions for people who use drugs – in particular to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C
– Negative consequences of repressive drug policies
The harm caused by current drug policies themselves have not been adequately acknowledged and address – these include drug market violence, over criminalization and widespread human rights abuses committed in the name of drug control
– Alternatives to prohibition and criminalization
There are real alternative policies being discussed and implemented – in particular for cannabis but there is no political space here at CND to recognize this.
In order for the UNGASS to be the transparent, inclusive and wide-ranging review that can address these issues and allow real dialogue to take place, IDPC makes the following key recommendations:
– To ensure the meaningful involvement of all other relevant UN agencies – these include WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, OHCHR, UNICEF, World Bank, and the UN Dept of Peacekeeping Operations. In this respect we welcome the mandate given by the UN Secretary General to the UN TASK FORCE ON DRUG TRAFFKICKING AND ORGANISED CRIME CO-CHAIRED BY UNODC AND DPA – to facilitate the participation of the UN agencies in the UNGASS process.
– To set up a serious of ‘chatham house’ style meetings between now and the UNGASS that brings together academic, CS experts, UN agencies and member states, to debate key issues in a setting that is free from the pressure to agree consensus statements.
– The creation of a robust and meaningful structure for the involvement of CS in this process – through a civil society task force according to the precedents set in other UNGASS.
IDPC as network of over 100 civil society organisations is ready and willing to collaborate with members states in the UNGASS preparations .