Launch of the e-Book of Authorities

Organized by IDPC, TNI and HRI.

http://bookofauthorities.info/

Book of authorities

UNODC – Welcome. UNODC organized a series of regional dialogues this year with the idea to identify best practices. The Book of Authorities can be very useful to feed into these dialogues. Shows how civil society contributes to and supports the work of countries, including the UN. Good demonstration of the expertise of civil society, and shows what they can bring to the policy level discussion. New tool will be of enormous value for all participants. It is a repository of all the relevant resolutions, statements, etc. on key themes highlighted in our work. Can be used to guide the ongoing and sometimes challenging discussions around the world drug problem.

IDPC – Book of Authorities also accessible on mobile phone and tablet. This is something you can use on the go. Book of Authorities is a database of agreed UN language and key statements that aims to inform discussions, debates, and negotiations. First edition was an actual book created for the Beyond 2008 meeting. Problem is that this resource needs consistent updating. That was the reason that it was done as a website. Themes include: civil society engagement, human rights, harm reduction, death penalty, access to essential medicines, alternative development, and flexibilities of the UN drug conventions. Can search a word within one of these themes, and also specify what body or from whom you want documents . You can also leave these blank to receive less specified results. Once results come up, you can add more search criteria to limit it further. Then you can share it in many ways (email, social media, etc.) and also go directly to the full document in the UN system. Will be constantly updated. Any feedback appreciated, particularly making it more user friendly. Only available in English right now. Plan is to be fully functional in Spanish in three months.

HRI – Harm reduction is a pragmatic approach to drug policy in general. That’s why we keep fighting for the word “harm reduction,” and having it in the technical guides in not enough. We are calling for a harm reduction decade. Want the international drug control system to make harm reduction the grounding principle. Book of Authorities language should help you in your negotiations and help you in the defence of harm reduction both at the UNGASS and high-level meetings on HIV.

TNI – Three benefits. First, improving terminology. UN documents quite notorious for using cryptic wording and terminology. Already becoming a bit more precise. Many resolutions used to mention illicit crops or plants. Even those words confuse the debate. We have more precise language now. Second, when negotiations about certain issues is reaching a difficult stage, a possibility is always to refer back to the latest approved wording on that particular issue in the highest category of authorities. Language around alternative development is an example of that. Standard phrasing can be used as a fallback position. Third, this shows examples of progress in the development of language. Hope the discussion will continue to evolve.

IDPC – Encourage you not to only look for CND documents and statements through the resource. Look for other bodies as well. Documents are sorted by how binding they are. Hierarchy is reflected in search results. Contact section on the website if you want to send in new things you find, if we have missed anything, or if anything is not working properly on the website. Also has regional bodies documents, prominent NGO reports, so it is not just UN documents, but that is what gives it the authority.

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